Monday, December 16, 2013

Murder Ruins Christmas for One Percenters

 A guy gets shot to death at an upscale mall, and the ensuing investigation is interfering with conspicuous consumption at the only emporium in Jersey that caters to the obscenely wealthy. Oh the humanity.

This was the actual headline in today's New York Times:

Fatal Carjacking Makes Christmas Shopping at US Mall a Nightmare 
Police on Monday were seeking an armed pair of suspected carjackers who a day earlier shot to death a man Christmas shopping with his wife at a high-end New Jersey mall and then fled in the couple's luxury SUV, prosecutors said.  
Never mind a lifetime of nightmares for the young widow who had to witness the carnage. But the article goes on to explain that murder in their midst presents a real dilemma for shoppers, because the only other Giorgio Armani and Cartier outlets are an unseemly 40 miles distant, in New York City. That yellow police tape is just too, too tacky. What a bore. And how about the Christmas retail stats, which would have been artificially pumped up via purchases by the One Percent and used as a propaganda tool by the corporate media to inform the rest of us slurping our Yule Gruel that the economy is just booming right along and this was the best Season evah?


Sorry about the light posting the past few days.... been battling a head cold, which has put a damper on the enraged output.

I did manage to post a comment last night to Paul Krugman's column on Inequality, in which he asks (purely as a rhetorical exercise) if there is anything we can do about it. Well.....

Respondents in the Very Wealthy Survey report enjoying a lot of private face time with the politicians, the better to whisper sweet deficit-hawk nothings in their ears.
Until we get the money out of politics, the grotesque inequality will only get worse. The Forbes 400, with more wealth than the bottom half of us combined, are our de facto masters. The CEOs of the Business Roundtable have an average of $14.6 million in their retirement accounts, enough to pay out $86,043 a month. And then there's David Cote of the Simpson-Bowles Catfood Commission, who holds a cool $134.5 million in his Honeywell account. That's $795,134 a month. Yet it seems he's on TV all the time, begrudging retirees their own meager $1200 Social Security checks.
So how do we break this pathological cycle of money begetting power begetting more money begetting more power? Term limits. And Citizens United could be overturned if we had rotating Supremes.
Tax the rich. Tax their capital gains, their carried interest, their high speed Wall Street trades, their offshore stashes. Scrap the cap on FICA contributions.
People are getting more enraged by the day, so the elites are eagerly making income inequality all the rage. By giving speeches. By passive-aggressively "studying the issue," pretending to be confused at how this ghastly turn of events could ever have come to pass in the Feudal States of America.
Oh, and by passing another budget that further enriches the wealthy on the backs of the poor.

Face Time Sweepstakes: David Cote and What's His Name Share Intimate Moment


Anonymous said...

Is there a good place to get real information on health insurance in the individual market? It seems like most reporting is either highly politicized or incomplete.

For example, do the Bronze plans have annual caps on out-of-pocket spending? You seemed to imply that it is still possible to go broke if you are sick and have a Bronze plan. Is this so, and can you provide the data? I'm seriously confused about this stuff and starting to worry a bit.

Zee said...


Here's an article that explains how those covered under ObamaCare policies can still go bankrupt, even with plans above the “Bronze” level:

From the article,

“In the coming months some people who thought they were safe because they bought approved coverage through the Obamacare exchange are going to be hit with medical bills they simply can’t afford.

For example, a family making $55,000 with one child will be paying $4,900 in premiums for a silver plan, but if one of them gets really sick they will face an out-of-pocket limit $12,700. That is a total of $17,600 spent on health care in a year.

In reality, the actual amount the family is spending to deal with the illness will be higher because there are things this out-of-pocket limit doesn’t cover. Everything from hospital parking fees, babysitting during doctors visits, to many over-the-counter medical purchases. There is also a real chance the insurance company will not pay for some of the procedures by deeming them medically unnecessary.

Many middle class families don’t have that kind of money for a surprise expense.

High deductible plans and out-of-pocket limits don’t offer true protection for those who get really sick. That is why the Massachusetts health care law –which the ACA is based on– has not made a big impact on the number of medical bankruptcies in that state.
(My bold emphasis.)

Where the insurance company won't pay for potentially life-saving treatments or procedures, well, the individual is on his/her own dime. He/she can pay cash up front, or take out loans to cover the costs. In the latter case, if one “comes up short,” well, bankruptcy is, again, the next step.

In the end, we either accept the insurance company's (or, yes, our state insurance company's) judgement regarding our health care, or pay out of pocket when we want further treatment.

I hope I have accurately answered your questions.