Corporations are taking out life insurance policies on their low-income employees without the employee’s knowledge or consent. These policies are called Corporate-Owned Life Insurance (COLI). But the insurance industry calls them “dead janitor’s or dead peasant’s insurance.” When you die - perhaps years after you leave your employer - the tax-free proceeds from this policy wouldn’t go to your family. The money would go to the company.
Whats more, the company might use this policy to pay for retirement benefits and other perks not for you or your fellow workers, but for your company’s top executives.
Companies pay a whopping $8 billion in premiums each year for such coverage, according to the American Council of Life Insurers, a trade group.
The policies make up more than 20% of the all the life insurance sold each year.
Companies expect to reap more than $9 billion in tax breaks from these policies over the next five years. The policies are treated as whole life policies. So, companies can borrow against the policies (though the IRS won’t let them write off the interest). And the death benefits are tax-free. (via msn)
Regardless of how you feel about Michael Moore, go see Capitalism: A Love Story.
“I described my ideal man to my therapist the other day and she said, “It sounds like you want to fall in love with God.”
And that made me laugh and sigh a little because it is probably true no matter where you put the emphasis in that sentence. No matter how you read and understand it.
I want him to be larger than life, in love with this world, to have an insatiable need to find and consume it. I want him to have adventure in his very marrow, to be keen, to still have so much life left in him he can barely sleep. I want him to be independent yet present. Wise and complicated and strong and kind. Insatiable. Insatiable. Insatiable.”—
And replace it with the YouTube video of the puppy that can’t get up. As long as we’re pathetic, we might as well act like it’s cute.
Well, I hate to be a nudge, but why has America become a nation that can’t make anything bad end, like wars, farm subsidies, our oil addiction, the drug war, useless weapons programs - oh, and there’s still 60,000 troops in Germany - and can’t make anything good start, like health care reform, immigration reform, rebuilding infrastructure. Even when we address something, the plan can never start until years down the road. Congress’s climate change bill mandates a 17% cut in greenhouse gas emissions… by 2020! Fellas, slow down, where’s the fire? Oh yeah, it’s where I live, engulfing the entire western part of the United States!
This generation has had eight years to build something at Ground Zero. An office building, a museum, an outlet mall, I don’t care anymore. I’m tempted to say that, symbolically, all America can do lately is keep digging a hole, but Ground Zero doesn’t represent a hole. It is a hole. America: Home of the Freedom Pit. Ironically, it’s spitting distance from Wall Street, where they knock down buildings a different way - through foreclosure.
“I make all my decisions on intuition. But then, I must know why I made that decision. I throw a spear into the darkness. That is intuition. Then I must send an army into the darkness to find the spear. That is intellect.”—
In neurotic contrast to Bergman, I send my intellect -such as it is- in first: a bumbling, babbling army of disorganized thoughts firing at one another and incurring disastrous collateral damage before feebly establishing small, poorly-lit beachheads in the dark. I then hurl instinctually recriminatory spears at the few surviving soldiers of my intellect, disconnected thoughts stranded at their outposts, picking them off one by one with my intuitive anxieties and doubts.
FORD makes transit vans in Turkey, with passenger seats in the back. When the vans are shipped to America, the brand-new seats are immediately torn out and recycled.
Why? Because 46 years ago, Europe slapped tariffs on American chickens. America retaliated with a tax on European commercial vans.
To get round this, an American firm’s European factory adds passenger seats to its commercial vans so they can be classified as passenger vans, which attract a lower tariff. Then it trashes the seats once the vans are safely landed in Baltimore.
Sometimes the rules that make the least sense last the longest. (via dailydish)
This is a story about a nearly 100-year-old book, bound in red leather, which has spent the last quarter century secreted away in a bank vault in Switzerland. If you didn’t know the book’s vintage, you might confuse it for a lost medieval tome. And yet between the book’s heavy covers, a very modern story unfolds. It goes as follows: Man skids into midlife and loses his soul. Man goes looking for soul. After a lot of instructive hardship and adventure — taking place entirely in his head — he finds it again. Most of what has been said about the book — what it is, what it means — is the product of guesswork, because from the time it was begun in 1914 in a smallish town in Switzerland, it seems that only about two dozen people have managed to read or even have much of a look at it. Of those who did see it, at least one person, an educated Englishwoman who was allowed to read some of the book in the 1920s, thought it held infinite wisdom — “There are people in my country who would read it from cover to cover without stopping to breathe scarcely,” she wrote — while another, a well-known literary type who glimpsed it shortly after, deemed it both fascinating and worrisome, concluding that it was the work of a psychotic.
This could sound, I realize, like the start of a spy novel or a Hollywood bank caper, but it is rather a story about genius and madness, as well as possession and obsession, with one object — this old, unusual book — skating among those things.
In 1913, Jung, who was then 38, got lost in the soup of his own psyche. He was haunted by troubling visions and heard inner voices. It has been characterized variously as a creative illness, a descent into the underworld, a bout with insanity, a narcissistic self-deification, a transcendence, a midlife breakdown and an inner disturbance mirroring the upheaval of World War I. Had he been a psychiatric patient, Jung might well have been told he had a nervous disorder and encouraged to ignore the circus going on in his head. But as a psychiatrist, and one with a decidedly maverick streak, he tried instead to tear down the wall between his rational self and his psyche. For about six years, Jung worked to prevent his conscious mind from blocking out what his unconscious mind wanted to show him. Whenever there was a spare hour or two, Jung sat in a book-lined office on the second floor of his home and actually induced hallucinations — what he called “active imaginations.” “In order to grasp the fantasies which were stirring in me underground.”
Jung recorded it all. First taking notes in a series of small, black journals, he then expounded upon and analyzed his fantasies, writing in a regal, prophetic tone in the big red-leather book. The book detailed an unabashedly psychedelic voyage through his own mind, a vaguely Homeric progression of encounters with strange people taking place in a curious, shifting dreamscape. Writing in German, he filled 205 oversize pages with elaborate calligraphy and with richly hued, staggeringly detailed paintings.
He worked on his red book — and he called it just that, the Red Book — on and off for about 16 years, long after his personal crisis had passed, but he never managed to finish it. He actively fretted over it, wondering whether to have it published and face ridicule from his scientifically oriented peers or to put it in a drawer and forget it. Regarding the significance of what the book contained, however, Jung was unequivocal. “All my works, all my creative activity,” he would recall later, “has come from those initial fantasies and dreams.”