Denial or Principle?

By James Kwak

I wanted to make a belated return to Binyamin Appelbaum and Robert Gebeloff’s article on reluctant safety net beneficiaries.  Earlier this week I argued that their framing of an expanding safety net that has spread from the poor to the middle class is wrong, but otherwise the themes they discuss are very important.

Many liberals like to point out the apparent hypocrisy of the people featured in the article, who rail against big government, demand lower spending, and simultaneously rake in benefits from the federal government that they hate. The central figure in the article, Ki Gulbranson, works hard yet has barely enough money to support his family, even with the earned income tax credit* and reduced-price school lunches for his kids. His conclusion: the country is going bankrupt, but people don’t make enough money to pay more taxes, so we should have smaller government. He would rather go without his current benefits—but he can’t imagine retiring without Medicare and Social Security.

I don’t think Gulbranson is a hypocrite at all. I don’t think taking a benefit you don’t think should exist makes you a hypocrite, just like I don’t think Warren Buffett should voluntarily pay higher taxes. I think his position is one part magical thinking and one part principle.

The magical thinking is thinking that there is a difference between asking people to pay $100 more in taxes and asking them to take $100 less in benefits. It’s thinking that you can meaningfully reduce total government spending without undermining the very programs you will need to survive in retirement. As another interviewee said, without Medicare, his wife would go blind and he would die. (For a discussion of magical thinking in its pure form, see Greg Sargent’s column.)

But there may be a principle in there, too. The principle is that you should be self-reliant and not rely on your “grandchildren” to support you**—and if you don’t earn enough money, then you should make do with less. And some of the people saying this, like Gulbranson, fall squarely in the “don’t earn enough money” category. As Appelbaum and Gebeloff say (they can’t get any of their subjects to say it clearly),

“They say they want to reduce the role of government in their own lives. They are frustrated that they need help, feel guilty for taking it and resent the government for providing it. They say they want less help for themselves; less help in caring for relatives; less assistance when they reach old age.”

That may be unrealistic and foolhardy. It may also be irresponsible, especially if you’re supporting your children or your elderly parents. But it’s also a stand on some kind of principle; it certainly isn’t in their self-interest. And it’s music to the ears of Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, the Koch brothers, and all the other super-rich ideologues who want lower taxes.

Why? I think it’s another example of the fact that people’s self-identity is more deeply rooted than their material self-interest or, for that matter, their understanding of the world. If you see yourself as a tough, self-reliant yeoman farmer who can handle anything the world can throw at you, it’s easier to tell yourself you’ll be able to deal with hardship than to admit that maybe you can’t. If you think the world is divided between hard-working people who support their families and freeloaders who live off of other people’s taxes, it’s easier to see yourself forgoing government benefits than to see yourself as a freeloader.

This is one reason why so many “middle class” people are out there fighting to protect Herman Cain from big government.

* As I said in my earlier post, I don’t consider the EITC program a safety net program. I consider it a makeshift fix to the tax code to correct for the insanely high marginal rates people would other wise pay as they enter the workforce and for regressive payroll taxes.

** Government borrowing to finance current consumption is only to a small degree a transfer from future generations to ours (if we lived in a closed economy, there would be no transfer at all), but the image of burdening our grandchildren with debt seems to be deeply ingrained at this point.

39 responses to “Denial or Principle?

  1. Actually, I think the world is mostly divided between people who want to run their own lives and people who want to run other people’s lives.

    The former tend to work honest jobs for a living, while the latter tend toward non-productive rent-seeking careers like management consulting or law.

  2. bobthebayesian

    “The magical thinking is thinking that there is a difference between asking people to pay $100 more in taxes and asking them to take $100 less in benefits.”

    There’s a huge difference because taxes are taken from you whether you need the services they ultimately support or not. Taking a reduction in benefits is taking a gamble that you don’t need the benefits / can find a different way to compensate for their absence. In short, $100 more in taxes is a sure loss for most people, where as $100 less in benefits is not a sure loss for most people.

    Being risk averse and suffering from optimism bias, most humans would intrinsically prefer $100 reduction in benefits. The psychological pain of that reduction would be measurably less, Kahneman style, than $100 more in taxes. And that psychological preference is just as real and important as any other measure of the effectiveness of those policies.

    Perceived losses and perceived omissions are not the same thing, as risk-averse preferences are not symmetric.

  3. Aaron Solorzano

    To me, the “reluctant safety net beneficiary” resembles the “reluctant automobile driver”. Is a liberal who advocates for environmental protections but yet continues to take full advantage of the government funding that is lavished upon car-centric infrastructure not a hypocrite? Or maybe, as Mr. Kwak suggests, it is just “magical thinking” to think that one can protect the environment without addressing automobile dependency and land use policy.

  4. I believe it’s neither denial nor principle, though there is truth to both.

    Basically (and don’t lie to yourself and say you are different – I certainly am not) we make decisions based on affiliation (aka “tribalism”). The homogeny of policy beliefs based on left and right affiliation is just too high to fit any other rational explanation (and honestly, I’m not buying genetic explanations either).

    Basically policy filters go like this:

    – A situation presents a policy question.
    – You compare to policies already in your mental portfolio, if it matches or is derivative, you go with your predefined position.
    – If it doesn’t match, you look to what your peers within the same affiliation are saying, add it to your mental portfolio for future use, and go with their predefined position.
    – Rinse and repeat. Eventually your mental portfolio is so large you can accommodate nearly any new policy question without requiring outside reference.

    Ok, obviously more nuanced. Sometimes we actually spend a few mental cycles considering the issue at question, but again this is in the context of all the prior collected mental portfolio items. Moreover it’s amazing the gymnastics we will go through to coerce policy to match our desired predetermined target positions. If necessary facts will be omitted, ignored, denigrated, our outright falsified in our heads to accommodate (eg: “Reagan didn’t reduce inflation!” or “We found WMDs in Iraq!”).

    In short we are giant “confirmation bias” machines. Or as Twain remarked, we basically we decide what we believe in our teens and spend the rest of our lives buttressing it.

    This is true of right and left, though I’d like to believe (ingroup bias!) that lately it’s worse with the right.

  5. The fine article cited focuses, as most such discussions do, on the petit bourgeois who don’t make quite enough. Another article might focus on another swath of our population living off government mandates, such as accountants who would have a lot less work if audits weren’t required for lots of stuff, tax attorneys, bankers (who wouldn’t survive without government regulation), employees of health insurance companies who have jobs because we won’t do single-payer and so on and on and on. I used to work at a big accounting firm: it was easy to find highly compensated partners or poorly compensated bag carriers who thought there was too many of the regulations their clients paid them to comply with.

  6. The fine article cited focuses, as most such discussions do, on the petit bourgeois who don’t make quite enough. Another article might focus on another swath of our population living off government mandates, such as accountants who would have a lot less work if audits weren’t required for lots of stuff, tax attorneys, bankers (who wouldn’t survive without government regulation), employees of health insurance companies who have jobs because we won’t do single-payer and so on and on and on. I used to work at a big accounting firm: it was easy to find highly compensated partners or poorly compensated bag carriers who thought there was too many regulations, the regulations their clients paid them to comply with.

  7. It seems to me that the massive ignorance we Americans (speaking broadly) manifest regarding macroeconomic issues can’t be neglected in the search for explanations for these seeming inconsistencies. While I agree with many of the comments that point out the psychological forces that compel us to understand things a certain way, isn’t this contributed to by the fact we just don’t understand the issues? Of course lack of understanding is contributed to by the fact that our political leaders, from both branches of our single national party the “Republicrats,” don’t understand either. In the midst of the most serious recession since the Great Depression remembered for the most part only by our grandparents, our leaders including the president preach about the present need “to get our fiscal house in order, now now, now.” With nonsense like this filling the media, is it any wonder that ordinary working people in a suburban county in MN who are struggling to make ends meet would seemingly espouse contradictory positions. To boot, the article made sadly clear how guilty and ashamed they are in the process

  8. I wrote about this in response to the last post, but the problem is humiliation. Hard working people who did everythng right and still can’t feed their families without government assistance feel humiliated, and that’s the strongest political emotion you can feel. I know you lose arguements if you resort to Hitler, but his appeal was playing into the humiliation the German people felt at the hands of the British and French after WWI. The people in the article also have a point, they shoudl be able to fend for themselves if they work hard at full time jobs and do everything else right – not wasting money on gambling or booze or whatever. It’s the cause of that humiliation that they don’t fully understand. It is big government that is the problem, but big government working in conjuction with big business and the very rich to direct the last 40 years worth of GDP gains into the hands of a smaller and smaller number of people. If GDP was spread across the population in the same percentages it was in 1969 the people in that article wouldn’t ned the earned income tax credit or the SCHIP health care for their kids because they would earn a living wage. Somehow instead they’ve been convinced that extra money they should have in their pockets is being spent to fund a black familiy where nobody works, or is being sent overseas to a Mulim country, or is buying condoms for fifth graders. It’s being presented like their bosses and the companies they work for are being taxed so much, they can’t possibliy give the employees a raise and then those taxes are being wasted by Washington. I don’t know how to solve this problem of just outright ignorance fueled by some outright racism and also a feeling that the world was better 30 or 40 years ago and the reasons it is worse now have to be someone elses fault – can’t be that I voted for Bush, or didn’t finish college.

  9. @MK, “…It is big government that is the problem, but big government working in conjuction with big business and the very rich to direct the last 40 years worth of GDP gains into the hands of a smaller and smaller number of people. If GDP was spread across the population in the same percentages it was in 1969 the people in that article wouldn’t ned the earned income tax credit or the SCHIP health care for their kids because they would earn a living wage. Somehow instead they’ve been convinced that extra money they should have in their pockets is being spent to fund a black familiy where nobody works, or is being sent overseas to a Mulim country, or is buying condoms for fifth graders…”

    C’mon, MK, the people/stuff that is REALLY being funded is the clear and present danger to We the Stupid. We have people who USE *government* to rob us through tax policies – let’s start with that stick up note Paulson shoved at us…

  10. James,

    Could you help me understand this, or point me to some reading.

    ** Government borrowing to finance current consumption is only to a small degree a transfer from future generations to ours (if we lived in a closed economy, there would be no transfer at all), but the image of burdening our grandchildren with debt seems to be deeply ingrained at this point.

  11. I am on social security and medicare, I have been on welfare at times in the past. I believe a strong safety net is both morally right and rational, and I wish we had one. However–On other issues we on the left are fond of praising people who are willing to forgo economic gain because they believe that a principle or ideological belief is more important. On this issue, however, we can’t seem to accept that. Is it possible that the contempt expressed for the “reluctant safety net beneficiaries” is in part a class bias?

  12. Anonymous @ 1:21am,

    Here’s the run down of a recent discussion about macro inter-generational debt issues, albeit a one-sided one.

  13. Does being determine consciousness or does consciousness determine being? Both answers are correct in context and the two clearly interact. But the ideology or principle involved here is largely the result of right wing claptrap that has been peddled by the Republican party since Nixon and even more militantly since Reagan. It has accompanied policies that concentrated wealth, weakened labor, saddled the working folk with crushing debt (instead of their fair share of wealth resulting from increases in productivity) and deprived them of pensions and the hope for a decent retirement. It is an ideology designed to blind working folks of their own self-interest by playing to racist fears and stereotypes while peddling unrealistic images of swaggering individualism, revisionist history, extreme values masquerading as religion and festering resentment. To the extent this failure to recognize and act upon self-interest is based on principle, it is principle that was created and spread by the folks who benefit from it. It can be changed. But change will require compelling articulation of alternative principles, based in shared values, and a program of action clearly designed to apply such principles to daily life. The Right changed the conversation and the distribution of wealth and power over the 30+ years through deliberate effort. The Left needs to create a compelling alternative consciousness and a program to achieve it. And it needs to be tough, disciplined and relentless.

  14. I think you are right–especially about what the left needs to do. I’ve recently been reading “The Populist Moment’ by Lawrence Goodwyn, and I am struck by how rapidly Populism spread once it started showing some real results. Is that sort of mass democratic movement possible today–given the amount of money needed to buy in to media culture. Dunno.

  15. Bruce E. Woych

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_liberty

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_and_positive_rights

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graded_absolutism

    A good deal of these arguments have been framed over centuries and revised to confirm or deny adjusted social settings. Typically we will find the well healed as philosophically astute at explaining why the rank and file is the healthy road up the ladder of earnings (although inheritance and royal blood still get meritocracy by the test..tickles ..of time). The apologists for the system are the dependent blue collar types (typically incoherent about the fact that labor history set their standard of living…not the benevolent invisible hand of the dice).

    Of course the “context” scope and scale of the question is totally unmeasurable in terms of anything like economic justice; so the basic idea of a political mitigation of economic injustice is not unreasonable…while the range between the micro and macro considerations of individuals to societal values also tend to be concerns amidst divergent interests. There is almost a pathological weariness to the fact that every solution breeds the next sequence of problems, and the right wing rhetoric exploits insecurity and create animosity and even hostility between the “hard” working lower middle class and the impoverished below them who get to starve …just like themselves…but for doing “nothing” …they just get it “free” as the poor man judges the poor slobbering guy on the corner dying from social negligence and disrespect as a natural inheritance.

    The better off always believe they did it all by themselves, and that salary actually measures their work…no sense going into that one !

    In the meantime the elites remain unsentimental and objective about it all as tough, resourceful and above it all.

    But then again I have heard professional political market public relations advisers claim that if you frame the question you control the answers…and that is always true about staying upon the topic in general. But it should raise some questions, on topic, as to whether we are actually asking the right questions…from the right people…when the following real world data exists in contradiction to all theoretical mythology:

    “According to this year’s annual Wealth Report, published by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank — Scorpio Partnership, a wealth management consultancy firm, also contributed — new billionaires are increasingly likely to come from emerging economies like India and Russia, the latter of which increased its billionaire count by 30 percent last year, according to Forbes. The world’s total number of millionaires has skyrocketed, too, increasing by 22 percent from one year prior, when the global economy witnessed a drastic drop in millionaires.
    No country’s elite, however, have benefited more from last year’s rebounding economy than China’s, with the country’s tremendous economic growth raising the billionaire count by 140 percent. At this rate, many economists expect China — ranked 35th in Forbes’ billionaires list as recently as 2005 — to soon claim the title of most billionaires in the world.”
    10 Countries With The Most Billionaires
    The Huffington Post Harry Bradford First Posted: 4/12/11 Updated: 6/12/11

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/12/10-countries-with-the-billionaires_n_847693.html#s262644&title=10_Canada

    =================================================
    In logic the rule is that you should not generalize from the particular. In the arguments made from the articles premise, particularizing instances are made to appear as models and analogies in contradiction. Reluctant poverty is not the same as reluctant reasoning, and reluctant reasoning is not the same as a reluctant truth.

  16. “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it; and this I know, my lords: that where law ends, tyranny begins.”
                             -William Pitt

    Look up the word fascist – and get back to me. The soulless hobgoblins decrying biggovernment with one sliver of their forked tongue while languishing in extraordinary and exclusive biggovernment largess and subsidies with the other are hypocrites, pathological liars, and fascists. Biggovernment good when printing trillions of dollars out of the myst and heaping into the offshore accounts of finance oligarchs. Biggovernment good when providing massive and unnecessary subsidies to oil, energy, agra, pharma, private military industrial oligarchs. Biggovernment good when offering gargantuan tax cuts to the predatorclass and predatorclass oligarchs. But Biggovernment oh so terrible and bad when providing aid to the poor, the elderly, education, environmental issues, and the arts.

    This naked hypocrisy and robthepoorandmidleclass to feed the superrich – the predatorclass is the definition of FASCISM!

    There will be a balancing and a reckoning, and there will be blood!

    Burn it all down! Reset!

  17. How can it be that hard-working Republicans from low tax red states are falling the furthest behind and need the most government support?

  18. Need to get down into the weeds and find the snakes that brought down Michigan – you know something *weird* happened when the son of an auto parts mogul ends up in a new and modern high rise in the ME training mercenaries for the global billionnaires….so much of the story can be unraveled by KNOWING what happened in Detroit…VULTURES morphed into hedgehogs….and a *church* structure behind it ALL…

  19. Bruce E. Woych

    @Annie:I hear you Annie… it Started with Reagan…now the puppets look like drones. All Front men; son g and dance men…all method acting and madness…clowns to the left of us…jokers to the right!
    Armageddon in a wheelchair…here I come! Hallelujah ANNIE !!!

  20. Bruce E. Woych

    This one’s for your Annie: There’s no denying it…There ARE NO PRINCIPLES>>>http://deanhenderson.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/the-reptilian-primary/#more-1652
    The Reptilian Primary
    February 20, 2012 — Dean Henderson

    “When you live in the belly of the military/industrial beast, crazy shit is to be expected. Neurosis of all size, shape and manner becomes routine. Barbie Doll anchor twits & Viagra commercials reinforce the post-industrial nightmare. War is peace and “evil dictators” are those of great integrity.”

    http://deanhenderson.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/the-reptilian-primary/#more-1652

    “Free markets are fine unless they’re all rigged. And they are. Wars against small countries with oil are not cool anymore. What else does the GOP have?”

    http://deanhenderson.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/the-reptilian-primary/#more-1652

    “Most do not even belong to the 1%, but their Stockholm Syndrome-driven mission is to aid and abet the 1% war pigs as these miscreants socialize their debts on the backs of the US Treasury while capitalizing their Cayman Islands profits.
    When you support thieves and pirates, you have to lie about these thugs. Thus modern-day Republican strategy centers on obfuscation and fear. The grand old party of the elite spins folksy yarns, wraps itself in the flag and manufactures fear. They created/incited the Tea Party to rail against government, after Reagan/Bush/Bush had run up socialized Halliburton deficits building a police state/war machine.”

    http://deanhenderson.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/the-reptilian-primary/#more-1652

  21. Bruce E. Woych

    “Liberty is fine until you take the liberty to steal my wages or my house,…(Ibid)”

  22. Bruce E. Woych

    ZEITGEIST: MOVING FORWARD | OFFICIAL RELEASE | 2011

  23. Bruce E. Woych

    When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

    credited as a ~ Cree Prophecy

  24. Well now you see, this is what we were worried about, the coming China hard landing. After Timmy and Ben leveraged most all of our available land [Via bankruptcies] to foreigners, and their expectations of the future.Just how many Chinese can you carry on one aircraft carrier?

  25. “….And it needs to be tough, disciplined and relentless….”

    The *right* AND *left* have done a lot of pre-emptive assassinations – whether a bullet to the body or yellow journalism to the heart…

    ALL the *isms* every concocted by monkey brains high on imagination, they all when confronted with the TRUTH – every human being has the inalienable RIGHT to make their lives less miserable through honest work.

    No sane HUMAN being of normal mind wants trickle down economics, trickle down charity or trickle down good will from any self-proclaimed “elite”….

    Outside of some very early Christian cults, and pockets of *samurai* cultures, no religion or empire has acknowledged this TRUTH. Even if you are agnostic or atheist – the TRUTH is the same, we have the RIGHT to make our lives less miserable through HONEST WORK. Not from slavery, theft and murder, not from cheating , poisoning, and lying, not from politics or religions that glorify WAR…

    In the beginning there was HONEST WORK, then came $$$$.

    Now the theology of the MONEY MONKEY GOD is “…in the beginning there was $$$$, and then came LIFE….”

    and the attendant math:

    More misery for others = more $$$$ for ME ME ME

    next time they come to shut down tool and dye facilities, drug manufacturing facilities, any and all LIFE-MAINTENANCE facilities – the response MUST BE one of armed conflict because there is no question left that it is a matter of SURVIVAL – as a country – to not be shut down to pay off *fiat* interest on debt.

    Just the facts, Ma’am….

    Look at what happened to USA – to 40 million homeowners and counting – while *we* were fighting the *terrorists* over there so that they would not come over here….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial

  26. The protagonist in that article is raising 5 kids on $46,000 per year or less.
    He doesn’t even make enough money to pay for their schooling through his property taxes. Other people pay for a share of the schooling of his kids. The direct transfers of school lunch and earned income tax credit are a tiny part of his public support. He pays nothing for our incredible war machine. He would be truly shocked that he may be getting $20,000 or more per year in public support. Could be even more. And you know what? As someone providing that $20,000 in support to him, I want him to have it. His kids will be healthier, better educated, and hopefully won’t replicate his voting patterns. At worst, the kids will be healthier enough to join the army and be able to read weapons operations manuals on the way to becoming cannon fodder. This man really has no idea what the elite has in store for his descendants.

    The country has no hope with people this clueless voting.

  27. In my lifetime, the population of the planet has doubled. That’s ridiculous.

    Where were the global *elite* when the haphazard breeding was happening…?

    Now cannon fodder and soylent green visions for the future…?

    Clueless describes the *elite* also.

    The pragmatic and practical *middle class* was the flowering of a high civilization, not its downfall.

    There is no *ism* left behind which to hide – especailly now that 1.2 quadrillion in vapor $$$ is just a game to dissolve the concept of *ownership* – we’ll leave it to the Professors to draw the rubegoldberg gizmo for us that explains how capitalism morphed into pauperism in the *information age* for the small segment of the human species that is not psycho…

    “resistance is not futile” :-)

  28. Daniel Barkalow

    bob: $100 less of benefits is not a certain loss, but the potential loss is not limited to $100. “It would have cost $100 to save your family from that fire, but you chose not to have that $100 benefit, and it’s too late to hire and train fire fighters now.” And, of course, each individual pays an income-graduated amount of tax for a need-graduated benefit, so it’s highly unlikely that the amounts for an individual match.

  29. @Woych, “…There is almost a pathological weariness to the fact that every solution breeds the next sequence of problems….”

    A solution is not a solution if it breeds a new sequence of problems – once again look to the balance of *functions* in life-sustaining systems that were not designed, created, or imagined by a human being for inspiration….

    Maybe we are grappling with a Prime Mistake, so to speak, a psychotic desire to posses the complete freedom that only comes to the one who has managed to completely enslave everyone else? And that kind of mistake will never be rationalized or justified no matter how many times we whack the next mole to pop up…in other words, maybe we aren’t doing anything the right way anymore…

  30. Word Annie. There is no repairing this foul and toxic system. Fascists are never swayed by reason or quaint notions like theruleoflaw, nor do fascist relinquish control peacefully.

    Burn it all down. Reset.

  31. @Tony – agreed that there is no way to repair a foul and toxic system – thinking along the same lines as you, though, about a new currency. Who knows what supports their 1.2 quadrillion derivative illusion – other than the number of diapers the world has had to process since this blog began – you do the math: 7 billion a day, 365 days a year, how many years since Paulson’s stick up note…?

    Considered this *option* back in the 1970s – the need to have a private army protecting R&D and then all the groups bringing energy efficiency to the dumb stupid masses of middle class USAers – don’t think there’s any question this time around about the NEED for that kind of brute physical force protection from the rent-seeking and land-for-mercenaries fascist capitalists – and delusional not to see how the aggression and ambition from the east is just as savage….

    Propaganda machine keeps saying that Congress isn’t going to get anything done this year – so what the hell was the point of letting them go back to D.C. when all they will be doing is plotting who to rip off to do another Iran Contra War Lord booty run…quite the *religion* they got going, eh?

  32. Bruce E. Woych

    So if you just frame it like you were reversing the direction of another give-a-way ….wolf in sheeps clothing… [or]:
    MORE “FALSE FLAGGING” OPERATIONS:

    http://www.economywatch.com/in-the-news/obama-proposes-corporate-tax-cut.23-02.html

    23 February 2012
    “As the United States gets into the swing of an election-year, President Barack Obama has offered to cut corporate tax rate 28 percent, a move that commentators have said is a direct challenge to his Republican rivals.

    President Obama’s long-awaited business tax plan, if passed, would lower the corporate tax rate from the current 35 percent to 28 percent.”

    ECONOMY WATCH:

    http://www.economywatch.com/in-the-news/obama-proposes-corporate-tax-cut.23-02.html

  33. @Tony F – imagine what a different world we would have been if the *peace and love* hippies had considered Just War criteria and done the pre-emptive strike in the 1970s after the 3 assassinations – 2 Kennedys, one MLK….there is no choice now that *survival* is clear:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37560195/#46503886

  34. Bruce E. Woych

    Denials and Principles…the state of the market mentality:

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/386891-4-a-gallon-thursday-gas-hits-4-overnight?source=email_authors_alerts&ifp=0

    February 23, 2012
    Philip Davis
    “Goldman Sachs’ head of energy research, David Greely, has been banging the oil drums all month and has helped engineer a 10% rise in crude, costing Americans an extra $10Bn a month at the pumps and in their energy bills (not even including the rise in food and transportation costs) in order to make his masters another billion on their trades. But he’s not done there.”

    {consideration}:

    “If this is giving you flashbacks to 2008, when Goldman Sachs stampeded their sheep into $140 oil contracts on the promise that the same conditions would lead to $200 oil – you’re half right. The reality is that it’s even more asinine now to make these statements than it was then as we had a much more robust economy in 2008 and we had far less production capacity in 2008 and we had far less of an inventory surplus in 2008 but don’t let that stop David Greely from destroying America to enrich his masters -”

    [and}

    “Greely’s main bullish premise for WTI is that one way or another, as Keystone was meant to do, they will find a way to reverse the flow of oil into Cushing, OK, where we measure our national inventories each week, and begin draining that facility dry at will. This will give the commodity manipulators total control over the price of oil by enabling them to add or subtract millions of barrels of oil each week and, if the Keystone project gets rammed past the White House – millions more can be drained from Cushing at the will of a single company.”

    [In the meantime…}

    “I don’t think investors are either rich enough or dumb enough to get screwed like that twice in less than a year but, then again, I often underestimate how many idiots fall for Goldman’s crap time after time. Even when Goldman Sachs is harangued on national TV for steering their own clients into “bad deals,” GS seems to always be able to round up another herd of sheep to lead into the next slaughter.”
    Philip Davis

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/386891-4-a-gallon-thursday-gas-hits-4-overnight?source=email_authors_alerts&ifp=0

    February 23, 2012

  35. @Woych – makes you want to grab them, toss them in a barrel of oil, nail down the lid and send them into orbit around saturn – endless nihilistic hate-based chaos…the permanent business elite of fleecing enronistas…they’re everywhere – check out *drug shortages* stories…how little will they have to pay labor in India to cover the cost of transport of batches of oncology drugs that USA HAS CAPACITY TO MAKE IN AT LEAST 100 DIFFERENT CITIES on the continent!!!!???

  36. Bruce E. Woych

    @Annie: Makes one long for the old days of running out of town …

    Tarred and Feathered !!!!!

  37. @Woych – I evaluate all power machinations against the FACT that every human being on this planet has the RIGHT to make their lives less miserable through HONEST work.

    Every fevered delusional *ism* hysterically funded by criminal cretins to be hurled at We the Stupid this year is null and void – they’re insane, criminally insane.

    Look at how well the *melting pot* is working for the 1% in USA – down to Congo savage level – wait in the bushes, when the harvest is picked and stacked, send in the VC for *creative destruction*…

    And let’s go global with that formula…YIKES!

    Nobody took me seriously back in the late 1970s when I was joan-of-arking against the oily (snake and regular) men because I was such a little kid and so *sweet* – the RIGHT thing to do was to stop them back then with full military and brutal force – psychos can’t even imagine what a different world this would be today because they lack a NORMAL brain….

    There is NO CHOICE now – it’s survival. And not even changing the tax policy to be more fair is PROOF that they are criminals. Don’t know why they were allowed to go back to Delusional City after the winter break – they should have been thrown into their local jails…

    And now MSM is “preparing the American people for war with Iran”….I guess they (MSM) always start with f_cking over women to get the blood lust tuned…

  38. Just a reminder to everyone how it is only the *perception* that savagery has been eliminated as the SOP in the financial industry – look up the Tuskagee Experiement. Who *trusts* that the same kind of secret node of *power* in the USA governement has not been targeting certain ethnic groups for financial ruin?

    There is a direct line of PROOF that all the gains accrued by the 1% were STOLEN from the civilization that *labor* built by themselves and for themselves.

    Nihilistic hatred has been institutionalized as *banking*.