January 10, 2012

Greece To Pay Disability Benefits To Pedophiles: America To Report On It

bomb grandmother rob bank.JPG
this story is exactly the opposite of what is happening everywhere else in the world

The Greeks started democracy, let's see what they've come up with since then.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greek disability groups expressed anger Monday at a government decision to expand a list of state-recognized disability categories to include pedophiles, exhibitionists and kleptomaniacs.

The National Confederation of Disabled People called the action "incomprehensible," and said pedophiles are now awarded a higher government disability pay than some people who have received organ transplants.

Also included: "pyromaniacs, compulsive gamblers, fetishists and sadomasochists," i.e. Greeks.

It sounds crazy, it is crazy.  Why would they do this?

The government is also battling widespread abuse in the welfare system, forcing tens of thousands of disabled people to be reassessed.

But this isn't abuse of the system, this is the system abusing you.  What the hell is going on over there?



II.

FYI: The Illuminati have decided that 2012 is the year the Dow is going to 14000.

Politicians threwout [no sic] the world have a single problem, only one: how to convey the appearance of financial stability until someone discovers cold fusion.  Marx was one step off: all costs boil down to energy costs, i.e. oil costs.  Fix that problem and the deficits will follow.

The problem of the problem is that the cost of oil has to be high enough for someone to want  to discover cold fusion; but if it is high, though not high enough, then simultaneously it will be too expensive for most economies yet too cheap to replace-- or even to extract more of it.  Hence shortages.  And the cycle repeats.

In the meantime, politicians try to kick that ball as hard as they can down the road.  A generation, two, three, far enough out that you don't feel it now.

Social Security and Medicare represent 640% of the U.S. budget.  I looked it up.  We can pretend that other things matter, but really, they don't.  Cold fusion and Social Security.  Can't have one or the other, it's both, or neither.

2012 will see an American election between Mitt Romney and President Obama, and the winner will be whichever one of them manages to best avoid questions about Social Security.  Unless by November we are finally at war with Iran, Social Security will be the only topic worth discussing, which means we'll be discussing gay marriage.

If you want your generational conflict, that's it.  The "old" and their 437 elected representatives will block any attempts to mess with Social Security, or even mention it, and will use welfare and disability-- e.g. SSI-- as a diversion; but they must present the ills of SSI in such a repulsive way that it captures the young's disgust, to distract them from the behemoth that is eating them. 

Hence stories about pedophilia.  Hence pictures of black people abusing the system.  There's one now.  He has an XBox.  And weed. There's always weed. 

The story that comes out of Greece is a prolegomena to any future diversion that will be able to present itself as a news story.  For the next year, expect to hear how the disability system is corrupt, corrupting, socialist.

All of those things are true, but irrelevant.  The "young" should not fall for this.  My track record on criticizing SSI is unassailable, but what is wrong with it isn't the $, but the way the $ are dispensed, i.e through the pretense of medical illness.  Almost everyone can work, even a little, at something; imagine if we could get all those SSI recipients to spend 1 hour a day clicking on Google ads.  We could be as rich as astronauts.

No.  The real problem, the one after oil, is Social Security.  Throw in Medicare.

Without real numbers we are not going to solve real problems, so here they are, memorize them:

SSI is $50B.  That's it.  You could double it, triple it, it wouldn't make any difference.  I'm sure the people getting SSI wish the payments were higher, but they aren't not because we don't have the money, but because people hate you.  On principle.  And it is that hate that both Democrats and Republicans will cultivate; because it reflexively produces a delicious narrative: SSI recipients don't deserve it because they never worked, therefore-- and your mind cannot help but make this a therefore-- Social Security recipients do because they did.  I am not saying either of these propositions are right or wrong, I am making the link explicit so you can see what is being done to you.  Keep your eye on the black and brown SSI while the government smuggles the old folks to heaven.  "Wouldn't this be easier if we had euthanasia?"  Done.

SSDI is $124B. SSDI is funded from Social Security taxes (1.8% payroll tax) and represents credits the individual earned while working, i.e. it is disability insurance.  But in oral arguments, whether the ex-worker "deserves" it or not will overshadow the fact that he did indeed "pay into it" in some capacity.  Look for SSI and SSDI to be conflated into a gigantic "fiscal black hole."

Social Security is $712B.  It is funded through FICA, which in 2010 brought in $780B, i.e. $68B surplus, i.e. more than all of SSI.  Of course eventually the ABC demo will turn the channel to CBS, and the payouts will exceed the income. 

Cold fusion, cold fusion. You gotta have hope.



III.

No one is interested in knowing that in Greece pedophilia is a "disability," but not one you can get any money for.  The AP should really talk to some pedophiles before it makes these crazy statements about how much they can earn. (The correct number is zero.)  This doesn't mean the Greek government put this law there on purpose so that people could get angry about it; it means the government found it there on purpose so that people could get angry about it.

And no one is interested in knowing that SSI is but a tiny blip on our budgetary concerns, the equivalent of penny pinching to 89 octane when you fill your Escalade.  Won't that damage the engine?  "What do I care, I'm leasing."  That's the most American sentence I have ever written.

What does interest people is "abuse of the system."  That, and gay marriage.  Romney and Obama will never tire of telling you precisely how the SSI system should be reformed to prevent "fraud and waste", and the press will be happy to report on it.  All of those reforms will be financial, i.e. less; none of them fundamental, i.e. more.

"Look over here, everybody.  We're protecting your interests. Don't look over there, we're protecting someone else's interests." 

Distraction, misdirection.  Keep it up until November, or cold fusion, whichever comes last.









Comments

"Of course eventually the A... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 1:42 AM | Posted by Heytor: | Reply

"Of course eventually the ABC demo will turn the channel to CBS, and the payouts will exceed the income.

Cold fusion, cold fusion. You gotta have hope."

You lost me here.

I guess that one channel is for old people, right? And since there's a surplus (what?) for Social Security the young people are going to get old and change the channel, which is a metaphor for.......meaning cold fusion is the only way out of this mess. The mess being that the American electorate doesn't care about financial issues. Is this about right?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (9 votes cast)
We don't even need cold fus... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 9:03 AM | Posted by Cosmicomics: | Reply

We don't even need cold fusion -- right now. We could use the technology of liquid fluoride thorium reactors. Where do we get thorium? Coal!

The USA is like the Saudi Arabia of coal, we got that shit in spades. We can then use the Fischer–Tropsch process (powered by thorium reactors nonetheless) to turn coal into gas/diesel.

Then in the meantime, being energy independent and all, we could look into that cold fusion thing.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (16 votes cast)
Another problem with Soc. S... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 9:07 AM | Posted by Cosmicomics: | Reply

Another problem with Soc. Security is that the surplus funds from prior years aren't actually there, Congress has borrowed from the surplus funds and replaced them with bonds. BUT, the bonds come with a nifty clause that says they can NOT be resold onto the public market so they are essentially worthless -- a piece of paper saying you owe yourself money.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (12 votes cast)
"Social Security is $712B. ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 10:38 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"Social Security is $712B. It is funded through FICA, which in 2010 brought in $780B, i.e. $68B surplus, i.e. more than all of SSI. Of course eventually the ABC demo will turn the channel to CBS, and the payouts will exceed the income.

Cold fusion, cold fusion. You gotta have hope."

No. Financial problems aren't the same thing as real resource problems. Money is a fiction we use because it's convenient in so many ways if we want to have government, do business with strangers or have general scorekeeping in life.

We can never run out of money any more than a scorekeeper can run out of points to award at a game.

What's real is today's SSI recipients consume the surplus production of today's workers. This is true for all values of today.

Do today's workers produce enough surplus to provide food/shelter/medical care for the non workers? If yes, then the rest is just politics over how much to give them. We can always "afford" to consume what we produce.

If no, then hope for cold fusion happens before Logan's Run.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 10 (28 votes cast)
The only problem with this ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 2:20 PM | Posted by jimmy james: | Reply

The only problem with this essay is that your main point is completely and utterly wrong.

Social Security is fine as of now and will continue to be fine for at least another twenty years. If you left it at "Medicare is a disaster that we have to deal with" you would've been on solid ground.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -4 (20 votes cast)
>> We can never run out of ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 3:00 PM | Posted by DanC: | Reply

>> We can never run out of money any more than a scorekeeper can run out of points to award at a game.

I'm sure the folks in Zimbabwe agree with you. The all have trillions of dollars now. No danger *at all* of running out of money.
They are, however, out of everything else.
But you think this is OK, since "we" can always "afford" to consume what "we" produce.
I must ask you Prager's question: What graduate school did you go to?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (22 votes cast)
Zimbabwe didn't run out of ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 3:21 PM | Posted, in reply to DanC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Zimbabwe didn't run out of money. You can't run out of what you can create from thin air. Zimbabwe also was able to afford to consume what it produced.

The problem was twofold. First, Zimbabwe experienced a great drop in its real productive capacity as a result of terrible government agriculture policy. They could always afford to consume what they produced but they couldn't produce enough for their own basic needs.

Second, Zimbabwe carried a great deal of foreign denominated debt. When your debt is denominated in a currency you don't issue, you can indeed run out of that currency. A country has to go out and "earn" foreign currency in trade.

You'll find that these types of conditions--a loss of productive capacity and foreign debt--are present in extreme for any example of hyperinflation you want to bring up.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 12 (24 votes cast)
This article speaks to me a... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 3:26 PM | Posted by BHE: | Reply

This article speaks to me about what I have determined is the modern dilemma.

To me the modern dilemma is this: the world has become so complicated that even the best-intentioned, most diligent citizen cannot even begin to grasp more than a rudimentary understanding of the complexity of the most important issues (economics, energy policy, etc. etc.). And as identified here the information available to us is all produced by and filtered through the very sources who would benefit most from policy decisions in their favor. Therefore the sleight of hand has become so slick, so practiced, and the issues so complicated that it is literally impossible to fully understand the consequences of any policy stance. So politics has become a shell game of social manipulation; there is no such thing as an "informed" vote. So what can you do?

Drop the fuck out. I'm out, seriously. I'm done voting, I'm done being emotionally manipulated by big business, politicians, special interests, and fellow citizens who allow themselves to get worked up and drawn into the "debate". I'm done discussing politics, I'm done forming "opinions" on matters that are too complicated to be truly understood. The only thing that is true and real is self and family and friends. I'll earn my fucking paycheck and get the hell home as fast as I can to focus on them, because that is all that matters. Everything else can go fuck itself, it already has.

Not sure why I choose this forum for this rant. I doubt if its on topic and I surely don't think anyone gives a shit. I'm just so sick of it all.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 22 (48 votes cast)
And if you thought that was... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 3:48 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

And if you thought that was bad...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2085163/Children-dumped-streets-Greek-parents-afford-them.html

(note the comments)

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
As Jimmy James mentioned in... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 4:43 PM | Posted by stiffbreeze: | Reply

As Jimmy James mentioned in the comments, the U.S.'s budgetary problems are associated with its health care costs and not Social Security, which should not grow as a percentage of GDP for decades. http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/bill-keller-missed-the-housing-bubble

Also relevant. CEPR's Health Care Budget Deficit Calculator
http://www.cepr.net/calculators/hc/hc-calculator.html

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 5 (9 votes cast)
"It ain't my fault if it is... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 6:15 PM | Posted by NDeewar: | Reply

"It ain't my fault if it is a disease..."
Hopefully, the DSM VII will categorize all criminal behaviour as a psychotic disease...except terrorism, no, those guys are just pure evil and should be exterminated diligently.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
BHE: "The only thing that ... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 7:55 PM | Posted, in reply to BHE's comment, by Perry : | Reply

BHE: "The only thing that is true and real is self and family and friends."

If family matters, do their futures matter? If they live in a corrupt world that we
rejected as too complicated and went home, have we done the right thing?

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
Edmund Burke

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 13 (17 votes cast)
12/21/2012 can not get here... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 7:59 PM | Posted by David: | Reply

12/21/2012 can not get here soon enough for me. "What this planet needs is an enema." Bye bye.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -3 (3 votes cast)
Look, i dont know whether t... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 8:28 PM | Posted by aliz: | Reply

Look, i dont know whether this analysis of...the present is true. it sounds pretty interesting. just one thing, why dont you teach us, or at least show us , how to conduct our own accurate analysis of current events/politics so that we wont have to be dependent upon you? that would be a boon to everyone wouldnt it? sure your traffic might drop alittle but it's a small price to pay for enlightenment of others right?
please reply. ecks oh ecks oh

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (8 votes cast)
>>Zimbabwe also was able to... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 8:40 PM | Posted by DanC: | Reply

>>Zimbabwe also was able to afford to consume what it produced.

Oh, dear... Back the "money is fiction" nonsense, I see. Perhaps were you live it is indeed only some sort of theoretical construct, and all the clever people smile knowingly when they hand it back and forth.
People here die from lack of it. Here, we reserve the word "fiction" for concepts like Santa Claus, or government largess. (but I repeat myself...)
You are torturing the definition of the word "afford" into meaninglessness. Your point seemed to be that we would never run out of money, and could always afford what we produced.
You are ignoring the very real examples where money is so valueless that it becomes utterly worthless as a medium of exhange, and reverts back to being just paper. In which case nothing is affordable, no matter who produces it.
So saying we can *always afford* what we produce is just foolish.
And you still didn't answer my question: What graduate school did you go to?
Dan

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (18 votes cast)
good article btw.... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 9:13 PM | Posted by aliz: | Reply

good article btw.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Your concern is irrelevant.... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 10:47 PM | Posted, in reply to DanC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Your concern is irrelevant. The dude is right. The sad part is you both agree, but you're too much of an asshole to get over yourself.

A narcissist is you.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (12 votes cast)
"ou are ignoring the very r... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2012 11:19 PM | Posted, in reply to DanC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"ou are ignoring the very real examples where money is so valueless that it becomes utterly worthless as a medium of exhange, and reverts back to being just paper."

Money is a claim on real resources. People don't die from a lack of it but they certainly do die from a lack of real things.

In those hyperinflationary examples the collapse of money is a symptom of the collapse of real productive capacity. Shortages are inflationary and inflation eats the value of money. Lack of surplus production to trade for foreign debt service leads to selling your own currency in exchange for foreign, which eats the value of your own.

The money fails because the real production it is a claim on goes away.

This distinction between real (labor, goods, services, energy) and nominal (money) is the entire point--if you have enough real resources and some people are starving then you have a distributional problem that can be solved by rearranging claims.

If there aren't enough real resources to go around it doesn't matter how you rearrange paper claims on them, some people are going to come up short, hence Zimbabwe.

Bringing it back to SSI again, if we find ourselves at some future day with a workforce unable to produce enough to support itself and the retirees, then we have a "real" problem. It would take some serious demographic or productivity awfulness to bring this about but it could happen.

Otherwise, it's a distributional problem that comes down to political choices, not real shortages.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 16 (18 votes cast)
"It would take some serious... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2012 9:16 AM | Posted by Perry : | Reply

"It would take some serious demographic or productivity awfulness to bring this about but it could happen."

If we're borrowing 40¢ of every dollar the federal government spends now, how much more can the margin between 40% and 100% be narrowed before "awfulness" strikes? With lower birth rates, demography is being impacted to some degree. And if the demand for government largess rises of its own momentum, can productivity keep up?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (5 votes cast)
Danc's comment: It's irrele... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2012 3:01 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Danc's comment: It's irrelevant what grad school the dude went to.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
How did the acid trip go af... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2012 3:25 PM | Posted by Mark M: | Reply

How did the acid trip go after you wrote the article?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (2 votes cast)
It is political suicide to ... (Below threshold)

January 12, 2012 6:01 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It is political suicide to discuss Social Security/Medicare before an election, due to the voting power of the elderly or soon-to-be-retired. The difference between the elderly and younger generations, is that older people actually vote.

Politicians will continue to punt on the issue until deficit spending is no longer an option. How future politicians may resolve the issue is ominous. Democratic governments rip apart when their people rely on them for food.

Rome was once a republic too.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 6 (8 votes cast)
"What do I care, I'm leasin... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 1:45 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"What do I care, I'm leasing."

And a perfect sentence too, it applies to everything. Think *Oil spills* and *old nuclear power plants*.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
TLP, what happened to all o... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 2:52 AM | Posted by oarabbus: | Reply

TLP, what happened to all of the pharmacology articles? That's what drew me to your site in the first place; those were the high level articles that no one else was writing. I enjoy your commentary as well, but your pharmacology/clinical psychiatry articles are one of a kind.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 8 (8 votes cast)
I would like you to keep up... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 4:42 AM | Posted by Kaplan Step 1 Lecture Notes: | Reply

I would like you to keep up the good work.You know how to make your post understandable for most of the people.I will definitely share it with others.Thanks for sharing.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
This doesn't have anything ... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 5:29 AM | Posted by Ouch: | Reply

This doesn't have anything to do with the matter at hand but according to the book Outliers:

Here are the top five "uncertainty avoidance" countries,
according to Hofstede's database—that is, the countries
most reliant on rules and plans and most likely to stick to
procedure regardless of circumstances:

1. Greece
2. Portugal
3. Guatemala
4. Uruguay
5. Belgium

The bottom five—that is, the cultures best able to tolerate
ambiguity—are:
49. Hong Kong
50. Sweden
51. Denmark
52. Jamaica
53. Singapore

I've no idea if that guy is right but if he is...man that explains sooo much.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -2 (6 votes cast)
It's true that money is a s... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 10:41 AM | Posted by Jay: | Reply

It's true that money is a system of our own devising, and that we can remake it at will to serve our needs if we can somehow achieve the necessary consensus.

It's also true that money is the system that determines what is produced and who gets to consume it, so problems with the money system quickly become problems with the tangible economy leading to underutilized resources and avoidable suffering. The problem of achieving a sufficient consensus on change is an aggravating factor.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (6 votes cast)
I can see why you aren't ca... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 10:48 AM | Posted by Jay: | Reply

I can see why you aren't called The Last Physicist.

Hydrogen fusion produces neutrons in large quantities. Neutrons transmute stable isotopes of matter (i.e. everything) into unstable isotopes of matter (i.e. high-level radioactive waste). In terms of radioactive waste generated, fusion is actually worse than traditional fission power.

When cold fusion was announced by Pons and Fleischmann (sp?), people joked about the tragic thing that happened to their grad students, who were completely healthy. If they'd succeeded, the neutron flux would have killed everyone in the building.

There are concepts for aneutronic (neutron-less) fusion, but even by fusion standards these are speculative and uneconomical.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -6 (6 votes cast)
" The problem of achieving ... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 10:58 AM | Posted, in reply to Jay's comment, by Perry : | Reply

" The problem of achieving a sufficient consensus on change . . ."

What kind of change are you suggesting?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Answer my request Alone. If... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 1:05 PM | Posted by aliz: | Reply

Answer my request Alone. If you don't help us then we'll become dependent on you for analysis. You'll be no better than the media you condemn. Come on man.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
2012 Economic Freedom Index... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 1:29 PM | Posted, in reply to Ouch's comment, by Perry : | Reply

2012 Economic Freedom Index, WSJ & Heritage Foundation

1Hong Kong 2.Singapore 3 Australia 4New Zealand 5 Switzerland 6 Canada 7 Chile 8 Mauritius 9 Ireland 10 United States 11 Denmark 12 Bahrain 13 Luxembourg 14United Kingdom 15 The Netherlands 16 Estonia 17Finland 18 Taiwan 19 Macau 20 Cyprus.

http://www.heritage.org/Index/country/UnitedStates

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Perry: In the 1930s we had ... (Below threshold)

January 13, 2012 5:00 PM | Posted, in reply to Perry 's comment, by Jay: | Reply

Perry: In the 1930s we had a Works Progress Administration that hired the unemployed to build schools, bridges, and other infrastructure. The high school I went to was a WPA project. There was also a Civilian Conservation Corps that made improvements to government lands such as national parks. I favor reinstating both of those agencies, a decade of 5-7% inflation to reduce overhanging debt burdens, and a mix of tax hikes and defense cuts to pay for it. And single-payer medical care, and a pony.

But my point was that, whatever the change needs to be, there are going to be winners and losers. Those who fear losing have plenty of veto points to obstruct any change in American law. Also, since the production systems we depend on have major operations in China and the Mideast, stakeholders in those countries have a number of levers with which to thwart change. This means that, even if in principle we could change the system, in practice it's nearly impossible to change the system.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
@Perry: Thank you for that!... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2012 5:27 AM | Posted by Ouch: | Reply

@Perry: Thank you for that!

Isn't it fascinating how two neighboring countries, who even speak the same language, can be so different?

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
I'm completely with you, Ja... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2012 2:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Jay's comment, by Perry : | Reply

I'm completely with you, Jay, on the pony, which really is the one that counts. The rest is nomenclature and externalities. Okay, a little philosophy of governance at the base.

I kind of wish we'd tried the FDR construction and cultural projects at the onset, if we were going to do it at all. Now we have 99-week unemployment benefits extended as far as the eye can see, food stamps in something like 2 0f 5 households and employment numbers improving because so many people have dropped out of the hunt for work that the "base" is smaller. In that environment, I have to wonder who is going to work when they don't have to do anything?

As for single payer, my personal preference is to have each person be in charge of his own health regimen, maintenance and costs, insofar as that is possible. If health care is 20% of GDP, a really good argument can be made for keeping as much of that in the private sector as possible. To do otherwise is to risk quality, innovation, and the price mechanism of competition. But all that is nomenclature.

The important stuff is what you said about winners and losers and fear and stakeholders and levers. You are exactly dead on the dime, and nicely put, too.
As for changing the system, which by my reckoning, as far as the good ole
US of A goes, is showing signs of increasing corruption, I think you're right about that, too. But I'd ask you to consider that there is a higher authority than the system: the culture, which is supposed to be served by the system.

I'm going to call my pony Nomenclature.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
Hello Aliz,You may... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2012 6:02 PM | Posted, in reply to aliz's comment, by Willing: | Reply

Hello Aliz,

You may have noticed I'm not alone, and so this may not be scratching your itch. But essentially, he's showing as much of 'how to' do this as he can. He's providing examples of insight.

In liberal arts, that's more or less as good as it gets; you study exemplars of what you like, and that gives you enough patterns stocked in memory to begin to make your own.

This is, btw, the reason for all the Great Books programs--they really work, if you're the kind of person who can reached by them. If you are not, if you are like the dumb beasts of the field when poetry is recited, or the carefree birds of the air when politics is discussed, then of course such a course is useless. Actually worse than useless, because you may acquire a distaste of something really good you don't happen to grok.

Now. Alone could give us some kind of confabulation about his 'writing process' or 'where he gets his ideas', or whatever other bullshit questions freshman journalists ask idea people. It just wouldn't help. Who could have told (Schiller? citation needed) that the smell of rotting apples would be necessary to his composition? Who could tell someone who has great ideas mostly in bed, 'Hey, you're going to need to get good sheets.'

The question you're asking is a noble one, provided you ask it manfully--without blame or complaining or hedging or lying more than you must--of yourself, others in whom you recognize wisdom, and every experience of pain or joy you have until you die. However, others are not going to be able to give you the final Answer. In this we are all, in the end, alone.

Regards,

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
Yes, Aliz, it comes down to... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2012 7:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Willing's comment, by Perry : | Reply

Yes, Aliz, it comes down to you and what you do with you.

Did you click on to "i.e. more" in Part III? That might help, but the language takes time.

Alone says "all of our actions have a blast radius on the people around us."

I'm still working at it, too, but I'm at least 110 years older than you. You stand to be the belle of the ball in no time.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (1 votes cast)
Perry: When it comes to hea... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2012 8:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Perry 's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Perry: When it comes to health care, or most other policies, I am of a conservative bent. But single-payer health care systems have existed for fifty years, in economies as rich as Japan and as poor as Costa Rica, in cultures as diverse as Canada, France, Mexico, and South Korea. Studies show that they deliver benefits at least as good as our system with about half the cost. Studies also show that the best-performing part of our medical system is the Veteran's Administration, a single-payer government system.

If conservatism is anything more than pure obstructionism, then there's a level of evidence that can convince you that the proposed way is actually better than the present system. While I have a conservative's regard for the status quo, on this matter I'm convinced.

I don't see a useful distinction between the "culture" and the "system". To me, they seem like two words describing the same reality, which is that everybody gets up in the morning and does some mix of what they usually do, what they think other people want them to do, and what they think is profitable to do.

Enjoy your pony. I'm calling mine Seabiscuit. I don't actually need a pony, so I chose the name to boost resale value.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
Part of the reason those ot... (Below threshold)

January 14, 2012 8:47 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Perry : | Reply

Part of the reason those other countries have more economical delivery systems, though is that Americans are subsidizing some of it, certainly in pharma. I don't know how far I can ride that pony, but there is some of that going on. I also don't think we have a very good history with price controls. It could be that the boat has already sailed, but I'm one of those who thinks that there might be a shot at calling the Affordable Blah, Blah, Blah Act back for heavy modification. None of those other places is as populated, spread out, diverse, or as market driven as we are. Comparisons may not be one-to-one reliable.

As for the system/culture thing, to me the system is man made. The culture is man (In the old sense.) I think it might be important to draw the distinction because the one established the other. Yes, they are intertwined, but I haven't given up on the separation. Maybe that's why I'm wishing for that pony.

I'll give you five bucks for Sea Biscuit.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Alone, you should really st... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2012 6:08 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alone, you should really stick to Psychiatry. Economics ain't your forte.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 3 (3 votes cast)
Pedophilia is a normal and ... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2012 10:44 AM | Posted by yogur: | Reply

Pedophilia is a normal and natural sexual orientation and it should should be treated like that.

But in the meantime, I am glad that vulnerable and persecuted groups like pedophiles are protected by the state. Wouldnt you agree that sexual minorities (specially sexual minorities so discriminated and hated like pedophiles) should be protected?

I think that the ideal would be that pedophilia is considered a normal sexual orientation, but I'm glad that discriminated and oppressed groups get some protection from the state.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 2 (8 votes cast)
Doc, what's your opinion on... (Below threshold)

January 15, 2012 3:11 PM | Posted by Whatever: | Reply

Doc, what's your opinion on synthetic vitamins? Der Spiegel says they are dangerous.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Well anonymous is absolutel... (Below threshold)

January 16, 2012 12:56 AM | Posted by Usmle: | Reply

Well anonymous is absolutely right. I completely agree with him.

USMLE

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -1 (1 votes cast)
The person who writes this ... (Below threshold)

January 17, 2012 9:34 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The person who writes this blog is a systematic liar. He claims to be a psychiatrist but routinely categorizes people who are suffering from psychiatric disorders as "nuts". Now in the piece above he writes another story which is totally false and a perfect example of right-wing hysteria.

The Greek government is not paying pedophiles, voyerus, etc. a single penny and have explicitly said so (see the link below). They are being included on disability lists for the purposes of estimating the required budgets of the Greek medical system. As well as being criminals these people are usually psychologically ill and in all countries (including here in America) we have to dedicate part of our medical budget to evaluating, treating and monitoring them for society's sake.

Bur right wing windbags such as the writer of this blog aren't going to let facts, evidence and common sense get in the way of their tireless efforts to portray Europe as a haven for Godless communists. Seriously OP - you are a patent liar and it is obvious to anyone with half a brain that you have never spent a day of your life working in the psychiatric profession.

SOURCE SHOWING THIS ARTICLE IS TOTAL BULLSH!T
http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2012/01/10/Greece-No-benefits-for-voyeurs/UPI-55281326220578/?spt=hs&or=on

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: -8 (8 votes cast)
Friendly advice - if you ar... (Below threshold)

January 17, 2012 10:10 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Friendly advice - if you are going to criticise something, try reading it first ...(from the original post):

'No one is interested in knowing that in Greece pedophilia is a "disability," but not one you can get any money for. The AP should really talk to some pedophiles before it makes these crazy statements about how much they can earn. (The correct number is zero.) '

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 4 (4 votes cast)
The basic disability entitl... (Below threshold)

January 18, 2012 3:43 PM | Posted by carol: | Reply

The basic disability entitlement iscalled SSD.

SSI is the supplementary insurance, for people who didn't work enough to be, uh, entitled.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Everyone commenting on the ... (Below threshold)

January 20, 2012 7:49 AM | Posted by possum: | Reply

Everyone commenting on the demise of Zimbabwe ignores the great big elephant in the room. The government stole farms from productive white farmers and gave them to non-productive political friends and relatives. BTW they no longer use their ridiculous Zim dollars any more. They use good old fashioned American dollars. You don't need a wheelbarrow to carry them and can us a good old fashioned wallet.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
<a href="http://www.ted.com... (Below threshold) I was surprised and pleased... (Below threshold)

January 24, 2012 11:48 PM | Posted by William Megan: | Reply

I was surprised and pleased to see someone I admire like you say the things you did.
I have known for years that SS and Medicare are THE cost drivers in our federal budget deficit and debt. It is beyond dispute.

The Heritage Foundation wrote a wonderful report chronicling how this whole mess got started, and how it has turned into a golden gravy train for the old. They were also courageous enough to talk about how it is hurting our young.

They made reasonable recommendations about how to fix the system, but they warned that it had to be done soon. They are right.

What happened thereafter is indicative of our mess. The far right began another long attack on public school teachers and their unions. Then they went after gay marriage. Then they went after government employees. Then they went after immigrants. Then they went after those who engage in class warfare. Then they went after those who attack the job creators. They even bothered to talk about pay cuts for our enlisted in Afghanistan and reforming their retirements and cutting their VA benefits and disallowing disability benefits for certain brain trauma injuries.
Then they had a bunch of talking heads spew forth about how our soldiers are not storming trenches anymore or facing mustard gas and so the present retirement system is too generous. The dude that did this a big DC lobbyist and former Reagan under secretary of Defense.

All of it was a manic distraction. And then tonight at the SOU speech the far right looked positively bellicose. Normal people must wonder: What are these far right wingers doing. Why are they hell bent on their own destruction.

They make me yearn for Barry Goldwater.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Hi,You are sane an... (Below threshold)

January 24, 2012 11:50 PM | Posted, in reply to BHE's comment, by Willian Megan: | Reply

Hi,

You are sane and you have figured out what matters.

Keep it up.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
The Heritage Foundation is ... (Below threshold)

January 24, 2012 11:58 PM | Posted, in reply to Perry 's comment, by willian Megan: | Reply

The Heritage Foundation is a non-profit think tank with a certain political philosophy which it is bound to promulgate.

Their ideas are a form of religion.

I am a staff economist. I have read these think tank reports since the 1980's.

Without even picking up their reports I can nearly complete the executive summary in five minutes.

The think tanks started as a good idea but have become distribution centers for agitprop.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 1 (1 votes cast)
ok, the rum still works. le... (Below threshold)

January 27, 2012 8:41 PM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

ok, the rum still works. let me catch up here.

the anonymous who actually makes decent economic arguments should pick a unique name. the other anonymous in this comment string is making you look bad.

money has a very difficult definition. it has no value itself, although i have sold a coin or two for well more than the face value.

the value of a nation's currency is a pretty clear ratio: number of dollars out there above, and the total desirable productivity below.

this is a ratio so you are free to flip N and D as long as you line up the rest of any analysis.

as a country gets more productive overall, its currency value goes up. if our productivty doubles in a yr, our dollar could buy twice as much. if we print 2x bills, our dollar can buy half as much. but fortunately, there are twice as much around!

this is essential, but true, and only complicated by other things, majorly by the multiplicative nature of saved/laoned money (when most of it is eventually paid back) and any futures-type activity - of which there is a lot, such as --- get ready --- spending a cool $100K on a masters degree in library science, like the couple in the recent MSNBC sob story - "we cannot get by on $125k/yr."

recognized currency ONLY serves to reduce transaction costs; it makes the global economy wildly productive relative to the old days before computers - like my college days. we are way more producitve with lowered transaction costs.

i am in the u.s. and in the last decade have bought, as a collector, many items of $7 us to $40 us from sellors across the globe. japan, italy, norwegia, germany, england, italy, hungaria, russia, argentinia, and australia. add approx $8 shipping. this is not much more than if i knew a place across town, and drive there and bought a coca cola along the way.

we are getting incredibly efficient.

here, in some ways, i diverge in opinion from the last psychiatrist. i am starting to believe that we do have an amazing capacity, due to unprecedented efficiency/productivity, to support a much greater portion of able-bodied people as 'invalids.'

SRSLY.

the economics we grew up with have faded and changed. my analogy is to the planets cumulative food productivity. malthus predicted dsaster, but was wrong, and so was paul ehrlich, because they were off on the ability of a given number of ppl to produce enuff calories for all. we are wildly productive. we are unimaginably far from global population demise due to 'food insecurity.'

in john reader's 'africa' the thick volume not the picture book he notes a ratio: productive to unproductive people. i thought, for a long time, that it was some kind of law. but we are wildly productive.

well, this comment is too long so i will wrap it up: there is political GAIN to be made by moving around the sails and making it appear as if things are going badly.

the socialist greeks would be ok if they accepted the economic realities. but they are made political.

rite now, the collective 'we' are supporting how many occupy wall street kids and marxists, and not skipping a beat. this is nowhere ner marx's worker strike dream. we have not even been inconvenienced, other than the pain of lives lost, by how many simultaneous wars. no chocolate rationing, no nylon pantyhose instead of silk-for-parachutes.

wildly productive. but someone has figured out how to play with the bounty, and make it misery.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
Well, I had to read all the... (Below threshold)

May 11, 2014 9:33 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Well, I had to read all the way back this far to find a post that was actually stupid. Not just wrong, but stupid. You shoot your own point down and don't even notice. Social Security is the single unbearable burden on our economy...
and it generates a surplus.

I don't care how drunk you are, that's embarrassing.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)
You are missing the point, ... (Below threshold)

August 11, 2014 3:25 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You are missing the point, dollars and cents don't matter to TLP, it's the culture these programs and their promotion creates. TLP thinks SSI is a terrible program because of the culture it creates ie Children see their parents using it as a crutch to get through life so when things get hard for them that's the well they are going back to. The concept only works in the shot term and when you want to change it, expect alot of social disturbance.

TLP disagrees with all this spending on SSDI because of the culture it perpetuates ie self-entitlement among the elderly even though most of their increases in lifestyle where predicated on the artificial inflation of the economy in the late 80's through to mid 2000's.

You obviously need to read farther back because you are still missing the point.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (0 votes cast)

Post a Comment


Live Comment Preview

September 2, 2014 05:11 AM | Posted by Anonymous: