What the frick?!

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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Sat May 07, 2011 6:48 am

Q.U. wrote:
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.
So instead of "The primary benefit of merging countries together throughout time is that in the end there is next to no need for military and war equipment." it's more "If everyone united in peace and love unlike anything the world has ever seen on a large scale, there would be next to no need for military or war equipment." I can agree with that.

Q.U. wrote: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.
Probably. Some were deemed worth the effort of attacking, and others were not. Cost / benefit / risk and such.

Q.U. wrote:
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.
Because the Germans would have considered what their enemies could/would do in making their own plans. If Germany could kick the Allies off mainland Europe starting from their entrenched position and easy access to reinforcements, the Allies would not be able to muster the resources to re-take Europe later, even if they had friendly landing areas. The Allies were on the defensive in Western Europe until reinforcements from the US provided the resources needed. The US didn't enter the war until more than a year and a half after the invasion of France, after Japanese, not German, provocation, and Germany had occupied France for four years by the time the Allies invaded.

Q.U. wrote:
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.
No more threatening than Switzerland or Sweden, which were not invaded. Nice that you agree that Belgium and Holland were convenient targets because of their inability to defend themselves.

Q.U. wrote:
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.
You had said, "Well it's not. It's controversial, and human genetic engineering is generally illegal or off-limits." I replied, "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." It generally IS NOT illegal or off-limits, and the genetic engineering under discussion is generally not controversial (About whether or not it should be used when it's safe and effective. The controversy about GM crops and such is about whether or not they are safe.).

Q.U. wrote:
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?
Not really. We're discussing systemic issues. Going from overall expense and achievement to expense and achievement per student in order to go back to overall expense and achievement doesn't really help things.

Q.U. wrote: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.
This is a graph of returns to scale in an ideal, generic situation. There is a large area where increasing expenditure results in increasing efficiency. This, I think, is a more realistic description of the returns to scale in modern education. Note that increasing investment in education always gets better achievement, but never increases efficiency. Extending your example above, for even less expense, a volunteer tutor could teach both refraction and the Casimir Effect using books from the local library, for less educational achievement, but enormously greater efficiency.

Q.U. wrote:
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.
Consider this. Looks like, with modern education in the US, the marginal benefit of increased money is rather low. This seems to be the case in Africa as well. Throwing money at schools may help effectiveness, but it looks like it would not be likely to improve efficiency for any spending range encountered in the US. Improvements in efficiency should focus more on specific practices rather than overall funding.

NeoWarrior7 wrote:On that subject, who the hell takes Donald Trump seriously?
Apparently between 11 and 19 percent of Republicans. Haven't seen any updates in the last few days though.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:Coyote's expression there was close to mine as I was reading your post above.
Should I be offended?
Not really, but I saw some openings there, like the Norway unions bit and the economics of outsourcing and inflation.

RuffDraft wrote:
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;
Stewart was pointing out that the Republican response to the Ryan's plan compared to past actions indicates that they are more focused on partisanship than policy. And that clip did talk about the content of the plan, about as much as the video you posted.

RuffDraft wrote: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.
Do you think that given that, it's a good plan then? Given tax cuts in a plan supposedly to cut the deficit, polls indicating that most Americans want pretty much the opposite, and various other things pointed out there. Regarding Medicaid, why would replacing it with vouchers be a good thing? This explains briefly how it probably would be bad, at least if you care about the well-being of seniors (about halfway down where it says "replace X with vouchers" is Republican code for "destroy X").

On another topic mentioned in that video, what do you think of the larger plan of pulling the frame of debate to the "right"? Because it's obviously been going on, and the Democrats have so far been following along. Do you think that that's good bipartisanship, or a good way to run a democracy? Seems that The West Wing anticipated this sort of thing years ago, and illustrated a different way that things could have turned out.

RuffDraft wrote:But should taxes really go to paying everyone's needs? And don't give me "Some people can't help themselves."
Yes, and some people can't. That you would bring this up indicates that your conceptions of economics and the government's role in society are seriously disconnected from reality.

RuffDraft wrote: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.
Would you care to explain how refugees in Darfur would be able to find jobs and work themselves and their families out of poverty if only they weren't lazy, and actually tried? I am aware that you were referring to the situation in the US, but Darfur provides a stark example of how the principle you invoked is far from universal. For it to apply in the US, there would have to be neither structural nor cyclical unemployment, accompanied by a perfectly (classical economically) functioning labor market with no pesky complications like imperfect information or costs for moving around. Do you really think that that's the case? What do you think of the working poor?

RuffDraft wrote: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?
Obama actually wrote:It’s a vision that says America can’t afford to keep the promise we’ve made to care for our seniors.  It says that 10 years from now, if you’re a 65-year-old who’s eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today.  It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher.  And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy the insurance that’s available in the open marketplace, well, tough luck -– you’re on your own.  Put simply, it ends Medicare as we know it. 

It’s a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit.  Who are these 50 million Americans?  Many are somebody’s grandparents -- may be one of yours -- who wouldn’t be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid.  Many are poor children.  Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome.  Some of these kids with disabilities are -- the disabilities are so severe that they require 24-hour care.  These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.
Is the truth disgusting? What do you think the truth is?

RuffDraft wrote: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. ...
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 a plan. You just don't like it. Please use terms accurately, as disagreement over terminology can divert us from more meaningful discussion.

RuffDraft wrote:The Keynesian model that he's going by doesn't work. It's been proven that it does not.
Then let's examine whether this "proof" is such. As you read, keep the "Big Lie" technique in mind.

(video description) "Based on a theory known as Keynesianism, politicians are resuscitating the notion that more government spending can stimulate an economy." - That the government can stimulate the economy is based on the (quite obvious) idea that the government can both give money to people (who then spend it) and hire people to do stuff (which produces goods, services, and jobs, and gives those people money to spend). An action that results in people doing stuff and spending money when they otherwise wouldn't is an economic stimulus. This is incorporated into the aggregate demand curve of the Aggregate Demand - Aggregate Supply model. It's based on Keynes's work, but it's a basic component of various modern economic models, including the supply-side economics of Presidents Reagan and W. Bush. Demand-side (what's usually considered the Keynesian approach) and supply-side plans disagree about where the AD curve crosses the AS curve (thus the relative elasticity of AD and AS), and therefore the optimal strategy for improving things. Note that implementations of supply-side economics have run large Keynesian-style deficits in attempts to stimulate the economy, though the deficits are targeted at incentives for the supply side like reducing corporate and top bracket income tax rates. Also, calling it "Keynesianism" rather than "Keynesian economics" (while technically correct if not as widespread when referring to what Keynes himself proposed as opposed to later developments on his ideas) insinuates that it is primarily an ideological construct tied to personal regard for Keynes himself rather than an empirically supported economic model. Critics of evolution often call it "Darwinism" for similar reasons.

(video description) "This mini-documentary produced by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation..." - The Center for Freedom and Prosperity "is a non-profit organization created to lobby lawmakers in favor of market liberalization." As in reducing taxes and government spending, privatizing Social Security, and general deregulation (both intra- and international). Who do you think stands to benefit from those policies? This is a conflict of interest, so consider what in the video are statements of fact and what are value judgments, spin, etc.

Pause when it fades in. - Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute starts with an earnest, almost pleading expression. He is sharply dressed and groomed, and is flanked by two closeups of the Statue of Liberty's face, each overlaid with the word "liberty". "Threat" appears twice, less conspicuously. Also in the background are the following: rules, ownership, accidents, police, New York. The Center for Freedom and Prosperity is just that patriotic. Even though they think that US people and corporations should use foreign tax shelters until the US lowers its taxes enough to compete, and that the government should lack the auditing authority to identify that when it happens.

"First some background." - The Great Depression began in 1929. The New Deal started in 1933. The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money was published in 1936. It was The Means to Prosperity that existed in time to influence the New Deal. It was much more basic than the General Theory, and pointed out some obvious things such as that the economic situation in a strong recession is different from normal conditions, which changes the cost/benefit of various activities, including government efforts to look after the well-being of society, but did not present a more rigorous framework for managing an economy. In preparing the General Theory, Keynes had available to him the implementations and results of stimulus programs that had gone into effect years earlier, including the New Deal and German programs. The people who implemented those programs knew of Keynes, but his ideas were by no means dominant, untested and running counter to the prevailing theories as they were. The idea for the New Deal was more to try different things and see what worked (the spaghetti approach). Incidentally, "government trying different things" (especially targeted to helping people in trouble as the New Deal programs were) works as a Keynesian stimulus.

"Let's first look at whether Keynesianism makes sense from a theoretical perspective..." - If the government controls the money supply (as the US government does), it can simply make more money. The video does mention it later though, so let's not go into it except to acknowledge the contradiction. The description of aggregate demand is way off (AD can't change without the money supply changing?). Also income. Economics is not zero-sum, so the size of the pie does indeed depend on how it is sliced (do the resources of the pie get sliced into pieces useful for the functioning of the economy?). This IS very important. The idea is that idle money gets moving though the economy again, not that there is magically more of it.

"Some advocates of this theory get a bit more creative..." - Here is a second strawman somewhat less simplistically misleading presentation of what Keynesian economics actually involves.

"The really clever Keynesians then respond..." - This is also seriously flawed, but because of the rule of three, as presented it has an air of finality and completeness that someone unfamiliar with how it works could mistake for actually being final or complete. So then, money is sitting idle in banks because people want to save rather than spend or risk investment due to a weak economy, and that leads to reduced demand, weakening the economy further? If only there were a way to bring money from peoples' savings back into circulation. If only someone could borrow money from people with savings (offering guaranteed returns to deal with the aversion to risk in the weak economy) and spend that money on, say, infrastructure projects (which are naturally undersupplied by the market due to externalities) that use a lot of labor and resources (thus putting spare capacity back to work), and have long term benefits for society anyway. Oh wait, that's exactly what a standard governmental Keynsian response to recession involves. Let's put some numbers to this. Suppose the government borrows $100 and pays someone to do something with it. Let's ignore that person's project expenses, where stimulus money goes to other people (typically people hit unusually hard by the recession like material suppliers) at that point, and assume that all $100 goes to the person hired. Let's assume a savings rate of 50% (far higher than is typical, especially for US wage earners. 5% is fairly high these days.). Half the stimulus money goes back to the bank. The other half is spent, and someone else gets it. Half of that goes to the bank, and the other half is spent, etc. All the money eventually goes back to the bank, but economic activity is increased by $200 in the meantime. The fiscal multiplier here is 2, meaning that $X of stimulus results in a $2X increase of economic activity. The lower savings rate in reality allows a larger multiplier, but there is also some loss due to crowding out. This means that to be most effective, a stimulus should be targeted to weak areas of the economy with plenty of spare capacity. In a general recession with much of the economy hurting, this means that a sledgehammer approach works fairly well, but aim can still affect outcome a lot. To fix what's mainly a fall of demand, say, demand-side techniques would be a lot more effective than supply-side.

"Looking now at the real world evidence... Hoover..." - The use of the Great Depression is curious here, since the ability of Keysnian economics to explain why things went as they did when prevailing theories couldn't was THE big reason why it became dominant later on. Look here. Hoover did some things that could be called Keynesian, but on balance his policies were not very. Higher taxes (anti-Keynesian) and trade barriers (anti-Keynesian) combined with pretty flat nominal spending (non-Keynesian). Due to deflation, real government spending increased (which is the increase mentioned in the video), but the increase largely went to sectors that were already supplying government demand, and so the fiscal multiplier was small, and aggregate demand continued to fall. The large deficit came about through reduced revenue as people made less, meaning that the reduction in tax burden "went to" people who weren't making as much money as before, but they had less disposable income than before, not more, and the higher rates exacerbated the situation: hardly a Keynesian stimulus. Some programs were in line with Keynesian ideas, but they were small relative to the problem. Growth didn't just slow down; real GDP shrank by about 10% per year, and the few percent deficit went towards things with low fiscal multipliers.

"...other than being a bit more reasonable on trade, Roosevelt followed the same approach." - Another seriously flawed bit (though he was indeed more reasonable on trade). You see, different economic policies were in place over FDR's four terms, with different results that just so happen to be consistent with Keynesian predictions. When FDR came into office in 1933, he instituted the New Deal, which did a lot of things, with the result being a major increase in demand-side stimulus. Real GDP shrank 13% in 1932. In 1933, it shrank 1.3% as New Deal programs were getting going. In the next three years (the three with the New Deal fully in place), real GDP grew 11%, 9%, and 13%. Real (but not nominal due to the previous deflation) GDP passed its previous peak in 1929. Over this time, unemployment dropped by about 15% (sources vary by how things are totaled and smoothed, but it's about that for peak to trough, as your graph showed). Then, because things were improving (though not yet back to "normal") while a large debt was piling up, taxes were increased and New Deal programs were significantly scaled back. Growth and unemployment promptly reversed (though not nearly as bad as under Hoover), with a recession that was itself one of the largest of the 20th Century. A the time, tensions were building in Europe, so for the next few years, capital coming from Europe and anticipatory government defense spending boosted aggregate demand again. Growth resumed (if not quite as fast as under the New Deal) and unemployment started dropping again. Then the US entered World War II. Government military expenditures dwarfed New Deal spending and (in proportion to the economy) every other Keysnian stimulus in US history. The economy went into overdrive. Real GDP growth reached its highest ever, and unemployment reached its lowest ever. War related spending was so high that it dominated the economy, crowding out private activity. This caused trouble when the war ended, with a recession that lasted until the private sector shifted back to peacetime activity. However, growth and employment during WWII were so high that despite the recession, the economy was in much better shape after than before.

"Other Keynesian episodes generated similarly dismal results... Gerald Ford..." - This description of Ford's economic policies is also off. There was a mild recession ongoing from 1973, with a major attribute being high inflation (quadrupling oil prices and war spending in Vietnam would tend to do that). Ford's first goal was to reduce inflation, so he proposed a tax increase and budget discipline, and encouraged people to spend less. The recession got worse and unemployment increased, so Ford proposed a more Keynesian policy to address that (in January 1975, as that TIME image says). The recession ended in March 1975, and the economy averaged better than 5% real growth for the next three years.

"...tax cuts only boost the economy when they reduce the tax penalty on work, saving, and investment..." - This amounts to a bald statement that there is no demand side to the equation. Reducing long term rates can act to encourage the supply side, but "gimmicks" like rebates and temporary reductions can act to stimulate the demand side.

"...George W. Bush gave out so-called rebate checks... and he certainly was a big spender..." - Bush's rebates were a small part of his economic policy, which was overall far more supply-side. Most of the deficits went to tax cuts mostly for corporations and the wealthy in an attempt to boost supply when the problem was more that existing supply was not being fully utilized (lack of demand). Much of the rest went to military spending, and the military-industrial complex was already well-fed, so more spending there has a small multiplier. The recent wars are also far less expensive in percent GDP than past wars. And efforts weren't made to close the deficit when things were growing again to guard against bubbles.

"Even left-wing international bureaucracies... bigger government hurts economic performance..." - This isn't really related to the validity of Keynsian economic management. Overall size of the government is less important for that than changes in spending and taxation in response to economic fluctuations. Keynes agreed with other economists that, due to lack of incentives for efficiency, government spending at a given task that can be supplied without failure by a market will probably be less efficient. He therefore advocated a government that, while large enough to actively stabilize the economy, was small enough to let markets do most things. That economic efficiency can fall when a government reaches beyond those activities that are more efficiently done centrally is not surprising, and does not conflict with Keynesian economics.

"The most obvious example may be Japan..." - Check it out. Japan had a ridiculously huge asset bubble that deflated, leading to massive corporate debts and systemic trouble. With sharply dropping investment, one might expect a large recession, but the stimulus programs apparently about balanced that out. Real GDP did grow slightly over the decade, but Japan was apparently in a large liquidity trap, which is a Keynsian failure mode. Look at what happened when Japan used quantitative easing to address it. So yes, Japan now has a huge debt, but the economy dug itself pretty deep in the first place. This bit also serves to illustrate how dishonest the video is being. Look at the Nikkei 225 graph at 6:32. Here is a graph of the Nikkei 225 average from 1970 to when the video was made (2008). The video's graph starts at the peak of the huge bubble and omits the recent upturn in an apparent attempt to portray the fall as the index returned to a number that more reflected the actual value of things as the fault of Keynesian economic policy. I suspect that the decrease from the bubble was why the stock market index was used instead of a direct measure of the economy like GDP.

"Let's end this video by asking a simple question." - If Keynsian economics is solid theoretically and well-supported with real world data, why does this video claim that Keynsian economics is wrong? I'd like to hear what you think, but I suspect that the Center for Freedom and Prosperity and the Cato Institute have a vested interest in Keynesian policies not being used even if they are good for an economy overall.

"...maybe politicians will finally do the right thing by reducing the burden of government rather than increasing it." - Here again, the video implies that Keynesian fiscal policy is about enlarging the government, period. Convenient that "shrink government because it's a burden" aligns nicely with what the organizations that produced this video advocate for elsewhere, isn't it? It also lends itself more to catchy slogans than an accurate representation of Keynesian economics would.

Consider these videos. The often-overlooked (and often ignored in real policy) part of Keynesian economic management is that the government should run a surplus in booms to cool off overreach, as "Hayek" mentions there, and to pay off debt accrued in downturns. Seems to have worked for Clinton. Longest expansion ever, followed by the smallest recession on record, even with 9/11. Also check out this. It's a bit long, but it gives a 1965 look back on two decades of unprecedented prosperity and fairly Keynesian-based economic policy. Keynesian fiscal policy is simply the most powerful tool ever found for getting out of recessions, and it's pretty good for managing good times too.

RuffDraft wrote: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?
Historical levels of deficit, I would assume, particularly over the last century or so. It's usually been a few percent of GDP. Removing the effects of the prescription drug benefit and the Bush tax cuts would put the predicted deficit for the next few years on the low end of that. Diatribe need not be intellectually vapid.

RuffDraft wrote: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.
Tax cuts have an opportunity cost. Either they increase the deficit/debt, which must be paid later, or they must be offset by cuts in service. For example, in Ryan's budget plan, tax cuts for the wealthy are paid for mostly by service cuts for the poor.

RuffDraft wrote: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.
Rather than looking at what you say he "basically" said, look at what he literally said. If the prescription drug benefit had been funded from the outset, it would not contribute to the deficit today, as funding would have already been in place for it.

RuffDraft wrote: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."
As explained here, that seems to be referring to tax increases. It could sort of be justified in terms of opportunity cost, but it's pretty Orwellian, as mentioned there. Par for the course these days though, with things like "death panels" being major talking points.

RuffDraft wrote: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.
Deductions like that are intended to make home ownership easier. American dream and such. That's a rather different issue than the level of overall taxation.

RuffDraft wrote: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).
Obama wrote:[Ryan's plan] is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America.  Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said, there’s nothing “serious” or “courageous” about this plan.  There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
It's almost as if a certain party is not negotiating in good faith, or that someone didn't sufficiently research topics before opining about them on a certain online forum. Do really think that Ryan expects his proposal to be implemented as something other than a starting point for gaining concessions from Democrats (or even if he does, that it will serve as something other than that)?

RuffDraft wrote: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;
If you mean the first mention of a $4T deficit reduction, Obama was talking about Ryan's plan. Obama followed that bit (which he mentioned as a point in its favor) with criticism of Ryan's plan. Later, when Obama gave his own proposal for a $4T deficit reduction, he followed with an explanation of how that would be achieved. Since both plans rack up more debt, does that mean that you don't think Ryan's plan is valid?

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:
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.
You mean the "literally a death trap" thing? That was a criticism of Representative Schultz for using recklessly (or intentionally) hyperbolic language of the type Stewart had just criticized Republicans for using in the healthcare debate. The visual and commentary pointed out that it was not actually a literal death trap. Political humor yes, but making fun of politicians for making glaringly false statements is rather different from what was going on in the NewsBusted video. For the bit you quoted, Betty White's show doesn't itself have much to do with politics or health care (and it's actually about elderly people pranking younger people), and Obamacare doesn't prank the elderly by any reasonable stretch that I'm aware of. So it's basically an excuse for an unsubstantiated jab at Obama.

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.
Remember when Clinton was in office, and plans were drawn up to pay off the debt in 13 years? Paying off the current debt in 10 is probably within the realm of possibility, if not practicality. Doing that while maintaining services would take something like Europe-level taxation, which is unlikely to fly in the current US political environment. More practically, reducing debt growth to below the rate of inflation would help over the long term, though interest payments would continue to drain the budget.

RuffDraft wrote:This country's budget had a $400B deficit under Bush and Obama's is now $1.65T (just this year).
And where do you think most of that came from? Even the Cato Institute agrees.

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RuffDraft wrote: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.
Something like raise taxes? To what they were under Clinton, say?

RuffDraft wrote: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.
Actually, Ryan's budget is predicted to run a deficit through FY2039. Still think it's serious about reducing the debt?

RuffDraft wrote:If we can just end all the ridiculous government projects
Like what?

RuffDraft wrote: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.
What life do you wish for Americans?

Q.U. wrote: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.
Comparing trends in GDP and debt growth to the situation after World War II indicates that the predicted debt should be manageable provided the people in charge are interested in doing so.

Q.U. wrote:Obama is a pussy, like all Democrats.
It seems that the Simpsons line that Democrats "don't know how to govern" may be more true now than it was in 1994. The accompanying line that Republicans "want what's worst for everyone" seems to be as well.

Q.U. wrote: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.
Ryan's plan is heading towards removing entitlements, which are privileges of the US legal code, not the Constitution.

Q.U. wrote: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.
An even amount from everyone would be a lump sum payment (about $8000 annually from each person in the US), which would be a great deal more than the present for most people, and a great deal less for the very wealthy. A flat rate without deductions (about 20% on all income) also represents a large increase for most people and a large decrease for most of the very wealthy.

RuffDraft wrote: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).
Remember that cutting ALL discretionary spending would not close the deficit. If you propose closing it with cuts alone, significant cuts to entitlements are needed. Rather than starting with the assumption that revenue is fixed (which, as has been pointed out repeatedly, it is not), I would propose* making a list of goals to be achieved with accompanying costs and benefits, arranged from highest to lowest benefit/cost ratio, and a list of revenue sources with accompanying economic costs and benefits, arranged from highest to lowest revenue/harm ratio. Anything on either list that has both a net benefit and is revenue-neutral or better is in at the start. From there, items are added from the top of the goals list, accompanied by the items from the top of the revenue list that it would take to balance the budget satisfactorily. Continue until the benefits of achieving a goal are outweighed by the costs of what it would take to provide funding, and you have a balanced budget that optimally allocates resources, whatever the tax rates turn out to be.

*Realistically, this would take the form of a series of equations describing marginal costs and benefits, allowing different funding levels for various programs to be compared for benefit.

RuffDraft wrote: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?
The articles and their sources explain how. In brief, the 2009 budget (President Bush's) had more than a trillion dollar deficit. In the next year, revenue dropped, and mandatory spending increased by $280 billion. In the next year, revenue dropped further, and mandatory spending increased again. The stimulus and other Obama initiatives added a little (relatively) to the deficit, but the overall situation is a legacy of the recession and previous fiscal policy.

RuffDraft wrote: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?
$2.11T for 2009 and $2.16 for 2010, actually (2.7 was the initial estimate). Anyway, tax increases and spending cuts, apparently.

RuffDraft wrote: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.
On the other hand, pork rinds are better for muscle building. If the diet change is accompanied by an exercise regimen that results in the loss of ten pounds of fat and the gain of twenty pounds of muscle, fat and bloat have been reduced even though weight has increased. Shall we have a metaphor-off?

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.
If the debt is intentional, there is usually a plan to get out of it, like debt for startup, expansions, etc. If a company acquires what appears to be insurmountable debt, it files for bankruptcy, especially if it qualifies for Chapter 11.

BeeAre wrote:if government can be/is corrupt, who do you think has the best means with which to corrupt them?
Those with lots of wealth, especially liquid wealth*. So the richest individuals and large business interests. Organized crime where it has a significant presence. Less affluent groups can operate on smaller scales. You may recall the quote, "there are ten ways to buy every crooked politician and a hundred ways to buy every honest one," and as that implies, interested parties bid against each other for influence, which takes a lot of money.

*Please read this link, RuffDraft.

BeeAre wrote: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?
It was ruled that corporations (already legally persons for certain purposes) could not be limited in their funding of independent advertisements. The reasoning was that doing so would stifle the First Amendment rights of the citizens in a corporation, though corporations are not themselves citizens. The decision is somewhat controversial.

BeeAre wrote:http://thinkprogress.org/2011/04/18/tax-disparity-chart/
...
Did the country on average improve financially in twelve years from the investments made by a majority of these, the most rich?
Depends on what indicators in particular you're looking for, but median income is probably relevant. That and several other indicators were pretty good under Clinton, not so good under (either) Bush. Income inequality is important, but it's not the only important factor.

RuffDraft wrote:
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.
That's kind of what BeeAre was getting at there. The things that the government spends money on have various monetary and non-monetary benefits, which should be taken into account when considering the merits of spending that results in a debt. Some spending (the construction of functional roads and other infrastructure, say) has such enormous economic benefits that, even ignoring quality of life issues, the resulting economic growth more than pays for the original expense by increased revenue. Some programs have less drastic fiscal effects, but very important benefits nonetheless, like regulation of pollution. Some things don't have much social or fiscal benefit, like corporate tax breaks that go to overseas accounts. The issue isn't so much that debt is always bad, but that debt has a cost such that the things that the government goes into debt for ought to be worth it. Even when facing a large deficit, it is important to focus cuts on those things with relatively low benefit per dollar spent, while leaving more beneficial things more intact. Depending on the situation, there might be programs beneficial enough that funding ought to be increased for them, even if it increases the deficit.

RuffDraft wrote: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.
Do you know what the means of the United States are? In World War II, federal spending topped 46% of GDP, and the deficit reached 30% of GDP. Public debt reached about 110% GDP. Economic growth approached 20% per year. The debt dropped to about 60% of GDP within 6 years due to economic growth, inflation, and a surplus from high taxes (the highest surplus as a percent of GDP in US history), with revenue about 10% more of GDP than before the war. The United States is a very long way form exhausting its means. Your personal budget example is very far off, as the federal government more than quintupled its income in three years.

RuffDraft wrote:
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.
Actually, they are, in that they are made of people who are liable for the debt of the country. That doesn't matter for this consideration though. If China wants the US to pay it back, it has to keep interacting on good terms with the US. Economic ties like that are a strong disincentive to war.

RuffDraft wrote:
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?
Insufficient regulation? Though that's more an error of omission than commission.

RuffDraft wrote:
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?
Like any company that makes use of large loans. Say you want to start or expand a business. You get a loan, go into debt, and pay it back with profits, hopefully with the benefits more than offsetting the cost of interest. Comparatively, it's sometimes good for the government to borrow money to do something now, and pay for it later.

RuffDraft wrote: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.
The real world is quite a ways from an ideal free market system. Ever heard of things like company towns, truck systems, and other implementations of monopolies? In the real world, businesses try to set up barriers to entry to suppress competition, and people are very much restricted by what others do. Suppose you wanted to compete with De Beers. How would you go about doing that? Or suppose you're a poor person working three minimum wage jobs in a place without better offers available. How would you go about starting up a company of your own?

RuffDraft wrote: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.
How is that supposed to work? If a company fires its domestic production workers and moves production to China, who is responsible for the unemployment of the fired workers? If people lose their jobs due to a recession caused by reckless practices in the financial system, who is responsible? Compared to the general population, homeless people are more likely to be children, male, veterans, single, urban, and/or racial minorities. Homelessness varies inversely with education, but more than a quarter of homeless people have gone to college. What do you think about this? Or this?

RuffDraft wrote:
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?
Animated cartoon. It's a bit more nuanced than a one-liner.

RuffDraft wrote:
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?
Whether it's good or bad is irrelevant for this. What matters is that Wal-Mart has achieved degrees of monopoly in places, contrary to your assumptions of ideal free markets. Are there benefits form this arrangement? Are there advantages to government-provided services?

RuffDraft wrote:
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?
No plan projects anything remotely close to that. Please address the real situation.

RuffDraft wrote: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.
You've pointed out a bias, which calls conclusions into question, but does not make facts presented wrong. Are the facts presented correct?

RuffDraft wrote: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.
Charitable giving fell in the recession though.

RuffDraft wrote:The Supreme Court case you're talking about is that one, FEC vs Citizens United, right?
That is correct, though Citizens United is listed first since it was the plaintiff.

Want me to go through this one, or do you have any points you want to make yourself?

Q.U. wrote:
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".
The tax cuts didn't start it. They just didn't really help things, since it was more a demand-side problem and the cuts were targeted at supply.

Q.U. wrote:
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?
More like subsidizing, but pretty much.

Hana wrote: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.
Looks like 60 million people or so.

DaCrum wrote:He's had a very lackluster term. Nothing of note.
What about health care reform, repealing "Don't ask, don't tell," dealing with the gulf oil spill, "ending" the Iraq war, and starting the Libya "war"?

BeeAre wrote:What are the rules that change matters of a countries' debt vs a person's debt? the sources of the income being so varied?
A country can raise taxes to pay it down, or devalue its currency to reduce the real value of the debt. It is also a sovereign entity that is not bound by an external authority to pay the debts back, though not doing so would still have consequences for its credit rating and international relations.

BeeAre wrote: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?
Congress, the President, and the Vice President are elected, but most of the judicial and executive branches and congressional staff are put in place through other means.

BeeAre wrote: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?
Actually, (for-profit*) corporations are legally obligated to seek profit under the conditions of their incorporation, even beyond the actual motivations of the people running it. It is literally, legally, their raison d'être. The bounds for this are usually the law and however far past the law the corporation thinks it can get away with. The place of regulation is to establish an environment for the corporation to operate within such that profitable but socially detrimental practices are discouraged. If such practices are not discouraged, there's a pretty good chance that corporations in that field will try to make use of them, corporate ideals like "Don't be evil" notwithstanding. Real-world regulations typically came about in the first place because of legal but undesirable actions.

*There are a variety of non-profit corporations with different regulations, such as charities or municipal governments, but talk of corporations usually focuses on for-profit corporations active in business.

BeeAre wrote: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.
Actually, many loopholes are specific exemptions or deductions originally meant to encourage certain things (or encouraged by lobbyists on behalf of those who stood to benefit). Otherwise, loopholes may be created with inconsistent regulation, like trusts allowing estates to avoid taxation. In any case, it's a matter of regulation. Loopholes are holes... in the regulation.

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote: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.
Except for Executive Orders. Granted, I'm not too fond of them myself, because to me it seems like to use them consistently would give the President far too much power. But if there is something drastic, or emergent that legitimately needs to be addressed, then it is a useful tool. You could theoretically write up an Executive Order that would convene Congress and order the immediate purge of unnecessary or outdated tax codes to include loopholes; hell, he could write up an Executive Order to temporarily hire a non-government legal team to fix said tax codes, present their revised tax codes to Congress, and then dismiss them when their work is complete.
Perhaps (if congressional politics really did work that way), but if major politicians like Newt Gingrich accused Obama of setting up a dictatorship during the response to the financial system breakdown. What do you think would happen if Obama did that?

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote: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.
So right now taxes are thrown into health care practices such as Medicare and Medicaid; we spend the most per person on healthcare in the world, but is not the best in the world. That seems to me to be low efficiency. If there were some way to fix that, I'd be all for it, but I don't think it would be by spending more money on it.
Every other highly developed nation has a national health care system, and spends less on health care than the US, even in terms of percentage of government budget.

Wink wink nudge nudge.

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:The problem is, most of what makes up the deficit spending are considered priorities.
Not quite; in 2010, the budget called for mandatory spending of right around $2.17T. Revenues were about $2.3 trillion. That includes $164B on interest on the existing debt, $743B on Medicare and Medicaid, and $695B on Social Security, all of which have seen a generally positive trend of increased spending.
Those are all priorities.

RuffDraft wrote:And then money is set aside for other "mandatory" programs, to the effect of $571B, which was up 58% from 2009 (all this according to Wikipedia). I have no idea what those other programs were, but it wouldn't surprise me if all that money simply went somewhere and disappeared because we thought it might help, but were wrong.
It includes things like student loans, food stamps, and unemployment compensation. Those are priorities too.

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote: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",
Actually, DaCrum said that. Credit where it's due. Still, I don't expect people to cheer when we tell them we can't afford some of the things we've been giving them. But I do expect them to understand why not.
What about the people who didn't want the government involved in their Medicare or Social Security?

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote: 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.
What if you can't afford the standard of living you have been giving them?
And also, what are you trying to imply about America's current standard of living with the above statement?
The current standard of living for most people in the US relies heavily on government-provided infrastructure, services, and regulation. In short, the government can't afford NOT to do those things because it would undermine the ability of the economy (and society) to function well. How do you think things would go if, say, the government stopped funding road and rail projects, disbanded fire protection, police, and public education services, and stopped regulating utilities, pollution, medicine, and food?

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:
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".
Ah, so he cut taxes by about 4%, for everyone?
Actually, most income tax brackets saw a 3% reduction. The top bracket was reduced by 4.6%. Also, payroll taxes stayed, so the reduction was from a small part of the overall tax burden for lower income groups and a larger part for higher income groups. Capital gains, dividend, gift, and estate taxes were significantly reduced, which almost exclusively benefited the wealthiest. This worsened the fiscal situation, but did not itself cause the recession. It didn't do much good though.

RuffDraft wrote:Which caused a lot more companies to expand their businesses and hire more workers, not to mention allowed people to keep more of the money they earned?
Actually, net job growth during Bush's first term was slightly negative, and was among the slowest of the last century in the second term. Overall, job growth over Bush's presidency was the worst since Hoover, both in absolute and percentage growth. One could compare those eight years to the preceding eight. Also, real income fell for most people over Bush's presidency. The top 20% improved though.

RuffDraft wrote:We had an official unemployment rate of somewhere between 4% and 6% up until the end of 2008, when it started to rise sharply. Compare that to today's, between 9% and 10%.
Ahem. Unemployment under Bush never again reached the low of when he took office, though it was OK for the most part. Unemployment in March was 8.8%.

RuffDraft wrote:And keep in mind that since 2005, revenues have risen sharply, and are still higher than they were even in 2000, when taxes were higher, and before the Bush Tax Cuts.That sounds more like an economic stimulus... with an added bonus of extra income, though we still had excessive spending.
FY2000 had the largest surplus ever, and the budget was on course to pay down the debt in a little over a decade. FY2003, FY2004, FY2008, and FY2009 each had the largest deficits ever to that time*. Revenue fell, then grew again over Bush's terms, but revenue did not keep up with the increasing expenditure. Economic growth under Bush was actually unusually slow. Counterintuitively straightforward as it may be, lower taxes led to lower revenue.

*The focus of that graph is on the Federal Reserve's efforts to increase the money supply during the recession. Note how the inflation rate dropped as the efforts stepped up, which is the opposite of what one would expect if the money supply weren't collapsing from the breakdown of the financial system, as mentioned earlier.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote: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?
Do you have some reason to think it was?
Because deregulation led to a market failure in the financial system?

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote: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.
<how loans work>
Banks do not use "debt" as leverage. The person who applies for the loan either accepts the terms and conditions of the loan or else he doesn't get his money. And if he does get his money and doesn't pay it back, the bank can legally repossess his assets. If this is the leverage you are referring to, you are just a bit off on your understanding of this particular system.
The bank that loaned the money owns the loan as a financial asset, as in a debt that it is due to be paid. If it wishes, it can sell this debt to other financial institutions (at a discount from the nominal value, because there's a chance that the person will default on the loan). Those other institutions can package that debt with other debts and other financial assets, and sell them as securities to investors. Naturally, the organizations selling them want a high price, and so have an incentive to overvalue risky debt. Without sufficient transparency and oversight, securities are rated too highly, their value is inflated, and their risk is understated. A bubble forms, and when it pops (as in, investors find out how risky the debt actually is), things go bad. if it's a big bubble, the financial system stops working properly, mass hysteria spreads through the economy, dogs and cats start living together, etc.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote: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?
Yes and no. First of all, the reason we are in this mess right now is because of the people we the people have chosen to elect and reelect. In that regard, those who voted for these cocksuckers only have themselves to blame.
So then, who in the government is responsible for the financial crisis, and how did they cause it? Name names, please.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote: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?
In this regard, there is no problem. Just because a very localized monopoly exists doesn't necessarily mean it's bad for the community. In fact, it could be just the opposite. If the business keeps lower prices, they could potentially maintain a good enough profit margin to stay in business for years.
So in other words, having a single organization that people are obligated to use for a certain service is fine if it is more efficient than alternatives (and there are safeguards to prevent abuse). Now, what do you think about the government monopoly on military force? Or a government monopoly on health insurance?

RuffDraft wrote:If said business wants to stay in business, they can't gouge the customer, or fewer people will be able to pay for the things they want. As I mentioned previously, sales would necessarily decline if a business tried to gouge prices.
Actually, a monopoly that wants to maximize profit will increase prices above the competitive market equilibrium. Fewer people buy things, but the greater profit per item more than makes up for it. This is pretty basic economics, and relates to why monopolies are usually bad for the system.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote: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.
I made no contention that I thought everything was awesome in the world. But those "sweat shops" overseas--what do you think would be the alternative to some kid working there? Something better, something worse, or something equally bad?
Probably worse. There's a lot of potential for abuse, as happened when the US, Britain, and other countries industrialized, but generally, manufacturing jobs increase the standard of living. However, the availability of cheap foreign labor means that domestic wages and/or employment in manufacturing drops due to competition. This is offset to some extent by the availability of cheap imported goods, but there is still disruption. So globalization is pretty good overall, but there are problems.

RuffDraft wrote:I'll go ahead and err on the side of caution and say that Communism doesn't work. That way you can say the same thing about a free market system. And if you disagree with that crack about Communism, you must also conclude that a free Capitalist system would work.
Logic doesn't work that way. Not A does not imply B. Free capitalism, so far as it has been implemented in the real world, has some glaring problems. Communism, so far as it has been implemented, has its own glaring problems. Mixed capitalism has problems, but it generally far outperforms both. With that in mind, the issue becomes determining the optimal mix for a given situation.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote: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?
Hell, I don't know. I sort of trust lawyers to know enough about how the law should be written to correct it. If it turns out they don't, then we post their names all over the internet and make sure their reputations are ruined.
Or something like that.
I'll top that with this. 221 House Republicans voted for a blatantly unconstitutional bill. They were mocked on the House floor and in the media. It's been about a month since then. How do you think their reputations are holding up? How many people do you think will care about it in the 2012 elections?

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote: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?
Sure, the "intellectual elite" that love to tell us how much better they are than we are,
Let's have a look at that.

(video description) "They're smarter, wiser, and better looking than us, that's why they're called "The Elites." So how could they be so wrong about everything?" - Elites are "a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise much power or influence <members of the ruling elite>" So anyone with a lot of power or influence is an elite. Elites are not a homogenous group, and "they" are not wrong about everything. Andrew Klavan is himself part of the media elite.

"...whenever I'm faced with an important question..." - Here, the discussion is framed with faulty reasoning. If there is a question to be answered, one should turn to the evidence, not the opinions of influential people. Arguments from authority are formally invalid, after all. Klavan uses this to imply that "those elites" are wrong and not to be trusted, but Klavan himself is correct, so can be taken at his word about issues. The issue, as always, is evidence, but a comprehensive examination of evidence is not what Klavan wants to focus on.

"For instance, elite President Barack Obama says that..." - Every part of Obama's quote there is factually correct. Seriously, have you been watching the last decade of US politics? Or what's going on online?

"...we're uninformed, says elite Senator John Kerry..." - Kerry is correct here. This is nothing new. This has long been known and used in propaganda. I can bring up statistics for individual issues if you want. Remember the study about how well people are informed based on which news sources they use? Remember how THE VERY VIDEO WE'RE TALKING ABOUT uses simple slogans to make its point? Remember how you based your evaluations of tax changes on misunderstandings of how corporate tax affects jobs and who the estate tax affects?

"...we're stupid, according to comedian Bill Maher, who must also be an elite..." - Here's the context. Think he's wrong?

"...and that's the diagnosis of First Lady Michelle Obama" - Here is the context. A month before that, this happened. Think her statement was unjustified?

"..."nation of cowards"..." - Here is the context. Think Holder's statement was unjustified?

"...editorialists at the elite New York Times..." - Klavan doesn't give names, articles, or quotes, so (since there are many editorialists who have written many articles) it amounts to "take my word for it," or "see what you can find yourself."

"...that's the only way to explain the fact that we didn't vote for the people supported by the elites..." - So "the elites" disparage "us" and "we" all disagree with "them". You might find this interesting. Guess what words are on which list.

"...nor any achievement they can point to that has made our lives better than before they took office... so-called science and facts..." - The obvious problems in this section are big part of why I'm still not sure whether Klavan is sincere or not. "Facts have a liberal bias" is rarely used seriously, after all. That and the other issues suggest a parody of "conservative" talking points. Klavan's past indicates that he might be sincere. The high production value and use of propaganda techniques suggest that it's intentionally misleading.

For the video in general: The presentation is framed in terms of Us (Klavan and the audience) vs. Them (the elites), even though, as mentioned before, Kalvan himself is a media elite, and there are conservative elites as well (like the people Klavan is working for here). Points attributed to "elites" are in a "dirty" font, and "elite" is used repeatedly as an epithet. The US flag in the background is kind of justified by context when it appears, but then it stays in the background for unrelated things Klavan says, and the color fades in at the end, another blatant propaganda technique. Klavan is dressed semi-casually, with clothes somewhat disheveled, in contrast to the images presented of "the elites" except Michelle Obama's at the end, and he uses self-deprecating language, mannerisms, and other little things like that to build audience sympathy and further the "us vs. them" theme.

RuffDraft wrote:that they know how to use our money better than we do, and publicly.
Let's have a look at that too.

(video description) "Andrew Klavan explains how government will suck the tax payers dry as well." - Because TAXATION caused the recession, right?

"...so they came to me..." - Klavan is being literal here. He's an expert in writing, not economics. Anyway, here too he's implying that "experts" are the arbiters of reality, not evidence.

"Not being experts yourselves..." - This serves to legitimize Klaven's statements about policy that follow, since he ironically implies that his expertise is needed to point out a common horror movie trope. Since it's not, why would Klavan need expertise in economics for us to take his word about complex policy issues?

"...Ronald Reagan cut tax rates and slowed the growth of government..." - As I pointed out earlier, while Reagan did cut income tax rates, he increased the scope of taxation, so that the overall tax burden was reduced somewhat, but not a lot. As for the growth of government, real revenue increased by 19% (2.2% / year) and real expenses increased by 22% (2.5% / year). Revenue averaged 18% of GDP, spending averaged 22.3% of GDP, and the deficit averaged 4.3% of GDP. The debt nearly tripled (up 178%, 13.6% per year), and GDP increased by 32% (3.5% / year). Now let's check Clinton's numbers. GDP up by 33% (3.6% / year), debt up by 32% (3.5% / year), revenue up 47% (4.9% / year), and expenses up 12.3% (1.5% / year). Revenue averaged 19.3% GDP, expenses averaged 19.4% GDP, and deficit averaged 0.1% GDP. So Clinton taxed more (closing the deficit and forming a surplus in the process), but Reagan grew the government 67% faster. When population is considered, spending per capita under Reagan increased by 1.6% / year / person, compared to 0.2% / year / person under Clinton, so by that measure Reagan grew it about 7x as fast. As for "25 of the most free, prosperous, and creative years this country has ever known," It's quite a stretch to give Reagan all the credit for that, as much of the rest of the prosperity in that time came from the Clinton years with their rather different policies. That span also includes three recessions, 9/11, and the PATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretapping, imprisonment without trial, etc. The growth rates of the Reagan and Clinton administrations have been the highest of the last 30 years, but they are unremarkable for the 20th Century as a whole. In that context, it's not so much that Reagan/Clinton were notably good (though Clinton gets some props for the longest uninterrupted expansion in US history), but that the Bushes were notably bad.

"This is an almost perfect metaphor for your government at work." - The government has started businesses like the USPS (the second largest employer in the US), utilities, and others, and provides help with starting businesses and educating the workforce. The government creates wealth like infrastructure, science, and technology. It adds value to food, drugs, and other products by certifying them safe. It protects the wealth of functioning markets and the environment. Most government spending these days involves transfer payments, so most of most peoples' tax payments (which are a long way from "all the stuff they make") goes right back to other people. Since the government is running a deficit, people are overall actually getting more money from the government than they pay in taxes.

"Now, there are some differences..." - Paying taxes to support government services IS good for us (police, fire protection, defense, infrastructure, etc.). It CAN BE patriotic (WWII, "Ask what you can do for your country," paying off a debt that would harm the country if left alone, etc.). We all DO have to make sacrifices (It's called economization, and it's a part of the human condition because we don't have unlimited supplies of everything.). In many cases, the government DOES know how to spend money better than "you" do. Self interest DOES NOT ALWAYS coincide with the interests of society, and one of the jobs of the government is to prevent excessive abuse from being done for certain peoples' self-interest (slavery, say, or theft). Politicians have various motivations, including, sometimes, altruism.

"Every dollar the government takes is one less dollar of freedom for you and one more dollar of power for them." - Because 18% more dollars would buy more freedom in the absence of the government that enforces laws, builds roads and other infrastructure, makes sure that the markets you can use to buy a TV or finance a house or business work properly and that charities actually do what they say they do, and prevents the mob boss downtown from setting up his own city-state. Libertarians want to free the shit out of us, don't they? Or so the rhetoric would seem to suggest.

"..and of course, every citizen who feeds on those jobs, and projects, and programs... becomes a zombie just like their government masters..." - Then Klavan himself and everyone here is a zombie (Internet technology produced by the government without our tax support). Klavan attended the University of California, Berkely, the tuition of which is subsidized by California taxpayers. He may have received student loans. We all use infrastructure that was built before we were born, paid for by taxes collected from others.

"...the Night of the Living Government has just begun." - Rather, it began in 1788 when the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation because the Articles weren't working. A stronger central government was needed, and TL;DR that's what we have.

For the video in general: Klavan implies throughout that expertise isn't very important (especially, say, for those experts with different views of economics or history) while expecting the audience to take him at his word because he presents himself as an expert in the topics at hand. Plus, you know, some of the stuff I mentioned about the precious video. Also, the government is a zombie army? Really?

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:So... you're saying that you're okay with Bush tax cuts but you don't like and don't want the deficit?
...yes. Is that not what I've been saying all along?
Pretty much, but i think Q.U. is looking for consistency. What do you think would happen to the deficit if the Bush tax cuts were repealed?

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:Do you even understand what the tax cuts were put in place for? Bush attempted to "starve the beast" by INCREASING the deficit? And republicans basically sank the country into debt in order to be able to bring it up through eventual tax increase.
Yes, I agree, increasing spending when you are already in debt is not a very good idea. The tax cuts were an attempt to eventually raise more taxes.
Do you remember when the tax cuts were debated? That wasn't the rationale AT ALL. More the reverse, actually, for the 2001 cuts. There was a surplus, and the idea was to put it toward tax cuts rather than paying down the debt as Clinton had proposed the year before. Even the recklessly optimistic Heritage Foundation estimate predicted a reduction of $1.1 trillion in revenue through 2011 compared to the existing tax structure. The 2003 cuts were supposed to be for economic stimulus, not balancing the budget. Those were the public, stated reasons, but, as pointed out by the opposing economists, the 2003 cuts were not well suited for the purpose of stimulus, and by then the 2001 cuts had already failed to stimulate growth, along with producing a large deficit. So we can conclude either that the proponents of the cuts didn't understand economics very well, or that the cuts were put in place as part of the "starve the beast" strategy Q.U. and I have mentioned.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby NeoWarrior7 » Sat May 07, 2011 8:28 am

Impressive as always.

If only you could make a living off just presenting facts, man.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Sat May 07, 2011 9:15 am

Ugh, that's big. Let me just finish responding to some key points I think I should discuss. If I manage to remember what we were talking about back then.

Note that increasing investment in education always gets better achievement, but never increases efficiency.

And therefore, while I agree with the validity of the second graph, I fail to see how efficiency in the way you define it in this case would do us any good to consider. It never increases, so you cannot establish a peak point of optimal funding to results. That's why as I said, what you called efficacy would serve a better role.

Comparing trends in GDP and debt growth to the situation after World War II indicates that the predicted debt should be manageable provided the people in charge are interested in doing so.

As far as I can tell at least half of them are not.

It seems that the Simpsons line that Democrats "don't know how to govern" may be more true now than it was in 1994. The accompanying line that Republicans "want what's worst for everyone" seems to be as well.

Here I was mostly sourcing on their political campaigns. Where the reps were throwing shit all over the dems and calling them out on the most ridiculous and retarded things (like Obama eating a cheeseburger the wrong way) while the dems didn't seem to try to hit back until much later.

Ryan's plan is heading towards removing entitlements, which are privileges of the US legal code, not the Constitution.

My mistake. But legal code is still similarly important.

An even amount from everyone would be a lump sum payment (about $8000 annually from each person in the US), which would be a great deal more than the present for most people, and a great deal less for the very wealthy. A flat rate without deductions (about 20% on all income) also represents a large increase for most people and a large decrease for most of the very wealthy.

My point exactly. That's why tax rates need to increase with income, as they are now.

I'll top that with this. 221 House Republicans voted for a blatantly unconstitutional bill. They were mocked on the House floor and in the media. It's been about a month since then. How do you think their reputations are holding up? How many people do you think will care about it in the 2012 elections?

Any other source for that vid? One that doesn't say "Sorry Great Britain..."?

If only you could make a living off just presenting facts, man.

Who says he cannot?

I mean, Bush can still even now get $500.000 for a speech, and that's even without any facts. And frankly, I'd rather listen to Val.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Sat May 07, 2011 3:09 pm

Q.U. wrote:Any other source for that vid? One that doesn't say "Sorry Great Britain..."?
Unfortunately, that segment doesn't seem to be available elsewhere for now, but the situation is described here. I suppose you could try a proxy to watch the Daily Show bit.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Sun May 08, 2011 3:52 am

before i read valhallen's post, i'll answer the last part of yours, RD.

RuffDraft wrote:"Insulated from financial damage..." In other words, it's better for a rich person to lose money than it is for a poor person. Bullshit.


So wait, let me get this straight. If a poor person loses money, he risks death. If a rich person loses money, he risks money. So rich people suffer more than the poor, because if they lose money, everyone loses their job? What ever happened to the free market recovering?

Either poor people bounce back because it is so easy to find another rich person to give them money, which means the rich have a worse deal; or the rich bounce back because they are not allowed to fail because all the money that have and spend will be lost, so the poor have a worse deal.

Which is it? Who has the worse deal, RD? What do you see happening in the world that leads you to your answer? And what do we do to improve that deal?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Malumultimus » Mon May 09, 2011 1:26 pm

RuffDraft wrote:Image

DaCrum wrote:This graph fails. No y axis.
Dave keep your damn near racist ignorant logic as far from the other sections of the site as humanly possible because it hurts my face just thinking about it.
MG mal your just sick
Wizard Mal...you're kind of a loser. / Mal was, is, and always will be a cunt / I used to hate Mal, but I've since come to pity him.
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Cybella YOU EGOCENTRIC IDIOT!
Kathleen mal you are the people i hate the most here...and that is saying something
Hana you misogynist fuckwad.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Mon May 09, 2011 11:22 pm

Continued from before. This bit was mostly ready but not cleaned up.



RuffDraft wrote:Those that were not in favor of the war kept citing the rising debt, and Democrats took advantage of that, and Obama got elected on the meme of "Change" and "Yes We Can," and promised to reduce the national debt.
That's not really how it happened. Over Bush's budgets, the national debt increased by about $6T (about doubling it), about $1T of which went to the wars. Obama campaigned on economic issues, not budget issues, because the country was getting into the biggest recession since the Great Depression, and it was obvious that the deficit and debt would get pretty big from the policies that were in place. Care to cite any promises made by Obama about reducing the national debt?

RuffDraft wrote:So, after blatantly going back on their own rhetoric and decrying the Republican's deficit spending, the Democrat's solution is to sink us into nearly three times as much debt as Bush racked up by 2012? And not to mention they're still doing all the things Bush did, but now we have a Democrat face on it so it's cool by Democrat standards.
Yup. Change, all right.
By the end of FY2009 (Bush's last budget), the debt was about $12T, about half of which was added under Bush's budgets, and existing policies, if left in place, would produce $1T and larger deficits for several years. What, exactly, do you think Obama did (will do?) to "sink us into nearly three times as much debt as Bush racked up by 2012"? Though the health care reform is supposed to reduce the deficit somewhat, the lack of the public option really crippled it in that regard. Do you think that the Democrats pushed to remove it? Keep this in mind.

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:So yeah, if by letting USA grow you mean lowering taxes and increasing spending to basically push the whole country down to plow the ground, then you're right. Here's how USA managed to screw itself over:
INSERT FLAWED GRAPH HERE
First of all, your graph is wrong about the percentages. They have always been about 21% or less of our GDP. http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts ... ?Docid=200
...
What exactly are you trying to about the relationship between us and the European Union or the OECD by citing the %GDP figures?
I think the point was along the lines of the US having a much lower tax burden than other modern nations despite trying to maintain entitlement, military, and other spending higher than revenue, and making up the difference with a deficit. That the US tax burden is quite a bit lower than shown on the graph actually strengthens this point, and shows how nations with twice the effective tax bite of the US are doing fine.

RuffDraft wrote:In fact, the Rich can pay whatever amount in taxes the want, which is why Warren Buffet's comparison to his secretary and himself is so mind-boggling.
That's not what Warren Buffett was talking about. His secretary supposedly made about $60k/year and paid an overall tax rate of about 30%, which would be mostly due to income, entitlement, state, and local taxes. Warren Buffett made most of his income from capital gains, which are taxed at 15%, giving him an overall tax rate of about 17.7%, supposedly without using tax avoidance strategies that let capital gains avoid tax altogether.

RuffDraft wrote:If the Rich think that their tax dollars could go better to the government, they should 1) discontinue all their charitable giving, and 2) write a check to the government for whatever amount they deem fit. ...
Betcha didn't know that, huh?
That's missing the point. Ever heard of game theory? Tragedy of the commons? No one person, even the richest in the world, has enough money to make a large difference in the US budget. Any such donation represents a very high personal cost to gain ratio, so it would be irrational (certain considerations of Bayesian rationality aside) for people to do it of their own accord. That doesn't prevent them from understanding that compulsory taxation to support the system is important, or even from supporting a tax increase.

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:How do you intend to close the budget if you can't even control your spending?
Which is what Paul Ryan tried to do, and the Democrats said, "infanticide!"
Which is because Ryan's budget largely uses service cuts for the poor to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy instead of putting the savings toward reducing the deficit. Also because it would result in cuts to funds that now go to helping keep children alive and healthy.

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:Not to mention how some of those "charities" are just bogus money stealing machines.
Exactly. Like the Tides Foundation. I'm glad you agree that many of these organizations should be cut.
More like this, rather. See case studies 5 and 7 for more detailed explanations.

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:I would agree that both did poorly, which still means that Bush tax cuts were one of the main causes of this whole mess you're now in.
That is clearly not the problem here. If you recall the link I gave you a little while ago, and you scroll down to 2000, you'll note that we had a surplus of about $236B. 2001, our surplus was $128B. Next year, our deficit was $157B, while our income had only dropped by $138B. For your argument that it was a taxation problem and not a spending problem to be true, income would have had to have been the only thing that changed. If our spending had stayed (roughly) the same, then perhaps there might be some credence to your claim. However, since spending increased, and since taxes dropped but came back up in just a matter of years, and since then we have even more spending, it is no longer simply an issue with the amount of taxes. It is now a problem with the amount of spending. We should attempt to drop spending to the levels they were in 2000, not force people to give up more of the money they have earned.
As I've been saying for a while, it's a cash flow issue. The effects of the Bush tax cuts on cash flow and debt can be calculated. If spending were dropped back to 2000 levels, it would represent cutting EVERYTHING but Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest payments, and some of those would still require partial cuts. What were you saying about giving up more money?

Also, for year to year changes, look at real rather than nominal income and expenditure. Revenue fell in both 2001 (recession) and 2002 (tax cut), while expenses increased a little in 2001 (Clinton-budgeted growth as population grows) and a lot in 2002 (Afghanistan war). Also, revenue fell again in 2003 (more tax cuts) and expenses increased a lot again (Iraq war).

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:Sure the country does donate to charity too, but they TAKE money as TAX, and then they spend them on what they NEED to pay for (like services etc) and then what's left as second priority spending gets divided up on some reliable charities.
Except that charitable donation only accounts for about 5% of the budget. Maybe a bit less. I can't remember the exact figure, but I heard somewhere that only about $10B to $20B goes to any charities in this country, such as PBS and NPR, from taxpayer funds. It's little enough that it can be cut from our budget, and charities could be funded entirely by private investors.
Federal support of charities is rather more than $20B but what percent of the budget it amounts to depends on what counts (general nonprofits? schools? hospitals?). I'm curious about where you got those numbers. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting got $422m in federal funds (about 0.012% of federal spending) in 2010, of which about $25m went to PBS and about $3m went to NPR. As for public vs. private funding of things charities do...

RuffDraft wrote:Another flaw in your argument is that while donations through a charity are tax-deductible, it's not a straight 1-to-1, donation/deduction deal. In order to bring down your taxes to a certain percentage, you have to donate more than that percentage of your taxes. I'm not 100% sure how it works, I think it's something like: If you're in the 35% tax bracket and you donate $1 million to charitable organizations, your taxes are reduced by $350,000; however, taxes are also capped so they don't fall below a certain percentage. I can't remember off the top of my head what that percentage is, though I think it's greater than 15%.
So in other words, them donating a value of 50% of whatever taxes they paid will not cut their taxes by 50%.
Charitable donations are deducted from taxable income, thereby indirectly reducing income tax due. Deductions for charity are limited to 50% of gross income (for individuals - corporations are limited to 10%), which could lower total income tax by up to 17.5% of gross income. The top income (as in income subject to income tax) earners pay about 16.6% of their gross income to income tax. There are billionaires who pay no income tax at all.

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:
If the Rich think that their tax dollars could go better to the government, they should 1) discontinue all their charitable giving, and 2) write a check to the government for whatever amount they deem fit.
The rich think the dollars are best spent when they come BACK to their own pockets.
Well if that's the case, then why the fuck would they ever donate to charitable organizations in the first place? And if THAT'S the case, why do the 900,000 charities in America remain open? Surely you don't expect them to be funded by good will. And no, not Goodwill, the charity.
Q.U. was making the case that some charities funnel money back to wealthy donors to evade taxes. But as for charities in general, both public generosity and government funding help.

BeeAre wrote:For what purpose is the power in government abused primarily? To unjustly use tax payer dollars?
Generally for monetary gain or enhancement of economic power, though personal agendas sometimes come into play.

BeeAre wrote:
In this regard, there is no problem. Just because a very localized monopoly exists doesn't necessarily mean it's bad for the community. In fact, it could be just the opposite. If the business keeps lower prices, they could potentially maintain a good enough profit margin to stay in business for years. If said business wants to stay in business, they can't gouge the customer, or fewer people will be able to pay for the things they want. As I mentioned previously, sales would necessarily decline if a business tried to gouge prices.
I am literally asking you what to do WHEN IT IS BAD. If you agree that it is possible and potentially beneficial, would you consider that it could become bad? So, when that situation happens, what does someone in that bad situation do? They do not want to support the locally monopolizing company, but do not have enough money to legitimately begin attempting to leave.
Historical responses to abusive monopolies have included armed insurrection, industrial sabotage, regulations (like breaking the monopoly up or constraining business practices) to prevent abuse, and forming unions / other political blocs. Generally, whoever secures the backing of the government wins. If the government stays out of it, whoever fights dirtier tends to win.

RuffDraft wrote:In your first link, Obama said "No more tax cuts." No one is suggesting to cut taxes any further.
Ryan and the House Republicans are.

RuffDraft wrote:People have been paying these rates for about a decade. To continue to call any attempt to maintain these levels "cuts" is absurd. What he's calling for is an increase to taxes, plain and simple. I would respect his argument more if he just said that. But he won't say that because even at this stage in the game, he does want to be reelected.
By law, the reduction in rates is due to expire. The status quo is that the rates will increase. If the law is changed so that the rates don't change, it would be a tax cut even though the rates would stay the same, because it reduces taxes from what they would be.

RuffDraft wrote:My question is, if he does want to be reelected, why not eliminate all taxes for those making under 30K per year, and then hike taxes for the rich? Or better yet, compromise between the two and enact a solid flat tax of about 35% across the board with zero exemptions, for those making 35K or more. He could call it his "35 for 35 Plan."
"All taxes" would take a major change in the tax structure (payroll, sales, property, state, etc.) and would therefore not be politically practical. "35 for 35" would be a reduction for people making less than about $80k taxable income, more for everyone else, though elimination of exemptions would lower the break even point (by nearly half, depending on the situation) and embiggen the increase for higher incomes, and the marginal return of work would drop significantly for income at $35k. So a fair chunk of the "middle class" would take a hit, therefore it's not politically practical. I'd actually propose keeping a lot of deductions for the economic incentives they provide, eliminating tax brackets altogether, and having a continuously increasing marginal rate (logarithm-based, say) such that taxes for lower / middle / upper middle income groups don't change a whole lot, but millionaires would face a few percent more, and billionaires would pay a few percent more than that (apply a similar increasing rate to gift, estate, capital gains, etc. too). That would help provide an incentive to de-centralize wealth and redeem investments over longer periods of time, perhaps reducing market volatility. But who likes logarithms anyway? Also, remove the cap on payroll taxes. A more progressive structure would probably be better, but making it non-regressive is probably politically viable in the short term.

RuffDraft wrote:And I don't really care for those other two links; I saw the title of one, and then saw who the second one was by, and I pretty much got the message already.
The messages included factual explanations of how some of the things you've been saying are wrong. This provides an interesting companion to those videos.

RuffDraft wrote:Yeah, but the next President is going to be just as much of a puppet as the last ten or so...
What about Kennedy or Nixon? There are degrees of puppetry.

RuffDraft wrote:Edit: While I have your attention, I'd like to direct it to this video. Enjoy.
Want me to go through this one, or do you have any points you want to make yourself?

RuffDraft wrote:The Tea Party is extreme? Why do you say that?
Well, for one, there have been some calls for military coups. And there's stuff like this.

RuffDraft wrote:Because they want us to hold true to the spirit of the constitution as it was originally intended?
I'll grant for this consideration that the Bill of Rights was originally intended, but let's look at the spirit of the Constitution. It was a massive, unprecedented increase in central government authority. Rights of States were reduced in service to the common good. The spirit was basically, "We value both individual liberty and the common welfare, so we're doing this because, while it is imperfect (slavery lol), this is what it will take to get things working better." The goal was NOT preventing growth of government power or taxation (pretty much the opposite, rather, as the government under the Articles sorely lacked them). Guards were put in place to prevent abuse of power, not growth of power to address new problems, which was implicitly endorsed with the "promote the general welfare" bit. Authority to address new problems was given to Congress, subject to the approval of the people through the democratic process. And the whole thing was made adjustable, so it would be flexible enough for changes in the future.

RuffDraft wrote:Because they want less government controls? Exactly what issue do you have with the lot of them?
Some proposals of the Tea Party involve fewer government controls, like deregulation of finance, health care, and environmental protection. That's bad, mkay? Other proposals involve greater government control, like busting unions, making people liable for arrest if they don't carry papers regarding their residency status, and setting up de facto dictatorships*. That's also bad.

*Robocop lol.

RuffDraft wrote:Also, if you are going to call them extreme, you must be comparing them to something temperate; what is this comparison?
How about the previously prevailing political environment?

Q.U. wrote:Hey, simplifying the tax system and reducing the deficit is something anyone normal would support.
All else equal, a simpler system would probably be better. The problem is that complexity has some advantages. For example, suppose that the government wants to encourage people to switch to electric cars because electrics have fewer negative externalities than conventional cars, so electric cars get subsidized with a tax break. Lots of programs like that exist to provide incentives for various things, and there is some value in that. If programs are wasteful, they should be removed, but not all the complex bits in the tax code are wasteful.

DaCrum wrote:However, the fact is that the face of the Tea Party is extremism. Undefined, uncontrolled extremism.
The positions of the Tea Party are rather ill-defined... except in opposition to other groups' positions, mostly Democrats. They mostly agree on what they don't like, but are not very unified in what they DO like.

RuffDraft wrote:Hm. Well, my mother is a Tea Partyer, and I don't call her extreme, even though we disagree on some things. But we don't disagree with the Mount Vernon Statement,
Sure, the front page description looks relatively reasonable, if a bit reactionary, nationalistic, historically revisionist, and in questionable agreement with the First Amendment, but check out the part where it describes policy goals.

Regarding Obamacare, check these out.

Regarding growth and job creation, the plan is to deregulate things and not raise taxes, when insufficient regulation is what led to the recession, and that combined with the low taxes led to expansion of the deficit and debt, and monetary policy limited deflation in 2009.

Regarding taxes, a low estate tax and the 2001 / 2003 tax cuts did not do much for economic or job growth in the past several years, so why would continuing the status quo suddenly improve things?

Regarding spending cuts, as mentioned before, cutting all discretionary spending would not close this year's deficit. Further, entitlement programs grow over time as more people apply. Closing the deficit without tax increases would take significant cuts to entitlements.

Regarding "Protect America--An Exceptional Country": It's a bit jingoistic, but whatever. It seems to misunderstand how the UN works.

Regarding traditional values, taxpayer support for abortions is currently banned. This seems to be related to proposals to de-fund Planned Parenthood, which is currently supported for things like gynecology for poor women. Would upholding the sanctity of human life include efforts to repeal capital punishment, provide for the well-being of the poor, or bring about world peace? Or subsidize gynecology for poor women?

Regarding bailouts, that's a fair point (though the idea of the bailouts wasn't about being fair), but that's pretty much been done already, and it was largely under Bush. It's expected to turn a profit in the end, and the part that looks to be a loss involves programs to help people stay in their homes.

Regarding court packing, that's not a very good assessment of the situation. Also, laws do not exist apart from the people.

Regarding new leaders, what do you think about what they've done, as pointed about above?

RuffDraft wrote:nor do I think that the vast majority of the Tea Party is racist
Looks like about half of Mississippi Republicans admit to overt racism. Do you think that, compared to Republicans in general, members of the Tea Party are more interested in returning things to how they were in the past? Who is now calling birthright citizenship into question? It may not be a majority, but it's obvious that a significant minority of the Tea Party is at least partly motivated by racism.

RuffDraft wrote:Take a look at this video, it outlines my ideas in a sort of satirical way.
Want me to go through this one, or do you have any points you want to make yourself?

NeoWarrior7 wrote:What a wonderful country of Commies on the left and Fascists on the right.
I don't know of any mainstream attempts to dismantle the bourgeoisie in the US. There are, as pointed out elsewhere in this post, some attempts at authoritarian corporatism accompanied by a nationalistic rejection of egalitarianism and rationalism. Remember that Communism has usually been established through a revolution, and Fascism has usually been established through use of existing political machinery.

BeeAre wrote:mmm, O'Reilly is one of the people on Fox who I can appreciate, even if I understand him to be mostly an asshole, he is generally a relatively fair asshole.
My evidence for this is that when Glenn Beck makes more extreme statements while O'Reilly is present, he becomes a voice of reason--this is part of why I don't like Beck: O'Reilly became not just fair and vaguely reasonable but the actual moderating force in their discussions together, holy crap.
O'Reilly may be better than Beck and some others, but that doesn't make him a good source of information.

RuffDraft wrote:First: You talk about a statistical sampling. I seriously doubt anyone has actually taken a census of the Tea Party that represents the whole of it. As such, any sampling is prone to be factually irrelevant or misleading.
Actually, statistical sampling is rather different from what you described there. The confidence of a survey depends on the sample size, not (for populations much larger than the sample size) the size of the population being investigated. That's why national surveys usually involve around a thousand people (acceptably low margins of uncertainty for overall conclusions). A census is not needed. Such surveys have been done of the Tea Party.

RuffDraft wrote:Second: "Most" Tea Partyers probably are not Birthers. My parents believe he was born in Hawaii; or at least my Mother. I haven't asked my Dad about it. And while I realize that my mother does not represent a "statistical sampling," I find it hard to believe that more than 50% of people are still hanging on to this claim. Are you using an actual, recent survey or going off intuition?
As of February 2011, 72%* of Republican primary voters did not think that Obama was born in the US. This is similar to the beliefs of those who strongly identified with the Tea Party in California in 2010, though it seems to have become more prevalent over time, as the numbers were rather higher for the Tea Party than Republicans as a whole.

*Yes, the title says 51%. 21% weren't sure what to think. This is rather like not being sure what to think about whether or not the Moon is made of cheese. Trump's statements go into that 21%.

RuffDraft wrote:Third: There is a statistical majority of white people in this country; it stands to reason that when people of any social class are brought together, they will usually represent a majority of whites and a minority of blacks. It's like going to the Million Man March and remarking that you don't see very many white people.
As of just over a year ago, 89% of Tea Party supporters claimed to be white, compared to 8% claiming others. The percentages for the US as a whole are 72% white and 28% others. That indicates that the white/minority ratio among Tea Party supporters is about 4x as high as the general population.

RuffDraft wrote:Fourth: Racism can exist anywhere, does not mean everyone is racist. The cry I hear a lot is that Tea Partyers are racist, and it is used as a generalization to demean them and make them look like Fringe Lunatics, when in fact at the core they encompass about 60-70% of the national opinion, which makes them Mainstream Collective.
As of last year, 18% of Americans claimed to support the Tea Party, and only 22% of those (4% of Americans) had donated money or attended rallies. The Tea Party seems to be disproportionately vocal.

RuffDraft wrote:Pres. Obama himself called the Tea Party racist, which means that he thinks that their primary message is race, which is an utter falsehood.
That's not what Obama said*. The article you linked really doesn't support its point very well. One revealing bit is this: "I stopped in a fast food restaurant for a burger. Around fifteen white seniors were having lunch. I overheard them ranting about Obama's overreaches and socialist policies. Upon seeing me, a black man, they became silent. I was tempted to say, "Please continue, I whole-heartedly agree with you!" Too bad they did not notice my Tea Party Express t-shirt." This is supposed to be an example of where white people were afraid to criticize Obama over policy, lest they be perceived by strangers as racists. Perhaps instead they stopped talking because they became uncomfortable discussing their political beliefs in the presence of a black man, whether or not they saw his shirt. The author lives in Florida, so the anecdote probably took place in the South, where many white seniors would have grown up and entered adulthood and politics under Segregation, in which black men were prevented from interrupting groups of white people in restaurants, among other things.

*A steering wheel is a key component of a car. The overall goal of driving a car is not to turn the front wheels a few degrees in either direction, though that is a component.

RuffDraft wrote:Lastly: Tea Partyers refuse to relinquish their goals for reasons other than simple stubbornness. If someone was trying to change your fundamental way of life in a way that you deemed threatening to you (let's say that someone is trying to make it illegal to give to the poor without government involvement, for the sake of argument), you would fight tooth and nail (as would many others) to stop that from happening and give no quarter to allow anything of that nature to be put into policy. This is why the Tea Party fights, and they are giving no quarter on something they see as a threat.
No such threats have been pushed by Obama or the Democrats (care to cite any?). That the Tea Party acts as if they have been calls their understanding of reality and/or motivations into question.

RuffDraft wrote:People need to be extremely careful what rights and freedoms they give up. We can't afford to be naive and assume everyone in power is doing what's best for us.
What rights and freedoms are in danger, and who is endangering them? What do you think union members would say about this?

RuffDraft wrote:@NeoWarrior: An afterthought, before I answer BR.
When you say that they want to threaten your way of life by taking away Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, a couple questions come to mind:
1) Are you not aware that Social Security is basically a Ponzi scheme
Valhallen, the last time you called Social Security a Ponzi scheme wrote:A Ponzi scheme is an unsustainable scam. Social Security can be made stable indefinitely with pretty minor changes. Even if nothing is done, it could continue indefinitely with benefits reduced by less than a quarter starting a generation or two from now. Meanwhile, Social Security payouts go right back into the economy as people use them to pay for things.
That article characterizes Social Security as a get-rich scheme about to collapse, so therefore Social Security should be dismantled. Really, RuffDraft?

RuffDraft wrote:and that most doctors won't accept Medicare or Medicaid (because of the red tape and price controls)
17% is not most.

RuffDraft wrote:and so the government "fixes" this problem by compensating the doctors with more taxpayer money (called the Doc Fix)?
In other words, Medicare treatment is less expensive than the private market, and that article talks about an effort to make up some of the difference to encourage some of the (relatively few) doctors no longer participating to continue to treat Medicare patients. Do you think that replacing Medicare with vouchers would maintain the cost advantage of Medicare, or would suddenly facing the private sector costs mean that Medicare patients would no longer have coverage without a large increase in funding for the vouchers?

RuffDraft wrote:Furthermore are you aware that the current Medicare system is ridiculously susceptible to fraud? Less than 5% of claims are audited.
You realize that "not audited" does not equate to "fraudulent" right? Medicare and Medicaid may lose about $60B (8%) to fraud. This is a higher percentage but lower amount than the private sector. Since Medicare is less expensive despite the higher rate of fraud, what do you think of the tradeoff?

RuffDraft wrote:Sampling IS factually irrelevant WHEN sampling it does not mean anything. To say that the Tea Party is mostly white is true but irrelevant because they are not lobbying on a platform of race. It is further irrelevant because America is mostly white anyway; to sample a collection of people to falsely paint the picture of either racism or anything else is misleading if not outright libelous.
To test this principle, would you agree or disagree that, compared to the US population as a whole, members of the Ku Klux Klan are more likely to be white and/or racist? What if you had a group composed of 10% KKK members and 90% average Americans?

RuffDraft wrote:And as for the Birther thing, I cannot find a true "demographic" or any kind of poll that suggests Tea Partyers largely believe in it. I can find the occasional person who agrees with it, but most people agree it is not worth discussing.
Yet people discussed it.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:
I wrote:Fourth: Racism can exist anywhere, does not mean everyone is racist. The cry I hear a lot is that Tea Partyers are racist, and it is used as a generalization to demean them and make them look like Fringe Lunatics, when in fact at the core they encompass about 60-70% of the national opinion, which makes them Mainstream Collective. Pres. Obama himself called the Tea Party racist, which means that he thinks that their primary message is race, which is an utter falsehood.
No. Google the political beliefs in statistically represented wholes by race. You'll find relevant results on independent news sources, but then also a lot of blogs.
And exactly what are you trying to prove by having me look that up? That a disproportionate number of whites over blacks support one thing or another? Again, the Tea Party is not founded on a racial issue. Race is irrelevant.
If political beliefs vary significantly by race, race is not irrelevant in politics.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:I am not suggesting a causal link between the two yet. Do you see the difference?
The point here is that their beliefs make it easy for them on average to find fault with terms that they don't agree with, and those terms can be easily applied to whole groups of people.
So, terms like "nigger," "spik," and "wop" would be offensive to some people but not others? Because they believe these terms to be either positive or negative?
Pretty much. Racial epithets are offensive because of what they mean, which varies by context, not from the phonemes that make them up.

RuffDraft wrote:And no, I don't see a difference between what you're trying to say and what I'm saying. If this really were a race issue, it would matter, but it doesn't.
The Tea Party is disproportionately white, and it opposes the policies of a black president who has mostly continued the policies of a white president. It also advocates policy that disproportionately helps the rich (who are disproportionately white) and that hurt poor people (who are disproportionately minorities). While this does not require racism on the Tea Party's part overall, it does look questionable, and there are clearly identified racist elements in the Tea Party.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:Also: Obama calling them racist is not a direct intentional falsehood/lie if he honestly believes them to be racist. He could be WRONG, but I doubt that he is lying about his opinion on the matter.
Sigh. Falsehood does not necessarily mean lie. To proclaim a falsehood as true, without knowing it is not, is not an outright lie. To know a falsehood to be such, and claim it true intentionally is a lie. The intention does not change the nature of the falsehood. Do you understand what I am trying to say? I'm not saying he's lying, I'm saying he's wrong.
What if he's right though? Where was the Tea Party when Bush was in office?

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:This belief is extreme. Open dialogue cannot be achieved in a reasonable time-frame if they do not react to open dialogue with an expression of threat and dismissal of negotiation terms. That's just definitive.
>_> Yes, because it's less extreme to simply bow down to your corporate masters. It's how this country was founded, after all.
More true than you may have meant there. Do you know what the original Tea Party was about? The East India Company had a legal monopoly on tea, but it was expensive in large part due to tariffs. Smugglers made a killing by illegally bringing in cheaper (if inferior) tea and undercutting the East India tea. The Tea Act made East India tea much more affordable, but the small colonial tax remained. Because it was now cheaper than smuggled tea, many people bought it instead, and smugglers lost business. They (and other traders who weren't allowed to import the East India tea) didn't like that, hence the Tea Party. It amounted to adding injury to insult, since taxation without representation had been going on for a while, and the Tea Act didn't increase taxes (instead greatly reducing them), but it did affect the business of wealthy traders. Other such economic incentives against British control helped the Revolution along.

And who do you think stands to benefit from modern Tea Party proposals to cut corporate taxes and reduce regulation? As with the original Tea Party and the American Revolution, there are popular sentiments in support of the movement, but business interests are steering it toward outcomes favorable to themselves. As before, how well this turns out will depend on how well the interests of the general population are protected in this process.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:It is not naive to fight the government: It is naive to think that suggesting revolution and that our president is not worth listening to in the slightest because he makes "balant falsehoods", is not a citizen et cetra, is productive to implementing change to the system.
Revolution can mean anything. It can mean taking back the system by force, or it can mean gathering the population and forcing the government to adopt our ideology through sheer tide of opinion--because if they don't follow the opinion of the masses, they will eventually no longer have a job.
The first is a coup. The second is the democratic process.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:I want to note, you have claimed that instead of being radically leftist and progressive and anti-business, you merely want to change the system slightly rather than attempting an extreme and detrimental overhaul. Do you deny that the Tea Party has not stood behind politicians who want to institute vast sweeping changes to the federal government?
Vast sweeping changes?
Yes.

RuffDraft wrote:I agree there are loonies in the Tea Party; however, you must admit that there are loonies in the Democratic Party; there are loony Marxists; there are loony people everywhere. It's not just one group of people guilty of looniness.
It's a matter of degree. Which group do you think has a greater percentage of people who think that Obama was not born in the US, that evolution is false, that the world is a few thousand years old, that it will end within a few decades, or that the world is not getting warmer.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:Do you separately deny that the Tea Parties would rather there be extreme changes made (such as the complete closing, excising, or reappraising of the bureaucracies under the executive branch) to the federal government?
I suppose it depends on what you call extreme. Does "Abiding by the word of the Constitution as it was intended to create a peaceful society with limited government and equal opportunity regardless of race or gender" extreme?
You are aware, are you not, that at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, slavery was legal, and blacks and women could not vote? And Native Americans were being exterminated? And that the Constitution greatly increased the power of the government? And that it was established after an armed rebellion and specifies freedom to own weapons in case the populace would have need of them? And that something can be extreme in contemporary politics but allowed by the Constitution?

BeeAre wrote:Not only that, but they have paid to participate into the system: this is why people who have paid into the system would prefer to benefit from it. :X
That's somewhat true, but the point was never to get out what you put into Social Security. The point was to provide for people in need of assistance to maintain a decent standard of living.

Q.U. wrote:
>_> Yes, because it's less extreme to simply bow down to your corporate masters. It's how this country was founded, after all.
Who are the Corporate Masters? The government? Don't remember looking that phrase up before.
It's The Man, man. Fossil fuel companies, the military-industrial complex, financial organizations, Freemasons, Skull and Bones, Illuminati, and unions.

Q.U. wrote:
BR wrote:Not only that, but they have paid to participate into the system: this is why people who have paid into the system would prefer to benefit from it. :X
The pay-as-you-go system is as fallible as it is unstable. One of the dumbest inventions of human economy. It is obvious how it will be a burden to any nation that had already passed its peak of population growth, and yet it's still so widely used around the world. Goes to show you how politicians and economists don't learn.
The US is currently at its peak historical population growth. The Baby Boom had a higher percentage growth rate, but the numbers were smaller. So the US is in decent shape for the time being. Most other developed countries less so. There are some rather worse economic inventions than Social Security.

Q.U. wrote:
If the responsibility is ultimately not derived from the federal government, why begin to make the case that they are the thing that needs to change first? Why not start with the "corporate masters"? o_O
I still can't get over that term. Are you saying that the Tea Party does not like large corporations either?
They are funded by large corporations.
Am I taking it right when I assume that those Corporate Masters are the powerful and wealthy corporations who can lobby their way into the government's decisions and actions? That would have been my first guess really. But if so, then I'd guess TP is all supportive of those Corporate Masters. I mean, how do you not bow to them when you protest for less regulations and control by the government on corporations and people? Somebody has to be in charge, always. If nobody is in charge, one will grow to the point by natural action. The choice here is either put government in charge (government control and regulations) or the corporations (free market America as it is to some extent right now). What the TP seems to be calling for is the latter. Which I do not get. I hope somebody can explain this to me clearly.
No, that's pretty much it. Politics doesn't have to make rational sense, at least in first-order descriptions.

BeeAre wrote:QU the only thing I am curious about in your post is the comment about pay as you go being something that (paraphrase) "economists have not learned that this is generally bad".
Do you have any more information about which economists are saying what, and who has been "proven" wrong/right in recent years? That would be neat to read up on. :X
The point seemed to be that entitlement programs that take money from younger workers to give to older/poorer people can't cope very well with the demographic trends of some countries, in which birth rates fall and people live longer, which greatly increases the entitlement burden per worker. Check the description and links here for basics.

Q.U. wrote:Truth is, it is not an issue of whether it's good or bad for the economy. Because if you look at it, paying the current retired from the work of the current labour force is simply a bad idea compared to a secure situation in which everyone stocks up money for their own retirement.
Not so much, actually. A lower savings rate increases economic activity, since the money gets spent and passed around the economy instead of sitting idle. This is offset by the use of savings in banks for loans and investments, but banks must keep some in reserve, so it's still something of a drag. Savings have a valuable part in the economy, so it's important for the savings rate to be appropriate for the economic situation (otherwise bubbles or recessions follow). Private savings also don't function as a social safety net, since some investments go bad, and some people can't save enough in the first place. How is a public transfer program supposed to be less secure?

Q.U. wrote:This kind of a system cannot support itself in the long run, it's not balanced and not easily sustainable.
Math be damned?

Q.U. wrote:Unlike the fully funded method where everyone has their own savings and in case your country's economy starts to break down and jobs are lost, you don't have to spend millions on stimulus packages while you spend double that on current retirement fund deficit. It's simply safer and more stable.
Why would stimulus packages be less useful with people using savings instead of regular payouts? Wouldn't the shrinking of retirement account investments in a recession lower propensity to spend, resulting in a need for a larger stimulus?

Q.U. wrote:So in general, a system where you are required to pay (not based on your free contributions) just like current one, only that the money is invested (for you, not left for you to play or risk with it) into relatively safe investment packages that are meant to make at least enough profit to cover the inflation effects on the savings entrusted.
Like AAA-rated mortgage-based securities? I'm serious. Think carefully about what sort of investments you're proposing, and how those securities looked in 2005.

Q.U. wrote:
http://www.openleft.com/diary/18567/over-under-on-of-republicans-who-think-environmentalists-sabotaged-oil-rig-45 wrote:* Does what Wall Street and the bankers tell him to do (40%)
* Is doing many of the things that Hitler did (38%)
Hilarious.
Given the state of financial reform, that's not too far off, at least in results. Also, Hitler had a dog, was a national leader, and rode around in a fancy car.

DaCrum wrote:Hitler stimulated the German economy.
Image

RuffDraft wrote:
Hahaha! An excellent piece of comedy. Nice find, Neo.
Look past the partisanship to the facts presented. It's serious, if a bit hyperbolic.

RuffDraft wrote:So let me get this straight. Obama is a moderate Republican?
There's so much wrong with that idea. Where to begin...?
How about policies as implemented? As pointed out in that article, that puts Obama pretty close to H.W. Bush.

RuffDraft wrote:First of all, Pres. Obama has been for gun control and higher taxes, which are two decidedly non-Republican points.
They aren't now, but both Reagan and H.W. Bush raised taxes. What has Obama done about gun control that makes him so dissimilar to them as to invalidate the comparison? I'll add that thus far, Obama has cut taxes.

RuffDraft wrote:And, if he were presenting ideas that were Republican in nature, neither Harry Reid nor Nancy Pelosi would support anything he does. At least Harry Reid, I gotta give him credit for being stubborn (if not a little bit cocky, not always a bad thing). He seems like a man who holds true to his ideology. So if Harry Reid detected "Republican" from Obama, he would not have endorsed him for president.
So current Democrats are in charge of deciding what past Republicans have done?



I'll be catching up on the remaining stuff now. It's not written yet, so it may take longer.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Marquis de Soth » Tue May 10, 2011 2:17 am

Remind me to stop coming in and reading this thread every day.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Tuor » Tue May 10, 2011 2:42 am

I just come to marvel at the length of Valhallen's posts.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Marquis de Soth » Tue May 10, 2011 2:57 am

At this rate, they'll become so lengthy that his posts will become a satire of themselves.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Tue May 10, 2011 5:12 am

that's the beauty of complication: it spins around what i would like to think is a theoretical wheel of irony, driving past satire into real art again, like some sort of exquisite singularity that breaks the normal singular way of understanding the physic of citation and starts barfing hawking radiation everywhere.

watch me be four layers of ironic

i laughed pretty hard when in valhallen's latest follow-up he made a foot-note for "Robocop, lol"

and i do read errthing made in this thread.

taught me more than two political science courses.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Tue May 10, 2011 6:31 am

I'd actually propose keeping a lot of deductions for the economic incentives they provide, eliminating tax brackets altogether, and having a continuously increasing marginal rate (logarithm-based, say) such that taxes for lower / middle / upper middle income groups don't change a whole lot, but millionaires would face a few percent more, and billionaires would pay a few percent more than that (apply a similar increasing rate to gift, estate, capital gains, etc. too).

I thought of that as well. A fluid tax rate adjusted by your personal income exactly. As if exactly tailored to your personal needs, gains, and capacity. Just put in one equation which would define the tax rate on the basis of the number you put in as "taxable income". It would need to keep most of it's pre-factors though, as in reductions for people in different special conditions.

Looks like about half of Mississippi Republicans admit to overt racism. Do you think that, compared to Republicans in general, members of the Tea Party are more interested in returning things to how they were in the past? Who is now calling birthright citizenship into question? It may not be a majority, but it's obvious that a significant minority of the Tea Party is at least partly motivated by racism.

Whenever watching those Tea Party members all I can hear is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWNho8g0lsU

mmm, O'Reilly is one of the people on Fox who I can appreciate, even if I understand him to be mostly an asshole, he is generally a relatively fair asshole.

Ahahahahaha... Yeah. He knows so much about the world. And its people. Look, how cute he is when he discovers black culture of America for the first time. He learned that they are people too! Wow. They are actually well dressed. That's new. And look, they didn't rap! How rare. Rotfl.

The US is currently at its peak historical population growth. The Baby Boom had a higher percentage growth rate, but the numbers were smaller. So the US is in decent shape for the time being. Most other developed countries less so. There are some rather worse economic inventions than Social Security.

There surely are worse inventions. But in general it is not a sustainable concept in the long run, where we know what the trends are. Now US is rather unusual, because it has a high immigration rate, and that increases the total fertility of the society, which allows the current system to keep on going. The only questions are: how long can it keep being positive, and how much will it cost to keep it active for how long.

Not so much, actually. A lower savings rate increases economic activity, since the money gets spent and passed around the economy instead of sitting idle. This is offset by the use of savings in banks for loans and investments, but banks must keep some in reserve, so it's still something of a drag. Savings have a valuable part in the economy, so it's important for the savings rate to be appropriate for the economic situation (otherwise bubbles or recessions follow). Private savings also don't function as a social safety net, since some investments go bad, and some people can't save enough in the first place. How is a public transfer program supposed to be less secure?

It is less secure if you know how to build a well-regulated and stable market of insurance and retirement funds.
And I do agree, that pay-as-you-go is far more effective and helps stimulate growth better. But that makes it superior only for how long? Until the dependency ratio topples these benefits over. The best course of action would be to recognise the toppling point and begin a reform at that point to maximise benefits and minimise costs.

Why would stimulus packages be less useful with people using savings instead of regular payouts? Wouldn't the shrinking of retirement account investments in a recession lower propensity to spend, resulting in a need for a larger stimulus?

What does that have to do with recession? If you get your country into recession it will screw up most things anyway. I'm talking about a stable healthy economy. In which case my point holds true, that as of all the trends of ageing countries that we've seen by now, the pay-as-you-go system will eventually become a dangerous drag.

Like AAA-rated mortgage-based securities? I'm serious. Think carefully about what sort of investments you're proposing, and how those securities looked in 2005.

I wouldn't know what you're referring to. But I can imagine that whatever the problem was, it could have been avoided if done right. Simple as that.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Tue May 10, 2011 4:26 pm

Q.U. wrote:
The US is currently at its peak historical population growth. The Baby Boom had a higher percentage growth rate, but the numbers were smaller. So the US is in decent shape for the time being. Most other developed countries less so. There are some rather worse economic inventions than Social Security.
There surely are worse inventions. But in general it is not a sustainable concept in the long run, where we know what the trends are. Now US is rather unusual, because it has a high immigration rate, and that increases the total fertility of the society, which allows the current system to keep on going. The only questions are: how long can it keep being positive, and how much will it cost to keep it active for how long.
Intergenerational transfer programs can work with a steady-state population distribution, or even a shrinking population, so long as things are balanced for the conditions. I think that the US can maintain a relatively high fertility rate for at least as long as abstinence-only sex ed is popular and abortion has something of a social stigma.

Q.U. wrote:
Why would stimulus packages be less useful with people using savings instead of regular payouts? Wouldn't the shrinking of retirement account investments in a recession lower propensity to spend, resulting in a need for a larger stimulus?
What does that have to do with recession? If you get your country into recession it will screw up most things anyway. I'm talking about a stable healthy economy. In which case my point holds true, that as of all the trends of ageing countries that we've seen by now, the pay-as-you-go system will eventually become a dangerous drag.
No modern economy can reliably avoid economic trouble altogether. The longest span between recessions in the US was ten years in the 1990s. Recessions will happen, so a retirement plan has to accommodate them somehow. What do you think would have happened during the recent "Great" recession if Social Security had been replaced with private retirement accounts, as had been proposed at various times in the past?

Q.U. wrote:
Like AAA-rated mortgage-based securities? I'm serious. Think carefully about what sort of investments you're proposing, and how those securities looked in 2005.
I wouldn't know what you're referring to. But I can imagine that whatever the problem was, it could have been avoided if done right. Simple as that.
A AAA credit rating is the highest available, held by the US government as well as certain other governments and organizations. If something is rated AAA, it's supposed to mean that it's pretty much a sure thing, like US government bonds. In the run-up to the financial crisis, mortgage-based debt was packaged, obfuscated, repackaged, rated AAA, and sold as "safe" investment securities. The mortgages really merited nowhere near AAA, but the financial organizations that packaged them could make more money by understating the risk. Such securities were incorporated into retirement savings, which were severely impacted when the financial crisis hit and it became apparent how bad they really were.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Tue May 10, 2011 5:11 pm

A AAA credit rating is the highest available, held by the US government as well as certain other governments and organizations. If something is rated AAA, it's supposed to mean that it's pretty much a sure thing, like US government bonds. In the run-up to the financial crisis, mortgage-based debt was packaged, obfuscated, repackaged, rated AAA, and sold as "safe" investment securities. The mortgages really merited nowhere near AAA, but the financial organizations that packaged them could make more money by understating the risk. Such securities were incorporated into retirement savings, which were severely impacted when the financial crisis hit and it became apparent how bad they really were.

Yes, okay. But again, what does that have to do with the retirement plan? I can see that you're saying that if US had a fully private retirement base they would have lost it all. And firstly, I must note that I mentioned that I wouldn't go for a fully private retirement plan, because as you pointed out, it's risky. I'd leave it to a strictly regulated governmental organisation, that "cannot fail".
Now on a separate note, the fact that stupid unregulated banks sold risky mortgages as AAA credits for social securities, is just a failure of the investment system, not the retirement system. Again, regulation, and all is well.

Finally, I agree, US could probably keep its fertility rate high enough to never feel the rough sting of ageing population like Japan does. It could be manageable, through different economic and political actions. But my point is, at that point (ageing population) it is still LESS effective and more costly than the alternative.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Tue May 10, 2011 8:54 pm

a credit rating is nothing but a form of "notarization", isn't it? An official review by someone that (in good cases) affirms that all the protocols that the official reviewer measures their judgment by are being fulfilled in a certain way?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Thu May 12, 2011 6:22 pm

A credit rating is an evaluation (typically by a rating bureau) of how worthy of credit an entity is (how likely a loan will be repaid). Things that increase credit worthiness include a history of paying debts on time and having a lot of assets available to call upon if needed. The US federal government is unsurpassed in both regards, and so gets the highest rating available. For debt derivatives leading up to the financial crisis, the rating bureaus rated them too highly for various reasons, and here we are.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Thu May 12, 2011 8:23 pm

it's almost like if you cheat the system you do so with the intent of having short term and short distance benefits at the expense of whatever things are controlled by the rule that was broken hmmmmmmmmmmmm
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Thu May 12, 2011 9:03 pm

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Re: What the frick?!

Postby NeoWarrior7 » Tue May 24, 2011 4:38 pm

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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Wed May 25, 2011 4:24 am

http://img.chan4chan.com/img/2011-02-14/20912.jpg

lolololo.

Step one: get off your fat ass and out of the house.
Step two: write an illegible poorly worded bilboard/sign.
Step three: join the tea party.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:56 pm

RuffDraft wrote:Obama has said that a "distribution of wealth" would be good for everybody. What's wrong with this is that it's a Socialist (or Marxist) ideology, which is why so many people think that he's a Socialist. Furthermore, I don't think it would be good for everybody; at least the rich would feel like they were cheated out of the money they've earned.
Socialism can mean different things. It could mean a system where wealth is owned collectively and shared according to the needs of the community. It could also mean a system where resources are collected from members of the community and used for the well-being of the community, which includes pretty much every government ever (e.g. tax-supported national military or roads). And pretty much everything the government does is a redistribution of wealth (where do you think your paycheck comes from?). In the interview there, Obama mentioned redistributions like allocating resources to get schools that used to exclusively serve black kids up to par (which is, as he mentioned, sort of questionable for the judicial system to mandate). Remember this? Do you think that supply-side or demand-side redistribution works better for a healthy (mixed capitalist) economy (including the wealthy)? And have you read The Communist Manifesto? "In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property." Do you really think that Obama or any major politician is trying to do that?

RuffDraft wrote:If I'm to understand, people think raising taxes by 4% will generate more revenues. By how much are they assuming revenues will increase?
Probably somewhat more than 4%. History shows that, not only are we on the upslope of the Laffer curve, better GDP growth correlates with a higher top rate than at present, apparently peaking in the neighborhood of 60%-70%. Remember how taxes can go to things that help keep the economy in good shape (including keeping wealth inequality within healthy levels)? And who do you think wants to cut taxes and reduce government investment in things like basic research and infrastructure that lay the foundations for growth?

RuffDraft wrote:Right now we have a $1.65T deficit in the budget for this year, and a $1.1T deficit for next year. And that's assuming we take in as much in taxes as we think we will. He wanted to let those taxes revert back to what they were.
So how much did he think he was going to make if he let taxes go back up? Certainly not enough to cover his budget.
That's because, compared to the Clinton years when those rates produced a surplus, the economy is in worse shape and there are wars, a new Medicare program, and more interest on the debt to pay for. Raising taxes to Clinton-era levels would not solve the problem outright, but it would go a long way towards it.

RuffDraft wrote:I read an article that talked about how Michael Moore says we should take the money we need from the 400 billionaires in this country. Then the article went on to explain that even if you combined the net worth of every billionaire in the country, it would only make $1.3T, which means that with Obama's budget, raising taxes back to Clinton "levels" would only be a drop in the bucket.
A rather large drop. As in, an amount similar to that $1.3T in four years, then three years, then two years.

RuffDraft wrote:If the Democrats were really concerned about restricting spending, they'd be saying "We should cut our own salaries. We don't need this much to run a government! My yacht can go to hell!"
You mean like this?

RuffDraft wrote:Instead, Obama flies a man 850 miles to make pizza at the Whi0te House when Dominos is right down the street. Gotta have that gourmet pizza.
More like a quarter mile down one street, half a mile down another, and another quarter mile down a third, but whatever. The pizza deal was a publicity stunt. On Obama's campaign, he stopped at that pizza guy's restaurant and apparently commented that it was his favorite pizza. So the Ritz-Carlton hotel in DC offered to fly the guy to DC to cook for the "Presidential Inauguration Expo" if Obama won. So it wasn't done by Obama, it wasn't at the White House, and it wasn't paid for by the government. But then, if you've researched the situation to make that criticism, you already know that, right?

RuffDraft wrote:Here's an idea. Let's stop trying to decide who got us in to what problem and start focusing on actual solutions. Not bullshit "no-bullshit" solutions like raising taxes to 80% and cutting spending by 80%, but solutions. Preferably ones that involve us cutting spending on things we can't afford and eliminating tax loopholes.
Related to who got us into things is how things came to be as they are. Related to that is how problems can be fixed. If we disagree about what people did to get us here, it implies that we disagree about the other things, and therefore that moving on to discussing policy solutions would not be productive. What do you think can't be afforded, what tax loopholes would you eliminate, and why do you think that?

NeoWarrior7 wrote:And really? Gonna argue CO2 shouldn't be controlled? What, do you call Global Warming false too? Not even getting into that.
He said it back here. "But it's not something that bothers me, seeing as I don't believe in this whole Global Warming scare."

Q.U. wrote:And that would explain how with every Rep president the country goes into deficit, and with almost every Dem president it gets back to profit.
Only since Reagan (and to some extent Ford). Before that, Republicans were serious about balancing budgets too, which is one reason why the debt from WWII wasn't a problem.

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:And now the pressure is on YOU to prove that just by cutting things you can't afford and eliminating loopholes you can make the $1.65T deficit close. Good luck getting there without raising taxes at all.
Well, I did do it when the budget was only about $400B red. My question is, what has he added to the budget to make it so huge?
That's still pretty much the picture for 2015 and 2030. The difference for 2011 and thereabouts is the short-term loss of revenue from the recession combined with the short-term spending increases from the recession. As the economy improves, most of the current deficit will close in its own, leaving about the numbers given there.

RuffDraft wrote:
Or, you can tax those who don't have money
In which case, their taxes would be zero anyway?
Historical implementations of taxes on people without money have involved confiscation of goods. But then, that wasn't what Q.U. was talking about there. Do you think that poor people or rich people have more discretionary spending money? What do you think would happen to aggregate demand if most of the discretionary spending money of the poor and middle class went to taxes in order to give the rich somewhat more money, of which little would go to buying things?

RuffDraft wrote:Look, right now the bottom 20% don't even pay taxes. Try to understand that, because it's true; ultimately, they pay an average rate of about -3% come tax day. The entire burden of taxes does fall on the rich right now, in our system. To me, the rich seem overtaxed already.
In terms of federal income tax, perhaps, but that's hardly the whole picture. Including entitlement, state, and local taxes (which are more regressive), and other federal taxes, the tax burden is much flatter. And federal taxes become regressive for the very rich. Remember Warren Buffett and his secretary?

RuffDraft wrote:Haaaaah... what happened to the good old days, when the amount you earn was generally related to how well you handled it in the first place? Those who made good decisions got rich and those who made bad decisions were poor?
As in good decisions guaranteed financial success and bad decisions guaranteed failure? Those days never existed. The poor have always suffered from lack of capital, and the rich have always had wealth to fall back on, even ignoring complications beyond the control of individuals.

RuffDraft wrote:And the government didn't see the need to take $2T worth of taxes every year and then say it was necessary to spend all of it and more.
Yes, the good old days, when the poor were left to starve (no Social Security), infectious diseases were the leading cause of death (no Medicare/Medicaid/CDC), and no large standing military. Or perhaps you were referring to the mid-20th century, when those things were in place and funded with enough taxation to keep the debt under control.

RuffDraft wrote:And we didn't have massive unemployment
ORLY?

RuffDraft wrote:because our place was a little shittier than Mexico's, and they wouldn't have come over here if we paid them. Which we are, now. And they have. And we don't know who they are.
Are you saying that current high unemployment is due to Mexicans taking jobs? As opposed to, say, the recession? And when was the US a worse job market than Mexico?

NeoWarrior7 wrote:It's very pre-20th century to assume all poor people have it coming.
Not necessarily. In the olden days, it was common to believe that material wealth represented favor from the gods, so poor people not only didn't deserve help, they were regarded as implicitly bad people. That attitude took a hit with the establishment of current major religions which tell people to help the needy, etc. but notions of divine favor have stuck around. Notably in modern megachurches. A different idea of why poor people have it coming derives from classical economics and Objectivist philosophy, where nothing prevents anyone from going from destitution to wealth if only they weren't lazy and actually tried. Objectivist libertarianism is a rather specifically 20th century attitude.

BeeAre wrote:He was one of the men who won World War II, though. I don't understand, surely people's beliefs would spill into their actions, and influence the direction of the war, and being anti-business, he must have implemented policies in our armed forces that allowed for defeat, because anti-business policies must all literally carry over into ever facet of a person's life. Yet we won?? weird.
Regardless of Eisenhower's leadership abilities, the Allies were not in a position to lose. The Allies outproduced the Axis several-fold, and could have used nukes had the war in Europe lasted much longer. Imagine a Starcraft game where one side starts with 4x the economy and a research advantage.

RuffDraft wrote:
Valhallen wrote:Ahem. Minor entitlement reform, taxes mostly rolled back to Clinton levels. Look at that.
Yeah I'm looking and I notice you didn't even try to do what NeoWarrior suggested.
Because I wanted to give a reasonable proposal for how the budget could be balanced without Ryan-style entitlement cuts. Or many cuts at all, to serve as a counterpoint to your statements that major cuts are necessary.

RuffDraft wrote:So, in this game the most you can save is $1.024T short and $3.035T long. However, I don't think doing all of these (at least, not all at once) is a good idea...
How about this?
So you think that some tax increases are called for? Otherwise, there are more cuts than I'd like, but it's fairly reasonable. Certainly better than the Ryan plan, and not just because it actually balances the budget.

RuffDraft wrote:It calls "eliminating loopholes but keeping taxes slightly higher" a tax increase, oddly enough. I might call it "eliminating spending in the tax code," but that would be stupid. Just plain stupid.
It eliminates loopholes (like the Bowles-Simpson plan above it) but has higher tax rates than the Bowles-Simpson plan. So no doublespeak involved.

RuffDraft wrote:
NeoWarrior7 wrote:Yes, because a family who can barely afford food can take a 10% hit.
While a rich man will still have millions, regardless. Life's a funny thing, in your world.
So someone who starts with next to nothing can use a little finesse and become a millionaire and you frown on that?
Except most millionaires didn't start with "next to nothing". And that's not what Neo was talking about. A family with $10k in income facing a $1k loss would be hit a lot harder than someone with $1m in income facing a $100k loss. The poor family would probably find it a lot harder to meet their basic needs like food, shelter, and transportation, while the rich person probably wouldn't have to forgo a second yacht or vacation house. If the government needs $1B in income, do you think it would be better for society to get it from 10k rich people or from a million poor people?

RuffDraft wrote:
NeoWarrior7 wrote:You should help the needy.
Well, I do help the needy. And I'm not even rich. Rich people give many millions of dollars to the needy.
So do poor people. Do you think the marginal propensity of charitable donation for rich people is more or less than the percent of taxes that go to help the needy?

RuffDraft wrote:And here's the thing: if taxes were the only reason rich people give to the poor (to bring their taxes down to about half of what they paid), no one would do it because you need to give nearly 3 times as much to the poor in order to bring your taxes down by half if you're that rich. So they're really just giving because they can. Or they're just stupid, that could be it too.
Unless the "charity" serves their interests. Keep in mind that very rich people get most of their income from capital gains, which is not subject to the federal income tax. That said, yes, some rich people do care about the less fortunate. That doesn't mean that all do.

RuffDraft wrote:
NeoWarrior7 wrote:It's very pre-20th century to assume all poor people have it coming.
Then go downtown or wherever your nearest homeless shelter is held and start asking homeless people what they did before they were homeless. Ask them what skills they had. Ask them how they became homeless. If you can find three people who are legitimately poor because a rich person made them that way, I'll pay you $100. And you can hold me to that.
I think you should define what "because a rich person made them that way" means. For example, certain rich people (the dudes running certain financial institutions) caused the financial crisis, which led to assorted economic troubles. If that counts, it would be pretty easy to find people homeless because of rich people. But if you're willing to back it with money, you may have a different idea about what counts.

RuffDraft wrote:
NeoWarrior7 wrote:There are some things only a government can handle.
Examples?
In general, systemic issues (defense, regulation, economic management, etc.) and things prone to market failure, especially due to externalities (environmental protection, infrastructure, education, etc.).

RuffDraft wrote:
NeoWarrior7 wrote:You hate the arts now too? Yes, because encouraging creativity is such a bad thing.
Now, when did I imply I hated the arts? Creativity is fine, I just don't think the creation of said arts should be a government subsidy.
So public museums, public school art/music programs, and public performing arts centers are baaad?

RuffDraft wrote:
NeoWarrior7 wrote:Mexico it's true, they mostly come here I think because their country just isn't as great. And even below minimum pay But face it. Americans won't do their jobs, so what can they really be stealing?
First, Americans WILL do those jobs. Any factory that gets raided and all the "Undocumented Workers" fired will see unemployed Americans drive for miles around to get those jobs.
How many US citizens would drive for miles to work as a day laborer for $1/hour?

RuffDraft wrote:Second, if you're not in favor of sweatshops overseas why would you be in favor of factories hiring illegal immigrants?
Perhaps because the conditions in such factories (though likely worse than regulations would have it) are probably better than foreign sweat shops? And because it retains domestic manufacturing and its accompanying economic activity rather than outsourcing manufacturing?

RuffDraft wrote:
NeoWarrior7 wrote:As for the illegal part, that's a bit trickier. I haven't terribly looked into it. They've tried before I do believe, but we could use a bit of reform on how that works. It would probably be cheaper than something retarded like, say, trying to build a border sized fence. I just don't think that that could even be effective enough. A fence. These people. My taxes. Man.
Better yet, do what they do in some other countries when Americans are there illegally:
Kill them.
Go ahead.
No, I'm not serious. This is ME we're talking about.
And which countries would those be?

BeeAre wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:So someone who starts with next to nothing can use a little finesse and become a millionaire and you frown on that?
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THIS IS HOW THE MAJORITY OF WEALTH IS CREATED IN AMERICA? THAT IT SHOULD BE THE STANDARD BY WHICH PEOPLE ARE JUDGED?
It may be news to some, but most wealth is created by workers. The business owners hire them and supply equipment, but the workers actually produce the real wealth, whether physical goods, services, information, etc.

Regarding millionaires, most did not start as millionaires. That's not to say that they were poor. They tend to take advantage of social services like public education and infrastructure, and they had enough financial resources to capitalize on a market opportunity (which requires a demand be present, which requires a strong consumer base) when they saw one.

RuffDraft wrote:DO YOU THINK THE RICH HAVE ALWAYS BEEN RICH, SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL? WHAT ABOUT BEFORE MONEY EXISTED? DID "RICH" PEOPLE CONTROL ALL THE CHICKENS AND LETTUCE?
Essentially, yes. Wealth can (and largely does) consist of physical goods, and wealthy people had most of those before monetary economies got going. Wealth disparity in hunter-gatherer societies is usually relatively small, but once agriculture gets going, the surplus food allows social specialization, including aristocracy and soldiers who work for the aristocracy.

Q.U. wrote:Also, how can you NOT mark the bank tax box? (re this) I would understand that it wouldn't be needed if the government had put SOME regulation for the banks as it promised. But it had done NOTHING. In other words, you had an economic collapse, you know what caused it, and you didn't even bother goddamn fixing it. WTF is wrong with you people? Look at Canada for inspiration in keeping banks and mortgages under control.
Something like that would be appropriate, but I wanted to show that the budget could be balanced without it.

Q.U. wrote:
So someone who starts with next to nothing can use a little finesse and become a millionaire and you frown on that?
It's the American dream, and it's good.
But hey, in games when you play the Campaign, or the story mode, the game tends to get MORE difficult as you go along. You're also getting better and more powerful, just enough to cope with each new obstacle. I find it silly that in the US the richer you get the easier it is to get even richer than that.
But where/when has that not been the case?

RuffDraft wrote:I strongly disagree with the carbon tax. CO2 is NOT a dangerous gas. It's a byproduct of human breathing,
Carbon monoxide, ammonia, and acetone are also byproducts of human breathing. That doesn't mean that they are safe in all concentrations. More generally, existing safely somewhere in nature does not mean that something is safe in all concentrations and circumstances. As you read through the next few bits, consider what you think about CFCs and why. You can read here for more information on CO2 and related subjects.

RuffDraft wrote:and it is naturally regulated by plants to be around 1.5% at sea level, which is not dangerous.
Actually, it's about 0.04%. At that concentration, it is chemically dangerous to certain sea life, particularly those with calcium carbonate shells. That concentration is also enough to alter global climate by altering the radiative equilibrium. Most of the carbon dioxide produced by human activity goes into the oceans, and the plants of the world are not keeping up with the remainder (as the concentration is rising).

RuffDraft wrote:I don't understand the argument behind calling it a dangerous gas. There are medical problems associated with too much CO2, but if you live in any kind of verdant area, that level is regulated.
CO2 alters planetary radiative equilibrium -> climate changes -> human activities are disrupted. Chemical toxicity to humans is not the concern.

RuffDraft wrote:They want to improve air quality? Plant more trees.
How many trees do you think it would take to absorb 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year? Because that would just about deal with the increase. Though the number is increasing as China and other nations industrialize. And keep in mind that a tree serves as a carbon sink only for the lifetime of the tree - it is released again when the tree decomposes. Are you advocating the permanent restoration of the eastern and western US forests?

RuffDraft wrote:And if you want to discourage coal power or other "unclean" sources of energy, put legislation against those byproducts such as sulfur-dioxide or carbon monoxide.
You mean like, say, the cap and trade system put in place by H.W. Bush that has economically reduced sulfur dioxide emissions by more than half since its implementation?

RuffDraft wrote:So I disagree with the CO2 emission tax. To me it seems like pure bullshit.
The idea of a carbon tax is to increase the cost of things that emit a lot of carbon dioxide, thereby discouraging them in the market. Since the market hasn't reduced emissions on its own (the effects of carbon dioxide are externalities), and a cap and trade system is less disruptive than direct regulation (like what was done in Europe for sulfur dioxide), it seems that the disagreement here comes down to you not thinking that carbon dioxide should be regulated. Is that still the case?

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:Also, how can you NOT mark the bank tax box? I would understand that it wouldn't be needed if the government had put SOME regulation for the banks as it promised. But it had done NOTHING. In other words, you had an economic collapse, you know what caused it, and you didn't even bother goddamn fixing it. WTF is wrong with you people? Look at Canada for inspiration in keeping banks and mortgages under control.
Banks, huh? No regulation, right. They only have the FDIC to answer to, with all their regulations. And the Federal Reserve, with all of theirs. And the OCC (Office of Controller of the Currency). And the OTS (Office of Thrift Supervision). There are literally hundreds of regulations the banks have to follow. Now, if they violate one of those regulations and we find out about it, those responsible should be held accountable and, if necessary, fined or jailed. Either way they should lose their jobs.
Ahem.

RuffDraft wrote:Banks themselves did not cause the problems. There were a large number of problems that stemmed from banks to be sure, but that was not what caused the economic collapse.
Then would you care to explain in detail what DID cause the economic collapse?

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:But hey, in games when you play the Campaign, or the story mode, the game tends to get MORE difficult as you go along. You're also getting better and more powerful, just enough to cope with each new obstacle. I find it silly that in the US the richer you get the easier it is to get even richer than that.
Once you become rich, you have more money to work with and can invest it in more than just one way. How is that silly?
Because it means that wealth has a positive feedback that becomes stronger with more wealth. This means that, given a free market, wealth will naturally concentrate, resulting in a plutocracy unless other factors prevent it. Since that's bad for society, Q.U. seems to think it's silly that the US doesn't have more guards against it.

RuffDraft wrote:How exactly is it silly to want to live within your means?
It isn't, but it's silly to think that the federal government can't increase its revenue (especially from the current situation in which taxation is unusually low).

RuffDraft wrote:
Q.U. wrote:btw, ever heard a story of a stupid spoiled brat who inherits a fortune after a rich daddy?
...your point being? If someone wants to bequeath their fortune to their son, what's wrong with that? Assuming the kid wants to keep himself rich, he has to invest that money. Usually a profitable investment will involve the creation of jobs.
Is there something wrong with a man who's worked his whole life and got rich passing it on to his living relatives at his death?
Inheritors of wealth tend not to be as productive as those who founded the fortune. It is entirely possible to maintain a comfortable lifestyle off the interest of inherited wealth. This is one reason why Andrew Carnegie gave away almost all of his wealth before he died. He wanted his children to get enough to help them along, but not enough to let them slack off. Regarding job creation, please read this. With the current economic situation, demand is reduced, therefore supply is not being fully utilized. In such conditions, investment isn't very useful unless it's going towards untapped markets (i.e. technological innovation like improved electric cars and solar panels). It is economically better to shift the tax burden to the wealthy (who do more investing) and away from the poor and middle class (who do more consumer spending) because that brings supply more in line with demand. One way to do this is with the estate tax (which is one of the most highly targeted taxes for this). it used to be that the estate tax could prevent unrealized capital gains from passing down through generations untaxed, concentrating wealth beyond what is healthy for society, but now trusts can be used to avoid capital gains and estate taxes. It's not that there's something wrong with passing on (a lot of) wealth to relatives, it's that taxing some of that transaction helps the economy and society.

Q.U. wrote:
Either way they should lose their jobs
1) God knows how quickly US would collapse if banks weren't regulated at all.
Business cycles in the 1800s typically lasted a couple years or so. So probably about that long.

BeeAre wrote:capitalism promotes individual competition which means that there have to be losers, and since the division between success and failure is so distinct, if someone promotes capitalism, they are at some point, promoting the idea that someone should be poor, because someone has to lose in capitalism.
Not really, at least theoretically. There's nothing intrinsic to capitalism that prevents everyone from living well. It's just that such losers are an emergent property of real-world capitalism. As opposed to, say, classical ideal free market capitalism. And the ideals of classical free market capitalism are what is often invoked by proponents of deregulation and the dismantling of social safety nets.

BeeAre wrote:Capitalism runs opposed to that: There are no terms outside of generating wealth for the sake of generating wealth. I understand that terms can and will and are and have been applied, but they are divided from the system: the system operates purely mechanically in many systems that are not.
Capitalism is a way of organizing the economy. As in applying society's means to its ends. It doesn't determine what those ends are. People just tend to like material wealth.

BeeAre wrote:I'm saying that we can stop poor Haitians from eating dirt cookies to live by giving them a portion of what the rich have.
For the edification of those reading, dirt cookies are a real thing.

RuffDraft wrote:@BR: If these guys want to pay more in taxes, they can write a check to the government. This is not proof that taxes should be raised. I don't care what label you put on them, I still call them "ignorant."
Suppose all federal taxes were set to zero. Suppose also that you run a private sector business and do not receive any federal money directly. With no taxes, the federal government would not be able to pay for much, and most federal services would be cut in short order. So among other things, no entitlements that keep some of your customers in good enough financial shape to use your business. Combined with those other things, you might consider that the business environment (or perhaps society overall) was better with federal taxation and services in place. You could then lobby for an increase in taxation and government service to a level that works better. Why not just send the government a check? Because it wouldn't fix the problem.

The millionaires lobbying for higher taxes similarly think that taxes ought to be higher to pay for the things the government ought to do. Writing checks themselves would similarly not fix the problem. BeeAre's point with referencing them was more like, "These people want taxes on the wealthy raised even though they will experience the increase themselves. This is counter to straightforward self-interest, so perhaps there's something else to their argument." Why, specifically, do you call them ignorant? Why do you think they want higher taxes?

RuffDraft wrote:If you're going to tell me that Capitalism = unfair and the Marxism = fair, can you explain who the winners are in Marxism?
The proletariat, who equitably distribute the wealth of society so none experience hardship for want of material goods. Then again, perhaps you had something other than Marxism in mind when replying to considerations of Marxism. Stalinism, say?

RuffDraft wrote:Doesn't seem like anyone can possibly be a winner because no one owns anything and there is no "wealth" to speak of.
Because publicly owned wealth doesn't count? Suppose you have a house and a car nominally owned publicly but allotted for your use (which perhaps you do, being in the military). Does that make you less wealthy in real terms than a person who nominally owns an identical house and car?

RuffDraft wrote:In other words, with Capitalism you have a lot of winners and a lot of losers. In Marxism, you have no winners, and an infinite number of losers.
Are you aware of what capitalist nations were like when the Manifesto was written? Ever read Dickens or The Jungle? "Everyone is poor" looks pretty appealing when most people are destitute in the service of making relatively few rich, and that's why people in charge of capitalist nations freaked out about Communism. The capitalism we know in the US today enjoys many social safety nets that were put in place in part to dissuade communistic revolutions by addressing the worst abuses of free capitalism.

RuffDraft wrote:Unless this Marxism has a central ruling body (or Government), in which case, only those that belong to this ruling party are the winners and everyone else who isn't is a loser.
But then it's not Marxism, is it?

RuffDraft wrote:Unless you want to say that the people "in power" have equal standing with those "in office." In which case any group of citizens can summarily dismiss any ruling by the ruling body, which equals revolt. If the ruling body wishes to enforce its "power" they need to have control of the police or military. If a revolt occurs and the police or military become involved and the people still wish to fight, this becomes a VIOLENT revolt.
The problem here is that you want to talk about theory. And my "theoretical" outcome is not just a theoretical outcome. It has happened. The more a society feels outraged because of the misuse of power in a ruling body, they more likely they are to revolt.
You realize that this is how Communist governments have typically formed, following abuses by those in power in a capitalist system, right? And that Communist governments have typically fallen with peaceful internal reforms? And that Marxist Communism has not been implemented in reality?

BeeAre wrote:sounds like a pessimist's view to me to say that when the disparity between winners and losers is diminished, the result is losers instead of winners.
In fact, the opposite is true of most modern economies.

Rhapsodna wrote:ugh politics there's never a right or wrong.......... hurts my brain :?
Because "Hey, let's kill everyone of that ethnicity," is just as correct as "Hey, let's not," is it? And facts don't matter for being right or wrong?

RuffDraft wrote:If someone who is rich opens a business selling ONLY food, and does it at prices that are competitive while still allowing him to make between 5 and 10% overall profit, and the money HE makes is taxed at a 35% rate, and he does not try to gouge the customer and only changes his prices based on supply and demand (while still maintaining the above profit margin), and his income after taxes is still right around $10 million per year, what is your opinion of this person?

Next if I may, I would like you to compare that person to someone who DOES try to gouge the customer and ignores supply and demand and has a profit margin of around 25%; he's basically the opposite of the person above. And let's say that he also takes in around $10 million after taxes. What is your opinion of this person? Does this in any way change your opinion of the first person?
You are aware, are you not, that "trying to gouge the customer (in order to maximize profit)" is EXACTLY the same as "changing prices based on supply and demand (in order to maximize profit)"? Someone using knowledge of the market's demand curve to set prices would make MORE profit than someone gouging customers with higher prices than that. So the second person seems to be a better businessman, whether by controlling costs better or by exerting more market power.

RuffDraft wrote:Now consider the IN DEPTH implications of my examples. Their incomes are the same but their profit margins are different.
Both taxable incomes would be about $15.4m, but the first person's gross income would be $154m to $308m, compared to the second person's gross income of about $61.5m.

RuffDraft wrote:Which means that one of them has a lot more customers than the other; one of them has a much larger workforce;
Not necessarily. You never specified that they sell the same kinds of goods. One could specialize in bulk sales, with a corresponding reduction in workers and customers. If they operate in different markets, prices of similar goods need not be similar.

RuffDraft wrote:one of them actually seems to care that the consumer can afford his merchandise.
Clearly the customers CAN afford the merchandise, as they're buying enough to generate millions in profit. For practical purposes, what the owners personally care about doesn't matter except as it is reflected in what they do.

RuffDraft wrote:But according to the logic you presented above, both of them are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer, which only makes sense if all rich business owners were like my latter example.
Your example doesn't include the relevant information for investigating that. Consumer markets where producers wield disproportional power is a factor, but wealth diverges mainly from the labor market and the treatment of investment gains. Low dividends, capital gains, etc. taxes combined with a labor market in which workers have little negotiating power (if they are not unionized, say) diverts the gains from economic growth disproportionately to the bourgeoisie, who are already rich. Depending on the magnitude of the power disparity, all growth and then some could go to the rich, leaving most people with reduced real incomes. This is what happened in the US over George W. Bush's presidency.

RuffDraft wrote:Assuming the poor have jobs and aren't wasting their money on frivolous things like two car loans, a mortgage for a house they can't in a million years afford, and/or excessive quantities of lottery tickets (or some other gambling activity), the "poor" could easily save up their money and pull themselves out of poverty.
Again, you seem not to know about the working poor. Again, have you read Dickens or The Jungle, and do you know about conditions of the real world that make your assertion far from universal?

RuffDraft wrote:Now, if you have a legitimate reason to blame the rich for something--and I'm talking specifics, such as "this guy/gal/corporation fired a couple hundred employees but gave all their executives million dollar payoffs," then I can definitely see the problem you have with that.
AIG played a major role in crashing the economy with its risky practices, resulting in millions of people losing their jobs, and it was bailed out by the government. In 2009, it handed out a $billion or so in bonuses, more than a third of which went to the department that caused the problem, and about $165m in bonuses to executives who drove the company and the economy into the ground. Transocean cut corners to save money, and the Deepwater Horizon spill resulted from such cut corners. The incident killed several workers outright, trashed much of the Gulf causing widespread economic hardship, and exposed thousands of people to toxic chemicals whose effects are as yet largely unknown. Transocean awarded its executives bonuses for safety performance that year. Other examples abound. Executive compensation has largely been decoupled from performance, especially the long-term performance that matters for the well-being of the economy.

RuffDraft wrote:However, you also have to realize that this is NOT ALL OF THE RICH PEOPLE. A couple dozen millionaires making each other wealthy at the expense of a few thousand is not something you blame on everyone, because the rest of them are not necessarily like that.
Remember how real income for most people in the US has gone down in the last decade despite real GDP growth? And how the real income of the very wealthy has increased in excess of GDP growth? Systemically, it is like that, as that's essentially what happened, even if particular rich people did not personally advance the situation.

RuffDraft wrote:In regards to consuming, we are Legion. We have the power. The People can sway just as well as a corporation.
Remember how corporations are people now? Anyway, a corporation is a single entity, pooling considerable resources in an organized endeavor to achieve a goal. The People are not, and do not (except in the government itself). Some parts of The People (unions, say) can act comparably to a corporation in that regard, but such organizations are rather small compared to corporate interests at the present.

RuffDraft wrote:It just takes time and perseverance and cooperation.
Large corporations have dedicated legal departments backed with billions. What sort of consumer effort do you think it would take to, say, change the business practices of BP? Do you think that such an effort is likely at this point? Do you see the point of government regulation?

RuffDraft wrote:If a corporation wants to put a law into place, even ONE person can take this bill to court for its Constitutionality,
Not really. That person would have to have legal standing and a lot of money and time. Those aren't easy to come by. For consideration, how would you go about challenging a law you don't like? Obamacare, say, which had a lot of input from health insurers?

RuffDraft wrote:because in the United States of America, regardless of what the Many want to do, it still has to be Constitutional and not infringe on the rights of the Few.
Bullshit. Flagrant violations of the Constitution and personal rights abound in US history. Now, with that in mind, do you believe that major corporations with interests demonstrably at odds with the majority of US citizens should have unrestricted influence in the government? Remember what's going on in Michigan? The issue is power and influence in government and society, and right now major corporations have a significant advantage over "the Many".

RuffDraft wrote:It's just not sympathetic, especially to those who lost everything because of a defaulted loan. But in that sense, I have no sympathy. You do NOT enter into a loan agreement without understanding the rules and abiding by them. You do NOT take on debt if you have no way of paying it back. These are simple legal and economic guidelines. People who don't want to follow them have no business complaining when shit happens.
Because information asymmetry does not exist, and a loan made with reasonable expectations of a low variable rate and maintaining one's job does not become harder to pay when the rate increases and the job is lost in the recession? Do you know why banks were so eager to make these risky loans? Because they sold the loans and passed the risk to others while understating their risk, making a tidy profit at others' expense. To use an analogy, it's not a good idea to walk alone through Central Park at night, but that doesn't excuse the mugger for mugging someone walking alone through Central Park at night.

BeeAre wrote:It is illegal to drink alcohol and drive.
You can drink and drive just fine, so long as your blood alcohol level stays within legal limits, and you aren't obviously impaired. Just don't drink WHILE driving.

RuffDraft wrote:If a poor man has a job and no investments, he has little to lose if something goes bad at his job.
Except his home, car, health insurance, etc.

RuffDraft wrote:He can get a new job.
The median unemployed person in the US has been without a job for about five months. You understand that it's harder to get a job when there's high unemployment, right?

RuffDraft wrote:Hell, he might find one that pays better.
Unlikely. High unemployment depresses wages. Unless you believe that Keynesian mumbo-jumbo about short-term price stickiness. But then you might consider that the economy has long been shifting from relatively high paying manufacturing jobs to relatively low paying service jobs. Do you think Walmart pays better than his old job?

RuffDraft wrote:But for the sake of argument, let's assume that he loses money due to loss of job hours. What? $400, $500 lost? For the time he was unemployed before finding a new job? Under relatively normal circumstances, with a man who has a very good skill set? Hard times.
Let's put some realistic numbers to this. Suppose he's unemployed for twenty weeks (shorter than median) and worked full time for minimum wage with no benefits. That's a $5,800 loss in cash flow. For a skilled worker who made more like $30/hour unemployed for 39 weeks (about the mean length of unemployment in the US), that's $46,800. How long did you think typical unemployed lasts?

RuffDraft wrote:On the other hand, if a millionaire's entire fortune is invested in a company and something goes bad, he has HIS ENTIRE FORTUNE to lose if something catastrophic happens in the company.
Except his home, car, health insurance, etc. And little of consequence if the business is insured against trouble. Even less so if his investments were prudently diversified (as millionaires are wont to do).

RuffDraft wrote:Let's say that he sells an expensive product that kills a couple hundred people before he can recall it (like a car, as a practical example). He now has to refund the purchase price of the product as well as pay damanges for every person his product has harmed. Best-case scenario, he keeps his company but he's down thousands, if not millions, of dollars.
Is this millionaire the owner of a car dealership (in which case he would not be liable for the car problems), or does he own an auto manufacturer (in which case he would more likely be a billionaire head of a major corporation with dedicated R&D and legal departments, and would likely not be personally liable for damages)? It looks like best-case in this scenario is that he's out some customers, but no money. Suppose for the sake of argument he's down to just his $300k house and $50k car. That's still a much better financial position than the poor man.

RuffDraft wrote:Shall we compare $500 to $500,000? No, of course not that would be utterly stupid.
"Insulated from financial damage..." In other words, it's better for a rich person to lose money than it is for a poor person. Bullshit.
The millionaire (by definition with a net worth of at least a million USD) would have at least $500k left. The poor man starts with a net worth of $0 ("poor" people in the US typically have more debt than assets, and so have negative net worth) and loses $500 (let's go with your figure), and is now in debt. So yes, the wealthy are insulated from financial damage. The millionaire lost a thousand times as much as the poor man, but did not go into debt like the poor man did. Rather, the former millionaire's remaining wealth may be more than the poor man will earn in his life, and far more than he will keep.

EagleMan wrote:Not that I mean him specifically and that it can apply to anyone, but typically when one is presented with facts, it only makes the person double down on their beliefs.
Valhallen used Wall of Text! Is it effective?

Tuor wrote:I just come to marvel at the length of Valhallen's posts.
Because longer is better.

BeeAre wrote:i laughed pretty hard when in valhallen's latest follow-up he made a foot-note for "Robocop, lol"
Now, what needs to happen is for Detroit to get one of those managers, who will bring in military robots to deal with crime. And so on.

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Re: What the frick?!

Postby DaCrum » Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:58 pm

Valhallen, I am interested in several things

What are your opinions on the next presidential candidates? Any favorites? Such and such?

I've heard about something called the "skilled workers' deficit, that supposedly, even with unemployment being incredibly high, there is a deficit of skilled workers such as welders, mechanics, and other physically laboring positions including those necessary to the improvement and upkeep of US infrastructure. What's your opinion on this?

And the reversal of the economic recovery. Some news stations have been broadcasting that it seems that economic recovery has stopped, and possibly even reversed. What do you think?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:26 pm

DaCrum wrote:What are your opinions on the next presidential candidates? Any favorites? Such and such?
It looks like it'll be Obama vs. whoever the Republicans pick. The declared Republican candidates look pretty weak IMO. The ones that look to do well in the primaries probably wouldn't do well in the general election and vice-versa. I think Mitt Romney might fare the best in the general election (and probably has the most reasonable policies of the bunch), but he's too moderate for a lot of Republicans today, especially with his support of "Romneycare". Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich aren't associated with the Tea Party and some of its unpopular aspects, but Paul is a libertarian and honest about it, and Gingrich has a huge amount of stuff for any opponent to use as ammunition in a campaign. The newer crowd (including Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman if they decide to run) would probably do better in the primaries (though they may split the Tea Party vote), but they are prone to unusual positions and appearing to not understand complex issues. The comedy opportunities that would give would be pretty awesome, but that wouldn't be good for their chances in the general election. For now, I'm hoping that the "the rent is too damn high" guy will make a good show.

DaCrum wrote:I've heard about something called the "skilled workers' deficit, that supposedly, even with unemployment being incredibly high, there is a deficit of skilled workers such as welders, mechanics, and other physically laboring positions including those necessary to the improvement and upkeep of US infrastructure. What's your opinion on this?
I haven't heard that in regards to those kinds of professions, but such a deficit seems plausible. Have any info on it? On-the-job training can help with those jobs though, so the market should be reasonably flexible. The deficit I'd heard of (and the one that shows up on a quick search) is in stuff more like engineering, computer science, and nursing, which take a multi-year degree to get into.

DaCrum wrote:And the reversal of the economic recovery. Some news stations have been broadcasting that it seems that economic recovery has stopped, and possibly even reversed. What do you think?
Latest I saw is that GDP and job growth are positive, if slow, so basically the recovery is puffing along. Some other indicators aren't so good though. Unemployment went up a little in the past couple months, and home prices have fallen a few more percent. It doesn't look too bad though, so we'll just have to wait and see if trends change. Overall, I'd say the picture is positive but weak, though Congress is in a position to mess things up, and trusting Congress not to mess things up isn't always a good bet.

Also, while checking recent stats, I found this. Interesting, isn't it?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby EagleMan » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:49 pm

What I've read about the job opportunities is that too many people in college are majoring in subjects such as the humanities, rather than in fields like science and technology. Seeing as that's what you're doing DC, you should be fine. We have a workforce that isn't trained properly for the jobs that are open. Another part of the problem is that companies just assume the perfect candidate will fall into their lap with the job market; one that requires no training for the job. However, because of this, they actually end up having the position go unfulfilled for quite a while, leaving behind the specter of there being available jobs while unemployment is high. I haven't heard anything about the manual labor positions you speak of though.

I'm guessing you're talking more about vocational positions there, but engineering (a science major) also fits into it. Historically though, the U.S. has not been good on training people for jobs such as plumbers or welders. Vocational training came to be viewed as where dumb people go, which has in turn depressed the amount of people training to work those jobs, which is why plumbers cost so much because there are so few of them. People are told to go into college, when really college isn't supposed to be an institution that supports everyone. In Europe they do a much better job of herding children into vocational programs when teachers can tell the child isn't fit for the academic environment that college would be, and instead directs them to the more hands-on nature of vocational school, a career path generally without stigma there as compared to here.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:04 am

about eisenhower, valhallen: I knew the eisenhower thing was a bad argument, even as a heavily sarcastic comment. :x

and my schpiel about capitalism was tied to the goals of capitalism. sure, capitalism allows for the technical improvement of everyone, but if maximizing profit is the only CLEARLY STATED goal, and there are no practical factors in the system to stop someone from detaching themselves from the apparent checks the system has on its own, then the means of achieving this goal become rather personal, don't they? It becomes one person's apparent willpower as enacted through spending (albeit with the rule of spending less capital than they make) to achieve the goal of being in effective control of all capital circulating in the whole system.

like, I'm talking "There Will Be Blood" caliber (or higher) economic strong-arming. Making your industry key for so many other industries that you for all intents and purposes own those industries too. Basically, a devoted capitalist, who wants to make money for the sake of money, wants to take over the world's money in one singular dictatorship monarchy monopoly. Is that too unfair? Is that really too strong a generalization?




...

even if this little post is ultimately an adolescent attempt at justifying my position, i hope that i can improve with the link you just gave me. the rationality wiki? wholy hshit. i've got some fuckin' studying to do.
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