Why Is An Appendectomy In The United States 10 Times More Expensive Than An Appendectomy In Mexico?

This is what can happen when you go to a socialized healthcare system. A lot of people out there believe that the United States has a free market healthcare system, but that is actually not true. The percentage of the population that receives government-subsidized healthcare is rapidly approaching 50 percent, and the healthcare industry may be the most heavily regulated sector of the entire U. S. economy. Every year the rules, red tape and regulations seem to get even worse, and every year health insurance premiums rise much faster than the overall rate of inflation. If we don’t start applying free market principles and start getting healthcare costs under control, our entire healthcare system could very easily implode.
I would like to share with you an excerpt from an article by former DEA agent David Hathaway. According to Hathaway, the average cost for an appendectomy in the United States is $33,000…
My son had an attack of appendicitis late Saturday night. I knew that the Obamacare inflated prices for surgery in the U. S. would be ridiculous and that the service would likely be impersonal, involve long waits, and be nerve-wracking. I have friends in the medical field so I inquired just for grins. The price for the latest routine appendectomy in my area was, my jaw dropped, $43,000. I read on-line that the average cost for an appendectomy in the U. S. is $33,000. I am not near some of the great direct-pay medical facilities in the U. S. like the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, but I am near Mexico. I chose that option since I have often utilized foreign medical and dental facilities in the past and find the service and prices to be outstanding.
You can buy a very nice brand new car for $33,000.

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on December 4th, 2017.

Venezuela’s Default Disaster

Socialism always promises heaven and gives hell.
In the early hours of Thursday, November 2, the Maduro regime certified its latest failure with what they promised would never happen: technical default. With his usual arrogance, Maduro issued a ‘decree’ demanding ‘the refinancing and restructuring of the debt as of November 3.’ That is, default.
The bad news for investors or high-yield hunters is that the likelihood of being swindled again is almost 100%.
Chavez once said ‘put me oil at zero and Venezuela will not suffer,’ and Maduro stated that ‘a revolutionary government with economic power as the one I preside has plans to surpass any situation arising from any price of oil.’ Reality has now kicked in.
Venezuela was not destroyed by low oil prices, but by high socialism.
Socialism has led Venezuela to an unparalleled economic disaster . No, it’s not ‘the price of oil.’ Venezuela is the only OPEC country that has fallen into default, depression, and hyperinflation. It’s not oil, it’s socialism.
The management disaster is spectacular and the greatest example of the devastating effect of socialism is the state-owned oil company. PdVSA, the national oil company, has gone from being one of the most efficient and profitable twenty years ago, to end up importing oil.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 11/20/2017.

Venezuelan Women Turn To Prostitution To Afford Food

All twelve women who work at the ‘Show Malilo Night Club’ brothel in Arauca, Colombia are from Venezuela. As Venezuela’s socialist economic crisis continues, many Venezuelan women have turned to the sex trade in neighboring Colombia to eat and provide for their families.
‘We’ve got lots of teachers, some doctors, many professional women and one petroleum engineer,’ brothel owner Gabriel Snchez said of the women who sell their bodies for $25 an hour. ‘All of them showed up with their degrees in hand.’ Sanchez who is 60 years-old, started the brothel in Arauca, Colombia after he lost his job in a car repair shop in Venezuela thanks to the government’s socialist policies.
Snchez and others in the sex industry say Venezuelans dominate the trade now because they’re willing to work for less pay. ‘I would say 99 percent of the prostitutes in this town are Venezuelan,’ he said. Amid food shortages, hyperinflation, rampant poverty driven by socialism, and U. S. sanctions, waves of economic refugees have fled the country. Those with the means to do so have gone to places like Miami, Santiago, and Panama. But those who are less fortunate, have had to sink low to simply eat.
A recent study suggested as many as 350,000 Venezuelans had entered Colombia in the last six years. With jobs scarce in the country though, many young (and some not so young) women are turning to the world’s oldest profession to make ends meet. According to the Miami Herald, prostituting for money to buy basic necessities has become commonplace for Venezuelan women.

This post was published at shtfplan on September 25th, 2017.

Cable Sinks As EU-UK Postpone Next Round Of Brexit Talks

Having spiked overnight on the back of surging inflation, Cable just tumbled after it appears disagreements over the ‘divorce’ payments forced EU and UK to postpone the next round of Brexit talks… for a cooling off period?
As we detailed previously, the EU is accusing UK of backtracking on its promise to pay an exorbitant fee to leave the union.
EU negotiators were said to have been left ‘flabbergasted’ after British lawmakers told them there was little or no legal basis for their 90billion claim. A young civil servant reportedly left EU negotiators ‘open-mouthed’ with a line-by-line ‘technical’ demolition of the demand.
Tory grandee John Redwood said last night that there was no legal basis for the demand. He also said Mr Davis had no right to authorise it without parliamentary approval.
‘Article 50 is clear,’ he said. ‘Once a state leaves it has no further rights and benefits, and no further duties or obligations. It is of course true the treaty does not prevent the EU accepting a payment volunteered by a departing state if it wished to pay one. However, the UK could not make such a payment legally under our own law and system for controlling public spending.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 12, 2017.

Pat Buchanan Exposes What Harvey Really Wrought

Like 9/11, Hurricane Harvey brought us together.
In awe at the destruction 50 inches of rain did to East Texas and our fourth-largest city and in admiration as cable television showed countless hours of Texans humanely and heroically rescuing and aiding fellow Texans in the worst natural disaster in U. S. history.
On display this week was America at her best.
Yet the destruction will not soon be repaired. Nearly a third of Harris County, home to 4.5 million people, was flooded. Beaumont and Port Arthur were swamped with 2 feet of rain and put underwater.
Estimates of the initial cost to the Treasury are north of $100 billion, with some saying the down payment alone will be closer to $200 billion. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the cost of Harvey will exceed that of the Marshall Plan, which rebuilt Europe after World War II.
Though the country has appeared united since the storm hit, it is not likely to remain so. Soon, the cameras and correspondents will go home, while the shelters remain full, as tens of thousands of people in those shelters have only destroyed homes to return to.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 1, 2017.

Two Charts Prove Obamacare Is Not “Stabilizing” In 2018

As the Obamacare repeal and replace effort raged on in Congress over the past six months, several Democrats and even some of the original Obamacare architects stepped forward to argue that the crippling premium increases from 2014 through 2017 were just a 1x market adjustment and that everything would miraculously ‘stabilize’ in 2018.
Well, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, that prediction isn’t playing out exactly as expected. Taking a look at 21 of the bigger healthcare markets in the United States, Kaiser found that premiums submitted so far for 2018 are increasing at an average rate of 17% YoY and ranging up to 49% in Wilmington.
Now, we understand that the term “stabilizing” is somewhat subjective but we’re not sure that rates spiking at 10.5x prevailing inflation rates, on average, would reasonably fit anyone’s definition.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 10, 2017.

SHOCKER: COLLEGES STOP EXORBITANT PRICE INCREASES AFTER CONGRESS CAPS STUDENT LOANS

America’s colleges and universities have finally stopped their practice of annually gouging students with price increases for tuition, fees and room and board – to the accumulated tune of a growth rate of 400 percent in the last three decades.
Labor Department statistics collected by The Wall Street Journal show that aggregate tuition increases in 2017 rose 1.9 percent in 2017. This figure accords with the overall rate of U. S. inflation.
From 1990 to 2016, college tuition costs had increased at an average rate of 6 percent annually, which was more than twice the overall inflation rate for the same period.
This year’s steep decline in college cost increases has many causes.
One cause of the decline is the decision by Congress to stop raising the maximum amount of federally-subsidized student loans which college students can borrow to finance their educations. Congress has not increased this maximum amount since 2008, the Journal notes.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on JULY 24, 2017.

Seattle Mayor Colluded With UC-Berkeley To Preempt Minimum Wage Law Study

Seattle’s experiment in raising the minimum wage to help low-income workers was a disastrous failure. Many went from low income to no income after losing their jobs, and the prices in the city have risen so much to combat the law’s inflation that the remaining workers actually are taking home less income.
Anyone with a minute understanding of economics knew exactly what would happen. Government interference in the private market is always a disaster, but socialists insist on butting in and using force to ‘help’ those they think are beneath them. All they end up doing is more harm. But that isn’t all. Seattle’s mayor, Ed Murray knew the law was making life worse for people in Seattle. He was caught red-handed colluding with UC Berkeley in an attempt to hide and lie about the economically disastrous new $15/hr minimum wage law.
The timeline seems to have gone like this:
The UW (University of Washington) shares with City Hall an early draft of its study showing the minimum wage law is hurting the workers it was meant to help; the mayor’s office shares the study with researchers known to be sympathetic toward minimum wage laws, asking for feedback; those researchers release a report that’s high on Seattle’s minimum wage law just a week before the negative report comes out. – Seattle Weekley

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on July 6, 2017.

WTF: Rogue Cop Steals Helicopter And Drops Grenades On Venezuelan Supreme Court

#Venezuela | Oscar Perez flying stolen helicopter that dropped grenades on Supreme Court. pics via twitter. #OOTT pic.twitter.com/ztue54VojZ
— Lee Saks (@Lee_Saks) June 28, 2017

The people of Venezuela have endured unimaginable horrors over the past few years under their corrupt government. Food shortages, record breaking murder rates, rampant inflation, kidnappings, vigilantism, black markets, and civil unrest have all become the norm. However, nothing could have prepared them for the what happened next.
That’s because the unrest in Venezuela took a rather strange turn today, when a stolen helicopter flew over the nation’s Supreme Court and dropped several grenades, before strafing the Interior Ministry with gunfire. The helicopter could be seen waving a flag that read ‘350 Freedom,’ in reference to Article 350 of the nation’s constitution, which grants citizens the right to resist an undemocratic government.

This post was published at shtfplan on June 28th, 2017.

Shock Footage: Protester Shot Dead On Live TV During Venezuelan Riots

We’ve repeatedly warned our readers that a collapse of life as we know it in America would quickly devolve into violence, looting and outright anarchy. As the economic landscape in America deteriorates it is likely only a matter of time before millions of starving Americans make their way to the streets in protest. When that happens they’ll be met with a heavily armed response. It’ll start with tear gas and rubber bullets, but that won’t be enough to stave off the starving and hopeless masses, so we can fully expect real bullets to start flying in short order.
To see a real-world example of this one need only turn their attention to Venezuela, where the collapse of their currency has led to hyperinflation to the point that supplies of bare essentials like flour, meat, medicine and toilet paper are unavailable to the general population. The situation has been playing out for several years and it appears to be coming to a head.
As evidenced by the video below, which appeared on Live television, Venezuelan riot police and military are now to the point where they are willing to kill to ensure the security of the State.

This post was published at shtfplan on June 26th, 2017.

OPEC at the Crossroads

OPEC is currently in a difficult situation. How should it react to the oil glut that followed the emergence of shale oil technology? In our view, today’s situation is comparable to the oil glut in the 1980s. Back then OPEC unsuccessfully tried to support prices by curtailing supply with the result that core-OPEC members were sitting on vast amounts of idle capacity for nearly two decades. Thus, we view the recent production cuts as an attempt to speed up the drawdown of the global inventory overhang rather than a sign that OPEC has returned to a policy of balancing the market. If OPEC, going forward, truly allows market forces to play out without carrying a lot of spare capacity, unforeseen shortfalls could result in violent price swings.
View the Entire Research Piece as a PDF here.
Trading oil has been challenging over the past few months. To be fair, it has been challenging for a while, but those trying to predict price movements based on fundamentals have had a particularly hard time recently. Rather than moving with improving fundamentals, the oil market has hung on every word from OPEC officials, which has sent oil prices on a rollercoaster ride. In the past two weeks, fundamentals continued to improve with U. S. oil inventories showing counter-seasonal draws, yet prices collapsed on May 25 after OPEC announced it would extend production cuts by nine months. The price action indicates that market participants were hoping for an even larger cut and were disappointed that the current cuts were merely extended, but the current curtailments have already had a profound impact on inventories (we saw and continue to see large counter-seasonal draws in high frequency data), which is what we suspect OPEC had intended.
OPEC is currently in a difficult situation. How should it react to the oil glut that followed the emergence of shale oil technology? In our view, OPEC’s options and its influence on oil prices are limited. To understand this, we must go back to the 1980s, which is the last time OPEC was faced with a technological step change that led to an oil glut from non-OPEC producers.
OPEC was founded in 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. The founding members were later joined by Qatar (1961), Indonesia (1962 – 2008; rejoined 2016), Libya (1962), United Arab Emirates (1967), Algeria (1969), Nigeria (1971), Ecuador (1973 – 1992; rejoined 2007), and Gabon (1975 – 1994; rejoined 2016). By 1973, OEPC had increased its production to about 30 million b/d, just over 50% of world production. Supported by Egypt and Syria, the Arab members of OPEC imposed an oil embargo against the United States and other countries that supported Israel during the Yom Kippur war in October 1973. OPEC output subsequently dropped by close to 4 million b/d, which was about 7% of global output. As a result, oil shortages occurred in the west and prices soared from USD3.29/bbl in 1973 to USD11.58/bbl in 1974, and prices remained high even after the oil embargo ended in March 1974. In 1979 oil prices moved sharply higher again to as high as USD40/bbl. In our view, the 1979 price increase must be attributed to several factors; the Iranian revolution and ensuing Iran-Iraq war certainly played their part, but general USD price inflation was rampant, reaching 20% per annum. Arguably, part of the reason why inflation was so high was because oil prices had previously risen on the back of the oil embargo, which trickled into general price inflation. But even without the tightness in oil fundamentals, USD inflation would have been high given the monetary environment of the time; however, the price inflation in oil was several magnitudes higher than broad price inflation, suggesting that the tightness in the oil market itself was the main reason for the sharp price increase in oil. Most importantly, this prolonged period of extremely high oil prices and the crippling effect the oil shortages had on western economies led to profound changes in oil and energy markets.

This post was published at GoldMoney on JUNE 06, 2017.

FTSE CEOs ‘earn 386 times more than workers on national living wage’

The average FTSE chief executive earns 386 times more than a worker on the national living wage, according to an analysis published by the Equality Trust as it steps up its campaign for new government rules to expose pay gaps.
The charity used annual reports from 2015 for all the companies in the FTSE 100 to calculate that their CEOs pocket an average of 5.3m each year, compared with 13,662 for someone on the national living wage of 7.20 an hour.
The trust issues its findings amid growing worries over a squeeze on living standards from sluggish pay growth and rising inflation. The pressures on households stem partly from Brexit worries knocking the pound lower and raising the price of imports to the U.K. Those factors underscore the challenge for Theresa May to take the U.K. out of the E.U. while vowing to cut inequality and create an economy that ‘works for everyone’.
Chiming with research by other groups that suggests the squeeze will accentuate inequality, the trust found more than two-thirds (67%) of FTSE 100 CEOs were paid more than 100 times the average U.K. salary.

This post was published at The Guardian

100 Years Ago, Russian Stocks Had A Very Bad Day

In recent months, Ray Dalio seems to be undergoing a deep midlife and identity crisis, which has not only led to dramatic recent management changes at the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater, but also resulted in some fairly spectacular cognitive dissonance, as Dalio first praised, then slammed, president Trump. Yesterday. in the latest expression of his building anti-Trumpian sentiment, Bridgewater released a 61-page report looking at “Populism: the Phenomenon“, which describes what Bridgewater sees as the ‘archetypical populist template,’ which the fund built out through studying 14 past populist leaders in 10 different countries.
The unspoken message in the report is that the US is the 15 example of the “populist leader”, and since all 14 cases presented by Dalio had less than happy endings, the implication is that Bridgewater is hardly optimistic or excited about the near-term future for the US.
Dalio’s politics aside, however, the report, among other notable historical observations, has a fascinating aside into what happened some 100 years ago in post-World War I and Tsarist Russia under Vladiir Lenin and the Russian Revolution.
Here are the key highlights;
World War I proved to be Tsarist Russia’s death knell: Russia’s military suffered severe defeats against Germany, leading to massive casualties, as well as high inflation and food shortages. In response, an initial revolution occurred in early 1917 (the February Revolution), forcing the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and producing a liberal republic that legalized political parties.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 23, 2017.

Unless Healthcare is Revamped – Unemployment Will Rise

Healthcare costs have continued to outpace inflation and just about everything else within the economy. Generally speaking, prices rise when demand increases relative to supply. The scheme of Obamacare was to force the youth to buy healthcare they did not need to pay for everyone else. The fines have been less than the costs so many of the youth just pay the fine. Forcing people to buy insurance to artificially lower the costs failed because healthcare is no different and has risen, not declined, with the false rise in demand.
Additional forces have also been contributing namely political decisions from Obamacare, additional taxes, and increased regulations have combined to impact healthcare costs. There has also been the notorious increase in lawsuits which influence the cost of malpractice insurance for medical practitioners forcing costs to also rise. Congress would never introduce Tort Reform because there are too many lawyers who would see their big paydays vanish.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Mar 2, 2017.

Sanctions, What Sanctions? Russia Bond Yields Plunge To 3 Year Lows

After three years of US sanctions on Russia, Putin’s cost of funding his nation’s economy has tumbled as Russian government five-year ruble notes climbed further this week, pushing the yield to the lowest on a closing basis since February 2014.
As Bloomberg reports, the securities are gaining as a strengthening ruble and lower-than-expected inflation prompt economists to project that the Bank of Russia will resume interest-rate cuts as soon as March, and not in the second quarter as Governor Elvira Nabiullina had previously signaled.
Along with being the best performing stock market in the world since Trump’s election, Russia’s bond market has soared (while China’s has tumbled).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 13, 2017.

Indian Banks Slash Interest Rates As Cash Shortage Leads To Manufacturing Contraction, Economic Shockwaves

Over 50 days after Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi stunned India’s population when he announced on November 8 he would unexpectedly eliminate 86% of the existing currency in circulation in what was supposed to be a crackdown on the shadow economy, but instead has resulted in a significant hit to the broader, cash-based economy, overnight we noted the first official confirmation of how substantial the impact of Modi’s demonetization has been, when the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index printed at 49.6 in December, the first contraction reading since December 2015, as the war on cash crippled demand.
According to the report, output and new orders fall for first time in one year; companies reduced buying levels and payroll numbers; Input cost inflation accelerated, while charges rose at softer rate.
Commenting on the report, IHS Markit economist Pollyanna De Lima said that ‘having held its ground in November following the unexpected withdrawal of 500 and 1,000 bank notes from circulation, India’s manufacturing industry slid into contraction at the end of 2016. Shortages of money in the economy steered output and new orders in the wrong direction, thereby interrupting a continuous sequence of growth that had been seen throughout 2016. Cash flow issues among firms also led to reductions in purchasing activity and employment.
Looking at the upcoming timeline of cash exchanges, she noted that “with the window for exchanging notes having closed at the end of December, January data will be key in showing whether the sector will see a quick rebound.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 2, 2017.

As Cash Shortage Leads To Manufacturing Contraction, Economic Shockwaves, Indian Banks Slash Interest Rates

Over 50 days after Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi stunned India’s population when he announced on November 8 he would unexpectedly eliminate 86% of the existing currency in circulation in what was supposed to be a crackdown on the shadow economy, but instead has resulted in a significant hit to the broader, cash-based economy, overnight we noted the first official confirmation of how substantial the impact of Modi’s demonetization has been, when the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index printed at 49.6 in December, the first contraction reading since December 2015, as the war on cash crippled demand.
According to the report, output and new orders fall for first time in one year; companies reduced buying levels and payroll numbers; Input cost inflation accelerated, while charges rose at softer rate.
Commenting on the report, IHS Markit economist Pollyanna De Lima said that ‘having held its ground in November following the unexpected withdrawal of 500 and 1,000 bank notes from circulation, India’s manufacturing industry slid into contraction at the end of 2016. Shortages of money in the economy steered output and new orders in the wrong direction, thereby interrupting a continuous sequence of growth that had been seen throughout 2016. Cash flow issues among firms also led to reductions in purchasing activity and employment.
Looking at the upcoming timeline of cash exchanges, she noted that “with the window for exchanging notes having closed at the end of December, January data will be key in showing whether the sector will see a quick rebound.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 2, 2017.

The Engine of Inequality: Privilege

This is what we’re up against: a status quo that has institutionalized soaring inequality and rising poverty as the only possible output of defending the privileged few at the expense of the many.
We all know wealth/income inequality is soaring. I’ve published many entries on this topic (please see the three charts below as a refresher), and it’s clear there are multiple sources of rising inequality: globalization and technology, which concentrate gains in relatively few hands, and inflation, which reduces the purchasing power of stagnating real wages.
But the dominant source of inequality is privilege–specifically, privilege that is institutionalized by the status quo.
This engine of inequality–institutionalized privilege–is the topic of my new book, Inequality and the Collapse of Privilege($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition).
The word “privilege” is tossed around rather loosely. What does it mean in economic and social terms? I differentiate between privilege, which is unearned, and advantaged, which is earned.
To reverse rising inequality, we must dismantle the institutionalized power of privilege and create universally accessible pathways to the advantages of building capital. A key part of my analysis is causally linking rising inequality, poverty and privilege.
Here is an excerpt of the book:

This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on NOVEMBER 27, 2016.