Where the money is....

When Willie Sutton bank robber was asked why he robbed banks he said "Because that is where the money is". How things have changed.

The banker's Bank the Federal Reserve is now robbing savers with near zero interest rates. Why? Because that is where the money is. It is a hidden tax. No law was passed. Still you are having the your money stolen through near zero interest rates to restore bank's balance sheets. If you had $300,000 in an IRA (or 401k) earning 5% in 2007 ($18,000 a year with nearly no risk) you are lucky if you earn half that today. That is a $9,000 or more of hidden taxes.

I hope to expose these types of actions and others by the FED and government. Boomers need to be vigilant - because their savings is where the money is. I will also delve into other areas of finances of interest to Boomers.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

T-M0bile and EOS CAA

EOS CAA is the collection agency used by T-Mobile.  Did some research online and this agency definitely does not observe rules for collection agencies.  For a week (before I got written correspondence) they called my cell every day.  Since I pay by the minute I told them in an angry voice to quit calling my cell # and hung up on them.  Guess the got the hint, but they are in violation of rules to call and not immediately identify themselves (which they didn't).

Research shows they do this sort of thing habitually.  I will call them one time and tell them: 1) I am contesting the T-Mobile bill (As I have told T-Mobile already), 2) I will pay nothing until I get a correct bill for "partial charge" as stated on the bill (see copy of bill prior post), they are not to call me again.

I will refer EOS CAA to my prior post for details of my contest of bill.

As to actions of EOS CAA  - they are scum bags.  They call from 855-612-29xx (where xx is 01 thru 10) and do not properly identify themselves.  If they continue this after I tell them to stop I will report them to the appropriate government agency.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

T-Mobile sucks - trying to over bill final bill

I tried to get help resolving the final bill at the local T-Mobile store.  They claimed they couldn't help with billing issues.  Not unexpected - my experience (which I may go into later) with the people at the local store proved they should fire every member of the staff and hire monkeys (that would upgrade staff intelligence).  So I called the 800 service # - they were as intelligent and as helpful as the local staff.

Situation is my contract was up April 17, 2014  and I switched to AT&T Go Phone plan.  Now around May 5, 2012  I was billed and paid a partial month's service as first payment.  Then I paid monthly for the next 23 months.  So I should have received a bill for a partial month after I cancelled my plan.

Well the bill indicated partial charges from 3/29 thru 4/17 in the line item text, but the amounts were not for a partial period, but for a full month.  See notes on attached document from my bill and prior month payment of $40.85.

I requested a corrected bill, to no avail (local store, 800 customer service #, in writing, etc...  Now they have turned this over to a collection agent.  Good luck with that - sue me idiots.


Monday, April 14, 2014

CVA double billing for medical services

As you get older you deal with a lot of medical people and
organizations.  In my case it was cardiac problems (congestive
 heart failure requiring a pace maker / defib unit ).  So a lot
 of follow up (like with Cardio Vascular Associates).  We
 have all heard about fraudulent billing but thought it
 happened to other people. Whether fraud or incompetence
CVA billed the insurance company for some services
(which were paid by BCBS).  Then they tried to bill me.

For 4 months they keep trying to bill me.  I sent then copies
 of the statements from the insurance company showing they
 paid the provider.  Talked to them multiple time.  An insurance
 company rep tells me he has talked to them multiple times.

Yesterday I received a letter from a collection agency.  If you
deal with CVA hope you don't have to deal with their payments
 people.  From my experience they are either not too smart, or
incompetent or both.

Here is the bill, followed by the insurance statements.  Pay
careful attention to dates/amts on bills and on insurance
statements and you will see CVA was paid (Over a year ago,
yet they do not try and bill me until first of 2014 - they couldn't
explain this)

The bills (bested viewed 125-150% zoom):

Here are the insurance statements:

My advice, stay on top of healthcare providers...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hurting seniors

By: Dock Treece | Fri, Jan 24, 2014

 During the tough economic times of the past six years, steps have been taken to stabilize the US financial system. Some may disagree with what, but virtually no one denies that something had to be done. During that time the Federal Reserve, in soon-to-be-former-Chairman Ben Bernanke's words, "provided liquidity to the financial system." By "the system," Bernanke is referring to banks - big banks.

The Fed's preferred method for "providing liquidity" over the past several years has been a combination of several steps. First, interest rates were pushed down to artificially low levels - and kept there. Second, the Fed provided liquidity through asset guarantee programs. Most recently, several rounds of quantitative easing provided more direct injections of "liquidity" to our nation's financial system. (Note: The substitution of "financial system" for "economy" is intentional, as liquidity was provided to one but most certainly not the other.)

These steps, as many readers will note, have been discussed in this space numerous times. However, at the risk of sounding repetitive, let us summarize previous articles by saying that none of these steps was taken to benefit the American public; nor were they taken to benefit America as a nation. They were taken to help big banks.

In fact, this process has actually done a great deal to hurt Americans - most especially seniors. Most retired Americans provide for themselves through fixed income solutions; be they CDs, bonds, pensions, old 401ks, annuities, or any one of a number of various products. The majority of these structured products are tied to interest rates and consumer prices. When interest rates are higher, investors holding bonds are paid more on their investment - in other words, their incomes are higher. Most structured fixed income products behave according to this general principle.

This all means that, as a direct result of the Federal Reserve's low-interest-rate policies, American seniors have suffered from a significant lack of income over recent years. For many who encountered losses, first in the tech bubble of 2000, then the more recently calamity of 2008, this income shortage has translated into a lifestyle change - and not for the better.

Mind you, this sacrifice by our nation's seniors might have been avoided; or it might at least have been justifiable - if any of the problems which solved it had actually been resolved. Unfortunately, that's not what happened. The policies listed above (and others which have surely been overlooked) were supposedly instituted to resolve the problems on big bank balance sheets.

Instead, the Fed didn't fix the problem - they just made it bigger; they magnified it. In many regards, the American financial system today is more dangerous than it was in 2008. In 2008 we learned the system (as it was then) was too big to fail; now it's almost too big too hiccup.

And what insight is to be gleaned from these unfortunate developments? Our best hope - what seems to be highest and best use (although still sad) use for all the suffering which has been endured - is that people finally learn that their votes matter. Whether on a local, regional, or national ballot, votes have consequences which go far beyond the immediate, foreseeable future.

In many ways, seniors today are facing problems (and will likely continue to face problems) due in part to votes cast decades ago. Just as Jimmy Carter's policies led to runaway inflation and the unnecessary explosion of asset prices, George W. Bush's foreign conquest spurred federal spending which grew the national debt and involvement in unstable regions.

Many of these policies have been continued by President Obama, but combined with a new progressive social agenda at a time when our country can least afford it.

Our country - and our seniors - will get through these problems. This is not the end of America, or of our economy. Nor is it the last of our debacles. All we can hope is to learn from our mistakes going forward, so that, perhaps instead of repeating those mistakes, we can move on to make new ones.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Government has eyes on your IRA

I  told you  over 2 years ago that the government would go after IRA/401k money.  I guess ZIRP  (Zero Interest Rate Proceeds - robbing you of a reasonable return) is not enough.  Be sure when interest rates go up there will be a push by the government to force retirement program funds into government securities at sub par rates.

Here is an article on this:  http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/12/how-government-is-coming-after-your-ira.html?m=1


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Raiding SS OASI for Disability Income payments

Every politician in America knows that Social Security (SS) is a third rail. Any Pol who tries to mess with the country’s largest and most popular entitlement program is going to have the likes of the AARP coming after them. It’s not possible to win an election on a platform that advocates cutting back SS.

With that in mind, I find it interesting to report that a very credible source is now predicting that Obama AND Congress will take action over the next 24 months that will substantially undermine both the long and short-term health of SS. The legislative raid on SS will certainly total in the hundreds of billions, it could top $1T over the next fifteen years.

So who is this “credible source”? And just how is this raid going to happen? The source of this information is the Congressional Budget Office (CBO); the following is how it will play out:
SS consists of two different pieces. The Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) and Disability Insurance (DI). Both entities have their own Trust Funds (TF). OASI has a big TF that will, in theory, allow for SS retirement benefits to be paid for another 15+ years. On the other hand, the DI fund will run completely dry during the 1stQ of 2016. By current law, the DI benefits must be cut across-the-board by 30% on the day that the DI TF is exhausted.

This would mean that 11 million people (most of whom are very sick) would get slammed from one day to the next. There is no one in D.C. who wants this to happen. I don’t think the American public wants this outcome either. So what are the fixes?
1) Increase income taxes on +$250k of income to pay for the DI shortfall. Maybe, but this will not happen with the current Republican controlled House.
2) Increase Payroll taxes to cover the DI shortfall. I see zero political support for a permanent Payroll tax increase.
3) Cut benefits by 30%. This would be insane – it will not happen with Obama running the show.
4) Kick the can down the road and raid the OASI TF for the annual shortfalls at DI.
Of course #4 is the path that will be taken. #s 1, 2 and 3 are not politically feasible. I have been wondering what will happen with the DI conundrum. I was surprised to see that the CBO spelled out what will happen in its report on the Budget and Economy – SS Trust Funds. The report has this footnote:
CBO projects that the DI trust fund will be exhausted during fiscal year 2016. Under current law, the Commissioner of Social Security may not pay benefits in excess of the available balances in a trust fund, borrow money for a trust fund, or transfer money from one trust fund to another. However, following rules in the Deficit Control Act of 1985 (section 257(b)), CBO’s baseline assumes that the Commissioner will pay DI benefits in full even after the trust fund is exhausted.
The “loophole” to drain the OASI insurance is already law – so Congress doesn’t have to do anything to raid the retirement fund. The “do nothing” plan is always the best option in D.C.
The footnote goes on to provide an estimate for the size of the raid:
For illustrative purposes, below are the cumulative shortfalls in the DI trust fund beginning in 2016. Those shortfalls do not include interest expenses.
DI Trust Fund Cumulative Shortfall
($s in Billions)
2016 -15
2017 -55
2018 -94
2019 -133
2020 -173
2021 -215
2022 -260
2023 -307
Wow! At this rate the raid tops $1T in 2029. This is is a big dent in a Trust Fund of $2.8T.
There is an import “tell” from the CBO. In the footnotes it highlights the fact that there is a discrepancy, and uses this an excuse to avoid establishing an adjusted end date for the OASI Trust Fund. (It’s not a complicated calculation)

What the CBO fails to state is that the raid on OASI will result in a significant reduction in the End Date for the retirement Fund. In its report to Congress last year SS forecast that the Retirement fund would be exhausted in 2033. The DI drain (and other negative revisions by CBO) will bring the End Date to below 2030 in the upcoming SS report to Congress. That would be a very significant development. The CBO does not want to be the one who puts a new SS end date “out there”. To me, this was a cop-out by the CBO.
Given that discrepancy between the trust funds’ operation and the baseline’s assumption, CBO is not providing DI or combined trust fund totals for the year of exhaustion and thereafter.
The timing of this story is interesting. The question in my mind is will the “fix” come before or after the bi-election. If Obama was a gambler, and he believed the Democrats could re-take the House in 2014, then he might defer action on DI until 2015. This scenario creates the opportunity for option #1, a tax on the rich to supplement DI. Of course that is gambling, and there would be a small window of time to push through a new income tax to save DI.

Then there is the Republicans. Do they want to push this before, or after 11/2014? I could argue both ways, but in the end, it gets back to the fact that no one wants to “do” anything with SS. It’s better to do “nothing”; that makes #4 the most likely outcome.

I hope that some of the big Defenders of SS pick up on the information from the CBO regarding the coming raid on the retirement fund. This is a huge constituency (60m beneficiaries – 150m contributors – every politician in the country – all of the Press). If that group catches on to what is about to happen to the retirement fund, there will be a great chorus of, “Don’t you dare touch my money!”

I’m trying to stir the pot on this one. I want DI’s terminal condition to come onto the table sooner versus later. I’m hoping that if and when it does come up for discussion, it opens the door on the broader issue of what the hell America is doing with entitlements. Basically, I’m trying to pick a big fight. For the good of the country, wish me luck.

Source: BruceKrasting.blogspot.com