Opinion

Edward Hadas

Small is beautiful in finance

By Edward Hadas
November 6, 2013

Some economic activity makes the world better, some is a cost of making the world better, and some actually makes the world worse. Where does the business of finance – lending, borrowing and securities trading – fit in? Mark Carney, the new governor of the Bank of England, recently said: “a vibrant financial sector brings substantial benefits.” The implication is that more finance is a good thing, as long as it is safe. That is simply wrong.

True, empirical studies show that financial activity increases along with incomes in poor countries. But this correlation has little bearing on developed economies with mature financial systems. In these countries, additional financial activity unquestionably adds to GDP, but the same can be said for the substitution of expensive medical care for cheap preventative action. The question is whether additional finance promotes overall economic good.

It can do so, but not directly. Finance is a cost. It is a means not an end, an input not an output. People and companies should engage in financial activity only to help them do other things – most notably to preserve or increase wealth, to coordinate expenditure with incomes and to help organise real investments, production and distribution.

Unnecessary financial activity is a wasted expense. Even if the excess does not directly cause problems – such as housing bubbles or fiscal crises – it makes the world worse because it wastes economic resources. The right goal for the financial system is to be as small as possible without doing economic harm.

By that standard, the current system is extremely wasteful. The waste can be seen in both the quantity of financial assets and pace of the financial activity. One measure of quantity is the ratio of debt to GDP. For the United States, which probably leads the world in financial excess, the calculation is aided by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which every quarter tots up all the outstanding debts, from government borrowing to bank loans. Total debts were 144 percent of GDP in 1975. In the most recent quarter, they were 263 percent.

Little, if any, of the increased borrowing has gone to fund additional income-generating investments, in factories, inventories or the expenses of growing businesses. Instead, the bulk of the debts are unproductive.

Some of the new borrowing provided funds which bid up the prices of assets that do not produce incomes – houses that are lived in, commodities that are stored or art that is collected. Governments are responsible for much of the additional debt. The ratio of government debts to GDP has at least doubled in most developed countries over the last four decades. There are reasonable excuses for some fiscal deficits, but the cumulative effect of years of deficit finance is disruptive. Tax revenues need to be higher to keep up interest payments, while the vast supply of bonds clutters financial markets, distracting investors and distorting monetary policies.

Also, claims between financial institutions – mostly loans and derivatives – have increased sharply, from 16 to 83 percent of U.S. GDP since 1975. A small portion of the new securities may provide helpful hedges, but most of them are only used for speculation. Worse, the huge new mass of purely financial debt has been balanced on relatively thin equity foundations. This leverage has made the whole financial system more precarious, as the 2008 crisis made clear.

The bigger financial balances explain some of the increase in the share of financial activity in GDP, which has expanded from 2 to 8 percent of U.S. GDP since the Second World War. During that period the cost of processing financial transactions has declined precipitously, so the actual increase in activity is much larger than that statistic suggests.

Additional financial market activity generally reduces the markets’ economic efficiency. Investors and speculators who trade more have less reason to care about the long term, since they will sell long before it arrives. When the annual volume of foreign exchange trading is roughly 40 times larger than the volume of trade between countries, the financial market has basically lost touch with the economy. The trade of already issued shares and bonds, the vast majority of activity in these markets, does no more for the economy than moving sacks of sand back and forth across a room.

Rather than promising to promote a larger and safer financial sector, Carney should be calling for more efficient finance. For one thing, more finance brings more debts and more speculation – and more opportunities for panics and chains of defaults. A larger sector is likely to be less safe than a smaller one. But even if Carney could find a safe way for the City of London to grow, he would be only expanding a part of the economy – pointless finance – which can do harm and cannot do good.

Comments
21 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

A very interesting and thought provoking article. Well said, Edward Hadas.

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive
 

Very good article. I am surprised that he did not point out that part of the cure is to reinstate Glass-Steagall. He does point out that much of the cash available is not going into productive economic activity, but being used to fund speculative activities. Glass-Steagall drew a hard line between the traditional commercial banking activities of secured deposits going into local, economically productive loan activity and the “investment” banking activity of gambling with Other Peoples Money that is currently practiced.

Posted by QuietThinker | Report as abusive
 

How wrong could someone be? I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Whoa. He didn’t learn this at one of our mutual alma mater’s.

Posted by sarkozyrocks | Report as abusive
 

Yet another article which goes beyond opinion and approaches wisdom. Countries should treasure their economic activities that do good. Instead, USA and UK have somehow managed to let contagion spread to these parts of the economy while replacing it with a nation of speculators. When was the last time you bought something ‘Made in Britain’ – the words themselves will probably bring a smile to your face. The USA on the other hand has mostly economic activities that ‘do bad’ – military, oil, financial speculation, illegal drugs, litigation, mergers and acquisition – all of these are rent seeking, or worse.

Posted by BidnisMan | Report as abusive
 

Once again Mr. Hadas hits the ball out of the park.

“the United States…probably leads the world in financial excess…”. “…the bulk of the debts are unproductive.”
“…the cumulative effect of years of deficit finance is disruptive.” AMEN!

I do question whether “Tax revenues need to be higher to keep up interest payments…”. Such statement presumes that Congress today spends the incredible amounts of revenue it receives appropriately. That’s not the case.

Our politicians of both parties have lost the ability to prioritize spending when tax revenue is limited. They no longer seem to understand that prioritization is a normal and legitimate function of efficient government. From an inauspicious beginning this country had “efficient government” for many, many years, thus proving the concept neither illusion nor oxymoron.

Efficient government is a reasonable and achievable goal if “we, the people” can somehow break the strangle hold of well entrenched government unions that judge success by the budget allocated and number employed by an agency. Increasing tax revenue at a time our politicians have continues to spend without effective restraint through a difficult period for the American economy would be like trying to extinguish a fire with gasoline.

Congress has shown itself frighteningly incompetent in fulfilling it’s duty to separate wants from needs, fund ONLY needs and properly prioritize an appropriate percentage of AVAILABLE REVENUE to each. Until they can again do that, giving Congress more money will only result in more waste as the can is ever kicked further “down the road”.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

@sarkozyrocks You claim the article is wrong, but give absolutely no reasons. The article is essentially correct, but it is clear that you do not LIKE it. Maybe you could explain why you do not LIKE the message the author is delivering.

Posted by QuietThinker | Report as abusive
 

This is very good for the haves but that waste also keeps many people alive. I can’t help but agree with Mr Hadas but doesn’t he also ignore the fact that when people trim the fat, the waste and the fraud they will probably only trim those least able to speculate, least able to waste significant resources and are themselves wasteful in every aspect of their personal lives. Waste for them is always what someone else does. In other words. the paintings won’t be auctioned at the highest prices – but food stamps would be cut to gruel levels.

It’s very easy to look at this article almost as the tightwads definition of virtue but when you are hungry the big speculative spenders, at least, spread the wealth more than the tight fisted really like. They may devalue the currency and ruin the value of their productive entreprises, but at least people survive.

Probably no one could beat Adolf Hitler for an efficient economy but he also resorted to the use of slave labor and his economic might lived on lies and the systematic death of millions.

Hypocrasy rules the world and even though the above theory sounds great the practice will stink.

It is also very likely that the theory will be reduced to the most obnoxious form of the practice where the speculative activity goes underground and lives in secret among a small group of very lavish insiders in yabyum with their pocket government while the social policy of the government becomes the stuff that Mr. Potter would design. Remember “It’s a Wonderful Life” He wasn’t wasteful of his own resources, he just didn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone else’s skin but his own aging and rotting hide.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

@paintcan,

“I can’t help but agree with Mr Hadas…”. Some days you should quit while you’re ahead.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

So should you.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

Play nicely @OOTS. paintcan has many excellent comments on this site, as do you. I always look forward to both as well as a few others.
There are at least two sides to every story. That means you (or I) are only one side. Once you grasp this concept you will look to listen to all the opinions you can on any topic so you can figure out what is really in-between. Or do you really believe you’re infallible?

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive
 

I think the USCA should also realize the “Small is beautiful” in corporations as well. We should not allow them to grow to be such uncontrollable behemoths. They should be restricted to stay within the market space they were created in. Meaning, G.E. should never have been allowed to have G.E Finance. Microsoft should not be allowed to make hardware. Philip Morris, now Altria Group, should net be allowed to own General Foods. Yes, I’m saying the concept of Holding companies should be changed significantly or eliminated altogether. Just think of much better competition would be within a market segment? How much better would the products be?

Posted by tmc | Report as abusive
 

@tmc,

You and I don’t always agree, and yet you present your views for consideration in a coherent manner. I respect those who disagree with honesty, consistency and integrity.

paintcan is an outlier commenter. For years he has struggled without success to present a coherent “side” to a story. His ramblings can best be described as a verbal Möbius strip. The impudent wine that may bring fleeting pleasure is best enjoyed when not taken seriously.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

What’s the matter OOTS – not feeling loved exclusively?

10,000 fly covered over breeders that you always complain about just died in the Philippines. That should give you more than a warm and fuzzy felling. Just think, the gift will keep on giving and the number is bound to rise.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

@paintcan,

Because I publicly predict that famine, pestilence, or war will in some combination adversely affect the otherwise unrestrained reproduction of third world populations comprising a majority of this planet’s SEVEN BILLION (and exploding) population you would blame me for the current disaster in the Philippines? Please.

Do economists gloat over people who go bankrupt? The very idea is beneath consideration. Crawl back in your hole.

Nature can be cruel, but that has been known for thousands of years. The choices of third world citizens are not mine. I accept NO responsibility for the effects of their choices.

When many poor people live just above sea level and there is no adequate shelter in “typhoon country” the question is not whether there will be disaster but when. Will I accept any responsibility for currently rising sea levels? Absolutely not. I do, however, donate to relief efforts as I can.

There are those who prepare for disasters, those who could but don’t, and those who can’t; some of which keep having more and more children). Guam residents know to build reinforced concrete houses if they would survive their climate in the long term. Many who live there don’t.

There are those who live near me with no tornado shelter, no internet/radar warning, perhaps no insurance. We each “do what we can, where we are, with what we have” and thereafter accept such risks as remain. Life is never without risk.

If we should not look to the past in order to predict the future, and the only news acceptable is good news, the only possible society would be one in which the blind lead the blind. I can see why you might feel comfortable in such a society, and why I would not.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

Aim you fatuous comments at someone who actually believes them. Isn’t your core rational for life the same as everyone else’s – how you can keep your head above water, and better still, above everyone else’s? And you have the same disgusting interest in what other people do with their reproductive equipment my mother used to have in mine. I did nothing with it so she should be satisfied.

Of course you read the past for a sense about how the present is constructed. It is like looking at blue prints or schematic drawings. But someone who takes his Roman history from wine magazines can’t be expected to have gleaned much from it.

To return to Mr Hadas article and the point I was trying to make. I live on a low income, with no mortgage, low credit card debt, no time payments and few major purchases of big ticket items. And the expensive things I have I keep for decades if they are durable enough to survive for decades. But I have also been aware that how I live may allow my standard of living to be adequate and even comfortable but would be death to the big number GDP economy. I also count my labor as zero because when one is self-employed – when I was still self-employed – that figure is not a given and is very hard to maintain. But low cost people like me could be very useful to an economy. Counting my labor at zero for things I can provide myself in the way of household repair and improvements has been my fudge factor. I can also count my labor as zero cost for activities I donate to the wider community, but that can only be done safely as long as people don’t take that gift for granted and started abusing the help. And the worst abusers of the low cost tend to be people who were themselves recent low cost help. We have a nation of people who do not know how to respect their own lives, what they own or what they live in, let alone those of others, and especially not anything in the hands of their ever changing list of enemies, that changes constantly as their mood or strategy demands.

There is something else going on is this economy related to immigration and population growth. We need the illegal immigrants the way my grandparents were needed by the industrial expansion of this country during the later half of the 19th century right up to about WWII when the economy started to change and became the consumer society with social welfare support we now live in. Your “fly covered masses” are needed to start at the bottom and rise so that wine connoisseurs can still afford to live on their retirement benefits and find cheap staffers in the nursing homes and hospitals etc. They are needed to provide lower cost labor and tax payments. Why is it that guys like you always complain about the undeserving getting benefits? Isn’t it because it makes their labor more expensive? But modern zoning and building codes don’t allow them to live in tightly filled apartments (expect in Chinatown in NYC perhaps?) or in slums as it used to. Those situations created social ills far worse than the savings they allowed. They degrade people but you might think it spoils them? Many seem to want life to be a dog-eat-dog enterprise and they are dissatisfied if social life doesn’t somehow still have snarling fangs.

And without population growth, doesn’t the economy tend to stagnate? It is more easily controlled and even predictable by those in high places. Those with can be reduced to predictable and standard purchases year by year and there is little new blood to keep the old carcass of the economy alive. It can’t seem to live without deferred debt or making up money out of thin air to keep it moving at all. Without population growth the haves get smug and self-satisfied and are in positions to exert control over the rest more easily, because they become used to a very tamed animal – so to speak. The entire human race can become a neutered pet (why the fangs may be missed) that lives on guanta of economic input and can be relied upon to emit the same quanta in predicable units. Your core complaint about the undeserving getting benefits is that you want all the square pegs to fit in square holes but there is nothing sacred or even inevitable about square holes always being square holes. Nature and disasters, whether manmade or natural, have no respect for holes, whatever shape, whatsoever. The recent Philippine storm proved that.

That may be the future – but it will also be at the cost of loosing the variety and unpredictability of the past. The developing countries are being caught in an economic system that ensures that even the fruit of their loins contributes to their cost of living in a way that didn’t occur so predictably in the past. But they will loose the variety and pleasure of extended kinship ties and large families and will live as atomized individuals in a much less personal or even namable system that is as prone to warfare and struggle for resources as the past was and is just as prone to mass hypnosis and fits of paranoia.

If this thought leaves you deeply depressed, good! You’re finally recognizing the fishbowl mode of life that is taking root everywhere on the globe.

I never believe your very glib advice because I can’t help thinking you have the same ruthless instincts for progress like Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party but have learned to package it all in warm slippers, hallmark greeting card cliché sentiments and very selective memory or none at all.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

@paintcan,

Let us give your first two paragraphs the attention they deserve and ignore them. The first three sentences of your third also apply to how my wife and I live. “Bottom line” is that what differentiates us is much more matters of perspective and wisdom than economics.

From there on you slide into your usual abyss of the mind trying to explain how “needed” the underclass in this country are, even as you ignore the disproportionate percentage of them that do nothing but empty the public trough. I don’t mind that the “deserving” get social benefits. I do complain regularly (and loudly) when the undeserving push forward and cut in line for a free ride.

At 73 and living in America, my life won’t be affected to the degree most will by the effects of overpopulation if present trends continue. Because I have had a good ride on this planet it would be my great preference to see a healthy population survive long enough that humans can get all of their eggs out of this singular basket and into space and perhaps even the stars before we destroy both it and ourselves. Not that the cosmos deserves us. The very presence of man changes the stability you see as stagnation into chaos of truly infinite potential.

Those who claim to be economists are dead from the neck up if they continue to believe that economic growth and population growth are interdependent and inseparable. The bubbling forces of ambition and frustration in the ever more populated intellectual wastelands of the third world already know from first hand experience that shortages of potable water and palatable food without end will pit neighbor against neighbor, yet they continue to reproduce at a rate that would make a rabbit blush because they know no better. “Social ills” don’t get much worse.

Such “new blood” isn’t “good for the economy” because it has nothing to contribute to it. There is no money, no land, no water, no education, no skill, no job or any prospects of one, nothing but endless feces and urine.

It is not a case of square pegs and round holes, but the simple reality that there is no “place” in society or legitimate economic function for excess humanity. Indeed, it will not be the “variety and pleasure” of extended kinship ties and large families but ever-increasing challenges to survival that will make the local “warfare and struggle for resources” of the past look like a Sunday picnic in the third world.

The United States and Canada are, for the most part, effectively insulated from such extremes. We only have polar bears, seals and other northern denizens to our north, and only fish to the east and west. Even when the situation becomes serious enough that we must effectively close our border to the ever faster boiling human pressures from the south all we need do is mine and maintain it. America will remain a comparitive paradise to that which will be happening elsewhere. So I’m not depressed in the slightest.

I just ring the bell and point at the obvious knowing that if what I say is ignored, it will be those who ignore it that will eventually pay the greatest price. What is happening today in the Philippines is precisely what will be happening across the globe at different times, in some cases brought about by natural disaster, and in others by war, famine or pestilence (or any combination thereof). It is not a question of whether but of when and where.

In the end, though, know well that our big blue marble can not support SEVEN BILLION humans long term in anything even approaching a quality of life they will find acceptable. We live in interesting times.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

Conversations with you get silly – I never blamed you for the Philippines storm. It’s just that it isn’t likely to bother you much and you’ll take the stupid line that there are just too many Philippinos in its path. You could say that about any population levels anywhere and at anytime in history or for any accident that occurs. If four people died in a car crash, you’d say there should have been only one or two in the vehicle and it’s their own fault for filling the vehicle.

I even recall an exhibit over 35 years ago at the Museum of Science in Boston that quoted a Chinese “sage” who complained that China was far too populated. He wrote it 2000 years ago. I don’t think the museum understood the incongruity of that quote and it didn’t help their argument at all.

BTW – how do you give something the attention it deserves and ignore it? That sounds like more of what you do with what you don’t want to recognize about the rest of life on earth. Did you ever even have children?

Actually I’m too hard on my mother and I think my parents knew I wasn’t quite right to be straight. I wasn’t exhibiting the right instincts and reactions in social situations.

The vastly unequal distribution of income and opportunity that we’ve been seeing – the perpetual criminal and wasteful activities of warfare and the disruption of civilian lives is not helping the survival of the species either. It is insane to blow holes in the bottom of what many like you may think is a boat that is already too crowded.

BTW – I have been on lines for social assistance and never once saw people pushing ahead of others to scramble for benefits. I didn’t even see that in NYC when I was a Vista volunteer about 35 years ago and food stamps were part of the stipend. But I saw one rude fat old bitch that resented having to appear monthly and having face to face contact with the social worker and then pulled her pants down yelling “face to face – I’ll give you face to face”. Such a wide face it was! She was a huge black welfare “queen”. It was the mid 70s and at the time I thought it was comical. Now I think she was a pig. It has always been a very quiet and orderly process where I live. And the lines have been long. The lines are all that is available for many. It isn’t even possible to provide work fare because that would undercut paying employment in this very tight economy. Every activity in this economy is very tightly meshed with every other activity.

But without a doubt, when job opportunities dry up, and the ability to get gainful employment that matches the rising cost of living becomes harder to find for many more, there are going to be more people who face more desperate lives. But wealth does not guarantee good manners or a fine set of social values either, does it?

People like you and I who don’t live on massive debt are the blame in the modern economy, actually. It needs big consumption to keep the money moving in large enough flows. But I am not in a condition to do that anymore.

You are the kind of guy like may others who, if faced with a shortage of lifeboats on a sinking ship will see that as a surfeit of passengers and you will make damned sure you get a seat on one of those available. The country has been doing that en masse and trying to preserve global hegemony on the strength of voluntary troops who may not have any other means of making a living now. No one wants a draft and the tight economy where educational credentials seems to be required for any kind of employment means many seek military service to get started in it at all. They have to gamble in a lottery with their lives.

Let’s face it – the ideal system for you and your wife would be your patch of ground, a video monitor giving you just the news you like to hear and a bank account sufficient or more for your needs.

If the world had a tenth of the population it now has, if it suddenly shrank to whatever level you seem to think it should support, you should also expect that the economy it supported would also shrink, if not collapse completely. The world would be glutted with surplus and rapidly decaying assets like buildings and the supporting infrastructure and the price of land would plunge to nearly nothing. It’s happened before during the great plagues is Europe and those were also followed by a rapid rise in population because resources became easily available again. People like you couldn’t just rush in an buy up assets because you would be hard pressed to preserve any of them. You wouldn’t be able to find the labor in sufficient strength.

It isn’t the size of the population that matters nearly as much as how well or responsibly they use the resources available. It is also possible to be much too wealthy for anyone’s good. There really ought to be more comments made more often that recognize that it is possible to be morbidly rich the same way a body can be morbidly obese.

And almost every activity in this economy starting from the top has needed government assistance.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

@paintcan,

OK, so it bothers YOU if I don’t let what happened in the Philippines bother me “too much”? Suck it up. I have learned over my many years on earth to not let ANYTHING bother me “too much”.

When my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage three, we progressively did what we could, where we were, with what we had. When, after chemo and a radical mastectomy, we were told 40% chance of recurrence (in which case little hope), I told her doctor that was unacceptable. That got her referred to receive a bone marrow transplant (of which a small percentage die from unsuccessful treatment).

A year later, when tumors appeared in her lungs and she was given six months to live, I asked they put that in writing (which got her on SS disability). At the same time we evaluated other “trials” (experimental treatments under medical evaluation). Next was a really aggressive combination of different chemo that, after four courses, we discontinued, agreed that she could not survive a fifth. The next was a pill (which I believed just palliative). It was Arimidex, today the “gold standard” for recurring breast cancer.

Today she is sixteen years out with no active tumors anywhere. That certainly would not be the case if I had become a mental basket case with each unexpected challenge or setback. I had to keep my mind clear and focused. That’s not a habit one ever forgets, so if uninformed others jump to the conclusion that I am without feelings because I do not publicly and conspicuously show them, I can live with that.

If something deserves no attention and gets no attention, it has gotten the attention it deserved. Savvy? And no, never had children, by choice. Did not marry until I found a soul mate of like mind. We are true partners in life as our union approaches fifty GOOD years.

“It is insane to blow holes in the bottom of what many like you may think is a boat that is already too crowded.” There is a science fiction story in which someone in desperation stows away on a spacecraft bound for far away. The stowaway did not know that on such a trip there is only food, oxygen, etc. carried for a known number of occupants.

So the question suddenly before all upon discovery of the stowaway boils down to a choice of everyone dying as resources are exhausted short of their destination or by some manner deciding who has to cease consuming (die) early on. There is no “good” choice, only the choice between success and failure.

There are many, like you, who can not even consider such a choice, much less make it. “Good manners” and “social values” are not at issue. The single choice is life or death, mission success or failure.

Over a longer period, the situation posed by today’s SEVEN BILLION people (and exploding) on “space ship earth” is no different. Have a nice day.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

Your clarity of focus and decision making comes down to one thing only. You wanted her to live and you didn’t care how much you spent on the matter. You had insurance so you milked it for all it was worth.

You are a supremely selfish man and value your needs as a couple above all others. You did not answer the question as to whether or not you had any children.

I was right when I first challenged you, how many years ago? You are Adolf Hitler residing in the spirit in an old man and his aging honey in a house in Arizona.

You’re not a marvel of clarity and purpose. You are a selfish man, period! And that is all your self vaunted wisdom amounts to.

You claim you are your own religion and that is so convenient. It never challenges you in the least and allows you to do precisely what you want to do anyway.

I could find as much wisdom contemplating crab grass or pond scum.

BTW 40% chance of recurrence is better than a 50/50% chance of recurrence.

My old aunt went thorough chemo because she had a 10% chance of recurrence. I have no idea how much that cost the insurance industry but I’m sure she felt she was special and she was worth it. Who the hell doesn’t?

But what infuriates me about people like you. Because you are such craven cowards in the face of death – and you are old and should have developed the wisdom and even detachment to accept it gracefully by now – you will gladly support the murder and injury of hundreds of thousands of foreign civilians and the threat to the lives of soldiers working for you or them far younger with far more potential for life than your whithered carcass could ever support again.

I am so happy to have drawn you out. The world can see the true nature of your so called wisdom.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

“I am so happy to have drawn you out.” It is you that have been “drawn out” for all who read this to judge. “The world can see the true nature of your so called wisdom.” I don’t think the world is all that interested in what I have to say.

It is for those who can comprehend to accept or reject all or part of it. Your fixation with me and the values I espouse or exemplify is fascinating (as is the attention of a stalker).“You wanted her to live and you didn’t care how much you spent on the matter.” And your point is? I quit counting when the cost exceeded a million dollars towards the end of the bone marrow transplant.

“You had insurance so you milked it for all it was worth.” Wrong, as usual. I was unemployed, and she was discharged when she disclosed her diagnosis to her employer. We had NO insurance and few liquid resources at the time, and she was too sick to fight her wrongful discharge. I felt compelled to respect a decision that, in the end, was hers to make.

Because I was “up front” with all concerned, available programs were reviewed and evaluated before each step of the process. No medical expenses ever touched our credit cards (which we pay off in full every month), thus our credit resources are never depleted. We STILL have few liquid resources, but manage well on what we have. Even our dreams have mostly survived.

No regulation or law requires one to go into debt, and so we didn’t. I quit adding up the costs of treatment when they exceeded a million dollars. About that time I was diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer. I got myself on a program to get that taken care of, again without cost to us).

“You are a supremely selfish man and value your needs as a couple above all others.” Once more…your point is? We are each only children, and thus more “self-aware” than those not so fortunate.

“You did not answer the question as to whether or not you had any children.” Wrong again, as usual. People like you that can’t or don’t grasp details very well are often dissatisfied with how life treats them.

“You are Adolf Hitler residing in the spirit in an old man and his aging honey in a house in Arizona.” So we’re not supposed to age? Please. And we don’t live in Arizona.

“BTW 40% chance of recurrence is better than a 50/50% chance of recurrence. My old aunt went thorough chemo because she had a 10% chance of recurrence.” And YOU would presume to condemn HER exercise of HER option?

“I’m sure she felt she was special and she was worth it. Who the hell doesn’t?” My point precisely, although my determination and persistence goes well beyond that most can bring to bear on a challenge. Not being religious, I view my time in the here and now as “it”. Accordingly, I shall continue to ride as long as I can as long as I deem the associated effort on my part justified.

I am the fighter that only concedes when I can no longer physically rise. You would concede any contest you don’t think you can win. Every challenge one declines they LOSE. I don’t like losing, and don’t very often.

What infuriates you is that you do understand what I say and do, but are utterly and perpetually impotent to in any way interfere with the contentment and satisfaction my wife and I enjoy, and believe we have earned. I have not the slightest doubt that if you could you would hunt us down, terminate our existence, and send our remaining resources to the Philippines to assure that many “…far younger with far more potential for life than [us] might arise to faster cover every bare inch of the earth.

Since we know you’re both gay and not religious, can you offer credible justification for WHATEVER motivates such raw emotion?

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive
 

I don’t think the world is all that interested in what I have to say.

You’re right.

Posted by paintcan | Report as abusive
 

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