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RPG Superstar 6 Season Star Voter. 881 posts. 1 review. 2 lists. 1 wishlist.

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Sissyl wrote:
Oh no. The fact that bigoted and hateful fanatics REALLY don't like us is a point of sincere pride for me. No mass bombing here.

I seem to recall a quote about being known by the enemies you make . . . .

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I find this article to be a really good resource.

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I, too, much prefer a physical rather than electronic copy.

I managed to fix the issue when I started getting into cardstock models, and bought an inkjet printer with a continuous ink supply. Decent paper isn't crazy expensive, and the ink is cheap. Throw in a couple 3-ring binders, and I'm swimming in printed product!

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A bear probably can't be trained to respond to its handlers signals to detect drugs that aren't actually there.

Of course, now I have the image of a bear riding a tricycle with little red and blue lights, wearing mirrored sunglasses and a mountie hat . . . .

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I used Crucible of Freya as the first adventure for my current group, using Castles & Crusades.

I like it: It's kinda sandboxy, so there are options for players to go in different directions. There's also the chance they'll get in over their heads. Learning to run away is a good lesson to teach, in my opinion.

The Tomb is a "megadungeon" but there are lots of things going on, and my players will likely encounter that in short order.

Frog God Games' physical books are very well constructed. They're so big, they have to be. Text-book quality binding.

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thejeff wrote:

The rich do have different rights to political speech than the poor. The poor can't give thousands of dollars to politicians, because they're poor!

Arguing that limiting the rich to only giving far more than the poor will ever be able to give instead of overwhelmingly more is giving the poor more power than the rich is utter nonsense.

Well, I'm white, male and straight. I'm not likely to oppressed for any of that in this country, despite the complaints of some, so I'm not too concerned. I do work for a living and don't have piles of money laying around to give to politicians, so I'd say I'm already being oppressed by the rich's easy access to influence. Like 99% of us.

So a basic, fundamental right, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, should apply differently to different people, depending on which group they belong to?

Guess that whole "equal in the eyes of the law thing" really does have an Animal Farm quality to it.

"All animals are equal
But some animals are more equal than others."

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
Doug's Workshop wrote:
Further laws exist to define libel and slander, as well as laws against speech that directly encourage others to commit specific or imminent illegal actions.
Yes, and so our positions overlap a lot more than it may seem. The only difference between us germane to the current thread is that I disagree that the Supreme Court's rulings on money-as-speech actually support the meaning of the 1st Amendment, and you do. You might be interested in this thread as well.

I'd thought about joining the thread, but a man's only got so much time to waste on the internet.

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Trolls troll, I think.

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Maybe you and your group should instead adopt a more mature attitude about playing a game.

That would solve all your problems.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Its absolutely amazing that you need to focus on that instead of the actual issue at hand: namely that money is not speech. I cannot simply hand a politician cash as a way of saying "nice job"- thats called bribery.

Um . . . no.

Bribery involves exchanging favors for cash.

If I give money to a politician, that's perfectly fine and legal.
If I give money to a politician with the expectation that he'll divert some government contracts my way, that's bribery. Huge difference.

And in case you missed it, the Supreme Court has repeatedly declared that money does, indeed, equal speech.

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Oh, come on guys. There's got to be another "I hear Somolia is nice this time of year" comment in here somewhere.

Bring out the strawmen!

Besides, we're approaching 6 million sign-ups for O-Care! Counting the 6 million people who were kicked off their non-O-care compliant plans, that leaves . . . what . . .50 million uninsured?

Heck, we started with 50 million uninsured, so we're breaking even! Yay us!

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thejeff wrote:
Luckily, we're still compassionate enough as a nation not to let it get that bad. Just not enough to take a better approach.

Thank goodness it's so easy to be compassionate with other people's money, eh?

Can you imagine the financial and moral devastation that would occur if we had to do this stuff ourselves? Luckily we can count on our government to do the dirty work of 'enforced compassion' on our behalf.

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Have the player solo Rappan Athuk. All the way down.

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Old school is definitely not new school.

If my players were new to old-school dungeoneering, I'd definitely point them to Matt Finch's Old School Primer, as well as OSR blogs.

One of my favorite bits of information was that the 1gp = 1xp rule means that players don't want to fight everything, because if there isn't gold, they don't get any reward. The author of the piece noted that his players approached fights much more carefully, and actively tried to avoid fighting if at all possible because it didn't matter if you killed the critter or not. What mattered is that you scarfed the loot.

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Malek, if the PCs are taking their time searching, the bad guys will absolutely use that time to stage a counterattack. Think of it this way: A burglar breaks into your house. You hear the noise of the door being kicked in. That burglar now spends a lot of time searching your living room for safes hidden in the walls, for books with their insides hollowed out, and searching your sofa for spare change.

Meanwhile, you were in your bedroom. Maybe you have a phone and can call the police. Maybe you grab a weapon and find a spot to ambush the guy as he comes around a corner. Maybe you send your dog to attack while you sneak around the outside of the house and come up behind him. Maybe you take all your valuables and flee.

The point is, you have changed the "Encounter Level" due to the time the bad guy was taking looking through your sofa.

So when the PCs spend 15 minutes searching for secret doors and traps, the denizens of the dungeon are going to get their ambush ready. No, it will not be a "level-appropriate" encounter. It will be everyone, and EL can take a flying leap off a short pier. That's what the PCs get when they take their sweet time after announcing to the entire dungeon that they're in there.

If it were me, the denizens will probe the PCs defenses with a couple mooks and an observer or two who stay back to watch how the PCs respond. The denizens will be able to identify tactics, classes, who looks the most wounded, etc. I'd start retreating with all my goods to a central area (so the PCs can't steal anything else), and lure the PCs into an ambush / cross-fire situation. Or attack them all night when they decide to rest. If the PCs leave, my scouts are going to follow them at a distance and determine the path they took, because it'll likely be the path they return on the next day. And I'll stage an ambush.

Taking your time is great AFTER the threats are eliminated. Never before, or your carcass will end up decorating the bad guy's lair.

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Why? It's all about the votes.

That is the end all-be all for politicians (of both parties).
Stopping it? Not gonna happen.

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There's an important difference between splitting the party and having party members go off and do off-screen things separately.

If the paladin wants to go check in with the temple and the rogue wants to go gather rumors at the docks while the mage goes hunting for someone to buy a scroll, that's one thing, and I completely advocate for that.

But if players want to go off and have their own adventures without the party, then Bad Things ^TM will happen to that PC. I give a warning to new players because they don't necessarily understand that adventuring is a team effort.

I won't give XP to players going off and doing their own thing while the rest of the players sit around. I also won't give them treasure. No benefit will be gained from ditching your friends.

And you will find yourself outnumbered and out-powered. I've never had to play that out more than once.

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I've never had to kill a PC. They always seem to do that pretty well by themselves.

Bad things happen when you wander off without your friends into the worst parts of town. Best to just say "You remember that one scene in Pulp Fiction?" and leave it at that.

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I used to write out answers to something like 30 background questions. But it was a waste of time. These days, I give my characters 2 sentences max. "Elias was apprenticed to the wizard Melfian, and after becoming an Initiate of the First Circle, vowed never to set foot in a turnip garden again." There's no need for more.

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A Clockwork Orange comes to mind.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

Democrats are biologically hardwired to compromise.

I lol'ed.

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In 2005, Harry Reid said of the filibuster "It encourages moderation and consensus. It gives voice to the minority, so that cooler heads may prevail."

Oh, and "Now Mr. President, I will not stand here and say the filibuster has always been used for positive purposes."

Also, "Of course the President would like the power to name anyone he wants to lifetime seats on the Supreme Court and other federal courts. And that is why the White House has been aggressively lobbying Senate Republicans to change Senate rules in a way that would hand dangerous new powers to the President over two separate branches – the Congress and the Judiciary. Unfortunately, this is part of a disturbing pattern of behavior by this White House and Republicans in Washington."

And the kicker . . . "Some in this Chamber want to throw out 217 years of Senate history in the quest for absolute power. They want to do away with Mr. Smith coming to Washington. They want to do away with the filibuster. They think they are wiser than our Founding Fathers. I doubt that’s true. "

I'm as surprised as anyone that I find myself in agreement.

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Would you change the alignment of the bad guys if the bad guys accepted surrender?

Alignment is not a straight-jacket, it is a general tendency. Move on.

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Proof that if those who can, do, while those who can't . . . apparently use their very expensive degrees to write this stuff.

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I'm not seeing why this is a disheartening example. You offered an item that most users saw no value in possessing.

This is the reason why money was created. It is a neutral medium of exchange that "everyone" recognizes as having a preset value in order to make trading goods more efficient.

In other strange news of the week, you'll note a rare instance of agreement between thejeff and me.

Honestly, does no one study economics anymore?

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bugleyman wrote:

But it's hard to reconcile that with "let the government starve." Starvation is fatal.

Unless you're trying to improve your health. Then, you need to put down the double-quarter-pounder with cheese and not order the extra large milkshake to go.

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Krensky wrote:

If you don't like having a government you should relocate to the libertarian paradise of Somalia.

Take the strawman somewhere else, please.

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By the 14th Amendment (section 4), the US cannot default on its debts. The goverment would have to operate within its means, which means about 10% of the current spending would have to be cut to pay debt payments.

So there is no chance of default, unless you listen to the political class who want to rile up the ignorant, or to the media, who never question things too deeply because thinking is hard.

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You go into Karloff's movie with a different set than Vosloo's.

Translating into gaming probably means changing systems. Pathfinder is high heroic fantasy. Call of Cthulhu is the opposite, where no matter your character's level of experience, a knife wound will kill you.

But neither works if the players go "oh, that's bad CGI."

And I don't think you can transition from one to the other, because if you've already set the expectation as "pulp heroes" and then try to say "mummy is horrid and you're too frightened to attack" your players are going to roll their eyes and say "Whatever!"

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Thistle and Tigger have great points. If a player doesn't really care, there's no point in trying. That being said, if a player does care, information is the key.

Namely, don't hand it to players on a silver platter. For example, take Deep Ones. They are in the shadows, and something about them isn't normal. But until late in the story the character just knows he's hunted and that Bad Things ^TM will happen if he's caught. Many games devolve into 4 well-equiped PCs making knowledge rolls and coming up with something along the lines of "25 - Oh, they are in charge of the town and visitors disappear in the middle of the night . . . guess we dont' stay there." It's easier if you don't train players to rely on knowledge checks.

Want to freak players out with zombies?

Small spoiler:
Sure, there's a shambling horde, but its controlled by a hive-mind virus. And spread through blood and goo. Now the players have to worry about whether their characters are infected or not. Did the players stop to loot? Well, maybe that virus was on the treasure. Maybe the zombies get smarter as the collective intelligence of the hive mind grows and the carefully planned reach/pounce/I Built My Character This Way options are now of little use. Add a template to the zombified creature (Apocolypse Swarm or Broken Soul, for example). I just perused a book about a zombie autopsy, and the mention of tapworms came up. Zombie with a secondary attack of these worms that burrow into the PCs flesh . . . icky, and something the players want to stay away from. Especially since YOU'RE NOT GOING TO TELL THEM IT'S A FLESHWARPED TEMPLATE! Let them worry about the lingering itching of the wounds and if they need a cure disease. Maybe there's no additional effect. But they'll still have to make dex checks to make sure all the pieces of these gigantic tapeworms are removed from the wounds.

An extreme tactic is to roll the PCs saves for them. That messes with expectations, resource management, and information, so these tricks only work once per player, though. A player will remember deep ones for the rest of his gaming career.

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Xabulba wrote:
"Never get involved in a land war in Asia" - Fezzik

Fezzik was the giant. You're thinking of Vizinni.

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I think Dr. Love is going to be the archetype of my next PC. Gnome Bard, yes?

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captain yesterday wrote:

once you get thru those the kids should be old enough to handle meatier fare like ROTRL or Shattered Star.

I'm 40 years old and been to a dozen state fairs, and I'm not sure I can handle some of the stuff in ROTRL!

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It was funnier when Scott Adams did it.

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Endzeitgeist, thanks for all your work. You've directed me to some cool stuff, and your reviews are one of the first things I look for when scoping out new stuff (literally! "Oooh, this product has a cool name and five stars from reviewers . . . but not one for Endzeitgeist . . . Hmmm . . . Guess I'll look at the product description now.).

As to your requests:
1) I think for your website this would be pretty useful. Personally, I prefer reading the reviews even if I don't have an immediate interest in the product, so tagging isn't as useful to me, but I know that as your body of work increases, tagging is pretty much required to help people find pretty much anything. So, 50/50? Letting it get away from you will just make it a bigger chore in the future.

2) My big-book purchases are fewer these days, so I'd vote for more of the smaller files. Besides, I'm in the RC kickstarter, so I'm already getting it. I can wait on your review. :) And honestly, for bigger books I prefer the physical book. And more often, I can find a copy of the larger book and get an idea of the product. I can't do that for most of the smaller pdfs.

3) I don't use facebook, and God-willing I never will.

4) I haven't visited your site but once (older material . . . okay, I've got that stuff already!). But I do want to support your work, so reminders that you have a site where I can go through an affiliate program will help. Also, I've seen a couple blogs that have a "tip jar" thingie for PayPal. Don't know if you find those obnoxious or not, or how well they work, but that might help a little bit. I tip my servers at restaurants, and you're providing me a better service (the meal only lasts a few hours; pdfs last until the hard drive crashes).

5) OBS, Paizo, RPGaggression (where I went back specifically to read your reviews, since browing through OBS or Paizo sometimes doesn't cut it). While I do collect Pathways, I can't say your reviews there are a huge draw for me (mainly because I can find them on RPGaggression).

I need to add your site to my regular blogroll/site list. Or an RSS feed or something. That will prompt me to go there more often.

Can you enlist a trusted friend to do some tagging for you? I'm not familiar with website programs or code, but I would think there would be a crowd-sourcing function to auto-tag posts ("Here's a list of tags; which applies to this post?"). But I wouldn't listen to me about technical issues . . . .

Thanks again for all the reviews.

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The guy got bitten to death by a beaver.

Yes, I'm making fun of it.

If I get chewed to death by an herbivore, I hope someone will mock that situation as well.

And when I get home tonight and share the story with my wife, I'm going to say "Honey, you know that beaver we have living in our lake? If something should happen . . . please post the video on YouTube."

Yes, I have a beaver living in my lake. Used to be four.

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Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Personally, I'd be much happier if the DHS spent all of its money on Celtic instruments...

They're too busy buying hollow-point ammunition.

And thanks, because now I'm imagining two dozen DHS agents in kilts with bad Irish accents. That's what I get for watching Brave last night.

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To further the discussion . . . .

I personally run a Castles & Crusades game for some young teenagers. It's mostly compatible with 3.x/Pathfinder, more like AD&D without all the tables. From this system I also run Basic/Labyrith Lord modules.

So, to introduce your kids, use LL. It's what you're familiar with, the rule book is free, and there's lots of support for it (including the original Basic modules from TSR available on pdf). If you want to expand to C&C, it's not a big leap system wise, but you'd need to spend some money on books and such.

Or stick with LL. There's an "Advanced Edition Companion" that mimics AD&D rules (haven't seen it yet, so can't comment on how good it is), and there's a growing comminity of "Old School" games and gamers that can point you in the right direction for more cool stuff.

That said, you could use the Pathfinder Beginner Box as is. There's at least one company producing modules for it (0one Games - that's 'zero-one'). Lots of cool fiddly bits, too.

The great news is that there are way more games available today, for all different play types and skill levels, than there were back in the early 80s. Heck, I came across "Hero Kids", which is an rpg for younger kids (mine can't read yet, so I've got time).

There's also a large online community that do reviews of all sorts of products, so pretty much any product you want to know about, you can find someone who has a review of it.

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Frogimus, check out Labyrinth Lord by Goblinoid Games. It's a clone of the Basic rules. The no-art version of the rule book is free.

There's also Basic Fantasy, but I'm not as familiar with that system.

Or Adventurer Conqueror King, which plays on the concept that the PCs will want to be ruling their own domains.

Personally, I'd start with Labryinth Lord.

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Early therapy helps a lot. Really, the earlier the better.

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Steven Tyler
Iggy Pop
Mick Jagger
Lyle Lovett
Steve Buscemi
Howard Stern

Charisma doesn't mean good looking.

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I believe elsewhere it was stated by a High Muckety-Muck of Paizo that Knowledge: Local was indeed similar to "gather information" and that locality didn't matter. The character's ability to glean information about the local situation was the same no matter where he goes.

I don't see how this is over-powered/broken. One can't use the skill to learn details about the neighboring kingdom, since that's not local knowledge. But one could use it to know the heraldric banners of the local lords, or find out who has moved to town recently.

I can easily see this as something like the modern traveller driving through New Orleans and saying "Oh yeah, I've heard about Bourbon Street! Let's go see it. But we should be careful because the neighboring streets can be a bit dangerous. But my friend told me about this really good restaurant . . . ." None of this information mattered when the guy was back in Iowa; it only matters once he's in New Orleans. Similarly, since he's in New Orleans, whatever information he wants to use involving New York City would be a different skill. He's not in New York City, therefore can't make a Knowledge: Local roll.

But, YMMV.

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The new Treasury Secretary was paid severance when he voluntarily left his position at CitiGroup to go work for the President. His contract was specifically written to treat Citi as a revolving door between Wall Street and Washington. Kinda weird when a "too big to fail" bank fully expects a top employee to start working at a senior position within the regulatory agency it has to bow to.

Final quote: "A too-big-to-fail bank must be pleased to know that in a little more than two years it made the sacrifice of government so much easier for America's most powerful banking regulator."

I'm sure there's nothing to see here. Move along, Citizen.

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Ooga wrote:
Paladin in our group. Most of the rest of the group is "good" aligned as well.

Honestly, your GM is out of bounds on this one. I enjoy placing the occasional critter that the PCs have to run away from, but I don't make it a central pillar of the campaign.

That said, if you can convince the paladin (in-character) that this thing is an avatar sent to see the wicked punished, if only he'd lead it to the deserving, you could have some fun with that.

If it were me, I'd just say "Stop. We're going to fight it here. And we're going to die. If the GM doesn't want us to play, then let's get it over with because I've got better things to do."

Now, if you really want to kill it . . . lead it to the biggest, most powerful city around. Get rooms at an inn in the center of the city. Wait. Once the critter appears on the horizon, the city and all its powerful inhabitants are going to respond. Or the GM is going to have to trash his campaign world one city at a time.

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meatrace wrote:

As it stands, we have the FDA which acts as one big rubber stamp for the pharmaceutical industry, and a bunch of drug laws based on racism and cultural panic rather than any objective dangers.

Spoken like someone who has no idea how many hoops the pharmaceutical industry has to jump through to comply with the ever-changing regulatory world.

Guess what, meatrace, the pharma industry isn't just regulated by the FDA. There's the European Medicines Agency, the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare, Canada, Mexico, Brazil's ANVIA . . . .

There European countries who won't accept electronically submitted information, so everything gets snail-mailed. Middle Eastern countries require that medicines don't violate their halal rules (like insulin made from pig pancreases).

And when the EMA sends over inspectors, God help you if you get the French guy and the German guy. They can't stand each other.

Every year, the regulatory agencies' foot-dragging means thousands of people die from being unable to get the medicines they need. Compliance costs billions of dollars, which the pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetic industries have to pass on to you.

So the next time you complain about the cost of a jar of skin lotion, or that your grandma can't get a drug to treat her Alzheimer's, you may want to thank your regulatory agency for "protecting" you.

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The beauty of the Second Amendment: It doesn't matter until government tries to take it away.

And while the "gun control" crowd may fervently wish that the Second Amendment wasn't created to provide the citizenry with the power to resist their government when that government ceases to be legitimate, you may want to brush up on the writings surrounding the ratification of the Constitution, specifically the Federalist Papers.

But tread carefully, because such revelations might cause the carefully constructed house of cards upon which you place your argument to come crashing down.

You may now resume your bantering about how much better you are because you wish to take away liberty from people who happen to disagree with you.

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Goblin babies love long lengths of chain. They also love deep bodies of water.

Tell your GM to let up or you're going to combine the two.

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A Man In Black wrote:

Your reading comprehension is really bad, and that article is entirely made of excerpts from other articles. But, if you need a summary: Ponzi schemes offer wildly impossible returns, while SS offers (and does) just pays a modest amount to the elderly. Ponzi schemes are not transparent to hide their lack of functionality, while SS is completely transparent. Ponzi schemes involve a huge rake to the operators, while Social Security is revenue neutral. Ponzi schemes are inherently deceptive, while SS serves a clearly identified public interest. The only thing that Ponzi schemes have in common with SS is that they both collapse if people stop paying, but unlike Ponzi schemes, SS has the power to compel payment because it is in the general interest to keep poor elderly from becoming completely destitute. If all you have is "PENSIONS ARE PONZI SCHEMES BECAUSE I SAID SO" then there's no conversation here.

So Bernie Madoff wasn't running a Ponzi scheme because he didn't offer unrealistic returns?

Social Security is so transparent because . . . they take the money coming in to pay for people who already paid in. How is that different from a Ponzi scheme?
Social Security does offer a huge rake to the operators. It's called "reelection." Every time there is an election, politicians try to scare the elderly and say their opponents want to cut SS benefits.
Social Security isn't revenue neutral; it is now paying more money out than it is taking in. Just like a Ponzi scheme.
Social Security serves government interest, not the public interest. It offers dependency on a government program. If you were to take the 12% that SS withholds from your paycheck and invest it in a simple index fund, you'd not only have more money, but you'd have something to leave to your heirs. And if it really served the public interest, why do people want to get out of it?

Ponzi. Scheme. That you are forced to pay into. Not even Bernie Madoff had that kind of power.

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