UKBouldering.com

Finance, coronavirus, the economy, etc (Read 44596 times)

petejh

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 5310
  • Karma: +569/-29
In reply to Sean,
I’ve just come back to this thread, after being thoroughly pissed-off by what I perceived was the dismissive and condescending tone of Sean’s reply to what was a genuine question by me.

But reading your following reply about anti-vaxxers etc. (which I hadn’t seen) explains a bit more. I share your distaste of people ‘into bullshit’ so thanks for explaining.

In case there’s an assumption behind why I asked about that blog in particular - for e.g. me being one of those bro-science cat-nippers ‘excited by a new thing’ (as hinted).

I posted a request for opinions on that guy’s theories because there seem to be some relatively knowledge people on ukb who’s opinions I respect, or at least am always interested to hear. I was hoping Sean and maybe one or two others might reply.

It had nothing at all to do with any ‘fascination in alternative theories’, in case that’s how it looks.
The reason for asking about that blog was because the author, Gervaise Heddle, is the ceo of a company which I researched in the late summer of 2018, and then went ‘all in’ in autumn 2018. My investment now has the potential to be life-changing (and already is to some extent) by allowing me to retire at 45. Provided a few more events play out as research suggests they might (but might not). I don’t assume anything, I could be working until I’m 80 :)
So, when I found out last week that GH had written a personal blog in 2014 expressing some of his personal theories on economics I was naturally curious to read it - as an interesting, but very minor, side note to the 2 years of ongoing research I’ve already done in the company and its management team.

I was just curious about the coherence of some of the personal views, of someone who’ll play a central role in the outcome of what is a life-changing investment for me.
That is literally all. Nothing more than that. All I’m interested in is trying to understand more than I do.

The theories being above my head, I thought I’d ask the options of more informed people on here.

I was hoping for some factual rebuttals (or otherwise) of GH’s personal views, by people with more knowledge of economics than me. (What do I know - only looking at making a million through research, instinct and nerve ;))

I think you could have just as easily replied factually without the haughty tone, and without presuming I was someone with an unhealthy interest in alternative theories. But you gave a great answer so thanks.

I didn’t appreciate the comments that I’m ‘excited by a new thing’.
or being told ‘sorry to piss on your bonfire’, not that I’m ‘loftily proclaiming’.

I could have just explained in the first place why I was asking for opinions on THAT blog in particular. But I naively thought I shouldn’t need to explain.

edit: grammar
« Last Edit: September 21, 2022, 10:36:10 am by shark »

danm

Offline
  • ****
  • junky
  • Posts: 786
  • Karma: +107/-1
A lot of nuance can be missed on the internet, something I've learnt the hard way, and this looks like a classic example. Hope the investment works out as you plan.

galpinos

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 2052
  • Karma: +81/-0
I thought this was a fascinating lecture on the way demographics have created the current generational divide.



In the context of growing conspiracies and blaming the self-serving rich etc, it's useful to see the wide-ranging effects that can be created by a very simple input variable (a large cohort - the boomers) on a complex system. Willetts is a Tory life peer, but you wouldn't know it from his analysis or conclusions, and I daresay he would have no place in today's party. Also worth watching the q & a which largely consists of him effortlessly batting aside boomers' attempts to blame the young.

Cheers for linking that Adam, I watched both the lecture, and the Q&A linked. Nice to have some stats and a theory to take into arguments with "family friends".

Stabbsy

Offline
  • ****
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 668
  • Karma: +48/-0
Cheers for linking that Adam, I watched both the lecture, and the Q&A linked. Nice to have some stats and a theory to take into arguments with "family friends".
Agreed, that was a really good summary, thanks Adam. I’ve been banging on about DB pensions from a public vs private sector angle for years, but I’d never considered the generational aspect of it before.

Offwidth

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1713
  • Karma: +53/-13
    • Offwidth
So what is wrong with DB schemes? Do you think it's OK to change such schemes because others are worse? The cost of DB is largely manufactured by a faulty valuation system that just doesn't work in  the unusual times we are living in.

https://www.professionalpensions.com/opinion/3033124/death-discount-rate-fundamental-flaws-accounting-approach-pension-scheme-valuation

The most embarrassing evidence of this is the Coal Miners' scheme. The Telegraph and anti DB campaigners complained that this would cost the taxpayers a fortune when the government took this on. This is the reality.. well over. £10 billion profit so far.

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/miners-furious-uk-government-taken-14503996

I agree with Willets on housing but he was part of a government that removed a fairer rates system and gave away council housing to private ownership at ludicrous discounted levels that helped make that bubble. If people are earning vast sums from their home, just tax it.

I've said many times that I think we currently live in a kleptocracy. The super rich and globalised multinationals get away with murder and the average tax payer picks up the pieces. The ironic good side to this is Willets' cost estimates are overblown as people have stopped living longer and the estimates had lifespan growth built in. It's desperately unfair for the young but can be resolved by an improved tax system and blocking the theft.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2020, 01:15:10 pm by Offwidth »

Johnny Brown

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 11161
  • Karma: +661/-21
I'm guessing from that you didn't watch the video then Steve?

Stabbsy

Offline
  • ****
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 668
  • Karma: +48/-0
Nothing wrong with DB pensions as such, but comparing public and private sector salary doesn’t recognise the value of the DB pension contribution by the employer/state. Take my salary, add on the employer contribution to DC pension and the value of other benefits and that gives a total reward package. Do the same for a public sector worker and that gives a fairer comparison than comparing salary. That has always been my issue with DB schemes. So do I think they should be changed because other schemes are worse? No, but members should recognise how much their benefits cost.

On your discount rates point, I largely disagree. Firstly, discount rates are only part of the problem. Saying that discount rates are manufacturing a high cost ignores the contribution of life expectancy and the differential between wage inflation and the return on appropriate investments. Secondly, that Professional Pensions article takes a really complicated issue and tries to simplify it with a few broad brush comments/conclusions and it isn’t that simple. For one, the discount rate changes the timing of the funding but not the actual amount of money paid out in pensions. A lower discount rate brings forward funding payments so provides greater security for member benefits if all other things remain equal (demographics, investment strategy/returns, etc.). In a world of volatility, I’d see that security as a positive.

On the Coal Miners scheme, that article doesn’t give me enough information to comment, but I doubt it’s as clear cut as is made out. All the comment is from one side so it’s not a balanced piece and therefore not the whole story

Offwidth

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1713
  • Karma: +53/-13
    • Offwidth
The DB employer cost is right now significantly down to the specific financial requirements; they are probably double what they need to be with a still prudent but more sensible valuation method. In the past in 'good times' there were employer pension holidays as the methodology problems work in the other direction then. I know it's more complicated than the article illustrates (but the requirements are the main problem) as I've worked a little with actuaries on USS at national level.
All the identified problems add costs or reduce income below likely values. Overly prudent calculations mean more money is available than on current valuations so less employer and employee payments are required per year.

https://www.pensions-expert.com/Special-Features/Roundtables/Is-the-gilts-plus-model-broken?ct=true

http://www.actuarialpost.co.uk/article/half-of-schemes-feel-gilts-plus-valuation-method-unhelpful-11137.htm

https://www.actuaries.org.uk/news-and-insights/media-centre/media-releases-and-statements/longer-term-influences-driving-lower-life-expectancy-projections

https://moneyweek.com/484169/why-the-uks-company-pension-schemes-are-in-such-bad-shape

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/working-paper/2018/growing-pension-deficits-and-the-expenditure-decisions-of-uk-companies

DC pensions make the investment companies much more money from fees per employee per year on the schemes than DB and push the market uncertainty onto the employee. For the same investment outcomes on average they would provide a lower pension at higher risk.

The closed Coal Miners' scheme really is that clear cut. The DB critics did say it would cost the tax payer a fortune and the government has pocketed over £10 billion from it so far and there are decades to run yet. That's real money not actuarial prediction.. it's clear evidence the arguments used by the likes of the Telegraph against public sector DB schemes are untrustworthy.  I tried to find a link without spending much time .. they are available.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/2794289/Taxpayers-may-have-to-dig-deep-for-miners-pensions.html

https://www.pensionsage.com/pa/Govt-defends-position-on-Mineworkers-Pension-Scheme-open-to-cross-party-talks.php

Finally the tax relief side of pensions is a mess and very much benefitting higher rate tax payers and increasing intergenerational issues.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/10/pensions-tax-relief-set-to-cost-government-almost-40bn

AJM

Offline
  • ***
  • obsessive maniac
  • Posts: 424
  • Karma: +22/-0
My curiousity got the better of me but I keep only being able to see a paragraph at a time of that Telegraph article about the miners scheme before I'm invited to start a trial I don't want. Can you confirm whether my summary from that is right?
- the schemes were very aggressively invested for fairly mature schemes when compared against conventional wisdom
- that therefore allowed the scheme actuaries to justify quite a high rate of return, which justified bonuses
- equities did actually do well over that period, so surpluses and bonuses arose
- the other chap pointed out that if you use a lower discount rate (which is the same as saying your assets earn less and perform less well) then the scheme would in fact run a deficit.

If correct this all feels broadly like a statement of the obvious (insomuch as anything about DB pensions is obvious). The amount of assets you need depends on the returns they earn and if you assume more you need less and if you assume less you need more. It was inevitable that one of them was going to be right and the other wrong.

The only real question in my mind is whether the index linked gilt was a sensible rate to choose or not. Presumably it is the rate you would choose for a scheme that couldn't take any investment risk - you're buying risk free inflation linked cash flows and using those to provide inflation linked pensions. It's not obviously suited to a scheme heavily invested in equity, but I guess maybe the point he was trying to make was that the schemes *shouldn't* have been that heavily in equity. I don't know. Most sponsors probably wouldn't want the volatility. But then the government isn't most sponsors.

Offwidth

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1713
  • Karma: +53/-13
    • Offwidth
The trick is to quickly snap, scroll, snap some screens with another device.

What you gathered is pretty much correct. The investigation was by John Ralfe, a self appointed pensions expert, who is a firm believer in the current valuation method and probably feeling pretty pissed off that the government were disproving his pet theories.

In DB the tail ended up wagging the dog. That some private companies ended up with Ralfe's so called near 100% bonds (nothing like true for all) was due to adding unneccesary caution upon caution, but even that helped kill the scheme as other overly pessimistic parts of the actuarial calculation got into trouble as QE hit guilt plus numbers. Back in the world of real money the Miners' scheme was worth £27 billion in actual assets when the government took it over and despite its continued liabilities being safely met, according to actuaries, just the surplus to date is already about half that and this includes the 2008 crash hit on equities.

At one point last decade in the scheme I was briefed on, USS, assets grew 16% in a year but despite no other significant changes the fund deficit, by the formal required calculation, grew by a similar order of percentage, as QE hit the measurement system. It was clear as day to me that something needed fixing somewhere. How can something who's real assets grow that much in a year be valued as a similar amount less

Back to Willets, DB pensions are actually being stolen from the young as an opportunity. They were never unaffordable but a mechanism made them look to be so (and incorrectly made them look over-funded in better times). Yes some of the false liabilities are currently being passed down to those employees outside the schemes as real remuneration losses. Yet the schemes will benefit the future young to an extent, as when the assets do turn out to have a massive surplus over liabilities (as it is very likely most will follow the path of the miners' scheme)  that will add to organisational coffers that own the scheme.  Coincidentally the biggest gains in the shift from DB are made by companies selling DC schemes with their higher company profit levels, and the rescue funds who buy company schemes, at a heavy discount, that look shit but are really gold. The  bogus scheme deficits are also a handy political weapon for privatising the public sector and their pensions; those who believe in small government.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 09:16:56 am by Offwidth »

AJM

Offline
  • ***
  • obsessive maniac
  • Posts: 424
  • Karma: +22/-0
Good to know I gathered the correct gist.

I don’t especially want to get involved in another debate around this, but the scheme actuaries would have been the ones supporting the current method, not Ralfe, because they have no choice but to be compliant with the rules. The article isn’t explicit on what they were doing since it only quotes his method in any detail, but my assumption is that it would have been “gilts plus something” (only based on the fact that that’s the common approach) just a larger “something” than you might get implicitly from the index linked gilt yield. Index linked gilt yields would be “gilts minus” in that terminology (but to use it correctly you would have to use different cash flows in the calculation, so the plus and minus are not immediately comparable).

I feel we’ve had the discussion about many of the other elements before so won’t repeat myself. The only thing that’s worth mentioning is that the primary advantage of being 100% bonds would have been that (assuming the right bonds to generate cash flows at the same time as the assumed outgoings) the surplus/deficit would have been largely immune to QE and other interest rate movements. That’s just the way the maths falls through.

Stabbsy

Offline
  • ****
  • forum abuser
  • Posts: 668
  • Karma: +48/-0
AJM - good summary.

I don’t especially want to get involved in another debate around this.

Me neither. This is getting dangerously close to work for me, so I’m going to stop. I’ve not said anything contentious so far, but clearing up some of the misunderstandings and misconceptions has the potential to get quite technical and I’d end up having to caveat all my comments appropriately. Suffice it to say that I think of the issue of DB affordability as far more complicated/nuanced than you’re making out, Offwidth.

AJM

Offline
  • ***
  • obsessive maniac
  • Posts: 424
  • Karma: +22/-0
I don’t especially want to get involved in another debate around this.

Me neither. This is getting dangerously close to work for me, so I’m going to stop.

Starts to feel like a busman's holiday pretty quick  :)

Offwidth

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1713
  • Karma: +53/-13
    • Offwidth
Good to know I gathered the correct gist.

I don’t especially want to get involved in another debate around this, but the scheme actuaries would have been the ones supporting the current method, not Ralfe, because they have no choice but to be compliant with the rules. The article isn’t explicit on what they were doing since it only quotes his method in any detail, but my assumption is that it would have been “gilts plus something” (only based on the fact that that’s the common approach) just a larger “something” than you might get implicitly from the index linked gilt yield. Index linked gilt yields would be “gilts minus” in that terminology (but to use it correctly you would have to use different cash flows in the calculation, so the plus and minus are not immediately comparable).

I feel we’ve had the discussion about many of the other elements before so won’t repeat myself. The only thing that’s worth mentioning is that the primary advantage of being 100% bonds would have been that (assuming the right bonds to generate cash flows at the same time as the assumed outgoings) the surplus/deficit would have been largely immune to QE and other interest rate movements. That’s just the way the maths falls through.

The Miners' scheme actuaries were working for the government and Ralfe was accusing them of not using the standard valuation methodology.  At the time Ralfe said the scheme was in deficit if they had used it, yet a surplus had been taken (implied mispractice). The surplus has continued to be taken for the years since then. The scheme also looks to be in surplus for years to come (note: I've not checked the impact of the covid crash) which is why ex miners are campaigning hard to get more of what was, after all, their money to help with work related industrial injuries (mainly lung problems).

I remember our previous discussions on USS where you pointed out how some gains are apparent because of other factors (which I've forgotten the detail but did accept to an extent, despite being counter intuitive) but not what was more than a 20% gap in one year between asset growth and scheme value in the stable period well post 2008 crash... this shows the valuation methodology is broken.

Yes bonds would have been safer in bad times but overall they grow much less fast over long time periods. A mix is best if you want to safely build assets.

Offwidth

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1713
  • Karma: +53/-13
    • Offwidth
. Suffice it to say that I think of the issue of DB affordability as far more complicated/nuanced than you’re making out, Offwidth.

I though I was saying perfectly good schemes were being trashed by a combination of changes to make them look unaffordable and that it was complicated. The closed schemes will on average yield big surplus profits despite the dire current valuations. I gave the Miners' scheme as an example with Ralfe's dishonest portrayal of the risks that turned out to be BS, despite unexpectedly troubled times for scheme assets since then. Where am I making any error with this, and where was Ralfe right?

Not having these schemes is a big loss to future employees. That a perfectly good pension vehicle ended up this way is a scandal.

https://theconversation.com/britains-great-pension-robbery-why-the-defined-benefits-gold-standard-is-a-luxury-of-the-past-100844
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 04:26:52 pm by Offwidth »

AJM

Offline
  • ***
  • obsessive maniac
  • Posts: 424
  • Karma: +22/-0
The Miners' scheme actuaries were working for the government and Ralfe was accusing them of not using the standard valuation methodology. 
......

Yes bonds would have been safer in bad times but overall they grow much less fast over long time periods. A mix is best if you want to safely build assets.

I would be lying if I were to claim I know that much about whether the GAD has the ability to use very different valuation methods to those used in the private sector, but I would have guessed they probably dont. On the face of it, being able to use a significantly better assumed return than the index linked gilt yield doesn't sound especially controversial given what the article said about the asset mix. I didn't see anything in the article you linked that invalidates that, I don't think (an expected return on assets calculation yielding an expected return of higher than the linked gilt seems fairly plausible based on my understanding of how they might do it). But as I say I claim no great expertise on the fine detail of pensions regulation and how it might differ between GAD and the private sector.

My point wasn't that bonds are safer (generally you would assume that they are but it's not relevant to the point I was trying to make). The liability calculation behaves in effect like a large bond value calculation - you take a set of payments, you discount them at an interest rate, you get a liability value, in the same way that you would derive a bond market value. Mechanically therefore investing in bonds means your assets behave in the same way as the calculation of your liabilities with respect to interest rates and therefore you get dramatically reduced sensitivity of the surplus/deficit to interest rates. It's about the way the calculation works rather than about the assets themselves.

AJM

Offline
  • ***
  • obsessive maniac
  • Posts: 424
  • Karma: +22/-0
From having had a slightly deeper look, the schemes seem to be set up as any other (aside from things like the profit share) in terms of having a trustee and a trustee company and whatnot, it's just that the actuaries are GAD rather than a consultancy firm. Technically they're probably working on behalf of the trustees in that case, but more importantly I failed to find anything  to suggest they were doing anything under different rules than normal.

1. I'm obviously not claiming to have proved a negative, just noting that from a skim of a few relevant documents I couldn't see it.
2.  This leads me to default back to my initial conclusion pretty much. I'm left with similar feelings to when I read an article on climbing in the mainstream press - there's some correct facts here and there but the whole thing just doesn't quite fit together into a coherent story, or the conclusions don't quite make sense. I'm sure you get the same when your area of expertise hits the press.
3. :offtopic:
4.  :sorry:

seankenny

Offline
  • ****
  • junky
  • Posts: 820
  • Karma: +98/-8
In reply to Sean,
I’ve just come back to this thread, after being thoroughly pissed-off by what I perceived was the dismissive and condescending tone of Sean’s reply to what was a genuine question by me.

But reading your following reply about anti-vaxxers etc. (which I hadn’t seen) explains a bit more. I share your distaste of people ‘into bullshit’ so thanks for explaining.



I clearly misread the intention behind your original post - my apologies. Good luck with the investment!


We are all so invested in money's legitimacy that pointing out its illusory nature has become something of an revolutionary act. No surprise, then, that people are keen to theorise that it's value rests on more than imagination.


As for the general interest in money (the stuff), perhaps it is a struggle to see something socially created as "real". For sure money exists, and it's value is as a result of us thinking it's real, rather than being linked to gold or silver. But so what? As an analogy, consider caste in South Asia. Caste is most defintely "made up" (if a long time ago, and by the interactions of lots of people including us), but that doesn't make it any less real: it's the foundation of marriages, political parties, affirmative action schemes, the geography of villages, towns and cities. My better half thinks caste is complete bollocks but you can be damn sure she knows what caste she is and which members of the family are of a different caste!

And whilst caste is an awful lot of habit, it is also about something real, namely the division of resources and power in society. Money may be imaginary, but how else are you going to exchange stuff including your time?

This is old but covers money a bit:
https://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2011/11/monetary-cranks-vs-jessie-j.html


Johnny Brown

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 11161
  • Karma: +661/-21
Quote
As for the general interest in money (the stuff), perhaps it is a struggle to see something socially created as "real". For sure money exists, and it's value is as a result of us thinking it's real, rather than being linked to gold or silver.

Sure. But to come at this from several angles:

Firstly, I don't think most people understand what a fiat currency is. Or fractional reserve banking. When these things are explained to them they are typically incredulous and then appalled. In most of the population there is a tacit but completely erroneous assumption that it must all rest on something a lot more concrete. Perhaps due to ignorance but surely also due to the fact that although fiat currencies have been flirted with for 900 years, they only really became dominant in 1971. This is a very new experiment, and one that makes many people instinctively uncomfortable.

Add to that the trend over the same period for the growing perception of money as a universal value system. We're now in a place where it seems impossible to express value in terms other than money. The worth of everything gets reduced to a cash value. That very narrow definition excludes but much of what makes actually makes life valuable. That we seem unable to question this as a society devalues these things further. Success today equals being rich. As I wrote a few pages back, what is it then that money is valuing? It's valuing the potential to make more money.

Quote
Money may be imaginary, but how else are you going to exchange stuff including your time?

To widen the context money is only real (as I mentioned a few pages ago) within the context of the economy. The economy is a subset of human society and human society is but a small subset of the biosphere - which is the real capital underlying all this. The economy is having a profound negative effect on the biosphere without any way to account for it. I'm sure some economists think it could given political will. I think this is profound hubris and only reflects a misunderstanding of the complexity of the natural world. This ability of money to move work and resources around in time can't just be viewed a bringing the benefits of modern life - the flipside is the destruction of the biosphere.

Thanks for the link - I was initially inclined to dismiss it but the comment thread is very interesting and touches on most of my beefs. Not many supportive comments are there! To attack the reality of modern money from a more economic perspective then, I guess this link from those comments is a much more expert critique than I can muster:

https://michael-hudson.com/2010/07/from-marx-to-goldman-sachs-the-fictions-of-fictitious-capital1/

Be interested in your thoughts.

TL:DR, you can go back to Marx who thought the value of money was derived from labour. Perhaps it was then, it isn't now. Such industrial capital did not dominate over finance as Marx expected, but the reverse happened, accelerating in the fiat currency era. Now money's value is based primarily on the ability to generate interest, rent or appreciation. It is self-referential, lacks solid foundation in physical reality, and being mostly wishful thinking given a number value is therefore highly prone to boom and bust. But it has such a grip on modern thought that we bailed the fuckers out.

"Marx characterized high finance as based on “fictitious” claims for payment in the first place because it consists not of the means of production, but of bonds, mortgages, bank loans and other claims on the means of production."

"Finance capital is fictitious in the second place because its demands for payment cannot be met as economy-wide savings and debts mount up exponentially. The “magic of compound interest” diverts income away from being spent on goods or services, capital equipment or taxes. “In all countries of capitalist production,” Marx wrote, the “accumulation of money-capital signifies to a large extent nothing else but an accumulation of such claims on production, an accumulation of the market-price, the illusory capital-value, of these claims.”   

"Discussing the 1857 financial crisis, Marx showed how unthinkable anything like the 2008-09 Bush-Obama bailout of financial speculators appeared in his day. “The entire artificial system of forced expansion of the reproduction process cannot, of course, be remedied by having some bank, like the Bank of England, give to all the swindlers the deficient capital by means of its paper and having it buy up all the depreciated commodities at their old nominal values.” [15] Marx wrote this reductio ad absurdum not dreaming that it would come true in autumn 2008 as the U.S. Treasury paid off all of A.I.G.’s gambles and other counterparty “casino capitalist” losses at taxpayer expense, followed by the Federal Reserve buying junk mortgage packages at par."

I've not studied economics so this is probably 101 and taken as read. But it doesn't seem to be common knowledge.




Oldmanmatt

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • At this rate, I probably won’t last the week.
  • Posts: 6916
  • Karma: +350/-17
  • Largely broken. Obsolete spares and scrap only.
    • The Boulder Bunker climbing centre

andy popp

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 5308
  • Karma: +330/-4
Without comment.
Because my irony circuit overloaded:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-ppp-ayn-rand-idUSKBN248026

Ayn Rand received at least $11,000 in social security during the last years of her life. She also received Medicare. But this was ok, apparently, because it was "restitution" of her stolen tax dollars, and not an entitlement.

Oldmanmatt

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • At this rate, I probably won’t last the week.
  • Posts: 6916
  • Karma: +350/-17
  • Largely broken. Obsolete spares and scrap only.
    • The Boulder Bunker climbing centre
Without comment.
Because my irony circuit overloaded:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-ppp-ayn-rand-idUSKBN248026

Ayn Rand received at least $11,000 in social security during the last years of her life. She also received Medicare. But this was ok, apparently, because it was "restitution" of her stolen tax dollars, and not an entitlement.

I am surprised not a jot.

She probably also drove/was driven on public highways, cared for in her dotage by nurses or carers educated in state schools and generally benefitted from a myriad of aspects of social democracy, that she would have called socialist; if her head hadn’t been rammed so far up her own arse.
I really should read Atlas Shrugged though. Do the great and elite, wash their own underwear in their retreat? Or do they take staff with them? If so, did they raise and educate those employees from birth? When they built their business empires, did they also build the roads, educate all their employees, provide all their medical and welfare needs etc etc etc, during that time of wealth generation?
I don’t know. I’ll have to read it...
But I’m not paying for it, so a rip off copy.

Oldmanmatt

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • At this rate, I probably won’t last the week.
  • Posts: 6916
  • Karma: +350/-17
  • Largely broken. Obsolete spares and scrap only.
    • The Boulder Bunker climbing centre
I was going to put something in the YYFY thread, because we’ve been “silly” again here, in the name of having “adventure” and generally not doing what we would normally do.
You see, I would normally be quite careful with money. Had a bit of experience with “rainy days” and all that.
We’re not doing that.
We (Polly and I) have lost all our remaining grandparents over the last six months. Whilst it is possible that my Grandmother had Covid, at 93 and frail, it really could have been anything or, even, nothing. Both of Polly’s grandparents went to strokes and too early to be Covid related.
However, we both received small inheritances as a result.
We bought “kit” with it.
We bought a small RIB yesterday. Big enough for the six of us, small enough to break down and roll up into the van. Good for exploring the coast in fair weather and pootling around on the Dart or the Teign, towing the Kayaks or the SUP and finding little coves for a bbq etc. Coastal dive sites too.

Anyway, we wouldn’t have done this, if it wasn’t for Covid.
I’m sure we’re being way more “grab life by the balls” than we would normally be. Way more willing to spend than save.

Do you think this might be a common reaction?

Is anyone else feeling this way?

dunnyg

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1387
  • Karma: +86/-6
That sounds amazing. Im sure it is a common reaction but i think economy suggests that saving is cureently the more common choice!

Offwidth

Offline
  • *****
  • forum hero
  • Posts: 1713
  • Karma: +53/-13
    • Offwidth

I really should read Atlas Shrugged though. Do the great and elite, wash their own underwear in their retreat? Or do they take staff with them? If so, did they raise and educate those employees from birth? When they built their business empires, did they also build the roads, educate all their employees, provide all their medical and welfare needs etc etc etc, during that time of wealth generation?

I read The Fountainhead on El Cap, partly for the irony! Although I felt its main ideas were complete bollocks, being an overlong Mills and Boon for proto political philosophers of her ilk, it was not without interest and I like to know the enemy. As ever in such works, her villains are real villains (at least despite the pantomime vision of them) but the heros seem to me like monsters as well: as an example one of the two main protagonists rapes the other, but that's OK as theirs will be one of the great true loves. That anyone could see these things as the most inspirational works ever seems laughable until you look at the names who said it was, when it becomes dangerous. I'm sure I will read Atlas Shrugged one day as well.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2020, 09:14:19 am by Offwidth »

 

SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2022, SimplePortal