ECONOMICS: True “National Debt” is 211+T$

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/06/139027615/a-national-debt-of-14-trillion-try-211-trillion

A National Debt Of $14 Trillion? Try $211 Trillion
by NPR Staff
August 6, 2011

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When Standard & Poor’s reduced the nation’s credit rating from AAA to AA-plus, the United States suffered the first downgrade to its credit rating ever. S&P took this action despite the plan Congress passed this past week to raise the debt limit.

The downgrade, S&P said, “reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.”

It’s those medium- and long-term debt problems that also worry economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff, who served as a senior economist on President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. He says the national debt, which the U.S. Treasury has accounted at about $14 trillion, is just the tip of the iceberg.

“We have all these unofficial debts that are massive compared to the official debt,” Kotlikoff tells David Greene, guest host of weekends on All Things Considered. “We’re focused just on the official debt, so we’re trying to balance the wrong books.”

Kotlikoff explains that America’s “unofficial” payment obligations — like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits — jack up the debt figure substantially. Laurence J. Kotlikoff served as a senior economist on President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers and is a professor of economics at Boston University.

“If you add up all the promises that have been made for spending obligations, including defense expenditures, and you subtract all the taxes that we expect to collect, the difference is $211 trillion. That’s the fiscal gap,” he says. “That’s our true indebtedness.”

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It’s simple. The “game” is rigged against the little guy. So why do us “little guys” still allow ourselves to be fooled?

Stupidity!

It’s like the old joke about the accountant keeping two sets of books!

“Plus shipping and handling”. Like the TV offers that are bait ‘n’ switch. The politicians and bureaucrats throw around deficit, debt, and “cuts” that cut nothing.

Time is running short.

What happens when the Chinese and the rest of the world cut us off. Credit card declined!

I didn’t realize what some unknown executives at AT&T and CSFB by making the defined pension plans fully funded separate legal entities. There was no funny business. Pensions were a sacred trust. The money was taken and invested prudently so that now I’ll get my benefit for the rest of my life.

We’ve “cheated” Social Security recipients, and various Federal and State workers. They are going to get <synonym for the past tense of the procreation act> because the contributions have been stolen by past politicians and bureaucrats to buy votes.

Argh!

We need an honest accounting. Just how bad is it? I know in the Pepuls Republik of Nu Jerzee, guvs of both parties have not funded the pensions. That’s just wrong. If a private company did that, the execs would be in jail. Why are the guvs and bureaucrats exempt?

Argh!

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RANT: The sad truths of addiction; the “(pseudo) War on (some) Drugs” doesn’t help

http://www.xojane.com/entertainment/whitney-houston-dead

ON THE DEATH OF WHITNEY HOUSTON: Why I Won’t Ever Shut Up About My Drug Use
When Whitney died, I wasn’t surprised: women are using drugs all around you, and I’m one of them. Now why am I not allowed to talk about it again?
Cat
Feb 13, 2012 at 9:00am

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Remember Michael Jackson in his “This Is It” rehearsals? He looked good and he sounded good, and then he was getting put under anesthesia every night. Don’t you remember those horrible tapes?

It would be wonderful if we lived in a world free of drugs and drug addiction, but we don’t. In the end, the addict will die of overdose, of disease, or serious self-neglect, and half the time, you won’t even see it coming for her. So I am telling you that there are people all around you with one foot in the door—where you see them—and one foot out, where you can’t.

For a long time, it was like that for me: one foot in the door, the other out—and it could easily get there again. We all thought Whitney was better. She wasn’t.

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The “(pseudo) War on (some) Drugs” distracts us from the real problem.

Legalization would allow addicts to fund their habit cheaply and allow “us” to identify them. Then, we can get them the help they need.

Triage.

While we may not be able to save everyone, we can minimize the collateral damage.

And, the accidental deaths.

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GOLD: Asian gold theft crisis in the UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jan/31/gold-theft-asian-families

The great Asian gold theft crisis
With its value at a record high, gold has never been more attractive to thieves. Now burglars with metal detectors are targeting the homes of British Asian families for their collections of high-quality ‘Indian gold’ jewellery
Emine Saner        Emine Saner        guardian.co.uk
Tuesday 31 January 2012 15.00 EST

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Five weeks ago, she came home one evening to find the door ajar. The downstairs floor of her house was relatively untouched but upstairs the bedrooms had been ransacked – drawers opened, wardrobes emptied, clothes and belongings scattered everywhere. “It was such a huge shock,” she says, sitting on the sofa, her voice breaking slightly. Her husband, Mr Rashid (neither want to give their full names), a big man sitting across the room, shakes his head. “They took it all,” he says.

The thieves who broke into this semi-detached house in Earley, near Reading, stole around £70,000-worth of gold jewellery. To those who are not from a south Asian family, it might seem remarkable to own so much valuable jewellery, but families such as the Rashids (Mr Rashid runs a small business) live in ordinary houses and are not particularly wealthy. Their gold collection – elaborate necklaces, rings, earrings and bangles – is treasure that has been handed down from generations of their families in Pakistan or bought as wedding gifts. It’s our savings, our security, says Mrs Rashid, visibly upset. If, in future, the family needed money, they would have sold some pieces. “It’s like paying a mortgage for 20 years and then having a house worth thousands of pounds afterwards – it’s the same thing with gold,” she says. “Our parents gave it to us, we would have given it to our children, they would have given it to their children,” says her husband. They tried to put their gold in the bank, but “there were no lockers available. Everyone is looking for one.”

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Camouflage!

You have to not look like a victim. And, make it hard to find.

Crazy that you can’t be secure in your own home.

Tie that back to the UK’s dole, gun laws, and generally tolerant attitude towards crime.

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