2:00PM Water Cooler 10/28/2015

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“[W]hile the public and the press are not allowed to see the negotiating text for either of these agreements (and Members of Congress were only granted very limited access after years of demands), more than 500 so-called “trade advisors,” nearly 9 out of 10 representing corporate and industry interests, have special access” [Eyes on Trade]. “The European Commission’s move to publish its textual proposals proves that USTR’s extreme secrecy measures, which it has repeatedly defended, are completely unnecessary.”

“TTIP: Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage, Nicola Sturgeon and Natalie Bennett sign appeal to exempt NHS from trade deal” [Independent].

It is feared that an American private healthcare firm which was prevented from buying up part of the NHS would be able to go to the ISDS and claim millions of pounds in compensation from the British government for lost business.

Doing for the Brits what they’ve done to us!

“TTIP goes beyond the scope of our other trade deals and asks what can be done to improve an already very healthy economic relationship. … [W}e will also look for other areas where just a little fine tuning can mean a big boost for our economies. One such area is making regulations more compatible” [USA Today]. “Just a little fine tuning….”

“Leaked TAFTA/TTIP Chapter Shows EU Breaking Its Promises On The Environment” [TechDirt].vo

One sign of that panic is that the original ambitions to include just about everything are being jettisoned, as it becomes clear that in some sectors — cosmetics, for example — the US and EU regulatory approaches are just too different to reconcile. Another indicator is an important leaked document obtained by the Guardian last week. It’s the latest (29 September) draft proposal for the chapter on sustainable development. What emerges from every page of the document, embedded below, is that the European Commission is now so desperate for a deal — any deal — that it has gone back on just about every promise it made (pdf) to protect the environment and ensure that TTIP promoted sustainable development.


Republican Debate (tonight)

“During a tense 30-minute meeting at the Coors Event Center, which was described by three sources present, several lower-polling campaigns lashed out at the RNC. They accused the committee of allotting them less-than-hospitable greenroom spaces while unfairly giving lavish ones to higher-polling candidates, such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson” [Politico]. “Trump was granted a spacious room, complete with plush chairs and a flat-screen TV. Marco Rubio got a theater-type room, packed with leather seats for him and his team of aides. Carly Fiorina’s room had a Jacuzzi. … Then there was Chris Christie, whose small space was dominated by a toilet. So was Rand Paul’s.”


“Donald Trump says the United States needs a “better deal” from the developer of the Keystone XL oil pipeline before the project is approved” [The Hill]. Boy, that thing really is dead.


“Hillary Clinton’s crazy-good new Iowa poll numbers are crazy, good” [WaPo]. Press climbs on board the bandwagon!

“The campaign is aiming to match President Obama’s historic performance among this [young] voters in 2008. Already, in polls in key nominating states, Sanders is outperforming Hillary Rodham Clinton, in some cases by lopsided margins, among young voters” [WaPo]. “The challenge is likely to be even greater for Sanders [than for Obama], whose message seems to tap into anxiety as much as hope. Nonetheless, drawing out these young voters with a vision of a more just country has become a central thrust of Sanders’s strategy to win the Democratic nomination.”

“The overwhelming majority of Republican voters have repeatedly told pollsters this year that, whatever their choice in any given poll, they haven’t made up their minds yet. Most won’t think hard about their decision for at least another three months. At this point in 2008, Rudy Giuliani was the polling leader. In 2012, it was Cain” [New Yorker]. And in 2008, there was McCain. In 2012, there was Romney. Who is there today? Bush?


“Those lapses appear set to catch up with the foundation (now formally known as the Bill, Hillary, & Chelsea Clinton Foundation), which has until November 16 to amend more than ten years’ worth of state, federal and foreign filings. According to Charles Ortel, a financial whistleblower, it will be difficult if not impossible for the foundation to amend its financial returns without acknowledging accounting fraud and admitting that it generated substantial private gain for directors, insiders and Clinton cronies, all of which would be against the law under an IRS rule called inurement” [100r.org]. Hmm.

The Trail

“Turns out, Donald Trump’s not too proud to beg” [Des Moines Register]. “‘Iowa, will you get your numbers up, please?’ he pleaded to a crowd in Sioux City, where he made his first stop in Iowa since recent polls showed him falling behind retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. ‘I promise you, I will do such a good job'” [Des Moines Register].

“Kasich: ‘I’ve Had It’ With Trump, Carson” [Daily Beast].

“Sen. Sherrod Brown endorses Hillary Clinton for president” [Cleveland Plain-Dealer]. “Brown said in a statement: ‘From opposing unfair trade deals to fighting for a fair financial system, Hillary Clinton has shown she puts working families first.  She knows as president that her first job will be creating jobs for the middle class.  I am proud to endorse her today because I know she will keep Ohio moving forward.​'” See also “The Endorsement Primary” [FiveThirtyEight].

“A super PAC supporting Clinton’s presidential candidacy is [launching] a nearly $1 million [ka-ching] project designed to soften the Democratic front-runner’s image and improve her relatability with voters” [WaPo]. “The project’s rollout is pegged to Clinton’s 68th birthday on Monday, when a Web site will debut with the first two videos.” Bizarre. Clinton’s been in public life how long? And we don’t know her? And since when was “relatability” a word?

Nate Silver on Iowa polls showing Carson pulling ahead of Trump: “I think it’s more about Carson. … [H]e looks like he’s winning the Huckabee/Santorum vote, and his profile is similar to a lot of past Iowa winners” [FiveThirtyEight]. “the Iowa caucuses are a tricky thing to poll, and you have a lot of high-quality pollsters in the state who have a lot of experience with measuring the electorate in the state. They’re finding Carson ahead.” Interesting discussion.

The Hill


“[Boehner’s] successor will face a difficult question: Has the office been permanently shrunken by forces beyond any speaker’s control?” [Bloomberg]. Useful explainer of the history of the Speaker’s office.

“Sicko Ex-Speaker Dennis Hastert Pleads Guilty, Might Go To Jail For 5 Minutes” [Wonkette]. Not only was Hastert a prime mover behind the drive to impeach Clinton over a *******, he’s responsible for the forced pregnancy Hastert Amendment. In more measured language: “Dennis Hastert goes from speaker to felon, but his dark past still a mystery” [Chicago Tribune]. “[Hastert] pleaded guilty to evading currency-reporting requirements, but no further details came out about the underlying wrongdoing that led him to withdraw nearly $1 million in cash from four banks over 2 and 1/2 years.” 

Debt Ceiling/Government Shutdown Cliffs

“After sharply criticizing how it came together, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan announced he would support the budget deal Wednesday” [Politico]. Ryan finds his inner RINO.

“Conservatives moved quickly to revolt over a blockbuster budget deal reached among congressional leaders and the White House early Tuesday morning, calling it a ‘betrayal’ days before US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is set to leave Congress” [Business Inisder].

“Rand Paul will filibuster debt ceiling bill” [WaPo]. “Since making the decision, Paul has heard from a few other senators who would join him in the slow-down. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is not yet among them.”

“A Visual Guide to the Federal Debt Limit” (handy charts) [Wall Street Journal].

“Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) introduced an impeachment resolution [against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen] Tuesday, days after the Justice Department concluded its investigation into IRS targeting of Tea Party groups with no charges filed [The Hill]. Wolf! Wolf!! (??)

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of October 23, 2015: “After gyrating violently for the last several weeks as new disclosure rules are put in place, mortgage application volume settled down in the October 23 week. Purchase applications slipped 3.0 percent in the week with refinancing applications down 4.0 percent” [Econoday].

International trade in goods, September 2015: “September reversed August’s outsized goods trade gap, coming in at $58.6 billion vs $67.2 billion. Exports jumped 3.1 percent following August’s 3.2 percent decline with wide gains in consumer goods, autos, industrial supplies and capital goods. Imports fell 2.5 percent following the prior month’s 2.2 percent gain” [Econoday].

Ag: “US chocolate maker Hershey and Co saw has trimmed its full-year hopes, citing weak demand in the US and China, after unveiling plummeting earnings” [Agrimoney]. Chocolate?!

The Fed: “Federal Reserve officials are widely expected to announce Wednesday that short-term interest rates will remain near zero, leaving mid-December as the central bank’s last chance to raise rates this year” [Wall Street Journal, “The Fed Strives for a Clear Signal on Interest Rates”].

UPDATE The Fed: FOMC statement here [Federal Reserve]. “To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining whether it will be appropriate to raise the target range at its next meeting, the Committee will assess progress–both realized and expected–toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation.” Free money! And: “[T]hey left interest rates unchanged” [Bloomberg]. Hermés stocking stuffers for everybody!

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 (+4); Greed [CNN]. Last week: 50 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Deputy who threw South Carolina student from her desk is fired” [Los Angeles Times]. 

“Generally, people are thought to spend 20 percent of their night in slow-wave sleep, and the study’s white participants hit this mark. Black participants, however, spent only about 15 percent of the night in slow-wave sleep” [The Atlantic]. Everything is deeply intertwingled… 


Profile of muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens [Zolcalo Public Square]. Well worth a read, both for Steffens’ journalistic practice and his views on corruption.

Andrew Cuomo scalps Mets tickets after cracking down on scalpers [International Business Times].

Health Care

“More Trouble in Coal Country: Health Care at Risk for 12,000 Retired Miners and Their Families” [Pro Publica]. Peabody spun its health benefits off into a subsidiary called — hilariously enough — Patriot Coal. You won’t believe what happened next! “Patriot filed for bankruptcy two years ago, retiree benefits for thousands of mining families were put at risk. While Peabody eventually agreed to pay for some of those costs, Patriot is now back in financial trouble. This time around, Peabody is quietly seeking to get out of paying for any of its remaining agreed-upon obligations to its retirees.” 

“Only about 15 per­cent of un­in­sured Amer­ic­ans—and 17 per­cent of the gen­er­al pub­lic—know when [ObamaCare’s] open en­roll­ment be­gins, des­pite health in­sur­ance mar­ket­places kick­ing off the third open sea­son this Sunday, ac­cord­ing to the Oc­to­ber Kais­er Health Track­ing Poll” [National Journal]. Maybe the administration is afraid more people will get health care?


“Rising temperatures and humidity due to climate change are likely to increase the number of days with unsafe “heat stress”, putting south-east Asia at great risk of significant drops in productivity, a research firm said on Wednesday” [Guardian].

“By the end of this century, areas of the Persian Gulf could be hit by waves of heat and humidity so severe that simply being outside for several hours could threaten human life” [New York Times, “Deadly Heat Is Forecast in Persian Gulf by 2100”] (original study). “The research raises the prospect of ‘severe consequences’ for the hajj, the annual pilgrimage that draws roughly two million people to Mecca to pray outdoors from dawn to dusk.”

“Climate scientists ponder spraying diamond dust in the sky to cool planet” [Nature].

Class Warfare

Class vs. caste on the left in India [N+1]. Worth viewing our own brand of identity politics through this lens.

News of the Wired

Cognitive interviewing as a form of lie detection [Anecdote]. “Morgan found that the use of these mnemonic props – open-ended questions about various sensations and sequences of events – dramatically increased memory recall about what had happened. The subject’s stories consequently became more and more complex, and richer in detail. Or at least, they did when people were telling the truth. When it came to the lies, even well-rehearsed ones, the subjects tended to falter and were unable to complete the interview. According to Morgan, this was because when they were prompted to dredge up deeper memories, the liars had nothing to draw on. Instead, they merely repeated what they’d already said, or waited for the interviewer to fill in the gaps themselves. He equates the memory of an honest storyteller with a high-resolution image, and that of a liar with a child’s rough sketch.”

The F-35 has a home page [Lockheed-Martin]. Pricey!

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant (Isabel, who’s been so helpful to NC on Portugal, once again):


Lavandula stoechas on the foreground and on the right. The rest…?

If you enjoy Water Cooler, please consider tipping and click the hat. Winter is almost here, I need to buy fuel, and I need to keep my server up, too. And thanks so much for the donations during the annual fundraiser. They are much appreciated, both practically, and as signs that you enjoy the work.


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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Jim Haygood

    The Yellenites cling to their ideé fixe of a rate hike in December; Wall Street screams.

    Damn the deflation, full speed ahead!

    1. jgordon

      Well we could definitely use a massive dose of deflation in housing, medicine, food and tuition; it’s not like endless ZIRP is sustainable. Fire or ice, either way we’re dead.

      1. cwaltz

        Our fixed market will be sure to continue to deflate the value of work while inflating the investment value of housing, medicine, tuition, and food.

        Mr Market hasn’t been rational for years. He’s like the doddering, crazy, old uncle that everyone avoids talking about.

  2. rich

    Carlyle-owned hedge-fund Claren Road won’t immediately pay about 2/3 of nearly $2 billion in withdrawal requests

    Claren Road mostly invests in corporate debt and credit derivatives. It is unusual among debt investors for having a short bias, or more exposure to bond prices rising versus falling. A large bet on mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac drove the bulk of its losses last year.


    io-u gotta be kidding me?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Reminds me of “Honest Patch Perkins” in P.G. Wodehouse:

      “But why were you chasing this bookmaker?” asked Mrs. Spottsworth. It seemed to her a frivolous way for a strong man to be passing his time.

      Captain Biggar’s face darkened. Her question had touched an exposed nerve.

      “The low hound did the dirty on me. Seemed straight enough, too. Chap with a walrus moustache and a patch over his left eye. Honest Patch Perkins, he called himself. “Back your fancy and fear nothing, my noble sportsman,” he said.

      “If you don’t speculate, you can’t accumulate,” he said. “Walk up, walk up. Roll, bowl or pitch. Ladies half-way and no bad nuts returned,” he said. So I put my double on with him.”

      “Your double?”

      “A double, dear lady, is when you back a horse in one race and if it wins, put the proceeds on another horse in another race.”

      See, it’s the derivatives….

  3. Daryl

    > Then there was Chris Christie, whose small space was dominated by a toilet. So was Rand Paul’s.

    Amazing, that there’s someone at the RNC who understands metaphor. Hats off to that person.

  4. Left in Wisconsin

    “Sen. Sherrod Brown endorses Hillary Clinton for president” [Cleveland Plain-Dealer]. “Brown said in a statement: ‘From opposing unfair trade deals to fighting for a fair financial system, Hillary Clinton has shown she puts working families first. She knows as president that her first job will be creating jobs for the middle class. I am proud to endorse her today because I know she will keep Ohio moving forward.​’”

    So here we have one of the most “progressive” Congress-people doing the disingenuous “truth is the exact opposite” HRC endorsement thing. And apparently DiBlasio is next. Not inspiring.

      1. 3.14e-9

        I just read that she and Maria Cantwell are the only two women Democratic senators who haven’t endorsed the coronation. Somehow I totally missed it that my other senator, Patty Murray, as well as my Democratic rep, Jim McDermott, both have endorsed her. I just wrote scathing letters to both of them saying it was inappropriate to endorse a candidate without consulting constituents. McDermott called HRC “the most prepared candidate we’ve ever had” and is responding to constituent complaints by repeating his preference. Kind of like, “Because I’m the daddy and I said so.” OK, glad to know where We the (inconsequential little) People stand.


    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Is this real? Or Is he just opening himself up for critiques on trade deals? For all of Brown’s bluster, he’s accomplished very little, and now he’s praising a major supporter of deranged trade deals. Does he know he’s up for election in 2018 not 2016?

      1. James Levy

        Bill Clinton was not very good at punishing his enemies. My guess is that the PTB in Democratland have a very different notion of how Hillary will operate. No one wants to take the risk of being on her bad side, and if Bernie ever won he’d need all the help he could get and would literally find himself crawling to the Browns and DiBlasios of this world for support when the Republicans go ape, the military starts huffing and puffing along with the Spooks, the media suddenly discover the idea of “oppositional reporting”, and the DNC starts planning who will run against him for the 2020 nomination in plain sight. In short, if you guess wrong Hillary can and will make you pay, but Bernie will enter office without a cudgel and in need of all the friends he can muster. You would have to be a man or women of unshakeable conviction to flaunt those facts.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Hillary will be a crippled President day one. The GOP still despises her and the threat of Hillary bringing in women will be over once it’s seen that’s a fantasy. She will be less relevant than Obama is next year.

          1. 9900

            Some Republican congressman have said they will “impeach on day one” of an HRC presidency. And a poll from NC (I think) said 2/3 of Republicans would support impeaching HRC on day one. This idea that HRC is pushing of “progressive that gets things done” is a pure fantasy — nothing will get done given the intense feelings about HRC. And for another data point, there was an article (I wish I could remember from which news source) that said the framing of “experience to get things done” was focus-group tested by HRC and very positively received, which is why the campaign is using that message.

            1. Massinissa

              HRC wouldnt understand a kick to the head without asking her political science division what it meant first.

          2. Massinissa

            I kinda feel like, if a Republican wins, the Republicans win, if Bernie wins, the Republicans win, and if Hillary wins, the Republicans win…

        2. Banana Breakfast

          The only (somewhat dim) chance Sanders has is to be swept into office on a tidal wave of public anger. He won’t win a close election, it’s either out in the primary or in with a “mandate”. If he wins, any Democrat who has to be elected to office will line up.

  5. LarryB

    Not only was Hastert a prime mover behind the drive to impeach Hastert over a *******,

    Wouldn’t it have been easier for him to just resign?

    1. Vatch

      I betcha the second “Hastert” is a typo for “Clinton”. Let’s also remember that another prime mover of impeachment was the adulterer Henry Hyde.

      1. optimader

        adulterer Henry Hyde

        mmm… a 41yo youthful indiscretion!

        And who can forget fundie Helen Chenoweth-Hage, the adulteress who was urging Clinton to resign due to his infidelity ( the irony being there were so many other actually valid reasons!)
        (Black helicopter Helen later was taken out by her own D-in-Law who rolled a Ford Explorer helen was riding shotgun in w/ a grandaughter on her lap and no seatbelt. A life of brilliant stupidity finally caught up w/ her. sniff…

        1. edmondo

          Are we really supposed to believe that the Clinton impeachment was all about a hummer? Silly me, here I thought it was perjury and obstruction of justice; you know, the kind of things Hillary was using to shepherd Nixon’s impeachment through Congress before he resigned.

          1. Vatch

            I don’t mean to defend Bill Clinton. Like so many Presidents, senior politicians, and business CEOs, he was a creep. Although perjury probably never would have been an issue if it hadn’t been for those salacious items.

            George W. Bush deserved impeachment a lot more than Bill Clinton did, and Clinton probably did deserve impeachment.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              The real issue, looking back, was exactly the same issue as with Foley. Foley:Pages::Clinton:Intern. In each case a powerful man took sexual advantage of a person to whom they owed a duty of care. IMNHSO. Of course, neither side could raise that issue.

              Adding, and Pelosi took the Foley case off the table immediately upon assuming the office of Speaker in 2006, and the Bush case, too. If anybody deserved to be impeached, it was Bush, I agree. And now Obama has systematized and normalized Bush’s seizure of executive power.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Perjury has to be material. IIRC, the Lewinsky matter was dragged into the Paula Jones suit, which was over workplace harassment (!). As for obstruction of justice… I never did see a lot of justice in the conservative pursuit of Clinton; and the Senate agreed.

            And if you lived through that time, it was a sex scandal. It was the hummer that titillated the press and the political class — and still lives today. Real lizard backbrain stuff, and nothing to do with justice.

  6. L.M. Dorsey

    “Climate scientists ponder spraying diamond dust in the sky to cool planet”

    “Ponder” is doing them too much credit, I suspect. Philip Mirowski:

    …geoengineering is not about saving the planet; it is instead mostly about laying claim to the privatization of the troposphere. (Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, 341)

    On the same page, Mirowski tells the tale of the British Stratospheric Particle Injection for Climate Engineering project (SPICE), based at Bristol and Cambridge universities, that planned in 2011 to do a proof-of-concept deployment of an aerosol one kilometer up:

    What got the experiment canceled before it was finally carried out was a dispute among the team over intellectual property: two members of SPICE, Hugh Hunt and Peter Davidson, had filed for a patent for an “apparatus for transporting and dispersing solid particles into the Earth’s stratosphere by balloon, dirigible or airship” without informing the other members of the team. Other participants, learning of this, called the experiment to a halt. Just like in so many other areas of modern science, faculty here occupied dual roles as academic researches and CEOs of their own startup firms: not just Hunt and Davidson, but the other participants as well.

    1. Gaianne

      I am sure that breathing diamond dust (the hardest natural substance that there is and chemically rather inert as well) will totally cure your asthma and reverse the effects of cigaret smoking, not to mention aging.


      Preliminary research (there is no follow up research, for obvious reasons) suggests that aluminum oxide powder is extremely toxic to green plants, as it may destroy root systems.

      Geoengineers are psychopaths. It’s in the list of job requirements.


  7. grayslady

    I still remember “The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens” as part of our required reading for American History back in high school. My favorite chapter was entitled “I Make a Crime Wave,” in which Steffens explained that his feisty editor decided to put some pressure on city officials by front-paging robberies and other crimes that might have been placed routinely on page 8. It was my first introduction to how newspapers create propaganda.

      1. Ivy

        Once upon a time, there was a chance that those reported crimes were fact-based.

        The current environment has been poisoned by media that prevaricate, deflect, bury or otherwise dissemble when they are not outright lying. Search for the truth has become somewhat easier in the Internet Age, although the flip side is that there is so much more to proof.

  8. rich

    Top 100 CEO Retirement Savings Equals 41% of U.S. Families

    The retirement savings accumulated by just 100 chief executives are equal to the entire retirement accounts of 41 percent of U.S. families — or more than 116 million people, a new study finds.

    In a report scheduled for release today, the Center for Effective Government and Institute for Policy Studies found that the 100 largest chief executive retirement funds are worth an average of about $49.3 million per executive, or a combined $4.9 billion. David C. Novak, the recently departed chief executive officer of Yum! Brands Inc., is at the top of the list, with total retirement savings of $234.2 million.

    In recent years, pay and income inequality across different income groups have received increasing attention in the U.S. Significantly less attention has been focused on the growing gulf in retirement savings, a lack of focus that the study’s authors say they are attempting to address.

    “This CEO-to-worker retirement gap is a lot bigger than the pay gap and one more indicator of the extreme level of inequality that is really tearing the country apart,” said Sarah Anderson, the report’s co-author and the global economy project director at the Institute for Policy Studies.


    I think the goal is 75% of US families..

    1. sd

      That’s a dangerous article. The implication is that 116 million people could happily retire if just 100 people stepped aside…..you can see where this is heading and it’s not pretty.

      1. ambrit

        Not pretty for whom? On a purely pragmatic level, those 100 people should joyfully climb the guillotine steps. Look at the public good they’d be doing. All it needs is a re-definition of status.

  9. curlydan

    I really like Brian Krebs’ ongoing reporting on cyber-security and his recent take on the CISA bill:
    “The biggest impediment to detecting and responding to breaches in a more timely manner comes from a fundamental lack of appreciation — from an organization’s leadership on down — for how much is riding on all the technology that drives virtually every aspect of the modern business enterprise today. While many business leaders fail to appreciate the value and criticality of all their IT assets, I guarantee you today’s cybercrooks know all too well how much these assets are worth. And this yawning gap in awareness and understanding is evident by the sheer number of breaches announced each week.”
    Then later quoting from a letter from academics: ” ‘Security threat information sharing is already quite robust. Instead, what are most needed are more robust and meaningful private efforts to prevent intrusions into networks and leaks out of them, and CISA does nothing to move us in that direction'”

  10. Tertium Squid

    Peabody Coal is the worst. At least I hope they are. If they are run of the mill I’m going to lose some hope.

  11. ewmayer

    Re. “Top 100 CEO Retirement Savings Equals 41% of U.S. Families” – Something funky about the stats here, because simple math shows that implies the 116 million families in question have an average of just $40 in retirement savings, i.e. have no significant retirement savings. In other words, while the stashes accumulated by the execs are indeed impressive, they are actually quite modest relative to the outrageous annual comp of said CEOs, and the real issue here, if one believes the BBerg stats, is that over 100 million American families have essentially zero retirement savings.

    Of course the two sides of the issue are deeply intertwined – just to me it seems that putting things in terms of the no- retirement-savings numbers make the disparity even more shocking than by focusing on the richie-riches, whose retirement stash sizes are entirely unsurprising, given their lavish pay packages.

    1. rich

      don’t fret….it will be less than zero for many…either way they’re WINNING!

      The Oligarch Recovery – U.S. Military Veterans are Selling Their Pensions in Order to Pay the BillsMoore soon found himself two months behind on rent and at least 10 days from payday. In bed that night, he saw a TV ad for Future Income Payments, a company based in Irvine, Calif., that buys pensions in exchange for a lump sum. The company said it had worked with military personnel and government workers. Ten minutes later, he got up and made the call.

      The next day, a company representative called Moore back and explained that he would receive a $5,000 cash advance for selling part of his pension. In exchange, Moore would have to pay the company $510 a month for five years — a total of $30,600.

      If it were a typical loan, that would amount to $25,600 in interest — a rate of 512 percent.


      can’t you feel the recovery??go janet!

  12. abynormal

    Grinding Day at the Shop Lambert…Thank You Ever So Much !

    Talent is a long patience, and originality an effort of will and intense observation.
    Gustave Flaubert

  13. ♫ Those little eyes so helpless and appealing ♪

    Hastert. When you blackmail a pedophile he stays blackmailed. Remember when they burned Foley? They sacrifice one every once in a while to keep the VIPs in line.


    When it’s Crips or Bloods, people have no problem comprehending the role of criminal initiation/compromise in group cohesion but when it’s CIA doing it, heads explode.

    ♪ One day will flash and send you crashin’ through the ceilin’♫

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