Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Old Money

Treasury Secretary and alleged financial genius Timothy Geithner, who famously was unable to figure out his own income tax, has just had a swirly government-approved fluorescent lightbulb pop to dim life over his head to indicate that He Has An Idea. And what an idea it is!

Because the Obama administration can't legally borrow any more money after hitting the debt ceiling yesterday, he's raiding the "untouchable" pension funds for federal retirees and replacing the money with valuable government IOUs which, strangely, aren't acceptable to any of the government's other creditors.

"Borrowing" from pension funds has a long and illustrious history in the private sector, and is frequently associated with news stories about weeping old people who have "been robbed of everything" and sleazy financial officers who receive long jail terms.

In this case, however, Geithner has good reason not to worry about prosecution.

After all, Eric Holder still has his hands full trying to build criminal cases against the CIA employees who helped find Osama bin Laden.



Angry Hoosier Dad said...

Doesn't matter how low they sink or what crimes they commit, there will never be an accounting (outside the ballot box) for their actions. As long as Democrats are in power, they will never be investigated and when Republicans take over they won't want to "dwell on the past" and just let lying dogs sleep. As we know, this "compassion" is a product of not wanting to be prosecuted when they stick their hands in the cookie jar. Vote for who you think is the least corrupt, but never trust any of them. Let them see the sword in your hand and smell the blood that drips from it. Their fear of us is the only thing that guides their steps. When they lose that fear, we lose control. It's a damned shame, but this is not cynicism, it is the reality of politics.

robert said...

And it's only a matter of time before they raid our IRA's and 401K's isn't it?

John the Econ said...

Progress, and it's about time! Finally, Social Security is becoming more like the plan federal employees get. Ooops, not quite. Seems the plan federal employees get is now becoming more like Social Security! They've been stuffing that file cabinet with "valuable government IOUs" for over a generation, and we all know how well that's working out.

And @robert is right; the massive amount of unmolested 401k & IRA money sitting out there is just too big to ignore. The next time there is a coincidence of a Democrat President, congressional supermajority and another "economic crisis" to good to "let go to waste", this very ugly possibility will be a tempting reality for the progressives. They've trial-ballooned it before.

Pete(Detroit) said...

Deficit Reduction Plan - let's start by collecting the back taxed owed by Federal Employees - Geithner alone is worth what, $2M? These cheese doodles really, REALLY need to get their asses kicked.

"Why can't we get along? What happened to compromise?"
Well, gosh, one group wants to raid pensions to to continue the theme of spending us into oblivion, the other wants to cut the spending to "sustainable" levels... I just don't see much middle ground.
Kind of like trying to compromise w/ a terrorist - see if s/he'll only partly detonate, or just 1/2 cut your head off...

Pete(Detroit) said...

Side Note - someone just sent me this link, thought I'd share... LOVE Pat Condell..

Chuck said...

Politicians never tire of spending other peoples money, no matter what they have to do to get their hands on it. There is nothing they will not try to tax and/or confiscate. Also not cynicism, just a reality of politics.

Pete(Detroit) said...

Chuck - if it Doesn't move, subsidize it. If it DOES move, tax it to death / until it stops moving.

Jim Hlavac said...

There will be no end to this charade in DC until the Demopublican party is swept from office -- all 535 of them -- and replaced with the first 535 people in the phone book (and not DC's!)

I wonder how many dollars are in the federal pension plans, and how many weeks it will take for the government to spend it, and thus need more in a few weeks. Even if it's just a year's worth of deficit spending (1.5 Trillion bucks? Doubtful; if yes, whoa! They get too much,) what will we do next year?

The silver lining in all this is that ... is there a silver lining? Well, I think there is, for in my unscientific survey even my liberal/Democrat friends are getting nervous. And when one says a word all I can answer is: "Well, you voted for the man who said he'd destroy it all. Enjoy what you sowed, for now you shall reap. But don't weep for us becoming Argentina; it's what you wanted." And they look at me and cringe. Aw. But their hope is gone, and they seek change of some sort. Which is good.

Angry Hoosier Dad said...

If what we see as reality is in fact cynicism, I contend it is not part of our nature. We were driven to it.

Jim Hlavac said...

Say, speaking of misplaced priorities: I know where there's a few million bucks and a good lawyer to prosecute Geithner and pals. Speaker Boehner found a fine lawyer at the discount rate of $580 bucks an hour to prosecute gay people for waking up in the morning. Oh yes, it's the People of the USA v Gay citizens, that's what DOMA is. There's more than 100 cases coming through the pipeline right now and Mr. Clement, the lawyer, will be quite busy for years and years. Mr. Boehner has said the spending is unknown and open ended, and will be funded either by gay people's tax dollars or hetero borrowing; he's not sure yet. He's even proposed taking the money from Holder's budget.

And yet obviously, with last week's news of the Schwartzundschriver divorce, and today's announcement that the schwartz did schwanze a lady not his wife, and an employee too, and had the out of wedlock child -- producing a trifecta of adultery, jilted wife, an unwed mother and bearing false witness, along a child scarred by an absent father and who knows what other social ills -- obviously DOMA and all the mini-DOMA's are not working, for naught was saved, protected or defended whatsoever. And Schwartz ain't the only one shtupping the way into social nightmares and societal costs. But we sure ain't doing it, which is the chief complaint, weirdly.

Of course, Newt, Tim and Rick are all quite sure that the solution is to pass more laws against us. And Rick goes so far as to say outlaw us again, so we can be arrested and incarcerated and "cured" like hams at an untold cost of billions. Though maybe his plan is to seize all our wealth and property on our way to the pokey so as to cover expenses. But Mr. Clement will be busier for sure.

Other than that, the stupidity is legion; the hypocrisy is thick -- and hair dressers are a threat to it all? Geez, and you people wonder why I get cranky and fear for the nation?

Bobo said...

They say eliminating the subsidy to the oil business will recover (notice I didn't say save)some 21 billion tax dollars over the next 10 years. How much money could be recovered if subsidies, aid and bribes weren't ongoing to PAKISTAN and the other mid-east countries WHO ARE NOT OUR FRIENDS? How much is to be recovered by not funding the United Nations? There are huge pockets of taxpayer money being wasted for some damn special interest or political reason or another.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Readers- Unless there is radical change (bite me, Newt) in Washington's crack addict-style spending habits soon, I absolutely believe that IRAs and 401k plans will start being targeted, and we'll eventually see "asset taxes" on savings and investment accounts. Because when the crackheads can't borrow money any more, they have to go where the money is - including in private accounts. That's not cynicism, that's math.

@Pete(Detroit)- I loved the commentary by Pat Condell at your link. He discusses the death of Osama bin Laden, and for those who don't have time to watch the 4 minute video, I must share his delicious wrap-up: "They should have brought the sonofabitch back to New York, pickled him in alcohol and mounted him on top of the Ground Zero mosque with a pork chop in his mouth and a fireman's axe up his ass.

Facing Mecca, of course. We wouldn't want to be disrespectful.

@Jim Hlavac- Yes, it's tragic and idiotic that taxpayer money is still being used to harass Gays. As I've said before, I don't give a rat's ass about sexual orientation, but I care deeply about morality - and as The Sperminator just demonstrated, heterosexuals certainly haven't cornered the market. Genuine morality never springs from legislation or coercion.

@Bobo- Great point. The government is pouring money into the pockets of thieves and enemies, yet doesn't see this as a place to economize.

Andrew said...

Maggie Thatcher, who was actually quoting George Orwell: 'Socialism is a great idea until the other fellow's money runs out."
Currently the US Govt admits to borrowing at a rate of $60,000 per second; that's $3.5 million per minute, $209 million per hour, $25 billion per 24 hours. I think even that number is suspiciously low, but let's use it.
So at $25 billion a day just to keep the Federal government running (and that's just the Feds, not the states/cities/counties), that's one hell of an insatiable maw to feed.
Take the total new worth of America's billionaires and you can see exactly how many seconds, minutes, or hours the Feds could operate by seizing each of the billionaire's total net worth outright and feeding the proceeds straight into the Treasury.
Handy factoid for liberals who cling to the fantasy that we can solve our problems 'if only we made the rih pay their fair share": if the IRS were to confiscate the entire net worth of Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah, Steve Wynn, Michael Moore, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Redford, Matt Damon, the Baldwin acting brothers, and the entire Kennedy clan, the total would not be enough to keep the US Government running over a long weekend.
Seize the total net worth of the Obama's, Tim Geithner,every millionaire member of Congress and throw THAT into the maw...it's only justice, but it only sustains the bonfire for a couple of hours.
Of course they wil confiscate private pensions...watch the trial balloons accelerate and begin to be adopted by the liberal pundits.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Andrew- Exactly right. The government appetite for spending is insatiable and insane, which is why I increasingly lean toward not raising the debt ceiling under any circumstances. If the brats in Washington won't quit running with scissors, it's time to just take away the damn scissors.

robert said...

The biggest problem with SS as i see it is that it is controlled by Congress. As I mentioned before I am a railroader and we don't pay into SS. We pay into Railroad Retirement. We get more back from railroad retirement than ya'll do from SS, but we also pay in a heck of a lot more. And it is a privately managed fund. Consequently, it's a couple billion in the black. But that doesn't stop Congress from trying to rape us of that money every year. Fortunately they haven't been too successful because it is the one thing management and labor agree on since we all pay into it. But I've often wondered why SS isn't run the same way and immediately I realize it's because then the Kennedy's and the Franks and the Schumers and the Dodds et al wouldn't have their own private monies to rob from.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@robert- If the people managing the Railroad Retirement funds took out the cash and replaced it with IOUs, they'd spend the rest of their lives wearing striped prison uniforms and busting big rocks into little rocks.

In Washington, it doesn't really matter if money is collected for Medicare, Social Security, Income Tax or anything else. Nothing goes into a lockbox or vault. Nothing is conservatively invested. Everything is spent and replaced with empty promises and valueless pieces of paper, and then more is borrowed. And more and more. Which makes the eventual financial collapse of our country so inevitable that it's impossible not to believe that this is the actual goal of Obama and other socialists.

John the Econ said...

A more sensible deficit reduction plan would have been instead of burial at sea, burying OBL at ground zero and placing a pay toilet over his grave.

I don't know what Newt has been smoking for the last 10 years, but I think he's got more in common with Obama/Pelosi/Reid than the direction the GOP needs to go to win America back.

Chuck said...

I received my HnC watch today! Let the bells ring out and the banners chime! As you can see, I have yet to remove the high-quality protective plastic from the wrist band. It arrived in good time from the world renowned watch maker, Tsoi Wing Yip in Hong Kong in a beautiful envelope (also shown) marked "gift" on the front of the envelope (not shown). And, it goes very well with my ring, too.


Time for a celebratory beer!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Chuck- Great picture! I'm sure many people will now be wishing they had ordered this stunning timepiece when they had the opportunity. Especially now that you've revealed that the watch was fabricated by the prestigious Tsoi Wing Yip watchmakers! I would have told people that, but they would have thought I was lying just to impress them.

"A genuine Tsoi Wing Yip watch for $5.99?!" they would have scoffed. But it was true.

Wear your Hope n' Change watch with pride, Chuck, and know that my offer still stands: if I happen to run into you (or anyone else) wearing one of these, the drinks are on me!

Chuck said...

And wear it with pride, I shall.

Bobo said...

@ Chuck - Dang, you lucky dawg! I was hoping to receive my watch today because I'm taking the little lady out to a fancy-smancy dinner tonight and wanted to flash the watch to the Maitre d'Hotel and get a good table. "Sigh"...now we will be relegated to sit near the kitchen door and I probably won't get any tonight...if you know what I mean.

Reiuxcat said...

I find it laughable that the dims act like this is the first time they've been using the SS $.

My mom was skipping SS and paying into the teachers fund that Texas has going. That one is in decent shape too, I think.

I also think that is why the dims were so against privitization. They would not be able to spend the peoples money in this type of account.

Not that I'm the smartest person in the world, or the local watering hole for that matter.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Bobo- It took time to paint the Sistine Chapel. So, too, does it take time for the artisans at Tsoi Wing Yip to finish a Hope n' Change watch and get it out the door. But here's hoping that your dinner out will be enjoyable anyway. Plus, you might get (ahem) "lucky" if you whisper to your special lady, "I love having you on my arm more than anything else in the world." Which is also what you'll be saying to your watch once it arrives.

@Reuixcat- There simply aren't any private pension funds which are run the way Social Security has been run because it would be totally illegal. Seriously, Bernie Madoff would be embarrassed by the transparent thievery of our "lockbox" funds for Social Security.

JustaJeepGuy said...

The worst part of the SS mess is that it was known from the beginning to be a Ponzi scheme. FDR forced it on America because he (died at age 62, remember) "knew" that so few people would live to collect. Thanks a lot, Demo_rats!! The Law of Unintended Consequences bites you yet again!