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By at least yesterday non-Americans had figured out that the Trump administration was turning into a Bush Administration encore, but have Americans? The covert nastiness of the overtly nasty appointment of ExxonMobil CEO Tillerson is quickly unraveling – more quickly than we can keep up with. Our longer post on the topic is still to be posted.

Michael Boskin, Hoover Fellow with Condi Rice – a Bush MRE that many may have missed:
Michael Boskin, Feb. 28, 2013
Michael Boskin, Feb. 28, 2013 https://www.c-span.org/video/?311239-1/state-us-economy&start=887

There is a list of morally repugnant elites (MREs) from the Bush I, II, and even Reagan administrations who support, and/or have been given credit by various sources for pushing forward, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as candidate for Secretary of State. These include Condoleeza Rice, Bob Gates, and then Dick Cheney and James Baker. If you haven’t been overwhelmed by disgust yet, then either you are very young, have a very short memory, or have benefitted from their sick policies. Even those middle aged and older, who have diligently tried to keep their heads in the sand, have to have heard of these criminals. Having already destroyed so many lives, they haven’t given up, it seems. Trump is resurrecting them to destroy anything remaining, it appears. He needs to change his motto to “Finish Doing America (and the World) In”, unless he is operating a secret sting for America’s morally repugnant elites. That is the only hope. Tillerson is active in the Boy Scouts.

On December 9th, Politico reported that Tillerson was interviewed by Trump upon recommendation by Condi Rice and Robert Gates: https://web-beta.archive.org/web/20161213172853/http://www.politico.com/blogs/donald-trump-administration/2016/12/rex-tillerson-exxonmobil-secretary-state-232455 On December 12th they reported: “Tillerson boosters have Russia, Exxon business ties” By Isaac Arnsdorf, 12/12/16 03:36 PM EST
https://web.archive.org/web/20161214153114/http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/rex-tillerson-supporters-russia-exxon-ties-232524

Following this up, one finds that there appears to be one more morally repugnant hidden hand that probably played a role – perhaps even the primary role. And, that is Michael Boskin, who serves on the Exxon Mobil Board, and who, along with Condi Rice is Hoover Institution Fellow.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoover_Institution. As a member of the Exxon Mobil Board, Boskin is well-placed to have thought up the Timmelson as Secretary of State scheme. And, he could benefit.

Michael Boskin estimated annual compensation from ExxonMobil, April 2016, as reported to the US SEC is found below. This is based on stock shares having a value of $92.43. Thus, if ExxonMobil stocks go up with anticipation of Tillerson appointment, and if Tillerson is appointed, in conjunction with the anticipation of his lifting sanctions against Russia, then Boskin’s compensation also goes up. Meanwhile, increased drilling will make the price per barrel paid to the land owner further decrease, leaving the owner with only damaged land and water. Only stock speculators and refiners seem to win, as the price of fuel remains high. Boskin Comp Exxon Mobile April 2016 SEC
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/34088/000119312516539460/d14941ddef14a.htm

Boskin and Condi Rice are both Hoover Institution Fellows. Boskin got over $341,000 in annual compensation as member of the ExxonMobil board. This is over 22 times more than the approximately $15,000 average annual income from Social Security reported by SSA. Note that Social Security beneficiaries or spouses paid into the system. https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/basicfact-alt.pdf Some are getting far less, however.

It appears likely that Boskin asked Condi Rice to get Trump to nominate Exxon Mobil CEO Tillerson to the position of Secretary of State. Michael Boskin was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George H. W. Bush (Bush I). Condoleezza Rice is former U.S. Secretary of State, former National Security Advisor to President Bush II; also advisor-speech write for Bush I (e.g. author of the infamous “Chicken Kiev” speech, advising against Ukrainian independence). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condoleezza_Rice. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoover_Institution

Almost as frightening as the reappearance of these people is the fact that so many appear to have forgotten the Bush family and their crimes. (On Baker see: http://prospect.org/article/jim-bakers-war )

Decades ago, when many senior citizens were already well-known to be slowly starving to death because they couldn’t afford food and medication, Michael Boskin’s commission concluded that social security benefits were too high! According to the US Social Security Administration, “Some think the changes made in the CPI [Consumer Price Index] after the Boskin Report were a deliberate attempt to lower the CPI and result in a downward bias.
20 years ago, as appointed by the Republican majority US Senate:
The Boskin Commission Report
The Advisory Commission To Study The Consumer Price Index (aka The Boskin Commission) was appointed by the Senate Finance Committee to study the role of the CPI in government benefit programs and to make recommendations for any needed changes in the CPI. The Commission’s December 1996 report recommended downward adjustments in the CPI of 1.1%. The CPI is the basis for Social Security COLAs and this recommendation, if adopted, would reduce future Social Security COLA increases, as well as impact numerous other government programs
“. https://www.ssa.gov/history/reports/boskinrpt.html. (Plus see more below on Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Boskin). “The 1994 United States House of Representatives election (also known as the Republican Revolution)…“. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives_elections,_1994
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/104th_United_States_Congress

Last year US Senator Warren warned: “If we do nothing, on January 1st, more than 70 million seniors, veterans, and other Americans won’t get an extra dime in much-needed Social Security and other benefits. And while Congress sits on its hands and pretends that there’s nothing we can do, taxpayers will keep right on subsidizing billions of dollars’ worth of bonuses for highly paid CEOs,” Senator Warren said. “Giving seniors a little help with their Social Security and stitching up corporate tax write-offs isn’t just about economics; it’s about our values. Congress should pass the SAVE Benefits Act today to give a boost to millions of Americans who have earned it.” (US Senator Elizabeth Warren, November 2015)

After a lifetime of hard work, all seniors deserve the opportunity to live healthy, full, and financially secure lives, and many rely on small annual increases to their Social Security benefits just to get by. Now is no time for them to go without this adjustment, especially with so many still struggling.” Senator Murray said. “Instead of allowing the biggest corporations to benefit from wasteful and egregious tax loopholes, we should be prioritizing ways to help seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities have a fighting chance to make ends meet.” (US Senator Murray, November 2015)

Unable to find online information on earlier seniors who had to choose between food and medication, we are posting several comments from 2015 and 2016 regarding the refusal of the US government to give a cost of living increase to retirees (the names of the comment authors are found at the link below, along with many more comments):
So none of this has anything to do with Congress taking 150 billion out of the social security fund…I think it does that’s why social security recipients has not received a raise in 2016… Oh they say cost of living did not raise from the year before. Ha I do not know where they live but where I live gas is slowly rising, groceries are constantly going up at the store,utilities are outragious, insurances,medical…somebody forgot to tell the population where I live that prices shouldn’t be raising…what a bunch of BS…liars all of them!!!!

A senior who cannot drive due to eye problems,, gas prices don’t effect me, taxi prices do, Where do people live that food is not increasing, eggs up $1.00 from last year, meds went up another dollar, poultry went up,, meat prices gone up how can they say there is no inflammation, my rent went up , electric went up, why are those of us that worked for years and paying SSecurity all of our lives being targeted. Someone is not telling us the truth and not taking care of priorities, homeless, foodless, veterans, this is such an insult to all of us struggling to get by..

OMG not again, this is the third time they claim there is no raise in the cost of living, in 4 years! I am living off of 877 dollars a month! OH BUNK! I would like just one of these idiots to try it out for a month! I had to LEAVE the country in order to afford to EAT. And it is still expensive, and it still is not enough. ( we are allowed to live elsewhere by law) But at the cost of what, not seeing my family for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or meeting my daughters boyfriend! This so so sucks. The only thing that has saved me is that the dollars value went up here.”

Using the 1980 method for compiling CPI inflation it’s running at 11 percent versus the now official CPI rate of 1 percent. The 1980 and the 1990 changes in how inflation is compiled greatly minimizes the actual and true rate of inflation. Using the 1980 criteria for the CPI the now average $1200 SSI monthly average would now be about $5000.00 a month.http://blog.ssa.gov/no-cost-of-living-adjustment-in-2016/ (Emphasis our own.)

All sorts of bad things were run through in 1998, while everyone was focused on Clinton’s impeachment, including the FDA tripling of the amount of radioactive cesium allowed in food. Surely Boskin expects other seniors to eat radioactive food from Japan or Chernobyl, because it is a cheaper substitute for non-radioactive food. The US allows 15 times more radiation in food than Japan, and more than Chernobyl too. http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/ChemicalContaminants/ucm078341.htm#level98
1998 Republican Congress: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/105th_United_States_Congress Boskin is a senior citizen now, but he is almost certainly well paid by Stanford, as well as by Exxon Mobil.

Michael Boskin

Michael Jay Boskin (born September 23, 1945) is the T. M. Friedman Professor of Economics and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He also is Chief Executive Officer and President of Boskin & Co., an economic consulting company.[1][2]

Biography
Boskin holds B.A. with highest honors, M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, earned in 1967, 1968, and 1971 respectively. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.[3]

He joined Stanford University in 1970. He is a Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research.[3]

In government he is best known for serving as chair of the Council of Economic Advisors under George H. W. Bush and as Chairman of a Congressional Advisory Commission on the Consumer Price Index.[4] That commission, known as the Boskin Commission, is controversial for introducing changes into the calculation of the Consumer Price Index that some critics believe make the index report inflation as lower than it actually is.

Boskin has been a director of Exxon Mobil since 1996. He is also a director of Oracle Corporation, Shinsei Bank, and Vodafone Group plc (1999–2008). He serves on the Commerce Department’s Advisory Committee on the National Income and Product Accounts. Boskin is the recipient of the Adam Smith Prize and other professional awards.[5]

According to Patrick Buchanan, in Death of Manufacturing, Boskin was sanguine about the transfer of United States manufacturing overseas.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Boskin

About the Consumer Price Index-Boskin

Sampling error greatly influences the precision of the CPI, but the issue of bias may be of greater concern to the accuracy of the indexes. Bias is defined as the difference between the expected value of an estimator and the true value being estimated.  This is a different and perhaps more serious issue than sampling error. In general, sampling error tends to even out in the long run, but if the CPI is persistently understating or overstating inflation because of a bias, a growing gap between true price change and the CPI measure will occur.

The CPI has been criticized for having both an upward bias (overstating inflation) and a downward bias (understating inflation). Much of the criticism asserting an upward bias comes from the academic community. In 1995, Congress, aware of such criticism, commissioned a group of academic economists, led by Michael Boskin, to study and report on the CPI. The resulting study, titled “Toward A More Accurate Measure Of The Cost Of Living” (but often referred to as the Boskin Report), summarized the viewpoint that the CPI was upwardly biased.2 The report asserted that the CPI overstated inflation because of three main reasons: it omitted consumer substitution, did not fully account for quality change, and failed to properly reflect the addition of new goods. BLS has introduced some methodological changes since the report came out in 1996. Although these changes were intended to make the CPI more accurate, some think that they have introduced a downward bias.

The financial community has criticized the CPI for having a downward bias, and this view is prevalent in the general public, especially among those who receive annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) tied to the CPI. Some think the changes made in the CPI after the Boskin Report were a deliberate attempt to lower the CPI and result in a downward bias. Many consumers observe that price increases are sometimes hidden in the form of quantity or size decreases, and they incorrectly presume that the CPI fails to capture this phenomenon.

Substitution bias. Substitution bias arises if consumers change their purchasing behavior in response to relative price changes. Economic theory predicts that an increase in a good’s price will cause consumers to reduce their purchases of that good and instead purchase a substitute with a relatively lower price. The Boskin Report asserted that this was another important source of bias in the CPI, which at the time assumed no substitution. In 1999, BLS changed the way it calculated the CPI for many of the basic indexes, moving from a Laspeyres formula to a geometric means formula. (A basic index is an index for a particular item category and location; these basic indexes are the building blocks that are aggregated into the broader CPI measures, such as the all items index.) This new formula effectively presumes modest consumer substitution within item categories, correcting for what the Boskin Report termed “lower-level substitution bias.” That is, it assumes that consumers will substitute away from one brand or type of item, such as a steak or a car, as that brand or type becomes relatively more expensive compared with other brands or types of that product. It” [supposedly] does not assume, however, substitution between steak and chicken or between cars and bus fare.

The geometric means formula does not correct for “upper-level substitution bias,” or substitution across item categories. Some argue that this omission is a reason that the CPI is still biased upward; others argue that the CPI should not assume any substitution at all. In any case, the use of geometric means for most categories has had the effect of lowering the CPI by 0.2 or 0.3 percent per year. (Some categories for which substitution is unlikely, such as shelter, utilities, and most medical care, are excluded.)

The Chained Consumer Price Index (C-CPI-U), a supplemental index introduced in 2002, uses updated expenditure weights; rather than make any assumptions about substitution, it derives it weights from expenditure measures both before and after a price change. It is thus free of upper-level substitution bias. As would be expected, it tends to run slightly lower than the regular CPI-U. Therefore, those who believe that upper-level substitution bias is important can focus on this measure.3 
https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-1/consumer-price-index-data-quality-how-accurate-is-the-us-cpi.htm
https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2012/ted_20120302.htm

Senator Warren et.al. Bill to Help Seniors and Veterans
Senators Introduce SAVE Benefits Act to Boost Social Security and Other Critical Benefits for Seniors, Veterans
NOV 5, 2015
Without legislation, Social Security recipients, veterans face rare, zero cost-of-living increase in 2016
Bill would end tax subsidies for million-dollar corporate bonuses to give 70 million Americans emergency relief
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai’i), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation to boost Social Security and other critical benefits for seniors, veterans and other Americans following last month’s announcement that there will be a zero cost-of-living adjustment in 2016.

Although the cost of core goods and services is projected to rise next year, millions of Americans will see no increase in the benefits they rely on to make ends meet. Meanwhile, CEO compensation for the top 350 firms increased by 3.9 percent last year. The Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act (SAVE Benefits Act) would give about 70 million seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and others an emergency payment equal to 3.9 percent of the average annual Social Security benefit, about $581 – the same percentage raise as the top CEOs.

A $581 increase could cover almost three months of groceries for seniors or a year’s worth of out-of-pocket costs on critical prescription drugs for the average Medicare beneficiary. The bill would lift more than 1 million Americans out of poverty. The cost of this emergency payment would be covered by closing a tax loophole allowing corporations to write off executive bonuses as a business expense for “performance pay.” The substantial additional revenue saved by closing the CEO compensation loophole would be used to bolster and extend the life of the Social Security and Disability trust funds.

“If we do nothing, on January 1st, more than 70 million seniors, veterans, and other Americans won’t get an extra dime in much-needed Social Security and other benefits. And while Congress sits on its hands and pretends that there’s nothing we can do, taxpayers will keep right on subsidizing billions of dollars’ worth of bonuses for highly paid CEOs,” Senator Warren said. “Giving seniors a little help with their Social Security and stitching up corporate tax write-offs isn’t just about economics; it’s about our values. Congress should pass the SAVE Benefits Act today to give a boost to millions of Americans who have earned it.”

“I believe that ‘Honor thy mother and father’ isn’t just a good commandment to live by, it’s good public policy to govern by,” Senator Mikulski said. “This legislation will help 1.1 million seniors, veterans of Social Security age and federal employee retirees in Maryland so they aren’t left out in the cold when it comes to the Social Security benefits they’ve earned and deserve. An adjustment in 2016 Social Security benefits for seniors will go a long way when it comes to visits to the doctor, putting food on the table or a roof over head. I will continue to fight so that seniors, veterans and federal employees have a government on their side.”

“After a lifetime of hard work, all seniors deserve the opportunity to live healthy, full, and financially secure lives, and many rely on small annual increases to their Social Security benefits just to get by. Now is no time for them to go without this adjustment, especially with so many still struggling.” Senator Murray said. “Instead of allowing the biggest corporations to benefit from wasteful and egregious tax loopholes, we should be prioritizing ways to help seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities have a fighting chance to make ends meet.”

“It is unacceptable that millions of senior citizens and disabled veterans did not receive a cost-of-living adjustment this year to keep up with their rising living expenses. At a time when senior poverty is going up and more than two-thirds of the elderly population rely on Social Security for more than half of their income, our job must be to expand, not cut, Social Security,” said Senator Sanders. “At the very least, we must do everything we can to make sure that every senior citizen and disabled veteran in this country receives a fair cost-of-living adjustment to keep up with the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and health care.”

“Millions of retirees and Americans with disabilities rely on Social Security for the majority of their income. And our veterans deserve the monthly benefits they’ve earned for their service to our country,” said Senator Brown. “When these benefits don’t keep up with the cost-of-living, vulnerable Americans are stuck making tough choices just to get by each month. The SAVE Benefits Act would provide a needed boost for seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities so they can make ends meet.”  

“Ask any senior in Connecticut and they’ll tell you prices and rent and taxes are going up. So it’s insulting for Social Security to fail to provide a simple cost of living increase this year,” said Senator Murphy. “This bill makes a simple, common sense trade – ask millionaires to take a little smaller bonus in exchange for seniors being able to pay their bills next year.”

“Every month, thirty percent of Wisconsin’s seniors depend on Social Security as their only source of income. This means they are relying on a promise that must be kept,” Senator Baldwin said. “Congress must take action, as we have in the past, to keep our promise and I am proud to support this emergency payment to make sure seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and other Americans are able to make ends meet.”
The SAVE Benefits Act is supported by AFGE, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Alliance for Retired Americans, The Arc of the United States, B’nai B’rith International, Campaign for America’s Future, Center for Community Change Action, Center for Effective Government, CREDO, Daily Kos, Democracy for America, Economic Opportunity Institute, International Brotherhood of the Teamsters, Justice in Aging, MoveOn.org, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, National Council of La Raza, National Organization for Women, OWL-the Voice of Women 40+, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, Social Security Works, Strengthen Social Security Coalition, UltraViolet, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, and VoteVets.

http://www.warren.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=997

Senators Introduce SAVE Benefits Act to Boost Social Security and Other Critical Benefits for Seniors, Veterans
Thursday, November 5, 2015
WASHINGTON, Nov. 5 – Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), introduced legislation today to boost Social Security and other critical benefits for seniors, veterans and other Americans following last month’s announcement that there will be a zero cost-of-living adjustment in 2016.

Although the cost of core goods and services is projected to rise next year, millions of Americans will see no increase in the benefits they rely on to make ends meet.

Meanwhile, CEO compensation for the top 350 firms increased by 3.9 percent last year. The Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act would give about 70 million seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and others an emergency payment equal to 3.9 percent of the average annual Social Security benefit, about $581 –  the same percentage raise as the top CEOs.

“It is unacceptable that millions of senior citizens and disabled veterans did not receive a cost-of-living adjustment this year to keep up with their rising living expenses. At a time when senior poverty is going up and more than two-thirds of the elderly population rely on Social Security for more than half of their income, our job must be to expand, not cut, Social Security,” said Senator Sanders. “At the very least, we must do everything we can to make sure that every senior citizen and disabled veteran in this country receives a fair cost-of-living adjustment to keep up with the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and health care.”

A $581 increase could cover almost three months of groceries for seniors or a year’s worth of out-of-pocket costs on critical prescription drugs for the average Medicare beneficiary. The bill would lift more than 1 million Americans out of poverty. The cost of this emergency payment would be covered by closing a tax loophole allowing corporations to write off executive bonuses as a business expense for “performance pay.” The substantial additional revenue saved by closing the CEO compensation loophole would be used to bolster and extend the life of the Social Security and Disability trust funds. 

“If we do nothing, on January 1st, more than 70 million seniors, veterans, and other Americans won’t get an extra dime in much-needed Social Security and other benefits. And while Congress sits on its hands and pretends that there’s nothing we can do, taxpayers will keep right on subsidizing billions of dollars’ worth of bonuses for highly paid CEOs,” Senator Warren said. “Giving seniors a little help with their Social Security and stitching up corporate tax write-offs isn’t just about economics; it’s about our values. Congress should pass the SAVE Benefits Act today to give a boost to millions of Americans who have earned it.” 

The SAVE Benefits Act is supported by AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Alliance for Retired Americans, The ARC of the United States, B’nai B’rith International, Campaign for America’s Future, Center for Community Change, Center for Effective Government, CREDO, Daily Kos, Democracy for America, Economic Opportunity Institute, International Brotherhood of the Teamsters, Justice in Aging, MoveOn.org, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, National Council of La Raza, National Organization for Women, OWL-the Voice of Women 40+, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, Social Security Works, Strengthen Social Security Coalition, UltraViolet, and VoteVets.
The bill is also cosponsored by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai’i), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).
“. http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/senators-introduce-save-benefits-act-to-boost-social-security-and-other-critical-benefits-for-seniors-veterans. (More information at original)

Exxon hires ex-U.S. officials to navigate Iraq
Former American ambassador James Jeffrey is now advising ExxonMobil, which has also retained Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley and other retired American officials to advise on Iraq.
” By BEN LANDO of Iraq Oil Report Published Friday, February 8th, 2013 https://web.archive.org/web/20161215090953/http://www.iraqoilreport.com/news/exxon-hires-ex-u-s-officials-to-navigate-iraq-9864/