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Tuesday, July 16

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The Mechanics
« SEIU Endorses Giannoulias; Hoffman Campaign Responds. Subsequently, Giannoulias Campaign Responds (To Initial Response). Hoffman Campaign Highlights Differences of Association (in subsequent response). Scenes From Thursday's Unite Here Storm »

National Politics Fri Sep 25 2009

Made-Up Death Panels versus Actual Death Markets

What should people be out in the streets chanting about? End of life counseling to provide for living wills--ie, the pretend "Death Panels" of bathshit crazy propaganda fame? Or the securitization of life settlements, essentially a giant Death Pool that is making some people really rich?

The mechanism here is basically the same as the one used for mortgage-backed securities. Wall Street buys up life policies from elderly or ill people, who sell them for up-front cash that can be enjoyed before actual death (similar to those brokered arrangements with terminally ill HIV patients that received so much attention in the late eighties). They then take those policies and dump them into a securitized pool, where they can then be packaged as bonds and sold to investors who would get paid off when the policyholders die.

....

But even beyond that... what the fuck??? This feels like financial innovation as practiced by Josef Mengele meets the Zucker Brothers; not just evil, but wacky evil. I don't even want to think about what happens when Goldman Sachs suddenly has a large financial stake in the premature deaths of a bunch of old people. Where are the crazy police? Where is the crack federal crazy squad with the big butterfly net? I don't know about betting on anyone's life expectancy, but I think I'd like to bet on whether or not this idea ends well.

 
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aemilia scott / September 25, 2009 12:33 AM

... Not to mention the obvious, less opaque fact that private insurance for profit is basically a gigantic ponzi scheme. They only win by not paying as much in care as they receive in premiums.

I went to the rally in front of the Blue Cross building on Randolph this week. Did a little street theater to liven the serious mood...

http://www.youtube.com/user/yourcivictv

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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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