Daily Digest

Daily Digest 7/9 - Money Supply Growth Alert, The Shape Of Things To Come, Ethanol Subsidies Besieged

Saturday, July 9, 2011, 10:48 AM
  • Money Supply Growth Alert
  • Mike Krieger Explains Why QE 3 Will Merely Keep The Lights On
  • The Shape Of Things To Come
  • New Housing Program Is Aimed at the Unemployed
  • Jailed For Cashing Chase Check At Chase Bank
  • At Goldman, Pressure On Staff To Keep A Low Profile 
  • Ethanol Subsidies Besieged
  • Egg Producers and Humane Society Urging Federal Standard on Hen Cages
  • The New Dust Bowl

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Economy

Money Supply Growth Alert (Robert C.)

Over a very long period, M2 growth is still averaging only 6% a year, as the chart above shows, and that is quite unremarkable. Indeed, the persistence of 6% annual M2 growth in recent years has been a significant argument against the likelihood of a meaningful rise in inflation. We may now be seeing a significant change in that important fundamental, but of course with only one outsized-growth week, it is premature to jump to conclusions.

Mike Krieger Explains Why QE 3 Will Merely Keep The Lights On (June C.)

This is a piece that has been festering in my head for quite some time now and I was waiting for the right moment to pen it. That time is now. In some ways The Bernank made a huge mistake by not launching QE3 right away when he had the chance. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not in favor of any of this nonsense and I think The Bernank’s profession needs to go the way of the dodo bird, but I mean from the perspective of a Central Banker I think he made a big mistake by taking a breather from at least the printing and manipulations that they admit to. The reason I say this is because up until the last month or so The Fed had been essentially telling the American sheeple that all was under control and that since The Bernank had studied the Great Depression and Japan he could save us from all the mistakes that were made back in those less enlightened times. The Fed was saying that they could pull off the equivalent of preventing a serious hangover for someone that chugged an entire bottle of tequila. They basically claimed to have found a way to break the laws of the universe.

The Shape Of Things To Come (June C.)

As I noted in Survival+, this was a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse. The shared values and consensus which had held the Empire's core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained.

Today we have several types of political disunity. Superficially, the two "political theater" wings of the Demopublicans stage a bitter partisan war over whose vision of the U.S. as a "Plutocracy, but with benefits" holds an increasingly enfeebled political power.

New Housing Program Is Aimed at the Unemployed (jdargis)

The Obama administration has come under increasing criticism for its efforts to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure, especially as housing prices have continued their downward slide. On Wednesday, President Obama himself acknowledged the administration had come up short.

Jailed For Cashing Chase Check At Chase Bank (June C.)

“It’s one thing to make a mistake,” Luna said. “It’s one thing to make multiple errors of judgment like Chase has made and then, once you realize that your error has caused such harm to somebody else, to just ignore it for a year. I think he deserved better. I think all their customers do.”

At Goldman, Pressure On Staff To Keep A Low Profile (jdargis)

Investment banks have always prized discretion among employees. But at Goldman — an investment bank so private that many of its employees refer to it simply as “the firm” — there is added pressure to keep a low profile.

Energy

Ethanol Subsidies Besieged (jdargis)

In Washington, there is growing consensus that the ethanol industry has reached financial stability, making much government assistance unnecessary. A strong majority of the Senate recently voted to end most of the subsidies.

Environment

Egg Producers and Humane Society Urging Federal Standard on Hen Cages (jdargis)

The deal comes after the egg industry has been put increasingly on the defensive. Animal welfare groups have clandestinely recorded videos showing poor conditions on farms, and various states have sought to set more humane standards for hens. Egg producers have also been struggling to improve their image after tainted eggs from several farms in Iowa sickened thousands of people in a nationwide salmonella outbreak last year.

The New Dust Bowl (Mike K.)

"I don't want to jack nobody," Vaca says, as though the thought had crossed his mind. When the housing boom imploded last year, he lost a $14-an-hour construction job, a job that had allowed this son of farmworkers to drop out of high school, buy a car, and rent an apartment for his young wife and baby in Fresno. It took him a month to find more work, this time picking peaches at less than half his previous wage. Then the worst drought in more than a decade hit, a court order to protect an endangered fish cut off water to the valley's farmers, and an area larger than Los Angeles went fallow. Vaca now works one day a week while his family survives on welfare and food stamps. "It's hard, man," he says. "Everybody's broke."

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

24 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
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Look at all of the info in this Reuters news on "99ers"

 

 

"In 2010, an estimated 3.9 million unemployed Americans exhausted unemployment benefits, according to the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group that campaigns for lower-wage workers.

More than 14 percent of the U.S. unemployed have been out of a job for 99 weeks, or longer.

The Labor Department’s report on Friday showed that the unemployment rate climbed to a six-month high of 9.2 percent in June.

Many so-called "99ers" subsist on social services like food stamps and Medicaid, programs now in danger of deep cuts demanded by many Republicans in Congress in exchange for allowing the federal government to go deeper into debt.

"An increase in demand for social services is what you would expect in a downturn of this magnitude and so the fact that they are cutting the social safety net is quite perplexing," said Sylvia Allegretto, a labor economist at the University of California at Berkeley. "We've just never seen (long-term unemployment) at these levels, period."

Forty six percent of those looking for work have been jobless for six months or more and the average length of job searches that eventually result in a hiring has doubled to 10 weeks between 2007 and 2010."

"The long-term unemployed have a tougher time than others landing a job. In 2010, someone unemployed for less than five weeks was three times more likely to get a job than someone unemployed for 27 weeks or more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

DEMAND SURGES FOR FOOD STAMPS

Just as the United States prepares to tighten its belt and deal with its fiscal crisis, demand for key aid programs has never been higher.

The number of Americans signed up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) -- which provides food stamps -- has reached its highest level since it began in 1939. One in seven Americans now receive aid from the program.

Medicaid enrollment as of 2010 surpassed 68.2 million, its highest level in the program's history.

Cuts to these programs now seem inevitable as states struggle to plug budget gaps and lawmakers on Capital Hill turn their attention to the budget deficit.

The White House has reportedly agreed to $100 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next 10 years. Some House Republicans want cuts of more than seven times that amount.

Last week, federal stimulus programs providing billions of dollars for state Medicaid programs ran out.

The cuts are piling on the pressure for the long-term unemployed."

"Cuts to the program are being negotiated in Washington. A Republican version of the U.S. budget for 2012 would cut $127 billion -- about 20 percent -- from food stamps over 10 years.

Unemployment benefits are under pressure too. Two federal programs are set to expire in January though unemployed workers receiving emergency benefits may be eligible to draw checks through May."

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Comments

Re "Money Supply Growth Alert": nothing about M3, the Dark Pool.   Nothing about the distortion in GDP calc; 6% per year is inflationary!

Re: "New Housing Program Is Aimed at the Unemployed": wouldn't it be better for the program to facilitate a movement to apartments for these people?  That is not colded-harded, just facts as these people will never be able to repay mortgage.

And with QE2 ending, why hasn't the stock market crashed?   Where is the new money to prop it up as retail investors are still not in the market per stats in fact still taking money out.

KugsCheese's picture
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Re: Look at all of the info in this Reuters news on "99ers"

There is study proof that current government benefit policies are creating dependents a new.   With a truly free market we would see all kinds of new commerce but we have licensing up the wazoo, high minimum wage, etc that prevents much creativity in new commerce.  

For example, I know of someone that was fired, went of unemployment, then spent the summer traveling in Ireland and Italy.  How many others do this and similar?  

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The "Non" Dust Bowl

 

I am puzzled by this posting.

First, the dateline is Nov 2009, beyond stale. Moreover the lack of work for migrant workers doesn't exist in Southern California. There has been a severe shortage of Avocado pickers here which has driven their wages to historic highs. Also, a similar shortage exists in other states such as New Mexico, where my in-laws have witnessed widespread shortages of agricultural workers to the degree where the legendary chile fields of the Hatch area are losing vast crops for lack of pickers.

Second, the article fails to mention the most significant aspect of the so-called 'drought' in California's Central Valley: another activist judge siding with radical environmentalists that ruled in favor of a fish over the victims which with this story sympathizes. The 'drought' was man-made.

Finally, whatever natural drought that may have previously contributed to the supposed Dust Bowl has ended with near record precipitation. California's reservoirs are overflowing and water rationing has been lifted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/ski/detail?entry_id=86085. The California Dept. of Water Resources is having to balance releases from reservoirs to maintain storage for the melting snowpack so as to control possible flooding.

 

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debt ceiling hypocrisy

In Time of 'Austerity', Pentagon Gets Double Digit Increase - The House on Friday overwhelmingly passed a $649 billion defense spending bill that boosts the Pentagon budget by $17 billion and covers the costs of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The strong bipartisan vote was 336-87 and reflected lawmakers' intent to ensure national security, preserve defense jobs across the nation and avoid deep cuts while the country is at war. While House Republican leaders slashed billions from all other government agencies, the Defense Department is the only one that will see a double-digit increase in its budget beginning Oct. 1. Amid negotiations to cut spending and raise the nation's borrowing limit, the House rejected several amendments to cut the Pentagon budget, including a measure by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., to halve the bill's increase in defense spending. "The military budget is not on the table. The military is at the table, and it is eating everybody else's lunch."

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KugsCheese wrote: There is
KugsCheese wrote:

There is study proof that current government benefit policies are creating dependents a new.   With a truly free market we would see all kinds of new commerce but we have licensing up the wazoo, high minimum wage, etc that prevents much creativity in new commerce.  

For example, I know of someone that was fired, went of unemployment, then spent the summer traveling in Ireland and Italy.  How many others do this and similar?  

I know somebody that collects unemployment checks in California and Arizona at the same time while working full time for cash under the table.

It gets worse: My deadbeat brother collects Social Security Disability for an enlarged heart condition that he caused himself by taking steroids as a bodybuilder. He collects while running a small business under the table. That is, he did until recently when he quit and took off for a tour of South and Central America. He has his disability check direct deposited in his bank account to fund his adventure. Disabled my a$$. Oh, and all of his extensive and expensive medical care came at taxpayer expense.

Entitlements are a rip-off of the taxpayer.

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"Entitlements"

Hey, earthwise, if you know someone breaking the law, then report it.  Else don't act like the high moralist if you're abetting crime.  The vast majority of those "entitlements" are keeping people who need them, and who have mostly paid their share into the system, from homelessness and hunger.  Oh, but I suppose it is easier to use it as an anecdote to support your philosophical prejudices than to actually do anything about it..

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Irony live and well

Earth'wise', it sounds like you've taken the Crash Course-Lite, the one with only 2 'E's.

There's more than one sense of entitlement and green_achers is spot on -- if you KNOW someone who is milking the system, then you have a unique personal opportunity to make sure one 'entitlement' is stopped. Come on, you can do it, your 'deadbeat brother' is stealing YOUR tax dollars!!! If you haven't shopped him, I'd love to hear your rationalisation for inaction.

Of course the other entitlement is the one that says we can wipe out fish species to support an unsustainable industry that demands more resources than the local ecosystem can supply. We can live without avocados a lot easier than fish can live without water. And as the fish were there first, I'd say they have first dibs on the water, whatever your view on 'activist judges' or radical environmentalists - just the sort of people who over the years have stopped acid rain rotting your car, stopped you breathing lead if you live beside the highway, and have stopped white arsenic being added to your wheat flour. OK, scratch that last one, I know US food adulteration standards are still a century behind us here in the UK, so you might still have food safety issues to work out. Hey, but I don't care if you get poisoned to benefit people making money off you.

 

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3Es Links and Cartoons posted

http://3es.weebly.com/ Weekly Summary of links and cartoons

ao's picture
ao
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Mucho manure
green_achers wrote:

The vast majority of those "entitlements" are keeping people who need them, and who have mostly paid their share into the system, from homelessness and hunger.  Oh, but I suppose it is easier to use it as an anecdote to support your philosophical prejudices than to actually do anything about it..

Bull****!.  The majority of people that I see who apply for Social Security disability for musculoskeletal reasons are capable of working (and yeah, I know first hand because I've evaluated them at one point and have the records to back up that assertion).  Most pain shouldn't be a reason to get full disability.  Mild impairment of function shouldn't be a reason to get full disability.  One of the top combat fliers in WW2 flew 25 dive bomber missions with one leg.  Another flew combat fighter missions with bilateral amputations.  A top tank commander personally responsible for a high number of enemy kills achieved those kills with one arm.  A Vietnam vet that I knew who was point man for his LRRP unit is a bilateral AK amputee who worked every day of his life up until retirement.  Another Vietnam vet who was paralyzed in civilian life (and a low level quadriplegic) also worked every day of his life until his company shut down.  In my opinion, each of these men definitely qualifies for disability but they were too proud and dignified to take it.

I'm talking about people who are on disability for back problems but can do transoceanic solo sailing or fly hang gliders.  I'm talking about people with anxiety problems who "get anxious" when they have to work.  I'm talking about people with disabilities from morbid obesity who simply eat too much.  I'm talking about people with sore thumbs who do hard work on a daily basis around their homestead.  And it goes on and on.  And yes, I've reported people but usually the authorities just ignore you.  Once you have SS disability, it almost takes an act of Congress to take it away from you.

And please don't give me that line that I've probably never had a problem so I can't understand what they're going through.  I've had lacerated tendons in one hand, ruptured ligaments in one thumb, broken and dislocated fingers, torn triangular fibrocartilage in one wrist, missing 1//3rd of the cartilage in one elbow (from surgery for 6 bone chips and 2 fractures that I worked with for 3 months), a painful bone chip in the other elbow, partially torn rotator cuff, subluxed sternoclavicular joint, sprung ribs, disc derangements in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spines, torn acetabular labrum in one hip, and torn menisci in both knees and guess what ... I'm still working.

I have no qualms with those individuals who are truly disabled receiving disability but there are far, far too many societal parasites who are fully capable of working who are bleeding our system. 

ao's picture
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Macs wrote: Come on, you can
Macs wrote:

Come on, you can do it, your 'deadbeat brother' is stealing YOUR tax dollars!!! If you haven't shopped him, I'd love to hear your rationalisation for inaction.

If my brother was stealing my tax dollars, as much as I disagree with it, I still wouldn't turn him in.  He's my brother.  He didn't commit a violent crime so wrong or not, I wouldn't take the risk of sending my brother to prison.  You might.  I wouldn't.  Not for that.  Personally, I'd rather go to prison myself than send a sibling.  

So when food gets tight and your mother is working on the collective and grabs a few extra handfuls of grain to stem off beriberi, are you going to turn her in? 

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99ers

earthwise,

I know somebody that collects unemployment checks in California and Arizona at the same time while working full time for cash under the table.

I found out someone was cashing not one but THREE welfare checks in different names, and turned her in. (This was before picture IDs stopped that practice in NY.) Turns out her common law husband was dealing drugs, too.

As for 99ers, I knew a woman who wanted to "concentrate on her writing career" so she did the minimum to get her unemployment checks for YEARS (thereby creating a gaping hole in her resume) and made it  "look" like she was actually seeking a job. She only started looking in earnest when the benefits were about to run out. Unreal.

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earthwise wrote: KugsCheese
earthwise wrote:
KugsCheese wrote:

There is study proof that current government benefit policies are creating dependents a new.   With a truly free market we would see all kinds of new commerce but we have licensing up the wazoo, high minimum wage, etc that prevents much creativity in new commerce.  

For example, I know of someone that was fired, went of unemployment, then spent the summer traveling in Ireland and Italy.  How many others do this and similar?  

I know somebody that collects unemployment checks in California and Arizona at the same time while working full time for cash under the table.

It gets worse: My deadbeat brother collects Social Security Disability for an enlarged heart condition that he caused himself by taking steroids as a bodybuilder. He collects while running a small business under the table. That is, he did until recently when he quit and took off for a tour of South and Central America. He has his disability check direct deposited in his bank account to fund his adventure. Disabled my a$$. Oh, and all of his extensive and expensive medical care came at taxpayer expense.

Entitlements are a rip-off of the taxpayer.

I find it ironic that anyone still acts surprised when someone is able to game the system. It's just an imitation of the what government and their cronies have been doing for years. I don't condone gaming the system but the truely sad fact remains that for everyone who is gaming the system there 10s of thousands of people who are truely suffering and that is what we should be focusing on.

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ao wrote: Bull****!.  The
ao wrote:

Bull****!.  The majority of people that I see who apply for Social Security disability for musculoskeletal reasons are capable of working (and yeah, I know first hand because I've evaluated them at one point and have the records to back up that assertion).  Most pain shouldn't be a reason to get full disability.  Mild impairment of function shouldn't be a reason to get full disability.  One of the top combat fliers in WW2 flew 25 dive bomber missions with one leg.  Another flew combat fighter missions with bilateral amputations.  A top tank commander personally responsible for a high number of enemy kills achieved those kills with one arm.  A Vietnam vet that I knew who was point man for his LRRP unit is a bilateral AK amputee who worked every day of his life up until retirement.  Another Vietnam vet who was paralyzed in civilian life (and a low level quadriplegic) also worked every day of his life until his company shut down.  In my opinion, each of these men definitely qualifies for disability but they were too proud and dignified to take it.

Sorry but what you see is a small select group of SS disability applicants. I worked as a SS disability analyst and the majority of applicants are truely disabled. There are some individuals and groups such as police officers who fit your description but they are the exception. It happens because an analysts are not allowed to flag or question obvious fauslified medical reports and as long as their are dishonest doctors, and there are many, who provide fausified reports not much can be done to stop the swindle. The fault lies with our congress critters who refuse to give analysts the tools they need to do their job.

ao's picture
ao
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I'd disagree
frobn wrote:
ao wrote:

Bull****!.  The majority of people that I see who apply for Social Security disability for musculoskeletal reasons are capable of working (and yeah, I know first hand because I've evaluated them at one point and have the records to back up that assertion).  Most pain shouldn't be a reason to get full disability.  Mild impairment of function shouldn't be a reason to get full disability.  One of the top combat fliers in WW2 flew 25 dive bomber missions with one leg.  Another flew combat fighter missions with bilateral amputations.  A top tank commander personally responsible for a high number of enemy kills achieved those kills with one arm.  A Vietnam vet that I knew who was point man for his LRRP unit is a bilateral AK amputee who worked every day of his life up until retirement.  Another Vietnam vet who was paralyzed in civilian life (and a low level quadriplegic) also worked every day of his life until his company shut down.  In my opinion, each of these men definitely qualifies for disability but they were too proud and dignified to take it.

Sorry but what you see is a small select group of SS disability applicants. I worked as a SS disability analyst and the majority of applicants are truely disabled. There are some individuals and groups such as police officers who fit your description but they are the exception. It happens because an analysts are not allowed to flag or question obvious fauslified medical reports and as long as their are dishonest doctors, and there are many, who provide fausified reports not much can be done to stop the swindle. The fault lies with our congress critters who refuse to give analysts the tools they need to do their job.

Sorry but the SS disability analysts are snowed left and right. I can tell you from conversations with dozens and dozens of colleagues in health care that, somehow, you folks let far too many of the cheaters through the cracks.  People can have long term problems that they regularly seek medical attention for but that doesn't qualify them for disability.  I hesitate to say what we learned on a public forum since it would just give other cheaters the "ammo" they need to beat the system but there are fairly well established ways of beating the system.  We've seen it done again and again and again.

I'm just curious.  What tools does Congress need to give the analysts?  I've given serious thought to becoming a SS "bounty hunter" in my semi-retirement.  The abuse of the system just galls me. 

 

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EU calls emergency meeting as debt crisis (Italy)

 

"European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has called an emergency meeting of top officials dealing with the euro zone debt crisis for Monday morning, reelecting concern that the crisis could spread to Italy, the region's third largest economy.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet will attend the meeting along with Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the region's finance ministers, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Olli Rehn, the economic and monetary affairs commissioner, three official sources told Reuters.

The talks were organized after a sharp sell-off in Italian assets on Friday, which has increased fears that Italy, with the highest sovereign debt ratio relative to its economy in the euro zone after Greece, could be next to suffer in the crisis. A second international bailout of Greece will also be discussed.

The spread of the Italian 10-year government bond yield over benchmark German Bunds hit euro lifetime highs around 2.45 percentage points on Friday, raising the Italian yield to 5.28 percent, close to the 5.5-5.7 percent areas which some bankers think could start putting heavy pressure on Italy's finances."

"On the eve of bipartisan negotiations hosted by Obama, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner -- facing stiff opposition from fellow Republicans over the prospects of higher taxes as part of a large-scale deal -- told the Democratic president he would only pursue a smaller, $2 trillion package.

Boehner's decision threatened to thrust Sunday's White House meeting between Obama and congressional leaders into disarray as the clock ticked down on the August 2 deadline for raising the national debt ceiling.

Failure to act could mean the first-ever default on the nation's financial obligations, which the White House and private economists warn could push the United States back into recession and trigger global financial chaos."

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SS disability

The test for SS disability is whether an individual has the functional ability to do full-time or equivalent work given his/her medical impairments  and a number of demographic factors, such as age, education, past work, etc.  I know there is a lot of abuse of the system, but the analysis is trickier than most recognize.  I have two neighbors who are on SS disability who, I think, represent two sides of the issue.

One is a guy in his 40's who has a congenital spinal problem.  He had a construction business for many years until his orthopedic surgeon insisted he stop doing heavy work.  He has had multiple operations and much of his lumbar spine is fused.  He has some kind of implanted morphine pump to keep him as functional as possible.

Nonetheless, if you were to observe him doing normal chores around his home, including gardening, taking care of his cars, maintaining his large yard and doing construction type work on the house, it would be difficult to conclude he is disabled.  But, I know that he cannot do things like tie his shoes or remain in one position for long.  He is driven to work and maintain his property to his very high standards, but is not able to sustain that kind of effort for more than short periods of time.  Knowing him as I do, I cannot imagine what kind of work he could do on a sustained basis.

The other neighbor represents the other side of the coin.  He is supposedly disabled by a breathing condition, but continues to smoke and I have not seen any functional limitations that would be associated with a breathing problem.  He, too, keeps his property up and does a lot of renovation type of work.  I've seen him tromping through the woods in hunting season and he rides a 4 wheeler in all seasons.  I also know that he has at least one off-the-books job doing construction.  His SS income is apparently just extra cash to him.

I have no sympathy for the cheaters, and there are many, but I think there are considerations that extend far beyond the individuals' situations.  I think there is subtle and not so subtle pressures coming from far up the line to hand out benefits to large numbers of people to quell social unrest.  For instance, it is much easier logistically to grant benefits than to deny them.  With the tremendous backlog of cases at the appeal levels, the pressure is probably intense to just shovel them out the door as quickly as possible.  Socially, giving people checks keeps them home and unlikely to rock the boat for fear of losing benefits.

So, yes there is widespread abuse of the SS disability system, but I hesitate to blame just the recipients or the front line gov't employees who administer the system.  One of the facts of the system is that county and state welfare programs hire staffs of attorneys, many of whose jobs are solely to shift people off the welfare rolls and onto the SS disability rolls.  Its a subtle shift of burden from the states to the feds that isn't much discussed.  And, as observed by others, the medical professions don't get off scot free either.  The system relies on their findings and opinions and some routinely give far too lenient opinions just to get their patients off their (doctor's) backs.  I think out-and-out fraud is minimal, but there is a great deal of fudging around the edges in a system that favors the fudgers.

ao

Is there a 'bounty' for catching cheaters?  If so, who pays it?

Doug

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ao wrote: green_achers
ao wrote:
green_achers wrote:

The vast majority of those "entitlements" are keeping people who need them, and who have mostly paid their share into the system, from homelessness and hunger.  Oh, but I suppose it is easier to use it as an anecdote to support your philosophical prejudices than to actually do anything about it..

Bull****!.  The majority of people that I see who apply for Social Security disability for musculoskeletal reasons are capable of working (and yeah, I know first hand because I've evaluated them at one point and have the records to back up that assertion).  Most pain shouldn't be a reason to get full disability.  Mild impairment of function shouldn't be a reason to get full disability.  One of the top combat fliers in WW2 flew 25 dive bomber missions with one leg.  Another flew combat fighter missions with bilateral amputations.  A top tank commander personally responsible for a high number of enemy kills achieved those kills with one arm.  A Vietnam vet that I knew who was point man for his LRRP unit is a bilateral AK amputee who worked every day of his life up until retirement.  Another Vietnam vet who was paralyzed in civilian life (and a low level quadriplegic) also worked every day of his life until his company shut down.  In my opinion, each of these men definitely qualifies for disability but they were too proud and dignified to take it.

I'm talking about people who are on disability for back problems but can do transoceanic solo sailing or fly hang gliders.  I'm talking about people with anxiety problems who "get anxious" when they have to work.  I'm talking about people with disabilities from morbid obesity who simply eat too much.  I'm talking about people with sore thumbs who do hard work on a daily basis around their homestead.  And it goes on and on.  And yes, I've reported people but usually the authorities just ignore you.  Once you have SS disability, it almost takes an act of Congress to take it away from you.

And please don't give me that line that I've probably never had a problem so I can't understand what they're going through.  I've had lacerated tendons in one hand, ruptured ligaments in one thumb, broken and dislocated fingers, torn triangular fibrocartilage in one wrist, missing 1//3rd of the cartilage in one elbow (from surgery for 6 bone chips and 2 fractures that I worked with for 3 months), a painful bone chip in the other elbow, partially torn rotator cuff, subluxed sternoclavicular joint, sprung ribs, disc derangements in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spines, torn acetabular labrum in one hip, and torn menisci in both knees and guess what ... I'm still working.

I have no qualms with those individuals who are truly disabled receiving disability but there are far, far too many societal parasites who are fully capable of working who are bleeding our system. 

 

I personally deal with a bad lower back disc and damaged knee.   I manage this by losing wieght, exercising,  and eating the best I can.   Needless to say, I have periodic pain that is not good but I get by.  Hopefully stem cell therapy will come to my rescue.   I have seen the rackets in Chiros, etc.  The abuse is very widespread.  Those that don't see this: Open your eyes.

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KugsCheese
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ao wrote: Macs wrote: Come
ao wrote:
Macs wrote:

Come on, you can do it, your 'deadbeat brother' is stealing YOUR tax dollars!!! If you haven't shopped him, I'd love to hear your rationalisation for inaction.

If my brother was stealing my tax dollars, as much as I disagree with it, I still wouldn't turn him in.  He's my brother.  He didn't commit a violent crime so wrong or not, I wouldn't take the risk of sending my brother to prison.  You might.  I wouldn't.  Not for that.  Personally, I'd rather go to prison myself than send a sibling.  

So when food gets tight and your mother is working on the collective and grabs a few extra handfuls of grain to stem off beriberi, are you going to turn her in? 

 

I agree with you.   But what goes around comes around.   We all pay in the end.  Your brother will pay in other ways if he is not caught.   What did that Russian author say about happy families...

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KugsCheese
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frobn wrote: ao
frobn wrote:
ao wrote:

Bull****!.  The majority of people that I see who apply for Social Security disability for musculoskeletal reasons are capable of working (and yeah, I know first hand because I've evaluated them at one point and have the records to back up that assertion).  Most pain shouldn't be a reason to get full disability.  Mild impairment of function shouldn't be a reason to get full disability.  One of the top combat fliers in WW2 flew 25 dive bomber missions with one leg.  Another flew combat fighter missions with bilateral amputations.  A top tank commander personally responsible for a high number of enemy kills achieved those kills with one arm.  A Vietnam vet that I knew who was point man for his LRRP unit is a bilateral AK amputee who worked every day of his life up until retirement.  Another Vietnam vet who was paralyzed in civilian life (and a low level quadriplegic) also worked every day of his life until his company shut down.  In my opinion, each of these men definitely qualifies for disability but they were too proud and dignified to take it.

Sorry but what you see is a small select group of SS disability applicants. I worked as a SS disability analyst and the majority of applicants are truely disabled. There are some individuals and groups such as police officers who fit your description but they are the exception. It happens because an analysts are not allowed to flag or question obvious fauslified medical reports and as long as their are dishonest doctors, and there are many, who provide fausified reports not much can be done to stop the swindle. The fault lies with our congress critters who refuse to give analysts the tools they need to do their job.

 

Yes, but how many of these cases resulted from bad life style choices due to mis-aligned incentives?  The incentive system needs to be right-aligned: you make bad choices, you pay the price.

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ao
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KugsCheese wrote: I
KugsCheese wrote:

I personally deal with a bad lower back disc and damaged knee.   I manage this by losing wieght, exercising,  and eating the best I can.   Needless to say, I have periodic pain that is not good but I get by.  Hopefully stem cell therapy will come to my rescue.   I have seen the rackets in Chiros, etc.  The abuse is very widespread.  Those that don't see this: Open your eyes.

I hear you.

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ao
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KugsCheese wrote: I agree
KugsCheese wrote:

I agree with you.   But what goes around comes around.   We all pay in the end.  Your brother will pay in other ways if he is not caught.   What did that Russian author say about happy families...

Just as a point of clarification, it wasn't my brother.

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Doug wrote: I have no
Doug wrote:

I have no sympathy for the cheaters, and there are many, but I think there are considerations that extend far beyond the individuals' situations.  I think there is subtle and not so subtle pressures coming from far up the line to hand out benefits to large numbers of people to quell social unrest.  For instance, it is much easier logistically to grant benefits than to deny them.  With the tremendous backlog of cases at the appeal levels, the pressure is probably intense to just shovel them out the door as quickly as possible.  Socially, giving people checks keeps them home and unlikely to rock the boat for fear of losing benefits.

So, yes there is widespread abuse of the SS disability system, but I hesitate to blame just the recipients or the front line gov't employees who administer the system.  One of the facts of the system is that county and state welfare programs hire staffs of attorneys, many of whose jobs are solely to shift people off the welfare rolls and onto the SS disability rolls.  Its a subtle shift of burden from the states to the feds that isn't much discussed.  And, as observed by others, the medical professions don't get off scot free either.  The system relies on their findings and opinions and some routinely give far too lenient opinions just to get their patients off their (doctor's) backs.  I think out-and-out fraud is minimal, but there is a great deal of fudging around the edges in a system that favors the fudgers.

ao

Is there a 'bounty' for catching cheaters?  If so, who pays it?

Doug

I fully understand what you're saying and agree but how far do we let it go and where do we draw the line.  With unemployment and the job market being what it is, there are ever growing numbers of applicants for SS disability.  And I agree there is more than enough blame to go around among recipients, health care providers, government workers, attorneys, and the lawmakers.  Pure, 100% fraud is admittedly rare but partial fraud is still fraud and there is a lot of it.  There is also a lot of simple wimpiness and laziness.

The bounty business is something I'm looking into.  It's there for the IRS and the government is beginning to institute it in other areas as well such as RACs.  I can't imagine the SSA would be far behind.    

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Doug
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ao wrote: Doug wrote: I have
ao wrote:
Doug wrote:

I have no sympathy for the cheaters, and there are many, but I think there are considerations that extend far beyond the individuals' situations.  I think there is subtle and not so subtle pressures coming from far up the line to hand out benefits to large numbers of people to quell social unrest.  For instance, it is much easier logistically to grant benefits than to deny them.  With the tremendous backlog of cases at the appeal levels, the pressure is probably intense to just shovel them out the door as quickly as possible.  Socially, giving people checks keeps them home and unlikely to rock the boat for fear of losing benefits.

So, yes there is widespread abuse of the SS disability system, but I hesitate to blame just the recipients or the front line gov't employees who administer the system.  One of the facts of the system is that county and state welfare programs hire staffs of attorneys, many of whose jobs are solely to shift people off the welfare rolls and onto the SS disability rolls.  Its a subtle shift of burden from the states to the feds that isn't much discussed.  And, as observed by others, the medical professions don't get off scot free either.  The system relies on their findings and opinions and some routinely give far too lenient opinions just to get their patients off their (doctor's) backs.  I think out-and-out fraud is minimal, but there is a great deal of fudging around the edges in a system that favors the fudgers.

ao

Is there a 'bounty' for catching cheaters?  If so, who pays it?

Doug

I fully understand what you're saying and agree but how far do we let it go and where do we draw the line.  With unemployment and the job market being what it is, there are ever growing numbers of applicants for SS disability.  And I agree there is more than enough blame to go around among recipients, health care providers, government workers, attorneys, and the lawmakers.  Pure, 100% fraud is admittedly rare but partial fraud is still fraud and there is a lot of it.  There is also a lot of simple wimpiness and laziness.

The bounty business is something I'm looking into.  It's there for the IRS and the government is beginning to institute it in other areas as well such as RACs.  I can't imagine the SSA would be far behind.    

Good points all.  I think the only way to significantly change the system is through legislation, but those recipients aren't shy about writing their representatives if something isn't going their way, and are all represented by some Congressman and Senator, and most by lawyers.  Private lawyers are all on the side of the recipients.  States like shifting their welfare burden to the feds.  There are a few doctors who see the abuse and will let SS know if they think their patients are running a scam, but most are willing to give them the benefit of doubt when responding to complaints of symptoms.  Finally, investigating from outside the system is very difficult as medical records are among the most zealously protected of private documentation.  You won't get them from the SS admin and the patients likely won't release the info to an investigator.  There are gov't investigators who can be called in by SS admin if they suspect fraud, but this is seldom done, and if it were to become a routine practice in cases less than clear cut, would quickly overwhelm the resources of the investigating agency, not to mention the admin itself, given the increase in paperwork necessary to bring it about and the many lawsuits that would follow.

It's a difficult situation to remedy, and without great public pressure, isn't likely to change much until the funds dry up along with everything else.  Then the politicians may find cover to go in and make cuts across the board. 

Doug

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