Thursday, August 8, 2013

20 Cities That May Face Bankruptcy After Detroit

 Image: 20 Cities That May Face Bankruptcy After Detroit

Think Motown is the only major U.S. city in a boatload of financial trouble? Think again.

Detroit's bankruptcy filing sent shivers down the spine of municipal bondholders, government employees, and big-city urban residents all over the country.

That's because many of the 61 largest U.S. cities are plagued with the same kinds of retirement legacy costs that sent Detroit into Chapter 9 bankruptcy this summer.

Editor's Note: ‘This Wasn’t an Accident’ — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown

These cities have amassed $118 billion in unfunded healthcare liabilities. These are legal promises to pay healthcare benefits to municipal workers beyond the employee contributions to finance those funds. This is a giant fiscal sink hole — and because of defined benefit plans, the hole keeps getting deeper.

Detroit may be the largest city in American history to go bankrupt, but it is not alone. The city raced to the financial insolvency finish line before anyone else in its class.

Keep an eye on "too big to fail" cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York.

According to an analysis by the Manhattan Institute, several Chicago pension funds are in worse financial shape than the worker pensions in Detroit. One is only 25 percent funded, and where the other 75 percent of the money will come from is anyone's guess. And there are about a dozen major California cities having systemic problems paying their bills.

Here is my worry list, based on bond ratings and other data, of the top 20 cities to watch for financial troubles in the wake of the Detroit story:

1. Compton, Calif.
Compton has teetered on the brink of bankruptcy after it accrued a general-fund deficit of more than $40 million by borrowing from other funds, depleting what had been a $22 million reserve.

2. East Greenbush, N.Y.
A New York state audit concluded that years of fiscal mismanagement — including questionable employment contracts and illegal payments to town officials — left East Greenbush more than $2 million in debt.

3. Fresno, Calif.
Fresno had the ratings of its lease-revenue bonds downgraded to junk-level by Moody's, which also downgraded its convention center and pension obligation bonds due to the city's "exceedingly weak financial position."

4. Gulf County, Fla.
Fitch Ratings warned that Gulf County's predominately rural economy is "narrowly focused," with income levels one-quarter below national averages and economic indicators for the county also comparing unfavorably to national averages.

5. Harrisburg, Pa.
Harrisburg is at least $345 million in debt, thanks largely to municipal bonds it guaranteed in order to finance upgrades to its problematic waste-to-energy trash incinerator.

6. Irvington, N.J.
Irvington has a violent crime rate six times higher than New Jersey's average, with Moody's citing "wealth indicators below state and national averages and tax-base and population declines due to increased tax appeals and foreclosures."

7. Jefferson County, Ala.
Jefferson County, home to the city of Birmingham, has been dealing with the collapse of refinancing for a sewer bond. It filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011 over a $3.14 billion sewer bond debt.

8. Menasha, Wis.
Menasha defaulted on bonds in 2007 it had issued to fund a steam plant which has since closed and left the city permanently in the red and, as of 2011, had $16 million in general fund revenue, but had $43.4 million in outstanding debt.

9. Newburgh, N.Y.
Newburgh was cited by Moody's for "tax base erosion and a weak socioeconomic profile," with 26 percent of its population below the poverty line and its school district facing a $2 million budget gap.

10. Oakland, Calif.
Oakland is trying to get out of a Goldman Sachs-brokered interest rate swap that is costing it $4 million a year. According to a recent city audit, Oakland has lost $250 million from a 1997 pension obligation bond sale and subsequent investment strategy.

11. Philadelphia School District, Pa.
Philadelphia's school district, the nation's eighth-largest, faces a $304 million deficit in its $2.35 billion budget, and is seeking $133 million from labor-contract savings to prevent further cutbacks.

12. Pontiac, Mich.
Pontiac, where the emergency manager has restructured the city's finances, was downgraded by Moody's, reflecting the city's history of fiscal distress and narrow liquidity.

13. Providence, R.I.
Providence, rumored to be filing for bankruptcy for more than a year, experienced consecutive deficits through fiscal 2012, has a high-debt burden and significant unfunded pension liabilities, as well as high unemployment and low income levels.

14. Riverdale, Ill.
The credit rating for Riverdale is under review by Moody's because the city has not released an audit of interim or unaudited data for the year that ended April 30, 2012.

15. Salem, N.J.
Salem is under close fiscal supervision after it issued bonds to finance the construction of the Finlaw State Office Building, which was delayed by construction issues, and its leasing revenues are not enough to cover the debt payments and the maintenance fees.

16. Strafford County, N.H.
Strafford County regularly borrows money to cover its short-term cash needs after it spent two-fifths of its budget on a nursing home, which lost $36 million from 2004 to 2009.

17. Taylor, Mich.
Taylor has a large deficit and is vulnerable due to significant declines in the tax base, limited financial flexibility, and above-average unfunded pension obligations.

18. Vadnais Heights, Minn.
The St. Paul suburb of Vadnais Heights had its debt rating downgraded to junk last fall by Moody's after the city council voted to stop payments to a sports center financed by bonds.

19. Wenatchee, Wash.
Wenatchee defaulted on $42 million in debt associated with the Town Toyota Center, a multipurpose arena, and has ongoing financial issues due to the default.

20. Woonsocket, R.I.
Woonsocket faces near-term liquidity shortages necessitating an advance in state aid, a high-debt burden and unfunded pension liabilities, with Moody's citing the city's continuing difficulties in making spending cuts because of poor management and imprecise accounting.

The stock market rally in the first half of 2013 has helped many of these cities as they invest pension contributions and get higher returns. But another market downturn could send these teetering cities back into the red.

And the states can't bail them out because Illinois, California, New York, and Pennsylvania face their own money challenges. Republicans in Congress have been insistent that Washington, D.C., won't be tossing a life-preserver to troubled cities, either.
The view among conservatives in Washington is that a federal bailout would only reward cities for their own bad behavior. But that won't stop the unions from trying.

What do most of these ailing cities all have in common? Well, consider that the vast majority are located in states with forced unions, non-right-to-work states.

"Right-to-work laws attract people and businesses," says labor economist Richard Vedder of Ohio University. "Non-right-to-work states repel them." His statistics show that cities in states with right-to-work laws have sturdier tax bases and higher employment levels.

Unions control state legislatures and city halls in non-right-to-work states, so it can become politically paralyzing to try to fix the problem of runaway labor costs.

Another common trait of financially troubled cities: years and years of liberal governance.

For at least the last 20 years major U.S. cities have been playgrounds for left-wing experiments — high taxes on the rich; sanctuaries for illegal immigrants; super-minimum wage rules; strict gun-control laws (that actually contribute to high crime rates); regulations and paperwork that make it onerous to open a business or develop on your own property; crony capitalism with contracts going to political donors and friends; and failing schools ruled by teacher unions, with little competition or productivity.

Starting in the 1970s, Detroit became inhospitable if you wanted to raise a family and send your kids to good schools. Criminal predators also made cities like Detroit unlivable for families with children. Businesses that provide jobs often faced citywide income taxes that were layered on top of state income taxes.

"Declining cities are jurisdictions that levy local income taxes," a Cato Institute report concluded. Detroit levies a 2.5 percent income tax; New York's is 5 percent.

Another problem has been the decline in family structure that has become acute in so many big cities across the country, from Los Angeles to New York. In many cities, as many as two out of three children are born to a family without a father. As Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute has warned, "Single-mother families are a recipe for social chaos."

They are a major factor in high-poverty levels of many U.S. cities, again with Detroit being exhibit A. Welfare reforms have helped, but much work needs to be done to reinstall a culture of traditional two-parent families in urban areas. This would lead to less crime, fewer school dropouts, more businesses, and more social stabilization.

But for all these problems, cities could see a potential renaissance. More empty-nesters in their 50s and 60s are moving back into central cities like Chicago and Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., because of the cultural amenities — fine restaurants, the theater, sports, fashion, and river or lakeside condominium properties. As baby
boomers retire, cities may see new populations moving in.

But this creates a Catch 22 for American cities trying to recapture their glory days and attract new residents.

Who wants to pay taxes for retired city workers when they don't provide any services?

These legacy costs are a fiscal millstone. They put cities in a service decline spiral, because current taxes go to retired teachers and other municipal retirees, while city managers and mayors are forced to lay off firefighters, police, and teachers. Detroit has three retired city workers collecting a pension for every two currently working.

The Vallejo, Calif., city manager once told me when that city couldn't pay its bills several years ago, "You have no idea how bad it is here. We are now paying for three police forces: one that is working and two that are retired."

Given that payment of the benefits are often legally guaranteed contracts, bankruptcy may  be a salvation for some cities. It is a way to hit the reset button and erase those costs so cities can start over.

A good example is Stockton, Calif., which overdeveloped and took on $1 billion in debt during the Golden State housing boom six years ago. When the economy collapsed and housing values plummeted, Stockton couldn’t pay its supersized debts. It declared bankruptcy, but now is starting to rebuild.

According to The Fresno Bee, "Stockton has negotiated voluntary agreements with current workers to eliminate retiree healthcare entirely and is awaiting court approval of a plan to eliminate healthcare benefits for existing retirees as well. City Manager Bob Deis says those reductions will generate $1.6 billion in savings. Three years after it sought bankruptcy protection, Stockton is beginning to right itself. Employee pay and benefits have been downsized, allowing for necessary investments in public safety."

So can America's great and iconic cities make a financial and population comeback? The answer is certainly yes, if they can erase from their books the mistakes of 50 years of labor-union political control.

Bankruptcy, strangely enough, may not be the end for cities, but perhaps the dawning of a new urban revival.

Stephen Moore is senior economics writer and member of the editorial board for The Wall Street Journal.

Editor's Note: ‘This Wasn’t an Accident’ — Experts Testify on Financial Meltdown

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

America’s 50 Worst Charities Exposed

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By Dr. Mercola
Scam artists show up in the wake of every disaster. Like vultures circling above road kill, they swoop in on any opportunity to take advantage of the disadvantaged, capitalizing on your compassion and manipulating your emotion.
Charities and nonprofits are the perfect vehicles in which these scammers can hide in plain sight. “Charitable organizations” run the gamut from upright and successful, to well meaning but incompetent, to corrupt, greedy and devious—and everything in between.
How do you know where a particular organization fits along this spectrum? We’d all like to think our hard-earned dollars are going to be used for the highest good, but how do we really know?

Many Charities Are NOT Above Lying and Cheating to Get Your Money

The Tampa Bay Times and the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) partnered with CNN in a yearlong investigation to evaluate America’s worst charities and created a list of the 50 worst.
The results of their investigation are shocking, in terms of the measures some people will sink to in the name of profit. Take Kids Wish Network, for example. Kids Wish Network tops the list of the 50 Worst Charities, giving nearly $110 million to corporate solicitors and massaging donations with a variety of unsavory tactics.1
For example, Kids Wish did what many devious organizations do: it adopted a name that mimics a well-known charity in order to fool donors—in this case, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America.
Every year, Kids Wish Network raises millions of dollars in donations supposedly to help dying children and their families. But for every dollar donated, only 3 cents actually goes to those children and families.
The other 97 cents goes into the bank accounts of the company’s operators, and for-profit companies hired by Kids Wish to drum up donations. I wish I could say Kids Wish was an isolated case, but unfortunately, they are just one of many.
According to CNN:
“In the past decade alone, Kids Wish has channeled nearly $110 million donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors. An additional $4.8 million has gone to pay the charity's founder and his own consulting firms. No charity in the nation has siphoned more money away from the needy over a longer period of time.”

Is Your Favorite Charity on This List?

To identify America's 50 worst charities, the Times and CIR examined tens of thousands of pages of public government records from 36 states. They were looking for a specific kind of charity—those writing fat checks to for-profit corporations to raise the vast majority of their donations, year in and year out. Of course, the more money that’s given to solicitors, the less that is used for direct aid.
Several watchdog organizations say charities should spend no more than 35 percent of the money they raise on fund-raising expenses. However, the investigation identified hundreds of charities giving their hired solicitors more than twice that much—often more than two-thirds of the take. Investigators found these organizations to be rampant with fraud, waste and mismanagement.
Data from this investigation show the worst charities devote less than four percent to direct cash aid. Some gave even less, and five on the list gave zero percent. The top 10 worst charities are listed in the following table, alongside the percentage each spent on direct cash aid.2
  Name Total Raised by Solicitors Total Paid to Solicitors Percentage Spent on Direct Cash Aid
Kids Wish Network $127.8 million $109.8 million 2.5%
Cancer Fund of America 98 million 80.4 million 0.9%
Children’s Wish Foundation 96.8 million 63.6 million 10.8%
American Breast Cancer Foundation 80.8 million 59.8 million 5.3%
Firefighters Charitable Foundation 63.8 million 54.7 million 8.4%
Breast Cancer Relief Foundation 63.9 million 44.8 million 2.2%
International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO 57.2 million 41.4 million 0.5%
National Veterans Services Fund 70.2 million 36.9 million 7.8%
American Association of State Troopers 45 million 36 million 8.6%
Children’s Cancer Fund of America 37.5 million 29.2 million 5.3%

Nonprofit Applications Given a Free Pass by IRS

Even some very large, notable nonprofits have been known to engage in unsavory and outright unethical behaviors, managing to pull the wool over the public eye. Ken Stern, author of With Charity for All and former CEO of NPR, is very critical of many large charitable organizations, including the American Red Cross and D.A.R.E.
Some nonprofits excel in collecting donations but fail miserably when it comes to distribution, such as the American Red Cross’s bungled 9/11 Fund3 and disastrous deployment of aid and personnel in response to the 9/11 disaster. In an LA Times article, Ken Stern wrote the following4:
“In brief, its response was, well, disastrous. Material and personnel were deployed to the wrong places. Logistics broke down so badly that the organization was unable to get supplies, volunteers, food or cots for first responders quickly to the Pentagon — which was all of 2 miles from its national headquarters and emergency response center.”
Part of the problem is the incredible lack of accountability by the IRS when it comes to charitable organizations. Stern reports that, according to a Stanford study, the IRS approves more than 99.8 percent of all charity applications. Almost anyone with a stamped government form can be a “charity.” Research shows that many nonprofit hospitals are no more charitable than for-profit hospitals, and far LESS charitable than government hospitals. The system is deeply flawed from the get-go.

The New York Stock Exchange Is a Nonprofit?

You may be shocked at some of the organizations managing to finagle nonprofit status, hitching them a free ride on the tax-exempt train. For example, until recently, the New York Stock Exchange was a nonprofit entity enjoying a tax exemption and awarding its CEO, Richard Grasso, a $140 million salary package in 2003. And then there are tax-exempt “social welfare” organizations that funnel millions of dollars in donations into electoral campaigns. One of the most prominent is American Crossroads, founded by GOP rock star Karl Rove, but similar groups are scattered across the political map.
You can’t assume well-known charitable organizations are acting in your best interest, despite what you may hear in the media. For example, in the case of some large cancer charities, your money will go toward research to create toxic and sometimes deadly cancer drugs, questionable screening programs like mammography, and into the bank accounts of its numerous well-paid executives, as opposed to educating the public about true cancer prevention. Susan G. Komen and the American Cancer Society are prime examples. And the American Dietetic Association (ADA) is heavily sponsored by junk-food industry giants, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mars and Kellogg. So, how can you separate the angels from the demons when a charity calls?

Tips to Help You Avoid Being Scammed

Although your family may want to enjoy eating dinner in peace, politicians and charities are exempt from Federal “do-not-call” laws. However, telemarketing outfits calling on behalf of a charity DO have to honor do-not-call lists—and can be fined for failing to do so.
NEVER give out your credit card or banking information over the phone, and NEVER donate if you’re feeling pressured.
Following a few specific guidelines will help you navigate your way through a charity call, without falling victim to a scammer. Charity Navigator and the Center for Investigative Reporting list five basic strategies. For more detailed information, please visit their websites as both have helpful articles on this topic.5,6
  • Find Out Exactly Who's Calling: Ask if the caller is a telemarketer or a volunteer or employee of the charity itself.
  • Ask Where Your Donation Goes. By law, the caller must tell you how much of your donation will actually end up with the charity.
  • Get It In Writing. Ask to be sent a copy of the charity’s annual report or a brochure about their organization.
  • Do Some Research. Tell the caller you will get back to them—ask for their organization’s name, address and phone number. Don’t donate without first doing your due diligence.
  • Eliminate the Middleman. If you suspect it’s a telemarketer on the phone but you wish to support the charity, contact the charity directly to make your donation.

Resources for Finding Good Charities

A number of excellent online services can help you find the best charities, or check out someone claiming to be one. You may find the following websites quite helpful:
  • Charity Navigator: Browse charities by state or city or by ratings; has several Top 10 lists and informative articles.
  • GuideStar: Another resource to check out a charity, searchable by state or city; you can also read or submit charity reviews.
  • CharityWatch (American Institute of Philanthropy): Allows you to search for top-rated charities by your issue of interest/cause; each charity is graded on the A-F scale.
  • GiveWell: A unique site that offers in-depth charity research, resulting in a VERY short list of recommendations for charities that meet their specific (and very rigid) criteria; their end goal is to determine which charities provide “maximum impact.” Very interesting and innovative company, which is a nonprofit itself.

My Top 10 Favorite Charities

Your health liberty is seriously being threatened by increased pressure from pharmaceutical, medical, and other lobbyists promoting practices such as mandatory vaccinations, fluoridation, mercury amalgams, genetically modified foods, unsustainable farming, and other practices that are damaging to your health.
In order to increase world impact and effect change more quickly, formed a partnership with a number of like-missioned agencies to advocate and campaign for the freedom of individuals to make personal health decisions, and to increase access to unbiased and accurate health information. Health Liberty is a nonprofit coalition between, National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), Fluoride Action Network (FAN), Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), Organic Consumers Association (OCA), and Consumers for Dental Choice.
Each of these partner-organizations was chosen due to its rich history of advocacy, active campaigning for change, and commitment to preserving your access to health information and freedom of choice. The following table lists those five organizations, as well as five more that I actively support.
My Top 10 Favorite Charities
1.  Food Democracy Now!
2.  Campaign for Mercury Free Dentistry
3.  Fluoride Action Network
4.  National Vaccine Information Center
5.  Institute for Responsible Technology
6.  Organic Consumer’s Association
7.  Cornucopia Institute
8.  Vitamin D Council
9.  Grassroots Health D*Action
10.  Alliance for Natural Health


Gold gains, snapping six-session losing streak

By Saumya Vaishampayan and Carla Mozee, MarketWatch
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Gold futures gained modestly on Wednesday after six straight sessions of losses, as investors continued to wonder when the Federal Reserve would begin to scale back stimulus.
Gold for December delivery GCZ3 +0.20%  added $2.80, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,285.30 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

AFP/Getty Images Enlarge Image
Gold snaps six-session losing streak.
The U.S. dollar fell broadly on Wednesday.
“Gold appears to be continuing its sensitivity to the link between Fed intentions and the vulnerability of the dollar,” said Jonathan Citrin, founder and executive chairman of Citrin Group, in emailed comments.
“As the global reserve currency declines due to curbed expectations of Fed tightening, the metal is becoming more attractive,” he said.
Cleveland Fed President Sandra Pianalto said the central bank could begin to slow its monthly asset purchases if the labor market continues to improve, without giving hints about timing. Investors have been watching for clues on when the Fed could begin to slow its monthly asset purchases of $85 billion, especially since its latest monetary-policy statement made no mention of a timeline. Stimulus from the Fed has been seen as a benefit for gold prices.
“Traders are watching the Fed and dollar under a microscope, while investors are all too happy to stay on the metals sideline,” said Citrin.
Adam Grimes, chief investment officer of Waverly Advisors, said gold futures could ultimately fall to the mid-$800 level, although such a decline is unlikely to be achieved in one selloff.
“We would expect to see a controlled, extended downtrend, which could take a year to play out,” said Grimes.
Metals action on Tuesday included a fall in December gold of $19.90, or 1.5%, with losses accelerating after two Federal Reserve officials said they expect the central bank to reduce its asset purchases this year.
Mostly bullish recent U.S. data have “deterred investors from creating new longs,” or bets for higher gold prices, VTB Capital analyst Andrey Kryuchenkov told clients on Tuesday. 
There’s also been liquidation on exchange-traded funds’ long positions, “with only opportunistic buying on the lows in the past week, while physical flows still exert a subdued influence on prices,” he said.
Chicago Fed Bank President Charles Evans said Tuesday the Fed is “quite likely” to begin slowing the pace of monthly bond buying by year’s end. Separately, Atlanta Fed Bank President Dennis Lockhart said tapering of monetary stimulus, or quantitative easing, could be announced at any of this year’s remaining policy meetings.
But the July employment report last week showing the economy added only 162,000 jobs also created uncertainty about the tapering time frame, as weakness in the labor market suggested to many that the economy remains in need of monetary aid from the Fed. Even so, among outside economists, Goldman Sachs said it expects a move in September.
The September meeting is “still looking like a good starting place” for tapering, said Kryuchenkov. “In any case, the upside in gold will be particularly limited if numbers continue to improve, while [quantitative-easing] uncertainty will fuel further jittery trading ahead of the autumn.”
Elsewhere in the metals complex Wednesday, September silver SIU3 +1.01%  shed 1 cents to settle at $19.51 an ounce and October platinum PLV3 +0.65%  added $10.50, or 0.7%, to $1,438.30 an ounce.
September copper HGU3 +2.36%  ended unchanged at $3.17 a pound, and September palladium PAU3 +0.66%  gained 35 cents, or 0.1%, to settle at $723.15 an ounce.
Saumya Vaishampayan is a MarketWatch reporter based in New York. You can find her on Twitter @saumvaish. Carla Mozee is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @MWMozee.

Where Obamacare premiums will soar

obamacare premiums rise Residents in some states will see premiums increase under Obamacare.

Get ready to shell out more money for individual health insurance under Obamacare ... in some states, that is.

While many residents in New York and California may see sizable decreases in their premiums, Americans in many places could face significant increases if they buy insurance through state-based exchanges next year.

That's because these people live in states where insurers were allowed to sell bare-bones plans and exclude the sick, which has kept costs down. Under Obamacare, insurers must offer a package of essential benefits -- including maternity, mental health and medications -- and must cover all who apply. But more comprehensive coverage may lead to more expensive insurance plans.
Under Obamacare, all Americans must have insurance coverage starting in 2014 or face penalties of $95 or 1% of family income, whichever is greater. Enrollment in the exchanges begins October 1, with coverage kicking in in January. Plans will come in four tiers, ranging from bronze to platinum.
Some lightly regulated states, including Indiana, Ohio, Florida and South Carolina, have recently released preliminary rate information highlighting steep price increases. Unlike the blue states of California and New York, these are Republican-led states that have strongly opposed the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is officially known.
Related: I'm signing up for Obamacare
Comparing this year's and next year's plans isn't easy because the structure of the plans is so different. Each state comes up with its own method.
Behind the numbers in 3 key states. In Florida, for instance, officials constructed a hypothetical silver-level plan based on the offerings available today. Then they looked at how the cost of that plan compares to the average silver plan that will be available on the exchange. Florida found premiums will rise between 7.6% and 58.8%, depending on the insurer. The average increase would be 35%.
The main driver of the premium increases is the Obamacare mandate that coverage be offered to everyone, said Kevin McCarty, Florida's insurance commissioner. There are just short of a million enrollees in the individual market in Florida, while 3.8 million are uninsured. The state does not allow new entrants into a "high-risk pool," which provides coverage to the sick.
"People who are in their 50s with high blood pressure have no coverage options," he said.
Ohio, meanwhile, said there would be an average increase of 41% by comparing a trade association's report of premiums for all plans available today with the average premium expected on the exchange.
Indiana officials said prices would rise an average of 72%. But they were looking at the cost of providing care, not actual premiums.
All of these rate hikes must still be reviewed by the federal government and do not take into account the fact that Americans with incomes up to $45,960 for an individual and $94,200 for a family of four will be eligible for federal subsidies.
So why aren't there such big premium increases in other states? New York, for example, already required that insurers provide comprehensive coverage to all who apply. Rates there could fall by half since the pool will expand to include many younger, healthier residents under Obamacare. But New York is more the exception than the rule, experts said.
Rate hikes depend on age and gender. To give consumers a better idea of how premiums will change, CNNMoney took a look at the plans provided by one insurer: Physicians Health Plan of Northern Indiana.
Our analysis found that 21-year-old men will pay a lot more for an exchange plan, but 42-year-old women and 62-year-old men will shell out less for a silver-level plan that comes with a $2,500 deductible and a roughly $25 co-pay for office visits.
Under this scenario, a young man's monthly rate will rise to $214 on the exchange next year, up 63% from today. The woman, however, will pay $284, a drop of more than 7%, while the older man will be charged $615, a nearly 6% decrease. This is because Obamacare requires that women pay the same amount as men and does not allow insurers to charge older participants more than three times the young.
Physicians Health expects most enrollees to sign up for bronze or silver plans, which have lower monthly premiums but carry higher deductibles and co-pays, according to Jim Brunnemer, the insurer's chief financial officer. Today, its members typically buy high deductible plans.
To be sure, there are some states where premiums will fall or come in lower than expected. The Obama administration pointed to a recent Department of Health and Human Services study of 11 states with publicly available premium data that showed rates are below Congressional Budget Office projections.
"When the marketplaces open on Oct. 1, plans will have to compete side by side, and consumers will be able to choose the one that best fits their budget and needs," said Joanne Peters, a department spokeswoman.
While premiums may go up in other states, Obamacare advocates say people will receive more comprehensive coverage. Also, the law limits the amount people have to pay out-of-pocket for deductibles and co-pays to $6,350 in 2014.
"A lot of people will get more for their money," said Sarah Lueck, senior policy analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "Even people paying a higher rate will benefit. It will be a big change in most states." To top of page

The New Economy is the No Jobs Economy

One of my most popular columns was about escaping from the Matrix existence in which Americans live. It is a world of disinformation and misinformation in which facts are fiction, and abstract theories are substituted for empirical reality.
Official government statistics are make-believe. The government makes inflation and unemployment disappear by how it defines inflation and unemployment, and it makes the economy grow by how it defines Gross Domestic Product. The definitional basis determines the statistical result.
For example, in his report on the official GDP revisions released July 31, John Williams ( writes that “academic theories, often with strong political biases, have been used to alter the GDP model over the years, resulting in “Pollyanna Creep,” where changes made to the series invariably have had the effect of upping near-term economic growth.”  In other words, definitional changes produce economic growth whether or not the economy produces economic growth.
Inflation is made to disappear by substituting lower priced items for higher priced items and by defining price rises as quality improvements. Thus, the higher prices don’t count as inflation.
Unemployment disappears by defining discouraged workers who cannot find employment as people who are no longer in the work force.  They simply are disappeared out of the ranks of the unemployed. It reminds me of Punjab’s magic blanket in the old cartoon strip, “Little Orphan Annie.” Punjab disposed of problem people by covering them with his blanket, or perhaps it was a rug, and they disappeared.
Despite the absurdity of the government’s data, Wall Street awaits with baited breath each new release to decide whether markets should go up or down or stay the same.
In other words, the financial markets themselves take guidance from make believe numbers. In short, capitalism is rudderless.  It has no reliable indicators. Everything is rigged to support the Matrix which keeps the population in a stupor.
Certainly the monthly payroll jobs number is misconstrued and has undeserved influence. If the economy is down, a jobs number significantly higher than the approximately 130,000 new jobs required to stay even with population growth is seen as a beacon of recovery. But the number is so distorted, as John Williams explains, by shifting and unstable seasonal adjustments and an average monthly add-on of 52,000 jobs from the “birth-death” model that no one really knows what the number is. Only a statistician like John Williams who is very familiar with the government’s data procedures can make much sense from the official statistics.
I take a simpler approach.  I look at where the reported jobs are alleged to be.  In the 21st century, the jobs created by “the world’s largest economy” have been lowly-paid, non-tradable, domestic service third world jobs.  Manufacturing and tradable professional service jobs such as software engineering have been moved offshore to low-wage, low-salary locations. The savings in labor costs have enriched corporate executives, Wall Street,  and shareholders.
I have made this point monthly for many years, and it has had no effect on economists, policymakers, money managers, or financial markets, all of which continue in their make-believe world of make-believe reality.
Here we go, one more time. Of the 161,000 reported private sector jobs gained in July, 157,000 or 97.5 percent, are in non-tradable domestic services. A non-tradable service is a job that produces services that cannot be exported, such as waitresses, bartenders, hospital orderlies, retail clerks, warehousemen. Thus, no matter how large the number might be, it cannot reduce the huge US trade deficit. Most of these jobs are part-time jobs without health or pension benefits. People in these jobs tend to live hand-to-mouth. These jobs do not produce sufficient income to drive a consumer economy.
Of these 157,000 reported jobs, 63,000 or 40 percent are reported to be in trade, transportation, and utilities. Of these 63,000 jobs, 60,500 of them or 96 percent are in wholesale and retail trade.
Before we go to the next category, ask yourself if you believe that in an economy that has had no recovery, in which there are no new manufacturing or construction jobs, in which the labor force participation rate is down, in which shopping center parking lots are far from full, stores with such a poor sales outlook would hire so many people in July?
Financial activities account for 15,000 of the reported new jobs. The Federal Reserve accounted for 80 percent of these jobs and bill collectors for the rest.
Professional and business services accounted for 36,000 of the new reported jobs. About half of these jobs were temporary help services and services to buildings and dwellings.
Health care and social assistance accounted for 8,300 jobs of which ambulatory health care services comprised 80 percent.
Waitresses and bartenders contributed 38,400 jobs. I have previously noted the anomaly of a population without good employment prospects or rising incomes going out to eat and to drink more and more often, so often that waitresses and bartenders comprise each and every month a significant percentage of the new employees.
In her commissioner’s statement accompanying the jobs report, Erica Groshen acknowledges that 8,200,000 or 6 percent of the currently employed are “involuntary part-time workers” who cannot find full-time employment.
The July 2013 payroll employment level of 136,038,000 stands 2,018,000 below the employment level in January 2008, which was 5 years and 7 months ago. If it requires 130,000 new jobs each month to keep employment equal with population growth, the US economy is behind by 10,728,000 jobs.  These missing jobs show up in the declining labor force participation rate and the large number of discouraged workers who are no longer counted as unemployed.
Obviously, there is no economic recovery, despite the reporting of such by the presstitute financial press.  Most likely the US economy is sinking further into a depression.  The numerous indicators of economic collapse are ignored by economists and financial media busy at work weaving the Matrix to support The Lie.
As former executives of the “banks too big to fail” and their proteges run the US Treasury, the financial regulatory agencies, and the Federal Reserve, US economic policy has been focused on bailing out the excessively large banks created by mindless deregulation. The purpose of US economic policy is to save the large banks from their bad bets on poorly understood new financial instruments in the gambling casino created by deregulation.
The architects of financial deregulation, such as former Senator Phil Graham and President Bill Clinton were rewarded for their service with fortunes of their own. The free market dupes, who aided and abetted Bill and Phil and misrepresented the repeal of financial stability as a new beginning for laissez faire capitalism, still pretend that the crisis resulted from Congress requiring banks to make mortgage loans to poor black people who could not pay.
The lack of reality in America is extreme. I do not believe anything like it has ever existed in the modern world. Essentially, no one in government or out understands anything.
The combination of the power of vested interests with ideological thinking remote from empirical reality is destroying the US economy and the economic prospects of the American people.  The employment profile of the US economy is increasingly that of a third world country. Economic security, except for the rich, has disappeared. A large and growing percentage of the population experiences the insecurity of poverty or near-poverty, while the waiting lists for $50 million yachts expands. The distribution of income is so skewed upward that people of enormous wealth bid up the prices of used Ferraris from the 1950s and 1960s to $12,000,000 and $35,000,000.  I can remember when a used Ferrari was something that a person with a moderate income could afford to purchase. I have a friend who bought and sold for $9,000 in the 1960s the Ferrari that last sold for $35 million.
Detroit, once the fourth largest American city and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world, is bankrupt. The populations of the cities that once were America’s thriving manufacturing base are declining. Cleveland has boarded up homes. St. Louis has 20 percent of its homes vacant. Welfare is under attack by the Republicans and even some Democrats as the plight of the population worsens and despair rises.
Washington only responds to the half dozen powerful, rich private interest groups that fund election campaigns. The American people have no one to represent them. The American people have been placed outside the system of “democratic capitalism” which is only for the one percent.
As Jeffrey St. Clair has made clear, America no longer has a left-wing. America is a right-wing world in which people, including “progressives” have been brainwashed into  perceiving reality in racial contrast: the whites are well off and the blacks are poor and destitute.
This is the false reality of the Matrix. As whites are a larger percentage of the population than blacks, there are more poor whites than poor blacks. Moreover, the percentage of poor whites is growing. The way the jobs-offshoring, bail out the rich, US economy operates today makes every one poor, including the remnants of America’s once flourishing middle class. It is not a racial issue.  It is a class issue. A few people have the power, and they are driving everyone else into the ground.  The US government is their agent.
So go wave the flag, support the troops, believe the government’s and media’s lies, but unless you are the well-connected one percent, don’t expect any future for your children. You have been sold out by “your” government. Obama is making pretty speeches, but only the stupid will be fooled.
Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book The Failure of Laissez-Faire Capitalism. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format.
Republished from: Counterpunch

Wall Street and the Hegelian Dialectic

These days, describing the big banks as criminal syndicates extorting billions from the public is hardly sticking one’s head above the parapet: the foreclosures scandal, in which GMAC, Bank of America, CitiBank, JPMorganChase and others ignored banking laws in their fervour to throw people out of their homes as quickly as possible, was just one example of a long list of  the many crimes of the financial sector, which by now has become so completely deregulated that its players are acting not just with impunity from any kind of prosecution but with the active assistance of the governments of the West.
The political establishment, in its subservience to the banking elites, decided to deal with the financial mess (well, it’s a mess for the common man – the banks on the other hand are finding the situation incredibly lucrative) by implementing wide-ranging austerity measures, designed to hit the poorest hardest. British Chancellor George Osborne announced a cut of £7 billion from the benefits of the British poor – the same amount the bankers responsible for the crisis awarded themselves in bonuses. One wonders how much it’ll take before such brazen disregard for equitable financial policies will be met with violence on the streets in Britain and America – after all, the French, Belgians, Greeks and Spanish aren’t taking these cuts lying down (although the latter two know where this is heading, having lived under brutal dictatorships in living memory).
This isn’t simply a case of bad economic planning: the governments of the Western world – at the behest of the big banks – are carrying out an orchestrated looting of public money as part of a deliberate redistribution of wealth into fewer hands, something that has been happening for decades. Wall Street banks engaged in property tax collection, buying up thousands of tax liens, and making huge profits by hitting homeowners with predatory interest, absurd penalties and extortionate legal fees targeting the poor and the elderly. It’s another attack on top of cuts to social spending, the theft of pensions and the refusal on the part of the banks to issue new loans to the little people, while at the same time ‘defense’ spending reaches new heights.
None of which should come as a surprise to anyone who understands the nature of central banking. What’s happening in the rich Western nations is no different to what the IMF and World Bank have done to third world nations for decades with their Structural Adjustment Programs, which instigated austerity measures, currency devaluation and privatization of state-owned enterprises leading to massive increases in poverty and often violent repression on the part of the state. It’s no coincidence that all the elements of a police state have been put into place in the US and Europe – the elite bankers and their political co-conspirators are well aware of the impending civil unrest stemming from their policies and are more than prepared to deal with it, be it with soft or hard power.
Nothing is more profitable to the big banks than war. One only has to look at the disparity between spending on social programs and the war machine to understand where priorities lie – cutting back on illegal wars and imperialistic expansion clearly isn’t an option for the elites. Given that the 20th century can be viewed as one long process of war profiteering and resource theft, this is hardly surprising. But few people realize quite how deeply this ideology of war and exploitation runs. The history of the major world wars of the last century has been carefully rewritten to cover up the role of the big Wall Street banks: it is hardly common knowledge quite how orchestrated and carefully planned these conflicts were, let alone the extent to which major financial institutions and industrialists were instrumental in both setting up and sustaining the opposing sides of the wars.
Historian Antony Sutton, who died in 2002, has outlined in great detail the extent to which wars are manipulated to maximize profits for bankers and industrialists. In the following interviews he discusses the role of Wall Street in the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party, and how these events are intertwined with America’s “Secret Establishment”, centering around the Skull and Bones secret society, heavily influenced by philosopher Georg Hegel’s dialectical process.

Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution


Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler


America’s Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull and Bones

It’s not hard to see how the elites are using the Hegelian Dialectic today – what the Trilateral Commission called “conflict management” is self-evident in the concept of “disaster capitalism,” while the dialectic process of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, which characterised Hegel’s thinking, is apparent in the manner in which enemies are carefully manufactured: the backbone of the “War on Terror” and the creation of conflict which can then be steered towards a resolution favourable to the elites. While the mainstream media repeatedly informs us how we’re fighting the “evil” Taliban, for instance, the US hires warlords, Taliban commanders and even Iranian spies to provide security at vulnerable US military outposts in Afghanistan.
It is not only Hegel’s dialectic process that informs the worldview of the elite planners, with the creation and resolution of crises – his influence on the political philosophy of the top planners extends also to his championing of the power of the State over the individual, and how the function of the latter is viewed entirely through the prism of the supremacy of the former. To Hegel, the State was the “Divine Idea”:
“It must be understood that the State is the realization of Freedom, i.e. of the absolute final aim, and that it exists for its own sake. It must further be understood that all the worth which the human being possesses – all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State.”
It’s not hard to see how this principle has manifested itself in the rapid expansion of State power and the erosion of the individual’s rights across the globe. Nor is it hard to see how the State uses war to consolidate its power.
As Hegel said,
“War has the deep meaning that by it the ethical health of nations is preserved and their finite aims uprooted. And as the winds which sweep over the ocean prevent decay that would result from its perpetual calm, so war protects the people from the corruption which an everlasting peace would bring upon it. History shows phases which illustrate how successful wars have checked internal unrest and have strengthened the entire stability of the State.”
About the Author
Andrew Dilks writes on culture and politics at He is the author of Goliath.
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

Confessions of an Economic Hitman

A confessional by a former global banker, John Perkins, on the use of usury to enslave independent nations by the IMF, World Bank and other agencies. As part of their plan, the bankers use assassination, slander, and coups to maintain their positions of power and to prevent the truth about their corruption from reaching the public.  Most of the imperialism of the 20th and 21st century by “Western” countries is really the result of globalist bankers’ “aid” to third world countries – money that the bankers then force to be spent on “development” projects led by multinational corporations.  This is an excerpt from Zeitgeist 2.

Paul B. Farrell: Big Banks Conspiracy Is Destroying America – Imagine 100 Goldman Sachs Banks Running America And The World. IT’S HAPPENING. Forget Politicians, Big Banks Rule The World

Imagine 100 Goldman Sachs banks running America and the world. It’s happening. Forget politicians, Big Banks rule the world.
It was just a few years ago in “The Great American Bubble Machine,” a Rolling Stone feature, that Goldman was indicted by Matt Taibbi: “The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
Yes, till recently Goldman Sachs was boss, everywhere, the “world’s most powerful bank.” Taibbi: “From tech stocks to high gas prices, Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression.” What an indictment.
Today every bank in the world is a Goldman wannabe. That’s capitalism at its peak. All competing to be the world’s most powerful bank. Seriously, look around: Your world really is dominated by this amazing new innovation emerging from capitalism — a bizarre conspiracy of Big Banks, maybe a hundred Goldman wannabes. These new Big Bank capitalists are rewriting the history of the world.
But we’re getting ahead of the story. Let’s review Goldman Sachs role in creating this new Big Banks Conspiracy.

Goldman Sachs, now the role-model for all global Big Banks

In “The Great Bubble Machine,” Taibbi says Goldman was the mastermind behind every great bubble in American history since it was founded in 1869 by Marcus Goldman and his son-in-law Samuel Sachs. Yes, one bank gets blamed for America’s amazing history: Bubble 1: the Great Depression. 2: tech stocks. 3: the housing craze. 4: $4 a gallon gas. 5: rigging the bailout … and now the latest Bubble 6: Global Warming.
Example: early on in this indictment, Taibbi focused on a chapter in John Kenneth Galbraith’s classic “The Great Crash, 1929,” titled “In Goldman Sachs We Trust” where the Harvard economist singles out Goldman’s “Blue Ridge and Shenandoah trusts as classic examples of the insanity of leverage-based investment. The trusts, he wrote, were a major cause of the market’s historic crash; in today’s dollars, the losses the bank suffered totaled $475 billion.”
That’s almost a half trillion in today’s dollars, prompting Galbraith to add: “It is difficult not to marvel at the imagination which was implicit in this gargantuan insanity … If there must be madness, something may be said for having it on a heroic scale.”
That’s Goldman Sachs key to success, crazy like a big fox, a mad money machine, an awesome Bubble Machine, making history, dominating the world from America.

Goldman Sachs mantra for domination: ‘Madness on a heroic scale’

Yes, Goldman Sachs’s reputation for over a century has been grown with this “madness on a heroic scale,” winning big because of its “gargantuan insanity,” constantly pushing the boundaries of ethics, integrity and morality while year after year since 1869 this “great vampire squid” keeps winning big.
So Goldman Sachs is the gold standard against which all other banks must compete, the front-runner in profits and wealth creation, the role model that defined the moral code necessary for competing in today’s financial world.
Goldman possesses a certain bold madness and borderline ethical behavior that today has not only been adopted by all its competitors on Wall Street but has also become the moral code running the collective brain of capitalists everywhere, corporate CEOs and Washington politicians.
And today it is being rapidly adopted by business and political leaders across the developed world, wannabes all competing, fighting to be the next Goldman Sachs.

All Big Banks now competing to be next Goldman Bubble Machine

Get it? Every bank in the world is now a Goldman wannabe. A subtle conspiracy. That’s globalization and capitalism at its best, all competing for a piece of the action, for the top spot formerly held by Goldman Sachs. Yes, a few short years ago Goldman Sachs was “the world’s most powerful investment bank.”
Today’s world includes four Wall Street banks each with assets over $1 trillion, each more than Goldman. Plus eight other big global banks each have over $2 trillion total assets, including, among the 100 largest, Barclays, HSBC, Deutsche, ICB-China and Japan’s Mitsubishi.
Yes, this new world is changing fast. Back in 2008 the world’s financial banks were in ruins. Wall Street sunk into virtually bankruptcy. Goldman and its Wall Street too-big-to-fail co-conspirators had trashed the global economy, triggered a virtual depression, and Wall Street’s casinos lost over $10 trillion of Main Street retirement funds.
But thanks to their Trojan Horse in Washington, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, a former Goldman Sachs CEO, the banks were able to deceive, con and manipulate Congress into bailing out not only Paulson’s old firm, but all his buddies in the Wall Street banking community, by giving away over $30 trillion of free cheap money, to be paid for by future generations of taxpayers, investors and a high-unemployment, weak recovery.
Yes, the Goldman Bubble Machine phenomenon turned into a rapidly spreading virus after 2008, infecting all banks worldwide. How? Pure capitalism, competition grounded in basic human psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience research.
As we wrote recently, this “moral bankruptcy” virus was hard-wired in the collective brain of all the world’s bankers — a virus that began a long time ago in the Goldman Bubble Machine and now, since the banking industry’s 2008 near-death experience, has morphed into the new Big Banks Conspiracy that’s taken over the world.

Mass corruption is now the ‘new normal’ for global Big Banks

Don’t believe me? Any doubts about the world domination trend driving the Big Banks Conspiracy, then go to “The Big Picture,” one of the world’s leading financial blogs run by Barry Ritholtz, author of “Bailout Nation.” Last week he posted a powerful “Washington’s Blog” on the “Manipulation” that’s is a pandemic of corruption across America and the global banking world. That analysis of “Manipulation” is brilliant. Here’s a summary:
But before you read: You must mentally translate all references to “manipulation” into what they really mean, phrases like: corruption, scam, con job, gaming, cheat, fraud, price-fixing. Why? Because that is the real meaning: Wall Street and the world’s Big Banks are not merely engaged in “manipulations” common in commercial transactions.
The banking industry is engaged in a subtle conspiracy of unethical, immoral, dishonest, corrupt, illegal, and outright criminal behavior, for profits … cheating investors and taxpayers, conning the government, buying off politicians and setting America up for a massive crash, bigger than 2000 and 2008 combined. Their rationale? That’s the logical next phase for capitalism!
Far worse, this dark behavior has already metastasized far beyond the pre-2008 actions of the Goldman Sachs Bubble Machine. Today this behavior is everywhere. “Everything is rigged.” This corrupt behavior is so pervasive among banks, even the American people seem to accept it as part of our economic “new normal.”
Yes, this behavior is so common not only do bankers believe it is essential to compete in today’s capitalist world, their clients in Corporate America and throughout the global business world accept it.

Big Bank Conspiracy has ‘broken virtually every law on the books’

Today, “big banks manipulate every market they touch … huge government subsidies were used for speculation … throwing money at banks doesn’t help the economy.” In fact, despite his delusion of saving the world economy, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s policies were “a major source of the crisis.” To stabilize the economy we need to “break up the banks,” but unfortunately “the big banks own D.C. politicians.”
The Washington’s Blog on “The Big Picture” is the must-read of 2013. exposing how Wall Street and the banking world are taking over America. Read some of their more than 50 links to all the toxic examples of the banking conspiracy driving our world to the third market crash of the 21st century, a collapse of the economy and the Great Depression II.
Beyond the tens of millions of overcharges in energy markets, Wall Street’s “Big Banks have manipulated virtually every other market as well — both in the financial sector and the real economy — and broken virtually every law on the books.” Yes, they’re corrupt.
Here are more examples of the Big Banks Conspiracy’s illegal manipulations: They “have been conspiring for decades to manipulate commodity prices” with a wholesale “takeover of the real economy as well as the financial system.” Their conspiracy includes widespread insider trading … rigging Libor interest rates for $800 trillion in assets, which still hasn’t stopped … price-fixing the $1,200 trillion derivatives market … currency markets are “massively rigged” … gold, silver and oil prices are illegally fixed … Today virtually “everything can be manipulated through high-frequency trading … stocks, bonds, options, currencies and commodities.”
The 50-plus examples of the Big Banks Conspiracy also includes: Price-fixing of billions in fraud against local governments and pension funds … bogus fees to store gold bullion, without ever owning gold … frauds in mortgage origination fees … cheating homeowners in foreclosures … charging unlawful mortgage fees … pushing bad investment deals “then betting against the same investments.” … illegal front-running and “wash trades” … “participating in various Ponzi schemes” … “cooking their books” … and “bribing and bullying rating agencies to inflate ratings on their risky investments.”
Bottom line: Goldman Sachs has become just another second-stringer in the new global Big Banks Conspiracy as capitalism appears about to self-destruct Adam Smith’s ideal and trigger the third major market crash of the 21st century, followed by a collapse of the economy, driving America and the world deep into a new Great Depression. Be prepared.
Paul B. Farrell is a MarketWatch columnist based in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Follow him on Twitter @MKTWFarrell.

Uh Oh ! Small Businesses Can’t Avoid Obamacare by Switching to Part Time Workers!

They are changing the rules as they go ….Only the Force of the American People Will Stop this Madness!

US Taxpayers Paid More To Israeli Defense Budget Than Israelis

The Israeli army’s chief of staff states that in the past three years, “US taxpayers have contributed more to the Israeli defense budget than Israeli taxpayers,” according to a report in the Jerusalem Post, a prominent Israeli newspaper.

According to the report, Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi made the statement during a Ashkenazispeech on September 11th. In it he emphasized: “We must preserve ties with the United States. I believe this is a security necessity.”
According to the newspaper the speech was at the Calcalist Conference, which appears to be an annual event in Tel Aviv sponsored by the Calcalist newspaper, an Israeli Hebrew-only daily financial newspaper. It is is part of the group that publishes Yedioth Ahronoth, the largest circulation newspaper in Israel.
American taxpayers give Israel over $3 billion per year (that is equivalent to US$8 million per day), more than to any other nation, despite the fact that Israel is smaller than New Jersey and is in the top 30 richest countries in the world.

Per capita, Israelis receive $10,000 more U.S. tax money than average.

Some of the other top recipients of US tax money, Egypt and Jordan, were provided this assistance in return for diplomatic recognition of the Israeli state.
According to the Congressional Research Service, Israel is given this money in a lump sum at the beginning of the fiscal year. Americans then pay interest on money they have given to Israel, while Israel makes interest on it.
In recent years Israel has reported a lower unemployment rate than the US and a better account balance.
Ashkenazi’s statements are extremely significant, since this is the first time that an Israeli leader has pointed out that American taxpayers pay more to Israel’s defense budget than do Israelis.
If the costs of the Iraq war, which was largely pushed by Israel partisans in the Bush administration, were added into the equation, the American tax money on behalf of Israel would quite likely dwarf the amount paid by Israeli taxpayers.
Some top economists predict that the cost of the Iraq war will be $3 trillion.
Israel has a population of about 7 million people.
Today, Israel partisans are similarly pushing attacks on Iran.
Israel has frequently been accused of using American funds in violation of U.S. arms control laws.

Read further by clicking here --> Ashkenazi and War Crimes Accusations

To know the amount contributed State-wise, District-wise, County-wise or City-wise, over a 10-years period, to Military Aid to Israel is indicated on THIS INTERACTIVE MAP OF AMERICA.
Click on THIS INTERACTIVE MAP OF AMERICA to learn how much money your state will give in weapons to Israel from 2009-2018 and what that money could fund instead for community needs. Below that, you can filter the results for your Congressional district, county, and city as well.
[Note: Counties and cities with less than 20,000 people are not included in the map.]