Goldman, Fed, Citi Getting Preferential Allotments of H1N1 Vaccine

It should come as no surprise that those at the top of the food chain get preferential treatment on all levels. But this still stinks to high heaven. Employees of the Goldman, the Fed, Citigroup, and other banks are getting H1N1 vaccine allotments out of proportion to what can be justified from a public health standpoint. In particular, Goldman has gotten more than Lenox HIll hospital, which needs it not just for the sick but more important, for workers (not only does the public need to keep front-line health care workers in as good shape as possible, but if they get the infection, they become disease vectors fast, given the number of people they see).

Then again, banks have become parasitic, so why should we expect anything different? And although Business Week broke the story, it did it press release style:

To the list of hundreds of schools, hospitals, and community health centers that have received limited allocations of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine, you can now add some of New York’s largest employers. In the past week or so 13 companies, including Citigroup (C) and Goldman Sachs (GS), have begun receiving small quantities of the vaccine, according to city health authorities.

Citigroup has been supplied with 1,200 units and Goldman with 200, says Jessica Scaperotti, press secretary for the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. The agency has so far approved orders by 29 employers—including 16 that have yet to receive any vaccine—after they were cleared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Big employers that have received or are scheduled to receive vaccine so far include Time Warner (TWX), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, and New York University.

Health-care workers at those employers are bound by the CDC to distribute the vaccine only to populations deemed to be at high risk of developing serious complications from swine flu: pregnant women, children and young people aged 6 months to 24 years, people who live with or provide care for infants under 6 months (who cannot be vaccinated), people aged 24 to 64 with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for flu-related complications, and health-care workers and emergency medical personnel.

Yves here. Welcome to the class system in action. If you don’t work for a big, influential company, go to the back of the queue. Why should companies be the nexus of distribution for vaccines? I guarantee no Goldman MD gets much of his routine medical treatment from the GS health workers on staff (emergencies or a fast diagnostic like a strep test are different). But if you work for a less privileged employer or are self-employed or between jobs, tough luck, go to the back of the queue, you have to try to get yours (assuming you can) from vaccination centers in New York City. How easy do you think that will be? The difficulty and queuing are certain to be much worse than for any of the big financial players.

And please, it strains credulity to think that someone on the payroll at these companies won’t bend to pressure to make allotments at the margin according to who is most powerful. Do you think if Lloyd Blankfein or another member of the management committee was in a risk category that he would be denied it, assuming the firm did not have enough to go around? (and that is likely). Now given the brouhaha, Goldman may bend over backwards not to abuse this overmuch now that there is media pushback. But this serves to illustrate how the system has been suborned on just about every front. To wit, Goldman is getting 200 doses of the vaccine, the same number as Lenox Hill Hospital.

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  1. Mogden

    As the parent of an asthmatic child who cannot get the vaccine anywhere, it is impossible to overstate my outrage at this, the latest in a seemingly unending series of outrages.

    1. Phil W

      Anyone with an asthmatic child who forces a flu shot on said child with an already compromised immune system should be charged with child abuse.

      1. Jim

        *{{€| You Phil Nd your conspiricy theories about giving the shot to kids is child abuse. Where is the science? Not Glen Becks foaming rants, but he facts?

  2. PT

    Really sloppy post.

    FD – I work at Citi. Citi is a virtual “city”, with it’s own health clinics & nurses on site that provide health care services for free to its employees (similar to the health clinics you’d find on college campuses). Large companies do this because it’s a way to cut down on their skyrocketing health care costs (large company health insurance plans are self-insured). So why is it surprising that the health clinics at Citi, which has tens of thousands of employees, ordered and received 1200 vaccines?

    They sent around an email letting people know that if they are high risk (pregnant, have a newborn at home, have chronic conditions) there are vaccines available. Seems to me a pretty efficient way to get get high risk folks vaccinated.

    PS – the fact that the companies you cite are banks has nothing to do with them getting vaccines, lot’s of large companies are doing the same thing. Pretty disingenuous of you to try and paint it that way.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      PT, with all due respect, you really do not get it. The allocation per capita is well above that for NYC as a whole. And many of the at-risk populations are not found or underrepresented in working age employees (pregnant women, children and young people aged 6 months to 24 years, people who live with or provide care for infants under 6 months), so the allotment to the population as a whole should be higher per capita, not lower, yet we see the reverse. The allotment for Lenox Hill Hospital versus Goldman speaks volumes.

      You have much better odds of getting a vaccine as a Citi employee (assuming you were in an at-risk category) than I do as a self employed person (and a comparatively well off and persistent one; it’s even less likely for those less affluent and tenacious). And with FAR fewer indignities and queuing than someone who tries getting it from the NYC vaccine center.

      You again illustrate that those inside the gated compounds have no idea what is it like for those outside.

      1. PT

        What complete nonsense Yves.

        First, I can’t get the vaccine because I don’t fall in the high risk pool, so I have no better chance of getting it than you.

        Second, I do think the pregnant lady down the hall from me or my friend with a two year son with cystic fibrosis does deserve it more than you. This isn’t some program to benefit the guys making 6 or 7 figures…it’s benefiting people who really need it, regardless of who you are.

        Third, the notion that these guys are getting a higher allocation is just plain out wrong. NYC received 800,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine. 8,000,000 live in NYC. That’s 10% availability. Citi has 25,000 employees in NYC. That’s 4.8%. Get your facts straight. Goldman got 200 vaccines – that’s probably less than 3% availability.

        So why don’t you get of your self-righteous ass and do 3 minutes of research before you post such nonsense.

        1. CH

          I once worked for the Big Banks, and while I respect your opinion, you’ve missed a key point:

          Why should your employer be distributing H1N1 vaccines? And Why should -select- employers get this advantage?

          We know there is a vaccine shortage – one that makes it very difficult for many people who fit the category of “urgent” to receive it. It’s not just the pregnant mothers, but also the healthcare workers, and first responders who do not necessary have access to the vaccine.

          If using -employers- as a vaccine distribution method was more efficient then more companies than Citi, Goldman, etc. should have received the vaccine. They didn’t. It seems that a very select, very rich set of firms received it.

          Now, I know that every vaccinated person improves our overall health, so even if pregnant mother at CITI gets it before my sister’s kid, that’s a win for society because someone got the vaccine.

          But frankly if the odds of working for a fortunate 100 company increased the odds of survival because those people were more likely to have early access to a PUBLIC GOOD, then the outrage people feel over this inequitable distribution is legitimate. After all, what makes the employees of the 13 companies more important than the average, employed New Yorker?

          1. PT

            “After all, what makes the employees of the 13 companies more important than the average, employed New Yorker”.
            They’re not more important – vaccines are being delivered to the health clinics run by these companies, and they’re being delivered to clinics & doctors’ offices everywhere else in the city too. Vaccines are being distributed in a manner to most effectively and efficiently deliver them to high risk people.

            Sorry, but the facts simply do not support the notion that these companies are receiving vaccines in disproportionate numbers.

            The health clinics inside of these massive workplaces are every much as valid a place to deliver a vaccine as a city run clinic. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that Citi is doing a better job at keeping the vaccine to the high risk folks than places like CVS are. I know several healthy people who have received it from their doctor’s office or a clinic.

          2. Matt

            @PT: “Vaccines are being distributed in a manner to most effectively and efficiently deliver them to high risk people.”

            This is patently untrue. There is a widespread shortage of the vaccines (for the hoi polloi). I have asthma and there is nary a vaccine in sight.

        2. Richard Smith

          Er, PT, on your estimates of NYC employee numbers, I make it that the availability of the vaccine to the average New Yorker is 10%, to a GS person 13%, and to a Citi person 14.8%. Where am I going wrong?

          1. PT

            1,200 vaccines at Citi out of ~25,000 NYC employees = 4.8%
            200 vaccines at Goldman out of 10,000 NYC employees = 2%.
            800k vaccines in all NYC out of 8,000k people = 10%.

            Populism driven conspiracy theories are fun, but not often accurate.

          2. Richard Smith

            So the Citi guys and GS guys don’t get access to the non-Citi, non-GS vaccines? So they are actually underserved!

          3. PT

            Dude, really? The original argument was that health clinics at banks were getting disproportionate amounts compared to the rest of the city. The data clearly do not bare that out. These corporate clinics are health care providers…they order, receive, and dispense flu vaccines to employees every single year.

            People are doing their best to get the vaccine to people who really need it. And targeting high risk folks through large employers is one efficient way to do it. Why is that so hard to understand?

          4. Richard Smith

            No I get that bit of the argument – these places have clinics, so they’re great distribution centres. But they’re not open to all as far as I can tell, so it’s how the vaccine is shared out that I’m not quite getting.

          5. run75441


            I suspect someone in personnel determined the percentage of high risk people in their company. In which case, the coverage is far greater than the 4.8% and 2% being tossed out by PT. Of course we are not going to know the population of high risk at Goldmans or Citi.

        3. Roberspiere

          “So why don’t you get of your self-righteous ass and do 3 minutes of research before you post such nonsense.”

          Last time I checked CITI is still among the living because of a tax payer bail out and some accounting gimmicks (SIVs anyone?)/ So I suggest that perhaps a little bit of humility in your comments. After all for all practical purpose you are a government employees in disguise. But of course you will not get this comment either.

          1. Mannwich

            Thank you very much, Robespierre. Couldn’t have put it better myself. A simple “thank you” from PT would have sufficed.

            This is going to end in violence. Mark my words. I’m not advocating it, but we will reach a tipping point, maybe around the holidays, when the TBTF bankers collect their taxpayer-funded bonuses while everyone battles for the table scraps.

          2. attempter

            Exactly. This is simply another example of the psychopathic arrogance of these people, the same psychopathy that has them going into St. Paul’s to claim God is their accomplice in crime, conveying these bailouts and other thefts to them.

            You can’t argue with an aggressive beggar, who’s really a mugger. You can only smash his face in.

        4. run75441


          Actually, you can not make this assumption with regard to doses per population for NYC. The distribution to NYC was more random than what was given to Goldmans and Citi which was probably based upon a smaller population of high risk people as determined by the companies in question.

          I suspect Goldmans and Sachs, through utilization of their personnel records, were able to ascertain a more accurate approximation of how many doses of H1N1 vacine needed for coverage in their companies as compared to the entire population of NYC. I also suspect the percentage of coverage for Goldman and Citi, based upon a much smaller population rather than the entire work force of either company, is subsequently far higher than the 10% attributed to all of NYC.

          Best guess of coverage for either company is probably dramatically higher than ~5% and 2% you claim as compared to the 10% for NYC. Why can’t they wait in line with the rest of the high risk plebeians? You owe some apologies around here.

          1. Richard Smith

            That’s the minimum point, run75441. I don’t know exactly what calculation led to the delivery of two hundred doses to GS, but it is very likely the calculation you sketch there. But I think that is a health official’s calculation. GS’s own internal calculation of it’s NYC offices’ requirements may be a different thing altogether. Consider the quantity ordered, as reported by Business Week, anyway, (caveat: they seem to be good at typos). Note the final sentence of my extract from the article:

            “Health-care workers at those employers are bound by the CDC to distribute the vaccine only to populations deemed to be at high risk of developing serious complications from swine flu: pregnant women, children and young people aged 6 months to 24 years, people who live with or provide care for infants under 6 months (who cannot be vaccinated), people aged 24 to 64 with medical conditions that put them at higher risk for flu-related complications, and health-care workers and emergency medical personnel. A spokeswoman for Goldman, who asked not to be named, said the company had just received the vaccine and did not yet have information as to how it would be distributed, saying that Goldman will supply vaccine only to those who qualify as high-risk, per the CDC requirements. Citigroup had not responded with a comment as of the evening of Nov. 2.

            According to the city, Goldman has requested 5,300 doses.”

        5. Lavrenti Beria

          And these, sir, the final stanzas from Edwin Markham’s, The Man With The Hoe:

          “O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
          Is this the handiwork you give to God,
          This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quenched?
          How will you ever straighten up this shape;
          Touch it again with immortality;
          Give back the upward looking and the light;
          Rebuild in it the music and the dream;
          Make right the immemorial infamies,
          Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes?

          O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
          How will the future reckon with this Man?
          How answer his brute question in that hour
          When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
          How will it be with kingdoms and with kings–
          With those who shaped him to the thing he is–
          When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world,
          After the silence of the centuries?”

    2. Fed Up

      They should have gone bankrupt. Let’s see if the clinics are cut then when there is not excess corporate profits for the banks and bailouts for bondholders.

    3. Francois T

      “So why is it surprising that the health clinics at Citi, which has tens of thousands of employees, ordered and received 1200 vaccines?”

      For the reason Yves stated in her reply; it’s a matter of allocation per capita. Any public health practitioner knows that you first and foremost serve those who might be needed in case of acute aggravation of an epidemic AND the populations at high risk.

      It goes without saying that Citi has a subpopulation at high risk too. The point is that it get served before a lot of other subpopulations at risk too.

      Hence, it is perfectly legitimate to wonder why and who decided that it would be so.

      Now, if someone can prove to me that the selection was done in a truly random fashion, that’s fine.

      Until then…a lot of people will wonder.

    4. Markel

      The combination of arrogance and stupidity is almost a cartoon of what one would expect from a taxpayer-paid employee of an epic fail bank like Citi.

      This poster lacks the intellectual equipment to understand:

      – Because Citi employees have access to BOTH NYC clinics and the Citi stash, they stand a much greater chance of getting the vaccine than the proles. You don’t need a calculator to figure that one out
      – It’s not OK that “only” high-risk Citi employees are getting the vaccine, because they are still getting preferential treatment over other high-risk people

  3. Ken

    what to say, except that bankers must be the most important people in the USA, and we tax-payers must do everyting in our power to put them ahead of us in every way. Hey, I know they make billions more than we do, but health is even more important, you know….

  4. Ina Pickle

    The pregnant elementary school librarian at our school had to wait in line 2 hours before the clinic opened for three days to be far enough up in the line to get vaccinated. In Northern Virginia, they are limiting what they hand out at vaccine clinics to 250 doses a day. The population of Fairfax County where this occurred is millions.

    Children with asthma, such as my own, were supposed to be vaccinated through the school. They couldn’t get vaccine, so the program was pushed back. Half the school has now already HAD the virus, so I’m not sure if they will do the vaccinations for the rest of us. Pediatricians don’t have it. You literally can’t get it in all of NOVA, no matter how high-risk you are. My son got the virus, and now we’re on prednisone trying to get him to breathe normally again.

    1. not_scottbot

      If the people in the school have already been exposed/ill due to swine flu, there is absolutely no need for the vaccination at this point for any of the population connected to that school – the virus has already vaccinated that population. And assuming your numbers are somewhat correct (roughly 20-30% of us will get the flu, and an infection rate over 50% would be unusual though certainly not unlikely), it is fairly obvious that swine flu, allowing for the lack of previous exposure, is just another flu, which while it may be fast spreading, is not particularly dangerous, especially in terms of the fatality rate. Unlike bird flu, both in the range from the later 1990s to mid-2000s, or in the 1918 version.

      The ignorance of basic public health concepts in America remains disturbing. Vaccines are for prevention, not a cure, or something necessary after longer exposure to an infectious agent – most of us simply will not be getting swine flu, a fact which seems beyond grasping for many. And the current fatality rate is far from being a nightmare, though this may change over the next 6-12 months. (Based on the admittedly unusual experience of 1918-1922.)

      As for Yves now decrying distribution of vaccine – please, I’m quite positive she never went to a public health office during her entire career with such companies as McKinsey. She is right about the PR effect – but quite wrong in thinking that the well-off having privileged access to health care is anything but the grinding reality that most Americans have lived their entire life with. Admittedly, her Australian residence (and attempt to emigrate, if I remember some of her earlier posting correctly – they refused her as lacking any worthwhile skills) may have opened her eyes to what it is like to live in a society where health care is a social framework where the ill are treated, and the healthy are assured of care when ill. But that has never described the U.S.

      1. Yves Smith Post author


        I do find it a tad ironic that you decide to “inform” readers re public health issues, then segue into Australia and display considerable lack of expertise on that front. You cannot “reside” in Australia, serve as a director of a company (which I did) and earn income (legally at least, which I also did) without having a residence visa (four years, BTW, subject to renewal, and put me on a track to getting permanent residence). So your unnecessary jibe is inaccurate and I also assume an ad hominem attack.

        And as for never having been in a public health office, again your are wrong here. I have two friends who are HIV positive, on Medicaid, and I have sometimes accompanied them to clinics. Your condescension is thick and badly misplaced. The fact that I have seen the waits and the difficulty they have getting getting certain kinds of services is precisely why I am upset about the class issues here.

        As for H1N1 being overdone, its mortality rate among those who are hospitalized is much higher than for normal flus. This article from Nursing Times says that the mortality rate among those hospitalized is over 10%, much higher than for seasonal flus, and adds: “The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggest that swine flu is potentially more dangerous than many people believe.”

        Again, I suggest you get the facts before you present yourself as having superior knowledge.

        1. Siggy

          Nicely said.

          What you have reported on is an expression of what is class warfare. Much of President Obama’s campaign rhetoric reeked of class warfare.

          Much of the clamor evidenced in this blog and others seems to be coming from the increasingly disenfranchised middle class. It all sounds like the death rattle of a banana republic.

        2. not_scottbot

          ‘And as for never having been in a public health office’

          I didn’t intend to say, as I did write, that you had never been to a public health office, but that you did not go to one for medical care. An assertion I will still make, by the way, as your having been in an office is not the same as being treated there. Allowing that I may still be mistaken, you do not provide any examples of personal health care in a public health office, merely having been in one several times.

          And thanks for the details about your Australian experience – I only remembered that you wrote that you could not become a long term resident (possibly citizen) of Australia. And clearly, the differences in the American and Australian health care systems must have been apparent during your stay, as I also remember that subject coming up in the earlier writing, several years ago.

          The technical information about H1N1, H5N1 and a bit of perspective on my own experience in vacuuming lungs, is below.

  5. Vinny G.

    Well, in a way it makes sense that the pigs running those organizations get vaccinated for swine flu…

    The good news is that the swines in government haven’t tested this vaccine properly, so hopefully some Wall St swines will develop the actual disease.

    Vinny G.

  6. Maggie

    My 6-year-old son had underlying cardiac issues, a variant hemoglobin that makes him go anemic with certain tough viruses, has had both RSV as and infant and bronchial/allergic problems as a child.

    Too bad I don’t work at Goldman Sachs.

    Too bad I live in a county that scheduled a five-day clinic that ran out after 36 hours.

    Let Goldman employees stand in a line waiting with thousands of other people like everyone else.

    If I had H1N1, I’d be tempted to stand outside Goldman and spit on the employees. Or at least, wipe my nose repeatedly while using their revolving doors and escalators.

    Anyone who isn’t offended by this is part of the problem.

    1. PT

      Unfortunately you don’t know what you’re talking about. There are 200 people at Goldman Sachs who got the Vaccine out of the roughly 10,000 people who work there. So 98% of the employees there will be standing in line just like you to try and get it if they want it. Although it may be hard for you to believe, the people who work at Goldman are in fact people too. They have sick kids, get pregnant, and have chronic conditions too.

      1. Vinny G.

        PT: Let me guess, you are on GS’ payroll. You are likely a 75+ year old, handicapped, collecting social security plus a food stamp supplement. And now GS got you this job of spewing venom in blogs like this for a quarter a pop. And, let me guess, the idiot that dropped his 38 special at those health care townhall meetings was actually you, right? And this weekend you’re heading to a tea party in DC, huh? That’s you, right.

        I have a piece of advice for you: instead of wasting time here, why not pick up the phone and call your grandchildren to see how they’ve been fairing since their father lost his job and they are now all without health insurance. Do that, and then we’ll reconsider your application for membership in the human race.

        Vinny G.

    2. Vinny G.


      If you can afford it, why don’t you just take your son to a healthier place? In places like Cyprus infectious diseases are very rare, and your son would fare much better. That’s where I plan to raise my daughter.

      I work in health care in Chicago, and I tell you, this is a barbaric, monstrous, vicious way of caring for people’s health. Even the assholes at Goldman and Citi, with all their millions, still get shitty health care, just that they don’t know it.

      Vinny G.

  7. Maggie

    PS. Yesterday, when I picked my son up from his special ed class, another mom told me one of the kids from my son’s class was out sick with H1N1.

    If my son gets this– and is seriously hurt by it– Goldman can expect a visit from me. An unpleasant one.

    1. PT

      Why is “Goldman” going to get a visit from you? Why not visit one of the thousands of healthy people who have been given & accepted the vaccine from their doctors or clinics? At least Goldman is making an effort to deliver it only to high risk people.

      Maybe you can come visit my buddy and shout at him for getting a vaccine against a flu that would kill his two year old son who has CF…or yell at his bank that ordered it for it’s high risk employees.

      1. Maggie

        Buddies who work at banks get first dibs on the vaccine while everyone else gets a door in the face. And that’s okay. No. Not okay.

        I’m sorry your friend’s son has CF. I have friends with kids with CF too. Guess what? They’re S-O-L. They don’t work for a bank.

        You really believe that this wasn’t favoritism? You really think money had nothing to do with this?

        Everyone should have an EQUAL chance at getting vaccinated. ALL doses should be sent where the PUBLIC can get vaccinated. If Goldman wants to open its doors to all of NYC to come in and get vaccinated, God bless them.

        Somehow, I don’t think it’s gonna come down that way.

        Preferential treatment. Plain and simple. Unethical, plain and simple.

        1. PT

          Yeah, guess what…your doctor ain’t opening his vaccine stock to anyone but his patients either. It’s ridiculous that there aren’t vaccines for sick kids who need them….but that is not the fault of these companies. You make it sound like these companies are stocked up on vaccine and giving it to favored or health employees. It’s a problem that kids like yours don’t have access, but the cause is not the high risk people who have received access.

          Keep whining.

          1. Roberspiere

            @PT you are so completely clueless that is scary. Banks in general and the big financial centers are the most hated companies in this country. The reason in my opinion is not only that they destroyed the lives of millions of people for the sake of their own benefit but because the have perverted the government to protect them from prosecution. Doesn’t it seems odd to you that the S&L debacle put hundreds of bankers in jail and in this particular debacle NOT a single executive on this firms has been investigated let alone charge with anything. So when people see again that even in the distribution of vaccines by the government these same banks get first dibs. Don’t you get the why the outrage? are you that dense?

          2. alex

            GS and Citi employees don’t have doctors? Your argument would only make sense if they didn’t, and the only way they could get the vaccine is through their employer’s health clinic. Instead they can get it either through their employer, or the same way that everybody else gets it. Hence they do have greater access, regardless of the dose/population ratio for GS, Citi and the rest of NYC.

            Assuming your numbers are correct, then the dose/population ratio for NYC is 10%, but the ratio for Citi employees is more like 15% (under that reasonable assumption that Citi employees are mostly NYC residents, and/or the commuter counties they live in get a similar dose/population ratio as NYC).

            Of course that also neglects Yves point that GS and Citi employees obviously have a lower percentage of at-risk people than the population as a whole. Or do you think that they employ many people under 18, or have a larger proportion of health-care workers than the population as a whole?

            Delivering vaccine to bank’s employee health clinics would make sense only if the limiting factor in the number of doses delivered was the availability of health care providers to administer them. Of course the actual limiting factor is the number of doses being produced.

          3. Maggie

            Wrong again. MY doctor didn’t get any H1N1 vaccine.

            Guess the children of Goldman Sach’s employees are higher priority than everyone else’s.

            Keep those moral blinders on nice and tight, they’ll help you sleep at night.

          4. Mannwich

            Yes, folks, PT IS “that dense” (or merely arrogant), just like most of Wall Street. Most non-Wall Streeters would be shocked to know that PT’s attitude is pretty much the norm in the cesspool.

          5. Brutus

            PT writes:

            “Keep Whining”

            Coming from a Citi employee, that’s about as rich as it gets!

            Wouldn’t it be much better for you and your fellow employees health, and as a matter of public health policy, if we closed Citi? That’s a rhetorical question. You poor souls are so misunderstood and persecuted.

      2. Mannwich

        @PT: Like it or not, perception rules, and the public anger is building against the TBTF’s, including yours, and in most cases (maybe not this one), rightfully so. I used to work on Wall Street and what amazes me is that most there still think there’s nothing wrong with bailing out Wall Street ad infinitum, while they receive big bonuses, but when it comes to Main Street, well that’s just “socialism”, and we can’t have that.

        1. john bougearel

          Mannwich and All,

          The abuses heaped upon us by the banks and our policymakers has been a real wake up call, like smelling salts after taking a knockout blow from the banksters who extorted hundreds of billions of dollars from everyday Americans.

          You know how we can all constructively channel our anger at the banks and the govt who have backstopped with taxpayer accounts, is to simply stop transacting any business with these banks. We will call it a boycott.

          It should be obvious by bank behaviors after they were saved by bailouts and given access to capital at zero cost is that they aren’t lending money as they were supposed to. They are hoarding trillions of treasuries instead. Nor are they helping folks delinquent on their mortgages out (mish has a very nice piece on the rude treatment WFC doles out today)

          So, one of the great LIES told to the American people last year is that the banksters are the backbone of the economy, and without them the world as they know it would come to an end. Well that turned into quite the fraudulent claim, now didn’t. It turns out that they haven’t been of any utility to Americans at all during this crisis and are not going to be of an utility to us. So, since they serve no utility, that is no utility that we can’t access through community banks and savings and loans, we should all make a pointed effort to cancel all our big bank credit cards, transfer all our deposits from the Big Banks to our local community banks and credit unions. Effectively, we must stop doing business with them. Can we all just agree to do just that?
          If we could, we would be making some real progress.

          A repatriation of dollars into our local communities would be the healthiest thing in the world that we can do for American communities all around the country. The velocity of dollars circulating locally would be tremendous.

          It would be a real George Bailey moment for us that would save our country from the Potters of the world, who left to their own machinations would gut and shapeshift or mprph every American community into Pottersvilles, shantytowns, Hoovervilles.

          it’s the most patriotic stand we can make for middle class America. I suggest not waiting another day to act.

  8. anonymous

    I’ve had it. This country is officially rotten to the core. I’m taking my money and my family (specifically my unvaccinated one year old and my pregnant wife) and giving the US the bird.

    You want to tax my money and give it to the bankers?

    You want to tax my money and give to the over-levered home buyers?

    You want to tax my money and give it to the uncompetitive car manufacturers?

    How about Fuck You?

    1. Vinny G.


      I like the way you think :)

      I have already done what you say you’d like to do, with a home and a career path outside the US already. And with my wife a dentist and me a shrink, it’s not like we’d be exactly starving in the US. Just that this is not a place to raise kids or to have a decent life. Hell, my wife makes 1/10th working in Greece than what she could do here. But you know what, there is no price tag you can place on being able to wake up in the morning in a family-friendly environment, having my daughter go to a wonderful kindergarten, seeing her play with other children in the neighborhood without fear that some pedophile might kidnap her. Not to mention enjoying a healthy diet, wonderful weather, getting a little siesta every afternoon, etc, etc. These things are priceless.

      You say you have a small kid and one on the way. I tell you, raising in this country is extremely risky. The things I have seen in my clinical practice in Chicago are completely horrendous. The level of substance abuse, promiscuous sex, and just plain weirdness that adolescents and even children are now engaging in is absolutely scary. Actually, the USA (and Britain) score as the worst places in the world to raise children, according to UNESCO. You simply cannot raise children here. They will be damaged, they will be ruined by this system.

      But if you plan to jump ship, better do it soon, before the exodus, when it might be too late.

      Vinny G.

      1. not_scottbot

        ‘seeing her play with other children in the neighborhood without fear that some pedophile might kidnap her’

        Maybe instead of moving, you should just turn off the news – I’m quite certain, speaking as someone living in Europe, that the rate of strangers kidnapping children is roughly the same, considering that the actual rate is measured in amounts with a number of zeroes before or after the decimal, depending on your favored statistical technique.

        The difference is that in Europe, the media is less concerned with making a profit from fear.

        Somewhat like much of this discussion seems based on fear of a disease which is proving, till now, to be much less worse than what would have occurred if the bird flu had proven to as infectious – a much ridiculed bird flu, I might add. Interestingly, the same group of professionals that were very frightened by bird flu are much less concerned, again with the caveat ’till now,’ by swine flu. And yet here, the fear is at times palpable, for a disease which is well within the parameters of a normal pandemic, like in 1968 and 1957 – and with tools and therapies that were not imaginable in either of those eras. I may add that 1957 was also a swine flu, meaning a number of the likely demographic that posts to sites like this already have some immunity.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          As I indicated on your other comment, I suggest you get your facts right before presenting yourself as being better informed that other readers.

          As for H1N1 being overdone, its mortality rate among those who are hospitalized is much higher than for normal flus. This article from Nursing Times on November 4 says that the mortality rate among those hospitalized is over 10%, much higher than for seasonal flus, and adds: “The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggest that swine flu is potentially more dangerous than many people believe.”

          1. not_scottbot

            Compared to H5N1, H1N1 is mild. The current iteration of H5N1 has a documented mortality rate of 60%, according to this source – (The current mortality rate of H1N1 in 2009 is 29%, by the way – yes, bird flu is still infecting and killing people, even if the numbers remain very low, due to the inability for it to be transmitted in any significant sense between humans.)

            But bird flu was mocked, mainly due to its very low (essentially non-existent) transmission rate among humans, and the fact that till that time, it was considered impossible for an avian flu to directly pass to a human population. Luckily, the public health authorities in Hong Kong in the late 1990s decided to ignore the scientific consensus, and instead destroyed all poultry in the territory, buying a significant amount of time for research and countermeasures, including overcoming the provably false assumption that avian flu would never directly pass to human populations.

            Bird flu has not gone away, either, as noted above. And the influenza epidemic of 1918 was also based on a variant of H1N1. A variant which overcame the one hurdle that today’s bird flu still faces, becoming in all likelihood the single largest fatal coomunicable disease episode in human history.

            As noted below by Richard Kline, this is a test of the public health system, in large part a test of the system that was erected to handle the much graver, and still potential though almost certain, threat of a truly frightening future flu epidemic. The great flu epidemic of 1957 was also a swine flu, by the way – of course, no one refers to that episode as the great flu epidemic, as it really wasn’t all that great. Which is most likely how this version of the swine flu will play out. That is, as you noted, worse than a seasonal flu, mostly due to lacking immunity in basically all exposed people, but in no way something as devastating as a flu variety with a 60% mortality rate.

            What has changed from 1957 and 1968 is the population of people who are vulnerable. My mother was completely reliant on a respirator for years before her death (yes, I learned how to vacuum her lungs – and know intimately how hazardous any infection leading to lung fluid could be), and there is little doubt she would have been among your 10% fatality rate of hospitalized patients. (As in, no doubt at all.) The difference being, in 1957 or 1968, she would have died long before getting the flu, as such respirators were completely unavailable. The same applies to any number of people, including those undergoing chemotherapy, have transplants, or infected with HIV, to name three other populations that simply didn’t exist in any significant sense in 1957 or 1968.

            Or to measure mortality in another way – in Germany, the first swine death was reported and confirmed at the beginning of October. According to news reports I heard around that time with information from several medical authorities pointed out that the 100 people dying of flu that week, and the week before, etc. were not dying of swine flu. (Like a work colleagues partner, who died a half year ago from non-swine influenza.) This information may also help to put things into an admittedly non-U.S. perspective –
            ‘Week 40 in Germany (timestamp 7 October 2009, 8.00 a.m. CEST):
            21.603 confirmed cases, two deaths.’ ( The next report will likely be out around now, by the way. Admittedly, Ukrainian statistics look much grimmer, but a simple explanation may lay in the difference in wealth and medical care between two very different countries, though variations in the virus are also a possible explanation.

            Swine flu will be worse than normal, no question – compared to the still active nightmare lurking among the world’s avian population, the swine flu is a test run. Sadly, a lot of people seem to think of this as being an extraordinary epidemic. It isn’t, by any measure, up to this point. We have simply become very spoiled, especially in the U.S., following decades of deciding that public health offices were a drain of tax resources providing services to human beings, and thus letting public health services decay to a level which is only now becoming undeniably obvious in the U.S.

            Good luck when a real epidemic hits, because this isn’t it, at least to now.

        2. Vinny G.


          I don’t know in which part of Europe you live, but there are large variations across that continent in terms of deviant behavior, specifically pedophilia. It does tend to be quite more prevalent in the northern countries.

          Many years ago I worked in the American justice system, and saw hundreds of pedophiles in intakes and psychotherapy (which is an oxymoron, since psychotherapy does not work with these people). I noticed that true pedophilia tends to be much more common among men of northern European descent. I don’t know why, whether genes play any role, or if the weaker family bonds in northern Europeans plays a role. One thing is certain though, is that it is largely a learned thing — most perpetrators were victims as children. It may also be related to substance abuse (alcohol in particular) which is much higher in people of northern European descent. You know, drunks have been known to do crazy things.

          However, that’s just one aspect of why raising a kid in the US is so risky.

          Vinny G.

      2. ndk

        Those are very stark words, Vinny, for this young man with an abnormally developed sense of loyalty who hopes to raise a family soon. I can’t think Japan is such a better option, especially for a half’n’half child, but I’ll consider it seriously.

  9. equtz

    The simple solution is to just move your money out of these institutions and refuse to do business with them. I moved mine to a couple of local credit unions and a small bank and it was the most exhilarating feeling I’ve had in years.

  10. Brian

    Just like the rich folk getting in the boats on the Titanic. Maybe GS should give us a list of the recipients of the vaccine, bet a lot of it went to those at the top and their families too.

  11. Frankenstein Goverment

    Do not argue with idiots. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience. Just kill them if you can-tell them that it’s for their own good and be sure to make it look like an accident.

  12. Hugh

    So how many here think Lloyd Blankfein didn’t get the vaccine? And yes, PT you really don’t know what you are talking about.

    Obama declared swine flu a national emergency. Doses should only have gone out to those who dealt with populations most at risk. This means public health authorities and hospitals. Only after the needs of these groups were met would you consider distributing more widely to the general population through individual physicians and/or company programs. Goldman and the banks simply would not qualify at this time under any reasonable health protocols. PT’s arguments are completely bogus. If I had to guess, I would say that it is more likely that these financial companies received doses because they were seen as important to our national security. This would be the same rationale under which you would want to have Obama and his Cabinet vaccinated. Curiously, the last I had heard Obama had decided to forego in order for it not to appear like favoritism. Good political theater but bad policy. Giving doses to GS at this juncture, on the other hand, is both bad theater and bad policy.

  13. Sizzler

    This is going to end badly. In its core, America is a violent and revolutionary country. I’m not originally from the US, so I have a little bit of a detached perspective. Americans may seem sedated and docile, but Americans sedate themselves with violence (think football on Sundays, the local news, Reality TV). They will snap without warning.

    1. Vinny G.

      I share your perspective.

      However, I am not sure anymore that this nation has what it takes to pull off a revolution, or even a properly carried out nationwide riot. Don’t you see, there are no longer any strikes taking place in this country? Ever since Reagan, this nation has been so divided and so hopelessly brainwashed, I just don’t think people here have what it takes to rebel anymore.

      Don’t forget that the education level of the average American is so low, the majority here cannot think in any analytical fashion whatsoever. Most Americans are unable to see that the enemy is not the neighbor whose skin color is different from your own but the nameless banker who built those ugly sky scrapers downtown.

      And, don’t forget the pleasure element of this nation. Why do you think there is so much drug use in this country? Because it keeps the masses docile and subdued. As long at they get their cocaine, heroin, meth, pot, or some illegally-obtained pain killer, the chumps are happy, so why should they rebel?

      And, as far as the revolutionary past of this nation, I am not so sure about that either. George Washington and the crew simply did not want to share their profits with the king of England, that’s all. It had nothing to do with liberty and justice. It was all about money back then too.

      Vinny G.

      1. i on the ball patriot

        Vinny said — “Most Americans are unable to see that the enemy is not the neighbor whose skin color is different from your own but the nameless banker who built those ugly sky scrapers downtown.”

        Those ugly skyscrapers are in reality phallic symbols. They are the rapist wealthy ruling erect cocks and they stand as symbols of their power over you. In total they represent a gang rape over the common person and a competitive display of ‘size’ as power of individual gang members. Adding insult to the injury of the gang rape they force you to travel to and work and eat in their cocks.

        You can not run and hide Vinny.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

        1. Vinny G.

          I agree entirely with you — those skyscrapers are indeed phallic symbols of the rich and powerful screwing us all.

          You know, Freud spoke not only about these phallic symbols, but also about a certain “fear of castration”. I am told the guillotine is particularly suited for making those fears come true…


    2. Markel

      Yes–they will snap like the guy at Ft. Hood. Single nutjobs, acting alone, killing the innocent passerby, randomly and without purpose.

      The qualities that make a people revolutionary–a sense of purpose, dedication to a higher cause, solidarity, courage–have not been American qualities for several generations.

    1. Hugh

      The numbers would not change the principle. Perhaps there was an error, but I saw the same story about Lenox and Goldman on ABCNews.

    2. run75441


      Congrats on the trip to see the man behind the curtain at the Treasury. Sounds like you and the rest did well.

      I believe Yves is quoting “Business Week” and this statement:

      “Citigroup has been supplied with 1,200 units and Goldman with 200, says Jessica Scaperotti, press secretary for the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.”

      In any case, I would be curious as the numbers of high risk people at either company to justify the number of doses given. I would guess they already had a number in mind. Maybe the anger is misplaced and maybe it isn’t. The past history of either company to mislead the public has certainly gained them quite a bit of mistrust and anger.

  14. IF

    My sister works as a grad student in a biomedical research lab in Switzerland. The institute head (old enough to not be at high risk), received vaccination before everyone else.

    In Germany the Government ordered 200k doses of a special vaccination for itself, the health institute and the armed forces. The normal population can currently receive the “standard” vaccination, except for pregnant women I believe (mercury boosters?).

    It is a mess in other countries as well. Maybe not as big as here.

    1. run75441


      I didn’t forget anything on the population nor is there any imagination to it. I would suspect both companies have a better handle on their high risk employees than what the gov would have especially if they have done vacinations in prior years. After all, both companies are in the numbers game and why wouldn’t they know? From knowing the pool of high risk employees they can ask for a quantity of doses which will give the company a higher percentage of coverage whether the employees are travelers (which probably doesn’t qualify as high risk), pregnant, etc. as compared to the population of NYC.

      Presbeterian, Sloan, NYU or Time Warner (to my knowledge) were not rescued by TARP and neither are they planning $billions in bonuses. It may all be superficial; but, there is still an ax to grind with Sachs and Citi.

  15. PJ

    What I love about this discussion and this post is the rather selective playback of information and misrepresentation of the facts. Did any of you actually read the Business Week article. For starters: “The agency has so far approved orders by 29 employers—including 16 that have yet to receive any vaccine—after they were cleared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Big employers that have received or are scheduled to receive vaccine so far include Time Warner (TWX), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, and New York University.” While I understand we are all frustrated with some of the financial institutions in the country, amazingly none of you seem bothered that NYU, Time Warner, or other large employers also got vaccines.

    Then there is this completely ignored point: “It’s not that they received it over someone else, it’s that they placed an order…This is not out of the ordinary,” says Scaperotti of the city’s health office. “A lot of businesses hold vaccination programs for their employees. These locations are important vehicles for vaccinating people.” Apparently some folks who actually know a little something about managing the health of the population, think that large employers are a pretty important distribution system for this kind of thing.

    Oh, and while you imagine that the risk pool is somehow lower at these firms, you seemingly forgot that they have a higher percentage of employees who will travel to high risk areas like mexico or asia than the gen pop, so in fact the risk of contracting H1N1 is probably higher for the high risk employees of those multinational firms.

    As for PT, who certainly seems to have a chip on his/her shoulder, I suspect its because s/he wakes up every day reading stuff like this lambasting him/her because of who s/he works for. Most of the tens of thousands of Citi or GS or BoA employees are normal folks, with normal salaries, doing normal jobs that neither contributed to the financial crisis nor do they get large bonuses. We are pissed off, and we have a right to be. But let’s direct that anger at the guys who made the decisions and profited in ways we find uncomely, and not throw the rank-and-file guys — just trying to put food on the table and feed their family just like the rest of us poor schmucks — under the proverbial bus.

    1. Roberspiere

      Totally agree with your points. Whenever I speak about banksters I’m talking about the top Execs and not the regular rank and file. One more thing, the anger should also be directed at the public officials who are responsible to enforce the rules and they refuse to do so in both sides of the aisle.

    2. Hugh

      “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not review and sign off on the decisions of state and city health departments as to which doctor’s offices and businesses will be sent vaccine doses, said spokesman Tom Skinner.”

      This is the same NYT story I cited above. So your contention about CDC clearing is mistaken. My point there as here is that it was stupid public health policy to release the doses the way they were. And yes, it irks me that large powerful corps got their hands on vaccine before those who serve the most at risk populations.

    3. run75441


      I didn’t forget anything on the population nor is there any imagination to it. I would suspect both companies have a better handle on their high risk employees than what the gov would have especially if they have done vacinations in prior years. After all, both companies are in the numbers game and why wouldn’t they know? From knowing the pool of high risk employees they can ask for a quantity of doses which will give the company a higher percentage of coverage whether the employees are travelers (which probably doesn’t qualify as high risk), pregnant, etc. as compared to the population of NYC.

      Presbeterian, Sloan, NYU or Time Warner (to my knowledge) were not rescued by TARP and neither are they planning $billions in bonuses. It may all be superficial; but, there is still an ax to grind with Sachs and Citi.

    4. Maggie

      For the record, I wouldn’t approve if ANY private corporation got the vaccine for its employees while the country is still experiencing a severe shortage. It limits access to the lucky few working at those companies. The fact that hospitals, schools and clinics around the country rapidly run out of the vaccine proves that we don’t need PRIVATE distribution to use up all the available doses.

      My specific ire at Goldman and the banks is because their greed and sense of entitlement yet again appears to have no bounds of human decency.

      JP Morgan gave their doses away to hospitals when they realized they had received a private supply ahead of the medical community.

      Bravo JP Morgan.

      1. Richard Kline

        And this is the key point to me as well, Maggie. It is an abuse that _private employers_ receive allotments when there is a gross shortage of vaccine. _Any_ private employer.

        It is unclear from the published material what bureuracratic functionary approved this distribution scheme. And there is ‘a case to be made for it,’ which PT does, if partially and rather badly; that those private employers have large, pre-existing vaccination programs, and so were seen as an ‘efficient’ vehicle to distribute vaccine to some portion of the overall high-risk segment of the population. That portion which just happen to work for those private employers. Of course, most of the high-risk population in NYC, in the Metro DC area, or anywhere else in the country DO NOT work for said private employers, and and are SOL. When this distribution protocal was approved by some faceless individual, it was likely during the time when far more doses of the H1N1 vaccine were expected to be available than has proved to be the case. Guess who took it on the chin with the shortfall? Public distribution with ‘unspecified’ allotments. Wait a minute though: not all of those ‘private employers’ have yet received their allotments, either. Guess who managed to be at the head of the cue?

        That is the flaw in this first of all. Efficient distribution through existing outlets is sensible if supplies are copious and the concern is to prevent aggregations of potentially sick people at distribution points, another reason why private distribution might have some sense behind it. But that wasn’t the case. What was the case is that some with better pull or deemed ‘too elite to fail’ got their allotments while public health distribution lagged. And that is intolerable. I can see no case—none—for distribution of a scarce and life-saving resource is not done on a strict triage bases, with high risk children, pregnant woman, and first responders in that order on priority distribution which is explicitly and centrally managed at a high level of the government. That didn’t happen. Some private employers got allottments. You can bet that many more private employers never even got considered. I would see the Citi/GS angle more one of working yet another inside angle than necessarily an overt manipulation. But our ability to ‘blame the system’ which those insiders exploit doesn’t make the exploitation any less. I don’t rate the high-risk employees of either of these firms or any others who received their allotments any lower than any one else, and I would be happy to have them wait on line at _publicly managed and triaged_ distribution centers just like the 99.999% of the population which had no access to their private distribution pools.

        In shortages, some are always favored. It’s a failure of the country that we allow insiders such advantages. But it’s an ethical failure on the part of PT and some others posting here that they see no inside advantage in the outcome. They ‘just happened’ to get their share, in such views . . . No. That’s not how it went down. When those there get what’s coming to them—whether personally deserved or only as institutional bystanders—most of the rest of us will turn a blind eye and be busy with our knitting, PT, I can assure you that. Because just as with an infectious disease vector, what goes around comes around.

    5. Mannwich

      The last I checked, these people still had/have a choice as to the employer and industry they choose to work for. If they choose to work for a corrupt, borderline employer and industry that’s raping and pillaging this country and picking the carcas clean, then they deserve all the scorn they’re getting as far as I’m concerned.

    6. Naomi

      Good points, PJ. I am six months pregnant and my four-year-old asthmatic son recently contracted (before the vaccine was available in our area) — and quickly recovered — from swine flu. Fortunately, I did not contract it.

      My father-in-law is an OB in town and went through a very arduous process, months ago, to obtain the vaccines. He is in solo practice and his office probably spent dozens of hours in staff time on this effort. My own OB’s practice, which is quite large, decided not to go through the arduous paperwork to obtain the vaccines.

      My limited observation is that the bureaucratic obstacles to obtaining the vaccine discouraged some practitioners from attempting to obtain it and that the decision to apply for vaccines would have been made months ago. If a practitioner or clinic did not apply for the vaccines, it may appear that other organizations have “jumped ahead.”

  16. charles


    What is significant is the “us (the people) vs them (the greedy banker)” meme that is developing (and you are part of the propagation mechanism).

    What is frightening is to see how it leads to the “deshumanization” process (see Dimitris comment
    “>the people who work at Goldman are in fact people too

    Not in my book, not anymore.”

    This is the process that is on the way of violent behavior. Once the humanity of “enemies” are denied, inhuman treatment can be applied to them with good conscience.

    1. Roberspiere

      And why do you think that is? Any system of government succeeds as long as the majority of its constituency perceives the system as fair. This is what has been lost here. It seems that the idea of “equal justice for all” no longer applies and that these people are above the rules and laws that govern the rest of the population. This will have as a result an increasing disregard of the laws by all at large

    2. Jim in MN

      It is dehumanizing to do what these financial terrorists are doing. Isn’t it? They should stop, or be stopped. Shouldn’t they?

      Allowing fraudulant financial statements, i.e. rescinding the mark to market rule, is dehumanizing.

      The authorities are forfeiting the legitimacy of the system by their inaction–that, too, is dehumanizing because it casts the privileged as a better brand of human, above ethics and the rule of law, and the rest of us are thus not part of that specially blessed humanity. Dehumanized, you see.

      Try to think through your own point.

      Without justice, there is no peace.

    3. Richard Kline

      In the first instance, charles, you are exactly right. The dehumanization you note is exactly how and why revolutions are so messy and to be avoided if possible. Many innocent of any crime or trespass are injured or killed, and those desensitized to this get a taste for ‘eliminating’ others whom they merely find inconvenient, whatever the reason. And so yes, the language we see is very worrisome.

      But in the second instance, charles, no, you are wrong. The anger directed at C or GS or AIG as institutions is earned and deserved. Taking public money and handing it out as private bonuses is criminal behavior. Gaming the markets using inside market access should be a crime. Blocking legislative reform into these and many other egregious practices is frankly antisocial behavior, and it is well-evidenced that these institutions are all doing exactly that. Propagating the myth that money center financials are ‘too important to fail’ is actively destructive.

      What we have here, charles, are rogue outfits who have by their actions declared the society in which they function and their employees live and operate as less than the excrement beneath their Range Rover tires. And those who work for them get no exemption but in fact face a moral choice. An ‘innocent employee’ of a criminal enterprise _is_ and accessory. There is no way around that knowledge; it is a standard part of human rights case law, for example, a context which has rich application to the present problem our society faces from rogue financial corporations. If those trapped by their functions as accessories of criminal enterprises remain, they have a grain of culpability. Not a dehumanized condition, but not something which permits an ‘I was only cashing my pay stubs’ defense.

      C and AIG and GS have functionally declared the rest of their society as beneath contempt as a matter of their policy, and the rest of their society will respond to them in kind. Just as when you fight a foreign army, many of the soldiers in the ranks are just poor slobs in the wrong place at the wrong time doing a job they swore to do. So when the cluster bomb of public revilement goes off under C, we may shed a tear for those who also served. While we recall that they should have gotten out while the getting was good . . . .

      1. dimitris

        Richard, your last paragraph I think best captures the reason I provoked this discussion by posting my – admittedly inflammatory – comment.

        I feel like GS et al went ahead and declared class war on “the rest of us”. While their rank and file may not be the ones ultimately responsible for the “class war crimes”, they are class war-combatants, whether they like it or not. Unless they “defect”.

        I, as a rank-and-file slob on the “other side”, don’t get a choice or exception. I will take the tax hits, the inflation baked-in-the-cake, my share of the bailout fallout. Why should their rank-and-file be shielded? Why should I care about them?

  17. goodrich4bk

    Can somebody please let me know when they’re handing out the pitchforks? I want to be sure to get mine before they run out.

    1. Vinny G.

      I’m making a new batch of pitchforks tonight. But I’m all out of gold, silver, and platinum versions. Is pitchforks made of rusted steel okay with you?

      In addition to massive banker internal organ damage these pitchforks were designed to inflict, the rust I developed for these pitchforks is guaranteed to cause a form tetanus that the tetanus vaccines GS and Citi employees received offer no protection against. The incubation period of this tetanus has been trimmed down from the normal 8 days to a mere 8 minutes, therefore, the banker is guaranteed to develop severe lockjaw, risus sardonicus, and general muscular rigidity within 15 minutes from the time you impaled him with your pitchfork. My new line of rusted pitchforks comes with a lifetime guarantee of permanent upper motor neuron damage in all bankers affected, even those that somehow manage to make it to their doctor within 15 minutes and thus may avoid death.

      I also make a high-end model pitchfork, where a small but high quality 10 Megapixel camera was built right into the rusted pitchfork, so you can capture every gory detail of banker penetration. Additionally, the camera has enough memory to record over 2 hours, so you will be able to capture all stages of banker destruction, starting with impalement, lockjaw, banker risus sardonicus (hilarious banker facial spasms), rigidity of pectoral and lower limb muscles (with an occasional painful bone fracture), profuse banker sweating, as well as the priceless image of banker opisthotonos (when the banker twists into an amusing U-shape). You and your family are likely to enjoy these family videos for years to come.

      Act now, and I shall send you your own rusted pitchfork free by FedEx. If you call within 10 minutes, I will throw in a second free rusted pitchfork for your wife, and two smaller ones for your kids. Call now. Revolutionaries are standing by to take your order.

      Vinny G.

  18. Jim in MN

    Well let’s see…the only things we’re sure of these:

    1. Wall Streeters only care about themselves, like Jesus told them to.

    2. Wall Streeters lie and cheat for a sweet living.

    3. The government does anything it is asked when the ‘golden phone’ from Manhattan rings.

    Based on this it is easy to conclude that they will get all the vaccine they want. They will probably dilute or contaminate it, sell it for a sweet profit to destitute families, and use the proceeds for bonuses.

    Seriously, how can anyone believe anything else? From a Midwestern perspective it’s obvious that we have completely cultlike psychopaths, presumably doped to the gills with Xanax, Zoloft, cocaine and other insanity-causing substances, simply running an Idi Amin-style charnal house but because it’s done in financial terms, we are expected to tolerate it.

    Will we? I wouldn’t bet my life on it…best to take the money and leave town soon.

  19. emca

    @PT as stated above, the number of at risk people working at Goldmans, does not equal the at risk population of a hospital. The correct ratio is the number of at risk persons per venue of vaccine distribution, not the total of people served in NYC vs. Goldman’s, but the total population of at-risk persons served. You haven’t provided that information, therefore its a little hard to absorb your “facts”.
    One could assume though that Goldman’s/Citi’s would have a very low employee pool at risk, while a hospital would be very much higher (not counting staff, which also skews to equation). Why should vaccine go to a low risk population when a high risk is in need?

    “Oh, and while you imagine that the risk pool is somehow lower at these firms, you seemingly forgot that they have a higher percentage of employees who will travel to high risk areas like mexico or asia than the gen pop, so in fact the risk of contracting H1N1 is probably higher for the high risk employees of those multinational firms.”

    Nice try, but I don’t buy it. Here’s another quote from AP

    “Morgan Stanley received 1,000 doses of the vaccine for its New York and suburban offices, but the company turned over its entire supply to local hospitals when it learned it received shipments before some area hospitals”

    Evidentially JP Morgan is unaware of the risk its causing its employees. Either that or it doesn’t have many international employees (sorry) in those filthy foreign countries. Or could it be that JP is more sensitive to the issue here, something Goldman, Citi, PJ and PT aren’t.

    1. ndk

      Morgan Stanley isn’t JP Morgan. Very different companies with very different cultures, even if both spawned from the House of Morgan.

      1. emca


        Thanks, you are correct, but that won’t stop me from mixing-up the names (I bank at JP Morgan-Chase) or negate the point I was making.

  20. stewati

    Maybe we should be directing a bit of our vitriol towards the incompetence of the government with the H1N1 vaccine. The fact that there are some who want the federal government to run the nation’s health care scares the hell out of me.

    1. Jim in MN

      Multinationals and the government are the same thing. There’s really not much to discuss on health care. Big pharma screwed up the vaccine…all the government did was create misplaced expectations by repeating what the corporations told them.

    2. GA

      Oh yes, that makes sense – get the government out of this. Because the private sector had the foresight and organisation to order a lot of vaccine?

      Government paid for the vaccine and the largest orders – and did so back in May. (Six months to develop a vaccine and produce in industrial quantities). Without government, we would have no vaccine at all.

      What would all the people complaining about government be saying if government hadn’t ordered massive quantities of vaccine? (Or had ordered vaccine that turned out not to be needed).

      The countries that are having the best response are NOT those where government did not get involved. Canada’s govt splashed out in May for two doses for every man, woman and child – and they are still not producing enough. Where would the ‘market’ for this vaccine be without government?

  21. psychohistorian

    So how come we can talk about morals related to vaccine distribution but when it comes to sharing and fairness in economic matters the morals go out the window?

  22. GA

    What do GS and Citicorp have that many other employers do not? Nurses on staff and a system in place to organise and administer.

    I’m willing to bet that the military has or will be getting large allotments, which is not evidence of a military coup being planned – they have nurses on staff to administer the vaccine (and better organisation than most).

    These employers’ health clinics are a delivery mechanism. The entire public health system could not cope even if they did have enough of the vaccine. (And yes, this is a good argument for a better public health system, but you can only use the system you have today – which relies on employers’ health care clinics).

    For all those complaining about this, keep in mind: when enough vaccine is available, if large employers (with nurses!) are not administering the vaccine, you will be waiting in line _longer_. To get this out quickly, the public health system has to use ALL available resources.

    The line-ups are for the most part not being caused by lack of available vaccine, but by lack of organisation. If they don’t have it or you’re not in a high risk group, why would you need to line up to _not_ get the shot? Because they’re insufficiently organised in the first place, overloaded and using professional staff (primarily nurses) to actually administer the vaccine.

    (And no, I don’t work for an employer that has access, and I’m commenting from a country in panic about this that has no likelihood of getting shots for any significant portion of the population in the next 12 months).

    1. Maggie

      My son’s school has a nurse. They don’t have the vaccine. My son’s doctors have nurses galore. No vaccine. My son’s hospital? Don’t even bother.

      I call bullS***.

      PUBLIC health emergencies deserve PUBLIC access to vaccines.

  23. GA

    This posting is way, way off base and should just be retitled “Large organisations with health care systems get vaccine.” Move along, nothing to see here without the misplaced outrage.

  24. Francois T

    JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley gave back their allotment when they realized they received it before the medical community.

    Res ipsa loquitur

  25. Yves Smith Post author

    The issue is not simply the (probable) preferential allocation. It is first, that these employers have a painless, easy, no sweat process. You call the clinic if you are at risk (or maybe at worst you go to the house clinic, but at a scheduled time) to see if you can get a vaccine based on fitting the criteria. Everyone else has to invest considerable time and effort trying to get a vaccination.

    Second, not getting a vaccine through your employer does not preclude you from trying to get a vaccine through the other routes open to the great unwashed. So they can stand in two lines, while everyone else stands in only one.

    Third, the argument “the employers have a better handle on their at risk employees” is bogus and should be read as “the employers are better able to make a case for their at risk employees than the public at large.”

    The argument about travel to Asia or Mexico is also spurious. My cleaning woman has relatives in Mexico and goes there often. Is that going to get her or me higher priority in the list of people who have to go through public channels? No. And how many people at Goldman or Citi above the support staff level take public transportation? One can argue that a daily commute, if you are on a route that goes through neighborhoods with a substantial immigrant population (as in a lot of people in those neighborhoods travel home to see family and thus could transport H1N1) makes them over time as much, if not more at risk, as someone who travels in the front of an airplane, stays in nice hotels, and only takes cabs (ie is not in dense crowds when abroad).

    Fourth, if the allocation to Goldman, Citi, et al. was simply about “efficient allocation” they would be acting as distribution points as part of a PUBLIC program, open to all, not for their staff exclusively. Multiple channels of distribution each with its own decision rules guarantees inefficient allocation system wide.

    1. GA

      Yes, you’re right – the health system is unfair and is designed to be such. But, given a public health crisis, they have to use the distribution system they have.

      The scandal is the health system.

      1. Richard Kline

        The scandal is the health system; the crime is done by those who game it. GA/PT or whoever you want to hide behind, anonymous self-center of the universe, there is no brief for your position. Public distribution by a defined triage is the only appropriate modality. Private distribution is unacceptable. Those who want to defend an unacceptable practice by moral selectivity have something seriously wrong with their valuation of the society in which they live. Morgan Stanley did the right thing even though their inside access got them inappropriately high up the distribution chain. But you don’t see it that way.

        1. i on the ball patriot

          The scandal is the electoral process and the scam ‘rule of law’ it has allowed. How much hypocrisy revealed is necessary to get us all off of these far out divisive deflections.

          Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  26. LeeAnne


    The level of pain and destruction caused by the finance sector of this country together with their central banking and investment gambling cohorts is unspeakable.

    You’ll be hard pressed to defend people in finance; they are extracting extraordinary incomes and head-of-the-line treatment from the very people they continue to loot –people all over the world who want to work honestly in their professions and jobs, and run their businesses and contribute to their fellows, their families and communities.

    Finance, as it is currently organized, contributes NOT a wit to the economy and they behave irrationally when they taunt a very wounded public by paying themselves outlandish incomes from the public trough.

    They are SCUM whose behavior is courting retribution.

  27. Myles SG

    It should be noted that employees at firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are far more likely than the general population to deal with foreign visitors traveling to the U.S. on business, and additionally much more likely to deal with clients face-to-face than most office employees.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The argument about travel is spurious. As I said earlier, my cleaning woman has relatives in Mexico and goes there often. Is that going to get her higher priority in the list of people who have to go through public channels? No. And how many people at Goldman or Citi above the support staff level take public transportation? One can argue that a daily commute, if you are on a route that goes through neighborhoods with a substantial immigrant population (as in a lot of people in those neighborhoods travel home to see family and thus could transport H1N1) makes them over time as much, if not more at risk, as someone who travels in the front of an airplane, stays in nice hotels, and only takes cabs (ie is not in dense crowds when abroad).

      1. Kid Dynamite

        Yves – I hope your cleaning lady is documented and that you pay taxes for her – the Treasury is listening!

        your assertions about public transportation are absurd – i’m willing to bet you that the vast majority of all employees at GS and C take public transportation. Please – you are smart enough to know better – stop perpetuating the misconceptions that these guys get driven to work in a chauffeured Rolls Royce or flown in a chopper.

        Finally, it continues to boggle my mind how so much of the anger any time something comes up is directed at GS, when C is the one who is actually LOOSING taxpayer money – it shows that the issue isn’t taxpayer bucks – it’s JEALOUSY

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I used to work for Goldman in the early 1980s, when the markets were crap and bonuses nothing even remotely like what they are now.

          Support staff ratio to professional staff is maybe 1:1. I will tell you just about no professional staff took public transportation, everyone took cabs. Quite a few secretaries collect a lot of overtime and take cars home. The ratio of people who take public transportation is far lower than in the general population, and a few people going to countries that may have higher rates of flu incidence does not make up for that difference.

          As for social security, my cleaning woman is keen to become a citizen and therefore is very serious about tax compliance and pays her own Social Security, the employer and employee portion, just as any self employed contractor should. Unlike our Treasury secretary, I might add. My pay to her reflects that.

    2. anonymous

      Theoretically, the increased risk from travel is offset by the increased compensation. These people CHOOSE to play the role they do… that doesn’t entitle them to go to the head of the line.

      “I put myself in harm’s way to earn an outsized paycheck therefore I should also be given special access to public goods.” That’s basically your argument. Do ya see the flaw in the logic? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure I can drive that bus that ain’t big enough right through the hole.

      As mentioned earlier, private distribution is justified when the vaccine is abundant and the bottleneck is qualified personnel to administer it. Private distribution of the vaccine when there is a shortfall is unethical. Full stop.

  28. LeeAnne

    This discussion reminds me of Obama’s address last spring on the subject of H1N1 to ‘wash your hands’ while neglecting to address the inept distribution system for vaccines; no call to the country, to the health industry to come up with new ideas.

    Lame President -lame government –breeds lots of predators with finance way out in front, and health insurance not far behind.

    Private health insurers need to be rebranded ‘health care brokers.’

  29. Yearning to Learn

    your doctor ain’t opening his vaccine stock to anyone but his patients either.

    actually, I’ll chime in quickly on this point. This is inaccurate, at least in my state.
    I’m a doctor who is starting to get the H1N1 vaccine. The vaccine is disseminated by the State Dept of Health.

    We are SPECIFICALLY forbidden to
    -restrict access to the vaccine to “our” patients
    -restrict access to the vaccene to those without health insurance. we are allowed to charge a $30 administration fee for the vaccine. If the person cannot pay, we must give the vaccine anyway and bill them.

  30. Yearning to Learn


    others are also talking out their butt.
    we have plenty of resources to give the vaccine. we don’t have the vaccine.

    it does appear that we will begin getting shipments in the next few weeks.

    My group finally got our first doses last week Thursday night. we started administering them immediately to our highest risk patients. (we are calling our sickest patients for their vaccine).

    we got our second shipment today. But it’s sporadic still.
    we have the nasal version but almost no injectable. (the asthmatics and immunosuppressed etc can’t get the nasal).

    we have standing capability in my system to give conservatively 10,000 to 15,000 h1n1 vaccines per day 5 days a week. (we have around 600-650 doctors and 23 clinics and 2 hospitals)

    we could easily ramp this up in my system to 20-25k doses per day on weekdays, and about 10k/day on weekends.

    with some difficulty we could go to 30-40k doses per day 7 days a week.

    but as a system we have very little vaccine.

    my personal clinic does “flu shot clinics” most years.
    we routinely do 500-1,000 flu shots per day on our flu shot clinics.
    but this year we have 300 doses of vaccine. thus no flu shot clinic (people would show up but we’d run out right away)

  31. DoctoRx


    IMO you are doing an amazing job chronicling the one-for-the-history books level of arrogance at GS (and C).

    The descendant companies of the House of Morgan continue to float above the fray. By the time this economic cycle ends, Citi will likely be drowning, GS run ragged, but JPM and prob MS too savvy to suffer.

  32. Matt

    It’s times like this when I hope there is a God.

    F*ck*rs. I have asthma and can’t get the vaccine. This is a f*ck*ng outrage. These people disgust me. Woody Allen joked that politicians are a notch under child molesters ethics-wise. Wouldn’t be much hyperbole involved had he referenced banksters.

  33. Matt

    The simple fact is this P(vaccination/working for GS & need vaccination)>>P(vaccination/not working for GS & need vaccination).

    That ain’t right.

  34. Ben

    PT et al. – This is not being analyzed correctly. Lenox Hill Hospital sees 325,000 patients a year and received the same amount of doses as Goldman Sachs, which is responsible for 10,000 people. You would think that Lenox Hill, by its very mandate as a hospital and because of its size(325,000 patient/yr), would receive more doses than an organization with 10,000 people. Lenox Hill received doses for .06 percent of the people it is responsible for. Goldman received doses for 2 percent of the people it is responsible for. Lenox Hill received less doses than the bank on a percentage basis.

    This is actually dangerous because the mortality rate is approximately 2% for swine flu. Yet Lenox Hill, which probably sees more at risk people than Goldman Sachs due to income issues, is woefully unprepared to vaccinate the necessary percentage of people that they are responsible for..leading to a certain percentage of people they are responsible for dying. Goldman, on the other hand, can vaccinate the at risk of death people almost entirely or at least more so.

    From an economic standpoint though, the only standpoint from which banks make their decisions it makes sense, especially for people like PT, because whose life is worth more money? The banker or the plebe?

    Welcome to the new America.

    1. Ben

      may make sense to give the bankers the first round of doses though since they are interacting heavily via handshakes, open trading environments, etc. i expect there wud be more allocated to other centers upon subsequent dose distribution.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        With all due respect, are you for real? Kids are in an open environment too, and mix it up far more than traders, yet they are behind in the queue.

      1. emca

        Yes, and if we take 10,000 and 325,000 we get 1:32.5, which would mean Lenox Hill should have received 6,500 doses to Goldman’s 200, all other things being equal; but again all things are not equal. What is the number of medical and support staff at Goldman’s compared to Lenox Hill? What are the number of at-risk patients served by those two institutions? What is at-risk? Seems as though I read somewhere last night that at-risk people included young adults under 19 and people over 50. How many of Goldman’s management are over 50 and could therefore be considered “at-risk”?

        Goldman’s, according to the article, requested 5,300 doses of the vaccine. Is this the at-risk employees they plan on serving? Why so many? Is this the population they really serve 5,300, not 10,000. Goldman’s qualifies for vaccine based on having clinics at their two main offices (only one of which has received the allocation of 200). Branch offices, part of the 10,000(?), do not qualify. I suspect those employees (outside management)would find it more convenient to be vaccinated locally anyway which puts them in the general population.

        I won’t labor questions any further. At best this is a very stupid PR move by CITI and Goldman’s, both who have to some extent depended on taxpayer largess to fix their own fiscal blunders.

  35. Michael Hawk

    Can’t read all these comments, but the explosion of responses testifies to the heated debates going on in the USA and elsewhere.

    I have noticed H1N1 is very politicized in the United States.

    The claims of autism groups that vaccines cause autism is now being taken up by the American right wing blogosphere. They key idea is MERCURY. A mercury compound is used as a preservative, and this, it has been claimed, causes autism. And god knows what else. And it is true. Some vaccines use mercury as a preservative, including the regular flu shot. Some governments special ordered vaccine without mercury. I do not know if the USA was one of them.

    Here’s the basic story.

    1) H1N1 is a lie. The hype surrounding it is invented to introduce a foreign substance into the bodies of Americans. Something bad happens, or appears to happen, in order to justify an expansion of government influence.

    2) The vaccine is full of mercury, and will poison anyone who takes it.

    3) The proof we live in a socialist/NWO dystopia is the fact most people just nod their heads at everything the health services tell them. They have lost all critical capacity. I mean, gosh, everybody knows mercury is poison, right? Everyone except socialists.

    4.a) In Obama’s socialist America, our children are injected with mercury against our will, wrecking their minds so they can be enslaved by the UN; or a more exciting variation

    4.b) The overlords of the New World Order do not require the average American anymore. The vaccine is a bioweapon intended to kill off Americans en mass. The mercury is just a diversion.

    That’s in the musty recesses of rightwing bloggery.

    On the surface, on sites like the DrudgeReport, we get stories highlighting incidents where children were inappropriately vaccinated, or where elementary schools are put on priority lists. What it suggests, now more of a libertarian concern, is that parental rights are being trampled on by a nanny state doling out a questionable vaccine.

    Many millions of adults and children in the US will not be vaccinated on the basis of these claims and the uncertainty they cause.

    I would be concerned about that, and about the rise of an inarticulate conspiracy theorizing grass-roots right wing that could blow up unless it is contained in the Republican Party.

    1. Maggie

      You can get mercury free flu vaccine. Mercury free H1N1 is also “available” (if you define “available” as meaning exists, but no one can get any).

      The severe shortage of vaccine means no one is being forced to do anything. In fact, there are many more families who WANT the vaccine and can’t get it.

      I have yet to hear of any H1N1 vaccination being mandatory for children.

      If it were poison, Goldman Sachs would be the last ones to get it.

    2. emca

      Your comment reminds me of Kubrick’s epic thriller: “Dr. Strangelove: or how I stop worrying and learn to love the bomb” This is a replay of General Jack Ripper’s philosophic discourse to RAF Group Captain Lionel Mandrake on the evils of water fluoridation; to sum fluoride in water is a Commie (Roossian) attempt to sap American’s ‘vital essence’.

      Truth sometimes can be as strange(love) as fiction.

      1. Michael Hawk

        Yea, there is a link. Apparently right wing groups like the John Birch Society were against water floridation in the ’60s, I guess it was. Dr. Strangelove took it up as a comedic theme. Very similar to what is happening to H1N1, in some places.

    1. Richard Kline

      So eh, that is an interesting study. [Full disclosure: I work for a related organization to the physician who wrote that paper, though I’d never heard of it until your link. I’m not surprised ‘we’ did it, as the Health Studies program we have is a major strength of the outfit.] I have long had my doubts as to the efficacy of flu ‘vaccine,’ only some of which are covered here. At best, it’s the old college try by the medical profession to confront an endemic infectious vector, but just a mediocre result.

      That said, I still have no quibble with the effort to do an H1N1 innoculation campaign _for high risk individuals_. We know that this flu is highly infectious regardless of outcome; we know that mortality is elevated relative to typical viruses; there is good evidence on what groups are most at risk. If the vaccine is less effective than one might want, that is not the same as being entirely ineffective. The study doesn’t conclusively demonstrate that the vaccine is worthless, though the implications of that are nearly that strong. Who knows, there might be a modest placebo effect!

      There is a broader reason why I think that a large-scale public push in response to pandemic spread of H1N1 (real) is a good thing: this is the shakedown run for The Big One. The potential for pandemic spread of much more lethal viruses is very real, and their eventuality a significant probability. Public health needs to get is readiness upped, and so better to have a go at it now with a real if not catastrophic problem. We may or may not have a vaccine that’s worth a stick when Pigs-with-wings Flu or whatnot squats on our collective doorstep demanding to be few, but we’ll have a better read on how to deploy the resources we’ve got come the day.

  36. Cynthia

    Big Pork and Swine Fl

    The CDC has traced the swine flu back to a mega-hog farm in North Carolina:

    So I’m puzzled as to why the public is showing no signs of wanting to blame Big Pork for causing this outbreak of the swine flu. Deregulation and lack of oversight play a role in this. But no one should overlook the fact that because hog farmers are maximizing profits by doing irresponsible things like not keeping their pigs vaccinated and not providing them with enough space and ventilation, hog farms have turned into a breeding ground for all sorts of deadly viruses, especially the ones that are capable of crossing over into the human population.

    So I find it disturbing that the public remains silent about the hog industry costing hundreds of American lives and billions in tax dollars. But it’s probably the case that the public mistakenly thinks the swine flu, like the Great Recession, is like the weather, in that it’s purely a product of nature with man having zero control over it. So don’t be too surprised that the Smithfields of the World, just like the Goldmans of the World, will get off the hook for causing widespread damage throughout the US and the world.

    And I must say that it’s pretty obvious that Obama wanted to rename the swine flu to H1N1 virus not because he cares deeply about the health and safety of pigs, but because he’s deep in the pockets of Big Pork.

    1. eh

      What makes you think the public knows about that? Has it been talked about on American Idol? Dancing with the Stars? During an NFL halftime report?

      If we’re lucky it’ll make it onto 60 Minutes.

  37. Nik Kondratieff

    What a spirited debate. Very interesting intersection between healthcare and financial services. Richard Kline’s comment on the role of GS/CITI et al is right on point I think.

    What’s truly frightening is that we’re heading for a perfect storm:

    1. H1N1 fears spreading, will M or MM get sick? how many will die? Will pandemic which Obama designated “national crisis” paralyze economy
    2. Virus shortages, fears of efficacy, side effects, etc, paranoid rumors of socialist control
    3. Bankster record bonuses back to pre-crisis highs this holiday season, billions go to top 1% while UST adds debt on the backs of the remaining 99%
    4. Nationwide U3 unemployment at 10%, true unemployment at 1930s Depression levels
    5. DXY and Dollar in an inexorable death spiral
    6. Nominal GDP in an inexorable death spiral
    7. Real wages in an inexorable death spiral
    8. Corrupt (Madoff, Stanford, Galleon, Shottenfeld) who’s clean? Nobody
    9. Impotent Health care reform and financial reform, government
    10. 1.9 trillion deficit, trillions in debt load become paralyzing

    This isn’t going to end well, anyway you look at it. Either we’re all dumb supplicants on a death march to a dystopic future, or the lid will be blown off this thing and there will have to be revolution and class war. Either scenario isn’t pretty.

  38. guttersnipe

    Gotta keep those investment bankers healthy so they can continue to rip off what little we have left and spend their fat bonuses for killing off the world economy.

  39. Lies and more lies

    All together now…

    “I pledge allegiance to the flag of Bank of America, Wells Fargo,Citi, Goldman,AIG and any other banks and insurance corporations of America, and to the Republic of China for which it stands, one Nation under a lying government, divisible, with poverty and injustice for all.

  40. K Ackermann

    Say, little feller, what do you want to be when you grow up?

    I want to be a giant asshole!

    A banker, you say?

  41. Naive_person

    While it’s possible this “favoritism” has an origin in some bureaucratic snafu, I can understand anyone who concludes that the cause is more sinister. Given all that has happened in the last two years, it would not be unwise to place bets by applying the Napoleonic presumption of guilt to anything the Fed and (big) banks do at this point.

  42. Jim in MN

    By the way, “at risk” doesn’t mean at risk of getting sick. It means at risk of becoming gravely ill once sick. So again, the frequent fliers don’t count as “at risk” just because they are often around members of the underclass/subhuman castes.

  43. tompain

    Yves –

    “As for social security, my cleaning woman is keen to become a citizen and therefore is very serious about tax compliance and pays her own Social Security, the employer and employee portion, just as any self employed contractor should.”

    Does your cleaning woman choose the time that she comes to your house, and does she bring her own supplies with her when she comes? If not, she’s not an “independent contractor.” Hardly any cleaning women are.

    Your claim that she is an independent contractor is the standard nonsense that people use to justify to themselves that it is ok to dodge household employer taxes. I suppose you have checked her tax filings to be sure she is paying the taxes? Not that you are complicit with her in a tax avoidance scheme that benefits both of you?

    It’s funny for you to be screaming here with outrage about the little people getting screwed while you yourself are screwing the cleaning woman out of retirement security, workers’ comp coverage, and unemployment insurance – all while telling yourself it is ok because your pay to her is – in your mind – adequate.

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      Your ire is wildly misplaced.

      First, I pay her a premium to rates on offer for cleaning woman precisely because she pays her own SS. You chose to ignore that, which I made clear earlier. Second, she does chose her own hours (she changes her dates and times frequently, I might add) and does bring her supplies. Third, she comes roughly twice a month, so she has many other people she works for besides me. She works roughly 8 hours monthly (again, she controls how long she works each time she visits) so analogizing her to an employee is quite a stretch. So you make unwarranted assumptions and choose to attack me.

      She has also had me write letters for her to support her in her immigration proceedings and to document her income for the IRS. I pay her by check, so there is no phoney baloney one payment to her, another report to the IRS.

      And you also forget I am self employed. I do not have corporate retirement, and she actually has better protection against injury on premises than I do. My insurance policy covers injury on site up to a very large amount, and this policy is expensive, from a carrier that has a good record of paying on claims. I am not eligible for unemployment either. That is the nature of being self employed.

      You finally are ignorant of the fact that if she worked for a cleaning service, she would make considerably less but get some of those other bennies (the unemployment insurance, but certainly not retirement) and her hours would be rigid.

      I love the way I say “cleaning woman” and you immediately project your prejudices upon what I wrote.

    2. Richard Smith

      Nice progression, tompain.

      Your first para is a direct quote; your second, a readily verifiable factual claim; your third starts with another plausible claim, but uses it to support smear and innuendo; your fourth is a direct, unevidenced accusation.

      The rhetorical linkage doesn’t make the logic hang together; it makes it certain that you are either a liar or a fool.

    3. Vinny G.

      The “independent contractor” model has become far, far more widespread than people realize. It is not limited only to unskilled laborers, but nowadays more and more people with doctorates and decades of experience on their CVs can only find this type of “employment”. They get no FICA taxes withheld, no workers compensation, and no health insurance coverage.

      And these highly-educated “independent contractors” often have hundreds and hundreds of thousands in student loans debt that simply cannot be paid under such circumstances.

      All educational institutions I have taught at in recent years have now shifted the majority of their teaching positions to “adjunct” arrangements, which are independent contractors. Some even have up to 90% of teaching covered by adjuncts. And, my friends, we are not talking here about unknown diploma mill type schools. How about University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Loyola’s Medical School, University of Illinois, and many others one would think to be “respectable”. In my opinion, these schools are all a done deal — a bunch of prostitutes being pimped out for student loan funds. Non-profit means nothing nowadays. American education is on its way out.

      BTW, I am not saying here that adjunct professors are lower quality than “employee” professors. In fact most adjuncts I know are far more creative than the Alzheimers-stricken old farts that have held the same “tenure” position for 40 years. I am only saying that the disrespect corporations show to those who work for them cuts across the board.

      The banking crisis was just the first salvo of the ongoing total collapse of the American model. It’s The Greatest Show on Earth, my friends! — make sure you get every gory detail on DVD… :)


  44. Mary

    This nation is in a massive financial mess because of the crazed behavior of numerous financial institutions including Goldman Sachs. Therefore, to hear that they have received H1N1 vaccines (all ratios, math calculations and logic set aside) is aggravating. Those who caused the collapse that is now dragging down so many have not been exposed in mainstream media. And nothing has changed. So to expect people to view those H1N1 doses sitting at GS and other bank institusions as a math isssue is cold heartedly narrow minded. We are not in a great recession, a depression, or a recession. We are in a new mess, it is very bad and it will not be named for decades to come. And how we get out of it remains to be seen.

  45. Allocation

    Sorry…but it takes two to tango. I can fully appreciate a business’s motivation and request for vaccines, but everyone on this post seems to forget your massive government’s role in filling said orders!

Comments are closed.