Home » Welcome to the Third World » Welcome to the Third World, Part 7: Bye Bye, Public Services

Welcome to the Third World, Part 7: Bye Bye, Public Services

by John Rubino on August 12, 2012 · 96 comments

Meredith Whitney was an obscure Oppenheimer & Co. bank analyst back in 2008 when she broke from the pack and predicted Armageddon. She was right, the pack was wrong, and she parlayed her new-found fame into a research boutique of her own.

Last year she went for it again, predicting that the next big crisis would be in municipal bonds, as U.S. cities, counties and states ran out of money and started defaulting. This call didn’t pan out as quickly:

Meredith Whitney Loses Credibility as Muni Defaults Fall 60%
July 15, 2011 — Time is running out on the credibility of Meredith Whitney, who has yet to acknowledge that her eight-month-old prediction of widespread defaults this year in the market for state and local government debt is proving unfounded.

Defaults fell 60 percent in the first half of 2011 compared with the same period last year, including a $12.5 million Austin, Texas, apartment project that made a late payment in June, according to Distressed Debt Securities Newsletter.

Meredith Whitney, 41, who started New York-based Meredith Whitney Advisory Group LLC in 2009 after leaving Oppenheimer & Co., predicted 50 to 100 “sizable” municipal defaults as states slashed spending, in the interview with CBS Corp.’s “60 Minutes.”

Whitney, the analyst who rose to prominence by predicting Citigroup Inc.’s 2008 dividend cut, predicted “hundreds of billions of dollars” of municipal defaults within 12 months in a Dec. 19 “60 Minutes” broadcast, fueling a wave of selling in the $2.9 trillion market. Instead, the number has fallen as cities slashed spending to balance budgets and state lawmakers stepped in to guard against insolvency and local bankruptcies.

“The data is not helping Meredith,” said Matt Fabian, a managing director at Municipal Market Advisors, a financial- research company based in Concord, Massachusetts. “It’s always been a possibility there would be a wave of defaults. You can’t say that it’s zero but it’s given no sign of starting.”

But fast forward a year and Whitney’s looking pretty smart. A wave of California cities have gone bankrupt, with more around the country in the pipeline. Consider this from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal:

Hard Times Spread for Cities
Fiscal woes that have caused high-profile bankruptcies in California are surfacing across the country as municipalities struggle with uneven growth and escalating health and pension costs following the worst recession since the 1930s.

Budget crunches already have prompted Michigan lawmakers to authorize emergency fiscal managers, and led the mayor of Scranton, Pa., to temporarily cut the pay of all city workers to the minimum wage.

In a majority of the nation’s 19,000 municipalities—urban and rural, big and small—stagnant property tax revenues, less aid from states and rising costs are forcing less dramatic but still difficult steps.

Moody’s Investors Service recently said that while municipal bankruptcies are likely to remain rare, it warned of a “a small but growing trend in fiscally troubled cities unwilling to pay their debt obligations.”

“We need help right now,” said William Schirf, the mayor of Altoona, Pa. Crime in the city of 46,000 rose 11% last year, while the number of police officers fell 8% over three years because of budget constraints. The city has reduced the number of streets it is repaving and clearing of snow, and cut down on leaf pickups and removing dead animals, trash and bicycles from roadways.

Altoona officials projected a $3 million deficit for fiscal 2012. Under state law, the city can’t raise property taxes—its greatest source of revenue—any higher. In April, Altoona was declared fiscally distressed under a state law, enabling it to restructure its finances. “We just don’t have the income to match our expenses,” said Mr. Schirf.

A study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that annual pension payments for state and local plans more than doubled to 15.7% of payrolls in 2011 from 6.4% a decade earlier.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government said local governments made roughly $50 billion in pension contributions in 2010, but their unfunded pension liabilities still total $3 trillion and unfunded health benefit liabilities are more than $1 trillion.

Local government cuts are one factor slowing the broader economic recovery, offsetting stronger private-sector growth. State and local government spending and investment fell at a rate of 2.1% in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department, the 11th consecutive quarterly drop. Local governments also have cut 66,000 jobs in the past year, mostly teachers and other school employees.

“Cities are still going to be facing very rough waters for the next couple of years,” said Michael Pagano, dean of the college of Urban Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Princeville, N.C., a small town in the eastern part of the state, handed control of its books to a state commission in late July after struggling to pay for water system updates. The town temporarily turned off water services to about 200 homes, but many residents said they couldn’t afford the higher bills.

There also was a backlash in Michigan after Gov. Rick Snyder won legislative approval of a measure that allowed him to appoint emergency managers for troubled cities and school systems—allowing collective-bargaining agreements to be tossed. Voters will decide in November whether to repeal the law.

To boost revenues, cities are increasing fees and property taxes—where they can. In Chicago, private investors are investing in public infrastructure projects. El Monte and Richmond, Calif., want to tax soda.

Indeed, while housing is showing signs of improvement, real estate assessed values remain depressed, eroding property tax receipts, which provide 29% of revenue for municipalities, according to a Moody’s analysis of census data. State aid, the biggest source of revenue for local governments at 34%, is falling and the growth of receipts from wage, sales and other taxes, which provide 10% of local budgets, is slowing.

At the same time, pension and health-care costs are rising despite efforts to restructure those benefits. The most vulnerable cities are ones that experienced drastic reductions in property values or are in states like California that limit municipal options to increase revenues. In addition, nearly a third of California cities require collective bargaining and prohibit outsourcing of administrative and maintenance services.

Since 2008, four California municipalities have filed for bankruptcy protection—Vallejo, Stockton, Mammoth Lakes, and most recently, San Bernardino, which declared bankruptcy Aug. 1, in large part because sales and property taxes fell after the real estate bust. The assessed value of homes in San Bernardino dropped to $10.3 billion in 2011 from $12.2 billion in 2008.

On top of a declining property tax base, the city has faced a significant drop in sales tax collections since 2005. Economist John Husing said San Bernardino’s retail sales fell 30% during that period. Likewise, a decline in construction means less revenue from things like building permits and development fees.

While many municipalities nationwide have offset property-tax declines by raising tax rates, California’s 1978 law dubbed Proposition 13 caps property taxes at about 1% of a home’s value and forbids major tax increases unless a home is sold or rebuilt, though it permits taxes to fall if a home’s value drops.

Residents in El Monte, Calif., 15 miles east of Los Angeles, will vote in November on a soda tax that could raise about $10 million annually. The city, which lost four major car dealerships that generated a large share of the city’s sales tax revenue, cut nearly 30% of its workforce to help close a $3 million budget deficit but still faces $2 million deficit for the current year.

Local merchants oppose the measure. “I’m struggling to stay open and here they want to tax me even more. It’s crazy,” said Arthur Meier Jr., who owns Arts World Famous Burgers in El Monte.

Elsewhere, the cost of shoring up underfunded pension plans for public workers is going slowly. In many states, benefits are guaranteed and difficult to modify unless a city is declared “fiscally distressed.” “Because of the guaranteed nature of benefits, there’s no quick fix,” said Thomas Fitzpatrick, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland.

Steven Kreisberg, collective bargaining director at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the nation’s biggest public-sector union, said pension problems were caused by investment losses that can be gradually recovered, rather than due to overly rich benefits. “When you lose 20% of your assets in a single year that’s what created the problem,” he said.

Providence, R.I.’s $423 million pension system staved off bankruptcy after reaching a tentative deal in May to cut pensions for retirees and current police, firefighters, and municipal laborers, resulting in a savings of about $18.5 million a year. Its pension plan was expected to consume about 20% of city tax collections in fiscal year 2012.

Pensions were “unaffordable and unsustainable,” said Mayor Angel Taveras, a Democrat, who lowered his own salary 10%, cut 200 city employees, closed five schools, and secured $40 million in voluntary payments from tax-exempt universities and hospitals, including Brown University.

In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, facing a projected $369 million budget gap, created an infrastructure trust backed by financial companies including J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Citibank. The investors will put up $1.7 billion for projects approved by a five-member board, the first being considered is a $200 million energy retrofit of city buildings expected to save $20 million a year in heating bills.
Boston is increasing property assessments of tax-exempt organizations like universities, while Maryland passed a law allowing cities to assess a storm water fee to help pay for projects to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

Other cities like Cleveland and St. Louis are imposing new fees for city services, such as trash collection. Such fees “can better link the funding of services to people that actually experience the benefit” said Michael Nadol, managing director with Public Financial Management, who advises municipalities on fiscal issues.

Some Thoughts
This is another example of easy money distorting price signals and leading people to behave in ways that, in retrospect, look extremely stupid. It worked like this: Washington ran consistent, large deficits and/or kept interest rates artificially low, which raised the nominal returns on stocks, bonds, and real estate and led city officials and union leaders to think that they could get away with sweetheart contracts featuring insanely generous pensions and health benefits.

Then, when things got a bit tight, these same municipal and union officials rolled the dice and refrained from fully funding these plans in order to avoid telling hard truths to taxpayers. A few years of this and the imbalances have become so vast that the only solutions are 1) absolutely devastating cuts in crucial services, 2) defaults on the bonds that cities used to finance their overspending, and 3) eventual bankruptcy in which public sector unions are stripped of the pensions that they assumed were written in stone.

Muni bond investors, meanwhile, will discover that the “risk free” parts of their portfolios are anything but, leading to harder times for retirees and some wild capital migrations out of munis and into…who knows?

The cumulative result is lower living standards for almost everyone. Private sector workers who are spared the immediate public sector wage/benefit cuts will still have crumbling schools, cops and firefighters stretched too thin to respond on time, bad roads, libraries with empty shelves and erratic hours, etc., etc. All the pathologies, in other words, of a country that hasn’t yet developed into a nice place to live.

Except that we’re regressing to this stage, which will be much harder psychologically. As the old saying goes, it’s easier to be poor if you’ve never been rich.

At the risk of belaboring the point, the real culprits aren’t living in these cities. They’re in Washington, still at work distorting the monetary system for their own gain, trying their best to fool the rest of us into even more malinvestment.

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  • JR

    Uh…. you mean just chanting “Yes we can” mindlessly won’t fix the problem????

    • http://amarketplaceofideas.com Freemon Sandlewould

      Here’s the problem. The one dimension in which American life excels at is business. All others are second level for the most part. Freedom is so so here any more. However the rub is a socialist like Obama is taking USA’s only strong dimension and ruining it.

      I know all this because 10 years ago I started my exit after a visit to Brazil. There I saw the comparisons of a different society. When I need money I work in the USA. When I want to live…..I go back to Brazil.

      Discover the low consumption lifestyle and freedom people. And remember:

      Anybody but Obama. He’s not helping and can never do so. Happiness will not be brought about by his anger.

  • silverbug

    Our Politicians are in the back pocket of the Bankers. They are kept alive and never prosecuted as they are the Primary Dealers who buy and sell the Government DEBT. China now has bypassed the Dealers and directly buys the debt from the US Treasury. More countries need to demand this as they are constantly front runned by these sociopath’s. It’s time now to stop all the bs and just Restructure the DEBT. Politcal reform and Financial reform is needed. Formely devalue the currency and eliminate usuary by the bankers and there INTEREST baring loans. Stop being slaves.The nonsense has to stop. ROMNEY, RYAN & Obama are not the answer as the main donors are the bankers.

  • Dano

    “change we can believe in…”

    Lawrence Kotlikoff and John Mauldin were all over this stuff maybe half a dozen years ago. But of course they are not “part of the solution” sO no one listened to them.

    When TSHTF in earnest, possibly starting with ‘the fiscal cliff’ and Bernanke does ‘the big print’ gold should do a mini moon shot.

    This could be fun to watch…

    • Steve

      It’s better to be a dozen years early than a day late. Ms. Whitney’s only mistake was putting a date and event in the same sentence. Nobody cared about her arithmetic, only what time the show was scheduled to start. We can’t even wait for a dozen seconds without becoming distracted by the next shiny thing. It’s very strange to me that people can visualize their house flooding or burning down, and buy insurance for that, but the picture of severe and guaranteed coming events is somehow lost in the collective trance.

  • Pat

    I don’t think that it will be fun to watch, and although anyone with a private school 8th grade education can tell what will happen (facts are just that, and if one puts them together, they can see the math). Even folks who have prepared for this ineventuality, will become entangeled when family members, or friends (who were not prudent), request assistance; be it a place to live, food to eat, or just a job. This will be about as fun a wrestling with a pig, you’ll get dirty, and the pig will be having fun.

  • jhpace1

    Here’s another addendum: most muni bonds are not “small” bonds for “small” investors. We’re not talking middle class, or granny-on-the-porch here. In my own county in NC the smallest school bond I could find for sale started at $100,000. So the people buying these bonds are the upper class and rich looking for safe, potentially tax and double-tax-free money.

    The voters voted to raise the bonds for their schools, colleges, sport stadiums, and infrastructure, but it was a majority vote on the ballot. I’ve never voted for a bond on a ballot in my life. So I’m feeling a distinct lack of empathy for both the bond holders as well as the city officials that sold the bonds to the public.

    If the bonds had been sold to the public at $1,000 each, then I might feel that more people had skin in the game, including the people living in the city, but not when municipal bonds are a tax on the average citizen and a boon for a much smaller class.

  • Tony D

    Sounds like a deflationary nightmare as the US standard of living begins a much needed adjustment. Thing is though, how long will the TPTB allow this to go on? What are the chances of the Fed not reacting in the next year ? Seems likely they will, don’t you think ? Imagine how bad things would be if Obama wasn’t pumping a1 trillion plus into the economy. The laws of economics will not be denied although Bernanke will pretend they don’t exist.
    The interesting thing as John points out, is that the MSM isn’t whipping up a storm with this. It seems the disenfranchised are being hidden away from mainstream view. When the mainstream is affected, that’s when the SHFT.

    • sharonsj

      A needed adjustment for whom? Only the working class and the old, already living on a tiny budget, are managing by buying second hand and starting a garden. It’s the middle class that is descending into poverty. They are losing good jobs, they are losing their homes, they can’t send their kids to college without going into debt.

      True that the stimulus helped, but it wasn’t enough. And a Romney/Ryan plan for the country means austerity for everybody except the rich. If you think things are bad now, just wait.

      • Tony D

        Hi Sharon,
        The US standard of living only exists currently due to huge deficit spending at a federal level. While this continues the pain that will be felt at the “end game” grows and it is better to start adjusting now rather than having an even more violent change in living standard thrust upon Americans down the track. I was certainly more thinking at a macro level than about any sector of society. Truth is, that while US society consumes more than it produces the problem will grow and the final “adjustment” will be even more catastrophic. One way or the other (inflation vs deflation) things are going to get worse as the US learns to, or is forced to live within its means. There is no god given right to a particular living standard in a globalised world.

      • Eric

        So what’s the answer to all the debt (and it’s servicing)?
        Print more money and devalue everyone’s dollars?
        What good is a pocket full of money when it won’t pay for a dinner?

        The problem in this country is debt.
        The reason we have so much debt is because of spending beyond our collective means.
        You can’t fix this problem with more debt.
        The way you fix this problem is reduce spending and clear/write off the debt.
        The pain we will endure by this clearing process will only increase the longer we procrastinate. We’ve wasted 4 years trying to avoid this reality.

  • Jason Carter

    “When you lose 20% of your assets in a single year that’s what created the problem,” he said.

    Don’t worry, Steven. There’s another 20% loss coming in the next 2 years.

    My experience in the private sector is that you are responsible for saving for your own retirement and the day you quit working, regardless of the number of loyal years you work for a company, is the day you no longer have insurance coverage. Tax-payer subsidized employees have no legitimate right to expect a better deal than the private sector. I only hope the Federal government does not rescue any of these failing municipalities.

    • olde reb

      You fail to take into account the status of union membership, both in the private and the public sector. For real benefits of retirement, consider the military that immediately pays after twenty years–for life. Now that is a rip-off.

      • RetiredPara

        Kiss my ass. As a retired infantryman who spent a great amount of time away from family, who trained like a semi-pro athlete on a daily basis while back home, who had great responsibility for the taxpayer’s equipment, other soldiers and their families, I will speak for all vets and politely inform you that you are a cretin who doesn’t know what they are talking about. I didn’t hear you complain when I or any of my brothers were freezing, sweating our balls off, hungry, tired, thirsty, wounded, or dying. We did it for you, even though you won’t acknowledge it, don’t appreciate it, and could selflishly care less. Dump lump veterans in with career welfare cases or union members.

        • RetiredPara

          Wanna trade bodies? After that cushy time in service you mention that is paying me so well know, I have a totally broken body that can’t do much anymore. Yeah, I know, that makes you happy since all of us who served are mere tools of the American Empire, right?

          • Not Sure

            To serve and “expect” gratitude….. is not service. I have gratitude to whom I wish and withhold gratitude to whom I wish. Unless you were drafted, you made decisions and the consequences are your’s alone.

            There has been no defensive war since WW2.

        • noneoconsplease

          Fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places for the banksters and empire is not fighting for me. If you cared about your fellow servicemen, you’d push to get them all out of there and back home.

        • Hey RetiredPara…

          To “RetiredPara”: I was in the miliary for five years, so I am familiar with your mindset. The fact is, you signed up, and then you signed up again when the time came. You did it because you considered it to be the best option for you. You got paid, you got the benefits. In addition to your base salary, you received free or highly subsidized housing for yourself and your family, free health and dental for yourself and your family, a food allowance for yourself and your family, tax free income whenever you deployed operationally, a guaranteed 3 or 4 percent annual pay raise even if you did not get promoted, and all kinds of fringe benefits like tuition remibursement, free daycare, a good DoD school for your kids, commissary, TDY pay, TSP if that was your era, 4 weeks paid vacation, and all Federal holidays when not deployed, not to mention your eligibility for a VA mortgage and other veteran’s benefits, including a monthly disability check for your sprained back, arthritic joints, partial deafness, or whatever it is that ails you. And that’s not even touching your pension, lifetime healthcare benefits, or Federal Government veterans hiring preference. So I would say the stiffs who are working two jobs, or doing the job of two people at companies that expect them to work more for less, owe you nothing. The folks who have no health insurance, who lose sleep worrying about money, they owe you nothing. The people who voted for the guy who was against sending you to fight abroad, they owe you nothing. The folks who have no job security, no pensions, no retiree health benefits, owe you nothing. The small business owner who stands behind his cash register 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, near-365 days a year owes you nothing. The farmer who gets up at 5:00 AM every day and slogs through hogsh*t, then has to worry about how to bequeath the farm to his son without the estate tax enforcers stealing it to pay for your military benefits, he owes you nothing. The world owes you nothing. You did what was best for you, and you did just fine for yourself. You were a mercenary, not a hero. So get off your high horse. You are not special, you do not deserve any particular respect. I would tip my hat to a real community servant such as a cop or fireman before I would give you the time of day. Your entitlment mindest is just as much a part of the problem as anything else discussed on this site.

          • Red

            You nailed it. I have fought forest fires for 32 years. I didn’t break things like the military guys do- I saved stuff. No gratitude necessary; I did my job and was paid for it. End of story

          • Rufus T Firefly

            If the military life is such a great and cushy way to become rich, then how come you didn’t do it? Military personnel EARNED what they get. Should we reduce the size, stay out of other people’s wars and let them slaughter each other as they have been doing since Cain and Abel? Yes, but don’t go giving us any malarkey on how being in the service is the path to riches. You don’t see Ivy Leaguers joining up to clean bilges or pull guard duty on the 39th parallel

          • reddog

            Most Americans love their military mindset, what a war loving country !, as a Aussie, who has “been there done that “, the biggest laugh is Americans calling the men who go to Afghanistan ” Contractors ” , ( mercenaries , killers for hire ) no other way of putting it, what sort of garbage is it to call these brain dead psychos contractors ? which idiot dreamed that term up ?, the USA NEEDS a war machine to keep going to line up the pockets of the vastly corrupt politicians and the military industrial complex, a new war is going to be created soon again and like the new toys of death and destruction , the armaments industry needs wiling dupes ( young men and woman ) to try the new toys and kill countless innocents, pity the US didn’t stick to a small army and didn’t keep to domestic affairs instead of playing policeman.

            A decade later with the worlds biggest and most sophisticated military can’t defeat a rag tag group of goat herders with no air force ? gimme a break !…..what a useless mindf***k

            war on terror ? ANY US soldier that joins up and goes fight ( joke right? ) over there is just a moron , deserves all he gets…

          • To Rufus T. Firefly

            Did you read the first sentence of my post? I spent five years in uniform (including one year up near the 39th parallel that you mention).

            And I never said it was a way to grow rich. I said that it was a stable job with fantastic benefits, which I enumerated. I also said that it was something that people do for their own career and financial reasons, not as a sacrifice for someone else. They weigh the risks and benefits and the relative probabilities, and they make a rational decision for their own benefit.

            Hence, the working stiffs who support them do not owe them any special gratitude.

            I might ask you to be grateful for my “service” if I had given you my time as an unpaid volunteer. But since I got paid, got the benefits, got the GI Bill, got the Federal veteran’s hiring preference, got the VA mortgage so I could buy a $600,000 house with nothing down and no PMI—and I don’t recall refusing these things, or giving my paycheck back to Uncle Sam, or donating it all to charity—then I have no right to act like some hero or saint.

            BTW, Mr. Rubino, I would love to write a guest post on the military-industrial complex’s gross inefficiency and entitlement mentality, if you can stomach the talkback s**tstorm that would entail.

        • January24


          I think it’s disgraceful that others are disparaging your service. You put your life in danger and suffered grievous wounds to your body — which, as you say, will never function as it should.

          I appreciate your service. America was in the not-too-distant past a great nation well worth defending. It is not your fault that Obama and the Democrats are destroying it. What you did was noble, and I salute you.

      • sharonsj

        And what about Congress? After a minimum of 6 years of work (if you can call it that), they are entitled to a full pension at age 62.

      • Jason Carter

        If anyone deserves better benefits than the private sector, it is definitely military members. Thank God for them.

    • Paul

      State and municipal employees do indeed have the right to a better deal than the private sector. Do you have any idea how many years I worked on projects certain to fail but could say nothing. Or, how about being bypassed by an affirmative action hire on getting big jobs and they can’t add three numbers together. I have the right to my generous pension and it’s guaranteed by my state constitution. Besides, failed pension funds get picked up by the Feds so municipal bankruptcy means little. So, gov workers, don’t listen to this blog abuse. I’m getting my moola right now and all your criticism will amount to nothing. By the way, I worked 18 years, retired at 53 and collect $44k/year for life. Thank you taxpayers.

      • Jason Carter

        You’re quite welcome. In 20 years, your $44k won’t by a Honda Civic.

        • Reality Check

          Hahahahaha, that was good for a laugh…..in 20 years, his $44K won’t buy a candy bar!

      • noneoconsplease

        Not on my dime. You won’t be getter your pork for much longer. The system is going down. Let’s see if you can make it post collapse.

      • Red

        I’m a little bit in the same boat, but at 25,000/yr. The others are right- the pension will be worthless in a few years. Will your .gov skills translate into a meaningful wage in the new world? Good luck!

      • Shove it where the sun doesn’t shine

        State and municipal employees do indeed have the right to a better deal than the private sector??? Dude, get a clue! A better deal? Who do you think pays your wages, benefits, and retirement? The taxpayers, aka the private sector! You government workers would not even exist without the private sector. I’m not trying to deny you your retirement, but don’t be so selfish and short sighted. I’m not trying to deny you your retirement, but just wait – time, further financial crises, and (hyper) inflation will do that.

        • January24

          I completely agree that government employees are spoiled people much like college professors who think they’re smarter and better than private sector workers and therefore deserve their outsize benefits.

          I truly hope that the coming economic collapse forces these self-aggrandizing public sector workers to face the same realities of life that private sector workers are already facing.

  • http://- bob D

    you could not pay me enough to buy bonds, govt or corp or otherwise e.g. such as eurobonds, some only pay 1% interest, at that profit you might as well not bother, costs more than that to house and keep tabs on junk…..even if hi-yield like portugal, spain, greece, soon france, soon germany, soon usa — at 20%

    however, there are some ways to make good on crapola bonds….

    e.g. when you run out of loot, in-hand or in-bank, etc, use the bonds as if cash,

    if the deal is
    attractive to the dummy on the other end of the trade he will take the bonds thinking eventually will pay-off and or sooner than pay-off he can always sue to be paid by court action, he versus higher govt (than govt who issued the bonds), —- besides he wants to get rid of his junk and your bonds are good as above but also he can endorse them, or have you endorse them in blank, and use them as his cash for his trades, a piece of cake (in blank means pay to bearer or make the bond a bearer bond which means whoever has the bond is the ownder and to be paid the face amt for sure, interest if can get it)

    i.e.if you got muni bond issued by a town or city, then sue the state they are in, if state crapola bonds then sue the Feds (get court to put you first in line for next freebie handout to state for silly stuff, this is going on all the time, or to
    be paid first in line out of tax or the like, some states have income off natural resources if so then make court give you first, til paid in full, on that stuff)

    but just stack them up is nice, obumma has us in a freefall where ordinary loot wont be worth zilch, thus face amt of bond will be worth face amt plus backing of govt, who will eventually pay off the govt bonds,,,,,,

    if you buy corporate bonds, you are in line ahead of equity holders during bankruptcy which is worse the dummies who op a corp can do,

    also you can
    tease them to pay off in case of your choice by taking them to court
    on civil fraud
    that they knew could not payoff said bonds, boo hoo, but that is fraud and
    they would rather settle out of court, yep they would kiss to get to pay your
    lawyer even if he too is a dummy

    but keep in mind, obumma has it planned that his econ freefall will make all paper money, such as bonds or shares, become trade goods of choice, better
    than funny-usa-fiat-money,

    thus dont eat your bonds nor your shares etc,
    keep in hand til then, soon, and given they then worth more than
    usa-funny-money you usually can squeeze the taker to also give you interest
    due to-date —

    see??? always a way to score, just stop and think, tinker
    with your self-confidence until your brain kicks in, then go for the best deal.

    not relative but interesting is when obumma makes usa-fiat-money worthless and you have no other trade goods but do have some loot in your checking acct then write those checks for deals but make sure you dont overdraw your acct, keep a nice balance for emergencies e.g. in case you need more bullets
    put the date on the check the date you write it, and either make it to the guy who you buy off and pay him with that check, or make it in blank (pay to order of cash) either way you dont need to mention the deal in the memo nor elsewhere on the check, just make sure you dont overdraw and thus that you have a balance all the time,,,,,, i doubt you will during this fiasco have loot to deposit, but if so keep tight acct of it, gotta keep acct with cash in in it

    • holderinduecourse

      You might want to talk to some of the people who used to own stock in General Motors before Obumma gave the company to the unions.

  • olde reb

    Uh, when you say: “(The culprits are) in Washington, still at work distorting the monetary system for their own gain…” are you referring to the (privately owned Ponzi scheme) Federal Reserve system that hides $1.4 trillion per year from the auctions of Treasury securities that appears to legally belong to the government ?? Ref. FEDERAL RESERVE HEIST, http://www.scribd.com/doc/101937790.

  • Oilwelldoctor

    Thanks for this. A good write.

    • olde reb

      I assume you noted the RIP-OFF article footnoted of how the Fed steals more than a trillion dollars each year and hides it in the FRBNY and how the scheme will result in the total wealth of the U.S. being acquired by the unknown owners of the BOG. Ref. http://www.scribd.com/doc/99860711/rip-off-by-the-fed-5-rtf

  • BillT

    How much longer can about 4% of the world’s population continue to use (waste) 30+% of the world’s resources? Answer: Not much longer. When the US goes back to the 4% they are entitled to … all hell will break lose. No more I toys, trips to Disney, shop till you drop holidays, SUVs, Gucci bags or even Nikes. And about time!

    • RetiredPara

      I agree BillT, and then let’s stop contributing the majority of the world’s food aid, medicine, doctors, vehicles, etc., etc., ad nauseum. The Godless Marxist socialist republics of the world and their 3rd world puppets will be much better off when the US exits the global stage, after all, they manage and utilize their own natural resources so well don’t they? But hey, tear down the US and it’s “empire”…What an idiot.

      • Willy2

        The US is an Empire. And the best selling export items is weapons. Sowing death and destruction all around the world. And subsidized by the US taxpayer who also pays to support all these sock puppets abroad. Better to spend that money here at home. Repairing all the decrepit roads, bridges, railroads.

      • noneoconsplease

        It’s their, communists as you call them, resources to waste if that’s what they wish to do.

        • OldDan

          And you can bet they will waste their resources, before they collapse. When governments redistribute resources, rather than use them to enhance productivity, they will eventually collapse. They can forestall a collapse by mass murder or starvation of a significant portion of their populations, like Mao and Stalin, but they will eventually collapse. The only “out” is to convert to free-market capitalism, like China is attempting to do.

    • Helix6

      How much longer can about 4% of the world’s population continue to use (waste) 30+% of the world’s resources? Answer: It depends on how long the 0.1% can keep skimming off that consumption. I suspect that the answer to that is “indefinitely”. The 4% might not be in America forever, but money has neither conscience and patriotism. The 4% will be somewhere, and wherever that is, you can rest assured that the 0.1% will be feeding off of it.

    • gman

      “How much longer can about 4% of the world’s population continue to use (waste) 30+% of the world’s resources? Answer:”

      as long as the petro-states accept only dollars for oil.

  • Willy2

    1. Don’t forget that foreigners bought, from 1973 up to 2008, A LOT OF Mortgage Backed Securities.
    2. The FEDERAL RESERVE did NOT keep interest rates low. It was “Mr. Market”.
    3. The game for the US is up. Because yields for the 30 year bond are about to go through the roof.
    4. Don’t forget that people live longer thanks to progress made in healthcare. And that puts additional strain on the US government.

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  • Hugh

    The imbedded image stuffed into the public’s mind is one of firefighters hacking through burning walls so that they can rescue innocent babies. The same holds for the military; buff All-American soldiers in 24-7 firefights to save the flag and our freedoms. Both visions are untrue. Most firemen and most soldiers will never risk their lives doing their jobs. Working as a 7-11 store clerk or a forklift driver is more dangerous. There were more people killed on the roads in California (a state about the same size as Iraq) during the Iraq war than American soldiers in the Iraq war itself.

    Anyone who works 20 years (out of a life of about 75) and expects to have lifelong benefits and wages is not a public servant, but is rather a public parasite. If you want to REALLY serve your country, reject all benefits and advocate halving military and public employee paychecks.

    • Red

      Yep, that hero stuff is bullshit. I have fought fire for over 30 years and though it’s been often rough going, I’m no hero. Now, the plumber who fixes the broken pipe at 2 am, the doctor who patches up my kid, the farmer/fisherman/rancher who supplies the food- they’re the heroes.

      Get off your high horse, ret_para.

      • reddog

        now the military mind set invades Australia……. now we have 2,500 Marines stationed in the far north……but the deputy Sheriff will come like a willing lap dog to eat the offal from the masters table, oh no! heaven forbid Australia and New Zealand think for them selves !…….the walking dead to love a good cause to go play soldier boy, too many narcissistic wannabes join the military….yep love the perks….. hoo ra !, of course its a all a giant con, someone with half a brain , could read what Smedley-Butler said about war ” war is a racket ( zero sum game )

  • Jason Emery

    The first of the Baby Boomers will hit age 70 in the year 2016. (1946 + 70 = 2016). If the house of cards has not crumbled by then, it will at that time, or shortly thereafter. Peoples’ bodies wear out and need more medical care.

    The fed and the others have proven very adept at kicking the can down the road, so I’m not that surprised they have figured out a way to borrow our children’s savings, and even our grand children’s savings, lol, not to mention the rest of the world’s savings!!! But the pool of available savings to pilfer is just about gone, so it is hyper inflate or die.

    It is possible that this year’s poor harvest is the catalyst. Like the other poster said, better to be a bit early, than late. The house of cards could come crashing down at any minute.

    • Serge

      Good point about the age and cost of healthcare corelation

    • Aluminumati

      The govt will come out with a nutritious cracker they say will be made from “soy, lentils and seaweed”, and call it soylent green. Feed the poor and dispose of the sick and elderly…

  • http://www.geniebusters.org/ Lyle Burkhead

    The United States was a third world country in the 19th century. In the first half of the 20th century, the government broke up the “trusts” and allowed unions to organize freely. In the 1930s, Glass-Steagall and other such laws constrained the banks. In the 1950s, oil was cheap. Putting all these factors together, the US finally became a first world country. It lasted a few decades, and now we are once again a third world country.

    There was only one country that was first world by intention, not by accident. It represented humanity’s last chance for a first world future. It is gone forever, and it has been so thoroughly demonized that there is no use trying to discuss it.

  • Bruce C.

    I had a long, sad discussion with a friend over the weekend. Actually he did most of the talking because my point of view was anathema to his and I didn’t have the heart to force the issue. He wanted to convince me (and probably himself too) that the current system can and should be saved, no matter how sucky it is, because the alternative would be worse. I, on the other hand, don’t want to save the system because I don’t think it’s worthy, and not worth saving even if it can be. He has kids, you see, and I don’t. But he also has a good point: Given the kind of people who are now deeply entrenched throughout government I shudder to think what could arise in the aftermath of national bankruptcy.

    It really is a terrible dilemma.

    • Chris

      We have reached a point where it is not possible to save the economy. If you look back to 1987, when recession would have eventuate after the stock market crash, Greenspan flood the banks with liquidity so that problems were not allowed to come to the surface and be addressed. He used the same method everytime the stock market crashed. The amount of bail out money increased exponentially at every crash. After the crash in 2008, tens of trillions of $ were loan out by the Fed. The next crash will require more than 10 times that. Where is the money going to come from? Greenspan is responsible for all these problems and under his watch, the financial WMD (derivatives) was allowed to balloon to quadrillion $. It is scary.

  • tomt

    Its going to to have to get much worse for most Americans to grasp the impact all this will bring, and even then they will be asking the government to fix it. Little do they know the deceit that underlies these government actions.
    Relieving of your freedoms and your rights as citizens has been 99.99% successful (without incident) – ask yourself how the public became comfortably numb to what happens in DC. The blatant transfer of private sector losses onto the public – 98% successful. I could go on and on, including the subject of this article. The majority of the public has been trained to trust and accept without protest whatever this government does, and continue electing whomever is “anointed” as a candidate.
    The government has been spending your Social Security money ever since LBJ
    did it first in 1965, and every president thereafter. They owe us $2.6Trillion,
    so all of you who complain that you paid in need to face the fact you forgot your duty, your responsibility to protest this theft for the last 40 years.
    Don’t think you can protest now – you have lost that right, and the police state is armed to the teeth and ready.
    Now getting your checks will not be a problem, but when this third bubble bursts, your “money” is not going to buy much; after awhile longer, it might not even feed you, and you will be blaming the grocery store or those damn foreigners. For some unknown reason, people do not understand that rising prices is a result, a symptom, not the cause of inflation. The government is certainly not going to admit any wrongdoing, and sadly, most of the public will continue to believe them.
    Our system is broken, and the troubles we are having, like a few bankrupt cities and pension cuts are only the first falling bricks and shingles.

    • Doug


      I can’t even convince my wife we need to prepare. I have been stacking and doing some preparing, but far short of what I would be able to do if she could just see it. She’s caught up in the concept of things getting back to the “normal” she’d come to know, that she should be able to live larger as she approaches her 50’s etc. and quite frankly, she has an attitude against me as though I am to blame for being the messenger of what is happening. Worse of all is that she lost her $4k a year job and expects me to finance her lifestyle. She is a good mom to our two kids and that is a lot of work for sure, but my knowledge of where the economy is going is driving a wedge between us because of her normalcy bias.

      • Jason Carter

        It’s common for family members to be willfully ignorant of economic/moral issues and the decline of American prosperity. I remember warning both my mother and grandmother in 2007 to get their money out of the stock market, more than once. I get phone call when the market is in active free fall. Instead, they watched as their net worth quickly decline in 2008. I told them both to buy both silver and gold in late 2008. Instead, neither have purchased any precious metals to date; the excuse: I don’t know how/where to buy them. I’ve quit trying to explain we’re headed to a new paradigm and it’s going to be a painful transition for most through 2020 if not 2032. I focus on protecting my own wife and children at this point.

        • Jason Emery

          A lot of posters talk about buying rural property with food and water sources as a fall back position. I would say, it is not as easy as it sounds. I have the huge advantage of already having an Appalachian property in our family for years, mostly wooded hillsides.

          It has taken me ten years to figure things out, in terms of building a profitable method of farming on this marginal land. Also, farming is brutally hard work, so most folks are not good candidates for this right from the start.

          It might not be too late if you start now. You can still buy building materials from recycle, 2nd hand type stores.

          This drought should be a wake up call too. You MUST develop irrigation and drinking water sources. Whether it is global warming or some other deal doesn’t matter.

          • paper is poverty

            The book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver describes her family’s attempt to survive on almost entirely local food on their property in Appalachia… worth checking out of the library, for sure.

      • paper is poverty

        I’ve had similar frustrations with family members. One thing I’ve learned is to describe what I think is going to happen in the least scary terms possible. People don’t like feeling afraid and if your message scares them they will shut you off out of emotional self defense. So instead of telling my dad he needs precious metals because of currency collapse and hyperinflation, it works much better to say that we’re probably going to see inflation like in the 1970s and metals are a good hedge against that. That’s not what I really think, but it’s a scenario my parents could live with and can think about preparing for, and I don’t care what my argument is, as long as it gets them into metals.

        Also… a lot of people are getting into d.i.y. things like backyard vegetable gardens, solar oven cooking, making their own artisan bread or their own home brew, etc… if you and your wife could find a few interests along those lines, it would involve some prepping but your wife wouldn’t even have to be aware of it or think of it that way. It’s just better food. The bread making could justify a grain mill and some bulk wheat purchases and you’d never have to say the words “food storage” or “shelf life”. Or you could can a few pints of dilly beans or dry some tomatoes, without mentioning that you’re practicing food preservation. And there’s no difference between camping equipment and survival equipment, so you could always claim a sudden interest in camping. Good luck….

        • Doug

          Thanks. That is the key, camoflauging it as an interest in something else. My hope is as things go south, my wife will quickly realize I am right and start listening!

          I also had property in the Appalachians (over 100 acres), but it was hunting property on a forested, rocky, high acidity mountainside. I sold it late last year because it had no water or electric, my boys are into sports, AND because I think gas prices are going to skyrocket and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg to go there. I invested the proceeds largely in PM and am open to a truly surviveable retreat.

      • Aluminumati

        $4k is not much of a “lifestyle”. My wife also has her head in the sand and I just did what I had to do. I refused to go on vacations because of the spending. She went alone. Now she is not going because it’s not fun. I told her about the gain I have had on gold/silver and she knows the food price increases the food storage protects us from. She no longer gives me grief about it, but still does not ‘participate’. I think she leaves it to me since I know more about what to do. Be a man and take charge, I guess is what I’m saying. If she leaves, you are better off, because a woman like that would leave you because you were preparing for the family’s future will lose it when the collapse happens.

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  • Mad Max

    It’s too bad even after all that has happened that people still think we can fix our present economic system and government. Hopefully, sooner than later they will come to the realization that our old way of life is over and gone forever. We have no choice but to change or we will lose everything. Everything that we stand for and everything that we’ve built. There is only one hope left to save this country. The founding fathers left us with a fail safe mechanism to regain control our government when it gets out of control or dysfunctional. It’s called “the Nuclear option” and for good reason.

    “Be Smart!” –

    U.S. Citizens
    Read “Common Sense 3.1” at ( http://revolution2.osixs.org )

    Non U.S. Citizens
    Read “Common Sense 3.2” at ( http://SaveTheWorldNow.osixs.org )

    If you know the world around you is collapsing and you do nothing about it, then who’s really at fault when you stood by and did nothing? We have to stop whining and do something about it. We don’t have to live like this anymore.

  • netnut

    Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions,
    which move with him like flies on a summer day.

    Please read: The Creature From Jekyll Island.
    Freedom ain’t Free! It takes Diligence.

    Please read: The Road To Serfdom
    By F. A. Hayek
    Opened my eyes! They count on us being Dumbasses.

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  • Will Swanson

    What a pleasure to read of those that have a handle on the future. My problem is a little different in that I have a son and family with some serious normalicy bias. At this point they actually don’t care to see me coming. I have decided now to keep my mouth shut. They have come to know some Mormons as friends and are amazed at their preparations and view. Sometimes I guess you just have to wait for some one they think that knows something to impress them.

    • Steven M. Guttman

      To: Mr.Swanson What a confusing statement you have made. I do not GET IT! Are you pro Mormon preparations or against such things. I have a hard time dealing with people who talk sideways. Say what you mean!

      • http://pennypincherpersonalfinance.blogspot.com Penny Pincher

        He is saying that his son won’t listen to him but the son will listen to some Mormons, and so he hopes the Mormons will rub off on him.

  • Thomas

    Thousands of municipalities suffering and tens of thousands of symptoms looking for a million cures.
    Who cares about the underlying sickness?
    Who’s interested in looking at our our collective American negative cash flow?
    The debt Clock (http://www.usdebtclock.org/) numbers continue to grow and so our chances of reversing this trend continue to diminish.

  • Monte Cristo

    JR, you said ‘Uh…. you mean just chanting “Yes we can” mindlessly won’t fix the problem????”
    Well, sure it will, you just need to say it with more passion!

  • Tony D

    I think the biggest thing that exposes Obama and the US as a joke is that there has been no Federal budget for 3 years ! No accountability to taxpayers and how easy is it to hide what is happening ! Perhaps no budget is sign of a movement to a totalitarian state. There is a clear weakening of democratic accountability in this situation.
    While I’m not in the US is it right to suggest both 2012 candidates like it this way and so aren’t going to commit to a budget that may limit their “popularity” ?

  • Praetorean

    Our economy/our money/our work they used us, for their own ends, this is the big problem for, (we the people),and its is finally here, its been a long time coming. This is not fixable, they don’t won’t to fix it, its all about world gov. They had to bring down the American people to achieve that goal, the old saying goes (build them up to tear them down). You can see it, if you look. Bad schools, moral decline, drug use (illegal/legal), the me, the self, the I. They won that war, but hope springs eternal. Going back to a simpler time is not so bad. USSR was the biggest police state ever and they collapsed them. We are no different, history has shown, that world governance is impossible, but they keep trying. You just have to survive the beginning shocks and the after shocks and thats to come, it is going to get much worse, forget who’s the hero, who’s going to save you, who’s right who’s wrong, just survive for you, your family and community, because all things are going to get smaller, communities, government if there is any it will be local, money won’t be any if there is it will be local. No world nothing, simpler times hard work but allot simpler, survive thats how you beat them. SURVIVE.

  • Praetorean

    Most important, learn to make beer & wine you’ll be the new Budweiser on your block, (get it), survive re-build, at the end of collapse the re-build will begin as history has shown, the cyclical continues. Good luck to TPTB, they always loose in the end, thats the (END GAME) they lose. I just hope we make a better world thats the ?.

    • http://pennypincherpersonalfinance.blogspot.com Penny Pincher

      Learn to grow something that produces sugar, like sugar beets or sunchokes, or raise bees, so you have something to make your hooch with. Sweet corn is good for that, you can malt wheat; but I dunno if you can raise enough wheat in your back yard to be Budweiser.

  • Civilization Destroyed

    I am 48 yrs old. I grew up in the U.S. and have lived here all my life. I remember seeing a cartoon when I was a child about a post-apocalyptic type situation in which some people were chanting “oosa, oosa, oosa” but it was not clear what they were trying to say. Near the end of the cartoon it showed some rubble of the destroyed civilization and it showed them again chanting “oosa, oosa, oosa” near the letters USA (“oosa”) which were uncovered in the rubble. It was a very eerie scene at the time. It makes me wonder what the elite knew/know.

  • Jeff Seiffert

    Look at the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR) for the various states. Most of them are not bankrupt at all and have assets far exceeding what the media is reporting. Legally the states are required to publish financial statements every year just like any corporation does. They are easily found with google and then you can look at the bottom line of where your state is financially. Most of the time the state governments feign a financial crisis to force the public to accept more taxes or less services for the same money when the state’s assets do not justify the loss of services or the demands for new revenue. Possible exception to this may be California, but they still have billions in assets.

    The states have amassed vast swaths of land that aren’t producing any revenue at all. Privatizing that land would grow the tax base, but then again it would lower the asset side of the CAFR. However if a state is truly in need of an influx of cash, selling off assets that aren’t performing to be privatized would be the first thing that needs to be done, just like any corporation does to sectors of the business that are dragging the rest under.

  • Praetorean

    Government, government thats the real chant here not Obama,Obama, he is a shill for TPTB. Governments is our problem, the fact that the government owns all that land (just goes to show), what we are dealing with and I mean (WE THE PEOPLE), this country is or was the only country on earth the people could own their own land, own their property, we where once KINGS of our land to do with as we pleased, to succeed or fail. I’m not being naive here, our country did work that why once and look what (WE THE PEOPLE) built, the greatest place to live on this earth, ever. TPTB/Government have and are taking away our ownership rights, thats what this is about, they want to own this world and they set this system-up so they could do just that and I say screw them. My ancestors (both sides) of my family have been in this country from the mid-1600’s and why did they come hear to get away from the @%*holes who want to own everything. Please, believe me I don’t want rebellion/civil war or death and destruction, I have kids. The system will collapse, when who knows, really, just keep telling yourself 16trillion and its way more than that, and they continue to LIE about everything folks. We will own our land again and to hell with global/one world/new world BS. I say GOD save the REPUBLIC and down with little kings/queens/princes/tptb/dictators and the want to Be’s Little god’s on earth, there is a place for them its deep and wide and they know their headed that direction for what they have done on this earth, bad luck to them. By their birth they think they can rule us, screw them. SURVIVE make a better world, as the song says, teach your children well. GOD SAVE THE REPUBLIC.

    Ps. Whom is going to buy that land ( Chinese’s/ Russian’s ), o’ I know our friends.

  • Bentley

    Actually regarding El Monte, CA, the sales tax rate alone was at just under 10% last year. This is precisely why the auto dealers fled the city. What is even worse is that one of these dealerships was one of the largest Toyota dealers in the US! I can not even begin to imagine the revenue alone from that one lone Toyota dealer.

  • Praetorean

    The people, you have to feel sorry for and you should be deeply sorrowful for them, are the ones who have lived their lives on the government tit for most or all of their lives and have never worked, when the money stops and it will, what will they do, go to the streets, what will they do. The so called poor in this country are rich compared to the rest of the worlds poor. Who are deprived of shelter/food and in most cases water, if look at those people their skinny/gaunt sunken faces, their not really old but they look old. This website is about the collapsing dollar and watching it happen, well you can watch or prepare. If your life has been about getting up and going to work and providing for you and your family you have one foot in the preparers world because you are not going to lie around on your big fat a#* and do nothing, waiting for the gov; to give you something. Heres how you look at it, we’re all going to loss weight in the future, just get use to it, you’ll survive, in tough times families get closer, even if you don’t like each other, that is how we where created, that is why the TPTB their system their phony money will fail because they want you to rely on them, isn’t that what GOD wants you to do, thats why we call them little god’s but their just people with power and money, crazy/insane people but they do have the power. America is going small, to big has destroy us. Number one on the list, get out of debt no more credit cards, what ever it takes. Go small/simpler living and survive. Don’t worry about the golden hoard after their initial rioting and burning/looting, stealing all the TVS, I’m talking big cities here the national guard will move in and they will be subdued, and the ones left will be given whats left in the gov; storehouses and then the unthinkable will happen, they will be told go to work or die, finally some good news, you don’t work you don’t eat as it should be. And the almighty FED Gov. where will they be in all this, worried about the big cities in-plodding the border hoard coming in because as America goes so the world goes and our fellow troopers will be fighting-it-out around this dumb-ass world in another countries trying to save their butts from whats happening, again. So its going smaller, just be a surviver and a leader and build a better America out of all this, crap. In the end, you are going to be looking at your family across the dining room table again, ha ha, get use to it. Life is a big “B”. SURVIVE MEN SURVIVE.

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  • gman

    “crumbling schools, cops and firefighters stretched too thin to respond on time, bad roads, libraries with empty shelves and erratic hours, etc., etc. All the pathologies, in other words, of a country that hasn’t yet developed into a nice place to live.”

    sounds like a libertarian’s paradise. what’s the problem?

  • http://www.buy-gold-today.com Gold Investor Joe

    My experience in the private sector is that you are responsible for saving for your own retirement and the day you quit working, regardless of the number of loyal years you work for a company, is the day you no longer have insurance coverage. Tax-payer subsidized employees have no legitimate right to expect a better deal than the private sector. I only hope the Federal government does not rescue any of these failing municipalities.

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  • http://N/A suzanne De Kuyper

    These comments were a good read. Try watching and listening to the Keizer Report on RT.com or Russian Times. He talks freely about money, no holds barred. He is a forme broker on Wall Street. He says what will never be said in any US or EU newspaper but has to be said. Most of know it intuitively. We have to start using free speech. Humans developed by being able to adapt to any and all real human problems for survival. If we continue to live as if lies are real and
    it is possible to base one’s future on them, most of us will not survive nor will our children. Speak, live, plan from the real. Propaganda will get ourselves and our country no-where you want to go.

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  • Willy1964

    Interest rates are determined by “Mr. Market”, NOT by some wonks in Washington D.C., NOT by the FED, ECB, BoJ, BoC, BoE, etc. So, the notion that interest rates were “kept’ low by someone is preposterous, ridiculous.

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