Monday, July 29, 2013

The Civil War You Don't See Coming

Here's your next civil war coming right here, and I bet you haven't thought of it.  No, not the feature article on 35 facts to scare a baby boomer.  In the comments to the this article on Western Rifle Shooters' Association.

It's how everyone is blaming the Baby Boomers for its troubles.  The war will be when hot head kids start killing their Boomer parents; and if not their own parents, the nearest Boomers.  Frankly, it won't go well for the older generation.  With the exception of the rare psycho, parents aren't very likely to kill their own children. The comments, as often happen, have plenty of "you Boomers screwed up everything", and "stop whining". 

The 35 Facts don't scare me in the slightest because there's nothing in there that matters.  Why should I be afraid because other people are unprepared for their retirement, and they plan to work until they drop?  This should scare the kids, not a Boomer, because the old guy with the better job isn't retiring, so they have less opportunity.  Am I supposed to be surprised Social Security won't be there?  That there's a 134 Trillion dollar unfunded liability?  My wife tells me that in 1978 or so when I told her that there would be no social security, I was the first person she had ever heard say that. Here's one for you ZH: if you cut everyone's meager social security in half, so that instead of living on dog food, they could just lick old dog food cans, we'd still have a $67 Trillion unfunded liability that can't be met.

Then CA links to an article on FakeNation about "The Villages", a too-planned-for-my-taste retirement community over north of Orlando.  (And confidential to "Jake"; when you say, "Endless geriatric summer camp in endlessly perfect weather." you really need to go spend August in The Villages before you go talking about perfect weather).  Like so much inter-generational warfare agitprop, it's full of broad brush generalities about Boomers that might describe a few percent of the group.  I mean, is there anyone who really fits the entire profile in this piece?  It's like someone tried to combine "Leave It To Beaver" and "Forrest Gump" and somehow make Gump into Gordon Gecko ("greed is good") from "Wall Street".  What about the Boomers who enlisted for Vietnam?  What about the ones who worked two jobs, or went to school at night to drag themselves into a better career.  When there's a baby boom, that means there's obviously a lot of competition for every job, so you had to really work to get that nice job so many deride. 

The economic mess we're in is a complex mess and there is no simple, painless way out.  (Well, it's simple but light years from painless).  You can't point your fingers at any one group; yes, not even central bankers, and say they're the ones responsible.  As I've said before (in two episodes), the economy was due to slow down, if not crash, for a variety of reasons.  (The second piece covers why investing in stocks was such a really bad idea for retirement).  We're seeing the collapse of fiat currency worldwide, an epic showdown between Keynesian and Austrian economics.  There are mountains of debts that have to be paid down, that will take generations to repay.  Frankly, I believe most of it will be written off.  Banks, loan underwriters and millions of people are not going to get what we were promised because it simply isn't there.  There are only two ways they can get that $134 Trillion: lots of growth or creation of money out of thin air - which gives you worthless paper for your portion of that $134 Trillion.  
As commenter Battlefield USA says, "Remember… millennials, gen-x, baby boomers. We are all in this together. And of the three, some will die, some will live."  Encouraging this sort of strife is a tactic perfect for  Encourage your enemies to fight each other: (1) it divides resistance and so makes them easier to dominate (2) if they kill off people, there's less burden on your wonderful Obama Health Services.  From their standpoint, what's not to love? 


  1. My doctor mentioned that he was at a medical conference and heard that the incidence of VD cases at The Villages was sky high! Between untreated VD cases and golf carts that go 30+ mph, it might be a self-correcting problem there.

  2. Yeah, well, those guys are Fake Nation are really stoking the fire here. A bunch of young people really filled with hate. They just don't stop:


  3. Some great comments on that WRSA blog. Here's a couple it's hard to argue with.

    "You either destroyed the greatest country on earth, or stood back and let it happen, in one generation."

    " Now the younger generations have to fight a civil war or resign ourselves to live in a 3rd world cesspool."

  4. I was at a Tea Party meeting last night and listening to the mostly retirement age people there complaining about "death panels" that are even now in action. People's insurance companies are having to get special permission to treat someone over 70 with a history of cancer for something else. That lady with the 2x cancer survival walks 2 miles a day and is slender and spry. But they won't care about that, to them she's a "unit".

    Obamacare is a sneaky way to kill off the elderly faster so the gov can steal their retirement assets. This manufactured prejudice against baby boomers is only so that people will consent to it.

    Also, neo- and pre-natal care seems to be going by the wayside as well - not sure what that's about, maybe to make for more infant mortality in general as a population reduction measure. Or, they're just too cheap to bother.

    Someone also complained last night that maternity clothes are getting hard to find in stores anymore. I dunno about that: there are right now at least 6 pairs of maternity ACU pants for sale at the local gun shop, and there are so many fat people anymore I'm sure a pregnant lady could find SOMETHING to wear. Or people could learn how to sew, and deprive the Chinese sweat shops of more income.

    1. The thing about the neo- and prenatal care going away is the Complete Lives System embedded into Obamacare. I've written about it a bunch, like this piece which has a graph showing how your likelihood of getting treatment varies with age. A baby with a critical condition is left to die (or killed) - same with an elderly person. The people who get care are the ones with lots of earning potential left, the ones most useful to the collective.

      One of the co-authors on the paper (linked in my post) that designed the complete lives system is Rahm Emmanuel's brother, Ezekiel Emmanuel. Small world?

  5. If you think that's bad, just think how I feel being on disability due to no fault of my own. I paid into the system for decades and now, I'm no better than the fakers that ran out of unemployment, claim mental problems, or a damn illegal.

    Now I'm a member of the FSA and the enemy!

    Now I'm between the govt and the so called Patriots.


  6. Folks:

    Curtis got it right.

    We (a bunch of individuals, right?) are all in this together.

    The answer is to decide on the principles for which to fight.

    Free speech, private property, armed self-defense, parental supremacy, limited government, and personal responsibility are mine.

    How about you?


  7. The problem with SS in a nutshell is congress. They have made it like welfare and have changed the rules over time to give away more then ever comes in. The fix is really rather simple. First understand that in the early years going back to at least the 50’s the federal government took money from the SS trust fund and today that amount including compounded interest exceeds $4 trillion. So the fix: First remove anyone from collecting SS who didn’t pay into the system. Sure there are old folks and kids and disabled who really need the money but cut them off if they were not the actual people who paid into SS. Second set the individual monthly payout to be proportional to what the retiree paid in over their lifetime. That is someone who paid $100,000 into SS will get half as much a month as someone who paid in $200,000. Third make the actual payout consistent with general accounting procedures for a annuity. That may mean a particular retiree only gets $100 a month ( or $500 or $750, etc) and not the more generous $1500 or so that SS now pays on average. And the last step is the most important and that is to adjust the total payout each year so that it does not exceed the total paid into the SS system. That means this year you might get $900 a month but next year it drops to $850 (or could go up too) and every retirees SS benefit adjusts accordingly. This way it is impossible for the SS system to go broke. It only pays out to those who paid in and met all requirements and it always pays out no more then it takes in. The bottom line is a contract was made and the retirees fulfilled their part of the contract. While we may believe it would be easy enough to simply pass laws and end SS the courts will bat last and there is plenty of precedent for deciding that the federal government would have to use it’s power of taxation to meet this contract. So we either fix the system or we face endless litigation and risk an even greater liability in the future.
    One last point; SS is one of two programs (Medicare is the other) where the beneficiaries have paid for the benefit. If SS must be cut or as some say eliminated it can only be done morally after all giveaway programs like welfare (all federal welfare programs), federal subsidies, loans, grants, foreign aid etc. are eliminated. It would be immoral for the federal government to make a contract with me to have me forcibly pay in 6% of my income for 50 years promising to pay me a small retirement after age 65 and then renege on that promise while continuing to spend tax money on programs were the beneficiary contributed nothing directly to the funding. So if things are so bad that SS must be ended it can only be done after all other federal giveaway programs are ended as well. By my estimate $1.2 trillion federal dollars are spent yearly on the 2400 federal welfare programs. Most of the rest of the budget is spent on the various “giveaway’s”, (student loans/grants, farm loans and subsidies, energy subsidies, foreign aide, etc.). All of these programs exceed $1.2 trillion as well. Frankly I would welcome cutting the federal budget by $2.4 trillion plus another $824 billion for SS. But somehow I suspect the intent is to try to cut SS but not cut any of the other federal programs. And that brings me back to the morality and legality of such an action. Can the federal government end the SS contract without the umbrella of going through an actual bankruptcy? And can the federal government morally justify taking all the retirees money all those years and give them nothing in return but continue to pay welfare recipients and other hangers on? I think not. I think they will have a legal and a political fight on their hands. I think it would actually be easier to end welfare and the many other wasteful subsidy programs then it will be to end SS.

  8. Excellent comments. Anon 1832 leaves a long, but excellent summary of the situation with SS in particular. Once or twice, I've taken something like that and made the comment and my responses the post. I'll do that next.

  9. Ralph (the other one)July 31, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Anon 1832 offers good fixes, but is still treating the symptom rather than the disease.

    1) The federal government has become way too big, way too expensive, way too intrusive. The current federal budget of $3.8 trillion is at least 3 times what it should be. Reduce federal spending, you reduce the need for high taxes, that money stays in the economy for the private sector to use. Shutting down federal agencies reduces the regulatory burden.

    2) Social Security cannot continue forever as currently operated. Those for whom SS was a critical component of their retirement plan continue to receive benefits, meaning those >about age 50-55. Those younger get told no SS benefits will be available to you. No matter what the age cutoff, some will experience pain, meaning whining and complaining.

    2b) Same is true for Medicare, Medicaid.

    3) All restrictions and taxation on investments, savings, capital gains, etc. are eliminated to encourage setting money aside for retirement. If government must do propaganda - and it must - advertisements urging everyone to invest and save for retirement are in order.

    3b) All income taxes are replaced with a consumption tax (means repeal of 16th amendment). Federal government prohibited from running deficits or greater than 2% surplus, all surplus devoted to eliminating federal debt. 2/3 majority of both houses required for any federal tax increase. Tied to this should be term limits for elected federal positions AND federal employment. 30-35 years then retire leads to massive federal bureaucracies which take the place of detailed legislation Congress should be responsible for. Maximum federal employment term of 12-15 years with absolutely no retirement or benefits not fully funded by the employees will keep federal agencies small and more responsive.

    No federal agency should exist which cannot trace their function directly back to a Constitutional provision.

    4) All this places greater burden on states; many states have become dependent on federal funds, when those go away states will have to decide on efficiency, or higher taxes, or reduced services, or a combination. Some states (blue) will try high taxes to maintain services, some (red) will try efficiency and reduced services. Citizens will choose which they want.

    This proposal is no more a fantasy than anything you'll find at Disney World. It's also never going to happen, even small parts of it, unless there's an apocalyptic end to the current system, so keep buying freeze dried food and ammunition.