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(Politico)   "Obama dodges 'hard choices' on entitlements" because that whole "we shouldn't decide between helping the generation that built this country and investing in the future" line totally didn't mean anything   (politico.com) divider line 53
    More: Stupid, obama, entitlements, White House officials, inauguration, social security, deficit hawk, Dan Pfeiffer, politicos  
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586 clicks; posted to Politics » on 22 Jan 2013 at 7:42 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-22 07:49:46 AM  
Since people pay into Social Security and Medicare, there should no need to make "hard choices" regarding those programs. Now DoD spending that is another question. Why do we need an F-35 fighter or another carrier group? Why do we have 30,000 troops in Germany?
 
2013-01-22 07:52:13 AM  

Muta: Since people pay into Social Security and Medicare, there should no need to make "hard choices" regarding those programs. Now DoD spending that is another question. Why do we need an F-35 fighter or another carrier group? Why do we have 30,000 troops in Germany?


Good beer?
 
2013-01-22 07:56:48 AM  
The generation that built this country? That's a bit insulting to every generation that came before that one. Don't ya think?
 
2013-01-22 07:58:11 AM  

Cythraul: The generation that built this country? That's a bit insulting to every generation that came before that one. Don't ya think?


But they are dead, so they won't complain.
 
2013-01-22 07:58:23 AM  
How are you going to help the generation that built the country, tidy up their graves and stuff?
 
2013-01-22 07:59:35 AM  

Snarfangel: Cythraul: The generation that built this country? That's a bit insulting to every generation that came before that one. Don't ya think?

But they are dead, so they won't complain.


I think there may be four or five pre-baby boomers still around.
 
2013-01-22 08:00:12 AM  
It sounds like it means KEEP SPENDING!

Maybe it will work......
 
2013-01-22 08:02:16 AM  

Muta: Since people pay into Social Security and Medicare, there should no need to make "hard choices" regarding those programs. Now DoD spending that is another question. Why do we need an F-35 fighter or another carrier group? Why do we have 30,000 troops in Germany?


Those taxes are also slowly strangling the economy. We need an F-35 fighter so we'll have something to defend against China's knockoff of the F-35 fighter that will come after we finish using Chinese engineers to develop the F-35. We need another carrier group because we've got to keep the shipyards in practice. We've got 30,000 troops in Germany because if we ever decide fark Europe, we know the best place to start from is Germany.
 
2013-01-22 08:08:15 AM  

Cythraul: The generation that built this country? That's a bit insulting to every generation that came before that one. Don't ya think?


Yeah, good luck trying to talk sense into those greedy little farks.
 
2013-01-22 08:08:26 AM  
It didn't mean anything, swoonmitter. Or do you need an explanation of the phenomenon with a politician's words being wildly different from what's written into laws and budgets?
 
2013-01-22 08:20:31 AM  
But the country is broke!

Pay no attention to the trillions the rich and corporations are just sitting on.
 
2013-01-22 08:20:58 AM  
People still read Politico?
 
2013-01-22 08:32:55 AM  

Muta: Since people pay into Social Security and Medicare, there should no need to make "hard choices" regarding those programs. Now DoD spending that is another question. Why do we need an F-35 fighter or another carrier group? Why do we have 30,000 troops in Germany?


Done in one.
 
2013-01-22 08:33:29 AM  
The key for government spending is not to cut entitlements, but to cut the need for entitlements. The rise in entitlement spending goes hand in hand with the stagnation of wages and inflation of cost of living.

Unless we address the cancer that is killing us from the inside - corporate oligarchy - then all of the political lipservice paid to both the left and the right is meaningless. The rise of mega-corps, the vastly overinflated value of capital vs labor and the demands of stockholders for unsustainable long term growth are our biggest enemies as a nation.

Capitalism is a good idea in theory, much like communism or socialism - the problem is that humans are greedy little poo flinging monkeys with little ability to see a larger picture than what benifits them directly. Neither system works without some sort of oversight to prevent irrational greed and short term thinking.

As long as the greedy few know that they can loot the coffers at the expense of the lower and middle classes, things are only going to get worse. It is imperitive that the goverment rebalance the distribution of wealth in this country. We are at critical mass, and soon more money will be stagnant in the bank accounts and stock portfolios of the uber-wealtly and not in the hands of the small-business owners, and the middle and lower classes who actually drive the economy.
 
2013-01-22 08:43:04 AM  

cybrwzrd: The rise of mega-corps, the vastly overinflated value of capital vs labor and the demands of stockholders for unsustainable long term growth are our biggest enemies as a nation.


My brother, who is more educated on the topic than I, keeps telling me that in order for capitalism to survive, it needs to constantly grow. The very concept of that seems unrealistic to me. And if that is true, makes our economy seem analogous to cancer.

I disagree with him, but only on the basis that I have a gut feeling that constant growth seems unnecessary.
 
2013-01-22 08:48:20 AM  
Since the generation that built the country that we have is the greatest generation, which there aren't too many of left anymore, I don't really think that is the problem. At this point, we need to look to the future, and quite honestly, the baby boomers can go fark themselves. They have done their best to screw over every generation to come after them in their narcissism...
 
2013-01-22 08:48:33 AM  

Muta: Since people pay into Social Security and Medicare, there should no need to make "hard choices" regarding those programs. Now DoD spending that is another question. Why do we need an F-35 fighter or another carrier group? Why do we have 30,000 troops in Germany?


Think of it as economic stimulus and subsidizing manufacturing and science.
 
2013-01-22 08:53:06 AM  

Muta: Since people pay into Social Security and Medicare, there should no need to make "hard choices" regarding those programs. Now DoD spending that is another question. Why do we need an F-35 fighter or another carrier group? Why do we have 30,000 troops in Germany?


We don't pay enough for Medicare.  We need to either raise Medicare taxes, or cut Medicare benefits. That might not be a hard choice for you or me, but that's a hard choice for a congressman.
 
2013-01-22 08:55:32 AM  

cybrwzrd: The key for government spending is not to cut entitlements, but to cut the need for entitlements. The rise in entitlement spending goes hand in hand with the stagnation of wages and inflation of cost of living.

Unless we address the cancer that is killing us from the inside - corporate oligarchy - then all of the political lipservice paid to both the left and the right is meaningless. The rise of mega-corps, the vastly overinflated value of capital vs labor and the demands of stockholders for unsustainable long term growth are our biggest enemies as a nation.

Capitalism is a good idea in theory, much like communism or socialism - the problem is that humans are greedy little poo flinging monkeys with little ability to see a larger picture than what benifits them directly. Neither system works without some sort of oversight to prevent irrational greed and short term thinking.

As long as the greedy few know that they can loot the coffers at the expense of the lower and middle classes, things are only going to get worse. It is imperitive that the goverment rebalance the distribution of wealth in this country. We are at critical mass, and soon more money will be stagnant in the bank accounts and stock portfolios of the uber-wealtly and not in the hands of the small-business owners, and the middle and lower classes who actually drive the economy.


And we can solve this by passing another level of regulations, and this time, for the first time in recorded history, no elected official will sell access to the legislative process. Really. Goldman Sachs will pull out this time, they promise. If you can't trust a company that was run by Jon Corzine, who can you trust?
 
2013-01-22 08:57:02 AM  

Cythraul: cybrwzrd: The rise of mega-corps, the vastly overinflated value of capital vs labor and the demands of stockholders for unsustainable long term growth are our biggest enemies as a nation.

My brother, who is more educated on the topic than I, keeps telling me that in order for capitalism to survive, it needs to constantly grow. The very concept of that seems unrealistic to me. And if that is true, makes our economy seem analogous to cancer.

I disagree with him, but only on the basis that I have a gut feeling that constant growth seems unnecessary.


Opps, coffee did not kick in, should be unsustainable short term growth. Growth is a good thing, but expecting a stock to give you 6%,10%, or more back per year is nuts.
 
2013-01-22 09:00:41 AM  

cybrwzrd: Cythraul: cybrwzrd: The rise of mega-corps, the vastly overinflated value of capital vs labor and the demands of stockholders for unsustainable long term growth are our biggest enemies as a nation.

My brother, who is more educated on the topic than I, keeps telling me that in order for capitalism to survive, it needs to constantly grow. The very concept of that seems unrealistic to me. And if that is true, makes our economy seem analogous to cancer.

I disagree with him, but only on the basis that I have a gut feeling that constant growth seems unnecessary.

Opps, coffee did not kick in, should be unsustainable short term growth. Growth is a good thing, but expecting a stock to give you 6%,10%, or more back per year is nuts.


Why does it have to grow to begin with? Isn't it enough to just make a healthy profit? How much can an economy grow on a single planet that can safely hold only a certain amount of people, and offer but so much in the way of resources?
 
2013-01-22 09:02:22 AM  

Gulper Eel: cybrwzrd: The key for government spending is not to cut entitlements, but to cut the need for entitlements. The rise in entitlement spending goes hand in hand with the stagnation of wages and inflation of cost of living.

Unless we address the cancer that is killing us from the inside - corporate oligarchy - then all of the political lipservice paid to both the left and the right is meaningless. The rise of mega-corps, the vastly overinflated value of capital vs labor and the demands of stockholders for unsustainable long term growth are our biggest enemies as a nation.

Capitalism is a good idea in theory, much like communism or socialism - the problem is that humans are greedy little poo flinging monkeys with little ability to see a larger picture than what benifits them directly. Neither system works without some sort of oversight to prevent irrational greed and short term thinking.

As long as the greedy few know that they can loot the coffers at the expense of the lower and middle classes, things are only going to get worse. It is imperitive that the goverment rebalance the distribution of wealth in this country. We are at critical mass, and soon more money will be stagnant in the bank accounts and stock portfolios of the uber-wealtly and not in the hands of the small-business owners, and the middle and lower classes who actually drive the economy.

And we can solve this by passing another level of regulations, and this time, for the first time in recorded history, no elected official will sell access to the legislative process. Really. Goldman Sachs will pull out this time, they promise. If you can't trust a company that was run by Jon Corzine, who can you trust?


The only answer I can think of is death penalty for corruption. Hang them on the steps of congress when caught. Do you seriously think no regulation is better because a few can be corrupted?
 
2013-01-22 09:04:59 AM  

rumpelstiltskin: Muta: Since people pay into Social Security and Medicare, there should no need to make "hard choices" regarding those programs. Now DoD spending that is another question. Why do we need an F-35 fighter or another carrier group? Why do we have 30,000 troops in Germany?

We don't pay enough for Medicare.  We need to either raise Medicare taxes, or cut Medicare benefits. That might not be a hard choice for you or me, but that's a hard choice for a congressman.


Better yet, find a way to curb the healthcare costs that are choking this country at every level.
 
2013-01-22 09:07:54 AM  

Cythraul: The generation that built this country? That's a bit insulting to every generation that came before that one. Don't ya think?


Especially considering they rode a wave of postwar prosperity, without having to fight in the war (a vet is now at least 85 years old, very few left), with virtually guaranteed lifelong employment and solid pensions. Today's retirees are benificiaries more than mythical heroes.
 
2013-01-22 09:08:21 AM  
This is the issue that is at the heart of the Social Security issue. The baby boomers paid into the SS trust fund for years. The government (voted in by the boomers, mind you) then started borrowing money from that trust fund to finance wars and what not. Now we're at the point where we have to start paying back the trust fund, and that is going to be extremely painful. Who should bear the pain for our poor financial planning? In my opinion, the boomers should take a good portion of it.

To make everyone's favorite analogy, it would be if an individual set aside a decent amount of money every month for retirement. He then started "borrowing" money out of that account, and using it to give his family a very nice life. Now it is time to retire, and it turns out all he has in the account are IOUs. What is the proper course of action? Boomers would have you believe that the individuals kids should pay off all the IOUs he incurred, regardless of how painful it will be for them. Someone sane would say that the individual should bear the brunt of the pain.
 
2013-01-22 09:11:56 AM  
The best way to reform entitlements is to create a guaranteed minimum income. 23k is roughly the poverty line, so let's make that the basic income. If you receive no income, you get 23k. For every dollar more you make, you receive 50 cents less in basic income. Make 10000, receive 18k. Make 20000, receive 13k. Make 46000, receive 0. The beauty is that there is a never a situation where you are punished for working. It also allows market forces to work, particularly with regards to health care. People would start shopping for better prices, driving down costs (there should be universal catastrophic coverage). Provide no bonuses for children, and free birth control to all who want it. End the drug war. Reduce the military. Live within your means.

It's so simple sometimes.
 
2013-01-22 09:15:08 AM  

cybrwzrd: The key for government spending is not to cut entitlements, but to cut the need for entitlements. The rise in entitlement spending goes hand in hand with the stagnation of wages and inflation of cost of living.


SO MUCH THIS. It fries conservative brains when they bring up the cost of people receiving public assistance, and I turn it back on them with the taxpayer's hidden cost of low wage employment. You're subsidizing the labor cost for Wal Mart with your tax dollars, even if you don't shop there.
 
2013-01-22 09:18:12 AM  

Cythraul: cybrwzrd: Cythraul: cybrwzrd: The rise of mega-corps, the vastly overinflated value of capital vs labor and the demands of stockholders for unsustainable long term growth are our biggest enemies as a nation.

My brother, who is more educated on the topic than I, keeps telling me that in order for capitalism to survive, it needs to constantly grow. The very concept of that seems unrealistic to me. And if that is true, makes our economy seem analogous to cancer.

I disagree with him, but only on the basis that I have a gut feeling that constant growth seems unnecessary.

Opps, coffee did not kick in, should be unsustainable short term growth. Growth is a good thing, but expecting a stock to give you 6%,10%, or more back per year is nuts.

Why does it have to grow to begin with? Isn't it enough to just make a healthy profit? How much can an economy grow on a single planet that can safely hold only a certain amount of people, and offer but so much in the way of resources?


Growth is profit.
 
2013-01-22 09:21:00 AM  

MattStafford: This is the issue that is at the heart of the Social Security issue. The baby boomers paid into the SS trust fund for years. The government (voted in by the boomers, mind you) then started borrowing money from that trust fund to finance wars and what not. Now we're at the point where we have to start paying back the trust fund, and that is going to be extremely painful. Who should bear the pain for our poor financial planning? In my opinion, the boomers should take a good portion of it.

To make everyone's favorite analogy, it would be if an individual set aside a decent amount of money every month for retirement. He then started "borrowing" money out of that account, and using it to give his family a very nice life. Now it is time to retire, and it turns out all he has in the account are IOUs. What is the proper course of action? Boomers would have you believe that the individuals kids should pay off all the IOUs he incurred, regardless of how painful it will be for them. Someone sane would say that the individual should bear the brunt of the pain.


A lot of people talk about this "trust fund" idea of Social Security, but no one has ever explained to me exactly how that would work. How would the federal government "save" surplus revenue?
 
2013-01-22 09:24:51 AM  

rumpelstiltskin: A lot of people talk about this "trust fund" idea of Social Security, but no one has ever explained to me exactly how that would work. How would the federal government "save" surplus revenue?


Put it in a bank. Buy gold. Invest it in the stock market.

Loaning it to the government, and having the government spend it on the military/safety nets is right above burning it, in terms of keeping the trust fund safe.
 
2013-01-22 09:26:25 AM  

greenboy: Muta: Since people pay into Social Security and Medicare, there should no need to make "hard choices" regarding those programs. Now DoD spending that is another question. Why do we need an F-35 fighter or another carrier group? Why do we have 30,000 troops in Germany?

Good beer?


legalized prostitution.
 
2013-01-22 09:28:29 AM  

cybrwzrd: The only answer I can think of is death penalty for corruption. Hang them on the steps of congress when caught. Do you seriously think no regulation is better because a few can be corrupted?


Did I say no regulation? I did not. But we are clearly at a point where it is advantageous for large businesses to arrange it so that regulations are bent back upon their original intent, and advantageous for politicians to allow them to do so - under the guise of fine-sounding bullshiat like 'making corporations pay their fair share'.

And it is distinctly NOT a few that can be corrupted. Power corrupts all of us. A politician may start a career in office as honest, patriotic and altruistic, and their motives may even be pure - but soon enough they go native. The paradox: the qualities that helped them reach office also help them abuse the office. And we go along with this because the other choice is worse, as if there were only one other choice.

If there is to be a new regulation regarding businesses' finances, it should state that they will not be taxed - but nor will they be subsidized, bailed out, or otherwise given official foot-massages from Washington.
 
2013-01-22 09:29:59 AM  

Cythraul: I disagree with him, but only on the basis that I have a gut feeling that constant growth seems unnecessary.


Why does it seem unnecessary? The population keeps growing, so it only stands to reason that the economic system should grow to accommodate it.
 
2013-01-22 09:30:56 AM  
He shoved that takers BS down the right's throat.
 
2013-01-22 09:43:36 AM  

MattStafford: rumpelstiltskin: A lot of people talk about this "trust fund" idea of Social Security, but no one has ever explained to me exactly how that would work. How would the federal government "save" surplus revenue?

Put it in a bank. Buy gold. Invest it in the stock market.

Loaning it to the government, and having the government spend it on the military/safety nets is right above burning it, in terms of keeping the trust fund safe.


Which bank? Who gets to pick the winner there? Which stocks would it buy? Maybe Solyndra? Who gets to pick the winners there? Gold is shiat. It doesn't produce anything, and you've got to find a buyer who's willing to pay more for it than you did, and that's not going to happen when the government has to buy and all the sellers know it, and then the government has to sell and all the buyers know that.
You could buy foreign sovereign debt, but that could cause innumerable problems when it's time to sell that back, and no one wants to solve those problems. Or you could just literally burn the money, and reprint it later when you need it. That seems a very risky idea. Or you could do what we do, which is buy US debt, otherwise known as writing yourself an IOU and spending the money. There is no "trust fund", and people who think about the federal budget like a household budget miss the point completely.
That said, I think it would be nice if we spent the money on things like infrastructure and education, that might lead to increased tax revenue in the future. "Invest it", if you will. But there are people who will argue that our safety net increases future tax revenue, and there are people who will argue that blowing up brown people does, to.
 
2013-01-22 09:45:55 AM  
You won't/can't revive an economy (Growth) on reduced consumption without a corresponding reduction in consumers. If you would like to clean up and protect the environment while adding to the population through immigration reform, you're going to continue to get what what we've had over the last 4 years, reduced median income, record numbers of people on assistance, and fewer jobs.

Equality and fairness come with a price, a reduced standard of living. I'm okay with that (we've been over consuming for a few generations), but it would be nice if our elected officials and civil servants would join us in that sacrifice. So far, they've shown no inclination to do so.

Those Living Simply so Others Can Simply Live bumper stickers portend our future, sooner or later.

\comes with a 1 Percenter exemption
 
2013-01-22 09:47:13 AM  

Gulper Eel: cybrwzrd: The only answer I can think of is death penalty for corruption. Hang them on the steps of congress when caught. Do you seriously think no regulation is better because a few can be corrupted?

Did I say no regulation? I did not. But we are clearly at a point where it is advantageous for large businesses to arrange it so that regulations are bent back upon their original intent, and advantageous for politicians to allow them to do so - under the guise of fine-sounding bullshiat like 'making corporations pay their fair share'.

And it is distinctly NOT a few that can be corrupted. Power corrupts all of us. A politician may start a career in office as honest, patriotic and altruistic, and their motives may even be pure - but soon enough they go native. The paradox: the qualities that helped them reach office also help them abuse the office. And we go along with this because the other choice is worse, as if there were only one other choice.

If there is to be a new regulation regarding businesses' finances, it should state that they will not be taxed - but nor will they be subsidized, bailed out, or otherwise given official foot-massages from Washington.


I can agree with not taxing corporations - as long as they play within the rules given to them. If they go afoul of those rules, hefty fines for the company and jail time for stockholders based on % of ownership.

Rules must include living wages, base CoL wage increases, limits on top level compensation (minimum wage offered by company x 50) staying out of politics, and others.
 
2013-01-22 09:49:25 AM  

Dr Dreidel: Cythraul: I disagree with him, but only on the basis that I have a gut feeling that constant growth seems unnecessary.

Why does it seem unnecessary? The population keeps growing, so it only stands to reason that the economic system should grow to accommodate it.


What resources are going to be left for growth if the population grows to a level that the planet can no longer sustain said population?
 
2013-01-22 09:51:50 AM  

rumpelstiltskin: Or you could do what we do, which is buy US debt, otherwise known as writing yourself an IOU and spending the money.


That IOU has a current 30-year interest rate of less than inflation. The government is giving itself loans that will be worth less in 30 years than they are today. It's a GREAT idea, and anyone who can't understand why needs to relearn basic math.

// similarly astounding is that businesspeople are literally throwing money at Treasury notes
// SHUT UP, TAKE MY MONEY, AND GIVE LESS OF IT (inflation-adjusted) BACK TO ME IN 30 YEARS, FOR I NEED A SAFE INVESTMENT
 
2013-01-22 09:55:17 AM  

Cythraul: Dr Dreidel: Cythraul: I disagree with him, but only on the basis that I have a gut feeling that constant growth seems unnecessary.

Why does it seem unnecessary? The population keeps growing, so it only stands to reason that the economic system should grow to accommodate it.

What resources are going to be left for growth if the population grows to a level that the planet can no longer sustain said population?


Saw your follow-up before I posted. Sure, there's a theoretical maximum for how many people can fit on good ol' Planet Earth, but that would basically require most rich people to surrender most of their purchasing power to fit us all comfortably.

I just mean that, as population grows (which it has, quite steadily, for thousands of years), the economic system must grow with it - the GDP to population metric should probably stay within a certain bound, or else a country will experience a standard-of-living drop-off.

// that's the assumption, anyway
 
2013-01-22 10:07:59 AM  

Dr Dreidel: rumpelstiltskin: Or you could do what we do, which is buy US debt, otherwise known as writing yourself an IOU and spending the money.

That IOU has a current 30-year interest rate of less than inflation. The government is giving itself loans that will be worth less in 30 years than they are today. It's a GREAT idea, and anyone who can't understand why needs to relearn basic math.

// similarly astounding is that businesspeople are literally throwing money at Treasury notes
// SHUT UP, TAKE MY MONEY, AND GIVE LESS OF IT (inflation-adjusted) BACK TO ME IN 30 YEARS, FOR I NEED A SAFE INVESTMENT


We don't sell ourselves just any bonds. The interest rate on the special issue bonds used for SS is set by law. It's true, the current law is based on market rates of certain treasury securities. If inflation gets out of hand, and the treasury markets don't respond, we can just change the law to make sure we pay ourselves more. It's not clear to me that we've reached that point, that inflation over the next 15 years will be more than the 2-1/2% per year that the 2012 bonds average. But if it happens, we can do something about it.
 
2013-01-22 10:14:13 AM  
MattStafford: This is the issue that is at the heart of the Social Security issue. The baby boomers paid into the SS trust fund for years. The government (voted in by the boomers, mind you) then started borrowing money from that trust fund to finance wars and what not. Now we're at the point where we have to start paying back the trust fund, and that is going to be extremely painful. Who should bear the pain for our poor financial planning? In my opinion, the boomers should take a good portion of it.

To make everyone's favorite analogy, it would be if an individual set aside a decent amount of money every month for retirement. He then started "borrowing" money out of that account, and using it to give his family a very nice life. Now it is time to retire, and it turns out all he has in the account are IOUs. What is the proper course of action? Boomers would have you believe that the individuals kids should pay off all the IOUs he incurred, regardless of how painful it will be for them. Someone sane would say that the individual should bear the brunt of the pain.


I do not recall giving anyone in the government permission to use or borrow money from the Social Security Trust Fund. Why should I be responsible for paying it back? I didn't take it.
 
2013-01-22 10:25:21 AM  

InmanRoshi: rumpelstiltskin: Muta: Since people pay into Social Security and Medicare, there should no need to make "hard choices" regarding those programs. Now DoD spending that is another question. Why do we need an F-35 fighter or another carrier group? Why do we have 30,000 troops in Germany?

We don't pay enough for Medicare.  We need to either raise Medicare taxes, or cut Medicare benefits. That might not be a hard choice for you or me, but that's a hard choice for a congressman.

Better yet, find a way to curb the healthcare costs that are choking this country at every level.


We should tie the executives pay directly to how much care costs and make it illegal for customers to drop out of the market.
 
2013-01-22 10:44:27 AM  

Pick: I do not recall giving anyone in the government permission to use or borrow money from the Social Security Trust Fund. Why should I be responsible for paying it back? I didn't take it.


It depends on your age bracket. If you voted for the people who raided the trust fund, then yes, you did give someone in the government permission to use that money. If you were too young to vote, then no, you did not give someone in the government permission to use that money. If you are one of the extremely small minority who voted to actually save that money, I feel bad for you, but such is life.
 
2013-01-22 10:47:52 AM  

Zeb Hesselgresser: You won't/can't revive an economy (Growth) on reduced consumption without a corresponding reduction in consumers. If you would like to clean up and protect the environment while adding to the population through immigration reform, you're going to continue to get what what we've had over the last 4 years, reduced median income, record numbers of people on assistance, and fewer jobs.

Equality and fairness come with a price, a reduced standard of living. I'm okay with that (we've been over consuming for a few generations), but it would be nice if our elected officials and civil servants would join us in that sacrifice. So far, they've shown no inclination to do so.

Those Living Simply so Others Can Simply Live bumper stickers portend our future, sooner or later.

\comes with a 1 Percenter exemption


I don't think you can blame immigration and environmentalism for "reduced median income, record numbers of people on assistance, and fewer jobs." Especially if you're going to just cherry-pick the last four years of those - income inequality has been growing since the 70s. There aren't actually fewer jobs in the United States, either - there's simply fewer that pay a living wage. Minimum wage is below poverty level, unions have been gutted, and loopholes like "independent contractors" have allowed companies to slash the rights and benefits of the American worker. The decline in living wage jobs has driven the public assistance crisis, naturally. If Walmart's employees can't afford to live on their paychecks, of course they're going to be on food stamps, Medicaid, and welfare.

When you say equality and fairness come with a price, a reduced standard of living, you're absolutely right. The problem is that when somebody says that, they're not talking about reducing the standard of living of the 1% - they're talking about everybody else. Raising the minimum wage, improving regulations of stuff like sick days, overtime, contractors, etc, and increased taxation of the 1% will almost certainly lower the standard of living for the looters in our society. But that's what it will take to improve our economy.
 
2013-01-22 10:49:07 AM  

cybrwzrd: The key for government spending is not to cut entitlements, but to cut the need for entitlements. The rise in entitlement spending goes hand in hand with the stagnation of wages and inflation of cost of living.

Unless we address the cancer that is killing us from the inside - corporate oligarchy - then all of the political lipservice paid to both the left and the right is meaningless. The rise of mega-corps, the vastly overinflated value of capital vs labor and the demands of stockholders for unsustainable long term growth are our biggest enemies as a nation.

Capitalism is a good idea in theory, much like communism or socialism - the problem is that humans are greedy little poo flinging monkeys with little ability to see a larger picture than what benifits them directly. Neither system works without some sort of oversight to prevent irrational greed and short term thinking.

As long as the greedy few know that they can loot the coffers at the expense of the lower and middle classes, things are only going to get worse. It is imperitive that the goverment rebalance the distribution of wealth in this country. We are at critical mass, and soon more money will be stagnant in the bank accounts and stock portfolios of the uber-wealtly and not in the hands of the small-business owners, and the middle and lower classes who actually drive the economy.


www.itfactormagic.com
 
2013-01-22 10:53:05 AM  

Cythraul: cybrwzrd: The rise of mega-corps, the vastly overinflated value of capital vs labor and the demands of stockholders for unsustainable long term growth are our biggest enemies as a nation.

My brother, who is more educated on the topic than I, keeps telling me that in order for capitalism to survive, it needs to constantly grow. The very concept of that seems unrealistic to me. And if that is true, makes our economy seem analogous to cancer.

I disagree with him, but only on the basis that I have a gut feeling that constant growth seems unnecessary.


It's not so much that constant growth is unsustainable, it's that constant growth, compounding year after year exponentially, is unsustainable. Growing even 2-6% a year has some pretty significant implications for things like resource consumption, food production, and pollution after 100 or even 10 years. We do live on a finite planet, after all.

Check out a youtube video called "Money as Debt". I would paste a link but it's a bit awkward on my mobile.
 
2013-01-22 11:07:49 AM  

InmanRoshi: rumpelstiltskin: Muta: Since people pay into Social Security and Medicare, there should no need to make "hard choices" regarding those programs. Now DoD spending that is another question. Why do we need an F-35 fighter or another carrier group? Why do we have 30,000 troops in Germany?

We don't pay enough for Medicare.  We need to either raise Medicare taxes, or cut Medicare benefits. That might not be a hard choice for you or me, but that's a hard choice for a congressman.

Better yet, find a way to curb the healthcare costs that are choking this country at every level.


Can't it be both?
 
2013-01-22 12:03:54 PM  

Cythraul: cybrwzrd: Cythraul: cybrwzrd: The rise of mega-corps, the vastly overinflated value of capital vs labor and the demands of stockholders for unsustainable long term growth are our biggest enemies as a nation.

My brother, who is more educated on the topic than I, keeps telling me that in order for capitalism to survive, it needs to constantly grow. The very concept of that seems unrealistic to me. And if that is true, makes our economy seem analogous to cancer.

I disagree with him, but only on the basis that I have a gut feeling that constant growth seems unnecessary.

Opps, coffee did not kick in, should be unsustainable short term growth. Growth is a good thing, but expecting a stock to give you 6%,10%, or more back per year is nuts.

Why does it have to grow to begin with? Isn't it enough to just make a healthy profit? How much can an economy grow on a single planet that can safely hold only a certain amount of people, and offer but so much in the way of resources?


It actually is quite possible for the economy to grow indefinitely, since the economy is based on value rather than resources. When resources grow scarce the value of efficiency increases and hence the economy continues to grow while fewer resources are consumed. Look at small car sales when gas prices increase: the more fuel costs (the scarcer oil becomes) the more value is placed on vehicles that use less fuel.

I'm just waiting for hydrogen cars. All we're missing is the gas tank - surely if we put enough money/time/people into it we could come up with a good gas tank.
 
2013-01-22 02:39:45 PM  

greenboy: Muta: Since people pay into Social Security and Medicare, there should no need to make "hard choices" regarding those programs. Now DoD spending that is another question. Why do we need an F-35 fighter or another carrier group? Why do we have 30,000 troops in Germany?

Good beer?


That.

The bread's nice, too. Public transportation is excellent.
It is in Europe.

And you can drive as fast as you want if traffic's clear because there's no member of the Ohio Regiment (Vol.) of the Snowbird Senility Brigade (Reinf.) blocking the damned passing lanes on the autobahn.
 
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