Category Archives: Money

Money

Target gift card exchange program scam? incompetence?, Disconnect between internet and stores, Consumers beware, Definite training problem

Target gift card exchange program scam? incompetence?, Disconnect between internet and stores, Consumers beware, Definite training problem

“Texas’ top attorney warns Target bathroom policy could lead to ‘inappropriate activity’”…BizJournals May 5, 2016

“You can’t fix stupid.”…Ron White

“We are being lied to on a scale unimaginable by George Orwell.”…Citizen Wells

 

I boycotted Target for over a year because of their foolish, irresponsible bathroom policies.

I decided to give them another chance a few months ago but for every transaction there has been a disconnect between their internet presence and the  local store. In those cases the local people were helpful and compensated for the disconnect.

That is until recently.

I like so many others received gift cards for Christmas.

Though I am grateful, the gift cards come with their own set of issues.

Last week I ran across a Target internet site that provided for gift card exchanges. From many name brands to Target.

Seemed smart. Taking business away from other companies and helping consumers.

Theory vs reality.

Target utterly failed me and wasted my time.

On Thursday I went by and was told that the person, who was trained on this transaction, worked in the Electronics Dept. and would be in later.

I went back today. The person in customer service was not aware of the program.

I went to electronics and was told they discontinued the program 2 days ago and that the website had not yet been updated.

I asked for a manager.

She asked where the card was purchased. How was I supposed to know that? The website makes no mention of that.

After arriving back home, knowing full well that a chat was a waste of time, I explained what happened and the responder then tried the link and apparently did not follow instructions. It was a waste of time.

From the website:

 

Trade in your gift cards

Bring gift cards from leading consumer brands that still have a balance to a participating Target store, and exchange them for a Target gift card that can be used for online purchases at Target.com or in any Target store.

 Click here to find a participating store

Which cards can I trade?

Search the field below for a list of currently accepted gift cards.

Participating Merchants
A Pea in the Pod
Academy Sports & Outdoors
Aeropostale
AMC Theatres
Applebee’s
Athleta
AutoZone
Banana Republic
Bare Minerals
Barnes & Noble
Bass Pro Shops
Bath & Body Works
Bed Bath and Beyond
Best Buy
Boscov’s
Brinker Restaurants
Brylane Home
Buffalo Wild Wings
Burton
Cabela’s
Callaway Golf
Catherines
CB2
Champs Sports
Cheesecake Factory
Chili’s
Cinemark
Coach
Cold Stone Creamery
Cole Haan
Coleman
Crate & Barrel
Darden Restaurants
Destination Maternity
Dillard’s
Domino’s Pizza
DSW
Duluth Trading Company
Dunkin’ Donuts
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
Fandango
Field & Stream
Filson
Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
Foot Locker
Footaction
GameStop
Gap
Gap Kids
Gap Options
Golf Galaxy
Gordon Biersch
Great Harvest Bread Co
Guess
Hobby Lobby
Home Depot
Home Goods
Hot Topic
IHOP
JCPenney
Jiffy Lube
Journeys
L.L. Bean
Lane Bryant
Lego Store
Levi’s
Logan’s Roadhouse
Lowe’s
Lululemon Athletica
Macy’s
Marshalls
Nautica
New Era
Nike
Nordstrom
Office Depot
Old Navy
Olive Garden
Oriental Trading Company
Overstock
P.F. Chang’s
Panera Bread
Patagonia
Pier 1 Imports
Pottery Barn
Pottery Barn Kids
Pottery Barn Teen
Quiznos
Ralph Lauren
Ray Ban
Red Lobster
REI
Sabon
Seasons 52
Sephora
Smith & Wollensky
Soma
Sperry
Staples
Stride Rite
Sur La Table
Swarovski
T.J. Maxx
Taco Bell
Target
The Container Store
Tiffany & Co.
Timberland
Torrid
ULTA
Under Armour
Uniqlo
Urban Decay
Walmart
West Elm
Williams-Sonoma
Yankee Candle
Z Gallerie

Search for participating Trade-In Target store*

*Visit or call your local store to confirm current program participation

Enter your zip code below

The local store I visited was on the list.

FURTHERMORE…

From Fortune:

“The retail chain started a new trade-in program last month that allows customers to exchange various store gift cards for a Target gift card”

“However, Target’s program is all about convenience. The trade is instantaneous, and a customer can walk away immediately with their Target card in-hand.”

https://fortune.com/2015/12/28/gift-card-exchange-target/

Buyer Beware!

More here:

https://citizenwells.com/

http://citizenwells.net/

Bill Hillary Chelsea Clinton foundation fraud, Legal definition or just dictionary, Slush fund is misleading, Example on about page regarding 2013 consolidated financial reports, 88.4 percent spent on programs???

Bill Hillary Chelsea Clinton foundation fraud, Legal definition or just dictionary, Slush fund is misleading, Example on about page regarding 2013 consolidated financial reports, 88.4 percent spent on programs???

“the Democratic Party overlooked the ethical red flags and made a pact with Mr. Clinton that was the equivalent of a pact with the devil. And he delivered. With Mr. Clinton at the controls, the party won the White House twice. But in the process it lost its bearings and maybe even its soul.”…Bob Herbert, NY Times February 26, 2001

“The William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation, which reportedly expects to raise $200 million to build a library to help memorialize the ex-president’s legacy, is nothing more than a ‘slush fund,”…Dick Morris February 2001

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”…George Orwell, “1984”

 

 

Fraud.

Corporate fraud:

“Activities undertaken by an individual or company that are done in a dishonest or illegal manner, and are designed to give an advantage to the perpetrating individual or company. Corporate fraud schemes go beyond the scope of an employee’s stated position, and are marked by their complexity and economic impact on the business, other employees and outside parties.”

Dictionary:

“an act of deceiving or misrepresenting”
The about page for the Bill Hillary and Chelsea foundation shows the following at the bottom:

2013 Expenditures (Per 2013 Consolidated Financials)

88.4%
Programs
7%
Management and General
4.6%
Fundraising

https://www.clintonfoundation.org/about

Gives one the impression that 88.4 percent of the expenditures went to the advertised end recipients doesn’t it?

Here are the breakdowns for the expenditures:

ClintonFoundationConsolidated2013

Click to access clinton_foundation_report_public_11-19-14.pdf

That is a total of $ 222,396,102.

“Program services” $ 196,633,380.

Management general $ 15,633,562.

Fund raising $ 10,129,160.

The breakdown for “program services”.

Salaries and benefits……………… $ 65,775,050
Direct program expenditures……. 29,389,026
Professional and consulting………. 13,697,674
Conferences and events………………. 9,721,984
UNITAID commodities expense.. 28,647,779
Procurement and shipping…………. 1,668,867
Travel………………………………………. 16,707,454
Telecommunications…………………. 2,214,469
Meetings and trainings……………… 7,470,295
Bank and other fees…………………….. 706,900
Occupancy costs……………………….. 4,715,823
Office expenses…………………………. 4,673,655
Capital charges…………………………. 3,962,232
Depreciation…………………………….. 4,318,967
Other……………………………………….. 2,963,205

That is a lot of salaries, consulting, conferences, travel and meetings.

And those items total $ 113,372,457.

51 percent of total expenditures.

How did spending $ 113,372,457 help the advertised charity recipients.

Who benefited most?

I would like to to see the details.

From WND April 22, 2015.

“Wall Street analyst uncovers Clinton Foundation fraud”

“The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation – already under scrutiny for foreign donations – is now being accused of fraudulent and possibly criminal mismanagement.

Over the past six weeks, Wall Street financial analyst and investor Charles Ortel has shared with WND, prior to publication, the results of his six-month, in-depth investigation into what he characterizes as an elaborate scheme devised by the Clintons to enrich themselves.

Through their foundation, Ortel contends, the Clintons have defrauded an unsuspecting international public of hundreds of millions of dollars for personal gain.

The findings come amid separate charges in Peter Schweizer’s upcoming book “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.”

In Ortel’s April 20 report, “False Philanthropy? First Interim Report Concerning The Bill Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation,” he asks: “Did management exercise vigilance to ensure that the Clinton Foundation actually carried out its original and its amended tax-exempt purposes?””

““The numbers that the Clinton Foundation supply to the global public in its legally mandated filings do not add up, are frequently incorrect and overall appear to be materially misleading,” Ortel explained.

He said that in numerous cases, the Clinton Foundation “appears to have followed inconsistent policies adding in appropriate portions of the various activities it pursued around the world to create ‘consolidated’ financial statements.”

“In some instances, portions were added only for some of the years in which the entities remained in operation, artificially enhancing purported financial results,” Ortel concluded. “In other cases, important elements of activity were improperly characterized and combined.”

Ortel asks: “Do the Clintons, and others who operate the Clinton Foundation, function as Robin Hood in reverse – do they dupe small, modest income donors to enrich themselves and cronies?””

Read more:

http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/wall-street-analyst-uncovers-clinton-foundation-fraud/

 

Clinton Foundation 2013 IRS 990 filing reveals revenue of 148.9 million and charitable giving of 8.9 million, Clintons spent 6 percent of revenue on charity, 64 million not spent increased net assets to 247 million, Would you donate to a charity with this record?

Clinton Foundation 2013 IRS 990 filing reveals revenue of 148.9 million and charitable giving of 8.9 million, Clintons spent 6 percent of revenue on charity, 64 million not spent increased net assets to 247 million, Would you donate to a charity with this record?

“Would you support a charitable foundation that gives 6 percent of revenue to charity?”…Citizen Wells

“the Democratic Party overlooked the ethical red flags and made a pact with Mr. Clinton that was the equivalent of a pact with the devil. And he delivered. With Mr. Clinton at the controls, the party won the White House twice. But in the process it lost its bearings and maybe even its soul.”…Bob Herbert, NY Times February 26, 2001

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”…Mark 8:36

 

 

We have all been warned about giving to charities that only give a small percentage of donations to the advertised recipients.

I have just observed one of the most flagrant examples of this that I have ever encountered.

The Bill Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

You may have heard or read about this foundation only spending 10 percent of their budget on charities for 2013.

It is even worse than that.

The foundation had revenue of $ 148.9 million and expenses (budget) of $ 84.7 million. The remainder, $ 64.2 million increased the foundation’s net assets to $ 247.3 million.

The Bill Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation spent 6 percent of 2013 revenue on charities.

From the top of form 990.
Briefly describe the organization’s mission:

“Improve global health & wellness, increase opportunity for women/girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opp & growth and help communities address effects of climate change.”

What a bunch of hypocrites.

Criminals is a better adjective.

From Consumer Reports.

“How is Your Favorite Charity Rated by Watchdogs?
Before you give, check out how charitable organizations are rated by the watchdogs”

“Charitable giving often comes to mind this time of year. The holidays might have you thinking about the less fortunate, or charitable donations might be part of your year-end tax strategy. Whatever the reason, make sure the group you choose will put your money to good use and not spend it on big salaries for its executives or huge payments to professional fundraisers.

The easiest way to research national charities is with the three major charity watchdogs: Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. They rate charities based on how they spend their money, protect donor privacy, govern themselves, and more.”

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/12/make-sure-your-donation-counts/index.htm

From Fox News April 29, 2015.

“In 2012, the Better Business Bureau reported the Clinton Foundation did not meet the standards of an accountable charity, failing on six counts, largely because of a lack of transparent financial reporting. According to the Better Business Bureau website, the charity is again under review and a new report will be released soon.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/04/29/trickle-down-experts-question-clinton-foundation-true-charitable-spending/

ClintonFoundation2013IRSSummary

ClintonFoundation2013IRS

 

 

 

Hillary Clinton and Clinton foundation… dealing with the devil, Clintons wield much power, Christopher Ruddy went from Clintons critic to friend, NY Times Bob Herbert wrote in 2001 Democratic Party made the equivalent of a pact with the devil, Ruddy reported it

Hillary Clinton and Clinton foundation… dealing with the devil, Clintons wield much power, Christopher Ruddy went from Clintons critic to friend, NY Times Bob Herbert wrote in 2001 Democratic Party made the equivalent of a pact with the devil, Ruddy reported it

“If the guilty and unrepentant get off easy, what type of
prosecution is this. It’s not time to blame the Independent
Counsel Law; blame the prosecutor who wouldn’t do his job.
Because of Kenneth W. Starr’s complicity, the most corrupt
administration in the history of the country continues with
no end in sight. God save us all.”…Christopher Ruddy, NewsMax July 1, 1999

“the Democratic Party overlooked the ethical red flags and made a pact with Mr. Clinton that was the equivalent of a pact with the devil. And he delivered. With Mr. Clinton at the controls, the party won the White House twice. But in the process it lost its bearings and maybe even its soul.”…Bob Herbert, NY Times February 26, 2001

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”…George Orwell, “1984”

 

 

If you make a deal with Hillary Clinton or the Clinton Foundation you likely are making a deal with the devil.

clinton_devil

Christopher Ruddy, who wrote many hard hittings articles about the Clintons and Vincent Foster death, became friends with the Clintons in 2007.

The NewsMax business that Ruddy created, has no archives before 2007 despite many articles for many years about the Clintons.

Coincidence?

Here is some background.

From Citizen News April 17, 2015.

“Let’s review the history of NewsMax.

From ConWebWatch May 30, 2002.

“NewsMax has lost a lot of money. Nearly $11 million, in fact, since the site’s launch in 1998. NewsMax lost roughly $8.4 million of that in 2000 and 2001.”

“Richard Mellon Scaife has a stake in NewsMax. According to the prospectus, Scaife owns about 7.2 percent of NewsMax Media”

Read more

From Politico August 2, 2014.

“Ruddy and the late former New York City Mayor Ed Koch helped broker a July 2007 meeting with Scaife and the former president in the Clinton Foundation’s Harlem office, and Scaife donated more than $100,000 to the foundation. Still, Scaife raised eyebrows by praising Hillary Clinton during her 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his Tribune-Review later endorsed her over Barack Obama ahead of the Pennsylvania primary.”

Read more
From Joseph Farah of WND March 27, 2012.

“Newsmax’s Chris Ruddy was once a very good friend of mine.

I thought I knew him well.”

“He began to write a series of penetrating articles about the mysterious death of Vincent Foster and was, in a matter of weeks, let go. Why? Because Murdoch had important business with the Clinton administration and didn’t need the headaches Ruddy was presenting him with.

For the next year or so, I did everything in my power to help Ruddy pursue that story and others involving the Clinton scandals. When the New York Times Magazine did a story about “The Clinton Haters,” Ruddy and I were in the middle of it. When Hillary Clinton talked about “the vast right-wing media conspiracy,” we were in the middle of it – along with a guy named Dick Scaife.

Unlike Ruddy and me, Scaife had money – lots of it. He soon hired Ruddy to pursue the Clinton scandals at his newspaper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

I warned Ruddy about Scaife. I never trusted him. I told Ruddy he would compromise his values if he went to work for Scaife. He didn’t listen.

Today, Dick Scaife and Chris Ruddy own Newsmax – some would suggest my competition.”

“The point is simple. There are many people today who are profiting from their allegedly “conservative” credentials. But some of them – like my old friend Chris Ruddy – have become part of the problem. They haven’t just “compromised,” they’ve gone over to the dark side. In fact, some of them are playing both sides against the middle in an indecent grasp to be part of the establishment.

I just thought you should know.”
Read more

Follow the money.

Sadly, moneyed interests control most of the “information” that used to be called journalism.

And the Clintons control lots of money and moneyed interests.”

http://citizenwells.net/2015/04/17/vincent-foster-death-coverup-investigations-reports-books-christopher-ruddy-journalist-businessman-opportunist-journalism-dead-in-us-ruddy-goes-from-exposing-clinton-chicanery-to-lauding-and-co/

From Citizen News April 19, 2015.

From NewsMax February 26, 2001 via the Wayback Machine.

“New York Times Left-Winger: Shun Corrupt Clinton

Bob Herbert, identified today by Fox News Channel as the most liberal columnist at the New York Times, is belatedly joining in on the anti-Clinton bandwagon. But his vehemence is making up for his tardiness.

Herbert writes today that the Democratic Party made “the equivalent of a pact with the devil” in supporting Clinton and “in the process it lost its bearings and maybe even its soul.”

“Now, with the stench of yet another scandal polluting the political atmosphere, some of Mr. Clinton’s closest associates and supporters are acknowledging what his enemies have argued for years – the man is so thoroughly corrupt it’s frightening.

http://citizenwells.net/2015/04/19/democratic-party-made-the-equivalent-of-a-pact-with-the-devil-in-supporting-clinton-and-in-the-process-it-lost-its-bearings-and-maybe-even-its-soul-newsmax-article-february-26-2001-bob-herb/

Christopher Ruddy published this on July 1, 1999.

“If the guilty and unrepentant get off easy, what type of
prosecution is this. It’s not time to blame the Independent
Counsel Law; blame the prosecutor who wouldn’t do his job.
Because of Kenneth W. Starr’s complicity, the most corrupt
administration in the history of the country continues with
no end in sight. God save us all.”

http://citizenwells.net/2015/04/19/kenneth-starr-the-clintons-accomplice-newsmax-article-july-1-1999-christopher-ruddy-because-of-kenneth-w-starrs-complicity-the-most-corrupt-administration-in-the-history-of-the-country-conti/

Did Ruddy sell his soul or as Joseph Farah stated:

“But some of them – like my old friend Chris Ruddy – have become part of the problem. They haven’t just “compromised,” they’ve gone over to the dark side.”

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”…Lord Acton

Credit reporting, Insurance companies, Rackets, Credit scores fallacies, Accountability, Transunion, Credit reporting entities create the problem and make money doing it, Consumers are victims

Credit reporting, Insurance companies, Rackets, Credit scores fallacies, Accountability, Transunion, Credit reporting entities create the problem and make money doing it, Consumers are victims

“Well, here we go again. Bank of America, a very large bank based in Charlotte NC is punishing it’s credit card customers for it’s lack of business acumen. This is a prevalent theme in modern day american business. Exorbitant salaries are paid to upper management, with “golden parachutes”, and when they don’t do their jobs properly, who gets punished. The customers and employees. Bank of America has a policy that appears rather arbitrary and unfair. Despite perfect payment records, credit card rates are being jacked up. Despite the fact that there have been recent congressional hearings into credit card companies and banks regarding their practices of affecting FICO scores and raising rates and heightened consumer awareness, Bank of America callously impacts good customers.”…Citizen Wells February 13, 2008

“Golden West Financial (WB), a longtime FICO skeptic, is one of the few mortgage lenders to minimize its use in recent years—and it credits that decision for its below-average mortgage losses.”  “The way we do business is a lot more costly, and cost was a big reason many competitors embraced credit scoring,” he says. “But some of our best borrowers had low FICO scores and our worst had FICO scores of 750.”…Bloomberg February 6, 2008

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”…George Orwell, “1984″

 

 

I did not start Citizen Wells to report so much on Barack Hussein Obama and corruption in our government.

My original intent was to report on injustice in general and our educational system.

One of the areas I would have preferred to address is credit reporting and its impact on the public.

I am very knowledgeable about the subject.

After my lengthy IT career I was involved in small time real estate investments and renovations. As a byproduct of that activity I dealt with a lot of lenders and consequently had to stay on top of my credit report and score.

What I learned during that process was shocking. The total lack of accountability of the major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and Transunion as well as the companies reporting credit data.

I have owned a cell phone since the early nineties and the cell phone companies were some of the worst at reporting and correcting errors. After getting attorneys involved in one situation and after much time had elapsed, I actually received an apology from one of them. It was their error, I had pointed it out earlier with extensive documentation. Ironically I was sitting in the office of my coastal real estate agent at the time. She had helped with some of the real estate transactions.

My life has changed and I rarely deal with credit issues.

I have one credit card that I use and pay off every month. I just received a credit limit increase from them.

Last year I received a notice from State Farm of a rather large increase to my home owners insurance policy. I called and was informed it affected the entire state. My neighbors recommended Farm Bureau, I went with them and they saved me money on my auto and home owners policy.

I paid for both in advance.

I just received a statement for my auto insurance for 6 months. It went up some.

They pulled my credit report. I have not checked it in a while since I have not borrowed money.

They found a problem and used that as justification for an increase.

I did not authorize having my credit report being pulled.

It turns out that they can anyway.

I did some research.

Under some circumstances they are allowed to. This is a grey area which I will explore further.

So naturally I atempted to get my free credit report.

I was unable to do so. I think I know why now. They have not updated my current address even though I have been living here over 3 years.

Instead of writing them for a copy, in the interest of time I signed up with Transunion for a trial credit monitoring, score and report.

I had no intention of paying them $ 17 per month for this. Back in the day I used one for approx. $ 35 a year. But I needed it then.

I logged on, immediately found some errors and attempted an online dispute. This was not allowed.

I next dialed a number provided. A lady from India or Pakistan (I assume & I should know….IT background). She was difficult to understand (God bless her) and kept asking for my “mailing address.” I kept explaining to her that I had a physical address that I received some mail at and a billing address as well. They had an old billing address and I pointed it out. I finally spoke to a supervisor, apparently also from the area of India. She spoke better English but still didn’t get it. She next wanted to go over every item in the report. I explained that I just wanted to dispute a few. In the past this was done simply online or with a easily understandable human.

I explained that it was their responsibility to keep the information accurate. They did not even have my billing address on file even though they had the credit card info.

At an impasse, I stated that I was extremely dissatisfied with Transunion, nothing personal against her and said goodbye.

I next canceled my Transunion service. The credit report cost $ 1 and saved me some time.

This of course is all a racket and has gotten much worse over the years.

I will next confront Farm Bureau Insurance and explain what has happened. I will ask if they want to get the attorneys involved.

Regardless, I will contact officials of the state of NC and hopefully, with so many republicans in power here, get an appropriate response.

This may take a while.

To be continued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obamacare helps entitlement crowd hurts middle America, High premiums and deductibles hurt working families, Many lose affordable policies, 2010 Wyatt Emmerich study welfare pays

Obamacare helps entitlement crowd hurts middle America, High premiums and deductibles hurt working families, Many lose affordable policies, 2010 Wyatt Emmerich study welfare pays

“millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.”…NBC News October 29, 2013

“…and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them.”…Margaret Thatcher

“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed

–if all records told the same tale–then the lie passed into
history and became truth. “Who controls the past,” ran the
Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present
controls the past.”…George Orwell, “1984″

When I wrote “Obamacare helps entitlement crowd” I meant only in the short term monetary sense because ultimately it will hurt all Americans and their healthcare.

A 2010 study analysis by Wyatt Emmerich concluded that welfare pays.

He found that a part time worker receiving a wide range of entitlement benefits could fare better that a family earning $ 60,000 per year.

From Zero hedge November 22, 2010.

“In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year”

“Tonight’s stunning financial piece de resistance comes from Wyatt Emerich of The Cleveland Current. In what is sure to inspire some serious ire among all those who once believed Ronald Reagan that it was the USSR that was the “Evil Empire”, Emmerich analyzes disposable income and economic benefits among several key income classes and comes to the stunning (and verifiable) conclusion that “a one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year.” And that excludes benefits from Supplemental Security Income disability checks. America is now a country which punishes those middle-class people who not only try to work hard, but avoid scamming the system. Not surprisingly, it is not only the richest and most audacious thieves that prosper – it is also the penny scammers at the very bottom of the economic ladder that rip off the middle class each and every day, courtesy of the world’s most generous entitlement system. Perhaps if Reagan were alive today, he would wish to modify the object of his once legendary remark.

From Emmerich:

You can do as well working one week a month at minimum wage as you can working $60,000-a-year, full-time, high-stress job.

My chart tells the story. It is pretty much self-explanatory.

Read more:

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/entitlement-america-head-household-four-making-minimum-wage-has-more-disposable-income-famil

This analysis was pre Obamacare.

The unfairness is even worse now.

From the LA Times October 26, 2013.

“Many middle-class Californians with individual health plans are surprised they need policies that cover more — and cost more.”

“Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacarewill cost them — and many don’t like what they see.

These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years.”

Fullerton resident Jennifer Harris thought she had a great deal, paying $98 a month for an individual plan throughHealth Net Inc. She got a rude surprise this month when the company said it would cancel her policy at the end of this year. Her current plan does not conform with the new federal rules, which require more generous levels of coverage.

Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $238 a month. She and her husband don’t qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $80,000 a year combined.

“It doesn’t seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else,” said Harris, who is three months pregnant. “This increase is simply not affordable.””

Read more:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-health-sticker-shock-20131027,0,2756077.story#axzz2jD0EDmJP

Here is a copy of an original Wyatt Emmerich from the Wayback Machine archives.

“With welfare it makes sense to work less”

Remember when Mississippi used to have new manufacturing plants popping up weekly? What happened?

If you ask the business leaders, the problem is a lack of skilled labor. People don’t want to work. Especially in the Delta, people just won’t show up on time and often fail drug tests.

“How can this be?” you may ask. You have to work to eat. Well, that’s really not true anymore. In fact, our welfare state rewards not working. You can do as well working one week a month at minimum wage as you can working a $60,000-a-year, full-time, high-stress job.

My chart tells the story. It is pretty much self-explanatory.

It is quite easy to check my numbers, thanks to the Internet. In fact, it only took me a couple of hours on the net to gather this data. Almost all welfare programs have Web sites where you can call up “benefits calculators.” Just plug in your income and family size and, presto, your benefits are automatically calculated.

Just to double-check, I looked at what our country spends on welfare at a national level. Backing out Social Security, the U.S. spends about $750 billion a year on welfare. The U.S. has about 120 million households. If 25 million get welfare (20 percent), that comes to about $30,000 per family. This figure pretty much backs up my analysis.

The chart is quite revealing. A one-parent family of three making $14,500 a year (minimum wage) has more disposable income than a family making $60,000 a year.

If the family provider works only one week a month at minimum wage, he or she makes 92 percent as much as a provider grossing $60,000 a year.

First of all, working only one week a month saves big-time on child care. But the real big-ticket item is Medicaid, which has minimal deductibles and copays.

By working only one week a month at a minimum-wage job, a provider is able to get total medical coverage for next to nothing.

Compare this to the family provider making $60,000 a year. A typical Mississippi family coverage would cost around $12,000, adding deductibles and co-pays adds an additional $4,500 or so to the bill. That’s a huge hit.

The full-time $60,000-a-year job is going to be much more demanding than working one week a month at minimum wage. Presumably, the low-income parent will have more energy to attend to the various stresses of managing a household.

If the one-week-a-month worker maintains an unreported cash-only job on the side, the deal gets better than a regular $60,000-a-year job.

In this scenario, you maintain a reportable, payroll-deductible, low-income job for federal tax purposes. This allows you to easily establish your qualification for all these welfare programs. Then your black-market side job gives you additional cash without interfering with your benefits. Some economists estimate there is one trillion in unreported income each year in the United States.

My analysis only includes the better-known welfare programs. One Web site I used, GovBenefits.org, gave me a list of dozens of additional programs and private grants available to low-income family providers.

This really got me thinking. Just how much money could I get if I set out to deliberately scam the system? I soon realized that getting a low-paying minimum wage job would set the stage for far more welfare benefits than you could earn in a real job, if you were willing to cheat.

Even if you didn’t cheat, you could do almost as well working one week a month at minimum wage than busting a gut at a $60,000-a-year job.

I have left out the mother of all welfare programs – Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI pays $8,088 per year for each “disabled” family member. A person can be deemed “disabled” if they are totally lacking in the cultural and educational skills needed to be employable in the workforce.

If you add $24,262 a year for three disability checks, the lowest paid welfare family would now have far more take-home income than the $60,000-a-year family.

Ironically, most private workplaces require drug testing, but there is no drug testing required to get welfare checks.

Granted, some of these welfare programs have restrictions to prevent double dipping. No doubt our efficient federal bureaucracy does a bang-up job of preventing such fraud.

I hope I have helped answer the question concerning why Mississippi doesn’t get many new industries. The welfare system in communist China is far stingier. Those people have to work to eat.”

http://web.archive.org/web/20110117224502/http://www.northsidesun.com/view/full_story/9915498/article-With-welfare-it-makes-sense-to-work-less

Obama throws Ben Bernanke under bus?, Obama fired Bernanke on the spot, He’s already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to, Uncertainty over economy

Obama throws Ben Bernanke under bus?, Obama fired Bernanke on the spot, He’s already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to, Uncertainty over economy

“11.4%: What the U.S. unemployment rate would be if labor force participation were back to January 2008 levels.” …James Pethokoukis, American Enterprise Institute, June 2013

“Private sector employment increased by 119,000 jobs from March to April, according to the April ADP National Employment Report….The March report, which reported job gains of 158,000, was revised downward to 131,000 jobs.”...ADP May 1, 2013

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”…George Orwell, “1984″

 

Did Obama just throw Ben Bernanke under the bus?

From Market Watch June 19, 2013.

“Obama’s ‘firing’ of Fed chief Bernanke strikes a nerve”

“Like the subject of his comments, President Obama’s sparse words to Charlie Rose about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke were almost uncanny in their ability to send Fed watchers into a state of convulsion.

In an interview that aired Tuesday morning, Obama said of the economist who’s led the U.S. central bank since 2006: “He’s already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to.” And later that day, former Fed governor Laurence Meyer provided his commentary: “He essentially fired Ben Bernanke on the spot and gave him a fairly tepid testimonial afterward.”

Whether or not that’s true, the reactions to Obama’s comments certainly struck a nerve, and that speaks to the lack of certainty over the economy after Bernanke’s departure. (Learn about seven top candidates to succeed Bernanke as Fed chief.) Bernanke’s likely exit has been on the radar for some time, but Tuesday’s developments forced Fed watchers to start seriously considering a post-Bernanke era.

Pimco’s Mohamed El-Erian tackled the issue of life after Bernanke in a commentary Tuesday. He noted that the next Fed chair won’t have a lack of challenges on his plate:

“He leaves his successor with a set of unprecedented and unresolved problems to contend with, from weaning the economy off life support to navigating the consequences of an unusually large balance sheet. And with so much uncertainty about the success of the Bernanke way, econ textbooks and quarterly unemployment figures just don’t hold enough answers to how his stewardship of the U.S. economy will play itself out in the years ahead.””

Read more:

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/election/2013/06/19/obamas-firing-of-fed-chief-bernanke-strikes-a-nerve/

From commenter RMinNC today.

“Rep. Alan Grayson questions the FED inspector General where $9 TRillion dollars went… and Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman hasn’t a clue… Dunno whether to laugh or cry – I am still getting over the shock and have watched 4 times – LISTEN carefully to what she says – “THEY HAVE NO JURISTRICTION” to investigate the fed!!! Only their programs??

OK the world has been fooled long enough -ENOUGH is ENOUGH!!! Get the hell outta paper money people and if you buy gold and silver, get the real stuff not paper gold etc. This is pure evil!
————————————————————————————————
Just how in the HELL can the Federal Reserve LOSE 9 TRILLION dollars IN ONLY 8 MONTHS? As Rep Grayson said, this comes out to 30,000 dollars for every man, woman, and child in the US…..Personally, I think it is more than that ! I think he meant to say; 30, 000 dollars per man, woman, and child in the WORLD.

Remember: EVERY TIME YOUR ( or should I say THEIR) FEDERAL RESERVE PRINTS MORE MONEY, THE MONEY YOU HAVE IN YOUR POCKET HAS LESS VALUE……according to the 1913 standard, the dollar you now have in your pocket is worth only 4 Cents..Now that should make you feel real good to start the morning off !

The clown on this video either didn’t 1) know what Congressman Grayson was talking about or 2) was deathly afraid to answer his question, or 3) knew if she told the truth in her answer, her funeral would be the next day…..thats why there are NO AUDITS ON THE FEDERAL RESERVE BY ANYONE.

America has been living with this CRIMINAL CABAL since 1913….isn’t it time someone went to jail? Isn’t it time for some REAL Hope and Change to come to this country? America must do something and do it fast, we are on a very slippery slope and going down hill with no brakes.. Personally I would recommend the following:

1. GET AMERICA OUT OF THE PRIVATE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM, ERASE ALL DEBT THIS COUNTRY OWES TO THIS CRIMINAL ESTABLISHMENT and put those in charge deep under the jail.
2. ESTABLISH A FLAT TAX SYSTEM WHERE EVERYONE PAYS, AND NO EXCEPTIONS, REGARDLESS OF CONDITION, even those on welfare owe something to the country they live in..
3. DISBAND THE IRS, AND FURLOUGH THE 40,000 WORKERS (ROBBERS) THAT NEST THERE. They have fed at the public trough long enough
4. PUT AMERICA BACK ON THE TRACK IT WAS ON IN 1835 WHEN WE HAD NO NATIONAL DEBT,( does any one remember Andy Jackson?) AND ALL MEN WERE FREE..

If America doesn’t do something very soon, it will go under from the weight of UNLAWFUL and illegal debt that has been placed on the backs of it’s citizens be they, democrat or republican, liberal or conservative, black or white, dumb or educated, and everyone else living and walking around with their eyes closed in this country.

If I left anyone out, it was not intentional because when we go down as a nation……………
EVERYONE WILL GO DOWN…..”

“SCHOOL IS NOW IN SESSION CHILDREN…PLEASE TAKE YOUR SEATS”

Unemployment rate April 6, 2013, March jobs report, CNN Money report decent, Labor force participation rate hits historic lows, Half million less in labor force

Unemployment rate April 6, 2013, March jobs report, CNN Money report decent, Labor force participation rate hits historic lows, Half million less in labor force

“With a 63.7% labor force participation, “conditions in the labor market are considerably worse than indicated” in July’s report”…economist Joshua Shapiro, WSJ August 3, 2012

“Since the Democrats took control of both houses of congress in January 2007, the number of people who could only find part time work has gone up 215 percent”…Citizen Wells

“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”…George Orwell, “1984″

 

The US Labor Department, BLS, reported the “unemployment rate” for March, yesterday, April 5, 2013. The stated unemployment rate fell .1 percent.

However, the bigger story is why the unemployment rate fell. People dropping out of the work force in record numbers as well as workers who could only find or were subjected to part time work.

The Labor Force Participation Rate, which fell .2 percent in March, dropped to record lows .

CNN Money cane out with decent reporting of the employment situation. They painted a fairly accurate picture. They neither blamed this on the fuzzy “recession”, as so many in the media have done, i.e. George Bush, or tied it to Barack Obama, which they should have.

From CNN Money April 5, 2013.
“Unemployment rate falls for all the wrong reasons”

“What seemed like good news in Friday’s jobs report was a little less than that — the unemployment rate fell, but not because more people found work.

Instead, the rate was lower because the Labor Department estimated that there are nearly half a million fewer people in the labor force — the group that includes people with a job or looking for one.

In the department’s survey, 206,000 fewer people said they had a job than in the previous month, even though a separate survey of employers in the March jobs report showed 88,000 jobs were added.

In addition, 290,000 fewer people were counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work. That drop in those seeking jobs was the reason the unemployment rate fell to 7.6%, the lowest since December 2008.

The participation rate, which counts both those with jobs and those looking for work, fell to the lowest rate since 1979, when far fewer women were in the U.S. labor force. For men age 25 and older, March was the lowest participation on record.

Related: Workers over 50 are the “new unemployables”

Some of the downward trend in the participation rate in recent years is due to more baby boomers reaching retirement age, along with the longer life span of those who are retired. The greater the percentage of the population that is retired, the lower the participation rate.

Related: Am I too old to be hired?

The difficulty for younger workers finding jobs is also a factor, as more young adults unable to find work return to school to try to improve their prospects. The participation rate for those age 16 to 24 was near a 50-year low.

Related: Young adults drop out of the job market

But the downturn in March can’t be blamed on demographic factors, according to Heidi Shierholz, a labor economist with the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank. She points out that the participation rate of “prime-age” workers, age 25 to 54, also fell to match the lowest reading since 1984.”

“It’s the lack of job opportunities — the lack of demand for workers — that is keeping these workers from working or seeking work, not other factors,” she said.

Shierholz said estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office show there are 3.9 million workers who should be in the labor force but are not because of the weakness in the job market. Counting them as unemployed would take the unemployment rate up to 9.8%.

“The unemployment rate is currently hugely underestimating the amount of slack in the labor market,” she said.”

Listen here:

http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/05/news/economy/unemployment-rate/

This is a pretty good report except for a couple of important items.

First, blaming baby boomers retiring for part of the drop. The Washington Post tried to do this and were caught here.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics January 2012.

Monthly Labor Review, Employment Outlook 2012 – 2012.

“In contrast to the factors exerting downward pressure on labor force participation rates, at least two factors have been responsible for strengthening the rates, although not enough to offset the factors pulling them down:

The labor force participation rate of the 55-years-and-older age group has increased considerably since 1996. In 2000, the rate was 32.4 percent; a decade later, in 2010, it had risen significantly, to 40.2 percent. (See table 3.) BLS projects that the labor force participation rate of those 55 years and older will reach 43.0 percent in 2020. The continued gradual increase in the labor force participation rate of this age group, multiplied by the sheer number of baby boomers in the group, is expected to partially compensate for the multiple other factors pushing the rate to lower levels and is expected to keep it from declining even further in the future.”

https://citizenwells.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/washington-post-misrepresents-labor-force-participation-rate-unemployment-rate-blamed-on-baby-boomers-selective-quoting-post-receives-4-orwells/

Second, let’s lay the blame where it belongs, ignoring for a moment what took place with the Democrats controlling congress in 2007 – 2010.

The Labor Force Participation Rate was 66.1 percent when Obama took office.

It dropped to 63.6 percent in March.

That is a 2.5 percent drop since Obama took the White House in January 2009!

Penny Pritzker Obama 2008 national finance chairwoman, Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Skills for America’s Future, Obama Council for Jobs and Competitiveness, Superior Bank origin of sub prime crisis

Penny Pritzker Obama 2008 national finance chairwoman, Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Skills for America’s Future, Obama Council for Jobs and Competitiveness, Superior Bank origin of sub prime crisis

“We intend to close loopholes that allowed big financial firms to trade risky financial products like credit defaults swaps and other derivatives without
oversight; to identify system-wide risks that could cause a meltdown; to strengthen capital and liquidity requirements to make the system more stable; and to ensure that the failure of any large firm does not take the entire economy down with it. Never again will the American taxpayer be held hostage by a bank
that is “too big to fail.”…Barack Obama

“Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama says he’ll crack down on fraudulent sub-prime lenders. If he really means it he can start by firing his campaign finance chair, Penny Pritzker. Before taking over Obama’s campaign finances, she headed up the borderline shady and failed Superior Bank. It collapsed in 2002. The bank’s sordid story and its abominable role in fueling the sub-prime crisis are well known and documented. It engaged in deceptive and faulty lending, questionable accounting practices, and charged hidden fees. It did it with the sleepy-eyed see-no-evil oversight of federal. It made thousands of dubious loans to mostly poor, strapped homeowners. A disproportionate number of them were minority.

Obama’s home state, Illinois, ranked near the top of thee states in the percentage of sub-prime mortgages. Nearly 15 percent of home loans were sub-prime according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. But that only tells part of the tale. According to the Woodstock Institute, a Chicago non-profit that studies housing issues, the sub-prime fall-out was far higher in the predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods of South and Southwest Chicago.

The predictable happened when many of those lost their homes. When the bank collapsed Pritzker and bank officials skipped away with their profits and reputations intact. Aside from the financial and personal misery sub prime lenders caused the thousands of distressed homeowners, sub-prime lending has been a major cause of the housing crisis in many areas, and has dealt a sledgehammer blow to the economy. Obama has said nothing about Pritzker, Superior Bank, or their dubious practices.”…Huffington Post, February 29, 2008

“One could make the argument that Pritzker was the most important person in Barack Obama’s presidential bid – except, perhaps, for Obama himself. A longtime Obama friend, Pritzker was national finance chairwoman for the Obama campaign throughout his 2008 presidential effort. She helped him raise a record $750 million from a dizzying array of donors.
Obama’s huge fundraising advantage not only gave him clout during the primaries against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), but also provided the means to bypass federal funding for the general election and dramatically outspend Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)…Washington Post 

“Why did Obama employ Robert Bauer of Perkins Coie, to request an advisory opinion on FEC matching funds that he was not eligible for?”…Citizen Wells

More on Obama’s 2008  National Finance Chairwoman and economic advisor Penny Pritzker.

From Consortium News February 28, 2008.

“Though Superior Bank collapsed years before the current sub-prime turmoil that is rocking the world’s financial markets – and pushing those millions of homeowners toward foreclosure – some banking experts say the Pritzkers and Superior hold a special place in the history of the sub-prime fiasco.

“The [sub-prime] financial engineering that created the Wall Street meltdown was developed by the Pritzkers and Ernst and Young, working with Merrill Lynch to sell bonds securitized by sub-prime mortgages,” Timothy J. Anderson, a whistleblower on financial and bank fraud, told me in an interview.

“The sub-prime mortgages,” Anderson said, “were provided to Merrill Lynch, by a nation-wide Pritzker origination system, using Superior as the cash cow, with many millions in FDIC insured deposits. Superior’s owners were to sub-prime lending, what Michael Milken was to junk bonds.”

In other words, if you traced today’s sub-prime crisis back to its origins, you would come upon the role of the Pritzkers and Superior Bank of Chicago.”

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/022708a.html

From Chicago Magazine December 2002.

“”They were always more interested in building an empire than in getting their name in the newspaper,” says Patrick Foley, formerly president of Hyatt Hotels Corporation. “They just didn’t enjoy that kind of notoriety.”

Last year, however, the Pritzkers found themselves most uncomfortably in the public eye after the stunning collapse of Superior Bank, the Oakbrook Terrace–based savings and loan they jointly owned with the New York real estate developer Alvin Dworman. The institution’s failure is “a tale of gross mismanagement,” says George Kaufman, a finance professor at Loyola University Chicago. “[Superior] was engaged in relatively unethical practices, fancy-footwork accounting, playing it very close to the edge.” Kaufman says many share in the blame for the mess-the bank’s managers, directors, and auditors, as well as banking regulators-but he also wonders how the Pritzkers, as co-owners, could have allowed it to happen. “One of the great mysteries to me is what the Pritzkers were up to, why they took these chances,” he says. “It makes no sense given their wealth and visibility.””

“The family’s most agonizing setback, however, was the stunning collapse last year of the once high-flying Superior Bank. The thrift had come into the Pritzker fold in 1988, when Jay Pritzker and Alvin Dworman-old social friends and partners in several past business ventures-put up $42.5 million for the insolvent Lyons Savings Bank, as it was then called, in return for an estimated $645 million in federal tax credits and loan guarantees. (By one estimate, it would have cost the government $200 million less simply to shut Lyons down.) Although Dworman had agreed to run the renamed Superior Bank out of his New York office, Jay deputized his niece Penny-a Harvard educated go-getter who had just earned her law degree and M.B.A. from Stanford-to help keep tabs on the investment. She served as chairman of Superior from 1989 to 1994, long enough for the bank to regain its financial health and embark on an aggressive new strategy, making high-interest home and auto loans to people with bad credit. For a time, that strategy appeared to work like a charm, yielding big profits-and large dividends for the Pritzkers and Dworman.

In reality, Superior was spiraling into ruin. Although the details are complicated, the bank’s fall stemmed from a risky business strategy and from poor oversight by the bank’s directors, according to investigations by banking regulators. Superior became heavily concentrated in high-risk assets connected with its subprime lending business, and then used “unrealistic and overly optimistic assumptions” to record the value of those assets, according to a report by the inspector general of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. In language redolent of the corporate accounting scandals that have rocked Wall Street recently, the report adds that by using “liberal interpretations of accounting principles” Superior was able to “report impressive net income figures that masked the net operating losses the institution was actually experiencing.” Those phony “profits,” by the way, allowed Coast-to-Coast Financial Corporation, the holding company owned jointly by the Pritzkers and Dworman, to collect more than $200 million in dividends from 1993 to 1999-money the bank desperately could have used as it tottered toward insolvency.

After the Pritzkers and Dworman failed in July of last year to follow through on a plan to inject $270 million into the bank, Superior was seized by the Office of Thrift Supervision and eventually placed in receivership under the FDIC. Last December, to avoid being punished for Superior’s failure, the Pritzkers agreed to pay the FDIC $460 million while admitting no wrongdoing. Because $360 million of that payment was to be spread out interest free over 15 years, the settlement was worth an estimated $335 million in today’s dollars. But that won’t cover all the damage. Even with the settlement, Superior’s failure is expected to cost the federal thrift insurance fund an estimated $440 million.

Meanwhile, the Pritzkers still have not put their Superior troubles entirely behind them. Tom and Penny Pritzker are defendants (along with Dworman, several officers and directors, and the bank’s auditor, Ernst & Young) in a federal civil racketeering suit brought on behalf of Superior’s uninsured depositors (those with deposits in excess of the federally insured $100,000). Although the 1,400 uninsured depositors so far have recovered about 55 percent of the more than $65 million they lost in the collapse, they are still out almost $30 million, according to Clint Krislov, the lawyer for the plaintiffs. By contrast, the Pritzkers may not have fared so badly. Counting the tax credits and deductions they originally received and the dividends they collected over the years, “they appear not to have lost money on the deal,” Krislov says. (A source close to the family says the Pritzkers did lose money in Superior, and asserts that the lawsuit is without merit.)

* * *
The Superior scandal stained virtually everyone connected with it-the bank’s managers and directors, the accountants who signed off on its financial statements, the banking regulators who failed to act aggressively as early as the mid-nineties, when Superior’s problems were fast becoming apparent, and, of course, the owners. As the fallout spread, the Pritzkers worked feverishly to control the damage. They claimed that they had been “passive investors” while Dworman’s people ran the show (Dworman said the Pritzkers shared in the blame). They also made the case that Superior’s auditor had continued to give favorable opinions on the bank’s accounting over the years. On that score, the Pritzkers appeared to gain some vindication in early November of this year when the FDIC sued Ernst & Young for fraud in its audit of Superior, and sought at least $2.19 billion in punitive and compensatory damages. (Ernst & Young denied responsibility for Superior’s collapse and said it would vigorously fight the charges.)

To some, however, the Pritzkers were hardly the innocents they made themselves out to be. The family, after all, controlled half the board seats of the bank’s holding company, which benefited from all that dividend income, and the Pritzker Organization’s chief financial officer, Glen Miller, chaired the bank’s audit committee. Although Penny had stepped down as the bank’s chairman in 1994, she remained a director of its holding company.

“No one should have had any illusions about what was going on,” says Bert Ely, a banking consultant in Alexandria, Virginia, who tracked the Superior story. “[Superior] was reporting gains that were unrealistically high, which allowed [it] to pay big dividends [to the Pritzkers and Dworman]. It was a lot like Enron and WorldCom-reporting profitability that wasn’t there. Their financial people should have been able to figure that out. If they truly didn’t understand the bank’s fundamentally unworkable business model, then the Pritzkers have bigger problems than Superior.”

The Pritzkers said in a statement that the settlement was simply “the right thing to do,” reflecting the family’s “historical commitment to stand behind their investments.” That may have been true. But it also entitles them to 25 percent of any sum the government collects in its $2.19-billion suit against Ernst & Young. Beyond that, the settlement made an ugly story go away. “I am convinced that the Pritzkers wanted to get their name off the front page,” says Ely. “They had stepped into a pile of horse manure, and they were highly embarrassed.””

http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/December-2002/Tremors-in-the-Empire/

 

The Corruption of America, Porter Stansberry, America is in decline, Americans Are Getting Poorer Fast, Entitlement root of many serious cultural problems

The Corruption of America, Porter Stansberry, America is in decline, Americans Are Getting Poorer Fast, Entitlement root of many serious cultural problems

The following are exerpts from a well written article by Porter Stansberry on many of the economic and social woes of America. The full article is worthy of your time.

The Corruption of America

“Why I’m still bullish on America
By: Porter Stansberry
The numbers tell us America is in decline… if not outright collapse.

I say “the numbers tell us” because I’ve become very sensitive to the impact this kind of statement has on people. When I warned about the impending
bankruptcy of General Motors in 2006 and 2007, readers actually blamed me for the company’s problems – as if my warnings to the public were the real problem, rather than GM’s $400 billion in debt.

The claim was absurd. But the resentment my work engendered was real.

So please… before you read this issue, which makes several arresting claims about the future of our country… understand I am only writing about the facts
as I find them today. I am only drawing conclusions based on the situation as it stands. I am not saying that these conditions can’t improve. Or that they
won’t improve.

The truth is, I am optimistic. I believe our country is heading into a crisis. But I also believe that… sooner or later… Americans will make the right
choices and put our country back on sound footing.

Please pay careful attention to the data I cite. And please send me corrections to the facts. I will happily publish any correction that can be
substantiated. But please don’t send me threats, accusations against my character, or baseless claims about my lack of patriotism. If I didn’t love our
country, none of these facts would bother me. I wouldn’t have bothered writing this letter.

I know this is a politically charged and emotional issue. My conclusions will not be easy for most readers to accept. Likewise, many of the things I am
writing about this month will challenge my subscribers to re-examine what they believe about their country. The facts about America today tell a painful
story about a country in a steep decline, beset by problems of its own making.

One last point, before we begin… I realize that this kind of macro-economic/political analysis is not, primarily, what you pay me for. You rightly expect me to provide you with investment opportunities – whether bull market, bear market, or total societal collapse. And that’s what I’ve done every month for more than 15 years.

But that’s not what I’ve done this month. You won’t find any investment ideas at all in these pages. This issue is unlike any other I have ever written.

I’m sure it will spark a wave of cancellations – costing me hundreds of thousands of dollars. I fear it will spark a tremendous amount of controversy. Many
people will surely accuse me of deliberately writing inflammatory things in order to stir the pot and gain attention. That’s not my intention. The truth is,
I’ve gone to great lengths throughout my career to protect my privacy.

I am speaking out now because I believe someone must. And I have the resources to do it. I am sharing these ideas with my subscribers because I know we have arrived at the moment of a long-brewing crisis.

Our political leaders, our business leaders, and our cultural leaders have made a series of catastrophic choices. The result has been a long decline in
America’s standard of living.

For decades, we have papered over these problems with massive amounts of borrowing. But now, our debts total close to 400% of GDP, and America is the world’s largest borrower (after being the world’s largest creditor only 40 years ago)… And the holes in our society can no longer be hidden…

We’ve reached the point where we will have to fix what lies at the heart of America’s decline… or be satisfied with a vastly lower standard of living in
the future.

How do I know? How do I statistically define the decline of America?

The broadest measure of national wealth is per-capita gross domestic product (GDP). Economists use this figure to judge standards of living around the world.
It shows the value of the country’s annual production divided by the number of its citizens. No, the production isn’t actually divided among all the
citizens, but this measure provides us with a fair benchmark to compare different economies around the world. Likewise, this measure shows the growth (or the decline) in wealth in societies across time.

So… is America growing richer or poorer based on per-capita GDP? Seems like a simple enough question, doesn’t it? Is our economy growing faster than our
population? Are we, as individuals, becoming more affluent? Or is the pie, measured on a per-person basis, growing smaller?

This is the most fundamental measure of the success or the failure of any political system or culture. Are the legal and social rules we live under aiding
our economic development or holding us back? What do the numbers say?

Unfortunately, it’s a harder question to answer than it should be. The problem is, we don’t have a sound currency with which to measure GDP through time.
Until 1971, the U.S. dollar was defined as a certain amount of gold. And the price of gold was fixed by international agreement. It didn’t actually begin to
trade freely until 1975. Therefore, the value of the U.S. dollar (and thus the value of U.S. production, which is measured in dollars) was manipulated higher
for many years.

Even today, our government’s nominal GDP figures are greatly influenced by inflation. The influence of inflation is particularly pernicious in GDP studies.
You see, inflation, which actually reduces our standard of living, drives up the amount of nominal GDP. So it creates the appearance of a wealthier
country… while the nation is actually getting poorer.”

“You see, I believe the decline of our country is primarily a decline of our culture.

We have lost our sense of honor, humility, and the dedication to personal responsibility that, for more than 200 years, made our country the greatest hope for mankind. I want to detail some of the factors that gave rise to the current entitlement society. We have become a country of people who believe their well-being is someone else’s responsibility.

I’ve labeled these problems: The Corruption of America.

These problems manifest themselves in different ways across institutions in all parts of our society. But at their root, they are simply facets of the same
stone. They are all part of the same essential problem.

The corruption of America isn’t happening in one part of our country… or in one type of institution. It is happening across the landscape of our society,
in almost every institution. It’s a kind of moral decay… a kind of greed… a kind of desperate grasp for power… And it’s destroying our nation.

The Ethos of ‘Getting Yours’

Americans know, in their bones, that something terrible is happening. Maybe you can’t articulate it. Maybe you don’t have the statistics to understand
exactly what’s going on. But my bet is, you think about it a lot.”

“Bloomberg news published an article based on confidential sources about how Henry Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs and the Republican U.S. Treasury secretary during the financial crisis, held a secret meeting with the top 20 hedge-fund managers in New York City in late July 2008. This was about two weeks after he testified to Congress that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were “well-capitalized.””

“This was the most outrageous example of graft and corruption I have ever seen. Certainly it involves more billions of dollars in misappropriated value than
any other similar story I can recall. These managers had the risk-free ability to make tens of billions of dollars, if not hundreds of billions, by using
derivatives to capitalize on what they knew was the imminent collapse of the world’s largest mortgage bank. Who picked up the tab? You know perfectly well.
It was you and me, the taxpayers.”

“What does that say about our country when even the most egregious kind of corruption – involving hundreds of billions of dollars – is simply ignored?

It seems like everyone in our country has lost his moral bearing, from the highest government officials and senior corporate leaders all the way down to
schoolteachers and local community leaders. The ethos of my fellow Americans seems to have changed from one of personal integrity and responsibility to
“getting yours” – the all-out attempt, by any means possible, to get the most amount of benefits with the least amount of work.”

“It is routinely alleged in national political debates that something is fundamentally unfair and un-American about the huge “wealth gap” between the poorest Americans and the wealthiest. Some politicians like to argue that the poor never have a real shot at the American dream, and as a nation, we owe them more and more of our resources to correct this injustice. Most important, it is alleged that only the government has the resources to correct this inequality.

This is a dangerous notion…

First, it promotes the idea of entitlement. Entitlement is a fairly new idea in the American political lexicon – perhaps because most of our nation’s wealth
is still fairly new. The American idea of entitlement argues that because you were born into a rich society, other people owe you something. The idea has
become pervasive in our culture. It underlies the basic assumptions behind the idea of a “wealth gap.” Implicit is the assumption that successful Americans
haven’t rightfully earned their wealth… that in one way or another, they’ve taken advantage of the society and have an obligation to give back most of what
they’ve “taken.”

As you’ll see, I believe the idea of entitlement lies at the root of many of our most serious cultural problems.

The more obvious problem is the idea that the government is responsible for fixing the “wealth gap.” But the government has proved wholly ineffective at
dealing with poverty in America. The data is nearly conclusive that government efforts are far more likely to be the cause of the wealth gap than the
solution.”

“It has now been almost 50 years since the start of the War on Poverty, President Lyndon Johnson’s program to radically increase domestic welfare spending.
These programs and their various spinoffs have been at the center of Democratic politics ever since. In fact, if you compare speeches about these programs from the mid-1960s until today, you will find the verbiage never changes. Obama is merely echoing the same calls for “social justice” that Robert Kennedy used in his ill-fated 1968 campaign for president.”
“And what do the Democrats do with this power? They push a form of American socialism. This political system features transfer payments, government jobs, and lucrative government contracts to voters in exchange for political support – and in many cases, outright bribes. They do all of these things under the cover
of “progressive” politics and “social justice.”

But if you brush away the veneer, what you find is a history of abuse of power, corruption, and outright bribery. Conyers himself was found guilty of several
minor ethical violations in 2006 – mainly of using his staff as personal servants, forcing them to babysit and chauffer his children. In 1992, he was one of
the most egregious abusers of the House Banking scandal. He wrote 273 bad checks and left his account overdrawn for nine months. But that’s all small-time
graft compared to how things really work in his office and in his district.

How do I know? Well… just ask yourself where Conyers’ wife sleeps today.

Monica Conyers, the wife of the second-longest tenured congressman in the United States, sleeps in a federal prison in West Virginia. She pled guilty to
bribery in June 2009. She is serving a 37-month sentence for accepting $60,000 in bribes as the president pro tempore of the Detroit City Council. And yet…
and yet… Conyers won re-election handily in 2010.”

“Government Employee Unions:
Organized Corruption

A big part of the answer lies in understanding the key mechanism in the Democratic Party’s funding system. (Don’t worry… so far, we’ve been talking about Democratic Party failures, but I’ll get to the Republicans next. The corruption of America is a bipartisan problem.)”

“A government union turns the public servant into the public’s master. It is a means of using the government’s own spending to organize control of that
government. And that is exactly what’s happened. The government, unlike private companies, isn’t limited by normal economics because the government controls the monopoly on force and has the power to levy taxes.”

“Our country’s core problems are not found in only one political party.

There is just as much corruption, if not more, on the Republican side of the aisle. It was, for example, as I pointed out earlier, a white, Republican-
appointed Treasury secretary (Henry Paulson) who tipped off 20 top hedge-fund managers about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s imminent collapse after assuring the public that it wouldn’t happen.

For big business, the powerful role of government in our society is simply too valuable to ignore. And the amount of corruption it inspires is stunning. Few
politicians even bother trying to hide the fact that they’re bought and sold like furniture.

Take Newt Gingrich. The white, Republican former House speaker was paid $1.6 million for “consulting” by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during a period of time the two firms were under constant attack by Newt’s fellow Republicans. Were the attacks efforts to truly reform a major threat to our financial system… or were they merely shakedowns? All we know for certain is Fannie and Freddie collapsed, just as many Republicans warned they would. The Republican effort to reform the firms failed. Newt collected $1.6 million.

Fannie and Freddie could end up costing taxpayers as much as $500 billion. No, I’m not ignoring the colossal role the Democrats played in staffing Fannie and
Freddie, lobbying Congress for the companies, etc. I’m simply pointing out that, in Washington, everything and everyone seems to be for sale, on both sides
of the aisle.”

“Here’s a simple solution. Hold the senators and congressmen personally liable for any deficit, each year. We elected these people to be our leaders. We did
not elect them to spend us into bankruptcy. We did not elect them to feather their own nests with unlimited public spending. We did not elect them to buy
votes. The only way to stop what’s happening is to make them personally responsible for their actions. Either they will balance the budget or face personal
financial ruin.

Demanding personal accountability for fiduciary responsibilities would have an immediate and profound impact on our society. It would wipe out the
entitlement mentality that’s destroying our society – almost overnight.”

“I do agree that the nation will soon face a choice between heading down the path towards fascism… or turning back the power of government and restoring the limited Republic that was our birthright. I continue to believe Americans will choose personal liberty.

I believe they will choose more freedom rather than more totalitarian rule. I don’t believe Americans will tolerate martial law for long – even in the advent
of a real emergency, which I do believe will occur.”

“What gives me confidence for the future? Gun sales, for one thing. U.S. citizens legally own around 270 million firearms – about 88 guns per 100 citizens
(including children) today.

That’s a hard population to police without its consent. America is the No. 1 country in the world as ranked by the number of guns per-capita. That plays a
major factor in the kind of government you will see take root in America. Things might go too far in this country for a while… And I’d argue they’ve been
going the wrong way for too long. But the government can only take things so far before they’ll be faced with a very angry, well-armed opposition.

If the government attempts to take our guns… my opinion would change immediately. But that’s one right the Supreme Court has been strengthening recently.
It gives me hope that most people in America still understand that the right to bear arms has little to do with protecting ourselves from crime and
everything to do with protecting ourselves from government…”

Read more:

http://www.stansberryresearch.com/pub/reports/201112PSI_issue.html

Thank you, Porter Stansberry,  for this well written and insightful article.

I urge you all to read the entire article and pass it along to your elected officials and those running for office.