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Daily Digest 9/20 - Backyard Politics in New Hampshire, Saving For Retirement At 50

Sunday, September 20, 2015, 12:02 PM

Economy

U.S. to Increase Admission of Refugees to 100,000 in 2017, Kerry Says (jdargis)

“This step is in keeping with America’s best tradition as a land of second chances and a beacon of hope,” Mr. Kerry said in his prepared remarks. “And it will be accompanied by continued financial contributions to the humanitarian effort — not only from the U.S. government, but from the American people. The need is enormous, but we are determined to answer the call.”

The elite don’t hand out resources like the rest of us (jdargis)

The data from these experiments shows that the participants from Yale Law School were significantly more likely than any other group to select efficiency, electing to raise the overall wealth of all players, but they also disregarded the relative disparity that may exist between themselves and others. Elites who were not students at Yale Law School were slightly less fair-minded than the non-elite controls, but this difference was statistically insignificant.

Weary and Wary, Greek Voters Head to the Polls (jdargis)

This summer, after a chaotic showdown with Greece’s creditors — the other countries that use the euro, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — Mr. Tsipras gave in and accepted a new package of budget cuts, tax increases and other economic policy changes in return for another 86 billion euros, or $97.2 billion, in aid necessary to reopen the country’s banks and avert default on its loans.

Syriza Headed for Victory in Greek Election, Exit Poll Shows (jdargis)

Both Syriza and New Democracy said in the campaign that they would not challenge the bailout agreement and would push to implement its terms, though a number of smaller parties didn’t share that view. Investors have nonetheless signaled confidence in recent weeks that the worst is over for Greece, with government bonds posting the biggest returns in the euro zone over the past month, and the Athens stock market also rallying.

Backyard Politics in New Hampshire (jdargis)

The chatter faded as Brown’s daughter—a professional musician with tumbling brown curls, a perfect smile, and cowboy boots—performed the star-spangled banner. Everyone held a reverent palm over their hearts. My arms dangled indecisively, as they usually do during these powerful, everyday displays of pride and patriotism. I was born with a U.S. passport, but grew up in the U.K., and continue to grapple with a sense of belonging—or rather, its absence. Maybe it’s wariness of committing myself to an unquestioning loyalty to anything, or maybe it’s a self-defense mechanism. But when I do try to sing along, it feels forced.

What to do if you’re 50 and haven’t saved for retirement (jdargis)

“When you have someone who has not saved, really, three things can improve the situation — saving more, spending less or finding a way to earn more,” Krishnaswamy says.

Save more: “There are two best times to start investing,” says James Gambaccini of Acorn Financial Services. “One is now and the other is when you were 20. Sometimes at 50 or 55, it’s too late.”

Tourists Thwart Turtles from Nesting in Costa Rica (jdargis)

Mr. Méndez said officials were working on changes before the next arrival, expected on Oct. 4. He said he hoped to double the number of police officers and security guards, and even to bring in the Coast Guard. Groups will be allowed in only with guides and will be limited to the edges of the nesting area.

Searching for Leads in the Opening Arctic (djc)

The Arctic is melting. Summer sea ice that used to cover the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Strait isn’t there, where it used to be. Summer ice coverage in the Arctic hit a record low in 2012; this past March, it registered an all-time winter low. As the ice recedes, something new is popping up in its place: oil rigs and commercial ships. Whatever the debate about climate change looks like in Washington, it’s sadly clear up here. At least for part of the year, thanks to rising temperatures, a once-closed ocean is now open for business.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 9/18/15

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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13 Comments

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
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CGI Layering Error on South Tower Plane Strike

An illustrious PP members sent me this video (and another some links) a couple of months ago. (You can name yourself if you want to be publicly associated with this discussion.  :-) )   I hesitate to post too much stuff here but find two elements in this video of the story of the plane crash into the south tower worthy of note and ready for prime time.

Watch the video below between the 4:00 mark and the 5:30 mark as the airplane strikes the south tower.

Two issues:

1.  An aluminum airplane cutting through heavy, weight bearing, structural steel and slicing it "like a knife through butter."

2.  A CGI layering error where the wing of the incoming airplane appears to pass behind a skyscraper that is in the background.  This layering error indicates that the film was NOT shot by an amateur photographer visiting NY as we are told, but was created in a studio.

Start with my main point:  the layering error (around the 5:00 mark)

---------------------------

And the second issue, the airplane shaped cut out.

(Source)

An airplane shaped cutout in the outer layer of the WTC south tower where the plane struck.  This seems improbable to me from my experience as a former pilot and airplane owner (who has spent too many hours crawling around in the airplane with a flashlight).  Airplanes are wafer thin constructs with lightweight aluminum spars and beams and a thin aluminum or carbon fiber skin.  When I compare this with the structural steel beams used in the WTC construction it seems VERY unlikely that the airplane would cut the beams.

Here is a photo series of a crash test of an F-4 into a cement wall. (source)  Airplanes are transformed into confetti by this kind of event.

Tall's picture
Tall
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We are double-plus unfree

Are we turning our entire society into a prison? If so, who are the inmates and who are the guards? And who decides?

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/sep/18/margaret-atwood-we-are-doub...

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Bankers Slave
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Dean Clifford takes the enslavers head on!

Beware, lots of F words.

Mark Cochrane's picture
Mark Cochrane
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Got a laugh out of this

From the article in the daily digest above I read the following.

What to do if you’re 50 and haven’t saved for retirement

“If you say, ‘I will work till 70,’ that gives you the opportunity to grow your Social Security, which is significant. Instead of taking it at 66, push it out to 70, you get to grow it 8 percent a year for those last few years, which is a fabulous return.”

However, the latest I've seen puts the Social Security retirement fund insolvency at 2034 (link). So, if you are 50 now, you'll be 69 when the system goes bust (if it doesn't go down earlier). Good thing you'll be getting 8% returns on those last few years before they tell you that 8% of zero is still zero...

 

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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at some point one might

have to eat "the mare"?

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Neoteny and the Jötun.

Spent 2 hours listening to the man Banker's. I will have to digest and cogitate.

First thoughts. The Bantu and the Mongols are upfront about their ownership of you. It would appear that Western Civilization practices obfuscation. But why? Why the difference in style? Fascinating. 

Without any evidence other than the difference in style has been found to be necessary in order to exert control I put it down to the contribution of our ancestors, the Jötun.  It would appear that the Jötun were less amenable to socialization and require circumspection in order to control them. 

Dean is not Neotenic. The state will have to prevent him from breeding. Their ideal livestock will be tame and never become adults. They will separate and pick off the outliers. 

That is, if they can keep the show on the road. Otherwise the Adults will start breeding again and the maak,  as the Afrikaaners say, will be go the way of the Dodo. 

EDIT: I used maak  because "tame" does not convey the intended insult.  Maak implies passively following orders without thought. eg a gelded ox. Pronounced mark, not mack.

LesPhelps's picture
LesPhelps
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"Stranger in a Strange Land " Laugh
Mark Cochrane wrote:

However, the latest I've seen puts the Social Security retirement fund insolvency at 2034 (link). So, if you are 50 now, you'll be 69 when the system goes bust (if it doesn't go down earlier). Good thing you'll be getting 8% returns on those last few years before they tell you that 8% of zero is still zero...

 

In "Stranger in a Strange Land," Heinlein argues that we laugh when a situation is too painful for crying to be effective, that there is always someone who is the but of the joke.

I've already read that congress is talking about cutting social security cost of living adjustments, starting in 2016.  The fund is already in trouble.  The argument is that inflation is low enough to make that move palatable.  The truth, we all know, is that reported inflation is low.

I just had a thought.  I wonder if congress plans to cut the congressional retirement cost of living adjustment by the same percentage?  What do you think, another laugh?

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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CPI-E vs CPI-W

So a fellow named Grayson (congressman from Florida) says that Social Security uses the CPI-W (worker) instead of the CPI-E (elderly) to calculate social security's COLA each year.  CPI-E supposedly has a much bigger healthcare component to it.  I'm just guessing this looks substantially worse than CPI-W.

I'll see if I can download the CPI-E to see what it looks like.  FRED doesn't have it, so that means I have to dig around at BLS...

As for "the fund being in trouble", there is no fund.  No money has been saved.  The system is pay-as-you-go, with current workers paying for current retirees.  Given that, the question to ask is, is social security cash flow positive or negative?  Anybody know?

 

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Social Security is Cash Flow Negative
davefairtex wrote:

As for "the fund being in trouble", there is no fund.  No money has been saved.  The system is pay-as-you-go, with current workers paying for current retirees.  Given that, the question to ask is, is social security cash flow positive or negative?  Anybody know?

Yep.  It's negative...compare the parts I've bolded in yellow:

(Source - SSA)

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Time2help
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davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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OASDI: cash flow negative

That's really interesting.  I haven't looked into this since I learned some accounting basics.  That makes all the difference in the world.

On a cash flow basis, I'd just look at the $745B on "OASDI tax income" line, and I'd subtract the $813B on OASDI benefit payments and administrative expensives, for a system cash flow deficit of 68B that has to be made up either by a contribution from the general tax revenues, or new US treasury bond issuance.

Definitely cash flow negative, and not by a small amount.

Boy, they sure do come up with a lot of ways of "structuring" this accounting that try to obfuscate the loss.

Doug's picture
Doug
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Not new news

The negative cash flow has long been known and publicized.  The difference is made up from the "trust fund" that has previously been pooh poohed here.  The trust fund was created from SS taxes that were then borrowed by the US gov't.  The Gov't borrowed the SS taxes to fund normal gov't operations.  And now the gov't is paying back that debt, making up the negative flow, from its general taxes which is its only income ignoring interest payments from the Fed.  So, SS taxes were already spent into the US economy as federal spending.

You can call it an accounting gimmick and I wouldn't argue, but most accounting is a gimmick these days.  Any account involving debt and made up of digital entries share that trait.

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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here's a chart for SS cash flow

http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/ProgData/tsOps.html

Here's a chart I cobbled together.  It may not be new information, but it makes things clear to me.

It is annualized OASDI income run through a 12 point moving average to get rid of seasonality.  I only count "income" from contributions and taxes, while "outgo" is more or less everything.

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