Breaking promises

So in this story you have an old uncle who lives in a mansion outside of town.

Your uncle owns the valuable mansion outright, but has little else in the way of assets and income.

He proposes a deal. If you will provide him with money to live on, a percentage of your wages, you will be allowed to move into the mansion when you retire and he will leave the grand old house to you.

It seems like a good arrangement.

The cash for your uncle — 11.7 percent of your wages — takes a pretty big chunk out of your paycheck. But you're glad to know that you're ensuring the economic security of your older kin. And in return you have received a sacred promise that you, too, will have economic security in your retirement years.

For years the arrangement goes smoothly. Eventually your uncle discovers that the pipes in the basement of the mansion need to be replaced, and you increase your payments to 15.3 percent. Your contributions to your uncle's care now take a bigger chunk of your wages than even income tax does, but you still consider this a wise investment in both your uncle's well-being and your own future security.

Then one day you receive a letter from your uncle.

He confesses that he never actually had the pipes in the basement repaired. The resulting water damage has rendered the building unlivable and it has been condemned. He also tells you that he no longer owns the mansion. It now belongs to DiTech, which repossessed the building after he defaulted on the second and third mortgages he had taken out on the mansion. The cash from that refinancing is all gone — your uncle used all that money to pay his living expenses while he squandered all the payments you had been sending on lavish parties for his rich friends.

Your uncle thanks you for looking after him all those years and tells you not to worry about him — he's moved into the mansion of one of those rich friends and will be able to live well and party on for the rest of his days.

The letter concludes:

Best wishes and good luck with your future.

Your loving uncle,

Alan Greenspan

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  • drieux just drieux

    Why blame Green Span? he is only the Fed Chairman. There is a President who has the veto authority over what congress does with his budget proposals.
    If americans go back and remember that it was LBJ who lumped in the SSI money with the general revenue money during the Vietnam Era, and everyone has “allowed” that to continue as a quasi budget balancing gambit. So simply because the Fed Chairman is RUDE ENOUGH to note that the president’s alledge “economic thingie poo” is, well smelly, is to blame the messenger for the fact that the principle has been irresponsible.
    Go back and actually read the position that Suskind shares on where Greenspan and O’Neill were when the first rounds of tax cuts were proposed, and that it would be the Roverians and WingNuts in the OMB/CEB who would decide that any form of fiscal responsibility was just, well ‘hard’ and a political liability.

  • Darryl Pearce

    Don’t worry. I’m the last child. I’m used to gettin’ nothin’.
    –ventura county, ca

  • praktike

    Nicely done, sir.

  • Nell Lancaster

    Best wishes and good luck with your future.
    Beautiful, Fred!

  • Social Security

    My sentiments exactly….

  • Patrick (G)

    Why blame Greenspan?
    Because he played a key role in increasing Social Security tax to its current levels, in the mid 80s.
    Supposedly to keep Social Security solvent beyond the baby boomer elephant coming down the pipeline, but which in reality financed the Reagan military buildup.

  • drieux just drieux

    Patrick, et al
    Who passes taxes in the USA? Where in the Constitution does it give the Federal Reserve Chairman the Power to Levy taxes??? For me to buy your assertion then I must also buy the position that it was by Greenspan and Greenspan alone that the 600 ship Ronald and Nancy Nuclear Yacht Club was cut down to the 300 Ship Navy under Bush(41) and it was by Greenspan and Greenspan alone that the Federal Surplus Majikally cropped up prior to Bush(43) taking office.
    I can understand that the Fans of HanoiAnnieCoulter desparately need to protect the president from ever being held accountable for any of his actions but blaming Greenspan????

  • mark

    And the dems are all crying for nationalised health care…..why don’t we just all admit it….we want to be back in the US, back in the US, back in the USSR…they could make it 100% and just get it over with

  • drieux just drieux

    An interesting approach there mark, right up till you step back and remember the Federal Export Game that the Reagan Administration offered as a way to funnel federal subsidies into corporations like Enron, to help work around the fact that americans are competing globally against companies who do not have to pay the bloating medical expenses, and leave themselves at risk in the ‘under funded pension’ space because those nations consider citizenship something worth supporting.
    But this might not be the time to talk about Haliburton, et al, since, well, that way does complicate the core problem here about whether or not the Government should be working for the people, or should it be directly commoditized so that it can be stuffed into a Hedge Fund.

  • mark

    you bring up Enron…Do the dems know that ken Lay has major links to John Kerry. His wife had Lay on the board of her foundation. Watch out for John Kerry….he may not be what he claims. Just like Bush and Cheney are not what they claimed either. We are doomed

  • drieux just drieux

    Mark, you point then is? The Heinz Foundation is a Communist Front? An Al-Qaeda Terrorits Clique?
    What is it that bothers you about the Heinz Foundation that you want to play this gag hoping that some how it’s going to majikally strengthen something?
    Because John Kerry’s wife had ‘ken lay’ on the board of a “foundation” this is suppose to mean something one way or the other? Why not get out the ‘well kerry was seen in a photograph with hanoi Jane’ – at least then we could step up and notice that right after Jane fonda went to Hanoi, that President Bush decided not to take the risk of staying on flight status and being sucked into the air operations over north vietnam….
    Come on work on it dude. If Ken Lay is an ‘issue’ it would seem that the clear and direct ties to both the former Governor of Texas, as well as to the Vice President’s “Policy” group would be the more difficult moment for folks to deal with.
    Given what the Board was doing for Enron, and the current posture that Ken Lay could not have in any way been exposed to any of Jeff Skilling or Andrew Fastow’s Dark Evil, you really do have your work cut out for you here. ESPECIALLY given that the core issue has been and remains,
    Why Blame Greenspan for what congress and the white house have done with the recommendations that were presented.