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   PastimesClown-Free Zone... sorry, no clowns allowed


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From: Broken_Clock12/7/2023 1:58:15 PM
2 Recommendations   of 436144
 
10 years on an Obummercare update is clear...

Joe says health insurance costs are plummeting! "because we ignore it!"-Bidenomics 101
++++++
marketplace.org

“Everyone’s looking at their pay stubs, and you’re getting kind of updated premiums from your employer,” he said.

"Those went up this year — by about 7% — according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Yet the health insurance index as measured by the CPI went down this year.

That’s because it doesn’t track health coverage premiums, said Steve Reed, an economist for the CPI program at the BLS. “It’s a little more complicated than one might expect or hope,” he said."
+++++++

Via Political Calculations blog,

The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010. It was slowly implemented, going into full effect in 2014. One of the main goals of the law was to make health insurance more affordable for Americans, but has it worked?

One way to answer that question is to see how much Americans are paying for health insurance since the ACA became law and to compare that how much American households would otherwise have paid if the preceding trend for health insurance costs remained in place.

We can make comparison using data from the U.S. Census Bureau's annual Consumer Expenditure (CEX) Survey. The CEX has reported how much an average "consumer unit", which roughly corresponds to an American household, has paid for health insurance in each year from 1984 through 2022. It compares those data points with the trend based on the actual expenditures for health insurance from 2000 through 2010. Here's the chart:

[url=][/url]

Compared to the pre-Affordable Care Act trend from 2000 through 2010, Americans household consumers paid 35% more on average for health insurance in 2022 than they would otherwise have paid based on the trend for these costs from 2000 through 2010.

How does that compare with the household consumers' other major health care expenditures? The chart is adapted from an older version and narrows in on the period from 2008 through 2022 to track the change in the average expenditures per American consumer unit for several health care expenditure categories. These categories include health insurance, medical services, drugs, and medical supplies.

[url=][/url]

Through 2022, what American household consumers pay for drugs and medical supplies has changed very little, with medical supplies within $95 and drugs within $133 of their cost in 2008.

Expenditures for medical services has seen more growth over time. In 2013, the year before the Affordable Care Act took full effect, Americans paid just $69 more for medical services than they did in 2008. By 2019, that increased to $257, which then dipped to $137 in the pandemic year of 2020. What American consumer households pay for medical services has risen rapidly since, as of 2022 they reached $457 more than they paid in 2008.

But what Americans pay for health insurance has relentlessly risen in all but one year (2017). In 2013, just before the Affordable Care Act became fully operational, Americans paid $576 more for health insurance than they did in 2008. That jumpd immediately to $1,215 in 2014, and has since risen to be $2,190 more than what American consumer units paid for health insurance in 2008.

2022 is the most recent year for which we have figures available. The Census Bureau will collect the data for 2023 in March 2024 and will crunch the numbers for several months before reporting it all sometime in September 2024.

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From: Broken_Clock12/26/2023 11:05:32 PM
1 Recommendation   of 436144
 
Wilol cooler heads prevail or will the fascists complete their self destructive coup de tat, lead by the Bidenistas?

Robert Shiller Warns Of 'Cataclysm' For US Dollar Reserve Status If Confiscated Russian Assets Given To Ukraine

by Tyler Durden

Tuesday, Dec 26, 2023 - 02:30 PM

If the United States shifts frozen Russian assets to Ukraine, it would be cataclysmic for the US Dollar's status as the global reserve currency, says Nobel Prize winning Yale professor, Robert Shiller.

[url=][/url]

"If America does this to Russia today… then tomorrow it can do this to anyone," he told Italian news outlet La Repubblica in an interview published Sunday.

"This will destroy the halo of security that surrounds the dollar and will be the first step towards de-dollarization, which many are increasingly confidently leaning toward, from China to developing countries, not to mention Russia itself," Schiller continued.

The US, EU, and allies have frozen some $300 billion of Russian foreign exchange reserve assets since last year after slapping the Kremlin with sanctions over the Ukraine war. Over the past year, various ideas have been tossed around regarding using the funds to aid Ukraine.

Earlier this month, the Financial Times described doing so as "a radical step that would open a new chapter in the west’s financial warfare against Moscow."

"I can’t convince myself that this [confiscation of Russian assets] is the right way," said Schiller, who received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2013, and is known for his expertise in behavioral economics and macroeconomics. He was named one of Bloomberg's '50 most influential people' in global finance.

"In addition to the fact that this will be confirmation for the Russian leader that what is happening in Ukraine is a proxy war, it could paradoxically turn against America and the entire West," he continued, adding that giving confiscated Russian assets to Ukraine would become "a cataclysm for the current dollar-dominated economic system."

Russia has called the confiscation unlawful, and warned that any country considering participating in sanctions should expect a mirror response from Moscow.

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To: Broken_Clock who wrote (436128)1/25/2024 9:35:54 AM
From: ggersh
4 Recommendations   of 436144
 
This is an absolutely perfect tweet for the Clown free zone thread

we're fucking surrounded by clowns!!

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From: Bid Buster2/17/2024 1:19:21 AM
1 Recommendation   of 436144
 
Is Mythman still around? I'm just wondering if Maria still spreads her legs at his waving command.

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From: Broken_Clock3/1/2024 10:20:45 PM
2 Recommendations   of 436144
 
You can easily determine how brainwashed you were during covid. Figure each month on a sliding scale...

Knew right off : mucho common sense
March 2020: skeptical but jury still out
April : WTF!
May : Something is really wrong here?
June : I'm buying Ivermectin

Still believe the hype?

Urine Idiot!

It’s Official: We Can Pretty Much Treat Covid Like the Flu Now. Here’s a Guide.
New guidelines from the CDC Friday bring Covid precautions in line with those of other respiratory viruses

wsj.com

yes, Fauci should be hung.

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To: Thomas M. who wrote (436126)3/5/2024 5:39:07 PM
From: Thomas M.
1 Recommendation   of 436144
 
Argentina Sees First Monthly Budget Surplus In 12 Years

The Argentine government in January saw its first monthly budget surplus in nearly 12 years, as new President Javier Milei continues to push for strong spending cuts, the Economy Ministry announced.

January was the first full month in office for Milei, a far-right libertarian who took office in December, and it ended with a positive balance for public-sector finances of $589 million at the official exchange rate, the government said late Friday.

The figure includes payment of interest on the public debt.

It is "the first (monthly) financial surplus since August 2012, and the first surplus for a January since 2011," the Economy Ministry said, according to the official Telam news agency.

Milei has been negotiating with the International Monetary Fund over its $44 billion loan and has vowed to achieve balance in public finances this year.

"The zero deficit is not negotiable," Economy Minister Luis Caputo said Friday on X, the former Twitter.

Milei, an economist, has advocated sharp cuts in spending and a reduction of public debt on the way to a dollarization of the economy.

Following a 50 percent devaluation of the peso, a lifting of price controls and strong rate increases, Argentina saw an inflation rate for January of 20.6 percent, with a 12-month rate of 254.2 percent.

The year 2023, the final year of the center-left government of Alberto Fernandez, ended with a 211 percent inflation rate.

With poverty affecting 45 percent of the population, Milei has predicted an economic rebound within three months.

barrons.com

Tom

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From: Broken_Clock3/11/2024 5:46:57 AM
1 Recommendation   of 436144
 
thecon.tv

if you're a clown, don't bother viewing

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From: Thomas M.5/4/2024 7:04:29 PM
1 Recommendation   of 436144
 
Jared Bernstein was the chief economist and economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. Now he is President Joe Biden's Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Tom

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To: Thomas M. who wrote (436134)5/6/2024 1:19:59 AM
From: Perspective
   of 436144
 
Scary.

I could've explained the relationship between the government issuing bonds and the Fed printing money better than that when I was in ninth grade...

Meritocracy has been turned completely upside down...

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From: Broken_Clock5/8/2024 4:58:46 PM
   of 436144
 
Welcome to the Warfare State
by Doug Casey

War is one of the few things that only the State can do. Indeed, as Randolph Bourne said, "War is the health of the State." Let’s briefly discuss the nature of the State to see why World War 3 is on the way.

The State is like any other living entity: its prime directive is to survive and grow. Bear in mind that the State—the government—is not at all the same thing as the country or society, even though it claims to be. It’s not "We the People"; it’s a distinct entity with its own discrete interests. And that’s actually too mild an assertion. While individuals and companies prosper by providing goods and services to others through voluntary exchange, the State specializes in coercion.

There’s nothing voluntary about the State. Its main products have always been pogroms, persecutions, confiscations, taxation, inflation, censorship, harassment, repression—and war. The State is not your friend.

Mass murder and wholesale destruction are bad enough in themselves. But in wartime, the State enables them with new taxes, new debt, draconian controls, and new bureaucracies. These things linger long after the war is over.

Worse yet, the State does these things with the sanction of the victim; the typical citizen has been taught that almost anything is justified by "national security." Anyone who would normally protest these depredations in peacetime soon learns to dummy-up when there’s a war for fear of being lynched for sympathizing with the invariably demonic enemy.

After the war—assuming a victory, of course—the State’s debt, taxes, regulations and general size never return to pre-war levels. They ratchet up to ever higher plateaus, requiring the State to do more of the same to justify its existence. Government programs, of whatever description, are almost never pulled out by their roots. At most, they’re trimmed, which has the same effect as pruning a plant, i.e., they’re encouraged to grow back bigger and stronger.

Why am I saying these scary things? Because we’re clearly heading towards a big war.

A Clear and Present DangerI want to make a point in this article that many will find unpalatable, perhaps even incredible: In today’s world, the US military is nearly useless in countering potential threats from abroad. It’s actually a positive danger. And it’s not ready for a real war.

If you’re looking for a comforting mainstream analysis, I don’t have much. Let’s start with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

NATO is a US government program that’s taken on a life of its own. Its original purpose was to defend against the Warsaw Pact. But although the Soviet Union and its allies ceased to exist as a military threat in the early 1990s, NATO has continued to grow. Despite agreements with Russia, it’s grown right to their border, even adding traditionally neutral states like Finland and Sweden.

Even if you assume that NATO doesn’t provoke WW3 over the Ukraine ( setting aside a discussion of who’s right or wrong and who really started it), the Chinese are likely next on the dance card. They can only see the allied Western states as pointing a gun in their direction. To them, NATO is a provocation to a cultural/racial war. NATO encourages them to make building their military a high priority.

So much for the "End of History." As long as nation-states exist, there will be violent conflict between them. But the way I see it, the nature of war, and even the nation-state itself, is going to change radically over the next 20 years. And, as has been the case throughout history, a prime mover is going to be technology.

Weaponry & StrategyIt’s an old saying: "Generals always fight the last war."

That’s not because they’re (necessarily) stupid. But by the time a man gets a bunch of stars on his epaulets, you’re only assured of a competent bureaucrat with good political skills, not someone with a great military mind. Bureaucrats are not daring innovators; they do things by the book. That gives them CYA excuses and plausible deniability if things go wrong.

Apart from simple inertia, fighting the last war makes sense. For one thing, it’s what they know. For another, the equipment and tactics in question have been tested. For another, the weapons exist, and when a war starts, you basically have to "run what you brought."

Whether they can get away with fighting the last war depends mainly on whether there has been a significant change in technology. Up to early industrial times, one change in a lifetime was a lot. After all, how often do major innovations like the stirrup or gunpowder come along? But since the advent of industrialized warfare with the American conflict of 1861-1865, changes have been very rapid, and the rate of change is accelerating at warp speed.

The military is not unaware of this; as I said, they’re not stupid. In fact, today’s officers are highly educated; almost all are college graduates, for what that’s worth. Most field grade officers have done graduate work as well. That’s one reason the US emphasizes high-tech weaponry.

The military is throwing ever greater amounts of money on larger, more complex, and vastly more expensive pieces of equipment. The idea is to stay technologically ahead of any potential enemies. Maybe the US can maintain its lead as long as it’s a simplistic scenario of our tanks, planes, and ships against theirs. But the chances of things staying that simple are close to zero. The whole paradigm is about to change.

This is true for several reasons: today’s "hi-tech" weapons (F-35 fighters, Abrams tanks, aircraft carriers) are already obsolete. They’re certainly a nightmare to maintain and keep personnel competent. New drones, missiles, and torpedoes are both superior to and vastly cheaper than conventional weapons. Biological and cyber weapons obviate them all. If they’re deployed in earnest, it’s "Game Over".

Projecting force worldwide with 800 bases, $100 million aircraft, and carrier fleets, is ruinously expensive, especially for a bankrupt government that’s "on tilt". But that’s the essence of American doctrine.

The concept of "defense" itself is obsolete for a nation-state. Let’s look at this in a bit more detail.

1. Today’s "Hi-Tech" Weapons Are ObsoleteStarting with a blank piece of paper, during World War II, the US developed one of the conflict’s finest fighters, the P-51 Mustang, in 117 days and produced it for $50,000 a copy—say about $500,000 in today’s dollars. It’s true that the F-35 is considerably more complex, but relative costs should have been dropping because of advances in materials, techniques, computers, robotics, and such, not escalating over 100-fold in real terms. A friend who knows about these things tells me that every hour of operating time on an M-1 Abrams requires 8 hours of maintenance. For a F-16, it’s 20 hours. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that only 30% of F-35’s are flyable at any given time.

Unsustainable runaway costs are apparent everywhere. When you’re paying upwards of 15 billion dollars for an aircraft carrier (without any aircraft or auxiliary ships), $500 million for a B-2, and $7 million for a tank, you can’t afford to buy very many of them. And you absolutely can’t afford to lose any. Apart from the costs, it takes many months or years to produce more.

On the other hand, despite sophisticated defense armaments, a swarm of cheap sea-skimming missiles might sink a carrier and its 5000-man crew—not to mention a single hypersonic missile. A hit with a cheap shoulder-fired missile can bring down any low-flying aircraft, and at $10,000 a copy, the battlefield can be peppered with them. Fire-and-forget missiles transform tanks into expensive iron coffins; ultra-cheap commercial drones can drop explosives anywhere. Cheap, accurate, small, and numerous missiles are the modern equivalent of Sam Colt’s six gun, which not only made the little guy equal to the big guy, but superior—because big guys are big targets. Drones the size of bumblebees will seek out highly trained and very expensive infantrymen.

Like a small person who knows he shouldn’t fight a giant on his own terms, US adversaries will use the military equivalent of Aikido, turning the opponent’s own might against him. The Houthis in Yemen recognize that it costs the Americans millions to blow up a mud hut, which is, in popular parlance, "unsustainable." In addition to creating more enemies. They see themselves as the under-gunned rebels in Star Wars when they destroy the Empire’s Death Star, substituting daring and cleverness for the enemy’s overwhelming physical capital.





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2. Today’s Conventional Weapons Will Soon Be Totally ObsoleteThis whole discussion will be completely academic in a generation when nanotechnology becomes practical. The idea is the creation of machines and supercomputers atom by atom. The essence of the technology is making things larger from a molecular level rather than trying to miniaturize them.

It’s likely to be the most important event in human history, including the conquest of fire. It will change the very essence of life itself totally, irrevocably, and unrecognizably—including the nature of armed conflict. An excellent, albeit conservative, description of a nanotechnic future is offered by Neal Stephenson in Diamond Age, which I highly recommend. Nanotech weapons will be available to everyone after a delay, much as gunpowder was in the 15th century. That assumes, of course, that the cyber and bioweapons now available to everyone don’t obviate the whole question.

In the meantime, the trend to miniaturization will continue apace. Microchips and other computer components are commercially available everywhere, and they’re cheaper and more powerful every day. The next generation of weapons will be highly miniaturized robots, weighing at most a few pounds apiece, probably designed with running or flying insects as models. Construction will be facilitated by the use of off-the-shelf electronic products. That's in addition to full-size Terminator-style robots, AI-piloted and armored vehicles.

A $50 billion fleet can be devastated by a few score missiles; a formation of soldiers wouldn’t stand a chance against an attack by thousands of very cheap microbots. Just as a hundred tiny ants can easily overwhelm a scorpion, cheap and tiny machines will turn current military behemoths into useless artifacts. Any country will be able to have a truly formidable military for a fraction of today’s costs.

3. Overextension as a Formula for DisasterFighting a war next door is one thing; doing so on the other side of the world is something else again.

Fuel, materials, and troops are very costly to transport and maintain at the end of a 10,000 mile airlink. Doing so is likely to result in what has been called "imperial overstretch"; if you try to cover all the bases, you become overextended, vulnerable, and bankrupt. The US currently maintains a military presence of some description in about 100 countries, and almost all of those emplacements are an active provocation to somebody.

Question: If social spending cannot or will not be cut, with $1 trillion in interest that must be paid each year, debt growing at $2 trillion per annum, and money already being created by the trillions annually, what is going to give when times get tough? Will the government get involved in yet another serious foreign military adventure? Of course. They see it as a solution, not a problem.

A poor country can fight a war using human capital—like Korea in the 1950s or Vietnam in the 1960s. But a country like the US is almost forced to use financial and technological capital because human life has a high price tag for us. That makes for a problem when we don’t have the financial resources to maintain a military that’s both very expensive and ineffective.

Can the US afford to fight a continuous war in the alleged search for continuous peace? The experience of previous empires, from the Romans on, suggests the answer is no.

America’s best defense is a strong economy with lots of technological innovation, not an overweening military. If the US government, with its taxes, regulations, currency inflation, and welfare, were to disappear, the country would experience the greatest and most genuine boom in world history. In a decade, even China would appear as relatively insignificant as Nigeria today. It would be almost impossible to threaten a genuinely advanced America.

It’s equally important not to give any government or group a reason to launch an attack. People the world over love the idea of America; they love the culture, the cars, the food, the freedom, you-name-it. They like the good things American corporations used to make. They don't mind good-natured, free-spending American tourists.

What they don’t like is US boots on the ground or in their airspace, fomenting coups to install "democracy." If Washington DC ceased to exist, the other 96% of the planet’s population would have no more incentive to strike America than Costa Rica.

Of course, I may be anachronistic in that view. Over the last 50 years, while the US was building an arsenal to fight Russia and China, a different threat has been building. The Muslim world, which has been in what amounts to a Forever War with the West for 1400 years, is cyclically on the march again. They have two very important weapons.

One is firm and fanatical beliefs. The West, on the other hand, has lost all confidence; it’s flaccid and believes itself to be evil. As Napoleon said, in warfare, the psychological is to the physical as three is to one. The prognosis for America and Europe is not good. They’ll be conquered both psychologically and by migration. America’s bloated military will be useless.

Islam’s second weapon is many hundreds of millions of young Mohammedans. From a military viewpoint, they are infiltrating the demographic and political structure of the West and changing it. And if things ever go kinetic, scores of millions of young fighters are cheaper and more effective than expensive hi-tech hardware.

There’s much more to be said on the topic of the Forever War with Islam.

Where this is GoingAs a reader, I presume you agree with me on some of the above or are at least willing to listen to the argument with an open mind. I suspect that’s not the case with most Americans, however. They view the military as a national treasure or even an icon.

On one level, I can understand this atavistic attachment. As a kid I wanted to go to West Point—but was cured of the temptation by four years of military high school. In college, during the Vietnam War, I was signed up for the Marines PLC program (yes, I was a slow learner). But then I simultaneously drew 365 of 366 in the draft lottery (it was a leap year) and was medically rejected as 1-Y because I had broken my right leg in 17 different places only a year before.

At that point, I figured the cosmos was trying to send me a message like, "If you really want to go to Vietnam, do you really need the government to pay your way?"

American’s warm feelings toward the military are largely misplaced. And I speak as someone who likes soldiers. Whatever its star-spangled history, the US military no longer serves much of a useful purpose because of the ongoing evolution of technology. Worse, it’s become an active danger. What’s left of its esprit de corps is being eroded by DEI, LGBT, and anti-whiteism. Soldiers’ first loyalty is naturally to each other—although that’s been weakened by Wokism. Their next loyalty is to their employer, who they trust less and less. Their third loyalty is to those they supposedly protect and serve, but they have less and less in common with them.

Combine those problems with others I’ve listed, and it’s no wonder the militaries of Western countries are becoming less and less reliable and effective. Not good; at the very time their governments are provoking war with Russia, China, and smaller counties.

Let me sum things up.

US foreign policy is putting this country on a collision course with any number of other countries. The US military is in a position to fight the last war, but not the next one, because the weapons the US is loading up on are basically dinosaurs. And like dinosaurs, they’re unbelievably expensive to feed. The likely bankruptcy of the government during the next economic downturn will make feeding them near impossible.

When the next conflict occurs, it’s likely to do extensive damage in the US itself. It will be hard to insulate yourself from World War 3. It makes the Southern Hemisphere look better all the time.

Your first line of defense, of course, is common sense survivalist stuff. You know the drill: buy gold, silver, and get a survival retreat with a year’s supply of food, fuel, and ammunition. Keep gaining skills and knowledge. Try to become self-employed. Surround yourself with reliable, like-minded associates. Keep a low profile with the authorities. And, I might add, enjoy yourself; don’t take things too seriously. We’re dealing with the human condition.

internationalman.com

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