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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 11:39 AM   #141
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Originally Posted by jug
We have different histories, Europe was devastated by 2 large wars and lost millions of people. I think they've learned from their follies and are following a more socialistic and peaceful path.

We have never exerienced such devastation since we were geographically isolated from them, so we evolved differently, with a different experience.

Despite higher unemployement and higher taxes, western europe has a nice standard of living covering most of it's citizens with health care and social benefits.* *They do invent and produce new products in Europe, their companies do grow, their stock markets are vibrant and up and running. and their life expectancies for the most part equal or are higher than our's.

Germany as you mentioned is an economically powerful state with over 80 million middle class people and any problems they have is probably caused by their elites wanting to emulate the American system where there is more money left in the corporate/government coffers to steal.

When will people realize that the problem is not caused by those at the bottom who need pensions and health bennies, but those are the top who simply want to loot as much as they can?

We need to think out of the box and realize that we are dealing with theives on a big time level that are depleting our pensions and health care.* Look up, not down.
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Right on the mark.

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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 11:41 AM   #142
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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We have never exerienced such devastation since we were geographically isolated from them, so we evolved differently, with a different experience.
I've always considered the US civil war to be a pretty big "devastation" for the US.
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 11:45 AM   #143
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Justin, look at all the poor liberals crying for more tobacco subsidies, oil subsidies, farm subsidies, logging subsidies, sports stadium subsidies...
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 12:01 PM   #144
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Originally Posted by ladelfina
Exactly.. but Americans HATE the word socialism, yet when it comes to Medicaid or agri-business subsidies, they want to back up the truck, too, and pile in whatever they can. They want the upside of riskier capitalism with the security of a pension. How long can that be maintained?
The upside of capitalism and the other side of social benefits can be maintained if well managed, without the "Boys" getting their hands in the cookie jar.

Everything is a matter of management, including our portfolios floating somewhere around that great ponzi scheme called Wall Street.

There is no reason those of us in an industrialized nation cannot have a few chickens in the pot, a car or two, health care, pension, and a pass to de chicken ranch. Just gotta make sure the "boys" don't steal too much. Heer that Dubya?
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 12:06 PM   #145
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Originally Posted by justin
I've always considered the US civil war to be a pretty big "devastation" for the US.*
Look at the amount of death, the amount of destroyed cities being bombarded from the air, the scope of the war, 2 nuclear explosions if you count Japan, and our civil war was a chicken shoot.

Most of the US was not devastated like that found in Europe, a few Cities were burned down, but in Europe it was more like hundreds of large cities and towns, it was big time.

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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 12:09 PM   #146
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Socialism isn't really intended, it just sort of happens as people come together to create efficiencies. Unfortunately, these efficiencies come at the cost of personal responsibility which leads to feelings of entitlement.


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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 12:26 PM   #147
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
I've always considered the US civil war to be a pretty big "devastation" for the US.*
Very good point. *Over a million died from war wounds and disease. *Many cities were were destroyed and millions were affected by the war and the devastation that it caused on the whole country. *It caused major social changes and created social wounds that are still present today. *Considering the percentage of the population that existed at that time who were affected by the Civil War it would appear that the death rate was comparable to the two world wars.

To say that the US never had to deal with a major loss of life and the massive destruction caused by war is inaccurate. *We may have escaped it during both world wars but wars prior to that were all fought on US soil. *American_Indian wars, Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Civil War all carried with them death, destruction and changes in the socal fiber of the country. *We have had our share of this too in our collective history. *

Jug, the amount of death and destruction caused by internal wars in the US is comparable when one takes into consideration the population and number of cities of size during those wars. I think one has to look at it in relative rather than absolute terms.
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 12:55 PM   #148
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Originally Posted by SteveR
Jug, the amount of death and destruction caused by internal wars in the US is comparable when one takes into consideration the population and number of cities of size during those wars.* *I think one has to look at it in relative rather than absolute terms.
This point can be argued for ever, but with the advent of what we call modern warfare, with big guns, tanks, tons of bombs from the air, automatic weapons, most european people were devastated.

Even the English who did not have foreign forces on their soil we re subjected to bombardments where thousands were killed and injured. Yes the Civil war was big time, but if you were sitting in most northern states, aside from the Gettysberg area, you were pretty safe.

Both world wars involved a huge number of civilians along with deliberate destruction of civilian targets, whereas the civil war casualties, numerous as they were, involved mainly combatants. This was the big difference and this is why the Europeans are not too happy about going to wars, they've experienced them in their own homes.

The civil is fading in our memory, but the remnants of the european wars are still alive.

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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 01:04 PM   #149
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Originally Posted by jug
Even the English who did not have foreign forces on their soil we re subjected to bombardments where thousands were killed and injured. Yes the Civil war was big time, but if you were sitting in most northern states, aside from the Gettysberg area, you were pretty safe.
What about the south? Scorched earth? It was pretty ugly. The aftermath was ugly. The economy went to crap. There was no U.S.A. unscathed suitor to step in and help rebuild and provide economic support.

I think the two WW's and the US civil war were all very significant in shaping the countries affected by these wars. I brought up the US civil war just to show that Europe isn't the only place affected by violent bloodshed, destruction of infrastructure and economic failure.
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 01:13 PM   #150
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

First, I think you have gone off subject a bit with the war talk... but that is just me....

When people talk about how great the European system is with 'universal' healthcare, I do not know if they really know what they are talking about... yes, for most normal things it is good, but, there is a thriving market for foreign diplomates and rich people coming here to Houston and getting medical procedures... Houston has the largest hospital district with some of the best hospitals... I believe that Methodist even has a 'rich wing' section so they do not have to deal with the common folk... IF their home system was so great, why come over here to get medical treatment
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 01:20 PM   #151
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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First, I think you have gone off subject a bit with the war talk... but that is just me....

When people talk about how great the European system is with 'universal' healthcare, I do not know if they really know what they are talking about...* yes, for most normal things it is good, but, there is a thriving market for foreign diplomates and rich people coming here to Houston and getting medical procedures... Houston has the largest hospital district with some of the best hospitals... I believe that Methodist even has a 'rich wing' section so they do not have to deal with the common folk...* IF their home system was so great, why come over here to get medical treatment
Interesting point.

However again I will say like a broken record, pensions that have been promised by companies, and governments should be honored. If you must raise taxes to do it so be it.

Think about this, 1 billion a day in Iraq on the war.

Who is gonna pay for this??

The Iraqi oil money??

$hit we americans use how much of the worlds crude a day 30%

At 60+ dollars a barrel we are STILL GONNA be paying Iraq cash long after the last american GI leaves.

Pensions and capitalism can live together. it is the awful GREED that is inherient in Humans in a capitalistic system.

The guy running IBM and his upper management types are making how much more than the average IBM worker??

And they will still have a pension.

$hit a one term American Congressman gets a GOVERNMENT PENSION!!!
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 08:23 PM   #152
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Originally Posted by justin
I've always considered the US civil war to be a pretty big "devastation" for the US.*
Especially considering the fact that it isn't over yet. I bet there's a chapter of the Civil War Roundtable in every community of more than 1000 people.

My kid has been watching "Gettysburg" and I'm trying to find her a copy of Discovery Channel's "Undiscovered History" about the battle. I know it's drama and I know how it ends but I still can't bear to watch those fools patriots stand up and charge each other.

But if it helps her make a decision about a service academy, then I'm all for the education...
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-11-2006, 08:41 PM   #153
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Originally Posted by Nords
Especially considering the fact that it isn't over yet. I bet there's a chapter of the Civil War Roundtable in every community of more than 1000 people.

My kid has been watching "Gettysburg" and I'm trying to find her a copy of Discovery Channel's "Undiscovered History" about the battle. I know it's drama and I know how it ends but I still can't bear to watch those fools patriots stand up and charge each other.

But if it helps her make a decision about a service academy, then I'm all for the education...
When you think she's ready for it, get her a copy of Michael Shaara's "The Killer Angels". Yeah, it's fiction, but it's damn good at describing what really took place at Gettysburg.

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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-12-2006, 07:04 AM   #154
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Texas Proud, you have a point, but here in Italy it's almost a "chi-chi" (as in 'chic') thing to scorn the public system and opt for a private clinic. It has a boutique flavor.

I have relatives who have been both doctors and patients both in the private and public systems, and either way it seems to be a crap shoot; they have had good and bad experiences either way. What counts is the particular facility and overall the number of similar prodecures they have done. Practice makes perfect. A structure that does 1000 hip replacements a year will have better odds than one that does 100, or 10.

Some people who have the bucks to go to the US or Switzerland will continue to do so, even if the structures at their disposal are perfectly OK. In Italy you might be put on a ward in a room with 12 beds, but they might have high-tech equipment equivalent to that in a US hospital.

One thing to worry about is the "brain drain" of doctors away from the rest of the world and into the US, though it may be less of an issue in Europe than in India or Singapore.
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-12-2006, 08:10 AM   #155
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud
First, I think you have gone off subject a bit with the war talk... but that is just me....

When people talk about how great the European system is with 'universal' healthcare, I do not know if they really know what they are talking about...* yes, for most normal things it is good, but, there is a thriving market for foreign diplomates and rich people coming here to Houston and getting medical procedures... Houston has the largest hospital district with some of the best hospitals... I believe that Methodist even has a 'rich wing' section so they do not have to deal with the common folk...* IF their home system was so great, why come over here to get medical treatment
When you talk about people coming to Houston for treatment, its usually the mid-east oil thugs. Most Europeans stay in Europe. Take a look at the bulk of the names coming to the US, there are no good facilities in the mid-east for cutting edge technology, save for those in Israel, so they fly here. Says something about a normal grunt in the mid-east with serious illness, not much hope, despite big time oil revenue. The sheiks horde de gold.

As for the rich, they get top notch care both in US and Europe For a normal grunt who has health insurance it is still iffy in the US and Europe as to how you are treated with a serious illness.

If you are rich in the US or Europe, yes , you will attract the top notch facilities and cutting edge doctors to your case. Both the US and Europe have the best facilities in the world, and whether the bill is picked up through socialized medicine or the US conterpart, the big insurance scheme, the rich will get preferential treatment , cos the old adage goes, "those with de gold shall rule"

The rich get first crack at transplants, money and fame talk big time. It doesnt matter.

Check the list of names at the Houston medical centers, if you can get near them, probably use anglo names to hide their identities, dont want to piss off too many americans. However, when a donation is made, the mid-east moniker goes up, good for publicity.

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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-12-2006, 08:30 AM   #156
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

A while back, the sheik or somebody from Saudi Arabia flew into Raleigh-Durham in his personal 747 jet to go to Duke Medical Center in Durham, NC for a major procedure of some sort. He had a motorcade and everything. I guess that says good things about the local hospital!
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-12-2006, 08:57 AM   #157
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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A while back, the sheik or somebody from Saudi Arabia flew into Raleigh-Durham in his personal 747 jet to go to Duke Medical Center in Durham, NC for a major procedure of some sort.* He had a motorcade and everything.* I guess that says good things about the local hospital!
Actually, it says more about the surgeon. Hospitals are, for the most part, relatively fungible. It's the concentration of skilled surgeons and their support staffs that really make or break a hospital's reputation.
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-12-2006, 11:14 AM   #158
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Good riddance to pensions
Corporate pensions are an unstable, unfair and economically perverse means of paying for retirement.

By Justin Fox, FORTUNE editor-at-large

NEW YORK (FORTUNE) - It really is over for the corporate pension. Now that IBM has opted out, telling employees last week that their pension benefits will be frozen in 2008, it's hard to see what's to stop every last American corporation from preparing its eventual exit from the pension business. Lots of reasonably healthy companies -- Verizon, NCR, Lockheed Martin and Motorola, to name a few -- already have.

This phenomenon, along with the more dramatic cases of companies going bankrupt and defaulting on existing pension commitments (think United Airlines), has gotten tons of press, most of it of the "ain't it a shame" variety. But the real shame may be that we ever put so much faith in such an inherently unstable, unfair and economically perverse means of providing for retirement.


<snip>

So what's the alternative, when it's also clear that many otherwise productive members of society are incapable on their own of setting aside enough money and investing it wisely enough to fund a comfortable retirement?

Toronto-based Ambachtsheer... has become a big believer in individual retirement accounts that are aggregated into what he calls "buyer's co-ops."

That is, the money belongs to the individual, but the choices of how much money to set aside and how to invest it are at least partly in the hands of professionals who aren't in the employ of a for-profit mutual fund company or brokerage firm. The closest thing to such a co-op currently in existence in the United States is TIAA-CREF, the retirement fund for academic, medical, cultural and research workers. But more and more corporations are now approximating the buyer's co-op model by reinventing their 401(k)s as paternalistic organizations that automatically set contribution percentages and investment choices unless employees opt out.

That still leaves the majority of Americans who don't happen to be professors or employees of especially enlightened corporations. To help them provide for retirement, we could move to a system like Australia's, where 9 percent of every worker's income (up to a limit similar to the wage ceiling on Social Security payroll taxes) is automatically funneled into retirement accounts managed by organizations akin to Ambachtsheer's buyer's co-ops.


http://money.cnn.com/2006/01/12/news...tune/index.htm

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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-12-2006, 11:21 AM   #159
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

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Yeah, it's fiction, but it's damn good at describing what really took place at Gettysburg.
Yep, good book. It's the only way I can follow the conversation between our kid and her grandparents...
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Re: The pension system destruction continues
Old 01-12-2006, 12:02 PM   #160
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Re: The pension system destruction continues

Another aspect of dropping DBP's I did not see discussed is the relationship between employee and employer. With a DBP there was a paternalistic incentive to remain loyal to a single company. With DCP's it is just the opposite. Employees are now better off job-hopping than staying in one place. In fact, jobs can now be considered to be active investments. If your present investment does not match the market, then you change it. When you get a new job you go into it with an exit strategy.
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