OT: Stockton CA to file for bankruptcy, will be largest U.S. city to fail

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Colorado on fire, Florida (like half of all US home owners) under water.
Detroit threatening to go under for months, but here comes Stockton to do it first.
Texas without enough electricity.
US troops preparing and training for martial law in the US, Fema has their concentration camps and stacks of portable coffins, the TSA has their fusion centers all prepared.
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======Subject: Senate Moves To Allow Military To Intern Americans Without Trial Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011 10:53:43
http://www.infowars.com/senate-moves-to-allow-military-to-intern-americans-without-trial /
The Senate is set to vote on a bill today that would define the whole of the United States as a “battlefield” and allow the U.S. Military to arrest American citizens in their own back yard without charge or trial. ======= Your ride down the toilet is coming sooner and faster than you think. We'll be holding our hats here in Canada as we watch you go down. This is not hate, this is just a friend saying "we told you so - too bad you were too stupid to realize it".
=============================== http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-stockton-bankruptcy-20120627,0,2285815.story
Stockton to file for bankruptcy, will be largest U.S. city to fail
The Stockton City Council halts bond payments, slashes employee benefits and adopts an emergency budget as mediation ends. The Central Valley city becomes the largest in the U.S. to seek bankruptcy protection.
STOCKTON — This Gold Rush-era port city, an epicenter of California's agricultural exports, will become the nation's largest city to seek protection under the U.S. bankruptcy code after its City Council on Tuesday stopped bond payments, slashed employee health and retirement benefits and adopted a day-to-day survival budget.
City Manager Bob Deis likened the process to cutting off an arm to save the body. He is expected to file bankruptcy papers immediately.
A Delta wind had scrubbed the Central Valley sky blue as residents gathered hours early for the 5:30 p.m. meeting.
Most knew what the night held; bankruptcy has been a long time coming. Stockton has been in negotiations with its creditors since late March under AB 506, a new California law requiring mediation before a municipality can file for reorganization of debt. It was the first use of the law, and policy analysts who watched its torturous and tedious progress have titled their report on it "Death by a Thousand Meetings." Mediations ended Monday at midnight.
Recent council meetings have been boisterous and contentious. Tuesday night's meeting was quieter, with an evident sadness on faces in the packed audience. Many residents said they were there mostly to hear for themselves that the day so long expected had finally come.
"It's a seminal moment in this city's history and I needed to be here," said Dwight Williams, who runs a nonprofit housing organization. "I can't just read about this in tomorrow's paper. I need to hear for myself if there is some inkling as to where we go from here."
La Vonne Belli, 84, said she was there to hear what people had to say.
"I don't mean those people up there on the dais in their comfortable chairs. I mean the little people, the real people," she said. "The ones who have to keep muddling through somehow."
Almost all who spoke to the council began with some version of: "I was born and raised here."
Although a city of almost 300,000, Stockton is a place where many families have known one another for generations. The most impassioned speakers argued on behalf of others, with the main rallying cry a plea to keep health insurance for retirees with illnesses. A high school student spoke of his aunt, a retired city worker with cancer, and a retired fire chief spoke of his former secretary who cares for her ill husband.
"People look at me and say, 'Well he can afford his own insurance,' and I can," said Gary Gillis, the retired chief. "But how about the ones who mowed the lawns, went in the sewers, typed my letters? We have to protect the most vulnerable among us."
Experts say there are no clear answers to what comes next for Stockton or how its fall will affect the rest of the state. Other cities hit hard by the housing bust and state budget crisis are negotiating with employee unions for concessions and are watching to see if municipal bankruptcy proves medicine or poison.
The stated purpose of AB 506 — to forestall a municipal bankruptcy — failed, but several bankruptcy attorneys said the mediation may help Stockton avoid the string of lawsuits that faced the smaller city of Vallejo, which recently emerged from a bankruptcy case filed in 2008.
How Stockton found itself so mired in debt can be seen everywhere in the city's core. There is a sparkling marina, high-rise hotel and promenade financed by credit in the mid-2000s, mere blocks from where mothers won't let their children play in the yard because of violence.
During the economic boom, this working-class city with pockets of entrenched poverty tried to reinvent itself as a draw to Bay Area refugees and a popular site for conventions. It offered generous city employee pension plans and benefits.
Vast housing tracts of two-story homes were built at the city's edges. Private citizens, like the city, bought on credit. Those neighborhoods would soon have among the highest rates of foreclosures in the nation.
Indeed, when the bust came, few places fell as hard as Stockton. The city has the second-highest rate of foreclosures in the country and the second-highest rate of violent crime in the state.
The city made $90 million in drastic cuts from the general fund in the last three years, including reducing the police department by 25%, the fire department by 30%, and cutting pay and benefits to all employees. There is a state investigation into whether Stockton's financial devastation was entirely due to shortsighted optimism or if there was corruption. The state mediation law requires assigning blame.
But on Tuesday some of the blame and anger seemed to be set aside for a moment.
"All that's left is sadness," said Gillis, who said he lived his boyhood dream by becoming fire chief in his hometown. "Stockton has the most good, solid, down-to-earth people you'll ever meet. And now things are going to get even harder for many of them."
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They are just now cutting expenses?
This is the problem. Some cities keep spending and spending - charging up the credit card - until they can't even pay the interest payments.
Other cities are responsible and live within their means. They say NO to new projects and spending they can't afford. Some of these cities are currently paying off their bonds early (credit cards)!
So just like people, some are responsible with spending and others are irresponsible.
If YOUR city is the irresponsible spend, spend, spend, type, do everything you can to get them to live within their means. It will be a battle though, because these people do not know the meaning of NO!
(By cutting spending, I mean some of these cities are borrowing money for swimming pools, golf courses, convention centers, etc. Nice to have, but that is not a priority and can be cut.)
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Bill wrote:

As Stockton goes, so goes California.
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Declaring bankruptcy is not the same of defaulting. I'm not an accountant or lawyer, but I understand that "default" means it is not going to be paid, whereas "bankruptcy" means there are going to be some changes before it can be paid.
I would look for some renegotiating of contracts, especially labor agreements. One of the biggest holders of municipal bonds are municipal workers.

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The article seemed to concentrate on the loss of health insurance for families. Translate to health services not being provided. It was just the timing of the article *and* the Supreme Court's reviewing, that is interesting. Probably more devastating in a REAL sense for retirees is the potential total loss of all retirement funds. Now, THAT will be a real/immediate hardship for people For setting precedent this is NOT good, especially if employees took cuts in pay at the time to exchange for retirement benefits in the future which they may not now get.
If pensions, etc can be negotiated out, why not negotiate out Social Security Payments, too? What if the US govt said, "We're sorry we forced you to pay all this revenue to us and that we constantly 'raided' the funds for excessive spending, but, sorry, we just don't have it now. Sorry."
Footnote, for me, I want 'health care' NOT 'health insurance'! The whole 'business' idea of insurance is to collect money and NOT pay it out. Somehow that seems counter productive to providing health care. Plus, insurance has historically shown and is GUARRANTEED to make health costs higher, because a middle man is involved and must get their 2:1 cut. [It is my understanding that the insurance companies are allowed to collect at least twice what their exposure to loss is.]
My personal experience recently, 20 days ago, at a fairly large hospital ER, requiring extensive tests and testing, extending from 6pm to 1am, and the time/attention of many medical personnel. When asked how are you going to pay? I told them No Insurance involved. Instantly a guy showed up with the itemized exhorbitant bill saying this is what would be sent to your insurance company, but with cash, we'll take this much, FAR LESS, almost magnitudes less!. So, I paid cash and it was like 1960 prices, I was happy, they were happy. NOW THAT'S HEALTH CARE BEING PROVIDED! Cut out that middle man cost and Health Care in the US is again viable.
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On Wed, 27 Jun 2012 11:51:06 -0700 (PDT), Robert Macy

Assumption not in evidence.

Negotiate out Social Security payments? Are you nuts? We're talking about the federal government. There won't be any "negotiation". "Sorry, pal..."

As opposed to government? Please!

I don't believe you. If they did that they'd lose any Medicare payments.
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recently. They "sent" my insurance company a bill for over $600.00. The company only paid around $100. They showed them the "list prices" and then what they actually get paid by the insurance company... maybe even a little more.
--
America is at that awkward stage. It's too late
to work within the system, but too early to shoot
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Who is the antecedent of "He"?
With the difference you stated, did ou have to pay the difference?
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snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

Absolutely. The hospital can't even DISCHARGE a Medicare patient until treatment is complete.
If a hospital or doctor accepted cash in lieu of all or part of a bill, they'd be kicked out of the Medicare program and quite possibly go to jail.
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Third person to call me a liar. It is true. I have no reason to lie about these events. Perhaps, there was essential 'weasel wording' in the bill to allow for this type of reduction, don't know, don't care. I just looked at the total costs. not the process.
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On Jun 27, 2:00 pm, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

I can understand ignoring 2nd hand experience, where someone is relating an experience along the line of I know someone who...
But, if you ignore FIRST HAND experience all is lost. I'm NOT LYING!! Happened. June 19th of this year. Don't know anything about their potential loss of medicare payments.
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On Thu, 28 Jun 2012 13:40:22 -0400, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

Who said he paid a lower rate than the Medicare rate? You? Besides that, show me the law that says a hospital can't take payment from somebody with no insurance at less than Medicare rate? After all the bad assumptions you've made, I sure as hell won't take your word for squat.
--
Vic

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Precisely. This keeps them out of hot water with the fed.
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I've read it three times. I can't see any place he said he paid less than Medicare. -- Doug
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Well duh! What do you think is happening?
Thirty year treasuries are paying less than 3%. Who is the biggest investor in those securities? That's right, our Social Security, our lock box. And when inflation kicks in (as it always does), those who hold those bond will be butt hurting. We are financing our debt with promises to Social Security.
And, just for the votes, the money collected from paychecks to fund SSI has been cut, so folks think they are getting more money. And by folks, I mean people who work, not the investor class.
Shrink the program down to a managable size and then get rid of it. People can work until they drop dead. And those who stop working can drop dead. "If you can't row, get off the ship. I don't care if you bought a ticket or not." That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it will be.
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Robert Macy wrote:

You Americans should stop and think about the above story (assuming it's true).
Don't you think your health insurance and delivery systems would work better if the hospital provided the same bill to the insurance company that it's apparently willing to give to joe-citizen-paying-out-of-his-pocket?
The amount of fraud in the relationship between hospitals and insurance companies in the USA must be insane. Nothing similar to this exists in Canada - thank god.
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well my step son ended up at the ER several times.... he needed a GI specialist...
years ago specialists would show up at the ER almost instantly:)
now they tell us it takes months but we will get him fast service in 3 weeks. his pain on a scale of 1 to ten, ten being screaming cant breathe, one being sligt discomfort...
his pain was 9......
we made a stink and refused to take him home.
they got him seen 3 days later, and this was childrens hospital in pittsburgh a world known operation
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wrote:

"world-known" for what exactly ?
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I'm sorry this happened to you. A true horror story. Your restraint is admirable.
To these adults 3 days, 3 weeks, is nothing. What I mean is, I'm old and time goes quickly. I remember when a day had two havles AND had an evening, but now I'm lucky if a month has two halves. And here in lies the evil of delaying treatment. To your son 3 days is equivalent to several months. As an adult, imagine waiting months for relief.
Is your son 100% recovered now?
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Why am I being called a liar for relating an event? Makes no sense! I just went through it. This is not second hand anecdote. Why are you two so quick to not just call me a lliar, but to disbelieve a fact? Is it you don't want it to be true? What? What bias are you holding? Skepticisim is good, especially in this day and age, but this level of skepticisim is beginning to cross the line into avoiding/ignoring truth.
The events as described were TRUE!! I If everybody keeps ignoring FIRSTHAND information all is lost. ONLY with accurate TOTAL information can people make informed decisions in order for the 'democratic' process to work properly. Ignoring, bias, shifting, slanting, adjusting whatever distorts the process until that distorted process justifies the premise - then all is lost.
In this incident, the magnitude of the money involved was significant. The principle involved was significant. I posted it here [as it happened] to make a point. However, calling me a liar, negates ANY point I make, or will make. Saying you don't believe that it happened, negates the principle/point being made. What agenda are you following?
Reduction of medical costs through negotiation is not new to me. Of less significance, years ago, I negotiated doctor's semi-emergency visit down to a total of less than $60. Plus, all medication was through those 'samples' provided by drug companies, there was no follow on prescription cost either - his office supplied more 'samples'. How did I reduce the costs so much? I simply offered, HERE IS CASH NOW! No paperwork, no guidelines, no waiting 90 days. He was happy, I was happy.
Do I think a system would work better if payments were identical? yes, I do. However, BEFORE I accept that let's LEVEL the field. Health care insurance is what caused health care costs to sky rocket to begin with!. As healthcare coverage expanded, doctors got more money, patients were deluded into thinking they didn't pay anything, and the insurance companies got rich. And here we are today as the pyramid scheme has finally reached its 'end'..
For me, a person with no chronic/constant care issues and only concerned with truly cataclismic event, probably the best way is to provide a 'net' coverage, where *if* costs go above what one can really afford, then it's paid by someone else. Like extremely large deductible coverage. Then those tiny, often little visits wouldn't be covered. There'd be less paperwork, and as patients start realizing costs, the downward pressure on doctor's bills would be enormous! Such a scenario could be a win-win for the consumer. But there in lies its death knell. Doctor's would make less and insurance companies would make less, so it won't happen, no matter how beneficial such a coverage structure might be to the recipient.
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