Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security debate)

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Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security debate)

Postby apeman5291 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:13 am UTC

Here is an article. I find this despicable, it's hard to even imagine someone doing this. What goes through my head is, "did he think he was going to get away with this?" Or even, "why didn't the SEC do anything about this when they were told about it eight years ago?"
Really, people.

I really don't know what to say other than spew hatred for the whole thing.
Last edited by apeman5291 on Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:22 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi Scheme

Postby BoomFrog » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:19 am UTC

Shocked employees, including his sons Andrew and Mark, called the Securities and Exchange Commission, which told the FBI.

Wow, his own sons didn't know. The man knew how to keep a secret.

And the SEC was told about it in detail, just vague accusations that he must be doing something illegal to be so profitable. Accusations made by his rivals who are certainly biased. The SEC investigated and only found minor infractions. Madoff appeared to cooperate. I doubt they are at fault.
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Re: Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi Scheme

Postby ROVER21 » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:24 pm UTC

I really don't know what to say other than spew hatred for the whole thing.


Every month millions of Americans pay in to a Ponzi scheme, do you spew hatred at that as well?

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Re: Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi Scheme

Postby Garm » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:31 pm UTC

ROVER21 wrote:
I really don't know what to say other than spew hatred for the whole thing.


Every month millions of Americans pay in to a Ponzi scheme, do you spew hatred at that as well?


This is so true. The rising costs of Hockey Ticket prices really ought to be addressed at the highest levels. And I mean the highest level.
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Re: Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi Scheme

Postby Jahoclave » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:52 pm UTC

Garm wrote:
ROVER21 wrote:
I really don't know what to say other than spew hatred for the whole thing.


Every month millions of Americans pay in to a Ponzi scheme, do you spew hatred at that as well?


This is so true. The rising costs of Hockey Ticket prices really ought to be addressed at the highest levels. And I mean the highest level.

That's it God. Get your ass down here. We have shit to discuss.

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Re: Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi Scheme

Postby apeman5291 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:00 am UTC

ROVER21 wrote:
I really don't know what to say other than spew hatred for the whole thing.


Every month millions of Americans pay in to a Ponzi scheme, do you spew hatred at that as well?

What I think you meant is one of the following (EDIT:) two three things:
  1. Taxes - in which case your comparison is off. A Ponzi scheme is one in which the "investments" of newcomers are used to directly pay the people who have already given their money. In this way, as long as more and more people give money, it "works". Taxes do not have this characteristic, because they are actually used for things. Like education, infrastructure, government programs, (and more and more so) to pay off the interest on our debt. In addition, people don't expect fiscal returns from their taxes, meaning that it's not even investment fraud.
  2. Tithes (religious donations) - once again, not a Ponzi scheme. People know full well when they give to a church that the money goes to keep the church running. They do not expect fiscal returns, so it's not fraud when they do not get them.
  3. Social Security - SS money goes into a pool, and is drawn from the pool upon retirement. So people working right now are paying for the Social Security of current retirees. I guess you could call this a Ponzi scheme, but I wouldn't. A prerequisite of a "scheme" is that people involved are kept in the dark. Everybody knows what Social Security does, so while having a similar structure, I wouldn't classify it as malicious.

If you meant something else, tell me. I doubt you'll be back, though.
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Re: Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi Scheme

Postby 22/7 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:29 pm UTC

Garm wrote:
ROVER21 wrote:
I really don't know what to say other than spew hatred for the whole thing.


Every month millions of Americans pay in to a Ponzi scheme, do you spew hatred at that as well?


This is so true. The rising costs of Hockey Ticket prices really ought to be addressed at the highest levels. And I mean the highest level.
Millions of people don't buy hockey tickets, though. At least, not Americans.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi Scheme

Postby Iv » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:19 pm UTC

A few years ago I read Accelerando. I found it ridiculous the importance it gave to Ponzi scheme and what a psychological AI could do with them. When I read about Madoff's I understood how wrong I was and how elaborate these scheme could be. I understood also the importance of the reputation system in such a scheme.

apeman5291 wrote:"did he think he was going to get away with this?"

This is like in a casino game : the hard part is to stop playing will you are winning. It is to be humble enough to get away with a mere 10 millions when your possessions are (wrongly) estimated at 1 billion.

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Re: Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi Scheme

Postby Garm » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:35 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
Garm wrote:
ROVER21 wrote:
I really don't know what to say other than spew hatred for the whole thing.


Every month millions of Americans pay in to a Ponzi scheme, do you spew hatred at that as well?


This is so true. The rising costs of Hockey Ticket prices really ought to be addressed at the highest levels. And I mean the highest level.
Millions of people don't buy hockey tickets, though. At least, not Americans.


That's true.... Maybe he's talking about the rising costs of public transportation?
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Re: Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi Scheme

Postby Okita » Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:20 pm UTC

BoomFrog wrote:
Shocked employees, including his sons Andrew and Mark, called the Securities and Exchange Commission, which told the FBI.

Wow, his own sons didn't know. The man knew how to keep a secret.

And the SEC was told about it in detail, just vague accusations that he must be doing something illegal to be so profitable. Accusations made by his rivals who are certainly biased. The SEC investigated and only found minor infractions. Madoff appeared to cooperate. I doubt they are at fault.


The SEC's top officials are mostly filled with lawyers as opposed to finance professionals. The institution as a whole doesn't really trust institutional investors (sometimes for valid reasons). Harry Markopolos, the guy who blew the whistle on Madoff, had the right numbers and quantitative analysis to prove that Madoff could not be doing what he said he could be doing but unfortunately, the top-level SEC officials didn't really do anything about it. To be fair, I believe it was the SEC regional officer who kept on pushing Markopolos to keep on doing his investigative research.

Also, in Markopolos's testimony to Congress, he mentions additional issues stemming form regional SEC offices having rivalries with each other.
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Re: Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi Scheme

Postby ROVER21 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 10:50 pm UTC

I am referring to Social Security. Taxes and tithing do not promise monetary payments based on "investment" to all investors.

Definition: A fraudulent investing scam that promises high rates of return at little risk to investors. The scheme generates returns for older investors by acquiring new investors. This scam actually yields the promised returns to earlier investors, as long as there are more new investors. url:http://www.answers.com/topic/ponzi-scheme

1)Fraudulent: SSA was sold as "insurance", "annuity", and/or a right. "In addition to several provisions for general welfare, the new Act created a social insurance program designed to pay retired workers age 65 or older a continuing income after retirement." url:http://www.ssa.gov/history/briefhistory3.html or #6 at url:http://www.ssa.gov/history/fdrstmts.html#signing

in 1954 the Supreme court ruled in Flemming vs Nestor that an individual has no contract nor property rights to any money "invested" into the social security fund. This ruling leads to Social Security being treated more like gifts and can be amended or changed by Congress at their discretion with no recourse by individual payees. url:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flemming_v._Nestor (first line of definition)

2) SSA passed in 1935 began collecting taxes in 1937. It was originally supposed to begin payouts in 1942. It was amended in 1939 to allow payments in 1940 and to increase eligible recipients.

New "investors" put in three years to become fully "vested". Everyone after them had to put in one to fifty more years of payments to receive the same benefit. (second sentence of definition)

3) The SSA has been amended many times (last major in 1983). These changes have resulted in changing the tax level from 2% to the current 12.4%. They have also increased the retirement age. This serves to further alienate more current "participants" from older participants by increasing the burden placed on new investors in order to pay off old investors. (second sentence of definition)

4) Intent nor public knowledge of Social Security disqualify it from being classified as a Ponzi scheme. Many people do consider it malicious. Just becasue you do not consider it malicious, that is irrelevant to whether it is a Ponzi scheme or not. I would argue that most Americans are completely unaware of the cost (other than the FICA line on their paycheck), their rights to money they put in the system, the opportunity cost of not having that 12% of their salary, nor the future problems facing the fund.

Finally, a Ponzi scheme will collapse without new investors. What would happen to Social Security in two years if we stopped paying today?

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Re: Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi Scheme

Postby apeman5291 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:17 am UTC

Thank you for actually coming back to defend your statements. (I can't even begin to tell you how often people don't.)

ROVER21 wrote:1)Fraudulent: SSA was sold as "insurance", "annuity", and/or a right. "In addition to several provisions for general welfare, the new Act created a social insurance program designed to pay retired workers age 65 or older a continuing income after retirement." url:http://www.ssa.gov/history/briefhistory3.html or #6 at url:http://www.ssa.gov/history/fdrstmts.html#signing

The fact is, very little separates Social Security from an insurance plan. When you pay for insurance, you pay based on a rate determined by actuaries and statisticians on how at risk you are and how expensive your risk is. The insurance company keeps all of this money. If you start paying insurance, and then the next month have a heart attack and run up a $10,000 hospital bill, the insurance company doesn't use your $100 deposit to pay for it. They take money that they have stored (coming in from other people) and use it to pay your bills. Your rates then go up because you've proven yourself to be in greater risk. The insurance company trusts the law of averages, and sufficient customer base, to give them a net profit each month. It's the same thing for Social Security, except without the individually based statistical analysis of risk. Using money coming in from the people who are paying, they pay out to the people who are receiving money. The rate is globally (instead of individually) modified to keep a steady stream coming in to the reserves.
It is annuity because people receiving money get it in monthly payments. Simple enough, from definition.
It is a right because a majority of people in this country consider it the duty of the government to look after those citizens who can no longer look after themselves.

ROVER21 wrote:in 1954 the Supreme court ruled in Flemming vs Nestor that an individual has no contract nor property rights to any money "invested" into the social security fund. This ruling leads to Social Security being treated more like gifts and can be amended or changed by Congress at their discretion with no recourse by individual payees. url:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flemming_v._Nestor (first line of definition)

I think the problem here is that you're assuming malicious intent. Congress needs the right to adjust pay-in and pay-out rates for Social Security, because money changes a lot over time. In a time of great inflation, Congress might need to give more money to beneficiaries to get the same value out of it. If there's a population surplus in one generation (e.g. the baby boomers) then Congress might need to increase the rate of pay-in in order to prepare for when all of those people retire. The purpose of this ruling is only "screw you, you can't get Social Security because WE say so!" if you make it that.

ROVER21 wrote:2) SSA passed in 1935 began collecting taxes in 1937. It was originally supposed to begin payouts in 1942. It was amended in 1939 to allow payments in 1940 and to increase eligible recipients.

New "investors" put in three years to become fully "vested". Everyone after them had to put in one to fifty more years of payments to receive the same benefit. (second sentence of definition)

This is an example of the above. Due to poor planning, parts of the act needed to be revised. Don't think of it as a way to cheat the newer investors, think of it as a way to make sure that the first investors (the ones who were about to retire in 1937-1940) actually got something for their money. Insuring their rights.

ROVER21 wrote:3) The SSA has been amended many times (last major in 1983). These changes have resulted in changing the tax level from 2% to the current 12.4%. They have also increased the retirement age. This serves to further alienate more current "participants" from older participants by increasing the burden placed on new investors in order to pay off old investors. (second sentence of definition)

Or it serves to illustrate my point about how adjusting the rates of such a system is necessary for it to survive. You said the biggest increase in the rates was in 1983. Well, it turns out that 1983 was right at the end of a few years with ridiculously high inflation rates. More money had to be taken in in order to keep the same amount of actual value in the system.

ROVER21 wrote:4) Intent nor public knowledge of Social Security disqualify it from being classified as a Ponzi scheme. Many people do consider it malicious[citation needed]. Just becasue you do not consider it malicious, that is irrelevant to whether it is a Ponzi scheme or not. I would argue that most Americans are completely unaware of the cost (other than the FICA line on their paycheck), their rights to money they put in the system, the opportunity cost of not having that 12% of their salary, nor the future problems facing the fund[citation needed].

(Edited for things I'd like to see numbers on.)
My point was that information about its intent, processes, and history are not being hidden from the public. You and I obviously seem to know a lot about it. If it's an issue for you, call your Congressman. Encourage others to do the same. That's the point of having a representative government. The fact is, though, that obviously the people who care enough to find information like it enough to keep it around.
Also, apply your statement to yourself. Just as it's not harmless just because I consider it to be harmless, it's not harmful just because you consider it to be harmful.
And about opportunity cost: would you rather have that money to spend now, or that money later in the form of a check from the government? If you had that money now, you (and I, and others) would probably just spend it. But instead, it goes into a fund that you can draw from later, insuring that you will have money to live on after you stop making money for yourself.

ROVER21 wrote:Finally, a Ponzi scheme will collapse without new investors. What would happen to Social Security in two years if we stopped paying today?

But we won't stop paying today. In fact, we probably won't ever stop paying, because it's mandatory. And the principles behind population growth mean that there will always be more new investors than beneficiaries, meaning that the system (or scheme, whatever you prefer) will always have enough grease for the gears.
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Re: Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security debate)

Postby ROVER21 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:34 am UTC

no problem...why post if you are afraid to debate. My computer ate my first two drafts so it took me a little longer to get back to you than planned.

One fact correction: Fleming vs Nestor was in 1960 in response to a change in the SSA enacted in 1954.

The fact is, very little separates Social Security from an insurance plan


In an insurance plan, there is a contract which outlines your rights and obligations as well as the insurance company's. If you fail to live up to your portion then you do not get covered. Additionally, if the insurance does not pay then you have legal rights as defined by the contract and current law.
In Fleming vs Nestor the SCOTUS ruled that the individual has no right to expectation of payment. Ever. You can not sue, there is no recourse. Congress, at its discretion, dispenses Social Security as it sees fit.
So while it resembles an insurance company, and does currently act as an insurance plan, legally it is not. Additionally, Helvering vs Davis (1937) (url:http://www.uchelp.com/law/supreme/helvring.htm) also stated that SSA was merely a tax into the general revenue and specifically stated that SSA was not insurance.
While this may not affect our here and now, I am of the belief that it will in our life times.
As for annuity, url:http://www.investorwords.com/225/annuity.html, again that is a contract. Both parties have rights and obligations. In SSA, we have obligations the government has rights.
As for a right, url:http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/right, I would find it extremely difficult to put SSA in either a natural, civil, or political right regardless of the fact that it has been legally determined to not be a right. At best I would equate this to a level of privilege mainly because the government can pull it at anytime.
I would further argue that SSA was at least presented disingenuously due to the fact that the average life expectancy at the time was (url:http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005148.html) 61.7 but benefits were not eligible until 65.

Again, what was presented to the people was different than what was delivered. FDR quote ""We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program." However, since none of these rights exist this is fradulent.

I think the problem here is that you're assuming malicious intent.


Malicious intent probably had more to do with the people being denied social security as a right considering the Communist nature of the plaintiff and the timeframe. I am only stating what is legally possible for Congress to do. This was sold to the American people as insurance or an annuity (url:http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/images/photodb/27-0815a.gif) or a right. It has been clearly proved that it is none of those.

Due to poor planning, parts of the act needed to be revised. Don't think of it as a way to cheat the newer investors, think of it as a way to make sure that the first investors (the ones who were about to retire in 1937-1940) actually got something for their money. Insuring their rights.


This is not an example of poor planning. This is an example of early investors receiving ridiculous returns for what they invested. I could not find any formal studies, but lets look at two poster children that SSA advertises today. Ernest Ackerman was the first person to get social security. He was in the program for one day. He contributed $0.05 cents. when he retired he was paid $0.17. That is a return of 240%. Or we can look at Ida May Fuller. She was the first person to receive monthly payments in 1940. In three years, she "invested" $24.75. Her first check was $22.54. Her total lifetime return was $22,882.92. (url:http://www.ssa.gov/history/briefhistory3.html). That is nearly a return of nearly 10,000%, not too bad. Now she lived to 100 so I concede she is an outlier, however, if you participated for three years and received more than one payment your return was far greater than your input.

Furthermore, the amendment that I spoke of removed language that "vested" workers (requiring five years of payment) and the "money back guarantee". See Payments Upon Death in 1935 Act (url:http://www.ssa.gov/history/35actii.html) and Lump-sum Death Payment pg 8 (url:http://www.ssa.gov/history/pdf/1939Act.pdf)

I do not think you meant it but you were right when you said "taken" and the implied intent with it.

Or it serves to illustrate my point about how adjusting the rates of such a system is necessary for it to survive. You said the biggest increase in the rates was in 1983. Well, it turns out that 1983 was right at the end of a few years with ridiculously high inflation rates. More money had to be taken in in order to keep the same amount of actual value in the system.


This statement furthers my argument. Lets leave out inflation because that is another discussion for another day. In any other investment plan or insurance plan, if the plan continually underperforms or under-delivers it will die. Only the fact that it is mandatory and continually takes a growing percentage of payroll while delivering less benefits has it been allowed to survive. This further proves the point that later investors receive less than the initial investors. Another hallmark of a Ponzi scheme.

And at what percentage does it stop taking additional funds to justify its existence? What benefit level is too low? What other program do we raid funds from to pay this? At no time in its history has it increased benefits to individuals while either maintaining the current tax level or decreasing it (url:http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/ProgData/taxRates.html). What logical reason would lead you to believe that SS will not either raise taxes, lower benefits, and/or divert additional funds in the future? In what way would the government choosing one of these options not be not fulfilling the promise it made to workers who started paying in at 18?

Many people do consider it malicious[citation needed].


I concede on citation one. Touche. I can not find any statistical evidence of it being perceived as malicious.

nor the future problems facing the fund[citation needed].


second citation request here (url:http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/88xx/doc8877/Chapter3.6.1.shtml) Focus on The Outlook for Social Security Spending located near the bottom. I fall in the camp that the government "rarely publishes a cost that is over cautious" camp. Which is why I would bet this will be an issue in the next two congresses with it being a populist issue put on the table by Congress in 2010.

If it's an issue for you, call your Congressman. Encourage others to do the same.


I do. I do. I also volunteer for issues I am passionate about. I send money. I also debate to try to open others to ideas and principles that are eroding, hence this post. Though I just recently found this forum.

Also, apply your statement to yourself. Just as it's not harmless just because I consider it to be harmless, it's not harmful just because you consider it to be harmful.


I never called it malicious nor harmful. I only stated an argument as to whether it was a Ponzi scheme. I was trying to illustrate how you inserted intent in the definition when intent has nothing to do with defining the program.

And about opportunity cost: would you rather have that money to spend now, or that money later in the form of a check from the government? If you had that money now, you (and I, and others) would probably just spend it. But instead, it goes into a fund that you can draw from later, insuring that you will have money to live on after you stop making money for yourself.


I will address this post more in depth in a later post as i need to verify some sources and price a few things out. In general, i do not think the government has my or the general public's best interests at heart. I do think I could do better as I invest and take insurance as part of a long term strategy now. And I would feel better if it actually went into a fund that I could draw on later (which it does not). I also never plan on not making my own money. Pragmatically, I would like a system where I have legal rights to what I put in that can be passed on to my estate. I would also like to see there be an actual trust fund that is not to be raided or loaned out to the general fund.

But we won't stop paying today. In fact, we probably won't ever stop paying, because it's mandatory. And the principles behind population growth mean that there will always be more new investors than beneficiaries, meaning that the system (or scheme, whatever you prefer) will always have enough grease for the gears.


Again, this would prove it is more like a Ponzi scheme. If it cannot meet its obligations without new investments then at best it is a welfare payment at worse a Ponzi scheme. And your assumption that there will always be more new investors is flawed. While there may be new investors there will not be enough to "grease the wheels"

"Social Security's financing problems are long term and will not affect today's retirees and near-retirees for many years, but they are very large and serious. People are living longer, the first baby boomers are nearing retirement, and the birth rate is lower than in the past. The result is that the worker-to-beneficiary ratio has fallen from 16.5-to-1 in 1950 to 3.3-to-1 today. Within 40 years it will be 2-to-1. At this ratio there will not be enough workers to pay scheduled benefits at current tax rates." (url:http://www.ssa.gov/qa.htm)

Expected shortfall is in 2041. The current Near-retirement age is 55 or the age where promised benefits will not change. At a minimum, this affects everyone under the age of 37. This will be in our lifetime.

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Re: Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security debate)

Postby Okita » Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:19 pm UTC

I don't see how this discussion is relevant in this thread. A Ponzi scheme is basically shouting wildly that you can give people amazing returns on their money. However you merely accumulate the gains on paper and pay off the early withdrawers with the money that new investors put in. It's basically First In First Out with large sums of cash with reinvestment.

If you were to make a convincing argument that Social Security is some sort of financial fraud scheme, you'd have to paint it as a pyramid scheme (due to the necessity of exponential growth and the lack of reinvestment).

I do not see any reason why a Social Security discussion belongs in a thread about Bernie Madoff at all. And if you that desperately need to talk about SS, shouldn't it be in Serious Business?
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Re: Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security debate)

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:29 pm UTC

apeman5291 wrote:The fact is, very little separates Social Security from an insurance plan.


Insurance plans are voluntary. SS is compulsory. For life. "The fact is, very little separates full-time employment from slavery."

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Re: Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security deb

Postby lesliesage » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:14 pm UTC

puzzle
Last edited by lesliesage on Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:07 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security debate)

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:37 pm UTC

Health insurance is also mandatory, in Massachusetts.

One of the basic things defining a Ponzi scheme is that the money is not, in fact, invested; and that exceptionally good returns are promised. I don't see how social security fits that description.
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Re: Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security debate)

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:40 pm UTC

lesliesage wrote:There is nothing about the nature of insurance that makes it voluntary.

Yes there is. Insurance is gambling. Gambling is voluntary.

lesliesage wrote:Car insurance, for example, is not voluntary.

Yes it is. People can choose not to drive around in death machines. Or people can demonstrate a level of financial responsibility. Or people can not buy insurance, and pay a fine if they get caught. Similarly, we should mandate insurance for juggling chainsaws. It's rather dangerous, and one should demonstrate financial responsibility before attempting it. Unlike insurance, every American citizen is forced into Social Security from birth until death.

lesliesage wrote:So the real difference is that when you pay insurance, a company is making money off of the people paying into the system. When you pay social security, no one's taking a slice out of the pie. If I could pay for any kind of insurance without anyone skimming a profit off me, like medical insurance, those would be lower rates.

Yes, obviously profit is evil. And governmental organizations are far more efficient than the free market. You've totally convinced me.

lesliesage wrote:Since someone makes money off of slave labor while giving back just enough to keep their labor alive, I guess insurance is much more like slavery.

Yeah, I regularly tell my actuarial scientist friends that they should quit their slave labor and make a living wage working for the government, but they can't quit, because they're slaves. This one made no sense at all.

Your clear hatred of free enterprise is no reason to force someone into a poorly managed retirement plan.

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Re: Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security debate)

Postby Garm » Fri Feb 13, 2009 9:58 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Yes it is. People can choose not to drive around in death machines. Or people can demonstrate a level of financial responsibility. Or people can not buy insurance, and pay a fine if they get caught. Similarly, we should mandate insurance for juggling chainsaws. It's rather dangerous, and one should demonstrate financial responsibility before attempting it. Unlike insurance, every American citizen is forced into Social Security from birth until death.


Where've you been Heisenberg? I've missed your hyperbole.

As a parent you could choose not to register your child with social security which by your logic makes it voluntary.

Your clear hatred of free enterprise is no reason to force someone into a poorly managed retirement plan.


Soooo... support of or ambivalence to Social Security means you hate freedom. Good to know. I'll keep that in mind.
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Re: Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security deb

Postby lesliesage » Fri Feb 13, 2009 10:23 pm UTC

puzzle
Last edited by lesliesage on Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:07 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security debate)

Postby william » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:00 pm UTC

Yeah, actuaries working for insurance companies weren't the slaves in your analogy.

They'd be more like someone hired to count slaves.
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Re: Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security debate)

Postby Mzyxptlk » Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:00 pm UTC

I was entertained in the extreme when I compared Cuba to the USA in that graph.

(Damn dirty commies!)
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Re: Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security debate)

Postby apeman5291 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:26 pm UTC

Mzyxptlk wrote:I was entertained in the extreme when I compared Cuba to the USA in that graph.

(Damn dirty commies!)

I was amazed at that too. If I could find a Dan Wasserman archive that goes back to 1994, I'd post a picture here, but I'll just go with the transcript:
Clinton (to Castro): Why should I negotiate with you? Cuba is a poor, backward island. What do you have that a super-power could possibly want?
Castro: Universal health care?
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Re: Madoff's $50b Ponzi Scheme (now with Social Security debate)

Postby Heisenberg » Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:55 pm UTC

Garm wrote:As a parent you could choose not to register your child with social security which by your logic makes it voluntary.

It's not voluntary. Parental decisions are not the same as individual choice. Infants do not make choices.
I do not wish to participate in Social Security. I am forced to do so. Until this changes, I will not entertain creative definitions of choice to argue that SS is not compulsory.

lesliesage wrote:Open up the health market for competition between gov't and private, and I'll give you a guess as to what people will choose.

That sounds awesome. I'll invest in private health care and retirement, and you can invest in government-sponsored health care and retirement. I'm glad you see that it's only just that people are not forced to participate in a poorly managed retirement/insurance program, whether it's public or private.

As far as the pretty graph is concerned, you're right. For my life expectancy, I should never have left Luxembourg, even though their health care was significantly worse than the United States'. When people drive less, shoot guns less, and shoot guns while driving less, it turns out everyone's life expectancy goes up. This does not change the fact that the United States has the best health care in the world.


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