Latest Posts

  • AIG CEO Warns That Your Retirement Will Have to Wait

    Here's some unpleasant news for people who are planning to maybe retire eventually one day before they die from one of our esteemed job-creators

    American International Group Inc. (AIG) Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche said Europe's debt crisis shows governments worldwide must accept that people will have to work more years as life expectancies increase.

    "Retirement ages will have to move to 70, 80 years old," Benmosche, who turned 68 last week, said during a weekend interview at his seaside villa in Dubrovnik, Croatia. "That would make pensions, medical services more affordable. They will keep people working longer and will take that burden off of the youth."

    Ugh! That's a hard pill to swallow, but what are you gonna do? I guess we'll all just have to make due with weekend trips to our Croatian seaside villas for an extra few years. It'll be tough, but we'll soldier through somehow, I'm sure.

    And I guess it couldn't hurt to downgrade to a less expensive brand of caviar.

    Tags: Debt, Economy, Money
  • Can Mitt Romney Save the Economy from the Republicans?

    The Washington Post's Ezra Klein offers what is to my mind the most reasonable argument that I've heard so far for giving your vote to Mitt Romney

    That's not because he has business experience. For all his bluster about the lessons taught by the private sector, his agenda is indistinguishable from that of career politician Paul Ryan. Nor is it because he's demonstrated some special knowledge of what it takes to create jobs. Job growth in Massachusetts was notably slow under Romney's tenure. It's because if Romney is elected, Republicans won’t choose to crash the economy in 2013.

    In a sense, Republicans are holding a gun to the economy’s head and saying, "vote for us or the recovery gets it." That might well prove an effective political strategy: The more they say that they’re willing to let the debt ceiling expire and the economy run over the fiscal cliff, the more businesses will pull back and households will stop spending in order to make sure they have enough cash on hand to ride out another crisis. That will further depress the economy this year, making it more likely that Romney wins, and that Republicans embrace the smooth Keynesian glide path that they’re denying Obama.

    "Vote for us or the recovery gets it." You've gotta admit, Republicans really do excel framing their argument in the most elegantly succinct terms. Even when those terms are mostly unspoken.

    Related: GOP Robbing from the Poor, Giving to the Predator Drones

    Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Debt, Economy, House of Representatives, Mitt Romney, Republicans
  • GOP Robbing from the Poor, Giving to the Predator Drones

    Hey, remember last summer when the GOP agreed to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts, half of which were supposed to come from the Pentagon?

    Ha. Yeah. That was totally never gonna happen

    The House voted Thursday to override steep cuts to the Pentagon’s budget mandated by last summer's debt deal and replace them with spending reductions to food stamps and other mandatory social programs.

    While doomed in the Senate and opposed by the White House, the legislation, which would reduce the deficit by $243 billion, is a Republican marker for post-election budget talks with the White House.

    The Washington Post has a handy list of all the highlights. In addition to food stamps, Republicans are trying to cut funding for Medicaid, the Child Tax Credit, federal employee pensions, financial regulation and social services block grants, which help fund Meals on Wheels, child welfare, day care services and help for the disabled.

    So basically, just programs for the most vulnerable populations imaginable. What child needs food and shelter when they can have an unlimited supply of predator drones flying overhead?

    Insiders say Sith Lord Speaker John Boehner also tried to make cuts to the Department of Puppies and Rainbows, but he was afraid the bill would be too long. And anyway, you can't blame the GOP. They're just trying to create more jobs. Like, child funeral director or black-market organ donor. Yep, it's all about jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.

    Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Budget, Debt, Economy, House of Representatives, John Boehner, Medicaid, Pentagon, Welfare
  • Thanks to Senate GOP, You'll Be in Debt Forever

    In the last few years, the GOP has emerged as the party of extreme budget hawks. Republicans like Paul Ryan have repeatedly hammered the President on spending and opposed increases to the debt ceiling.

    They really, really care about debt. Just not yours

    Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked consideration of a Democratic bill to prevent the doubling of some student loan interest rates, leaving the legislation in limbo less than two months before rates on subsidized federal loans are set to shoot upward.

    Along party lines, the Senate voted 52 to 45, failing to clear the 60-vote hurdle needed to beat back a filibuster and begin debating the measure…

    Republicans said they wanted to extend Democratic legislation passed in 2007 that temporarily reduced interest rates…But they oppose the Senate Democrats’ proposal to pay for a one-year extension by changing tax law that currently allows some wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare.

    Republicans believe in the American dream, where everyone should have the opportunity to get an education. That is, everyone whose family can afford to pay for their education and who, consequently, doesn't actually need that education to advance in society. Sure, a college education is part of the American dream. But so is discriminating against the poor once you've already made your money.

    In fairness, the GOP did put forth their own version of the bill, in which interest rates were stabilized in exchange  for cuts to health care. Under the Republican plan, by age 40, students will be done paying off their loans. And probably dead.

    Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Debt, Education, Filibuster, Republicans, Senate, Taxes
  • States Now Plagiarizing Charles Dickens Novels

    There's good news and bad news for Americans who have fallen on hard times. The good news is that state and local governments are willing to provide cash-strapped citizens with food, shelter and medical attention.

    The bad news is that these services will be provided within the confines of a jail cell

    How did breast cancer survivor Lisa Lindsay end up behind bars? She didn't pay a medical bill — one the Herrin, Ill., teaching assistant was told she didn't owe. "She got a $280 medical bill in error and was told she didn't have to pay it," The Associated Press reports. "But the bill was turned over to a collection agency, and eventually state troopers showed up at her home and took her to jail in handcuffs."

    Although the U.S. abolished debtors' prisons in the 1830s, more than a third of U.S. states allow the police to haul people in who don't pay all manner of debts, from bills for health care services to credit card and auto loans. In parts of Illinois, debt collectors commonly use publicly funded courts, sheriff's deputies, and country jails to pressure people who owe even small amounts to pay up, according to the AP.

    The process is simple enough: A company will sell its roster of debtors to a collection agency, which files a lawsuit against the debtor requiring a court appearance. If the debtor fails to respond to a summons, a warrant is issued for their arrest. Then local governments charge the debtor for their trial and incarceration.

    With local education budgets strapped by falling revenues, let's just think of this as an unorthodox attempt to teach history. What better way to "bring the past to life" then to actually bring the 19th century back to life?

    And look on the bright side, if corporations are people, it means we can put them in debtors' prison. It's funny because it's depressingly impossible!

    Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Tags: Books, Crime, Debt, Money, Poverty