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: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.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.
Probably. Some were deemed worth the effort of attacking, and others were not. Cost / benefit / risk and such.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.
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: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.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.
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: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.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).
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: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.Those are mostly concerned with crops, livestock, and pharmaceuticals. Human genetic engineering remains legal, and for the most part, unregulated.
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:Shouldn't it be more like educational achievement per expenditure per student?We see richer schools being more effective (better educational achievement), not necessarily more efficient (educational achievement per dollar spent).
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: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.
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.Q.U. wrote: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.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?
Apparently between 11 and 19 percent of Republicans. Haven't seen any updates in the last few days though.NeoWarrior7 wrote:On that subject, who the hell takes Donald Trump seriously?
Not really, but I saw some openings there, like the Norway unions bit and the economics of outsourcing and inflation.RuffDraft wrote:Should I be offended?Valhallen wrote:Coyote's expression there was close to mine as I was reading your post above.
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: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;
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").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.
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.
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:But should taxes really go to paying everyone's needs? And don't give me "Some people can't help themselves."
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: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.
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?
Is the truth disgusting? What do you think the truth is?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.
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: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.
Then let's examine whether this "proof" is such. As you read, keep the "Big Lie" technique in mind.RuffDraft wrote:The Keynesian model that he's going by doesn't work. It's been proven that it does not.
(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.
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 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?
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: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.
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: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.
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: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."
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: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.
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).
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)?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.
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: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;
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.RuffDraft wrote: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.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.
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.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.
And where do you think most of that came from? Even the Cato Institute agrees.RuffDraft wrote:This country's budget had a $400B deficit under Bush and Obama's is now $1.65T (just this year).
Something like raise taxes? To what they were under Clinton, say?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.
Actually, Ryan's budget is predicted to run a deficit through FY2039. Still think it's serious about reducing the debt?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.
Like what?RuffDraft wrote:If we can just end all the ridiculous government projects
What life do you wish for Americans?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.
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: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.
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:Obama is a pussy, like all Democrats.
Ryan's plan is heading towards removing entitlements, which are privileges of the US legal code, not the Constitution.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.
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.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.
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.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).
*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.
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.
$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: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?
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?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.
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: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.
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.BeeAre wrote:if government can be/is corrupt, who do you think has the best means with which to corrupt them?
*Please read this link, RuffDraft.
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: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?
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.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?
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: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.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.
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: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.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.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.
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.
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:Except we're not talking about people, we're talking about countries. Countries are not people.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?
Insufficient regulation? Though that's more an error of omission than commission.RuffDraft 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?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?
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:Like who? Circuit City?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.
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: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.
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: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.
Animated cartoon. It's a bit more nuanced than a one-liner.RuffDraft wrote:So it's a political cartoon, yes?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).
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:Since when is Wal-Mart a bad company?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?
No plan projects anything remotely close to that. Please address the real situation.RuffDraft wrote:And what happens when our debt gets so large that the interest on our debt becomes equal to our income?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.
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: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.
Charitable giving fell in the recession though.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.
That is correct, though Citizens United is listed first since it was the plaintiff.RuffDraft wrote:The Supreme Court case you're talking about is that one, FEC vs Citizens United, right?
Want me to go through this one, or do you have any points you want to make yourself?RuffDraft wrote:Oh fuck this is awesome look at this. XD XD XD
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:Let's start with "Bush tax cuts".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?
More like subsidizing, but pretty much.Q.U. wrote: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?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.
Looks like 60 million people or so.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.
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"?DaCrum wrote:He's had a very lackluster term. Nothing of note.
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:What are the rules that change matters of a countries' debt vs a person's debt? the sources of the income being so varied?
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: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?
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.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?
*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.
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.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.
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: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.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.
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.RuffDraft wrote: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.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.
Wink wink nudge nudge.
Those are all priorities.RuffDraft wrote: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.Q.U. wrote:The problem is, most of what makes up the deficit spending are considered priorities.
It includes things like student loans, food stamps, and unemployment compensation. Those are priorities too.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.
What about the people who didn't want the government involved in their Medicare or Social Security?RuffDraft wrote: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.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",
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:What if you can't afford the standard of living you have been giving them?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.
And also, what are you trying to imply about America's current standard of living with the above statement?
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:Ah, so he cut taxes by about 4%, for everyone?Q.U. wrote:Let's start with "Bush tax cuts".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?
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: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?
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: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%.
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.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.
*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.
Because deregulation led to a market failure in the financial system?RuffDraft wrote:Do you have some reason to think it was?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?
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:<how loans work>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.
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.
So then, who in the government is responsible for the financial crisis, and how did they cause it? Name names, please.RuffDraft wrote: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.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?
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: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.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?
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: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.
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 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?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.
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: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.
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: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.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?
Or something like that.
Let's have a look at that.RuffDraft wrote:Sure, the "intellectual elite" that love to tell us how much better they are than we are,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?
(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.
Let's have a look at that too.RuffDraft wrote:that they know how to use our money better than we do, and publicly.
(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?
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:...yes. Is that not what I've been saying all along?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?
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.RuffDraft wrote: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.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.