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    A Primer For Those Considering Expatriation

    Is considering expatriation or foreign citizenship right for you?
    by Adam Taggart

    Friday, June 7, 2019, 5:13 PM

This primer is authored by Mark Nestmann. His company, The Nestmann Group, Ltd., has helped clients in over a dozen countries open offshore accounts, set up international businesses, obtain second residence and citizenship abroad, and construct suitable legal entities to achieve their wealth preservation goals

A growing number of Americans are frustrated with the way in which their economy has been managed and are becoming increasingly concerned about future measures the government may take to keep its coffers full.

A question that’s arising with increasing frequency is: does expatriation offer a viable protection to those concerned about a more financially intrusive US system?

The answer is ‘yes’, it does offer a completely legal solution for ending your obligation to pay US income, capital gains, and gift taxes on your worldwide income. But it is certainly not for everyone and should only be pursued after lengthy and diligent consideration.

And before you begin dreaming of a tax-free future, you should realize that the United States imposes taxes on a broader basis than any other country. The United States is one of two countries, and is the only major country, that imposes significant income, capital gains, gift, and estate taxes on its non-resident citizens.

In virtually all other countries, individuals end their liability to pay income tax after a sustained period of non-residence, generally one year or longer. But to legally and permanently end U.S. tax liability on their worldwide income, U.S. citizens must also give up their U.S. citizenship and passport. This process is called “expatriation.”

Yes, it’s a radical step. However, if you’re a U.S. citizen, you can make nearly all the preparations for a possible future expatriation without permanently leaving the United States. This is a four-step process:

  • Phase 1. Relocate your assets from the United States to other jurisdictions, preferably where the assets won’t be taxed.
  • Phase 2. Identify foreign countries where you would consider living,
  • Phase 3. Obtain a suitable second passport
  • Phase 4. Expatriate—give up your U.S. citizenship and passport

Once you’ve accomplished the first three phases, summarized here in Part I of this report, the final step—expatriation—is much easier than if you’re starting from scratch. Part 2 of this report describes the expatriation process.

Are you a good candidate for expatriation? You are, if:

  • You are comfortable living outside the United States, or are already doing so
  • Your spouse and children are comfortable living outside the United States, or are already doing so; and
  • You have already or can shift most of your income and assets outside the United States.

Phase 1: Relocate Your Assets Outside the United States

With a few exceptions, the Internal Revenue Code imposes taxes on both U.S. source income and foreign source income of U.S. citizens. Non-resident, non-U.S. citizens (also known as “non-resident aliens”) pay tax only on U.S. source income, although some U.S. sources of income (e.g., most capital gains) are tax-free.

To prepare for this more favorable tax treatment in anticipation of expatriation, begin moving liquid assets outside the United States to more tax-friendly jurisdictions. Begin selling assets that can’t be relocated (e.g., real estate) so that you may reinvest the proceeds overseas.

Invest only in countries and investments with which you are comfortable. If you are accustomed to buying and selling U.S. securities, consider using offshore bank or brokerage accounts to target non-U.S. securities. If you are an experienced real estate investor, investigate real estate purchases outside the United States. Keep in mind that a targeted investment or real estate purchase may also qualify you for legal residence in some countries (Phase 2) or even a second passport (Phase 3). If you have substantial domestic investments in precious metals, consider selling those holdings reinvesting the proceeds offshore.

The vast majority of foreign banks and brokerages now refuse to accept U.S. citizen clients, especially U.S. citizens resident in the United States unless the client has a residence permit in the country where the account is opened However, banks and brokerages in a handful of countries still accept new U.S. citizen and resident clients and allow them to purchase non-U.S. securities. A few banks in Austria, the Bahamas, Hong Kong, Liechtenstein, Singapore, and Switzerland are suitable for this purpose. The minimum deposits in these banks start at $250,000. Minimum deposits in offshore brokerages start around $10,000. Fees are much higher for banking services and securities trading than in the United States.

Both the accounts you hold offshore, and the income derived from them must be reported to U.S. authorities. The penalties for failing to make these disclosures are draconian. Consult with an expert familiar with the tax and reporting rules for international investments when you file your annual tax return.

Offshore real estate is a non-reportable asset for U.S. investors if owned individually or jointly with your spouse or other individuals. Income or gain from foreign real estate investment is reportable and taxable. Countries offering first-world infrastructure and where real estate is relatively affordable include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Spain, and Uruguay.

Numerous potential “land mines” exist in offshore real estate investments. Among them are the lack of a multiple listing service in many countries, difficulty in establishing good title, and legal provisions giving squatters the right to live on your property. In virtually all cases, a probate proceeding is necessary to convey foreign property to the beneficiaries of a deceased owner. Retain a knowledgeable real estate attorney in the country in which you purchase real estate to avoid problems.

Phase 2: Identify Foreign Countries Where You Would Consider Living

Once you give up U.S. citizenship and passport, you no longer have the right to live in the United States. You may generally make brief visits, but in most cases, you won’t be able to stay more than approximately four months annually without becoming subject to U.S. tax on your worldwide income based on the IRC’s “substantial presence test” rules discussed in Part 2 of this report. Finding another country to live in is therefore an essential part of any expatriation exit strategy.

Even if you have no plan currently to leave the United States permanently, finding a country that you may wish to relocate to in the future is a prudent safeguard. If economic or political conditions deteriorate in the United States and reach your personal breaking point, having legal residence in a suitable offshore jurisdiction provides a valuable insurance policy.

If you merely want the right to live in another country in the form of a residence permit, but don’t necessary want to be physically resident there, a number of countries can accommodate your needs. These include Belize, Costa Rica, Malta, Mexico, Panama, and Uruguay. In most cases, you can qualify for residence (although not the right to work in the country) by either making an investment or demonstrating a minimum guaranteed pension payment. Residence rights may be purchased in some countries by making an investment of $80,000 or more in real estate or other assets. A guaranteed pension payment of $1,000 or more may also qualify you for residence. In other countries, you may need to qualify on a points system. Some countries have multiple programs to consider.

Phase 3: Obtain a Suitable Second Passport

To end your responsibility to comply with U.S. tax and reporting obligations, you must give up your U.S. citizenship and passport. Without a second nationality in place and passport in hand, however, giving up your U.S. passport would render you a stateless person. Avoid this status, as it makes it difficult or impossible to legally live or travel internationally.

A second passport also conveys numerous other benefits:

  • It gives you the right to reside in the country that issued the passport, and possibly other countries. For instance, a passport from a member of the European Union conveys the right to live and work in any other EU country.
  • It gives you a way to travel internationally if your primary passport is lost or stolen, or if the issuing government confiscates or refuses to renew it.
  • It provides you with the opportunity to travel to countries blacklisted by the government that issued your primary passport. For U.S. citizens, this includes countries such as Cuba, North Korea, etc.
  • It avoids disclosing your primary nationality, should you ever need to keep that a secret. This can be useful if you’re ever confronted by militants who oppose the government that issued your primary passport.

You may qualify for a second citizenship and passport by ancestry, marriage, religion, or extended residence in another country. If not, a handful of countries offer “instant” citizenship in return for an investment or contribution. The Commonwealth of Dominica and the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis are examples of countries with an official, legally mandated, economic citizenship program. (Note: Dominica and the Dominican Republic are different countries.) In all, 13 countries have such programs in effect.

Dominica has one of the least expensive economic citizenship programs. The nationality law of Dominica authorizes the government to waive the normal requirement of seven years of legal residence to acquire citizenship in exchange for a cash contribution or an investment.

There are two options available:

  1. Contribution option: The minimum contribution for citizenship and a passport is $100,000 for a single applicant. Larger contributions qualify your opposite-sex spouse, your dependent children under 30, and qualified adult dependents to citizenship and a passport. You make the contribution only after the government approves your application. Additional costs come to about $35,000, making the total expenditure for a Dominica passport a minimum of $135,000 for a single applicant. Total costs including all fees for a husband and wife for this option come to about $210,000.
  2. Real estate option: Alternatively, you may purchase qualifying real estate in Dominica with a minimum value of $200,000. Additional costs come to a minimum of $90,000.

Dominica passport holders can travel without a visa, or obtain a visa upon entry, to nearly 140 countries and territories, including all 28 member countries of the European Union.

The Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis offers three options to obtain economic citizenship.

  1. A contribution to the Sustainable Growth Fund (SGF). The cost for an individual applicant is $150,000 for an individual; $175,000 for a married couple; and $195,000 for a family of four. Total costs for a husband and wife come to about $210,000.
  2. An investment of $200,000 into an approved real estate project. You can sell this investment after seven years. Total costs for a husband and wife come to about $305,000.
  3. An investment of $400,000 into an approved real estate project. You can sell this investment after five years. Total costs for a husband and wife come to about $520,000.

The St. Kitts & Nevis passport provides visa-free entry, or visa upon entry, to nearly 150 countries, including all EU member countries.

In all cases, applicants must pass a strict vetting process that includes a comprehensive criminal background check.

Bogus second citizenship offerings abound. In recent years, I have received offers to purchase passports from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Ireland, and Lithuania, among other countries. Some of these offers are outright scams. Others involve illegally purchased or stolen documents. Even if you succeed in obtaining a passport on this basis, it may be revoked at any time and you could be subject to arrest and/or deportation.

Conclusion

Once you’ve completed Phases 1, 2, and 3 of your four-step plan to disconnect from the United States, you’re ready for Phase 4: expatriation. While you may never take the final step of giving up your U.S. citizenship and passport, taking the preparations summarized so far at least gives you that option.

In Part 2: Important Consequences of Expatriation, we explore:

  • The nuts and bolts of expatriation, including the legal process of expatriation
  • The tax consequences of expatriation
  • The immigration consequences of expatriation
  • The pros and cons of U.S. investments once you expatriate
  • The tax consequences should you choose to spend more than a few months each year in the United States after expatriation

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access).

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63 Comments

  • Sat, Jun 08, 2019 - 6:00am

    #1

    sand_puppy

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 13 2011

    Posts: 1961

    9+

    Liberty Protection Rather than Wealth Protection

    I recently read Matt Bracken’s book Enemies Foreign and Domestic and just prior Kirt Schlicter’s Peoples Republic.  Both stories are action stories where patriotic citizens with military training take on the growing corruption in the federal government.

    Many other authors take on this same issue in a non-fiction manor.

    I don’t personally have nearly enough $$ to make expatriation reasonable from a tax avoidance perspective.

    But, like most people here, I feel uncomfortable with what appears to be a systematic erosion of personal freedoms in the name of public safety.

    Also, there appears to be a systematic dismantling of national (and religious / cultural) identity in the name of “inclusiveness,” but whose real purpose is suspected of being creating homogenized masses without coherent identity, that are fragmented and hence, easy to dominate.

    I might be interested in escaping to a non-US location where basic freedom of movement and expression might persist a generation or two longer.  Perhaps this would simply be a lower tech state where the electronic control noose was not as developed.

    And in an event that may be partially related:  Today is the anniversary of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty during the 6 day war with Egypt.

    Though it is difficult to know exactly why this happened –as official denials and a clear cover-up “investigation” happened– we can guess.   That guess is that Israel loyal factions within the US government and the Israeli military together attempted a false-flag attack on a US ship, which was to be blamed on Egypt, to bring the US military into fight for Israel’s ascendance as the regional hegemon.  This project was intended to spend the lives of US soldiers for this purpose.

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  • Sat, Jun 08, 2019 - 7:54am

    Reply to #1
    MarkM

    MarkM

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 22 2008

    Posts: 357

    3+

    USA Liberty

    Probably won’t be on the news tonight and the average American has absolutely no knowledge of it.

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  • Sat, Jun 08, 2019 - 7:56am

    Reply to #1
    MarkM

    MarkM

    Status Silver Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 22 2008

    Posts: 357

    USA Liberty.  🙂

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  • Sat, Jun 08, 2019 - 8:02am

    #2

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 469

    6+

    Testament of Values

    This set of articles was sad.

    Give up citizenship for “wealth preservation”.

    • What about community?
    • What about the company or companies that helped someone get filthy rich in the first place.  That community and the people?
    • Is this not the epitome of self interest and greed?
    • Is this not the ultimate extension of global governance. Haves search the globe for self and wealth preservation and to hell with the have nots.
    • 100% of people die, what a pathetic legacy, “I ran away to protect my money!”

    Perspective is everything.

    AKGrannyWGrit

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  • Sat, Jun 08, 2019 - 9:21am

    Reply to #2

    Adam Taggart

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 25 2009

    Posts: 2639

    8+

    Options

    Granny –

    One of the most common questions we’re asked here at Peak Prosperity is: Where are better places to live?

    Many folks feel that their current town/city/state and, yes, even country are not sufficiently resilient to deal with tougher times that may lie ahead. So they’re actively looking for input and guidance on better options.

    This article (which is an update of one written for this site back in 2012, and thus the one we could publish the most swiftly) is part of a series we’re developing:

    1. Expatriating (leaving your country and/or gaining additional citizenship)
    2. Relocation (moving to a more resilient location in your same country)
    3. Sheltering in place (making the most of your current location)

    Most people, by choice or necessity, will go with option #3.

    Many people on this website, whether they actually end up moving or not, are actively interested in exploring options for #2. More guidance on in-country relocation is one of the top requested topics on this site and at our live events.

    And for a certain segment of people, #1, expatriation is a real and worthwhile consideration. The topic is broad enough to cover more strategies than just hopping borders (e.g., remaining in the US physically but moving some of your wealth out of reach of the US govt), and is definitely NOT to be considered lightly — hence the important details discussed in Part 2.

    Chris and I believe it’s important that we offer what insights we can to folks considering any/all of 1-3. It not up for us to determine which is best for an individual — that’s their decision based on their own life situation.

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  • Sat, Jun 08, 2019 - 9:34am

    #3

    Barbara

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 15 2009

    Posts: 30

    12+

    protection from whom for what?

    Well, I can see why Dominica is selling citizenship to rich foreigners in return for legalized bribes.  “On 18 September 2017, Dominica suffered a direct landfall from Category 5 Hurricane Maria.[22] Early estimates of damage suggested 90% of the buildings on the island had been destroyed, with infrastructure left in ruins.[23][24] . . . the scale of destruction having left most people homeless and desperate.”

    I strongly recommend you check out the physical security of your investment.  Unless you’re buying a cat 5 hurricane proof bunker it may not be there after the next hurricane season.  In many of these bribes for passports locations you certainly can’t seriously plan to live there if things get bad in the West.  Being one of a few pampered multi-millionaires/billionaires in a country of starving people doesn’t sound like a sane bug-out plan.  As for tax havens, as their conditions get worse, what stops them from adding annual bribes [oh, sorry, processing fees] for maintenance of your passport.  Are you planning on bringing armed mercenaries and their families to protect you from starving locals?  How will you  feed yourselves?
    You know what, US taxes on the uber-rich don’t sound all that expensive in comparison to these schemes.  And in case you’re one of those who never read history, you might not know how many US investments in third world countries were confiscated when the starving locals discovered how much they were being exploited by rich foreigners.
    So, maybe Dominica gets me an entry to the commonwealth, so Australia/NZ would take me.  Given Brexit, possibly not the EU.  Cost $500K + with high probability of continuing extortion if US conditions get worse?  Is this really a reasonable investment to prevent the possible increase of high-income tax rates in the US?

    So let’s be honest here.  Our crony capitalism political system just elected a president on a protect the rich platform plank, the only one he’s successfully executed.  He’s lowered taxes on the upper 5%.  The economy gets worse so the poor demand more benefits.  The demand to fund benefits will come from the used-to-be middle class [probably most of us reading this].  Like Sand puppy, I don’t have that kind of money to waste on schemes to avoid paying a fair share.
    Unfortunately, US taxes [total] are relatively regressive.  14% SS/Medicare on the poor but the cap eliminates SS tax for those earning above $132,900.  Sales taxes (6-8%), state income taxes, property taxes all hit the middle class (say those between poverty and the $133K) hardest.

    I see little evidence of successful attempts in the US for a government to “confiscate” money/assets from the uber-rich.  In fact, current Fed and tax policy, as well as deliberately ineffective regulation of predatory financial schemes, have exacerbated the transfer of both monetary and real wealth from the middle to the top.  So what is it that the financial flight folks fear?  That they will extract so much from the middle that the US will become a third-world rabble that demands confiscation of their assets?  If so, it will be their own fault.  They receive uncountable advantages from doing business in the US and should be willing to pay a reasonable and fair share to maintain the health of the entire country.

    Now, if I take Sandpuppy’s thought process to a logical conclusion, it’s not really an economic issue, per-se.  The insane refusal of the monied elites to deal with climate disruption is going to produce Dominica/New Orleans/Puerto Rico like disasters on the coasts.  Droughts in the west will continue to cause fires followed by catastrophic flooding in denuded areas.  River and lake flooding is increasing inland (even the Great Lakes are running high!).  After all, rebuilding a devastated city at taxpayer’s expense increases GDP because we don’t require the calculation to deduct the value of the assets LOST.  Meanwhile FEMA and insurance money policies force rebuilding flooded structures many times instead of the sane option of buying the property and forcing the people to move to higher ground.    So yes, physical conditions could worsen to the point where we need to fear for our personal safety as starving, homeless people pour out of devastated cities willing to do anything to survive.

    So as a member of the dwindling middle class remnant, what do I need protection from?
    – 1) Rich privileged elites who are using their money to prevent sane government policies around mitigating the effects of climate disruption.
    – 2) Continued shifting of the tax burden from the ultra-rich to the middle.
    -3) Physical threats from starving masses pushed out of unsustainable cities due to bad economic policies and lack of mitigation of effects of climate disruption.
    – 4) Economic collapses that make it impossible for me to earn a living AND in which my meager savings become worthless due to federal policies that privilege rich elites.

    A few years ago, during a Mexican inflationary crisis, I visited a relative who had retired in Sonora.  We asked about the Mexican economic crisis and had he moved his assets to the US.  His response.  No, my rich neighbors have and I consider it unconscionable.  Their self-centered actions are damaging the Mexican economy.  If they claim the right to benefit as affluent citizens from living here then they have an obligation to support the country, not pillage it.
    I say the same to the US expats.  You have become wealthy on our backs.  To now be unwilling to pay some of it back to keep the country going is unconscionable.  Continuing to take such an attitude is probably the one thing that can ensure things eventually get so bad that the 90% you’ve pushed into living in near-poverty begin to confiscate your assets with pitchforks and baseball bats if you rig the government to prevent a legal solution.

    The US right has a hard choice.  It can rethink the above policies and begin to mitigate both climate and economic disruptions OR it can continue to extract until conditions become so bad that the ultra-left can institute draconian confiscation measures in a futile attempt to reverse the irreversible.  If the later happens, I’m not so sure there will be a safe-haven for the pillaging expats anywhere.  An American version of the Masad may start hunting them like they pursued the Nazis.

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  • Sat, Jun 08, 2019 - 10:07am

    #4

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 469

    7+

    Options

    Options – the poor do not have those in abundance.

    I understand your need  to post material regularly.

    You say “It is not up for us to determine which is best for the individual – that’s their decision based on their own life situation.”

    Of course.

    Here is the problem.  The 3 “B’s” and the 5 “G’s” won’t work for long.  (Beans, bullets & bunkers) or (gold, ground, gasoline, grub and guns).  Remember Katniss in the Hunger Games, there is a scene where she says “if we burn you burn” a message to the Capitol Panem.  The thought process of me and mine got us to where we are today and will be our undoing.  Community will be our only salvation.  Expatriation is offensive.

    Love to see others thoughts.

    Granny

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  • Sat, Jun 08, 2019 - 10:16am

    #5

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 469

    4+

    Barbara

    Amen!

     

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  • Sat, Jun 08, 2019 - 11:38am

    Reply to #5
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 25 2009

    Posts: 885

    3+

    Remedievalization

    is a JHK expression that describes what we’re up to. Lived 30 yrs. in a rural community all armed all suspicious of outsiders all garden all hunt all look out for each other. We’re not worried. I fear for the pain of many.

    my 17 yr. old mare has some ovarian cysts, a hormone panel will help me decide surg. or spend her days out as a field horse. This worries me. Her daughter will be of breeding age in another year. She and her brother are a great team, however it will be years to gestate, raise and train replacements. How much time is there?

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  • Sat, Jun 08, 2019 - 3:43pm

    #6

    lambertad

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 31 2013

    Posts: 181

    13+

    Tax Donkeys

    Thanks for the info, Chris and Adam. Agree with SP.

    My wife and I are proud Tax Donkeys, nayyy, maybe that’s a horse sound, Robie would know.

    Humble beginnings, son of a corrections office/beef cattle farmer and daughter of a lawyer/public defender. Both went to grad school and now have good incomes. Combined we pay roughly 15K/yr into SS, a system we will NEVER see the benefit of and a PONZI SCHEME from the beginning that is used and abused by people with less than 11% approval rating but a high 90% re-election rate. We pay 30+K/yr in Fed/state income tax. We pay more into Medicare, which also will be bankrupt in the near-ish future. Our tax dollars are re-appropriated from things with actual meaning (building out alternative transportation systems, alternative energy, supporting regenerative systems, etc.) and instead subsidize big banks, the MIC, factory commodity farms, oil/gas/coal, and on and on. Sure, we use our after tax money and have solar panels, wood stove for reducing natural gas use when possible, buy local grassfed/organic produce, ride bikes to work in summer/fall, we took out our backyard and put in 25 fruit trees, raised beds, berries, etc. but we’re still forced to FEED THE BEAST simply because we work.

    As far as I can see, the only solution is to STARVE THE BEAST (reduce legally the taxes you pay to support the current system).

    If we take a step back and consider what others are advocating for, whether intentionally or unintentionally, they’re essentially saying people should stay in this country, don’t give up on the POOR BEAST, but continue to FEED THE BEAST. Continue to be taxed, it’s your DUTY to be Tax Donkeys, don’t you know. Your friends, family, and community are Tax Donkeys, so you should be too, if you’ve got any morals that is… Sure, you can pretend like your vote means something (how’d that work out for Bernie Supporters, crickets, errr I mean TRUMP-RUSSIA) but as has been shown here before, it’s rigged, folks.

    My wife and I save roughly 70% of net income and hope to retire in 10ish years. We’ll feed the beast for that long, then we’re out.

    We work Monday and Tuesday every week to FEED THE BEAST. The best part of it is, when we retire we can use our time to provide for our own needs (cutting firewood, gardening, orchards, raising animals, etc. thereby reducing the money we need to earn to subsist) and none of that time can be taxed.

    Whether we do any of that in this country or another country it will depend on how much the spying increases in the coming decades. I’m looking forward (not really) to the day when the health insurance companies buy info from the credit card companies who know exactly what you buy at the grocery store each week (ice cream, anyone) who then gets info from cell phone companies who can ping locations (you were hanging out with someone who had a 550 credit score!) who then talk to the banks who then talk to the IRS (they save 70% of net income?!?!) to create my Citizen Plus Score (TM, Alphabet Inc, all rights reserved) thus influencing how high my negative interest rate is at the bank! Personally, I’m hoping for the great simplification before then. If not, perhaps a chosen simplification by relocating to a country where the spying isn’t nearly as intrusive will be in the cards.

    No one is chastising me into FEEDING THE BEAST, but thanks for trying.

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  • Sat, Jun 08, 2019 - 4:11pm

    #7
    ezlxq1949

    ezlxq1949

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 29 2009

    Posts: 247

    8+

    Community is our salvation

    Well said, AK Granny. That’s what my wife and I believe, that’s why we’re working to build up community connections and community assets.

    If you’re thinking of moving to Australia, do your homework.

    Australians generally have a long cultural tradition of looking after each other — we generally don’t go in for this lone wolf idea — and have never trusted politicians, so the social climate here is already conducive to co-operative efforts. It is to this culturally-ingrained set of values and behaviours that I will look when things get tough. I think also that people will prove to be more resilient than we imagine. I have read that prior to WW2 the British government set up a number of mental hospitals around London, expecting to treat a lot of people mentally damaged by any bombing. It turned out that the people rose to the challenge and did well. We can only hope that a similar response will be forthcoming in the years ahead.

    That said, our governments, state and federal, seem to be working towards some kind of dictatorship. Oppressive new laws deal harshly with the rights of journalists and whistleblowers to report on government malfeasance, and a Chinese-style social control experiment is underway in Darwin. Things can change quite remarkably in a few short years. Uruguay was a splendid democracy until, amazingly, it went through a fascist period in the 1970s. This ended, but would it were this to happen again during the long descent?

    Unless you have a great deal of money with which to buy your way in, the age limit for ordinary migrants is 42, and you need to have a skill or qualification that the feds deem to be in demand here. Culturally we’re somewhat similar, but only somewhat. Divided by the same language and all that.

    Even our conservative politics would in the US be considered leftist. In particular, the US has made the cultural choice to distribute firearms widely among the general public; the Australian cultural choice has been to restrict their distribution as much as possible. The consequences of these two choices have yet to be tested in genuinely trying times.

    We are an island continent, meaning that there’s no easy way out if you need to leave in a hurry: there’s no convenient Canada even to bicycle into if you need to get out in a hurry. Airports can be easily shut down; there’s very little passenger shipping any more.

    We pursue an extremely foolish policy regarding transport fuels. While we have some crude oil sources of our own, we are letting our refinery capacity dwindle and dwindle, and rely on importing transport fuels from Singapore and elsewhere. If the terminal facilities in Darwin were to be damaged in a cyclone, or to be interfered for some reason with by the Chinese company which now has a 99-year lease of the port of Darwin, rationing would start within 2 weeks. Imagine what effects that would have on food distribution! Our food system is world-class, meaning that it entails unnecessarily transporting foodstuffs over ludicrous distances.

    While our banking system is first-class, if conditions get difficult and you’re relying on an income stream originating in the US, how secure is that? Indeed, this proviso applies to any country of relocation unless you’ve transferred your entire asset base to that country.

    A lot of these comments apply also to New Zealand.

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  • Sat, Jun 08, 2019 - 4:53pm

    #8
    derelict

    derelict

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 13 2008

    Posts: 18

    7+

    Reporting and such

    I’m not sure about the statement: “Offshore real estate is a non-reportable asset for U.S. investors if owned individually or jointly with your spouse or other individuals.”

    Unless you are talking about a primary residence you are living in abroad, real estate would be considered an investment asset like anything else. Google rules for 8938 reporting. The limit is 200K for single taxpayers, which would include most any property in Australia, NZ, Canada and perhaps some of the others you mention.

    There are two uses of the word expat at play here. Expat is commonly used to refer to any person living out of their home country of citizenship. I am an expat. But in the context of this article you are specifically referring to giving up your home citizenship, which I have no intention of doing.

    I file my US tax return every year, have done, and will do. So fears to rest for Granny and others. It’s not about avoidance. The truth is, most countries have double taxation agreements with the USA, so if you’re earning, and paying taxes, locally in another country, you will owe no tax to the USA even though you file. Most countries tax rates are higher than the USA, shocker that might be to the folks who cry wolf about their tax burden. So the way the calculation works, you’ve already paid 10K of tax to country X, you’d owe 8K, or 6K, were you to pay in USA, so you owe nothing.

    The most apropos comment to my situation in the OP is this one: “when you reach your personal breaking point” – which I reached long ago. It had nothing to do with tax avoidance.

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  • Sun, Jun 09, 2019 - 7:54am

    #9
    phoenixl

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    Something to think about when thinking about expatriating elsewhere is whether the locals of the area you go to will welcome you and incorporate you into their community or not. Just because government officials there allow you to come in doesn’t mean the locals are guaranteed to embrace you. Also, as the US continues to offend more countries, how locals presently treat expats (possibly because they like the money you spend there) may change. In a world of increasing stress, “otherization” also increases. So I wanted to inject an “on the ground” perspective of actually living there once all the other paperwork and planning is done.

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  • Sun, Jun 09, 2019 - 8:41am

    #10
    borderpatrol

    borderpatrol

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    Testament of Values?

    If you lived in Germany in the 1930’s would you leave or stay? How about Argentina around 2000? How about Russia during Stalin’s reign?  You think we live in a country where our leaders actually care about it’s people?  There is an old saying that if want to judge family or country, look at their fruits. What are the fruits of our country. Don’t look good to me, Vietnam, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, etc.  Our constitution could be toilet paper the way they are destroying it. General apathy and laziness among the masses will make things very ruff with the next downturn.

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  • Sun, Jun 09, 2019 - 10:11am

    #11
    brushhog

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    Havent found anything that even compares to the USA

    Ive done my share of travelling and to be honest I havent found anything better. If you can find me a place with four seasons, protects my right to bear arms, where I can own a good piece of farm land in a rural area…I’ll consider it. In the places that match those criteria, most of them have tax schemes that are even higher than the US, with governments that are even more socialist.

    Lets face it, we now have a president that has LOWERED the tax burden of the majority of Americans. No offense Barbara but CNN must live rent free in your brain. The majority of Americans received a tax CUT [ please spare me the links to NYT and WAPO ]. I am far from a wealthy man and I saved 1200 on my return.

    We have some of the most resource rich land in the world here in the US. And good, rich farmland can be had cheaper than most places on earth. I own 100 good acres, house, barn, garage all purchased for about 250k. Try to find that in central America, south America, Europe, or anywhere. I’ve looked. I couldnt find it. Many countries have laws that restrict non-native born people from ever owning farm land.

    No. We might be in for some hard times but the good old USA is still the best deal around. As Ronald Reagan famously said; “If we lose here there’s no place left to go, this is the last stand on earth”. We must defeat collectivism/marxism/socialism HERE. God Bless America and God Bless President Trump.

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  • Sun, Jun 09, 2019 - 12:46pm

    #12

    Bytesmiths

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    Reporting? Why?

    First off, I agree that it is everyone’s duty (who is able) to help starve the beast.

    The best way to do so is to make as little money as possible.

    You can join with others and own property in many countries as a co-op or limited liability partnership. Then you can grow your own food. (If you’ve been on this site for long, this is a no-brainer!) Neither of those is taxed.

    Any money you do make should be from self-employment, preferably by supplying food to others. This tends to be on a cash basis. I am not suggesting “cheating on your taxes,” but should the situation become extreme, it will be easier to ensure you are not being taken unfair advantage of, than if you have an employer, paycheque, and income that is automagically reported to just about anyone who can claim they have an interest, such as insurance companies and credit agencies.

    As a co-op or LLC, you can afford yourself and your fellow shareholders certain “perks” that would normally be taxable. Our co-op owns goodies, like computers, electronics, and vehicles, that are bona-fide business expenses, but that would generally come from taxed income to individuals, or that would at least draw undue scrutiny from taxing authorities.

    I am a full-time volunteer for our co-op, for which I receive room and board. I dutifully declare the market value of such room and board. It keeps me in “comfortable poverty.” 🙂

    But avoid the temptation to use your low status to get government perks. No one gets more scrutiny than a welfare mom!

    My strategy is to “ask not what my government can do for me,” and have so little taxable income that the government has no interest is asking what I can do for it. Be a small target.

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  • Sun, Jun 09, 2019 - 3:34pm

    #13

    thc0655

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    Anthem: “It’s my life and I’ll do what I want.”

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  • Sun, Jun 09, 2019 - 4:45pm

    #14
    Uncletommy

    Uncletommy

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    We can't forget the importance of family and community

    Don’t forget, US citizenship follows you everywhere:

    The Trump Family Net Worth: How Much Is America's First ...

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  • Sun, Jun 09, 2019 - 9:32pm

    #15
    spanishpaco

    spanishpaco

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    I’m with granny and Barbara on this one – if our system is failing it’s because of greed and excess. Sure there might be a few lazy, poor people living off of Medicaid, but I think their impact is small compared to the businesspeople and financiers who extract exorbitant sums from the people and society for themselves. The idea to leave with one’s wealth (which was possible to amass only because of all the interlinkages, connections, and opportunity a society provides) and hide in another country, while in some ways appealing seems pretty immoral…just about as immoral as abusing fellow humans to make more money.

    Still, quite often this whole system seems unsustainable. The money our government does have seems not to be spent where it is most needed (sustainable transport infrastructure, energy research, eg). We need more taxes on the ultra wealthy but we also need better management of that money and of our resources.

    I come to this website for information on the economy, markets, environment, and energy. This article isn’t really what I’m looking for. I felt the same way about the “how to buy up real estate after the market crashes” seminar — feels like we’re just like everybody else waiting for the opportunity to fleece the more gullible and less fortunate. If energy resources are truly finite, then the only way to keep humanity going is to either reduce the population or have everyone stop being so greedy and live within the world’s limits.

    Here are some questions I have:

    – when will the market price in the underfundedness of social security and other pensions?

    – given current energy technology, how long could we sustain ourselves by transitioning to solar, etc? What do materials costs look like for acquisition and storage?

    – what’s the true cost of recycling things once you account for the oil used to power the truck that picks up the bottles, the energy to run the recycling factory? Does recycling make sense? For which materials? What’s the percentage return on the original cost?

    – we compare debt to gdp but gdp is an annual number and debt is cumulative. Does this matter?

    – if the government stopped running a deficit and let gdp slide by 1T, how bad would the effects be over the following years if it never ran a deficit again?

    – how much of stock market net flows are coming from corporate buybacks?

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  • Mon, Jun 10, 2019 - 12:26am

    #16

    AKGrannyWGrit

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    Thanks Max

    Here is an idea – it could be fear that makes people leave?

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  • Mon, Jun 10, 2019 - 9:41am

    Reply to #15
    Sonerous

    Sonerous

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    Somewhat bemused by this article

    Having just (re)joined this site the first article I read was Living with Integrity.

    …Integrity means that your actions are for the greater good. Sometimes there are acts of integrity which actually are not optimal for you; they’re optimal for the larger society around you… Integrity is thinking out seven generations.

    The second was this article on how to escape, pay no tax and “preserve your wealth”.

    These two articles seem to come from diametrically opposed positions: the former of considering others, the planet, and future generations and the latter: consider what’s best for yourself and family and b*gger anything else.

    Like Granny, Barbara and Paco, I’m not a fan of this article. It seems to be aimed at  the same cohort as the San Fransiscans buying land in New Zealand, building bunkers and learning how to manage their private armies, while exploring options of moving off-planet or uploading their brains into long-term storage so as to avoid any of that SHTF getting on their armani suits.

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  • Mon, Jun 10, 2019 - 12:55pm

    #17
    eek

    eek

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    Next Generation

    Both of my children are currently teaching abroad.  Neither of them feels like they can afford to return to the states and start a life here.  We are not rich, but I can see where they would have a difficult time paying for life in America.  Healthcare in particular.  The teaching profession is being pummeled here as well and I wouldn’t want either of them trapped by the ridiculous regulations that are causing teachers to flee by the dozens.  It’s not for lack of caring.  I see a lot of young people following this lead.

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  • Mon, Jun 10, 2019 - 2:16pm

    #18

    AKGrannyWGrit

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    Sonerous Well Said

    1st Story

    A very wealthy guy, supposedly he acquired his wealth from wall street and the financial markets,  bought a lovely place in one of our quaint coastal towns.  As the story goes he made it known he just wanted peace and quiet and to be left alone not wanting to interact with the community.  Of course having a lot of money he wanted his new place remodeled and up-cycled.  As fate would have it he had to interact with some of the towns-people so he could hire laborers to do his remodel.  You know the ending, the locals didn’t like the guy, and the rich guy didn’t like the locals.  Needless to say he would show up and find his house not to his liking.  Yep, he sold the place and moved on and the locals shared a keg.

    2nd story

    There was a beautiful fishing lodge, meticulously furnished and decorated, on one of our world class fishing rivers owned by an outsider. Anyway the outsider hired a local to check on the place regularly which he did.  Apparently no activity.  When the owner showed up and walked through the door he was shocked, the place was empty, completely. Ever piece of furniture, plate, towel, even the toilet paper tube was gone. Disappeared, gone, vanished.

    Last story

    We have snow-birds here.  People who spend their summers in Alaska and winters elsewhere.  One snowbird asked a guy he knew to keep an eye on his place and he agreed.  Upon returning the next spring the owners possessions, most of them were gone.  So the owner went to his neighbors house and asked if he had any idea where his stuff was.  His neighbor said yes last fall there was a big garage sale and the friend told everyone the owner was quitting Alaska and to sell everything.  Nice possessions and reasonable prices, the garage sale was a hit.  Apparently the garage sale funded the not so reliable friends travels down the Alaska Highway and out of state.

    There are benefits to being part of a community and not an outsider.

     

     

     

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  • Mon, Jun 10, 2019 - 4:22pm

    #19

    Stabu

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    US Taxes Still Lower than Taxes in Most Developed Countries

    The US is the third country I’ve lived in and I’m currently in the process of moving back to Europe (not expatriating). On the practical level all European countries except effective city states and due to some very rare exceptional circumstances issue a higher tax rate on their population than the US does and hence moving to Europe will most likely simply increase your tax burden. Double taxation can be avoided by using a good accountant there and picking a country that has a tax deal with the US (almost all of them do). The best thing an American can do to avoid being taxed in the US is to simply move to Puerto Rico and use their special deal that let’s you get away from social security, medicare and US income tax. You’ll still end up paying a 4% Puerto Rico tax. The only downside is that you’ll have to sell practically everything you own on the mainland and, well, live in Puerto Rico, which will be increasingly torn into smithereens every few years by a hurricane.
    I completely disagree that avoiding US federal taxes is somehow anti-social, because these taxes are mostly used for wars and Ponzi schemes (e.g. Social Security or medicare). Practically all funding of what people would typically consider essentials such as schools, the fire department or roads is done on the state or local level, and in cases where it’s not the question is about reshuffling money back from the federal government that the states have paid to it in the first place.

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  • Tue, Jun 11, 2019 - 12:23pm

    #20
    CBellu

    CBellu

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    No regrets

    I left the US just after grad school in ’94. It should have been for 18 months (my first contract). I am still out of the US. While away, I paid off my student loans (not getting rich off your backs, Granny) to the US. With Obama, banks became less happy to have US citizens (IRS was outsourcing enforcement etc). I don’t pay taxes in the US because I pay more here (and there is a tax treaty, so I have a credit for what I pay where I live). For over 20 years, I dutifully filled out all of my tax forms, here and for the US. Since I don’t need to pay, I am not shirking my “fair share”. I decided enough was enough and sent back the little blue book with my picture in it. It cost a bit of money (around 2’000 and some of my time). I am far below the 2 million net worth, and below the +100’000 tax liability (I am not wealthy, just a normal person wanting a normal life). Now I don’t need to fill out the IRS forms. Everyone needs to decide what they think is ethical and moral. For me, there was 0 benefit to have the citizenship (I have two other passports, one from marriage and the other from residence/naturalization). I won’t be moving back to the US, I am rather pleased where I am. I don’t feel that I “stole” any wealth from the US as the main things I took away were debts.

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  • Tue, Jun 11, 2019 - 9:27pm

    Reply to #20
    nigel

    nigel

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    Australia and migration

    If you are going to move to Australia, and as a rule, we integrate migrants very well, (more than 60% of the population of Sydney are migrants) you will be welcomed, you get free health care, and a good free education, but you should know that the Australian sense of humor will be applied very vigorously to you.

    You will be the subject of many incredibly crude jokes that you will find shocking. If you accept them with some grace, and even fire back with one or two of your own you will be accepted. If you complain you will be outcast. It’s the Australian way of bonding.

    OH, fyi, root in Australia means sex, and thong is something you wear on your feet, i think you call them flip flops. Colour is spelt correctly with the u. The date format is day/month/year not the way you do it.

    Welcome americans 🙂

    PS, what is the best thing about America? Its somewhere to keep the Americans. (see about the jokes).

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  • Tue, Jun 11, 2019 - 11:32pm

    #21

    davefairtex

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    buying the dip = immoral?

    paco-

    I come to this website for information on the economy, markets, environment, and energy. This article isn’t really what I’m looking for. I felt the same way about the “how to buy up real estate after the market crashes” seminar — feels like we’re just like everybody else waiting for the opportunity to fleece the more gullible and less fortunate.

    Ok.  I’ve seen this meme here for a while.  It makes me confused.

    We have two very clear choices.  We can either:

    1) buy assets now, at the top of the bubble

    2) wait to buy our assets after the price has dropped

    To those of you who believe this “fleecing the gullible” meme, are you suggesting it is somehow more moral to select option #1 – buy the top along with the herd?  That, somehow, going against the herd (and by that act of restraint, getting more for your money) is somehow immoral?

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  • Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - 4:02am

    #22
    robie robinson

    robie robinson

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    Fleecings’

    my sense is that it is what you do with your fleecing that creates a moral dilemma. Joseph was likely considered a sheerer  of the fleece by many during the 7 yrs of plenty, and a savior of the same during the 7 yrs.of pestilence.

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  • Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - 7:48am

    Reply to #21
    Sonerous

    Sonerous

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    False dichotomy

    We have two very clear choices. We can either:

    1) buy assets now, at the top of the bubble

    2) wait to buy our assets after the price has dropped

    There are many more options.

    e.g. put your money into something productive that gives financial return, but more importantly, a social/environmental return.

    Add an extra axis (or two) to your choices, e.g. : x=likely return, y=”value”

     

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  • Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - 8:26am

    Reply to #21
    brushhog

    brushhog

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    Ummm...no.

    There arent “many more options”. In any investment [ or any purchase for that matter ] you want to buy when prices are low, and sell when prices are high.

    There’s no “axis x and y”, you are talking yourself out of common sense.

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  • Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - 8:33am

    #23

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

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    Not Confused -

    Ok.  I’ve seen this meme here for a while.  It makes me confused.

    We have two very clear choices.  We can either:

    1) buy assets now, at the top of the bubble

    2) wait to buy our assets after the price has dropped

    To those of you who believe this “fleecing the gullible” meme, are you suggesting it is somehow more moral to select option #1 – buy the top along with the herd?  That, somehow, going against the herd (and by that act of restraint, getting more for your money) is somehow immoral?

    So the ONLY considerations are #1 and #2 which the goal is for the INDIVIDUAL to make a PROFIT.  Just perhaps an investment can be analyzed based upon its potential which ALSO includes how it affects PEOPLE and the ENVIRONMENT.  Creating a world worth inheriting, for a lot of us anyway, is NOT about how much profit can be made.

    There is talking the talk then there is walking the talk. The meme of “ creating a world worth inheriting” unfortunately is more talk then walk.  Which is sad because I would love to believe that creating a world worth inheriting was more of a priority than making money.  But evidence does not support that.  Perhaps my mistake is to think we were talking about EVERYONES children not just those making big profits.

    I agree completely with Sonerous only she us being nice.  False dichotomy – how about greed and indifference?

    AKGranny

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  • Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - 10:18am

    #24

    davefairtex

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    buying assets for a better price

    First, Sonerous-

    e.g. put your money into something productive that gives financial return, but more importantly, a social/environmental return.

    Fantastic.  I leave it entirely in your hands as to which asset you select.  I promise not to twist your arm to buy something that has no social/environmental return.  In fact, I encourage you to follow your feelings in this area.  Pick something that makes you feel as though you are making a social and environmental contribution.  You are the person on the scene – I trust your judgement in this area implictly.

    Of course, when it gets down to brass tacks, there’s a price tag involved.  Would you prefer to pay top dollar for this social/environmental asset, or would you prefer to buy it at a discount?

    If you ask me, I’m going to suggest you buy it at a “discount”.  After the bubble pop.

    Now Granny-

    So the ONLY considerations are #1 and #2 which the goal is for the INDIVIDUAL to make a PROFIT. Just perhaps an investment can be analyzed based upon its potential which ALSO includes how it affects PEOPLE and the ENVIRONMENT. Creating a world worth inheriting, for a lot of us anyway, is NOT about how much profit can be made.

    Sure.  I leave it to you to sort out what asset you’d like to buy.  You’re the person on the scene.  How it affects people, how it affects environment, I trust your judgement on this matter completely.

    But at the end of the day, you’re going to write a check for the asset.  My most basic question is, would you prefer the check be smaller, or larger – for that same asset?

    The asset should probably also provide a return, of course – and a system and method for analyzing a return on a given asset would certainly be a useful tool, don’t you think?

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  • Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - 11:10am

    #25

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 469

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    Now Dave

    We are still talking past each other.  Asking the BASIC question of whether I want to write a check that is smaller or larger completely ignores the whole conversation.  Your still talking “profit”.  I am trying to point out to all who read this site that it is THE pursuit of profit that has caused misery and destruction on a grand and small scale alike!  I suspect that ever so many readers here know in their gut, or instinctually that their constant and selfish pursuit of profit hurts people and the planet.

    Really does every piece of property or asset need to return a profit? Our Indigenous peoples would have found that concept incomprehensible.

    And buying “at a discount” after the bubble pops?  Oh my god … let’s buy up those houses of the poor people who lost their jobs, farm land and any asset.  Hey I know lets invest in a card board box factory and sell big ones as the new “ affordable “ homes for all those who are affected by the, now deflated bubble.  That would be funny if it weren’t so true. Profit indeed!

    This is THE message, don’t you think?

     

     

     

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  • Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - 12:33pm

    Reply to #15

    David

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    Most everything is both good and evil, depending on how you use it!

    If I bought a four-plex, for example, and invested in water and energy efficiency as well as energy generation upgrades (eg, solar), which then greatly reduces utilities bills (& carbon footprint) for future tenants.  If I wait to buy that plex on a dip (using some of the Real Estate Guy’s teachings), do those upgrades, raise the rents to something less than utility bill savings (or equal to at most) and add in annual rent changes consistent with that plex’s market, then I could to make a tidy profit so that I can do it again.   This is evil?   Not save the world-level good, true, but it would do at least some good while doing well.  It all depends on how you use the info, tools, market-corrections/bubble-popping opportunities, etc.

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  • Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - 1:49pm

    Reply to #20

    Barbara

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    Sounds to me like you are supporting the economy in which you decided to live.

    If I understand your post, you are living, earning and paying taxes abroad.  Not the mercenary expat who’s trying to smuggle money out of the US that the article references.

    Let me be clear, buy low and sell high.  Nobody forces you to be the bigger fool that buys at the top of bubbles. The fact that people actually expect me to somehow bail them out when they elect to try the next “get rich scheme” without the capacity to understand the current speculators running wall street strikes me as insane.  If you don’t have the sense to learn about economics and investments (and it’s not easy to do so in the US) I feel no responsibility to make up for your bad investments or unwillingness to save.

    My comments are directed to people who have used their political connections to get legislation and FED policies that enhance their ability to make billions from creating bubbles and then feel justified in finding more loopholes to extract those funds from the economy.

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  • Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - 7:14pm

    Reply to #25

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 3207

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    human nature

    … I am trying to point out to all who read this site that it is THE pursuit of profit that has caused misery and destruction on a grand and small scale alike! I suspect that ever so many readers here know in their gut, or instinctually that their constant and selfish pursuit of profit hurts people and the planet.

    Yes we were talking past each other.  I didn’t realize what your core issue was – you were objecting to the very concept of profit.  So let me address that directly.

    There have been a number of efforts in the past to develop human civilizations that didn’t involve profit.  Each has failed spectacularly – with tens of millions of people killed.  I claim this failure is because self interest is built in to human biology.  The love of profit (and/or a “windfall”) is a reproductive advantage – those humans who didn’t love windfalls and profit died out millions of years ago, leaving only our self-interested forefathers alive.  As a result, any system that does not take advantage of (and/or use self interest as a basic motivating force) will end up failing spectacularly, because it attempts to go against inner nature, and as such, it is doomed to failure.

    Self interest should be more regulated than it is now, for sure.  There are lots of things I’d do to make society less rapacious if you put me in charge.  Nobody is threatening to do this, so I must reluctantly operate in my own environment.

    However there are still options, as dabenham said.  Buy a 4-plex after prices tumble, then use your spare cash to retrofit it with panels, insulation, windows, maybe even backup batteries, then charge a bit of a premium (but less than what the savings would be – so there’s a win-win), which would be beneficial to both parties.  Advertising these as green rentals would definitely appeal to a big chunk of the younger generation.

    That’s what I mean.  Society benefits overall when someone creates a new thing that people want to buy, driven by the profit motive.

    Really does every piece of property or asset need to return a profit? Our Indigenous peoples would have found that concept incomprehensible.

    Indigenous peoples were hunter-gatherers.  Nature provided the profit – they didn’t have to.  If the plants and animals that they harvested and the ecosystem in general wasn’t generating a profit – in terms of net energy – the entire ecosystem would simply die off and collapse.  Profit is built into the very fabric of life.

    [And its all well and good to decry profit and hint that we should live like the indigenous peoples – but, if you were the animal being hunted by them, you’d probably think they were bloodthirsty savages hell-bent on murder and exploitation of your herd and/or family unit.  It all depends on your point of view, I guess.]

    And buying “at a discount” after the bubble pops? Oh my god … let’s buy up those houses of the poor people who lost their jobs, farm land and any asset.

    I recommend you only buy assets at a discount from reprehensible slumlord scumbags who mistreat their tenants.  There are plenty of those around.  Buy the four-plex from the scumbag after the bubble pops, retrofit the units, like dabenham suggests, and make the places more eco-friendly.  You can make those tenants lives better, while keeping the rents the same.  You will still make a profit each month – a better one than the old slumlord because you bought at a discount – and the tenants will revere you as a goddess.

    And you can dance on the grave of that slumlord.

    Everyone loves a windfall.  If you give your tenants a windfall, they will be very happy.  They will never, ever move out!  (Trust me.  I’ve seen this very thing in operation).  And you got the windfall from the scumbag slumlord courtesy of the business cycle.  Yay!

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  • Wed, Jun 12, 2019 - 10:48pm

    #26

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 469

    1+

    Dave, Dave, Dave

    “There have been a number of efforts in the past to develop human civilizations that didn’t involve profit.  Each has failed spectacularly – with tens of millions of people killed.“

    Well yeah, Jared Dimond explains that in his book, Guns, Germs And Steel. These civilizations died not because their civilization didn’t involve profit but because they were slaughtered by civilizations that were more technologically advanced and those were the ones that valued profit. The conquered civilizations assets were stripped and a gigantic profit was made in tangible assets and slavery as well.

    “That’s what I mean.  Society benefits overall when someone creates a new thing that people want to buy, driven by the profit motive.”

    I disagree.  The key words being “ society benefits” Um you mean like slavery, GMO’s, medicine that is only available for the rich or really well insured, how about basic needs like water food and shelter. No society, OFTEN, does NOT benefit from the profit motive.  How about child labor laws. Children used to regularly die working in sweat shops, mines and coal plants right along with the adults.  Safety regulations, there weren’t any. Society benefited when it took up arms and rioted and DEMANDED basic labor laws. The profit driven robber barrens hated the demands of the working class.  Oh and the moneyed class have spent the last 70 to 80 years undoing many of the hard fought benefits the middle class demanded, like jobs, unions, a reasonable work week a fair tax system.  And as for the moneyed class, consider this.

    “War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to make a profit!”  George Orwell

    So no I personally don’t believe society benefits or profits from war! The moneyed class for sure do!

    You are working extremely hard to make the pursuit of profit sound positively rosy and appealing. I suspect you are on the PP payroll to counter posts that are not complementary and rosy.  No big deal but speculation is interesting I think. Or you just like debate, I am unsure, care to comment?

    ”Profit is built into the very fabric of life.”

    Obviously that is your “belief” and many of the other readers here but I disagree.  Profit is a man made and learned concept.  People were sharing, trading, benefiting and interacting to survive for thousands of years. Profit has to do with financial gain.  Plants and animals often have symbiotic relationships where both entities derive some benefit but it is shared and not financial.  Whole clans, tribes, cities and towns have worked together for the communities benefit but each individual was not consumed with the obsession of individual profit like people are today.  So no I don’t think profit is built into the fabric of life.  Protection, preservation, benefit, symbiosis yes.  Financial gain, nope.

    For those of you who love your profits I leave you with one last quote.

    “The trouble with the profit system has always been that it was highly unprofitable to MOST people.” E.B. White

    The obsessive pursuit of profit may just lead us to our own extinction.

    AKGrannyWGrit

     

     

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 12:31am

    #27
    ezlxq1949

    ezlxq1949

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    Posts: 247

    3+

    Indigenous peoples could be highly sophisticated

    Dave Fairtex wrote,

    Indigenous peoples were hunter-gatherers.

    Not all of them, certainly not the Australian aborigines. Most of these, especially in the more southern parts of the continent, were largely sedentary farmers, tilling the land, harvesting grains and grasses, building small towns and thatched stone barns in which to store large quantities of the harvest, setting up sophisticated fish traps, and so on. The early European explorers could find themselves in finely tilled soil, deep as a horse’s chest, over large expanses of land. A wide variety of highly nutritious plants was grown.

    It appears that in fact the entire continent was being managed as one enormous estate, and for millennia, longer than any other culture on Earth. Sure, the aboriginals were not perfect, there were wars and fighting among them, but nothing like European mutual slaughterings!

    The Europeans seem to have set about deliberately destroying this remarkable civilisation. They drove the aboriginal people off their land, burnt down the granaries almost the moment they were discovered, gave out blankets infected with smallpox when the aboriginals were winning the war of resistance, hunted them down in raiding parties, and so on and on ad nauseam.

    The chief European weapon was the sheep, whose hard, chisel feet and destructive grazing habit turned fine tilth into hard pan within about 20 or 30 years of their arrival. One could say that Australia has been sheep-wrecked.

    I am not making any of this up. This has all come out of recent, sober publications that I have found amazing and transformational. I grew up taught that the aboriginals were not worth considering. I have completely changed my attitude. Sometimes I wonder if we know-it-all Europeans are worth considering.

    (Bruce Pascoe, Dark Emu, Charles Massy, Call of the Reed Warbler, Bill Gammage, The Greatest Estate on Earth.)

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 12:34am

    #28
    ezlxq1949

    ezlxq1949

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    One more thing

    And Australian aboriginal culture was based on principles of sharing and thoughtful exploitation of resources. Europeans find this almost impossible to understand, one reason why so many Aboriginal peoples are in dire trouble.

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 12:40am

    Reply to #26

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

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    self-interest, community, and civilization

    Granny-

    I notice that you dodged my main claim (self-interest is built in to biology, and we ignore this at our peril) and you also avoided answering my suggestion that you buy a four-plex from a hated scumbag slumlord during the downturn in order to avoid any moral dilemma.  I can understand why you avoided these two points – they are basically unassailable – and instead started talking about war, slavery, child labor, and robber barons.

    So I’ll go there for a moment.

    [1] For the record – I’m against war, slavery, child labor, and robber barons.  If you appointed me ruler I’d reintroduce most of the post-depression laws that restricted the financialization of the economy, and I’d also provide government-funded healthcare, I’d get out of our foreign wars, I’d break up the big cartels that run things – starting with the banks – I’d restructure NSA and CIA to stop the spying on Americans – and they’d all get together and have me shot in my first two weeks in office.  But I’d try nevertheless.  Smaller is better in capitalism.  “Profit” results in an apparently inexorable move into cartels & monopolies, and this tendency needs to be restrained by law.

    So with that digression out of the way, back to the main point: human self-interest.

    Self-interest is part of the inner nature of every creature on the planet.  Interestingly, cooperation is also built into many other creatures on the planet – including humans.  [Note: this isn’t my belief system – it is generally accepted science in the field of evolutionary biology].  In a tribal grouping, the drives of self-interest and cooperation play out in one way, in a larger more anonymous civilization, the built-in self-interest and cooperation plays out in a different way.

    Regardless of the manifestation, self-interest and cooperation are both unchangeable features of our nature.  And as you pointed out, civilizations that do the best job of channeling these core pieces of our inner nature into civilizationally-productive ends, end up on top.

    [c.f. related – SPQR – why did Rome end up ruling the western world?]

    So that brings me to ask this question: how can we most effectively channel the creative aspects of self-interest, while reining in the civilization-destructive aspects?  See [1] above for my answer in our current situation.

    You claim “profit” is a learned behavior.  I completely disagree.  Profit is just the manifestation of built-in self-interest in our current civilizational context.   Therefore, attempts to suppress or get rid of “profit” in our current context is doomed to failure.  Small scale?  That’s another matter.  Communism can work fine on a small scale.  But we don’t live on a small scale any longer.

    So in our individual cases, how do we do our best to help our tribe in the coming storm, while also helping our community to move forward at the same time?

    That brings me back to my suggestion: buying a four-plex from a scumbag landlord after the bubble pop, and retrofitting it with the latest gear.  Its a win-win for everyone involved.

    You are working extremely hard to make the pursuit of profit sound positively rosy and appealing. I suspect you are on the PP payroll to counter posts that are not complementary and rosy.

    Heh.  “You’re a shill for the banksters.”  Let’s call that Hannah’s Law: every conversation at PP, if it goes on long enough, will result in one person calling another a paid shill.

    I am not paid by PP to keep people like you in line.  I just have a strong opinion on some subjects.  Just like you do.  You are right that I’m motivated, however – I do strongly support Chris’s vision overall – how to help his tribe weather the coming storm.

    But not every subject here interests me.  This one does – I really enjoy exploring the things that underpin how humanity functions.  What works?  What doesn’t?  How are we constructed?  How does that constrain the approaches we can take?

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 1:39am

    Reply to #27

    davefairtex

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    clash of civilizations

    ezlxq1949-

    Interesting reference.  I know very little about Australia.

    Was it a monoculture, or were there significant differences across the different regions?

    How did they manage conflict, and if there wasn’t enough land, how did they handle that?  Or was the population relatively small so land wasn’t an issue?

    The human desire for easy pickings and windfalls generally leads to raids, plunder, and slavery – I’m just guessing the Europeans weren’t unique in this sort of thing…

    Re: Diamond and Germs, Guns & Steel: did Australia have any domesticated animals?  I know horses make it much easier to travel long distances.  And various other large domesticated mammals act as a multiplier effect – and also a source of treasure if you capture them.

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 3:53am

    #29
    Sonerous

    Sonerous

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    Indigenous peoples were hunter-gatherers. Nature provided the profit – they didn’t have to. If the plants and animals that they harvested and the ecosystem in general wasn’t generating a profit – in terms of net energy – the entire ecosystem would simply die off and collapse. Profit is built into the very fabric of life.

    This is not the usual concept of profit and not really relevant. Profit is to do with gain–to get ore than you put in. A HG would not be able to use more than they needed–they would get fat, which would make them more likely to die. Likewise possessions were notof value to HGs, as they would have to carry them around. There was no motivation to accumulate; more benefit to being lean and unencumbered. And more benefit to co-operation since every person in a tribal group relied on everyone else.

    It wasn’t until the agricultural revolution that ownership became possible and even desirable and that was only 11,000 years ago. For agrarian socisties, it was necessary to work out how food and other resources were divided. And for some individuals to own more than others, to accumulate, to dominate etc. this was also the start of the human population explosion.

    So I don’t agree that the “profit motive” is somehow intrinsic to being human.

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 4:08am

    Reply to #15
    Sonerous

    Sonerous

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    Many ways to value an investment and they can be simultaneous

    @dabenham Thanks for your example illustrating my point. Perhaps that will help others to get the idea?

    There are many investments options that will make some, even good, profit while helping rather than harming our future prospects. Consider the difference between putting your money into oil exploration or a solar farm.

    I personally place a priority on actions and investments that make things better for my grandkids rather than worse. That’s one non-monetary form of profit.

    Other examples include the “triple bottom line” for accounting.
    And the latest budget by the New Zealand government which measures prosperity in terms of wellbeing rather than GDP.

    These are all examples of having multiple axes on which to plot the value of an investment.

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 7:30am

    Reply to #29

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

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    profit = exploiting windfalls

    Profit is to do with gain–to get out more than you put in. A HG would not be able to use more than they needed–they would get fat, which would make them more likely to die.

    We agree.  Profit has to do with getting out more than you put in.  So, if you put in 500 calories in hunting a sheep, and you get to eat the sheep which totals 2000 calories for each person involved, that’s a net 1500 calories in profit.  Calorie-profit, to be sure, but profit nonetheless, and arguably for a hunter-gatherer, the most important sort of profit there is.  Eating 2000 calories of sheep leaves you 1500 calories in profit can be squandered doing all sorts of other activities.

    This profit is nature-and-ecosystem-provided.  If it didn’t provide such a caloric-profit to almost every participant in the system, the ecosystem would lose a whole lot of participants in a big hurry.

    The key point: profit doesn’t imply accumulation – it is, as you said, simply getting out more than you put in.  And humans are keenly optimized for recognizing any situation where they can extract a lot of “profit” (or calories, or value – whatever you want to call it) for relatively little effort.

    And this is built in to our biology, honed through millions of years of evolution.

    I entirely agree with you about accumulation; its tough for a hunter-gatherer to accumulate stuff, unless they have horses or other domesticated animals to carry things.  But the discussion wasn’t about accumulation – it was about profit, and my core claim that humans are hard-wired to recognize and exploit situations where they can get a lot out but put just a little in.

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 7:58am

    #30

    Michael_Rudmin

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

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    HG profit

    One obvious use for Hunter-Gatherer profit has long been the availability of more nutrition for one’s children — and the option of having more children.

    And yes, archaeology seems to indicate that eating one’s family was something they did; but first they would want to eat non-family humans, which is something they did more often. It makes me wonder if racism might not be a protection against the second, which in turn was a protection against the first.

    But in fact, the industrial revolution may have predated the agricultural revolution, such that ownership and property did exist back then.

    You have the Clovis Point culture that developed from the Solutrean Point culture, as evidence by barbless clovis points in Maryland excavations. But what is interesting is that the artisans would go to great lengths to get valuable raw material rocks, then premanufacture the points 70% of the way, transport the good ones to a location near where they could trade, and then cache their stock, burying it in the ground. Moreover, they would sometimes travel over 500 miles by sea, to get to and from the source, fighting current and wind as they did so. So this doesn’t sound like a family culture, so much as a guild culture; and the economics don’t work out without the concept of property.

    But property (and profit) are concepts that are by no means unique to humans, either. We see animals defend property; and trade; indeed, Penguins even steal and engage in prostitution to get ideal nesting stones.

    So I don’t think HG cultures lacked the concepts of property or profit. They would be all about figuring out how to ppt a thing to use.

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 8:07am

    #31

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 469

    1+

    We are almost done Dave

    “I notice that you dodged my main claim (self-interest is built in to biology, and we ignore this at our peril) and you also avoided answering my suggestion that you buy a four-plex from a hated scumbag slumlord during the downturn in order to avoid any moral dilemma.  I can understand why you avoided these two points – they are basically unassailable – and instead started talking about war, slavery, child labor, and robber barons.”

    Firstly, I will address your second point.  It was a snarky and silly suggestion so yes I ignored it.

    Secondly, I tried to address the first point suggesting that individuals self interest is met when they lived in harmonious groups.  No need for profit when needs are met and one lives in a cooperative society.  Unfortunately these groups were easy pickings for profit driven more advanced societies.

    Perhaps you can provide a specific example of your reference? I would like to see failed spectacularly.

    “There have been a number of efforts in the past to develop human civilizations that didn’t involve profit.  Each has failed spectacularly – with tens of millions of people killed”

    “The love of profit (and/or a “windfall”) is a reproductive advantage – those humans who didn’t love windfalls and profit died out millions of years ago, leaving only our self-interested forefathers alive.  As a result, any system that does not take advantage of (and/or use self interest as a basic motivating force) will end up failing spectacularly, because it attempts to go against inner nature, and as such, it is doomed to failure.”

    One of my clients used to tell me – there are 2 kinds of people, the screwer and the screwee.  He always tried to be the screwer and not be the screwee.  Seems like that sums up the above argument.

    “Self interest should be more regulated than it is now, for sure”

    It seems to me you use self interest and greed interchangeably.  But I agree self interest is glorified (here, this article and conversation) and society in general.

    Ah, finally the meat and potatoes!

    “You claim “profit” is a learned behavior.  I completely disagree.  Profit is just the manifestation of built-in self-interest in our current civilizational context.   Therefore, attempts to suppress or get rid of “profit” in our current context is doomed to failure.”

    Translation – profit, and all its extremes have been completely normalized.  Message – profit = good.  Hey, I know lets change the word, profit to slavery and see If that fits within the narrative.  Slavery is just the manifestation of built-in self-interest in our current civilizational context.  Yep, same logic could apply here.

    So whats the result of our normal profit driven world. I refer you to Chris Hedges latest book, America, the Farewell Tour.  He talks about the effects of the profit driven industry on places like Detroit. He also discusses how bitterness, hopelessness and malaise have resulted in a culture of sadism and hate.  Our profit driven culture has created a severe state of decay. And again I refer you yo my last quote “

    ”The trouble with the profit system has always been that it was highly unprofitable to MOST people.” E.B. White”

    Therefore, attempts to suppress or get rid of “profit” in our current context is doomed to failure.”

    Translation, any effort to change the system that is killing us and the planet is doomed to failure. But profit its not a learned trait or behavior its just a normal manifestation which may result in our species destruction but thats normal within our civilizational context? So we are a virus thats killing our host, each other and ourselves?

    Anyway, I agree.

    We are doomed to fail as long as profit is our goal. There has been a war every century for a long time and the likelihood we will have another world war in this century is very high.  Driven by profit.  The squabble over resources and power.

    My fundamental complaint I have is the message this site and you and so many others promote seems to be – Profit is paramount which more often than not is an I win you lose scenario. The sad part is, we only win if its a win-win scenario.  Yes battles are won but no one will win in the end.

    And lastly I had to look up “shill”.  Cant say I have seen that here before but I skip a lot of content. Glad your not but wouldn’t have made a difference.  Just seems like you spend a lot of time contributing, which is good.  Its nice though that you chose to debate with me rather than being paid to:)

    AKGrannyWGrit

     

     

     

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 9:50am

    Reply to #31

    Michael_Rudmin

    Status Gold Member (Offline)

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    Posts: 874

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    Granny, Dave

    I like you both; I value both of your comments. I hat to see this devolve badly.

    Could I ask what each of you mean by profit? It seems to me that Dave views profit in terms of EROEI; as such, it is neither good nor bad. It seems to me that Granny views profit in terms of positional gain. As such, the resounding majority of profit will be from theft, manipulation, and even outright destruction of neighbors.

    Those two definitions are by no means equivalent — but they are both justified by various economic schools, management policies, and a wealth of literature.

    So I could see how different definitions could drive rancor.

    Could we clarify, then, and maybe come up with two new terms that will distinguish?

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 9:54am

    Reply to #31

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

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    so close

    Firstly, I will address your second point. It was a snarky and silly suggestion so yes I ignored it.

    Interesting.  So, buying the fourplex from a slumlord, and retrofitting it is exactly what my Mom did with her rental units.  The tenants never, ever moved out, because Mom would charge rents under market, and she fixed the place up after it had been neglected by the slumlord for so long.

    Perhaps you can provide a specific example of your reference? I would like to see failed spectacularly.

    Communist Russia: Stalin killed from 20-6o million Russians.  20 million is the “conservative” number.  https://www.ibtimes.com/how-many-people-did-joseph-stalin-kill-1111789

    Communist China.  Mao killed 45 million people in the “Great Leap Forward.”  https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/maos-great-leap-forward-killed-45-million-in-four-years-2081630.html

    You’ll notice that both places are no longer Communist.  Murdering tens of millions of your own people, and not managing to achieve your objective, is what qualifies them as having failed spectacularly.

    My fundamental complaint I have is the message this site and you and so many others promote seems to be – Profit is paramount…

    Well, your assessment of what I’m promoting is wrong.  I don’t believe profit is paramount.  I believe it is just one aspect of humanity.  It does happen to be a built-in drive, and efforts to completely suppress it by force have required industrial-scale murder, so I’m suggesting we try and channel it instead of using suppression, since suppression has been proven not to work.  And just the attempt requires killing a whole lot of people too, which I assume you’re against.

    profit, and all its extremes have been completely normalized

    I agree that the extremes have been normalized.  To me, profit is fine, making profit a God is not fine.  It needs to be channeled, otherwise if it becomes God, all sorts of bad things happen.  So I’m with you. It has certainly been progressively over-glorified over the past 40 years, to the point where there needs to be some serious changes for us to get back to a more balanced civilization.

    Speaking of which, it sure feels like you blew right past that list of things I provided where I was advocating for exactly that – a set of changes that would bring us back to something more reasonable.

    If you did notice my list, and you understood what it meant, and you still persist in pretending I’m this person who worships only profit – I have to ask you, why are you doing that?  Why are you working so hard to make me into someone I’m not?

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 11:11pm

    #32

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 469

    1+

    Dear Dave

    Firstly, kudos to your Mom, she sounds like a clever woman.

    Secondly,

    There have been a number of efforts in the past to develop human civilizations that didn’t involve profit.  Each has failed spectacularly – with tens of millions of people killed.

    Perhaps you can provide a specific example of your reference? I would like to see failed spectacularly.

    Communist Russia: Stalin killed from 20-6o million Russians.  20 million is the “conservative” number.  https://www.ibtimes.com/how-many-people-did-joseph-stalin-kill-1111789

    Communist China.  Mao killed 45 million people in the “Great Leap Forward.”  https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/maos-great-leap-forward-killed-45-million-in-four-years-2081630.html

    Gosh I still don’t get it.  It seems the effort to create a civilization that didn’t involve profit didn’t really fail, rather the people were murdered.  Its like saying Mr. Global dropped a bomb on all democracies world wide and so democracy failed spectacularly.  In order for a financial system to fail wouldn’t that involve the system and not just the murder of the people who use the system? Seems like two different but related issues.

    “Speaking of which, it sure feels like you blew right past that list of things I provided where I was advocating for exactly that – a set of changes that would bring us back to something more reasonable.”

    [1] For the record – I’m against war, slavery, child labor, and robber barons.  If you appointed me ruler I’d reintroduce most of the post-depression laws that restricted the financialization of the economy, and I’d also provide government-funded healthcare, I’d get out of our foreign wars, I’d break up the big cartels that run things – starting with the banks – I’d restructure NSA and CIA to stop the spying on Americans – and they’d all get together and have me shot in my first two weeks in office.  But I’d try nevertheless.  Smaller is better in capitalism.  “Profit” results in an apparently inexorable move into cartels & monopolies, and this tendency needs to be restrained by law.

    Oh dear, my faux-pau, certainly I am not proficient in proper posting practices. Okay Dave I nominate you ruler, well if you are going to be shot in two weeks I think I will choose someone from my “ignore” list, lol, just kidding.

    “If you did notice my list, and you understood what it meant, and you still persist in pretending I’m this person who worships only profit – I have to ask you, why are you doing that?  Why are you working so hard to make me into someone I’m not?”

    Oh my gosh, I ruffled your feathers and bruised your ego. Or just pissed you off. Here is the reality Dave, you are trying to get your point across which you always do successfully.  It is very difficult for me to get my point across.  You see you are articulate, a professional and I suspect very well educated.  I struggle to try to be fluent and comprehensible, but I keep trying.  I believe that I am one if the EXTREME few on this site that does not have a college degree, a white collar job or fit into the predominate tax bracket of the majority of members here.   My situation gives me insight and perspective others don’t have.  I ask myself why would anyone want to listen to my opinion and a voice tells me because my message represents a cohort and demographic that isn’t often represented here. (Poor and a curmudgeon) Besides I am the point in my life where being a pain in the ass can be quite satisfying at times. So if you feel unheard and not understood……. lol, welcome to my world. Though just to be clear please don’t mistake my efforts for malicious intent.

    To close I have a video for you to enjoy. It has the answer on how to deal with greedy profit-mongers.

    Still looking forward to sharing that wine with you!

    AKGrannyWGrit

     

     

     

     

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 11:34pm

    #33
    ezlxq1949

    ezlxq1949

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    Joined: Apr 29 2009

    Posts: 247

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    clash of civilisations

    Dave Fairtex asked:

    Was it a monoculture, or were there significant differences across the different regions?

    Many, many groups and tribes with many different languages, mostly mutually unintelligible. Overall they shared a belief in good land management, both of vegetation, fish and land animals. Much of the culture was based on local natural resources. Someone from the far south, e.g. Tasmania, had different ideas and beliefs as compared with someone from the far north. Here’s a tribal map.

    Their oral / aural culture can be astonishing; some groups preserve accurate accounts of how the sea levels rose at the end of the last ice age. They can still describe topographic features which are now below sea level.

    How did they manage conflict, and if there wasn’t enough land, how did they handle that? Or was the population relatively small so land wasn’t an issue?

    Plenty of land and the people usually respected boundaries, although boundary disputes have led to murder. “To the Aboriginal People, the social organisation in their system was known to every member of every tribe, but to outsiders it is often extremely complicated and riddled with hidden difficulties and contradictions, making it difficult to master. Yet another indication that these were not simple primitive savages.” [Source] And yet they never developed a writing system.

    The human desire for easy pickings and windfalls generally leads to raids, plunder, and slavery – I’m just guessing the Europeans weren’t unique in this sort of thing…

    Sadly, tragically, no, they’re (we’re) not unique. It’s usually a matter of degree, not of difference. The British came here impelled by a  number of motives, one of which was to stop the French from extending their empire in the southern Pacific. Another was extension of their own Empire.

    Re: Diamond and Germs, Guns & Steel: did Australia have any domesticated animals? I know horses make it much easier to travel long distances. And various other large domesticated mammals act as a multiplier effect – and also a source of treasure if you capture them.

    No, no domesticated animals. Hard to do in a continent where no large quadrupeds existed. macropods (kangaroos etc.) are totally useless as beast of burden. The horse, donkey, camel, water buffalo are all comparatively recent introductions. So is the wheel. The people went everywhere on foot, and sometimes they travelled huge distances. A well-established network of paths and tracks was available.

    Obviously a lot of what I have written above is greatly simplified and incomplete!

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  • Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - 11:58pm

    #34

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 469

    1+

    Highest Healthcare Costs in The World? Possible

    1. Thank you Michael Rudman, Good insight! Yes definitions matter and make comprehension easier.

    2.  A retired Sociologist told me today she was on a conference call with one of our State Legislators. The topic was healthcare and the Legislator made the statement that Alaska has the highest healthcare costs in the world.  I know that insurance companies are often opting to send a patient out of state for surgery because costs are so high instate.

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  • Fri, Jun 14, 2019 - 1:23pm

    #35
    brushhog

    brushhog

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    Communism doesnt work

    The reason why all this collectivst/communist/ socialist utopian nonsense wont work is because it would have to rely on the benevolence of the human race. The idea that people are all share and share alike, hippy-dippy communists. Its the same reason why any other utopian ideology simply does not work.

    What works best is that you have a 95% free market, capitalistic, laissez-faire system in which government is kept very constrained. Some constraints on private enterprise are nedded to the extent that you’re preventing monopolies and victimization. Thats pretty much it. The redistributionist system that we currently have is very very inefficient.

    The problem is with each step, with person involved in transfering funds you lose a little bit of efficiency. Its just like in a machine, the more simplistic it is the more efficient. You can fine tune it, oil it up and keep it looking sleak but the more convoluted it becomes, the more you add to it the more likely it is to break down AND the more effort and energy required to maintain it.

    That is why socialism doesnt work for purely structural reasons. It relies on humna benevolence and it becomes too complex. it requires too much bureaucracy. The only way you can successfully have a redistributionist system would be in an anarcho-capitalist system where everybody just decided to share with one another BUT [ Barbara, Granny, and Mr Sanders pay attention ] THAT IS SIMPLY NOT THE WAY HUMAN BEINGS ARE.

    Thats why we have separation of powers, thats why we have a bicameral legislature, thats why we have a 2nd amendment [ the people balancing the power of their own government ] all of these things were created to make balance and to work within the realities of human nature.

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  • Sat, Jun 15, 2019 - 1:20am

    Reply to #32

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3207

    3+

    communism, biology, and "profit"

    Granny-

    Gosh I still don’t get it. It seems the effort to create a civilization that didn’t involve profit didn’t really fail, rather the people were murdered.

    The people in Russia and China who were murdered were killed by the very people trying to impose the profit-free system – Stalin and Mao.  It wasn’t Mr Global who did it, it was the Communist organization that did it – to their own people.  And then Communism-the-system basically failed, even after all that murder, for exactly the reason Brushhog says – it went against a basic principle of human nature.

    Here is the reality Dave, you are trying to get your point across which you always do successfully. It is very difficult for me to get my point across. You see you are articulate, a professional and I suspect very well educated. I struggle to try to be fluent and comprehensible, but I keep trying. I believe that I am one if the EXTREME few on this site that does not have a college degree, a white collar job or fit into the predominate tax bracket of the majority of members here. My situation gives me insight and perspective others don’t have. I ask myself why would anyone want to listen to my opinion and a voice tells me because my message represents a cohort and demographic that isn’t often represented here. (Poor and a curmudgeon) Besides I am the point in my life where being a pain in the ass can be quite satisfying at times.

    Perfect!  I’m happy you noticed my paragraph.

    I definitely graduated from university, although my grades were unspectacular.  My mom was always a bit frustrated.  “Would you just please study just a little bit?”  My best grades were in history and political science, mostly because I found both subjects really fascinating, and so studying was fun.  I liked writing even then.

    Regarding your disabilities: the great thing about the Internet is that people are judged by what they produce.  I look at what you say, if your posts are intellectually honest, if your points make sense, if they match up with what I have found to be true.  You have your experience, I have mine, and they meet and we see what comes out the other side.

    And hopefully we are civil when we do it.

    So going back to the subject at hand: profit.

    Do we still have a disagreement as to whether the desire for profit (or as M. Rudmin says, maximizing “EROEI”) is a built-in feature of every creature on earth?

    From observation, organisms try to spend as little effort as possible to get the maximum number of calories possible.  This built-in optimization mechanism is a strong reproductive and biological advantage.  Organisms who don’t do this, well, they die off during the bad times, so the ones that are left to pass a copy of their genes along are the lazy optimizers.

    I claim that this built-in EROEI optimization mechanism has evolved into a reflex to obtain as much profit as possible and accumulate as much as possible in today’s society.

    But that is only 1/3 of the picture.  Both cooperation and fairness are also built-in pro-survival mechanisms, so the tension between cooperation, fairness, and self-interest (EROEI optimization) is the eternal struggle, both within the organism and society in general.

    We are seeing it play out today writ large.

    Granny, I recommend you watch to Sapolsky’s lecture series in Human Behavioral Biology .  It was probably the most interesting series of lectures I have ever seen, and it informs my opinion on this entire matter.  I think you’d find it interesting.  To me, it was as if I had suddenly discovered the manual for how humans operate.

    And it is entirely non-political. And non-economic.  I suspect Sapolsky is liberal, but the matter just doesn’t come up.  In his first lecture, he asks the question, “how many of you believe in Free Will?”  Related question: how much does biology drive us?  Sapolsky spends the next 25 lectures answering this question.

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpXaCv0b7h12LpVunZ361VfCBQSwi_2e8

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  • Sat, Jun 15, 2019 - 8:30am

    Reply to #35

    Barbara

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    Absolutely, Communism never worked; that's why none of us are proposing it!

    So in what alternate universe is the opposite of crony capitalism socialism?
    Communism failed because asking the producers to continue to produce while the shiftless continue to consume all the fruits of their labors is, indeed, stupid.  If I don’t have enough left to be comfortable, why should I continue to produce so others can take?

    Unfortunately, we have exactly the same system with crony capitalism.  Just as the commissars skimmed what little excess remained in Stalin’s Russia [you don’t think the poor were EVER better off], so overpaid CEOs and Wall Street manipulators skim off the profit from productivity gains leaving the workers losing actual purchasing power.
    We have this myth that the battles are between the rich and the poor, but consider the other possibility.  The battle is actually between producers and skimmers.  The poor have always picked up the crumbs.  The spurt of GI education post-WW2 let a lot of backwoods GI’s join the middle classes and they saw it was education and opportunity, not accidents of birth that had held them back before.  The women who had been running the war factories and the black soldiers who had done things like build the Alcan suddenly asked why the same wasn’t true for them.  We had a boom as the 2/3 of the population that had been denied access to the capitalist economy suddenly began to add their ability to the other producers.

    Now we came to a misunderstanding of human nature.  Those of us who are natural producers like producing.  It is hard for many of us to think that the remaining poor wouldn’t be just like us and start producing if they were less disadvantaged.  brushhog is right, some can’t produce and some won’t, so helping them survive is pure charity.

    But that is not the issue.  In addition to producers, we need to consider the exploiters that are now manipulating our crony capitalism political system.  In corporations, the economic gap between the people actually producing output and the top becomes larger and larger.  As we try to plug the fraud-creating regulatory loopholes [oops, not technicallly fraud because the perpetrators got their bought congresspeople to drop that reg] the skimmers find new ways to get a bigger cut of what the producers create, aided and abetted by a US federal government whose election is funded by those benefiting from the new wealth transfer schemes.

    So when we say if you are benefiting from a political/economic system that gives you tremendous advantages, you need to have the good sense to agree to keep the system from crashing by extracting more than you put in.  We all understand there are externalities (carbon, pollution, infrastructure decay) that somebody has to be willing to deal with if our cushy lifestyle is to continue.  It’s not socialist to suggest that those who benefit the most be willing to pay a paltry portion of their gains to keep the system afloat.

    And those who point out that the upper middle class producers that keep the system running can indeed be called tax donkeys have a point.  And statistics show that the economic position of the 60-95th has deteriorated since Reagan’s trickle down nonsense.  That money has gone toward “bread and circuses” for the lower 1/3, and it has also gone to enrich the 1%, who, unlike those a little below them in the percentile ranking and orders of magnitude below them in actual value of both income and assets, are able to rig the system in their favor.

    None of us are proposing continuing to shift money from the middle class producers to the poor in a futile attempt to prop up those who will never have the capacity to take care of themselves.  We’re simply proposing that those who benefit the most from the system ante up to take care of more of the externalities that are rapidly coming to the forefront.

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  • Sun, Jun 16, 2019 - 7:15am

    Reply to #35

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3207

    2+

    "profit is bad" vs "a fair and equitable system"

    Barbara-

    I agree with almost everything you said.  You and I are on the same page.  I could have written most of what you posted.

    However…when you say this, I must disagree.

    None of us are proposing continuing to shift money from the middle class producers to the poor in a futile attempt to prop up those who will never have the capacity to take care of themselves….

    I do think someone was saying exactly this – or rather, that was the logical conclusion of what they were saying.

    Granny said that a desire for profit (and/or a desire to maximize EROEI) was “learned behavior”, while I claimed it was built in to human biology by evolution.

    What’s the implications of profit/maximizing EROEI being a “learned behavior?” Well, if “desire for profit/maximizing EROEI” is just learned behavior, and if it was something that the people in charge felt was disagreeable behavior, a few months (or years) in a re-education camp would probably fix that after enough “persuasion” is applied.

    Of course if desire for profit/maximizing EROEI isn’t learned behavior – if instead it is an emergent property of biology – well, you can kill tens of millions of people in your attempt to change behavior, and you still won’t achieve a functioning profit-free civilization.

    Again – I’ve said it again and again, and again, and I’m saying it again now – I’m all for legally restricting the predatory “legal-because-they control-Congress” financialization that has taken over modern society.  Capitalism only works if the participants are individually small.  It stops working when there are only a few big players and it turns to predatory oligarchy, which is where we are now.

    But attempting to “unlearn” people of their built-in profit motive?

    It will never work.  But we would end up killing millions in the attempt.  And, somewhat selfishly, I’d strongly prefer not to be one of those people.

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  • Sun, Jun 16, 2019 - 8:02am

    #36
    phusg

    phusg

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 16 2014

    Posts: 27

    4+

    'Socialism'

     

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  • Sun, Jun 16, 2019 - 8:33am

    Reply to #36

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3207

    2+

    norway has oil money

    Its much easier to be socialist when you have oil money.  🙂

    Open borders & socialism don’t mix so well though.  I’m very curious to see what happens to California when it starts providing free medical care to illegal aliens.  My goodness.  What could possibly go wrong?

    “I have this expensive medical condition that Mexico won’t pay for.  But there’s a fix…”

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  • Sun, Jun 16, 2019 - 8:44am

    #37

    David

    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 29 2011

    Posts: 27

    1+

    USA has Corporate Welfare!

    https://ritholtz.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/corporate-welfare.gif 

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  • Mon, Jun 17, 2019 - 5:21am

    #38
    phusg

    phusg

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jul 16 2014

    Posts: 27

    2+

    Norway

    Its much easier to be socialist when you have oil money. 🙂

    Too true. I wish they hadn’t cited Norway but rather Sweden, Denmark or Germany, pretty sure none of those have much or any natural resources beyond some coal.

    To my mind those are 3 countries that certainly show capitalism can go together with strong welfare policies, to my mind necessary to ensure society doesn’t get ripped apart by inequality.

    The Netherlands is another one to avoid as an example as up until recently they had plenty of natural gas to fund their strong welfare policies.

    Of course Europe’s ‘capitalism’ has devolved into a dangerous unfree and uncompetitive market capitalism just as in the US, with the ECB having just as much of a corporate welfare programme as the US treasury/FED in the cartoon above.

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  • Thu, Jun 27, 2019 - 9:48am

    #39

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 469

    2+

    A Call For Balance???

    Now that we have had a “Primer for Expatriation” a post for the wealthy, well connected and the minority, how about a post for the rest(majority) of society?

    In the recent past a family could survive on one income.  Then, family life required two incomes to be on par with families of the past.  NOW many families have become three and four income families……. just to survive!

    Sooooo, I am looking forward to something for the rest of us:)

    Cranky Granny

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  • Thu, Jun 27, 2019 - 11:24am

    Reply to #39
    Edwardelinski

    Edwardelinski

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 23 2012

    Posts: 331

    3+

    Hungry Kids on the Cape Granny

    Over the last few months anonymous donors have stepped forward to pay outstanding balances for kids who are on reduced school lunch plans.In some towns,as many as 80%qualify.Both parents work.I looked further and found 70%of kids in Rhode Island qualify.If you live in coastal military towns,the same applies.Things are not as they seem.Talk about VERY SAD!

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  • Thu, Jun 27, 2019 - 11:44am

    #40

    AKGrannyWGrit

    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Feb 06 2011

    Posts: 469

    3+

    Thanks Edwardelinski

    My objective is to remind the very well-to-do who read this site that their reality is very, very different from the rest of us.  Society couldn’t miss the long bread lines in the Great Depression but today’s pain is hidden. As you so aptly point out.

    Perhaps EBT cards and legalized pot help hide the pain?

    Granny

     

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  • Fri, Jun 28, 2019 - 1:07am

    Reply to #40

    davefairtex

    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3207

    1+

    a reminder

    My objective is to remind the very well-to-do who read this site that their reality is very, very different from the rest of us. Society couldn’t miss the long bread lines in the Great Depression but today’s pain is hidden. As you so aptly point out.

    Yes the stats bear out everything you say.  Stagnant wages for 20 years: jobs sent off to China, wages debased by waves of migrants coming in with no education but a great will to work, shockingly expensive healthcare, a poisoned food supply, usury-level payday loans, predatory bank fees that only get charged to poor people, the system as it exists now really does stack the deck.

    So now that (I, for one) agree with you about the situation, and I also agree that this is not my reality (software work still pays well, at least for now), what’s the next step?

    Is there a next step?

    Is “reminding the very-well-to-do people” all you are really looking for?

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