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Investment Falls Off a Cliff
Wall Street Journal Online ^ | 11/19/2012 | SUDEEP REDDY and SCOTT THURM

Posted on 11/19/2012 6:59:29 AM PST by The Sons of Liberty

U.S. companies are scaling back investment plans at the fastest pace since the recession, signaling more trouble for the economic recovery.

Half of the nation's 40 biggest publicly traded corporate spenders have announced plans to curtail capital expenditures this year or next, according to a review by The Wall Street Journal of securities filings and conference calls.

Nationwide, business investment in equipment and software—a measure of economic vitality in the corporate sector—stalled in the third quarter for the first time since early 2009. Corporate investment in new buildings has declined.

At the same time, exports are slowing or falling to such critical markets as China and the euro zone as the global economy downshifts, creating another drag on firms' expansion plans. Corporate executives say they are slowing or delaying big projects to protect profits amid easing demand and rising uncertainty. Uncertainty around the U.S. elections and federal budget policies also appear among the factors driving the investment pullback since midyear. It is unclear whether Washington will avert the so-called fiscal cliff, tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to begin Jan. 2.

Companies fear that failure to resolve the fiscal cliff will tip the economy back into recession by sapping consumer spending, damaging investor confidence and eating into corporate profits. A deal to avert the cliff could include tax-code changes, such as revamping tax breaks or rates, that hurt specific sectors.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: spending
Hussein, instead of tackling tough economic and budget problems, is instead taking a victory lap through Southeast Asia. If you're out of work, things will get much worse.
1 posted on 11/19/2012 6:59:38 AM PST by The Sons of Liberty
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To: The Sons of Liberty

2 posted on 11/19/2012 7:02:07 AM PST by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: The Sons of Liberty

My guess is that the only people who are surprised by all this are those who voted for Obozo and the Obozo administration. If one of my Principles of Econ students couldn’t see this coming, they’d have to retake the course.


3 posted on 11/19/2012 7:03:32 AM PST by econjack (Some people are as dumb as soup.)
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To: econjack

It’s not uncertainty that’s a problem. It’s all that we’re pretty sure will happen.


4 posted on 11/19/2012 7:11:10 AM PST by steve8714 (Obama's evil shown actual size.)
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To: The Sons of Liberty
Have some pity for poor Bronco 'Bama.

Not only does he inherit another mess, but this one is even worse than the last one.


5 posted on 11/19/2012 7:11:10 AM PST by Iron Munro (Robbing From The Hood and Boy Blunder - Our New Queen and King)
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To: The Sons of Liberty

We are headed into a recession regardless of whether we go off the fiscal cliff or not. The Dems want to go off the fiscal cliff so they can blame the recession on the GOP.


6 posted on 11/19/2012 7:23:26 AM PST by kabar
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To: kabar

I wanna go off the fiscal cliff because....

the hardest hit will be the lower income workers ( most of who voted for fubo )

and the even lower income workers that did not pay taxes before, are gonna be payin’ em now (most of who voted for fubo)

now it will truly be fair....

let them eat cake


7 posted on 11/19/2012 7:27:16 AM PST by joe fonebone (The clueless... they walk among us, and they vote...)
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To: The Sons of Liberty

Benghazi-Coward Obama: ” - - - “I don’t think anybody is under any illusion that - - - “
..My Oval Empty Chair is empty again.
...I always run away whenever there is a major problem that Americans expect me to work on.
....My invention of the smoke and mirrors ‘Fiscal Cliff’ was just a gimmick to extract a Bipartisan Cave-In from the RINOs, so that I can keep on spending beyond the means of their ability to generate Federal Income.
.....I really, Really, REALLY enjoy riding around in my private Corporate Jet.
......Running away from problems is the ONLY way that I am able to keep from laughing out loud in public at how much fun I’m having destroying America!
.......This is so EASY!
........Americans are the most gullible people that the World has ever known!
.........Although all folks are not equal today, my Obamanation Communism policies in the next four years will exceed the wildest dreams of me or my Father, whoever he really was.
..........At last! America will FINALLY become a third Country!

_________

LONG LIVE THE TRUE EQUALITY THAT ONLY COMES FROM OBAMANATION COMMUNISM!


8 posted on 11/19/2012 7:34:11 AM PST by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Obama"care" violates Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: Iron Munro

Actually, the recession has been over for a while now.

It had turned into a full-fledged depression some time back. Much like the United States in 1936, there were so many people who were not sophisticated enough to realize that further suppression of investment by what were then termed to be “the wealthy” was only to do even greater damage to themselves. As a consequence, the depression was at an even deeper level in 1938 than it was in 1933.

And at the depth of that depression, Social Security was introduced. The promise it offered, that individuals would be able to enjoy their “golden years” without the spectre of poverty, was to be funded by a tax that fell equally on the employer and employee. Only, it ends up that the employee pays ALL the freight on this tax, known as FICA, because it comes out of the amount the employer has set aside for the payment of wages to the individual. Social Security was always a tax program, and existed only to provide additional revenue to the Federal Treasury, as the serious payout from that supposedly “segregated” fund was much lower than the receipts. So naturally, the fund was “borrowed” and put into general revenue.

Except, it has never ever been on any repayment schedule.

And now, as a parallel, the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” is established as a NEW taxation program, only, unlike Social Security, the payout will start much sooner, and the base of the taxable sources will be much more broad than merely wage income. And of course, this revenue will simply go into the general fund, without even a pretense of creating a “segregated” fund.

The playbook never changes. And it always ends the same way, with economic conditions so precarious that nations end up in a worldwide struggle that comes finally to a shooting war.

World War II was a dress rehersal for what is coming. The big players will, willingly or otherwise, include the United States, and very likely the rift between those countries that produce energy, and those who consume it.

Nothing, and nobody, shall be “too big to fail”.


9 posted on 11/19/2012 7:41:34 AM PST by alloysteel (Bronco Bama - the cowboy who whooped up and widened the stampede.)
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To: joe fonebone

They will blame the Reps if that happens and the reason will be that the Reps would rather the middle class suffer than have the wealthy pay their share. The great unwashed will then take their ire out against the GOP in the 2014 midterms and give the Dems control back over the House.


10 posted on 11/19/2012 7:47:50 AM PST by kabar
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To: kabar

and this differs from any other day or any other issue how???

time for the voters to reap what they have sown..

let them eat cake


11 posted on 11/19/2012 8:03:18 AM PST by joe fonebone (The clueless... they walk among us, and they vote...)
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To: alloysteel
Social Security was always a tax program, and existed only to provide additional revenue to the Federal Treasury, as the serious payout from that supposedly “segregated” fund was much lower than the receipts. So naturally, the fund was “borrowed” and put into general revenue.

Except, it has never ever been on any repayment schedule.

That is not the way SS works. SS is a pay as you go system, i.e., today's workers pay for the retirement benefits of today's retirees. Whe SS was generating a "surplus," i.e., revenue exceeded benefits paid, the additional revenue was deposited into the General Fund. Treasury issued a non-market, interest bearing T-Bill in the amount of the "surplus" and deposited it into the SSTF.

The SSTF currently contains $2.6 trillion, which is now being used to make up the shortfall between revenue and benefits. SS has been running in the red since 2012. The General Fund must redeem these T-bills and since 42 cents of every federal dollar spent is borrowed, we must borrow 42% of the money to redeem the SSTF T-Bills. The SSTF is included in our $16 trillion national debt and is held under "Intragovernmental Holdings." So the reality is that we owe that money, albeit to ourselves, but the SSTF still represents an unfunded liability.

SS is going broke because it is actuarily unsound, not because of the SSTF and what happened to the "surplus." In 1950 there were 16 workers for every retire; today it is 3.3; and by 2030 there will be just two. And benefits are not linked to revenue. In essence, SS is a Ponzi scheme. Current retirees are getting far more out of the system than what they put in. Future generations will not.

12 posted on 11/19/2012 8:05:04 AM PST by kabar
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To: joe fonebone
There will be plenty of pain to go around. There is no way out of this fiscal mess without plenty of pain. The longer we postpone it, the greater and more devastating the pain.

If we go the way of Greece, one can easily imagine, if history is any guide, the rise of a man on horseback, i.e., a strong central authority, will emerge to restore civil order. The federal government will become larger and stronger.

13 posted on 11/19/2012 8:08:53 AM PST by kabar
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To: kabar

and this is the first step..

fubo wanted tax increases, well, he got ‘em..

pubs wanted spending cuts, well, they got ‘em..

fubo will frame the argument that the mean ol’ pubs are causing a tax increase on the poor...

pubs will frame the argument that the defense industry is taking the brunt of the cuts...

same old, same old..

let them eat cake


14 posted on 11/19/2012 8:13:47 AM PST by joe fonebone (The clueless... they walk among us, and they vote...)
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To: joe fonebone

I don’t care whom they blame,
as long as they finally experience the consequences of their choices.


15 posted on 11/19/2012 8:16:36 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: The Sons of Liberty

Obama bin Lyin’ meet Atlas be Shruggin’


16 posted on 11/19/2012 8:18:59 AM PST by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: kabar
The SSTF currently contains $2.6 trillion

No, it does not.

There is no "trust fund." There is no magic Social Security Vault surrounded by unicorns.

The Social Security "trust fund" contains nothing more than IOUs that have no value beyond a promise to impose higher taxes on present and future workers - period. Social Security, every dime of it, is funded by current taxes on working people and debt.

I agree that if Social Security really had been fenced off from looting (before Johnson and the Democrats got their hands on it), and if SS Disability, SS to Illegals, etc - had been kept out, there would be Trillions in an actual fund today.

But, there isn't - and that is the reality.

17 posted on 11/19/2012 8:22:06 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: joe fonebone

We both know that sequestration will never happen. The politicians created the “crisis” and will now be credited for solving it. Neither side wants to cut spending, especially on their special interests. There will be a deal and it will effectively kick the can down the road. Much greater pain to follow.


18 posted on 11/19/2012 8:40:22 AM PST by kabar
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To: kabar
“We both know that sequestration will never happen.”

I think they will keep kicking the can down the road until the whole system breaks down. I think the tipping point will be the first failed Fed auction where the world stops buying our exponentially increasing amount of debt.

The US is borrowing money just to make interest payments. When the amount we have to pay in interest starts going up because our debt is becoming riskier and riskier, the SHTF.

19 posted on 11/19/2012 8:57:41 AM PST by Gabrial (The nightmare will continue as long as the nightmare is in the Whitehouse.)
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To: SkyPilot
No, it does not. There is no "trust fund." There is no magic Social Security Vault surrounded by unicorns.

The Social Security "trust fund" contains nothing more than IOUs that have no value beyond a promise to impose higher taxes on present and future workers - period. Social Security, every dime of it, is funded by current taxes on working people and debt.

You are the one creating your own reality. Yes, there is a SSTF. Yes, it contains $2.6 trillion of non-market, interest bearing T-Bills. Yes, it represents the good faith and credit of the USG to redeem them in much the same way that we owe money to the Chinese who hold our T-bills or US Savings Bonds.

There has never been any change in the way the Social Security program is financed or the way that Social Security payroll taxes are used by the federal government. The Social Security Trust Fund was created in 1939 as part of the Amendments enacted in that year. From its inception, the Trust Fund has always worked the same way. The Social Security Trust Fund has never been "put into the general fund of the government."

Most likely this question comes from a confusion between the financing of the Social Security program and the way the Social Security Trust Fund is treated in federal budget accounting. Starting in 1969 (due to action by the Johnson Administration in 1968) the transactions to the Trust Fund were included in what is known as the "unified budget." This means that every function of the federal government is included in a single budget. This is sometimes described by saying that the Social Security Trust Funds are "on-budget." This budget treatment of the Social Security Trust Fund continued until 1990 when the Trust Funds were again taken "off-budget." This means only that they are shown as a separate account in the federal budget. But whether the Trust Funds are "on-budget" or "off-budget" is primarily a question of accounting practices--it has no effect on the actual operations of the Trust Fund itself.

"Far from being "worthless IOUs," the investments held by the trust funds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U. S. Government. The government has always repaid Social Security, with interest. The special-issue securities are, therefore, just as safe as U.S. Savings Bonds or other financial instruments of the Federal government. "

I agree that if Social Security really had been fenced off from looting (before Johnson and the Democrats got their hands on it), and if SS Disability, SS to Illegals, etc - had been kept out, there would be Trillions in an actual fund today.

Most likely this myth comes from a confusion between the financing of the Social Security program and the way the Social Security Trust Fund is treated in federal budget accounting. Starting in 1969 (due to action by the Johnson Administration in 1968) the transactions to the Trust Fund were included in what is known as the "unified budget." This means that every function of the federal government is included in a single budget. This is sometimes described by saying that the Social Security Trust Funds are "on-budget." This budget treatment of the Social Security Trust Fund continued until 1990 when the Trust Funds were again taken "off-budget." This means only that they are shown as a separate account in the federal budget. But whether the Trust Funds are "on-budget" or "off-budget" is primarily a question of accounting practices--it has no affect on the actual operations of the Trust Fund itself.

You are missing the point. Even if the SSTF contained market T-Bills, real transferable assets as distinct from the non-market T-bills, SS would still go broke. It almost did in 1982 when Reagan and Tip O'Neill struck a Faustian bargain to keep the system going. The SSTF was exhausted.

The assets of the larger trust fund (OASI), from which retirement benefits are paid, were nearly depleted in 1982. No beneficiary was shortchanged because the Congress enacted temporary emergency legislation that permitted borrowing from other Federal trust funds and then later enacted legislation to strengthen OASI Trust Fund financing. The borrowed amounts were repaid with interest within 4 years.

We have raised SS taxes more than 40 times since its inception. The payroll cap goes up almost every year. Still, it won't be enough because the baby boomer generation is retiring and people are living longer. In 1983 they raised the taxes and reduced benefits including raising the retirement age for full benefits from 65 to 67. SS is now permanently in the red. The 2% payroll tax holiday for the past two years has reduced revenue into the system requiring more T-bills to be redeemed to make up the shortfall.

Source: CBO "Combined OASDI Trust Funds; January 2011 Baseline" 26 Jan 2011. Note: See "Primary Surplus" line (which is negative, indicating a deficit)

Matters are even worse than this chart shows. In December, Congress passed a Social Security tax reduction. Workers are temporarily paying 2 percentage points less, from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent, in Social Security payroll taxes this calendar year. Since the government is making up the shortfall out of general revenues, CBO’s deficit projections for the trust funds do not include that. But CBO’s figures predict that the "payroll tax holiday" will cost the government’s general fund $85 billion in this fiscal year and $29 billion in fiscal year 2012 (which starts Oct.1, 2011.) Since every dollar of that will have to be borrowed, the combined effect of the " tax holiday" and the annual deficits will amount to a $130 billion addition to the federal deficit in the current fiscal year, and $59 billion in fiscal 2012.

Social Security has passed a tipping point. For years it generated more revenue than it consumed, holding down the overall federal deficit and allowing Congress to spend more freely for other things. But those days are gone. Rather than lessening the federal deficit, Social Security has at last — as long predicted — become a drag on the government’s overall finances.

20 posted on 11/19/2012 9:03:10 AM PST by kabar
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To: kabar
A very fair and reasoned post. Really. One of the best I have seen recently. Backed up by fact, reasoned, researched. Thank you.

I have to take issue, however, with the basic premise upon which the framework rests.

"Far from being "worthless IOUs," the investments held by the trust funds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U. S. Government.

It is almost impossible to utter the above phrase with a straight face.

The bonds you speak of are worthless. There is no vault of money.

The bonds have to be repaid by collecting more general revenue taxes, by borrowing the money on top of Obama's soon to be $17,000,000,000,000 in debt, or by having the government spend less (not looking good there).

I must say you gave me a better understanding of the shell game played by Johnson and the Democrats in 1968, but the whole "off budge" three card Monty game does not impress me.

Imagine if you will a global currency collapse. Worldwide. Think Greece times 10. This is what is coming. Do you really think then when we reach that scenario (and we will) that the world will care whether SS was "on budget" or "off budget?" No - the entire US currency and economy will collapse just the same. The main three culprits to our debt are thriving: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. Add "Obamcare" to that mix very, very soon.


21 posted on 11/19/2012 10:26:08 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: SkyPilot
"...Social policy was foremost national policy[1] and the social security system was primarily an instrument to lure the workers away from private and communitarian systems into the arms of the State. In the eyes of Bismarck it was the State that had created national unity and this agent was also needed in order to m..."

http://mises.org/daily/1275

22 posted on 11/19/2012 11:48:04 AM PST by Leisler (A trillion+ dollars a year printing fiat script=2% GDP. What happens when it stops. Or doesn't?)
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To: SkyPilot
It is almost impossible to utter the above phrase with a straight face. The bonds you speak of are worthless. There is no vault of money.

Using that logic, then all of those holding the $16 trillion US debt should indeed have pause, including the foreigners holding our debt (about 50% of the publicly held debt of $12 trillion.) Any T-bill issued by the USG depends upon the good faith and credit of the USG to pay the interest and principle.

The bonds have to be repaid by collecting more general revenue taxes, by borrowing the money on top of Obama's soon to be $17,000,000,000,000 in debt, or by having the government spend less (not looking good there).

That's the point isn't it? And it is not only repaying the bonds but the debt servicing costs that amount to about $300 billion a year now. If interest rates revert back to their historic norms of 4% or 5%, our debt servicing costs alone will amount to a $1 trillion a year in less than a decade. Imagine how to crank that into the federal budget. And remember that two-thirds of the budget is on automatic pilot. Congress only votes on about a third of it each year.

Imagine if you will a global currency collapse. Worldwide. Think Greece times 10. This is what is coming. Do you really think then when we reach that scenario (and we will) that the world will care whether SS was "on budget" or "off budget?" No - the entire US currency and economy will collapse just the same. The main three culprits to our debt are thriving: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. Add "Obamcare" to that mix very, very soon.

There is no doubt that the entitlement programs and other so-called mandatories are the drivers of our debt. And the costs are partly driven by an aging society. By 2030 one out of five residents of this country will be 65 or older as 10,000 people a day retire for the next 20 years. And by 2030 there will be just 2 workers for every retiree.

SS is fairly easy to solve. Medicare is almost impossible. Most people don't realize that the General Fund is funding an increasing share of Medicare--by law. The premiums charged for Medicare Parts B and D pay for only 25% of the costs. By law, the other 75% comes from the General Fund. In 2011 it was $222 billion from the General Fund and those numbers will continue to increase as the aging population increases along with healthcare costs, which are increasing faster than inflation. Medicare Part A has been running in the red since 2008. Hence, the cashing in of the IOUs in the Medicare Trust Fund (HI). Obamacare will increase the HI portion of the payroll tax, but it will only keep the HI Trust Fund alive for another 8 years.

Medicare is another Ponzi scheme along with SS.

This graph shows that the average man and woman (average defined in the study as average income over their working lives and living to the average life expectancy) who start receiving benefits in 2010 get over 3 times more in benefits than they pay in to the system! Of importance, the study accounts for inflation by calculating all past taxes and future payments in 2010 dollars to provide an accurate comparison.

If the notion that Medicare recipients are simply "getting back what they paid in" is false then where is the money coming from? Simply, the excess received is being borrowed from younger generations and the cost is more than we can bear.

Imagine if you will a global currency collapse. Worldwide. Think Greece times 10. This is what is coming. Do you really think then when we reach that scenario (and we will) that the world will care whether SS was "on budget" or "off budget?" No - the entire US currency and economy will collapse just the same. The main three culprits to our debt are thriving: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. Add "Obamcare" to that mix very, very soon.

I agree. The real question is whether the political will exists to reform these programs and do it in such a way that there not only be cost containment, but rather, changing the trajectory downwards. I am not very sanguine about that happening. Obamacare will just be another out of control entitlement program that will cost much more than originally projected as were Medicare, Medicaid, and SS.

There will have to be rationing of healthcare. The only question is who does it? The government or the insurance companies or the individual. The free market solution is the individual. I have a feeling that once Obamacare wrecks the healthcare delivery system and runs the insurance companies out of business, we will go to a single payer system run by the government, i.e., nationalized healthcare. That was always the objective. Obamacare was just an interim solution on the way to socialism.

This country is now in permanent decline. We will go out slowly but inevitably like so many other great nations and societies. All we are doing now is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

23 posted on 11/19/2012 12:04:50 PM PST by kabar
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To: kabar
There will have to be rationing of healthcare. The only question is who does it? The government or the insurance companies or the individual.

My prediction: someone will make a lot of money setting up hospital ships that operate offshore of the US, just outside the 12 mile limit. It will be just like the cruise ships that only turn on the gambling machines an hour out of port. It will be complicated to set up and balance practice standards against liability concerns, but someone will do it. Why travel thousands of miles for medical tourism?

24 posted on 11/19/2012 12:12:35 PM PST by Pearls Before Swine (/S?)
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To: Pearls Before Swine

We won’t have to. Just as is the case in the UK, we will have two healthcare systems—one for the general public and another one for the wealthy who can afford it. And you can guess which one will be better in terms of quality.


25 posted on 11/19/2012 1:10:28 PM PST by kabar
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To: kabar
Just as is the case in the UK, we will have two healthcare systems—one for the general public and another one for the wealthy who can afford it.

I worry that what you say might be forbidden on the basis of the peculiar American obsession with "fairness." Sure, the politically connected will have better care, as in the old USSR. But, I'm not sure that the non-politically connected will be able to get it, even if they've been prudent in saving and could afford it. Obama's class obsessions might well put a mighty punitive tax on outside of the system care.

26 posted on 11/19/2012 2:06:23 PM PST by Pearls Before Swine (/S?)
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To: Pearls Before Swine
Don't bet on it. We already have concierge or boutique medical care now.
27 posted on 11/19/2012 3:13:42 PM PST by kabar
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To: kabar

Once again, a very fair, informed, and reasonable post. You make excellent points have have increased my understanding of several points. Thank you.


28 posted on 11/20/2012 5:15:16 AM PST by SkyPilot
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