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Marathon Man Newz / Slab City ---- The Last Free Place
« on: Today at 12:55:32 PM »
The only places left for weirdos are places nobody wants. I doubt this is the only one.

<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>

“Shit-Life Syndrome,” Trump Voters, and Clueless Dems

<figure class="clear"><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-118182" src="" alt="" width="560" height="374" srcset=" 799w, 510w, 768w" sizes="(max-width: 560px) 100vw, 560px" />
<p>Photograph Source: Frank Boston – CC BY 2.0</p>
<p>Getting rid of Trump means taking seriously “shit-life syndrome”—and its resulting misery, which includes suicide, drug overdose death, and trauma for surviving communities.</p>
<p>My state of Ohio is home to many shit-life syndrome sufferers. In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton lost Ohio’s 18 electoral votes to Trump. She got clobbered by over 400,000 votes (more than 8%). She lost 80 of Ohio’s 88 counties. Trump won rural poorer counties, several by whopping margins. Trump got the shit-life syndrome vote.</p>
<p>Will Hutton in his 2018 Guardian piece, “The Bad News is We’re Dying Early in Britain – and It’s All Down to ‘Shit-Life Syndrome’” describes shit-life syndrome in both Britain and the United States: “Poor working-age Americans of all races are locked in a cycle of poverty and neglect, amid wider affluence. They are ill educated and ill trained. The jobs available are drudge work paying the minimum wage, with minimal or no job security.”</p>
<p>The Brookings Institution, in November 2019, reported: “53 million Americans between the ages of 18 to 64—accounting for 44% of all workers—qualify as ‘low-wage.’ Their median hourly wages are $10.22, and median annual earnings are about $18,000.”</p>
<p>For most of these low-wage workers, Hutton notes: “Finding meaning in life is close to impossible; the struggle to survive commands all intellectual and emotional resources. Yet turn on the TV or visit a middle-class shopping mall and a very different and unattainable world presents itself. Knowing that you are valueless, you resort to drugs, antidepressants and booze. You eat junk food and watch your ill-treated body balloon. It is not just poverty, but growing relative poverty in an era of rising inequality, with all its psychological side-effects, that is the killer.”</p>
<p>Shit-life syndrome is not another fictitious illness conjured up by the psychiatric-pharmaceutical industrial complex to sell psychotropic drugs. It is a reality created by corporatist rulers and their lackey politicians—pretending to care about their minimum-wage-slave constituents, who are trying to survive on 99¢ boxed macaroni and cheese prepared in carcinogenic water, courtesy of DuPont or some other such low-life leviathan.</p>
<p>The Cincinnati Enquirer, in November 2019, ran the story: “Suicide Rate Up 45% in Ohio in Last 11 Years, With a Sharper Spike among the Young.” In Ohio between 2007 and 2018, the rate of suicide among people 10 to 24 has risen by 56%. The Ohio Department of Health <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reported[/url] that suicide is the leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 10‐14 and the second leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 15‐34, with the suicide rate higher in poorer, rural counties.</p>
<p>Overall in the United States, “Suicides have increased most sharply in rural communities, where loss of farming and manufacturing jobs has led to economic declines over the past quarter century,” reports the American Psychological Association. The U.S. suicide rate has risen 33% from 1999 through 2017 (from 10.5 to 14 suicides per 100,000 people).</p>
<p>In addition to an increasing rate of suicide, drug overdose deaths rose in the United States from 16,849 in 1999 to 70,237 in 2017, more sharply increasing in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that opioids—mainly synthetic opioids—were involved in 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017 (67.8% of all drug overdose deaths).</p>
<p>Among all states in 2017, Ohio had the second highest rate of drug overdose death (46.3 per 100,000). West Virginia had the highest rate (57.8 per 100,000).</p>
<p>“In 2016, Donald Trump captured 68 percent of the vote in West Virginia, a state hit hard by opioid overdoses,” begins the 2018 NPR story: “Analysis Finds Geographic Overlap In Opioid Use And Trump Support In 2016.”</p>
<p>The NPR story was about a study published in JAMA Network Open titled “Association of Chronic Opioid Use With Presidential Voting Patterns in US Counties in 2016,” lead authored by physician James Goodwin. In counties with high rates of opioid use, Trump received 60% of the vote; but Trump received only 39% of the vote in counties with low opioid use. Opioid use is prevalent in poor rural counties, as Goodwin reports in his study: “Approximately two-thirds of the association between opioid rates and presidential voting was explained by socioeconomic variables.”</p>
<p>Goodwin told NPR: “It very well may be that if you’re in a county that is dissolving because of opioids, you’re looking around and you’re seeing ruin. That can lead to a sense of despair . . . . You want something different. You want radical change.”</p>
<p>Shit-life syndrome sufferers are looking for immediate change, and are receptive to unconventional politicians.</p>
<p>In 2016, Trump understood that being unconventional, including unconventional obnoxiousness, can help ratings. So he began his campaign with unconventional serial humiliations of his fellow Republican candidates to get the nomination; and since then, his unconventionality has been limited only by his lack of creativity—relying mostly on the Roy Cohn modeled “Punch them harder than they punch you” for anyone who disagrees with him.</p>
<p>I talked to Trump voters in 2016, and many of them felt that Trump was not a nice person, even a jerk, but their fantasy was that he was one of those rich guys with a big ego who needed to be a hero. Progressives who merely mock this way of thinking rather than create a strategy to deal with it are going to get four more years of Trump.</p>
<p>The Dems’ problem in getting the shit-life syndrome vote in 2020 is that none of their potential nominees for president are unconventional. In 2016, Bernie Sanders achieved some degree of unconventionality. His young Sandernistas loved the idea of a curmudgeon grandfather/eccentric uncle who boldly proclaimed in Brooklynese that he was a “socialist,” and his fans marveled that he was no loser, having in fact charmed Vermonters into electing him to the U.S. Senate. Moreover, during the 2016 primaries, there were folks here in Ohio who ultimately voted for Trump but who told me that they liked Bernie—both Sanders and Trump appeared unconventional to them.</p>
<p>While Bernie still has fans in 2020, he has done major damage to his “unconventionality brand.” By backing Hillary Clinton in 2016, he resembled every other cowardly politician. I felt sorry for his Sandernistas, heartbroken after their hero Bernie—who for most of his political life had self-identified as an “independent” and a “socialist”—became a compliant team player for the corporatist Blue Team that he had spent a career claiming independence from. If Bernie was terrified in 2016 of risking Ralph Nader’s fate of ostracism for defying the corporatist Blue Team, would he really risk assassination for defying the rich bastards who own the United States?</p>
<p>So in 2020, this leaves realistic Dems with one strategy. While the Dems cannot provide a candidate who can viscerally connect with shit-life syndrome sufferers, the Dems can show these victims that they have been used and betrayed by Trump.</p>
<p>Here in Ohio in counties dominated by shit-life syndrome, the Dems would be wise not to focus on their candidate but instead pour money into negative advertising, shaming Trump for making promises that he knew he wouldn’t deliver on: Hillary has not been prosecuted; Mexico has paid for no wall; great manufacturing jobs are not going to Ohioans; and most importantly, in their communities, there are now even more suicides, drug overdose deaths, and grieving families.</p>
<p>You would think a Hollywood Dem could viscerally communicate in 30 seconds: “You fantasized that this braggart would be your hero, but you discovered he’s just another rich asshole politician out for himself.” This strategy will not necessarily get Dems the shit-life syndrome vote, but will increase the likelihood that these folks stay home on Election Day and not vote for Trump.</p>
<p>The question is just how clueless are the Dems? Will they convince themselves that shit-life syndrome sufferers give a shit about Trump’s impeachment? Will they convince themselves that Biden, Buttigieg, Bloomberg or Warren are so wonderful that shit-life syndrome sufferers will take them and their campaign promises seriously? Then Trump probably wins again, thanks to both shit-life syndrome and shit-Dems syndrome.</p>

It sounds like a persuasive narrative, but there is a whole lot to unpack here.

I totally buy the part about poor education and no skills. And the cognitive dissonance part, where it might seem like everybody else's life is like the fake families on TV, and yours is an episode that was too gritty for Jerry Springer (don't forget he was once an Ohio politician, before he made it big).

Americans, in the bottom half, don't put much value in education, as far as I can see. Public schools in low income communities aren't great, but we do offer something, and it's  free, and it's a stepping stone for anyone who wants more. American history is also full of autodidacts who educated themselves, sometimes at great sacrifice.

16.5 % of young Ohioans can't even seem to make it through free high school. That's near the national average, fwiw.

I've got my ideas about this shit-life problem.

One thing I'd like to mention is that kids don't do a very good job of raising themselves. 34% of kids in Ohio grow up in a single parent family. For black kids its 75%.

Kids get raised by the TV and now the cell phone.....not a lot of great modeling going on. It does create (I think anyway) a tendency toward passivity.

All these shit-life people are following a really bad passive path from the day they'e born.....and there isn't much to keep them from following it right down the shitter.

It's very possible that really poor people could adapt communal styles of living that encourage them to take care of each other and do a better job of sheltering  and provide better for their kids.....we saw how this can work with Occupy, right?  It's true that the government is scared shitless of people who organize to help themselves......but I don't see too many people trying to do it anyway.

Frankly there was a time when poor people had even less than they do now, but lived better, and most of them managed to live without opiates, which were available, and even legal.

It's the disintegration of the family that's at the heart of this. is no situation so bad that people have no better alternative than black market pharmaceuticals. That comes out of living is  a spiritual vacuum....... and from personal weakness.

There is a strong suggestion in this article that the government should solve this problem, that it wouldn't exist if somehow the corporate companies would just raise pay to some fair level and people who are only qualified to operate a shovel or a vacuum cleaner could be given middle-class wages. and I....know that isn't about to happen. I'm not sure what a "living wage" even is, in terms of an amount? Twenty bucks an hour and regular raises to keep up with inflation?

Thirty bucks?

You see a solution through changing to a more equitable socialists approach. I see that as being full of unforeseen consequences . I don't think the people who are trapped in a cycle of poverty like this article discusses are apt to thrive in any system.

I'm okay with a country where big money doesn't control the political process. The system we have now is fucked-up. But it's also EXTREMELY entrenched, and even functional, for those in charge of things.

I could be a junkie. You could be a junkie. Drugs that are as addictive as opiates are.......have taken down plenty of people who started out rich....not just the poor.

Individuals really still have to take responsibility for their own lives. For figuring out a way to somehow scratch out a living. I never said it's easy, and some people do have the deck stacked against them. But I don't think you can fix this from the top down.

It's an easier road to a dead-end labor job and a needle and a spoon, or the bottle, As long as people follow the path of least resistance on their path through life, they'll keep ending up broke and sick and dying young from self-induced misery, and in jail.

Do these people help or hurt our political process by voting for a guy like Trump? We both know the answer.

If the Democrats field a radical candidate that brings in the vote of the dumbest, most passive, least-informed, most willing to believe fake news....the easiest people to manipulate with false narratives........that promise more than they can does that fix anything?

When the Clintons and Obama tried to mildly socialize healthcare, it was precisely these same idiot level voters who were (and mostly still are) opposed to it.

Because Big Insurance was able to persuade them to vote against their own interests using the new generation of Bernaysians, like Cambridge Analytica.

Dumb people are a problem. And we are overwhelmingly a nation of dumb people.

Medicine & Health / Re: Killer Superbugs!
« on: Today at 10:24:28 AM »
Dr. Martenson is a doctor by way of a useless PhD in Pathology that he really never used, changing career paths to get an MBA and pursue a corporate job with one of those shadowy but successful companies that is based just outside DC and provides "government services", whatever that means.....IT is mentioned......He quit that to become a pay-per-view Doom Expert.

 In that area he really doesn't have any credentials other than ten or twelve years lecturing and  writing stuff you could have read here for free.

I once was a subscriber for a few months.....but never found it worthwhile.

Chris Martenson is not without confirmation bias. Just sayin'.

The virus is nasty, but it isn't clear at all that it will amount to a real global pandemic. That's The WHO talking, not me.



Over the past month, a viral outbreak that started in Wuhan, China has spread throughout the world — giving rise to fears of a global crisis.

The virus, dubbed 2019-nCoV, has remained mysterious, in part because China has worked to control the narrative and flow of information. As the media has made sense of the looming pandemic, different outlets have sometimes provided conflicting information, sometimes within the same day.

To make sense of 2019-nCoV’s spread throughout and beyond China, here’s our distilled timeline the deadly, pneumonia-like disease’s spread.

December 27, 2019: Officials in Wuhan, China announce that 27 residents, mostly stallholders at the city’s Huanan Seafood Market, have fallen ill with a mysterious virus.

January 1, 2020: Chinese state media announces that police have investigated eight people for “spreading rumors” about the virus online.

January 3, 2020: After a week of radio silence and accusations of censorship, Wuhan officials say they’ve identified 44 patients infected with the virus. Five suspected cases emerge in Hong Kong. Wuhan officials rule out the possibility that the virus could be influenza, avian influenza, or a long list of common respiratory diseases.

January 5, 2020: The virus has now spread to 59 people in Wuhan and the number of suspected cases in Hong Kong grows to 21. Experts rule out the possibility that the virus is a resurgence of SARS.

January 10, 2020: A man in Wuhan infected by the virus becomes the first known patient to die from the virus.

January 13, 2020: The virus spreads to Thailand, marking the first confirmed case outside of China.

January 16, 2020: The virus spreads to Japan.

January 17, 2020: A second case in Thailand is confirmed. The World Health Organization (WHO) issues a statement saying little is known about the novel virus — but that more international cases are likely. A second Wuhan resident dies.

January 19, 2020: China now has 198 confirmed cases of the virus, 126 in Wuhan. Chinese President Xi Jinping gives his first public address about the outbreak on national TV. Scientists confirm that human-to-human transmission is possible.

January 20, 2020: South Korea’s first case is confirmed, as is Taiwan’s.

January 21, 2020: The virus officially reaches the U.S. with one confirmed case in Washington State. It also appears in Singapore. China has nearly 300 confirmed cases. Six people have died.

January 22, 2020: China suspends all travel out of Wuhan, effectively placing the city under quarantine. There are nearly 600 confirmed cases worldwide: 444 in Wuhan, 26 in Guangdong, 14 in Beijing, and nine in Shanghai, in addition to the cases outside of China. Hundreds more, including what would be the first in Mexico, are suspected. Preliminary research suggests the virus may have originated in snakes, but some experts contest the finding. Seventeen people have died.

January 23, 2020: A case in Chicago is confirmed. China places three more cities under travel lockdown. The WHO decides it’s too early to declare a global public health emergency. An eighteenth patient dies. Beijing cancels its New Year’s festivals to discourage travel and tourism. The virus reaches Vietnam and Macau.

January 24, 2020: China quarantines eight more cities in the Hubei Province, trapping 35 million residents in their cities. As of press time, 2019-nCoV has killed 26 patients, all in China. Throughout America, 63 unconfirmed cases are under investigation. The virus has spread to Nepal and two more cases in Singapore are confirmed. Late on Friday, France confirmed its first two cases — the first appearance of 2019-nCoV in Europe. Including France, 945 cases have been confirmed in 12 countries.


‘Forever chemicals’ are in nearly all U.S. drinking water, activists say. Miami is #3 on the list.

By Adriana Brasileiro
January 23, 2020 06:00 AM

Miami-Dade last year closed three wells for high levels of chemicals engineers think are linked to contamination from Miami International Airport. Tests show drinking water from the plant served by those wells remains safe.

Drinking water contamination with “forever chemicals” — present in Teflon cookware and Scotchgard stain repellent — is far more widespread than previously estimated, with some of the highest levels found in Miami, according to a study by an environmental group.

The chemicals known as PFAS don’t break down easily and have been a problem for water quality managers in Florida and across the country as concerns grow about potential health risks. Miami-Dade last year closed three wells that were above federal health standards.

The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy nonprofit, said Wednesday that PFAS — short for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances — are likely detectable in all major water supplies in the United States. A previous estimate that 110 million Americans could be exposed to the potentially toxic chemicals is “much too low” in light of the new findings, EWG said.
They learned about Ukraine’s at-risk children and asked: How can we help kids in need here?
They learned about Ukraine’s at-risk children and
asked: How can we help kids in need here?
They learned about Ukraine’s at-risk children and asked: How can we help kids in need here?

Extensive exposure to the substances has been linked to higher risks for cancer and birth defects, though the chemicals are so common that most people have been exposed to them.
Local News at Your Fingertips

Get unlimited digital access for just $3.99 a month to #ReadLocal anytime, on any device.

Because PFAS are not regulated, the federal Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t have a firm rule on how much can be present in drinking water. The agency established a non-enforceable “health advisory level” of 70 parts per trillion for the most prevalent PFAS compounds, which are also widely used in firefighting foams. Advocacy groups like EWG and health advocates consider that threshold too high to be considered safe, and 10 states have implemented or are preparing to implement their own standards.

EWG didn’t provide its testing locations but tests conducted in Miami in July last year showed PFAS levels of 56.7 parts per trillion, below the federal advisory level but much higher than EWG’s recommended level of 1 ppt. Florida doesn’t have its own standard, and Miami-Dade said it uses the EPA guideline for its yardstick on PFAS contamination.

EWG sampled tap water in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Only Brunswick County in North Carolina and the Quad Cities area in Iowa had higher PFAS concentrations than Miami.

Miami-Dade said that all the drinking water its treatment plants provide is well within the EPA advisory level for PFAS, according to Water and Sewer Department spokeswoman Jennifer Messemer-Skold.

Still, six water supply wells out of 89 wells sampled have been found to exceed health advisory levels, leading to the closure last year of three of those wells, she said.

The closed wells, near Miami International Airport, supply the Hialeah and Preston water plants in the Hialeah area. Firefighting foam has been used for years in training and rescue operations at MIA, which could explain the high level of contaminants.
Adriana Brasileiro
(305) 376-2576

The Berkey takes it out.

Marathon Man Newz / Re: Bloomberg's Gambit
« on: Today at 09:11:25 AM »
Cleared my history and googled Trump.

Blloomberg's Ad still number one, but now the 2nd ad is one for the Trump campaign.

Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 11 06 47 AM
Screen Shot 2020 01 25 at 11 06 47 AM

Doom Psychology & Philosophy / Re: Another Day Another Shooter
« on: January 24, 2020, 04:31:50 PM »
I practice in a town with an interstate highway that runs for a short distance along what once was called the Chisolm Trail.

On the other side of the freeway, a couple of blocks south of my office, is a cemetery where two guys are buried. One was a notorious train robber named Sam Bass,  and the other was a local sheriff's deputy named A.W. Grimes. A thwarted bank robbery and a real gunfight  made Round Rock the final resting place of both of them. The cemetery is on Sam Bass Road, and over on my side of the freeway is a newer north-south running parkway named for the lawman.

I expect more people know that Sam Bass Rd was named for an outlaw, than could tell you who the other street was named for.

Grimes was shot when he tried to disarm the bandits when they entered a local store to buy tobacco. The Texas Rangers were already in town, lying in wait for Bass, who had been ratted out by an informant upon whom the law men had put some unusual pressure, the legalities of which might be questionable. But none of the Rangers had any idea what Bass even looked like.

Responding to the first shooting, the Rangers shot Sam Bass and wounded some other gang members. Bass  escaped but he was found mortally wounded in a nearby pasture the next day,  Actually the posse rode right by him and he called out to them for help. Otherwise they might not have seen him.

He died later that day, on July 21st, 1878, which was his birthday. He had just turned 27 years old. Griimes, although he had already served in the Texas Rangers himself, was also only 27.

They are both still dead.

Life seems way too precious for anybody to die young in a gunfight.

Surly Newz / Re: The Rudy Colludy Schadenfreude Thread
« on: January 24, 2020, 02:56:22 PM »
Sweet Jesus.

Doom Psychology & Philosophy / Re: Another Day Another Shooter
« on: January 24, 2020, 02:40:41 PM »

<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>


When CLIMATE CHANGE (not measurable by most idiots) turns into REALLY BAD WEATHER and LOCAL FLOODING AND TORNADOES,  most people start to wise up. I think consciousness about climate change is steadily increasing, and Greta is a lightning rod.

I feel sorry for her that she has decided to be a martyr for the cause though. I expect it won't make her life better in any way over the course of her lifetime. It's a very heavy mantle that she has chosen.

I expect Greta to be a rising star for some years ahead, and she'll look smarter and smarter as the years go by.

Greta is Autistic.  High functioning, but still autistic.   I doubt the pushback bothers her at all.  She is like Rain Man.  Totally focused on just one thing.

<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>


I loved that movie.

"Quantas. Quantas never crashed."

Economics / Trusts, An Embarrassment of Riches
« on: January 24, 2020, 01:36:14 PM »
There are a number of different kinds of trusts, but all the ones I ever heard of are set up mainly to accomplish a few critical things that can lead to the establishment of ongoing intergenerational wealth.

When I argue with RE about the difference between being a high earner and being REALLY RICH, learning about trusts is vital to understanding the difference.

It's even hard to say what the premier benefit is to setting up a trust for your heirs, as opposed to just dying and letting them sell off your assets and run through the money. There are multiple benefits. 

One very obvious benefit IS the avoidance of inheritance taxes, which generally decimate the estates of most of us. Another is that the carefully acquired cash-flow assets of a "relatively-well-off-but-not-all-that-rich" guy (like me) can be kept bundled and flowing cash, instead of the cash cow herd being slaughtered just because the Old Cowboy bit the dust.

Think about that one. it took me most of my life to set up a modest system of assets that would throw off an income and feed me after I retire. So.....I could put that in trust, and maybe my kids might benefit from a little extra mailbox money for the rest of their lives too.  Or....I could let them sell the property and divide the modest spoils.....and....and nothing,  because that would put them in the same position I started the beginning.

The biggest key to building for the process to not have to begin again in every generation. (Let that one sink in. It's important.)

And let's face it, Not everyone even manages to figure this shit out in their lifetime . In fact most people don't. At least I got this far, which is further than most people. And I'm generous enough to share the info, although I know almost nobody will take action. Maybe one person will.

If you are that person, don't thank me. I don't want your gratitude. Just pay it forward, okay?

Because of human nature, not that many people look ahead and think about their own mortality or how that will affect the people they love....and certainly nobody gets taught anything about it in school, unless you went to law school or became a CPA  (or both) and even pursued some post-doc education in this area.

People who fall off the turnip truck er, uh,work really hard  ;D........and get rich, though, get solicited by folks who know how to do this stuff. They don't have to learn it. It comes to them.

But maybe you'd like to educate yourself a bit....see how this works.  No problem. The Internet KNOWS ALL.

Me: Siri, what is a TRUST?

(Voice of Siri, responding): Dynasty Trust or Domestic Asset Protection Trust?

Me: I dunno.

<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>

A Primer on Dynasty Trusts
By Nicole Hart, J.D.  March 26, 2018

Why is it called a “Dynasty Trust”?

Some are surprised to learn that most trusts are temporary. Unlike a corporation, partnership, or other artificial legal entity, most trusts cannot be perpetual. A rule of law called the “Rule Against Perpetuities” terminates most trusts automatically, and cuts them off at a few generations. As a result, even the most careful trust planning will eventually be unwound, because these temporary trusts will terminate and the property will be distributed outright into the hands of the trust beneficiaries. This limitation can be avoided by using a Dynasty Trust, because it is a perpetual trust. Dynasty Trusts avoid the Rule Against Perpetuities through careful structuring, and can therefore last forever. This feature makes them superior to other trusts. As a result, for families with significant wealth, Dynasty Trusts now form the core of their financial and estate plan.

What are the other advantages of Dynasty Trusts?

A Dynasty Trust may well be the most protective way for a family to own property. Some of these benefits are described below.
Protection from Creditors. A Dynasty Trust can protect its assets in perpetuity from the creditors of the trust’s beneficiaries. Because the trust, not the beneficiary, owns the property, creditors cannot reach the property that remains in trust. For example, a Dynasty Trust may be thought of as a perpetual prenuptial agreement for every descendant of its creator.

Temporary trusts cannot provide this same level of protection. Any creditor protection they afford will terminate when the trust terminates. In addition, the duration of a temporary trust is arbitrary, and has nothing to do with the needs of the beneficiaries. The trust may terminate at precisely the time when the protection is needed most, because its lifespan is predetermined at its creation, and cannot respond to a beneficiary’s creditor problems. A trust beneficiary about to be sued by a business creditor may suddenly find himself the recipient of trust property that will be subject to that creditor’s claims. Even worse, some temporary trusts are designed to terminate at certain beneficiary ages, and distribute property automatically at that age. It would be a simple matter for a potential creditor, like a divorcing spouse, to wait until the day after that important birthday to file suit.

Protection of Family Values. Increasingly, the well-designed estate plan focuses as much on passing along family values as on family wealth. Because a Dynasty Trust is perpetual, it is an especially appropriate tool for “values-based” estate planning, where its creator will attempt to use the trust to pass along her philosophy and work ethic to its beneficiaries. A Dynasty Trust may contain various incentives to induce its beneficiaries to remain productive members of society, and thereby protect its beneficiaries from the “trust fund” syndrome that can result from a trust beneficiary having unfettered access to wealth.
Temporary trusts cannot provide this protection against beneficiary excess, because they must eventually terminate and distribute their property outright into the hands of their beneficiaries. Thus, regardless of the protections written into the temporary trust at its outset, the only thing the trust creator knows for certain is that these protections will eventually be removed.

Protection from Taxes. When properly designed and funded, the assets within the Dynasty Trust are exempt from estate tax in the estates of all family members. In other words, assets in the Dynasty Trust will grow free of estate taxes forever.
For some clients, a properly designed Dynasty Trust may also be used to avoid or defer state and local income taxes.

Are there limitations on funding a Dynasty Trust?

Like any gift to an irrevocable trust, a gift to a Dynasty Trust is potentially subject to gift tax. However, it is relatively easy to avoid the actual imposition of gift tax by only transferring the amount of your remaining lifetime exemption from gift taxes. If you gift-split with your spouse, a married donor may be able to transfer double that amount by using the lifetime exemptions of both spouses. The gift must also be exempt from another type of tax, called the “generation-skipping transfer” (or “GST”) tax. This is usually simple to accomplish because a donor’s exemption from GST tax is generally equal to or more than his or her gift tax exemption. For current lifetime exemption amounts, see this Cheat Sheet on federal estate, gift and GST taxes. Thus, a gift this year to a Dynasty Trust in the amount of your remaining gift/estate and GST tax exemption can be straightforward and would result in no federal gift or generation-skipping transfer taxes.

It is also possible to leverage the exemptions discussed above to make transfers to Dynasty Trusts that are essentially unlimited. Sophisticated planning making use of discounted transfers, insurance, or “estate freezes” can permit the donor to choose the appropriate level of funding and maximize use of her available exemption.
How do the beneficiaries get property from the Dynasty Trust?

A Dynasty Trust may be designed in many ways. It can be structured to allow a beneficiary maximum control over the trust property, so that it feels to that descendant that there are essentially no restrictions on her use of the property. For example, if desired by the creator and depending on the particular circumstances, it may be possible for the beneficiary to be the sole trustee of the trust for her benefit. However, it should be noted that the more control a beneficiary has over the trust assets, the less protected those trust assets may be from potential creditors of the beneficiary.

Other Dynasty Trusts may be more restrictive, and employ a professional trustee to ensure that the beneficiaries are not abusing their access to family wealth. The control structures possible are varied, and can include sophisticated plans such as Family Councils that will allow family input into the administration of the trust without permitting any one beneficiary to control trust distributions.

Regardless of the distribution scheme in the Dynasty Trusts, most of these trusts are created with the expectation that distributions will only be made at a time when the beneficiary will consume the distribution. In other cases, such as where the beneficiary needs access to capital for purchase of a residence, a new business venture, or other investment opportunity, the Dynasty Trust may act as a “family bank” and loan the beneficiary the capital, or may act as a “family venture capital fund” and make a direct investment in the property to be purchased.

What controls can the creator of a Dynasty Trust retain?

The creator of a Dynasty Trust can retain significant control over the trust property even after the trust is created. The creator, for example, may retain the ability to hire and fire the trustees of the Dynasty Trust, and may change the provisions regarding when (if ever) his descendants become trustees. The creator can often retain the ability to determine the trust investment policy, and may even have the final say regarding investments of trust capital. In this way, the creator can have continued control over the trust capital for future investment opportunities.

Further information

There are many ways to structure and fund a Dynasty Trust to meet a family’s goals. Dynasty Trusts are also effectively combined with other sophisticated planning techniques to further magnify their benefits. In order to determine whether and how to create a Dynasty Trust that achieves your financial and estate planning goals, please contact your advisor or attorney.
Updated March 2018.
Wealthspire Advisors is the common brand and trade name used by Sontag Advisory LLC and Wealthspire Advisors, LP, separate registered investment advisers and subsidiary companies of NFP Corp.

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Nicole Hart, J.D.
Nicole Hart is head of our trusts & estates department and works in our New York office.

Economics / Time Favors Trustafarians
« on: January 24, 2020, 10:41:47 AM »
Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust

                                                              ------------ Oliver Wendell Holmes ,1858

Another popular Money Magazine shibboleth I'd like to demolish is the old saw about THE MIRACLE OF COMPOUND INTEREST.  Almost any investment book you could hit with a dart from across the room talks about this, and it's a crock.

Short version is:

(1) Kid gets a savings account.

(They used to call these "passbook savings accounts" I had one from the time I had my very first part time job...and they used to give you a tiny little leather bound journal you could use to keep track of your balance,  Quaint.)

(2) Kid adds to savings account, never spending, but instead lets the interest compound.

(I spent my first big fortune for a mini-bike, as I recall, as soon as I had accumulated the princely sum of $250 bucks....let that be a warning to you, children)

(3) Kid keeps making the same small deposit every week, growing up and turning into an adult...and SOMEDAY, he checks his balance and finds out that THE MIRACLE OF COMPOUND INTEREST has made him into a MILLIONAIRE!!!!!

This seldom happens in real life, because there is no penalty for spending one's own money, and many of us do enjoy spending money MUCH more than we enjoy making tiny bank deposits week after week and never actually having anything to piss away on worthless consumer junk.

And the people who actually can do this kind of behavior tend to end up living so cheaply that when they die rich, it surprises even their closest acquaintances, because they never had much to show for it when they were alive. Saving can be an addiction. more thing. This popular delusion is based on ancient data. While it would have been a decent strategy for a kid born in 1900, since about 1984 interest rates have steadily fallen and are still bouncing along near the all time lows....and banks are conniving ways to take them even lower.

The best thing for a kid born in 1980 or later to have done would have been to buy government bonds, which appreciated mightily in value as interest rates fell. (Although it was probably purely an accident, my own kids made some money this way, because their grandmother bought them a few EE bonds and my wife spent her small inheritance on more of them.)

Below is a chart of CD rates since 1984. Savings account rates, of course, follow this trend, although the interest was always lower, and is now down around 2% (which is a recent improvement) but you have to keep a large balance to get that.....and I don't expect it to persist. I expect that fairly soon one will have to PAY to keep cash in a savings account.

There is one group of people, however, for whom the MIRACLE OF COMPOUND INTEREST works pretty well. These fortunate individuals are the recipients of what are called TRUSTS.

Trusts are legal entities set up to pass wealth down through the generations.

Compound interest is still a thing, mathematically speaking, and if you (a) get a big gift the day you're born and (b) you can't cash it out, and (c) it accumulates interest over your ENTIRE LIFETIME and (d) it begins to throw off a stipend you CAN spend.....well that's a damn fine thing.

I was going to write an article about how trusts work, but I'm not an attorney or an accountant, and frankly it ain't my jam.....but this article  I'm cutting and pasting covers the high points pretty well. In addition to the compound interest part, there is also a tax part, which is also very significant.

This is not the only way people grow and benefit from Big Wealth, but it's one of a few excellent scams that are guaranteed to make the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune easier to bear.

How many people in this country benefit from a trust set up by some dead relative? Is it a "vanishingly small" number of people?'s nearly 1% of all Americans, roughly 3 million people.

Got Trust?

Me neither.

How Wealth Accumulators Can Use Trusts To Avoid State Income Tax

 Peter J Reilly

"Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust"
For the very wealthy, trust arrangements can make the payment of state income taxes largely optional.

"Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust" comes from the Autocrat of the Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.  The context was advice to young women about to be married and is probably reflective of the legal concept of coverture which put the property and earnings of a married woman under the control of her husband.  The law was changing in that regard even in 1858 when Holmes penned the advice, but the advantages of putting your money in trust have multiplied since then.

We now have a new social group -trustafarians- that is created by the forethought of previous generations putting their money in trust.  The Urban Dictionary defines them as :

priviliged white kids who subsribe to the hippie lifestyle (because they can) since they have no worries about money, a job etc. They can then devote their lives to eating organic, following Phish, and wearing dreadlocks (no need for job interviews).

A Victory For The Trustafarians

Today In: Money

And the Supreme Court just handed a victory to tomorrow's trustafarians in  North Carolina Department of Revenue v Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust. For the very wealthy, trust arrangements can make the payment of state income taxes largely optional.  As an individual, it can be extremely challenging to establish domicile in a tax-free state and avoid being a statutory resident.  Accomplishing that with a trust requires professional expertise, but that can be hired and won't affect your day to day life.

I got some great feedback about the decision from people at the international law firm Withers.  Withers had filed an amicus brief on behalf of organizations representing professional trustees, bankers, and attornies in South Dakota, New Hampshire, Delaware, Nevada, and Tennesse.

The lawyers at Withers like the decision, which of course went the way they recommended and have some pro tips that I will share, but the overall practical takeaway is that you need really sharp legal work with a national, if not international perspective to take advantage of the favorable state income tax treatment of trusts.  And you will need to be alert or more likely to pay somebody to be alert to avoid nasty surprises.

Why This Is Not Such A Great Thing

The state income tax treatment of trusts that can afford and benefit from the counsel of firms like Withers is one of those things that fuel inequality. One of the biggest differences between the very wealthy and even the quite prosperous is that the very wealthy don't spend all or even most of their income to live.  Another big difference is that most of the income of the non-wealthy comes from working.  If you have income being generated by wealth that you don't need to spend to live on, sharp trust legal work can avoid state income tax on that income regardless of where you live.

The benefit goes not to today's trustafarians who are living in Williamsburg.  They might end up paying through the nose on their distributions if they come out of trust income.  It is their children and grandchildren who will be supported by the state tax-free accumulations.  Regardless, that is why I don't see this decision as not such a great thing, but rather as one more brick in the wall that the new American gentry is building.

How Does It Work?

Now that I have gotten my inner anarchist out of my system, let's look at the practical points.

To grossly oversimplify trusts don't get a really good deal for federal income tax purposes.  If they have certain attributes, they are considered "grantor trusts". They are disregarded and what they do hits an individual's return like a single-member LLC or they may be mere title holding devices that are altogether ignored.  And some things called trusts are taxed as corporations.

There are however entities called trusts that are taxed as entities.  They are required to file Form 1041.  Doing Form 1041 correctly for a trust that has a decent amount of stuff going on is beyond most tax preparers.  Fortunately, nobody seems to care much that a large percentage, perhaps the majority of 1041s are done wrong.  It usually does not matter that much.

Again oversimplifying for federal tax purposes a trust is taxed much as an individual is with a less generous rate table and smaller exemptions.  That's the whole deal if the trust is just accumulating income.  If the trust makes distributions, it can, with all sorts of limitations and special rules, deduct those distributions from its taxable income.  Then the beneficiary who received the distribution has taxable income which is reported on a K-1, much like a partnership or an S corporation.

The Trust Triad

The Withers amicus brief refers to the trust triad - settlor, trustee and beneficiary.  Let's say the Tommy Atkins Fantasy Family Trust has a million in interest income.  Tom is the settlor.  His friend Richard is the trustee.  And Tom's son Harry is the beneficiary.  Depending on the terms of the trust and actions taken by Dick, that whole million dollars will be reported for federal income tax purposes by some combination of Tom, Dick (in his capacity as trustee) and Harry.

When it comes to state income taxes, it is a different story.  Assume that Tom, Dick and Harry all live in states with state income taxes - three different states. Let's also assume that Tom has made the trust irrevocable and has not retained any of the powers that would make it a grantor trust.  If Dick distributes to Harry and deducts the distribution, Harry will have state taxable income on the distribution (There might be an exception to that, but I don't know of any.)

The interesting question is what happens if Dick does not make a distribution.  If the million is the only thing going on,  Dick will pay, out of trust assets, federal income tax.  And what about state income taxes?

State Income Tax - Who Pays? If Anybody

North Carolina wanted to tax the trust merely because the beneficiaries lived there.  The Supreme Court has now ruled that that is not enough at least in the case of a trust that is wholly discretionary.  What about the state where the trustee is? Well, you will probably be able to find a state that will not tax on that basis, because the states are competing for trustee business.  That was the biggest takeaway from my discussion with William Kambas. Then there is the state where Tom was living when the trust became irrevocable.

In 2014, I wrote about a trust that traced to an Illinois trust that was funded by A.N. Pritzker in 1961.  The trust in question had A.N.'s grandaughter Linda as its primary beneficiary.  The trustee relocated it in Texas (That's a simplification).  The remaining tenuous connection to Illinois was not enough to allow Illinois to tax the trust.

Mr. Kambas had something to say on that:

For those looking for what will happen for taxing regimes not addressed by Kaestner, the focus should now be on the case of Bauerly v. Fielding, which has a pending petition as of today.   This is a case where the state is seeking to levy an income tax on trusts based primarily on the fact that the settlor was domiciled in Minnesota when the trusts became irrevocable.  This is a second case where there is potentially only a "single factor" that could establish nexus between the state and the trust.

Let The Games Continue

How to tax trusts for income tax purposes is a matter that screams out for a simple uniform rule.  (I have no idea what that rule would be.) Mr. Kambas does not see that happening anytime soon.

Instead, states have rules based on the trust triad in various degrees.  Massachusetts will consider a trust resident if it has a Massachusetts settlor and a Massachusetts trustee. So switch to a Connecticut trustee.  Connecticut does not consider the residence of either trustees or beneficiaries.

Thanks to the Supreme Court decision, a Massachusetts settlor can set up a trust with a Connecticut trustee and the only way any state can tax any of its income is if the trust does business in that state or distributes to a beneficiary in that state.  Throw in that capital gains are generally not distributable income.

A Caveat

The Kaestner Trust was a discretionary trust.  The discretion is with the trustee.  What that means is that if you set up a trust with a view to having your beneficiaries taken care of, you have to select somebody that you can, you know, trust.  Giving the beneficiaries rights to demand distributions may create enough nexus to allow a state to tax the trust.  At least that seems to be the concern.

Other Withers Comments

David Lehn sees the decision as confirming what was generally believed.

 Historic jurisprudence has not been changed.  Confidence retained.   The Court (both the majority and concurrence) were clear that historic cases supported the conclusion that mere presence of a discretionary beneficiary is not sufficient to meet constitutional standards for state income tax nexus.

James Dougherty emphasizes why you don't want to just download a trust form from a free internet site if you want it to work.

Careful drafting.  One important takeaway is that absolute discretion trusts bring real advantages. Often absolute discretion standards are touted for the creditor protection and flexibility they provide. Today's decision highlights that it also limits the ability of a state to claim there is nexus over the trust for tax purposes. If there was an enforceable right, such as under a HEMS standard, this case could have turned out differently.

Ivory Tower

The oddest thing to me about Justice Sotomayer's decision is what I see as stunning naivete.

Finally, the State urges that adopting the Trust’s position will lead to opportunistic gaming of state tax systems. There is no certainty, however, that such behavior will regularly come to pass, and in any event, mere speculation about negative consequences cannot conjure the “minimum connection” missing between the State and the object of its tax.

I would be inclined to replace "certainty" with "doubt" in that sentence.

About Trust Lawyers

When you are talking about large wealth, there are of course a great number of non-tax considerations, but I'm not going to be able to help you much there.  Other than to tell you based on what I have observed through my career it is about fifty-fifty whether inheritance is good or bad for people, which is a little demoralizing for estate planning.

As to the lawyers who work on these issues, I would observe that there is a danger that they can get into ruts.  They may be attached to the state that they practice in.  Clearly, that narrows your option.  Also planning in this area tends to be focused on transfer taxes which is really big money for large estates, but not something that happens every year.  Income tax planning can get short shrift sometimes or the income tax implications of estate planning techniques can be overlooked.

Finally, state income taxes tend to be at the bottom of the list.  The money is not as big, but it looks to me that trusts that pay substantial state income tax might likely be missing out on savings opportunities.  If a trust is paying substantial state income taxes, particularly in light of Kaestner a close look should be taken at the planning.

Other Coverage

In blogging time this is an old story and Supreme Court decisions about any sort of taxes are pretty rare, so there is a a lot of other coverage.  I will mention a bit though.

Martin Shenkman of Forbes had Can Your Trust Get A State Tax Refund? Supreme Court Rules In Kaestner Case?. Mr. Shenkman emphasizes the practical:

If you’re a trustee or beneficiary of a trust that has been taxed on that basis, call your CPA and have refund claims filed for any open tax years you can.

I would note that if your CPA was on the ball, the claims are already pending.

Call your estate planning attorney, and if you have an institutional trustee, your trust officer, and review what you might do to improve a trust you have to strengthen a position that tax is not due to a particular state. In many cases trusts can be moved, trustees replaced, existing trusts merged (decanted) into new trusts with better provisions to avoid state income tax. The Kaestner case recognized and approved the decanting of the trust in that case to extend the term of a trust which may have been a factor in the favorable ruling. So, you too may be able to have your trust improved.

I just love that "decanting" thing.  I know an estate attorney that any instrument she writes is solid as the Rock of Gibraltar, who can make anybody else's instrument jump through hoops and turn itself blue.

Also on Forbes "Tax Girl" Kelly Phillips Erb had Supreme Court Rules Against North Carolina In Trust Tax Case.

She focused on constitutional issues.

Jay Adkinson also of Forbes had New York Trust Not Subject To North Carolina Tax Because of In-State Beneficiaries In Kaestner.

Todd Ganos of Forbes had U.S. Supreme Court Hands Two Massive Tax Wins To High Asset Families & Business Owners.

The second case was Minnesota v. Fielding. Minnesota sought to tax a trust “the grantor of which was domiciled in this state at the time the trust became irrevocable.” This is express language from Minnesota’s statute. While the facts of this case are a bit different from the example above, the rule of law in play is nonetheless the same. Without requiring any nexus more than the residency of the person who created the trust, the trustee and beneficiaries objected. The state lost at the Minnesota appellate court level and the Minnesota supreme court. On the heels of the North Carolina case -- which expressly referred to states seeking to base nexus solely on the trust settlor’s residency -- Minnesota appealed to the US Supreme Court.

The US Supreme Court denied certiorari to Minnesota’s tax authority -- which means it refused to hear the case and the lower court’s decision stands.

Mr. Ganos literally delves into ancient history in his discussion, which I thought was pretty cool.



Climate activist Greta Thunberg hit back at Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for saying she should not call for countries to divest from fossil fuels until she “goes and studies economics in college.”

“My gap year ends in August, but it doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up,” Thunberg tweeted, including a video of a chart illustrating the rise in carbon emissions.

“So either you tell us how to achieve this mitigation or explain to future generations and those already affected by the climate emergency why we should abandon our climate commitments,” she added.

Mnuchin made the comment on Thursday on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying in a press conference “is she the chief economist? Who is she, I’m confused."

“After she goes and studies economics in college she can come back and explain that to us,” he added.

Thunberg, while participating in a climate forum in Davos on Tuesday, said world leaders’ inaction on climate issues is “fueling the flames” of climate change.

“You might think we’re naive but if you won’t do it, you must explain to your children why you’ve given up on the Paris agreement goals and knowingly created a climate crisis,” she said.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also defended Thunberg, tweeting "If you don’t have an economics degree like Greta, they’ll mock you for not having one. If you DO have one, as I do, they’ll claim it’s illegitimate." The two met in a video conversation last summer.

The stance that the Fox News crowd is taking against Greta Thunberg is so obviously scientifically bereft and morally indefensible that only the dumbest people will buy into their pushback.

Like the Gun People last week in Richmond, some people will just continue to grasp at the most tenuous of fairy tales.

QAnon, the 2nd amendment, evangelical Christianity, angels, compassionate conservatism and all that sort of BS.

When CLIMATE CHANGE (not measurable by most idiots) turns into REALLY BAD WEATHER and LOCAL FLOODING AND TORNADOES,  most people start to wise up. I think consciousness about climate change is steadily increasing, and Greta is a lightning rod.

I feel sorry for her that she has decided to be a martyr for the cause though. I expect it won't make her life better in any way over the course of her lifetime. It's a very heavy mantle that she has chosen.

I expect Greta to be a rising star for some years ahead, and she'll look smarter and smarter as the years go by.

Surly Newz / Re: Who They Are...
« on: January 24, 2020, 09:13:09 AM »

I want one.

Heavy Weight Metal/Wood Construction
Post Globe Front Sight; Adjustable Rear Sight
750FPS with lead .177 pellet
Fixed Barrel w/Cocking Lever
.177 Caliber Pellets

Daisy is still profiting off that movie and still cranking these out. ($35)

My mother, who (I'm pretty sure) coined the phrase "you''ll shoot your eye out" around 1961, was never credited.

                Gateway Drug

Surly Newz / Re: Who They Are...
« on: January 24, 2020, 08:58:06 AM »

I want one.

Heavy Weight Metal/Wood Construction
Post Globe Front Sight; Adjustable Rear Sight
750FPS with lead .177 pellet
Fixed Barrel w/Cocking Lever
.177 Caliber Pellets

I got a Gamo after spending some time comparing. They're constantly changing and upgrading their models, but mine is a prior generation model similar to the one in the link below. I like .177 better than .22 . The newer air guns are quite a bit more powerful than the one you posted, Mine claims 1300 FPS.

This is comparable to the muzzle velocity of a "light" .22 rifle round.

Mine is a single shot.....this was always one of the negatives on air rifles.....but I see they're making one now that has a 10 shot magazine.. I'd call that a major innovation, if it works well. Dunno.

Quote from: Eddie
But most people are stunningly ignorant about both money and wealth...but I'm not, and I am perfectly capable of explaining  it to anyone who really wishes to understand.

I will actually look forward to this, because in this instance I'm one of "most people."

Quote from: Eddie
You do NOT wish to understand, because the fake explanation suits your purpose, which is to turn poor people (which is your primary audience here) against capitalism, and to sow discord between the poor and the slightly better-off people like me.

If one reads and is aware of what is really going on, how can one FAIL to turn against capitalism, particularly in its extract-at-all-costs late stage crony flavor, which is mining all of us for profit even as we speak? IMO, capitalism indicts itself. The problem is that most people are too busy or self-absorbed to connect the dots.

I also fell over a data point last week that brought me up short, that only a third of the country has a four year college degree. My first reaction was surprise and astonishment, thinking that it had fallen precipitously from when I attended. Not so. The current rate of college -educated is the highest of all time, student loans and all.

So whatever they are learning, it's not about economic self interest.

First, I'm no cheerleader for the kind of crony capitalism that exists in this day and time. Corporatism is a plague.I believe in taking care of the planet so it will take care of us. I believe we should beat our nukes into plowshares. I think we should socialize some things like healthcare....but not the bad debts of bankers.

But all of us were born into this system and we get to deal with it the way it is.

 I do drive a car. So do several million other people. I like electricity. I like to eat meat.  I'm part of the problem and I'm not wanting to give up my creature comforts and little luxuries.

My goal is to finish out what's left of my life in relative comfort, if I can.. I don't see a human solution to all the things wrong with the planet or the inequality that exists.It's gonna get worse. It'd take some kind of miracle to turn this around. I'm not opposed to that, but I don't expect it.

And the thing I believe is that collective ownership and socialism have their own set of problems, and that it takes more than just a change of  the takes better leadership in general, something I'm not looking for in a world this complex and filled with people who don't belong to the same tribe.

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