What the frick?!

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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:07 pm

RuffDraft wrote:But tax breaks aren't really a Dem/Rep issue. Some Democrats might favor tax breaks given a certain scenario (such as if they have a vested interest in that company succeeding) and some Republicans might oppose them given another (like when a Democrat has a vested interest in that company succeeding, lol) or vice versa.
Sure, generally at least. However, the current situation is House Republicans maintaining those tax breaks while cutting those social programs. So in this case, it is a partisan issue.

RuffDraft wrote:Also note that your source is the Center for American Progress--and oddly enough, the logo on the original graph is missing from the one above--who would also lose government funding if the Republicans have their way. So it is in their best interest to see the Republicans get shot down.
Indeed, which presents a conflict of interest, meaning that the statement should be taken more critically than usual. Now, do the sources cited at the bottom of the page support the conclusions? Recall that when I checked certain statements made by Glenn Beck, his sources did not.

RuffDraft wrote:I remembered what I was going to say. I was going to add up the numbers on the both sides of that column. Cuz even cutting that wouldn't save the deficit that we have for this year alone.
Indeed. No plausible plan would. As I pointed out earlier, completely cutting ALL discretionary spending, including all military spending, would not close the deficit. Prospects for future years are better due to predicted increased revenue (see again that revenue can and usually DOES increase).

RuffDraft wrote:Beginning with Tax Breaks For The Wealthy, I'm going to ignore the fact that they switch between FY11 and FY12. Those are projections. With that in mind, we have a sum total of $394.23 billion for this first year if we add up just those.
More like $88.7 billion. Two of the numbers are in millions.

RuffDraft wrote:and assuming those numbers are JUST for this year (if it turns out that's for more than just this year, that would be bending the truth, and a "nonpartisan" organization can't do that, can they?! I know, right?)--
No need to assume. The sources are listed below the chart in the link I gave.

RuffDraft wrote:is $43.4 billion (see at the bottom where it says $44 billion? They rounded wrong, how sad is that?).
$44.1 billion, actually. See below.

RuffDraft wrote:Now, added to that number the legal services (which are constitutional and therefore the least at risk of being cut), and the Family Planning thing (which admittedly does some good, although with education being what it is today, more people are aware of STDs and the need for contraception, so probably could be skimmed a bit), we come to a total of $780.4 billion. Now, DaCrum, to quote you again, in order to cut spending, "we need to do things nobody likes." The total combined of the above is $1,174.63 billion, or $1.175 trillion. Which still leaves a $475.37 deficit for this year alone.
Those are also in millions, not billions. Cutting all programs and tax breaks listed there would cut the deficit by about $132.9 billion.

RuffDraft wrote:So!! Even if we were to cut the measly $43 billion and eliminate tax loopholes and make everyone pay what they are due, to the penny, and then eliminate every one of these programs (which, I'll admit that eliminating all of them would be very bad), we still wouldn't match the budget that President Obama has set forth for this country for THIS. YEAR. ALONE.

Why do you insist on talking about how much we tax when basic math can tell you the difference in how much we spend? Please, PLEASE consider my way of thinking, if only for a minute.
Perhaps the revisions I pointed out above make it clearer that balancing the budget by cuts alone would do Very Bad things. A long-term balanced budget would reasonably take entitlement reform, some military cuts, and tax increases in addition to some cuts of the type being discussed. Also, much of the current deficit comes from the sharp drop in tax revenue from the recession. What do you think about BOTH taxes and spending?

Q.U. wrote:
That's a conclusion that ought to come after a quantitative analysis. Care to do one to justify your claim?
We're discussing a theoretical concept, and I'm giving the most general estimate possible. I don't see how diving into numerical analysis would help this argument any, because frankly I don't believe either of us can predict the results accurately enough, and take all necessary variables into consideration. If you have any theoretical reason for which a single country-state would have to spend more on peacekeeping than a collective of countries then by all means present it. Until then, I've shown my reasons for which I believe it would cost less. How much less will depend only on the details of the situation, which I don't think we need to specify any further.
You had proposed that a change from the status quo would* result in another change from the status quo. The burden of proof is on you, since you're the one making the claim of what would happen. If you don't want to justify it, fine, but don't act like our positions are equal. On that note, recall that I wasn't proposing that a single world government would have to spend more on its military than the current situation. You had said that there would be "next to no need for military and war equipment" and, as I pointed out, while military expenses would probably be less than now, it would probably remain substantial, since military and military-like forces do a lot besides defend against foreign aggression. So, do you want to support your original claim that military spending in a single world government would reasonably drop to next to nothing? It would take some kind of quantitative analysis of the costs for what the military would be doing.

*Or has already resulted in changes. Your initial statement implied that past consolidations should have resulted in greatly reduced military spending, though discussion since then has been more focused on a single world government..

Q.U. wrote:There are several reasons why Germany would have wanted to take over Belgium, as well as Holland. To begin with, it was a great counter-offensive starting point for its enemies.
Not really. By the Hague Convention, neutral territory is off-limits for forces of any combatants. Until Germany invaded, enemy forces were legally barred from entry to Belgium and Holland.

Q.U. wrote:Neutral as it might have been, Belgium did side with the French and British during that first World War, and Germany surely remembered that. If left untouched Belgium would come under more and more pressure from the Allied countries to allow them to land in their country to launch an offensive on occupied France as well as on Germany itself.
And doing so would put Belgium on the side of the Allies, removing its neutrality. Keep in mind that NO part of France was occupied when Belgium was invaded. There was no need to use Belgium as a friendly landing area because all of France was available already.

Q.U. wrote:Lastly, I don't think we should give this much credit to German's "pros and cons" analysis, in case of reasons why conquering Switzerland would bring less profit than it would cost. Hitler was in charge, and if he followed such rules he'd never have attacked the Soviets in the first place.
Unlike Switzerland, the Soviet Union had the force projection ability to be a threat to Germany. Hitler just didn't trust Stain not to invade. To use your earlier words, it was neutral, but it was a threat (in capability if not intention, and as you said, Hitler was a bit wonky).

Q.U. wrote:
Switzerland has a population and GDP (PPP) of about 7.8M and $315B, for a little over $40K per capita. Nigeria has about 152M and $374B, for about $2460 per capita. Fusing Switzerland and Nigeria would produce a country with a population of about 160M and GDP (PPP) of about $689B, for about $4300 per capita. If Switzeria / Nigerland spent per capita for its military what Switzerland does today ($526), military spending would be about 12% GDP, compared to Nigeria's actual military expenditure of about 1.5% GDP. In absolute terms, Switzerland really is more militarized than most places in the world, despite its neutrality and your use of it as an example of a place with the "huge weight" of maintaining a military off its shoulders.
If Switzeria / Nigerland spent per capita for its military what Switzerland does today ($526)
So what now, you fuse the countries by averaging all the values
For combined population and GDP, the values are added. GDP per capita is derived from the combined figures.

Q.U. wrote:but when it comes to military expenditure you use the plain value of Switzerland? That's not consistent. Be consistent and take an average of both, then you'd see how militarised it would really be.
Firstly, both Nigeria and Switzerland spend 0.8% of their GDP on military, so you don't have to average anything there. It would be $5.5B spent on military. ...
So no, Switzerland spends more GDP, and more GDP per capita on military than many militarised countries. But that's only because it is still a very low % of their GDP and % of their GDP per capita.
This is missing the point. You had given Switzerland as an example of the level of militarization a single world government could achieve (supposedly as a reduction in militarization associated with unification). The concern is therefore absolute (not percent of GDP) military expenditure per capita. Both Switzerland and Nigeria currently spend in the neighborhood of $5B annually for their militaries. However, Nigeria has about 20x the population of Switzerland. It doesn't matter for this that Switzerland's ~20x greater expense per capita is accompanied by greater economic activity per capita. Switzerland has many more active military personnel than Nigeria (in total, not just per capita), and they are much better equipped. If Nigeria tried to achieve a level of militarization comparable to Switzerland, it would have to increase its military personnel by about 30x and its expenses by about 20x, which would consume more than 20% of its GDP. Keep in mind that additionally, about a third of Switzerland's population is subject to compulsory military service, and non-active personnel keep their weapons at home. Just procuring enough small arms for a comparable portion of the population would strain Nigeria's military budget. Having much greater GDP per capita lets Switzerland maintain a much higher level of militarization than Nigeria despite spending a smaller percent of GDP on it. The world has the resources available to achieve global Switzerland-like militarization, but that would represent an increase from the present situation.

Q.U. wrote:
Anyway, human genetic engineering is generally NOT illegal (care to cite any laws to the contrary?) Certain kinds of genetic modification will probably be made illegal in some places when they get closer to practicality (non-therapeutic embryo modification, say). Keep in mind that we're talking about dealing with the negative consequences of genetic drift caused by the removal of selection pressures, meaning therapeutic changes like susceptibility to type 1 diabetes. I don't see that becoming illegal.
Most countries have a blurred line of legality in case of genetic engineering. The biggest regulators are the Cartagena Protocol and the ICGEB. In some countries they push more (like in the USA trying to force them to sign it), in others they push less (China), some countries are lax with legal status of genetic engineering (Brazil), and others are in general publicly hostile towards any of it (UK).
Source: http://library.thinkquest.org/04apr/007 ... ional.html
Those are mostly concerned with crops, livestock, and pharmaceuticals. Human genetic engineering remains legal, and for the most part, unregulated.

Q.U. wrote:
Why are you confident that the peak efficiency has not been passed?
Because we can see richer schools being much more efficient?
We see richer schools being more effective (better educational achievement), not necessarily more efficient (educational achievement per dollar spent).

Q.U. wrote:Nobody said that efficiency is or always has to be linearly dependent on all its variables.
Right. In fact, my explanation earlier involved it specifically NOT being linearly dependent.

Q.U. wrote:And in fact, there is no reason for which decreasing the funding by 10% would decrease the results by more or less than 10%,
If the system is in the region where increasing funding makes it more efficient, decreasing funding by X% will result in decreasing measures of performance by more than X%. If the system is in the region where increasing funding makes it less efficient but more effective, decreasing funding by X% will result in decreasing measures of performance by less than X%. Which do you think represents the state of US schools?

Q.U. wrote:Either way, whether you call it efficiency or efficacy it virtually means one thing.
No, they mean very distinct things. Efficacy is performance, and efficiency is performance PER DOLLAR. Abolishing public education and relying on unpaid volunteer tutors would achieve very low systemic performance, but very high efficiency because it would cost very little per student taught.

Q.U. wrote:
Quantifying the efficiency of education is somewhat nebulous, but do you think that increasing school funding by 10% would increase standardized test scores by more or less than 10%?
Again, depends on how well the money is spent. It's hard to answer your question, since you didn't give me any point of reference. ...
It is hard to make predictions, however, since there are so many other variables which affect the scores that it becomes a truly moot estimate. ...
seeing as other factors change their effect on the school's efficiency in teaching as the efficiency changes. We have dynamic variables to work with. ...
Especially since I never once said that the efficiency of a school can be calculated solely on the standardised test results. In fact, I deem that to be a gross and naive oversimplification. Education is too abstract for us to simplify it like that.
Sure, standardized test scores are an incomplete measure of education, but they're easy to reference. Since you claimed that "Really, I strongly believe that it doesn't matter who runs the schools, private investors or government selected bodies, if you pump enough money into them they will become more efficient." it implies that you had a standard in mind by which to evaluate the performance of schools, and that you didn't think that complicating variables mattered much in aggregate. What measure do you propose?

RuffDraft wrote:
DaCrum wrote:Also, how does increased tax revenue lead to hyperinflation now?
Well, right now, we're printing money because we don't have any available to use, what with the way we're spending it.
One way to fuel deficit spending is to print money. That introduces new money into the economy. Printing is done all the time to replace currency as it physically wears out and to expand the money supply as the economy grows. Another way is to borrow money, which does not introduce new money into the economy. Which do you think leads to a debt that has to be paid off, and which do you think can encourage inflation?

RuffDraft wrote:Our GDP has been exceeded by our National Debt.
It's been higher than GDP in the past, and it's turned out fine. Notably, it was brought down with restraint on deficit spending, in part due to higher taxes. Check out the 1990s on that graph.

RuffDraft wrote:If the value of the dollar devalues to the point where the price of food, etc begins to rise sharply, we have begun hyperinflation. At the point when government has to force companies to raise their wages just so people can afford to buy food, etc, it's already happened. ...
Imagine a loaf of bread costing $300 or more. You remember what happened to Germany, don't you? Of course you do, cuz we were all alive back then and learned from history's mistakes...
You are aware that inflation represents a larger amount of currency for each real good, right? That means that a hundred-fold increase in prices would take about a hundred-fold increase in the money supply if real growth is zero. However, we're quite a ways from that. Notice that while the currency supply is increasing at a decent if historically unremarkable pace, M2 (which is what matters more for inflation) has trailed by a few percent for the last couple years. This relates to what I said before about how a breakdown of the financial system actually causes the money supply to shrink (even if the physical currency supply may increase), potentially causing deflation. And there was actually mild deflation in 2009.

RuffDraft wrote:There are signs to hyperinflation. If you don't know that they exist, please go down to the local gas station and check what the price of gas is. Then, go to the local grocery store and notice the rise in the price of a loaf of bread. In 2000, the price of a loaf of bread (average) was about $1.10 or so. As of 2010, it was over $2.80. And while there are other factors at play, I doubt that an increase of 154% is due to scarcity of yeast. Yes, and wheat, okay?
Actually, both are due to a single factor - the price of oil. Much of the price of food represents the energy expenditure of growing and transporting it, and much of that is done with oil derivatives. Does the recent rise in oil price surprise you? Anyone with a passing understanding of economics could have predicted it years ago. It dropped during the financial crisis due to falling demand. Now that economies are picking up again, demand is increasing, and as before, it's running into pretty much flat production capacity. While oil is a significant part of modern economies, it is not the only part, and an increase in the price of oil contributes to but does not dominate inflation. Inflation is now actually lower than during most of the last decade.

RuffDraft wrote:Let us say, at this stage in the colorful game known as Economics that congress likes to play with our money, they raise the top marginal tax rate to 90% for people who make over $5M/yr--just for the sake of argument. There becomes a disincentive to create jobs and grow, and the price of food, etc would likely further rise as well, in order to keep paying their workers that same level.
And how is that supposed to work? What you described is an increase to personal rather than corporate tax, and business expenses like wages and production costs are tax deductible anyway. The cost to produce things would not increase, so the optimally profitable production amount and price would not change.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:yeah, i am confused on this point because the 1950s were famous for their economic growth despite the 90% tax rate for the highest brackets
There was growth because the unions had not overpriced labor to the point where they ruined the industries, which later made many jobs go away.

In Norway, do they have unilaterally aggressive labor unions like in the US?

I rest my case.
Actually, unions in the US were at their most powerful in the 1950s and 1960s. Current union membership in the US is around 12%. Norway has union membership higher than the US did at any time. The point of unions is to negotiate on behalf of workers, who ordinarily have a very weak position when negotiating with employers. Ideally, this results in a more competitive labor market and a better-working society. Problems arise, like in other markets, when any party wields too much power. Looks like Norway's doing fine though.

Outsourcing happens when foreign labor becomes cheaper than domestic. Whether or not domestic workers are unionized or not doesn't matter much when employers have access to a country where the cost of living is, say, 1/10 what it is in the US. A saying I heard somewhere relates that $20/hour non-union workers can compete against $30/hour union workers, but not against $0.50/hour Chinese workers. Do you think that they can?    They can indeed, so long as productivity is at least 40x as high, accounting for additional factors. That's not an easy advantage to maintain though, and it's getting harder as China modernizes.   

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:because i don't think there was anything like "destroy[ed] big business" there's already a significant amount of "outsource a lot of jobs overseas" despite the extremely LOW taxes, and there was nothing that you could say "cause[d] hyperinflation"; how odd!
So, there's outsourcing with LOW taxes, and you want to RAISE them?
Considering that GE does outsourcing now with an effective tax rate of about -60% (yes, negative), I think that there will be outsourcing regardless of the tax rate. Care to explain how raising the corporate tax rate is supposed to lead to outsourcing when wages are exempt form corporate tax?

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:Hmmmm. Was Eisenhower, the president for the majority of the 50s because of his work as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces during World War II, in fact an anti-business president?
No, just anti-rich, like you, and others.
How do you define "anti-rich"? What did Eisenhower and "others" do to justify that label? And if he was "anti rich" while presiding over better growth than the present, what does that say about the merits of "anti-rich" policies?

RuffDraft wrote:
EagleMan wrote:As much as I would love the irony, it is a bit muddled. They (Beck and Fox) probably just came together and decided it was best to discontinue the show. Beck was acting as a lightning rod for controversy and lost many advertisers on his show.
Actually, he lost advertisers because they were threatened with boycotts by Media Matters and other extreme Left-Wing groups who want to see Beck and FoxNews taken off the air.
How is Media Matters supposed to conduct a boycott of Beck? It's not like they had advertising to pull. Perhaps you meant to say that Media Matters encouraged other organizations to pull advertising, and some organizations freely chose to do so.

BeeAre wrote:it does not matter how advertisers were pulled away from glenn beck.
Well, if advertisers were coerced by a shadowy cabal that works for George Soros, it would kind of tie in with some other statements.

RuffDraft wrote:Totally ignoring everything except Valhallen right now.
Hah! It's like some mutated snake thing.
Oh, Valha, you prankster, you.
Coyote's expression there was close to mine as I was reading your post above.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pk_9LWLoM0

RuffDraft wrote:And again.
Jodi Miller wrote:Betty White is set to star in a TV show that pranks the elderly. Mmm, I believe we already have something like that. It's called: Obamacare.
[Canned Laughter]
Awesome. lol
Much of that reduces to [item in the news] -> [non sequitur one-liner]. Pretty much clappy humor. I suppose it's a matter taste, but she doesn't really substantiate the implied points.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:14 pm

Eisenhower presided over a period of economic expansion when the labor unions were at their STRONGEST?

So by relation, the high tax brackets and strong negotiating positions for unions did not negatively impact our economic growth as a nation to the full extent described by those who favor lower personal taxes and comparatively weaker unions (vs the direct management of major corporations by their directors)?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:49 pm

Actually, union membership was slightly higher during the Kennedy and early Johnson administrations. Otherwise, yeah.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:36 pm

You had said that there would be "next to no need for military and war equipment" and, as I pointed out, while military expenses would probably be less than now, it would probably remain substantial, since military and military-like forces do a lot besides defend against foreign aggression. So, do you want to support your original claim that military spending in a single world government would reasonably drop to next to nothing? It would take some kind of quantitative analysis of the costs for what the military would be doing.

Again, I did say that "next to no need for military and war equipment", but that was an extreme value estimate. As in, for extremely positive circumstances. In other words, there would be next to no need for military spendings (besides relief and rescue actions in case of regional disasters) if the world was a single country unified to a very high level. Note that I already pointed out that changing to a single government would decrease military spending, from by a bit if in the current social/political/demographic situation, down to nearly all the spending should we assume the world would eventually unify to a great extent. And the only evidence for it that I can put forward is the reference I made already to small shops combining into a shopping centre.

Not really. By the Hague Convention, neutral territory is off-limits for forces of any combatants. Until Germany invaded, enemy forces were legally barred from entry to Belgium and Holland.

Note that a neutral country can technically stop being neutral on its own accord practically overnight. Also, WWII was a war filled with cheating strategies. Hitler was a paranoid man, I find it likely he could have considered those neutral countries as a threat.

And doing so would put Belgium on the side of the Allies, removing its neutrality. Keep in mind that NO part of France was occupied when Belgium was invaded. There was no need to use Belgium as a friendly landing area because all of France was available already.

Why are you discussing German warfare strategy from the point of view of the French/British? At that point the British could have landed in France. And they did. After France was taken, they'd have to look for the next closest possible ally. I find it strange that you dismiss the immense political pressure that was being put on all uninvolved countries to help fight the Axis of Evil.

Unlike Switzerland, the Soviet Union had the force projection ability to be a threat to Germany. Hitler just didn't trust Stain not to invade. To use your earlier words, it was neutral, but it was a threat (in capability if not intention, and as you said, Hitler was a bit wonky).

Exactly. But that kind of adds to my point about Germany's choice of invadees, doesn't it? Belgium and Holland were not military threats. they were political, areal, and intelligence integrity threats. And since they were so easy to take down, Hitler just went for the kill.

The world has the resources available to achieve global Switzerland-like militarization, but that would represent an increase from the present situation.

At the current level of development of most countries, yes, it would. Again, when I take a single world government I assume some unification and taking up the standards of all values to an arbitrary level. In your case of development remaining at its current level you are absolutely right.

Those are mostly concerned with crops, livestock, and pharmaceuticals. Human genetic engineering remains legal, and for the most part, unregulated.

Because it's still relatively new and isn't really done yet. As with the crops, countries will start taking sides only after there is a visible product of such research. All I said was, if genetically altering crops made many countries reject such altered products, then what makes you think that when we start altering humans they will not follow the same pattern? Be it a different case, but one that lies in the same family.

We see richer schools being more effective (better educational achievement), not necessarily more efficient (educational achievement per dollar spent).

Shouldn't it be more like educational achievement per expenditure per student? The efficiency of each dollar spent decreases when you spend a lot, simply because to teach students light refraction in water you need a water tank and a laser, while to teach Casimir Effect you need UHV and expensive specialistic equipment. So the amount of points gained on tests per dollar added to the school fund will decrease as the funding goes up. But there is still an increase in score present.

If the system is in the region where increasing funding makes it more efficient, decreasing funding by X% will result in decreasing measures of performance by more than X%. If the system is in the region where increasing funding makes it less efficient but more effective, decreasing funding by X% will result in decreasing measures of performance by less than X%. Which do you think represents the state of US schools?

US schools is general. Private sectors, mostly 2nd case. Public sectors, spread between 1st and 2nd. I haven't seen any numbers for it, so if you're up for digging for them be my guest. Then we will know for sure where all US schools are.

Sure, standardized test scores are an incomplete measure of education, but they're easy to reference. Since you claimed that "Really, I strongly believe that it doesn't matter who runs the schools, private investors or government selected bodies, if you pump enough money into them they will become more efficient." it implies that you had a standard in mind by which to evaluate the performance of schools, and that you didn't think that complicating variables mattered much in aggregate. What measure do you propose?

My "efficiency" in that statement is what you called efficacy. Or otherwise effectiveness. And here you will surely agree, more money higher effectiveness of education.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby NeoWarrior7 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:41 pm

You know what works great for budget fairness.

Kill everyone. See? No taxs, no spending, no debts. 0/0. Infinity, or whatever math decides. Or it would, if math existed and/or mattered without sentient comprehension.

On that subject, who the hell takes Donald Trump seriously?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:56 pm

Q.U. I am not sure that you and Valhallen are agreeing completely on terms for efficacy or efficiency. :X

NeoWarrior7 wrote:You know what works great for budget fairness.

Kill everyone. See? No taxs, no spending, no debts. 0/0. Infinity, or whatever math decides. Or it would, if math existed and/or mattered without sentient comprehension.

On that subject, who the hell takes Donald Trump seriously?


in short: too many people :(

this works for any part of your post.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:08 am

There's only a couple things I want to touch on at the moment:

Valhallen wrote:Coyote's expression there was close to mine as I was reading your post above.
Should I be offended?

So... Paul Ryan presents what he believes to be a serious fix to the budget; Jon Stewart replies with sarcasm at OTHER Republicans' reactions but otherwise says little (at least in this clip) about what's wrong with the plan; What's-His-Face from The Young Turks replies with sarcasm and scorn, and then goes on to say that senior citizens would end up paying an average of $20K per year more under Ryan's plan (which I think is actually a small number when you consider how taxes are graded, and in regards to how Ryan says that lower-income senior citizens will be favored by the plan); TYT's next claim is that the plan calls for cuts that help the poor. And what he fails to mention in that is that Ryan has plans to replace or reform many of those programs (Stewart even said it himself, that Medicaid would be replaced by a Voucher program). Some of the programs are outright cut, I am not blind to that. But should taxes really go to paying everyone's needs? And don't give me "Some people can't help themselves." With the exception of those who are physically incapacitated for most of the day for reasons other than drinking themselves into a stupor, there are ways to get yourself work; if you're homeless but otherwise able, there are programs that will get you well-off enough to work at an actual job. If you want to get out of poverty, you can't keep making excuses about why you can't work. Find solutions.

And the worst of what I see in this is Pres. Obama literally saying that if we go by Ryan's plan, we're going to be killing children with Down Syndrome and Autism. How disgusting can he be? He doesn't even have a valid plan on his own; his "plan" calls for trillions more in debt, with a high-but-slowly declining deficit. The Keynesian model that he's going by doesn't work. It's been proven that it does not.

And while I'm talking about Obama's take on the plan, I'd like to point out some things, because it just seemed like some intellectually vapid diatribe.

He says "To give you an idea of how much damage this caused to our national checkbook, consider this: in the last decade, if we had simply found a way to pay for the tax cuts and the prescription drug benefit, our deficit would currently be at low historical levels in the coming years."

First of all, that can't be proven or disproven. Historical levels? Compared to what? What is he basing that on?

And you don't "pay for tax cuts." Taxes are revenues. Revenue pays for spending. It's an utterly meaningless statement. Either people get to keep their money or the government takes it to pay for services.

He basically says "If we found a way to pay for the prescription drug plan, we would have more money." Now, actually wrap your head around that for a second. "If we found a way to pay... we would have more money." It's like saying "if we had more money, we would have more money." It's idiotic.

And then he talks about "spending in the tax code." There is no such thing. There are either deductions which let people keep more of their money, or not, and they just take it. Spending is spending, there is no "spending in the tax code." If he had said "loopholes in the tax code" then yes I would agree, we should get rid of the same loopholes that he himself benefits from.

It's like, Ryan proposes a serious budget, then Obama spouts a bunch of bullshit jargon, and says Ryan wants to kill Down Syndrome babies. This is not a serious debate. This is rhetoric I might have heard if I were talking to some bleeding heart in High School (and trust me, I know A LOT about talking to bleeding hearts, from both ends of the political spectrum). At no point in the President's speech does he present a better plan than the one Paul Ryan came up with; he basically said he's going to remove $4T from the deficit over 10 years (with no evidence, I might add), which isn't a valid plan at all because it still racks up more debt; he's not even talking about reducing the National debt, he's just talking about the deficit. He even said, under his plan, the deficit would go from $1.65T this year to $1.1T by the end of his first (and only) term. That's not a plan, and he's provided no evidence saying that anything he's thinking of doing will help the economy.

It's mind-blowing how bad of a job he's doing, and he thinks everything is fine.

Damn!

Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:And again.
Jodi Miller wrote:Betty White is set to star in a TV show that pranks the elderly. Mmm, I believe we already have something like that. It's called: Obamacare.
[Canned Laughter]
Awesome. lol
Much of that reduces to [item in the news] -> [non sequitur one-liner]. Pretty much clappy humor. I suppose it's a matter taste, but she doesn't really substantiate the implied points.
So what? It's political humor. Jon Stewart does that a lot too. He even did it in the clip you showed me above (that joke at the end, which I did find funny, just so you know), and I don't see you criticizing him for it.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:13 am

Hang on, where did I get that TYT link? I'm sure I saw it somewhere above my post...?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:29 am

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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:52 am

Yeah, that was it. Utter bull.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:14 am

It's like, Ryan proposes a serious budget, then Obama spouts a bunch of bullshit jargon, and says Ryan wants to kill Down Syndrome babies. This is not a serious debate. This is rhetoric I might have heard if I were talking to some bleeding heart in High School (and trust me, I know A LOT about talking to bleeding hearts, from both ends of the political spectrum). At no point in the President's speech does he present a better plan than the one Paul Ryan came up with; he basically said he's going to remove $4T from the deficit over 10 years (with no evidence, I might add), which isn't a valid plan at all because it still racks up more debt; he's not even talking about reducing the National debt, he's just talking about the deficit. He even said, under his plan, the deficit would go from $1.65T this year to $1.1T by the end of his first (and only) term. That's not a plan, and he's provided no evidence saying that anything he's thinking of doing will help the economy.

I think it's more about being realistic. They should just do as the polls in Val's link suggested, and that should be big enough to at least get rid of the deficit. Getting rid of the deficit is a very difficult thing to do, because you have to get money from somewhere in the end. And only after you managed to deal with the deficit can you talk about fixing the public debt. I won't buy a budget plan that claims paying off the whole debt in 10 years, cause that's not economically viable, not sustainable, and not possible. The effects of too many budget cuts could be devastating to the economic stability.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:01 pm

Q.U. wrote:I think it's more about being realistic. They should just do as the polls in Val's link suggested, and that should be big enough to at least get rid of the deficit. Getting rid of the deficit is a very difficult thing to do, because you have to get money from somewhere in the end.
Getting rid of the deficit is difficult? You have to get money from somewhere? What are you even talking about? This country's budget had a $400B deficit under Bush and Obama's is now $1.65T (just this year). Where do you propose we're gonna get THAT money? Realistically, from other countries. We're borrowing so heavily that unless we do something, we'll end up with debt so powerfully large that not even the financial behemoth that is America could lift its way out of it.

Q.U. wrote:And only after you managed to deal with the deficit can you talk about fixing the public debt. I won't buy a budget plan that claims paying off the whole debt in 10 years, cause that's not economically viable, not sustainable, and not possible. The effects of too many budget cuts could be devastating to the economic stability.
No one claimed they were going to pay off $14+ trillion dollars in ten years. Ryan's plan was to generate surplus tax dollars to the effect of $600B per year. I'd say that's reasonable. If we can just end all the ridiculous government projects and close tax loopholes, maybe fix some of the services we currently provide, maybe we can some day afford the life we wish to have. But that won't happen without some decent leadership, and I'm not seeing that in Obama.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:16 pm

Getting rid of the deficit is difficult? You have to get money from somewhere? What are you even talking about? This country's budget had a $400B deficit under Bush and Obama's is now $1.65T (just this year). Where do you propose we're gonna get THAT money? Realistically, from other countries. We're borrowing so heavily that unless we do something, we'll end up with debt so powerfully large that not even the financial behemoth that is America could lift its way out of it.

Getting rid of a $1.65T deficit IS difficult. And borrowing is only helpful if you still have enough annual growth to be able to pay it back later. That "behemoth" of yours will probably not recover anyway.

No one claimed they were going to pay off $14+ trillion dollars in ten years. Ryan's plan was to generate surplus tax dollars to the effect of $600B per year. I'd say that's reasonable. If we can just end all the ridiculous government projects and close tax loopholes, maybe fix some of the services we currently provide, maybe we can some day afford the life we wish to have. But that won't happen without some decent leadership, and I'm not seeing that in Obama.

Obama is a pussy, like all Democrats. You can instead vote for Republicans who want to make Bush tax cuts for rich people permanent. Good luck lowering deficit then. Unless you're going to screw over 80% of the "poorest" by taking away all of their constitutional privileges. And that's basically where Ryan's plan is heading. If you want to take money from the people, take it evenly from everyone, not just from those who can't afford to complain about it.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:27 pm

Q.U. wrote:Getting rid of a $1.65T deficit IS difficult. And borrowing is only helpful if you still have enough annual growth to be able to pay it back later. That "behemoth" of yours will probably not recover anyway.
I see you didn't get the sarcasm.

Getting rid of a deficit is not difficult. You just have to determine how much money we take in (revenues), determine what you absolutely need (priorities) and cut funds going to those that are not essential to the general welfare of the country (desires). And that might include things help healthy people have fun (such as the National Endowment for the Arts that Harry Reid is so fond of, what with the Cowboy Poetry Readings or whatever the fuck he's in favor of).

How exactly did the budget go from $3.1T in 2009 to $3.5T in 2010 to $3.8T in 2011 in the middle of a recession? Added to that, while spending increased, our revenues dropped from $2.7T to $2.3T to $2.1T over those same years. And while the 2011 numbers are mostly estimates, if it turns out that's what it amounts to, how does Obama expect to pay for it? He calls for an end to "spending in the tax code" instead of an end to "unnecessary spending." And even if he called for an end to "unnecessary spending," he still hasn't given us a clear idea of exactly what he's going to cut.

If there's a kid who's overweight, you don't limit his sodas by one a day and then let him have six more bags of pork rinds. Cutting a small amount of spending and then increasing overall spending just makes us fatter and more bloated.

Q.U. wrote:Obama is a pussy, like all Democrats. You can instead vote for Republicans who want to make Bush tax cuts for rich people permanent. Good luck lowering deficit then. Unless you're going to screw over 80% of the "poorest" by taking away all of their constitutional privileges. And that's basically where Ryan's plan is heading. If you want to take money from the people, take it evenly from everyone, not just from those who can't afford to complain about it.
Exactly which "constitutional privileges" are you referring to that Paul Ryan is trying to infringe? Please be specific.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:04 am

there is a difference between debt does not and debt that does accumulate without the money being used actively to provide benefits that allow for the continued consumption and production of those benefits which in turn generate the potential to provide for more money with which to go to the debt to continue paying for the benefits.

what you are describing, it seems, is the viewpoint that the government is not doing this at all, which is why the deficit is so bad. if people are all in debt to one another, they must continue to interact in order to all survive. is this interdependence the primary thing that makes this bad?

i also want to question why we should link the deficit to the rising prices? the free market is what led to this recession in at least part, isn't it?

to be angry at just the debt deficit seems to me like it is to be angry at some of the basic principles of capitalism, because smart investors and smart companies, not just dumb ones, go into debt all the time without the capital to survive what should be technically insurmountable debt as a way to progress themselves.

is the government held to a different standard because taxes are compulsory? if so, I must ask how some capitalism is NOT compulsory in our current system if you want to achieve certain specific goals.

I posted a video earlier in the thread about Big Box Mart, the video from jib-jab. the central idea that this video sits around is that a company that continues to seek monopoly becomes as unavoidable as the idea of a federal income tax (even if in practice the two do not coincide).

If Wal-Mart is the only store for miles and miles for people, especially with rising costs in all directions, how does the average local worker at minimum wage AVOID going to that wal-mart and AVOID supporting wal-mart, even if he does not like wal-mart, and was born in the area, and does not have the means to leave that area?

I am just curious, because techincally, an answer would be that he could go into debt (via a bank loan), and even prolonged debt. If the argument arises that in this metaphor, the federal government is not paying that prolonged debt at any point, i would have to disagree: the federal government DOES do things with the money that makes up its debt, which counts as payment, even if it falls short continually, like a lot of people.

it seems like you are discussing the debt in only negative terms--do you think that there are no benefits to defecit spending at all? I understand that perhaps it is the degree to with which it is done that you argue with, but the proportional spending is not that remarkable, based on the statistics valhallen has shown us. By this, I mean that the ratios, the division of costs between units is actually fairly low, despite the literal numbers being so high.

Why is it that the actual numbers matter in this case so much, if the results are typical for the ratios? and i am not angry or anything, just fyi, i literally am curious. O_O
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:14 am

btw ruffdraft since you've mentioned that you like George Carlin here's the last three minutes of his comedy career

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsL6mKxtOlQ

suppose he's just anti-government and not anti-business?

watch george carlin, but just read the title of this article if you want, because i do that for your articles, at the very least lol. :)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 69610.html

and here's are some questions directed at anyone who wants to answer them

if government can be/is corrupt, who do you think has the best means with which to corrupt them?

and i don't quite understand the supreme court decision made earlier this year, so i'll ask you guys, rather than get too angry with a gut reaction. Was it ruled that corporate entities now have all the rights afforded to a citizen? and/or that they as a corporation could provide unlimited funding to any political candidate they want?

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/04/18/tax ... ity-chart/

this is from the IRS. the gist of this is, in twelve years, the top 400 richest people in the united states increased their income by 400%, that is, their income from the start of a 12 year period increased fourfold, while their taxes, in relation to their earnings at the start of this 12 year cycle, were reduced by 50%, that is, they have by half the total starting amount. They bear a large portion of the burden of taxes, yet their personal income increased, and the amount they pay to the government decreased.

Did the country on average improve financially in twelve years from the investments made by a majority of these, the most rich?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:26 am

BeeAre wrote:there is a difference between debt does not and debt that does accumulate without the money being used actively to provide benefits that allow for the continued consumption and production of those benefits which in turn generate the potential to provide for more money with which to go to the debt to continue paying for the benefits.
BR, I know you're not going to like this, but none of this paragraph makes any sense. Benefits--that is, services by the government, if that's what you're talking about--are funded by tax dollars. If said benefits provide any revenues from their operations, the revenues can help pay for that same benefit, but unless those benefits generate more money than is used to fund it, they still cost something. Meaning, they are a source of debt.

I don't want to make it into a meme, but as I said before, "revenues - expenses = profit." If something generates negative profit, it puts you into debt. If you have funds to pay off that debt, it's still running a deficit, but you have the means to cover it. Right now, we do not have the means to cover that deficit in the budget (on our own), so we borrow from other countries.

BeeAre wrote:what you are describing, it seems, is the viewpoint that the government is not doing this at all, which is why the deficit is so bad.
Which is exactly the problem; Congress is not adequately attempting to live within the United States' means, which is why the deficit is so bad.

And I use the term "live within [their] means" as a correlation to the example I made before about how one might poorly manage their own budget and credit card debt, as they are near-perfect examples of what I am talking about.

BeeAre wrote:if people are all in debt to one another, they must continue to interact in order to all survive. is this interdependence the primary thing that makes this bad?
Except we're not talking about people, we're talking about countries. Countries are not people.

BeeAre wrote:i also want to question why we should link the deficit to the rising prices? the free market is what led to this recession in at least part, isn't it?
Here I thought you and others were saying that George Bush caused this recession. And he caused it by... what did you guys say it was he did again?

BeeAre wrote:to be angry at just the debt deficit
What the hell is a "debt deficit?"
BeeAre wrote:to be angry at just the debt deficit seems to me like it is to be angry at some of the basic principles of capitalism, because smart investors and smart companies, not just dumb ones, go into debt all the time without the capital to survive what should be technically insurmountable debt as a way to progress themselves.
Like who? Circuit City?

BeeAre wrote:is the government held to a different standard because taxes are compulsory? if so, I must ask how some capitalism is NOT compulsory in our current system if you want to achieve certain specific goals.
What does that have to do with anything? The government forces us to pay them for the "services" they provide (increased security, better education, amazing healthcare), which is what we should expect if our money is going to fund it. Whether or not we see that is up to the competency of the leadership.

Advertisers and corporations are not forcing us to buy anything from them. We as consumers make the choice to buy or not buy. If someone provides a better service than someone else, you can buy their product over another's. That's why I use Windows 7 on my computer instead of Linux. In an ideal free market system, we have the choice to be an owner, a worker, an investor, or something else entirely. And we have the option to compete with other local businesses or simply provide a service that is lacking in our neighborhood, community, or region.

In an ideal free market system, if you have skills and imagination, you could potentially make millions. We are not restricted by what others do; we are restricted by our own imagination and skills, which is why there are so many poor people in America.

You seem to think that the rich are to blame for people who live in poverty, but if that were true, you could go to any homeless person and 9 out of 10 times, when asked what skills they have, receive answers like "accounting," "construction," "networking," "architectural design," and so on. As such, very, very few homeless people are homeless because a rich person made them that way.

BeeAre wrote:I posted a video earlier in the thread about Big Box Mart, the video from jib-jab. the central idea that this video sits around is that a company that continues to seek monopoly becomes as unavoidable as the idea of a federal income tax (even if in practice the two do not coincide).
So it's a political cartoon, yes?

BeeAre wrote:If Wal-Mart is the only store for miles and miles for people, especially with rising costs in all directions, how does the average local worker at minimum wage AVOID going to that wal-mart and AVOID supporting wal-mart, even if he does not like wal-mart, and was born in the area, and does not have the means to leave that area?
Since when is Wal-Mart a bad company?

BeeAre wrote:I am just curious, because techincally, an answer would be that he could go into debt (via a bank loan), and even prolonged debt. If the argument arises that in this metaphor, the federal government is not paying that prolonged debt at any point, i would have to disagree: the federal government DOES do things with the money that makes up its debt, which counts as payment, even if it falls short continually, like a lot of people.
And what happens when our debt gets so large that the interest on our debt becomes equal to our income?

BeeAre wrote:it seems like you are discussing the debt in only negative terms--do you think that there are no benefits to defecit spending at all? I understand that perhaps it is the degree to with which it is done that you argue with, but the proportional spending is not that remarkable, based on the statistics valhallen has shown us. By this, I mean that the ratios, the division of costs between units is actually fairly low, despite the literal numbers being so high.
So you're okay with huge government debt? Is that the same argument you make when talking about the debt that Bush put us in?

BeeAre wrote:Why is it that the actual numbers matter in this case so much, if the results are typical for the ratios? and i am not angry or anything, just fyi, i literally am curious. O_O
What results, and what do you mean typical? I don't understand what you're asking.

Again let me akin this to a personal income. If my yearly income is X and my yearly expenditures are 1.5*X, and I maintain this trend for 10 years, that's a difference of 5X. Which means I have have 5 times my yearly income in debt. Right now, America has about 7 times its yearly income (as of 2011) in debt. Is this not a problem?


George Carlin is a very funny man, and he raises some good points. I never said that ALL business owners were good; I never said ALL government programs or services were bad. I agree that a lot of politicians are looking out for number one and number two--their best friends, the corporations. It may even go as deep as the President when it comes to being in bed with corporations. But as I said, not all corporations are like that, and some even do a whole lot of good for the world, as I have outlined previously. I mean, Greenpeace is essentially a corporation. An international corporation, and I could find all kinds of evidence citing them for wrongdoing or government lobbying, but doesn't mean that the other corporations that do good should be punished for someone's devious activities. Punish those in charge of the corporation or of making the decision.


ThinkProgress is a shithole source, BR. It's biased as fuck. It's a project of American Progress, which is in turn a sub-division of the Center For American Progress. The entire point of their existence is to make people think that the Right is out to get them. And even if the graphs on that page are true and correct, all this means is that we should correct the deficiencies in the tax code that allows for loopholes. Also, charitable giving results in a lower effective tax rate, which might be an indicator that more rich people are donating to other worthy causes, in which case, higher take-home pay is a good thing; it allows them to give more.


The Supreme Court case you're talking about is that one, FEC vs Citizens United, right? The one surrounding the "Hillary: The Movie" that was set to release 30 days before the Democratic Primary, correct? I remember something about a law saying that they couldn't release the movie because it would be considered "electioneering" if released within 30 days of a primary.

I ask because you seem to be referring to a specific case, and I'm not sure if this is it. If it's not, I don't want to go into a lengthy discussion about it.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:01 am

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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:02 pm

Getting rid of a deficit is not difficult. You just have to determine how much money we take in (revenues), determine what you absolutely need (priorities) and cut funds going to those that are not essential to the general welfare of the country (desires).

The only problem is, politics doesn't work that way. What you said could be done by a king, not by a president. President's ass in on the line all the time, and if he cuts spending by discontinuing programmes that are popular with people he is screwed. It's not a simple "what is essential and what is not". You're so oversimplifying the situation that I can't even begin to tell you where you're wrong. Healthcare, it's not just a question of whether or not to spend money on it, there's also the question of how much to spend on it if you decide to spend anything. And so with every spending. The problem is, most of what makes up the deficit spending are considered priorities. If you decide to cut spending to priorities such as only fulfilling the basic living needs of people then what do you think the country will look like? Once you give people money and privileges you cannot just take them away and expect a cheer. You were right when you said "you gotto do what nobody will appreciate", but there's more to it than just cutting everything that's not essential. If you cut too much you will decrease the standard of living for the majority of your citizens by a fair amount.

Here I thought you and others were saying that George Bush caused this recession. And he caused it by... what did you guys say it was he did again?

Let's start with "Bush tax cuts".

Also, charitable giving results in a lower effective tax rate, which might be an indicator that more rich people are donating to other worthy causes, in which case, higher take-home pay is a good thing; it allows them to give more.

So Corporations give more to charities. Those payments undergo tax deduction and are therefore taken out of the tax the corporation would have to pay (instead of going into the government they go to charities). So in the end, it's the government that actually PAYS those charities, isn't it? How does that sit with your "increase in revenue and decrease spending" concept?

Oh fuck this is awesome look at this. XD XD XD

Feels like watching FOX News...
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:01 pm

And now for something completely different!

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Re: What the frick?!

Postby NeoWarrior7 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:13 pm

Always a classic.

And face it. Khorne is cool and all, but I'd take Tzeentch endless plots anyway. At least you know there's a larger goal. He may get more follows if he had a cult chant half as cool as "Blood for the blood god! Skulls for the skull throne!" though.


Also, Obama 2012. Face it, the Democrats aren't dumb enough to line someone up against him and ruin their shot, and I think all the Republican supporters saying he's gonna get kicked out are just a little optimistic.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Hana » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:16 pm

Iunno...A lot of people that I once heard singing his praises are not happy with his progress. But that's, like, a handful of people.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby NeoWarrior7 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:22 pm

Eh, it's early.
Besides, even the people who liked him and are discontent now are unlikely to vote Republican. He'll still need to get some of them back though, as them not voting, while half as bad as voting for the other team, is still detrimental. Assuming the other side can still vaguely inspire turnout like November, though they've been losing a lot of steam and opinions been turning against them again. From my point of view, mind you. Politics is a funny game.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby DaCrum » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:33 pm

He's had a very lackluster term. Nothing of note.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:06 am

i do not entirely understand your rebuttal to my post, ruffdraft. i am sorry. :(

please, help me understand your points in specific relation to my post?

I am not sure I understand your explanation for my points on debt. It does not have to be the government. It could be anyone providing any service working in debt. People work using debt as leverage in personal matters. The relationship between tax dollars doesn't have to come into play. I am speaking about the basic principle of "working debt", that is, debt that you use to achieve a goal AS debt. You don't think that this concept makes sense?

What is the difference between not paying off a debt and not "covering" it? How does this distinguish debt that is unabled to be paid for from deficit?

What are the rules that change matters of a countries' debt vs a person's debt? the sources of the income being so varied?

You did not answer my question at this point: I am not claiming anything about George Bush right now. Is the free market responsible in part for this recession?

I refer to the earlier part of the post about "debt deficit", because I don't know what terms we're using here. I guess I apologize for that lack of clarity, so I'll let you decide what both those terms are.

Circuit City is not a company I am discussing. Any bank, for example, uses unpaid debt as leverage, that is, a resource all to itself. That is the principle to which I referred earlier, and had the lack of clarity.

The federal government is entirely elected by the populous, so the populous has some bearing for the responsibilities of the federal government's decisions. Do you disagree?

I am not going to bring up any previous positions on my arguments on the rich at this moment, because I am genuinely curious. You are describing the freedom of choice the consumer has, here, when you explain the processes of picking products and services offered by people: My statements are about the situation where that is unreasonable for a consumer to make that committed choice and continue to benefit at the level they had without that company's involvement.

What I mean is, it does not have to be Wal-Mart (so whether or not Wal-Mart is a bad company is immaterial, and I am not going to claim that it is in this argument); it can be any company that is trending towards monopoly even in just a local area. If Store A is the only company available to supply the basic needs of a local populous that does not have the capital to even begin to save money, how can they, without using that company's resources, attempt to better themselves?

Do you really think that all people who are not homeless are able to continually progress themselves completely independently from their community strictly because they are imaginative? Why is it reasonable to assume that the singular cause that stops a people's progress is only due to their lack of imagination?

Yes, Big Box Mart was a political cartoon, that is correct, but it is not lying about those circumstances existing in the world--Surely you would not dispute that this situation does not at least in part have substance? And you can be specific where you think it is and is not correct.

Brian, listen to this argument you make about not punishing good corporations for the misdeeds of potentially bad corporations: It assumes that a corporation, when it is made, has already chosen a path of morality. Why is it so constricting to err on the side of caution?

The loopholes in the tax code were not established explicitly, I understand that, but why would we not assume that simply attempting to "close" a "loophole" will not create another unless the "closing" was effectively one of the very regulations with which you disagree? The very reason that the "loophole" exists is through ambiguity of language: to make the language explicit is to make a prohibitive law so that the company that previously was not paying the proper amount of taxes does.

And if you believe the tax code is flawed, why is it so bad that the corporations have even higher taxes than the current code allows? If they are exploiting these loopholes, and fixing those loopholes would make comparable financial changes, what is significant? Do we assume that the same government regulatory bureaucracy that at this point in our history exists in tandem with businesses, whose highest offices are appointed to their positions in large part because of their prior expertise in the industry, would seriously want the whole industry they are so familiar with to fail? All of them, despite their likely financial commitments to their industry?

I make this statement because our federal government does have this habit: they pick people who are the best of their field to head up overseeing how that field's industry plays out across the United States. Would you say that this is untrue, and that a majority of the appointees are people who have no business in the industries they are regulating?

I won't keep pursuing you on that Supreme Court case issue, though, if we both don't know. :P

I still hope someone answers my questions about it anyway. *stares at valhallen with starry eyes*
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