What the frick?!

A Free And Independent Scotland.

Moderator: Mod Squad

Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Mon Feb 28, 2011 5:45 am

RuffDraft wrote:Lee Doren comments on recent news.
Fuck those teachers, fuck their unions, fuck NPR, fuck Arthur the Aardvark...
This whole thing pisses me off. Mr. Doren is spot on.
Would you like me to critique the video, or would you like to discuss anything in particular?

RuffDraft wrote:The President should not be making the budget a political tool...
Lolwhat? Only like every budget ever had been used as a political tool. How would you propose NOT having the budget be a political tool, since resource allocation is a major point of politics.

RuffDraft wrote:
DaCrum wrote:Rich people don't create jobs. Lower upper to upper middle does. 80% income tax on individuals, not corporations. So your point is moot for now. You asked me to fix the budget. I gave you a solution.
That's utterly ridiculous! When was the last time you heard about someone who makes $50k or even $80k per year hiring a few thousand people and being able to pay them?
Huuuge strawman there. Since there are more "lower upper to upper middle" than "rich" people, each lower-income person need not hire as many people as each rich person to result in lower-income employers employing more people. Seriously though, both "rich" and "lower upper to middle" people create jobs. Which group creates more depends on how you define the categories.

RuffDraft wrote:If we're going to spend money, we should have the funds available. We can't keep spending more than we take in...
Incorrect, actually. A debt can grow arbitrarily and be sustainable indefinitely, so long as its nominal growth is no more than the rate of inflation. in real terms, such a debt would at worst remain the same over time. If the real value of the economy is growing, the sustainable limit is higher. As a more concrete example, consider how long the United States could sustain an annual deficit of $1. The problem with the current debt/deficit is that it is surpassing the limits described above.

RuffDraft wrote:
DaCrum wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:Obama is waging a dangerous gamble on the economy. And if it goes bust, then we are stuck paying the bill. Obama's rich, he doesn't have a damn thing to worry about, and his administration is just doing whatever it wants. He's violating the constitution and he doesn't care. To him, it's nothing more than toilet paper.
Better than Bush. Why? Because Bush's fiscal policy is what got us into this mess.
You're deflecting. Why did we elect Obama in the first place if all he's doing is making it worse? If I'm wrong about Obama, that means the economy should be getting better
This seems rather relevant. This as well. DaCrum was pointing out something to the extent that each criticism you made there of Obama applies much more to Bush.

RuffDraft wrote:Like the Federal Reserve Bank (not actually a federal bank),
Semantics. The Federal Reserve banks are not owned by the federal government, but the federal government does use them to implement policy.

RuffDraft wrote:which "lost track of" something like nine trillion dollars of the bank bailout money late 2009?
That's pretty impressive, considering that the bailouts totaled much less than that. Perhaps you were thinking of something a few orders of magnitude smaller? A citation would be nice in any case.

RuffDraft wrote:And that's after Bush was out of office. You want to blame Bush for that? You can't have it both ways, dude.
Bush signed the bailout. The President does not personally carry out every function of the government. If your complaint is with the bailout itself, look to Bush. If your complaint is with implementation, look to the agencies that actually carry it out, and identify what caused the problem.

BeeAre wrote:...i'm just like, popping in to say that it's hugely irresponsible for anyone to identify with republicans or democrats as the party that "is doing more good/less harm for the country" because the parties as labels and groups are fucking terrible things.
Republicans and Democrats propose policies, some of which are implemented. Those policies and the actions of the parties themselves have effects, some of which can be evaluated as good/bad, tallied up, and used to compare the good/bad done by each party.

DaCrum wrote:Parties are stupid...
And yet parties are a dominant emergent property of political systems like ours. Any ideas for what it would take to not have parties?

RuffDraft wrote:If businesses now have to pay 80% of their profits to the government, how much less does that give them as a budget to hire new employees, or even pay their current ones?
I'd say NOTHING LESS. Because the money that goes to pay employees is not profit. A 100% tax on profit would not reduce a profitable business's ability to meet operational expenses at all.

RuffDraft wrote:And how much less does that give them to donate to charities?
Charitable donations are typically tax deductible anyway, so again, it wouldn't change things.

RuffDraft wrote:As I said, with an 80% tax rate, we'd be getting less revenue.
Though the Laffer curve has some conceptual validity, historical data implies that a top marginal rate of 80% is not on the far side, or at least not much below the peak. During the growth of the halcyon 1950s, the top rate was over 90%. EagleMan mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating. To illustrate why this is so, consider Soros's short selling of the Pound. Suppose his billion dollar profit were subject to a 90% tax. That's still a hundred million in profit for a few days of work, well worth it in my estimation, even for a billionaire.

RuffDraft wrote:Regardless of what you think of Reagan, he proved that higher taxes do not equate to higher revenues. He cut taxes, and revenues increased.
While Reagan reduced income tax rates, he increased the number of things that were subject to tax and increased payroll taxes. Overall, the increases largely offset the cuts. Unsurprisingly, similar overall rates applied to a growing economy led to increased revenue. Compare this to revenue after the Bush tax cuts, which were not offset by large tax increases elsewhere. Compare both to the Clinton years, which had more revenue (as a percent of GDP and relative to expenses), better growth, and lower unemployment.

RuffDraft wrote:If Exxon Mobil makes $1 billion a year with an 80% tax rate, they pay $800,000,000. If they make $40 billion with a 28% tax rate, they pay $11,200,000,000. We don't have a taxation problem, we have a spending problem!
Last year, ExxonMobil had an income of $383 billion, with $31 billion in profit. Taxable income was about $53 billion. Since that tax doesn't affect the oil market fundamentals (and thus the maximally profitable production amount and price), with an 80% tax rate, ExxonMobil would still have $383 billion in income, $53 billion of which would be taxable. So an 80% tax would bring in around $20 billion more in taxes now. The effect of reduced profit would be to reduce long-term investment, as other investments became better in comparison. However, the $10 billion or so profit ExxonMobil would have with the 80% tax rate still represents a decent return on investment, with better long-term prospects since oil prices will likely rise in the future.

RuffDraft wrote:And going back to unemployment, let's say Wal-Mart currently employs 2 million employees. Let's say that with an 80% tax rate they can only afford to pay half a million. That's 1.5 million people that now have to collect Unemployment from the government. And let's say that Unemployment is roughly $800 per month. Do the math there. Now imagine that, all across America, with every business that currently employs more than a handful of people. We'd have mass layoffs, but instead of happening in just one company or factory, they'd be nationwide. All of those people would now have to be on Unemployment, which would dramatically increase the amount we have to spend.

Do you understand my concern here?
Walmart is larger and less profitable than ExxonMobil, but the situation is similar to the above. The optimally profitable number of employees does not depend on the corporate tax rate. Income that goes to cover business expenses like employees is not taxed. As above, the systemic concern is not what you described, but decreasing investment over the long term as capital is diverted from retail to more profitable investments. Walmart would probably fare worse than ExxonMobil in this because of its slimmer profit margin. The end result would probably be a slightly higher retail markup to make that segment of the economy worthwhile to invest in again. And since Walmart is winning the price competition already, it may actually see increased business as people shift from other retailers under increased economization pressure.

RuffDraft wrote:
How about we stop the tax cuts and reduce spending?
What tax cuts are you referring to? The Bush tax cuts? Over ten years ago? That means that for ten years, those have been the rates people have been paying. So at what point do you stop calling them "tax cuts?"
The Bush tax cuts, by design, were to expire at the end of last year. As it was supposed to be a discrete reduction in taxes over a set period of time, it's appropriate to call it a tax cut at any particular time. Since the status quo was that rates would increase in 2011, continuing the Bush tax cuts for a few more years is itself another tax cut. If the Bush tax cuts had been legislated as indefinite, it would be proper to speak of the cuts as an event rather than a state, but that's not the way it happened.

RuffDraft wrote:
We can cut Social Security since it's basically a Ponzi scheme anyway.
Tell that to the thousands of Baby Boomers collecting right now, you pompous ass.
Interesting. You say you want to cut spending, but you're not willing to cut this. And you tell me that we need to do things no one likes. So much for that argument.
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.

RuffDraft wrote:
Let's eliminate Medicare and Medicaid since most doctors won't accept it without more money from the government to cover the cost of treatments.
Or we could fix health care permanently. Ya know, do the things that all the other countries are doing.
Like what? Make it government-run? Everywhere that it's tried, it ends up bankrupting the economy. Exactly what makes that good?
Everywhere? Blatantly not true. Keep in mind that, WITH THE PRESENT SYSTEM, the US government spends a larger percentage of its budget on health care than nations with universal health care.

RuffDraft wrote:
So your argument here is that even though the Democrats are rich and were in power during the first two years of Obama's term, when they racked up three trillion dollars or so of debt, the Republicans are somehow representative of the entire rich body and deserve an equal share of the blame?
No, this is based on the demographics of typical Republicans. Many, many, MANY rich folk are fans of the Republican party. Typically, the Democrats demographics are urbanites, minorities, and the poor. So they don't represent the rich.
That's so backwards I don't even feel like arguing it.
Ahem.

RuffDraft wrote:
I'm beginning to think you don't understand the basic concepts of lagging and leading factors.
Who was talking about lagging and leading, and what does it have to do with this discussion?
You had identified certain things as indicating economic trouble, when, as pointed out by DaCrum, they are lagging economic factors that represent past, not future economic trouble. For example, unemployment is fairly high right now despite the resumption in GDP growth. This means that the growing economy has not yet offset the job loss from the recession, not that the economy will get worse in the future.

DaCrum wrote:Human life > Any amount of government debt.
Not really. If the government spends too much on health care, its (and the general population's) ability to perform other functions may be hindered, resulting in greater harm than the benefit provided by health care. Do you think it would be worth it to spend a trillion dollars to extend a single person's life by a year?

RuffDraft wrote:
we do have a taxation problem. It's called insufficient taxes.
No, it's called excessive spending. Let's say that our income is constant, and our expenditures are variable; X and Y. If X > Y then we have no problem. If X < Y, you'd say we have to increase X, which we cannot do (easily). Why can't we simply decrease Y? You're effectively saying we need to work harder so the government can have more money.
The problem is large deficit (by definition a cash flow issue) and debt (the integral of deficit with respect to time). As such, both income and spending are important. The current deficit is exceptionally large because tax income dropped sharply (keeping income constant through a recession requires increased tax rates) while expenses increased sharply (bailouts, stimulus, entitlement growth, etc.). It is reasonable to expect that the optimal fix for a deficit is to both increase revenue and decrease expenses. If the cost of raising taxes is so great that no amount of cuts would harm the economy more than any tax increase however small, taxes probably should have been lower in the first place. And history shows that the US economy works just fine with considerably higher tax rates than at present.

RuffDraft wrote:
Like I said, piss-tinted lenses.
Better than the rose-tinted ones you wear.
I would propose that superachromatic lenses are preferable, perhaps with swappable spectral filters.

DaCrum wrote:We've been in debt since... Probably the beginning of our nation. But! If you'd like...
There has indeed been a debt from the beginning. The US borrowed heavily to finance the Revolutionary War. The US has a high credit rating because it has paid back its past debts.

DaCrum wrote:
If he wants to push this "Green" agenda of his, he can figure out how we're all going to fuel our cars if gas stops existing first, and then ban off-shore drilling.
Well, considering most of our oil isn't even domestic(I wish I could say the same about our beer), banning off-shore drilling does nothing to us.
A large fraction of US oil is domestic though, and a lot of that comes from offshore drilling. So a long-term ban would have some effect.

DaCrum wrote:We're still 50, 60 years from peak oil. By then we have... Hydroelectric, solar, nuclear, possibly fusion and fission, geothermal... We'll be fine. Also, before you say it, ~60% of our gas comes from NAFTA partners.
US domestic production peaked decades ago, and world production may have peaked recently. And because oil is fairly cheap to ship around the world, global supply and demand matter a lot.

RuffDraft wrote:
DaCrum wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:What are corporations if not large businesses? And who runs large businesses if not people?
Well corporations legally act like a single entity rather than a business, thus law is significantly different between a corporation and private business.
You're partially right; they pay taxes differently from other kinds of businesses. But they still pay taxes. The owner of a corporation pays a different income tax rate solely on the income from their corporation.
Which is... irrelevant. The point is that, legally and operationally, the employees of a corporation work for the corporation, not any particular people in it. They are paid from accounts maintained by the corporation itself, not the personal accounts of the owners. As such, the (perhaps rich) people who own a corporation do not themselves hire the workers. Do you know of any private individual who employs thousands of people? Such people exist, but can you make the case that they are representative of rich people in the US?

RuffDraft wrote:They also pay more property tax because of the land they own, and because they (probably) own a lot of real estate, they pay property taxes on all of that... there are dozens of taxes that rich businessmen pay. Some millionaires and billionaires pay between 50% and 60% of their overall income (corporate or otherwise) as taxes. Meanwhile people who make 50k or less get a lot of their taxes back come April 16. Don't tell me that the rich don't pay enough.
Do you think that small property owners don't pay property tax? Because property tax is flat relative to the value of property. Your statements here don't address the question of whether the rich pay enough. But what do you think is "enough"? And why?

RuffDraft wrote:Patriotism denotes holding your country in high regard and striving to make it a better place. It does not mean that when the government decides that it needs more of your money (to pay for things you don't approve of) that you are supposed to be happy about it without good reason. What you're describing is Serfdom; Taxation without representation; in other words, what we left England to get away from.
There's also something to be said for "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

RuffDraft wrote:Let's say that the government, even operating on a properly balanced budget, wanted to enforce a curfew of 10PM for anyone 20 and under, and they decided that to fund and enforce this idea, they needed to raise taxes. According to this idea you have of "patriotism," no one need complain because the only way you will disagree with this plan of theirs is if you are unpatriotic, regardless of what your reason is. That makes no sense.
Which is not, of course, what DaCrum was saying. Notably absent in his statements were questions of representation, activities beyond "services," and value judgments about dissent. And such policies do exist, which are funded with taxes.

RuffDraft wrote:
I would definitely consider Canada a winner because people aren't being bankrupt by ineffective health care options.
What does that even mean? That doesn't stop their health care from actually being worse than America's. People are not better off simply because the government runs something.
That article contains a number of rather specious arguments. i think that the conclusion, "From telecommunications to retail, deregulation and market competition have driven prices down and quality and productivity up. Health care is long overdue for the same prescription." is representative. Regarding telecommunications, the massive economies of scale and barriers to entry are textbook conditions for natural monopolies, which are prevented only by regulation. In such cases, regulation is required for market competition to function. And the main failing of the US health system is its cost. The US system provides pretty good care... for those who can afford it, at high cost due in part to market-driven waste. Single payer systems are good at providing care to the poor and providing incentives for preventative care, while being susceptible to lower incentives for innovation and shortages due to the price ceiling. Mixed systems can have the advantages of both, like the growing private care supplementing the Canadian system mentioned in the article, or the public option dropped from the US reforms (as a compromise, though the public option was itself a compromise with single payer).

RuffDraft wrote:
Like you even know my opinion of Obama. Or maybe you think you know it, but you certainly don't understand it.
I'm just going off of how you seem to defend him, or try to shift the blame away from him, regardless of what I say.
Is DaCrum correct though? If so, such statements do not imply a personal bias, and do not themselves serve to indicate DaCrum's opinion of Obama. Conversely, your accusing Obama of various things does not say much about you opinion of him... if you are correct.

RuffDraft wrote:
You serious? Some of these promises are things that Obama simply made speeches about.
That's pretty much what a political promise is.
No, a promise is "This stimulus package will create three or four million jobs," a promise which I notice the link you provided me does not touch on.
A political promise is something like "I will do X." "X will eventually result in Y," is a prediction, not a promise. As such, if Y does not come to pass despite X, the politician has made an incorrect prediction, not reneged on the promise. If the politician had said something like, "I will accomplish Y, damn the torpedos," then Y not coming about would represent a broken promise.

The link there does actually talk about it, and Obama's prediction was actually that it would "create or save" those jobs. That was an uncharacteristically savvy (for Democrats) wording, as while it sounds good, and may be based on some economic rationale, it's pretty much impossible to check against reality. That makes a claim about net jobs, which can't be known for sure since we can't compare against the situation without the stimulus.

RuffDraft wrote:
"Repeal the Bush tax cuts for higher incomes" and "Extend child tax credits and marriage-penalty fixes". I wouldn't say they oppose. And those were 2 specifics, not the same thing. If they were repeated it would be like "Repeal the Bush tax cut for higher income" and "Extend higher income taxes to pre-Bush levels". That's a repeat.
No, these two items do constitute a repeat, because those were both parts of the Bush tax cuts. His promise was to keep parts of the Bush tax cuts, including the child tax credits, marriage penalty fixes, etc. They are all part of the same bill. Distinguishing different parts of the bill and saying you want some but not others does not separate the two as different promises. It is not a separate promise. He came to a compromise.
Regardless of what bill they were in, the income tax cuts and the credits are functionally independent. One can pass legislation that extends the tax cuts without the credits, and vice-versa. Because they are not functionally linked, they are separate promises.

RuffDraft wrote:
In fact, there are probably more rich on the Democrats' side and there are probably more Republican politicians that appeal to the common man.
Right. So the common man, who needs health care. The common man, who can't afford private education. The common man, who earns less than $50,000.
This is all deflection and not worth my time.
Not quite. As of late, Republicans have been a lot better at communicating to voters. For example, George W. Bush, though extremely wealthy, Yale-educated, and from Connecticut, successfully portrayed himself as a folksy cowboy, someone who one would like to have a beer with, thus emotionally appealing to the common man. He appealed to the wealthy through policy by giving them large tax cuts and pushing for deregulation. Democrats tend to do that somewhat in reverse, relying more on policies that benefit the common man to persuade people, which often come at the expense of regulations and increased taxes for the wealthy.

RuffDraft wrote:
As for the fundraising, the fact that I can earn money in a fund raiser doesn't mean I'm rich.
If you have 100 friends who can pay the maximum of $2,400, and your competitor has 1000 friends who can pay an average of $240 each, you are evenly matched. The Democrats gathered nearly $200,000,000 more than the Republicans. Your argument is invalid.
Non sequitur. Are you saying that Democrats had more donors, or that each donor gave more? Because the exceptionally large number of Obama donations made the news at the time. The totals indicate that while more people donated to Obama, resulting in greater overall funds, a greater portion of the donations were "small" and "medium" than in the donations for McCain.

RuffDraft wrote:
Obama said that oil is "the fuel of the past." Do you drive a car to work every day? I do, and I find that comment utterly absurd.
It's energy from sunshine millions of years ago. So it's the 'fuel of the past'. We're burning what was buried for millions of years ago.
Ridiculous. It's a fuel of the present because it is still in use. It will be in use for at least the next six years. Until they come up with a better way of powering a car, one that works, we are still dependent on oil. The fact that he calls it a "fuel of the past" is simply indicative of his "green" agenda, and the fact that he's willing to let other companies fail because of his agenda just shows that he doesn't care who suffers as long as he gets his way.
You made a claim about Obama's statement. Dacrum pointed out that there are other possible interpretations. As oil is currently used, it is a fuel of the present. As it was used in the past, it is a fuel of the past. If you want to support your claim that it means a particular thing, the burden is on you to provide the context and, from that, build a case for your interpretation. Saying that it's ridiculous does not do that.

RuffDraft wrote:
And what gives him the right to place a moratorium on off-shore drilling? Where does it say in the Constitution that he can?
The Constitution is older than combustion. So probably nowhere in the Constitution does it mention where he can make a moratorium.
Exactly. If the Constitution represents the Rule of Law in America, and the President just performs illegal maneuvers around it when it doesn't meet up with his goals, then there is no Rule of Law in America. Contrary to what we might wish, the President does not have the power to do whatever the fuck he wants.
The President has pretty broad executive powers, which are greatly extended in times of emergency. This is well-established. Do you think that the drilling moratorium was unjustified (distinct from not being the action you would have preferred), or that is was worse than what Bush did regarding actions of questionable legality?

RuffDraft wrote:He illegally banned off-shore drilling, which forced companies to file for bankruptcy in the middle of a recession. All he cares about is pushing his agendas. He's demonstrated that he doesn't care who stands in his way, he will shove them aside without a thought.
Citation? How have you reached these conclusions?

RuffDraft wrote:I do hope you're not just going to refute everything I say. I thought I was at least partially right about most of my points.
I'd consider being wrong about everything more notable than being partially wrong. An anti-oracle can be almost as useful as an oracle, after all. Also, I would have a harder time refuting things if you made your arguments irrefutable in the first place. As an aid to that, you might consider what it would take to refute something, and revise accordingly.

BeeAre wrote:so like, anyway, have you taken statistics courses? they show you pretty solid ways to reliably interpret data.
I would propose that solid logical reasoning is more fundamental, as statistical models can be derived from it, while without it, the statistical models may not be applied properly. Cognitive biases can cause problems with that.

BeeAre wrote:if someone's success ever harmed someone else's chance at success, they should be punished for that success.
that means the rich don't pay enough. heh. *puts on troll glasses, flies away from thread*
I would propose that such things may be beneficial if the benefit exceeds the harm, as the net value for society is positive. This may require some corrective actions, such as a tax, to sustain. E.g. people A and B perform an action that makes A $10 and costs B $5. A tax of $6-$9 can be applied to person A and given to person B to alter the cost/benefit of the action from +/- to +/+, thereby encouraging both parties to perform the action, resulting in greater overall wealth.

More topically, it can be beneficial to allow the wealthy to make money at the expense of others, so long as there is a net gain for society.

RuffDraft wrote:@BR: I am richer...
If you work for a salary and do not own the means of production... you might be in the proletariat. Exploiting others for monetary gain is more a bourgeois thing.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:you being richer than me does not make you better than me or worse than me, man.
Exactly. And that's why someone who makes $1 billion dollars a year should not pay a higher taxe rate than someone making $50k.
Entirely separate issues.

BeeAre wrote:first: i am saying the rich should pay more because NO ONE SHOULD BE RICH OR POOR.
Which is a practical impossibility. And a questionable goal even if it were possible. Check out Q.U.'s explanation for why the rich should pay more.

RuffDraft wrote:And if you want to talk about this ridiculous game of class warfare you like to play, then "No rich" also means "no jobs." "No jobs" means "no taxes." "No taxes" means "government bankruptcy."
Because there are no such things as self-employed people, small businesses, cooperatives, or government jobs. Or corporations, for that matter (as a corporation is legally and financially distinct from the people who make it up or own it, who are not necessarily individually wealthy).

RuffDraft wrote:Next we can work on the issue of Union Dues being given away to politicians to fund their political campaigns. It's a conflict of interest and a waste of Union Dues.
How is it a conflict of interest? Unions advocate for their members, and political advocacy comes with the territory. Do you think it would be improper for Wisconsin unions to fund the campaign of whoever runs against Scott Walker in 2014? If so, why?

Q.U. wrote:I'm too liberal to agree with policies forcing people to share their wealth or possessions. In definition it's no different than robbery, having something you own taken away from you without your say in the matter.
Depending on what exactly you mean there to, taxes qualify as that. Social contract and such.

Q.U. wrote:But let's make a simplified model of taxes to finish the silly bickering of people about how high taxes should be and how they should be applied to different income groups.
...
I believe the "optimal" tax rates are fluid and changing, but they CAN be defined for a given moment or situation. It's like nucleus stability in nuclear physics, all you have to do is to find the magic numbers. The best solution being one that slowly helps fix the old problems without causing new ones, like a double-magic nucleus.
And that's why progressive taxation is less bad than the alternatives. The problem is that calculating an optimal setup depends on the goals to be achieved, and people don't all agree on that. 4 internets for the nuclear physics though.

BeeAre wrote:RD: your questions assume that you are still functioning under capitalism since you advocate the exchange of money. by me disregarding that assumption, yes, i throw out your premise. it's not me disrespecting you, it's me disrespecting the need for money at all.
Not necessarily. Money is a medium of exchange, and using money does not require a capitalist economy. And money makes a lot of things a lot easier.

BeeAre wrote:socialism is a form of government, communism is a form of economy. they are not in opposition to each other, and you can in fact have both at the same time. socialism is a government model as a distribution of participation (resources follow secondarily, which means it is easier for socialism to go to), communism (which) is an economic model where the distribution of material resources is measured and sent out according to a standard of measurement best appropriated to the situation. The two ideas are not opposed, otherwise a lot of people against them wouldn't be grouping them together; they're not even aligned, they are parallel ideas.
Not really, as usually used. But definitions vary anyway. What are the attributes of the system you want to discuss?

BeeAre wrote:And if you want to talk about this ridiculous game of class warfare I like to play, then no money means nothing stopping a government from giving everyone who wants a job a job, which means low unemployment. Anything you refer to like taxes and bankruptcy are irrelevant to a model without money.
Money allows nominal measures of an economy, but without money, there can still be unemployment, taxes, and bankruptcy based on real value.

BeeAre wrote:I badmouth the vastly rich who are not contributing most of their fortunes to helping people.
By historical standards, average people in developed countries are vastly rich, and most do not contribute most of their resources to helping people. Makes one think about needles and camels, doesn't it?

BeeAre wrote:You seem to think that you need money in every situation to provide incentive for people to work. I think we've already talked about how it isn't for any job that is not strictly manual labor or production. There's a threshold for when money stops working as an adequate incentive to work, and that threshold is very low for a job that has 'creative' work involved in it.
I think you may be thinking of happiness, which does top out after a certain income. Money appears to be an incentive at all levels up to multibillionaires, but as you said, other motivations can be sufficient.

BeeAre wrote:The only people who get involved in class warfare are those who try to perpetuate the illusion of differences between people.
But there are differences between people. People have different skills, amounts of wealth, connections, etc. Those differences may not matter for some considerations (moral worth, say), but they can matter very much for others (power and influence, say). And class warfare usually refers to the conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat over economic power, not something illusory.

BeeAre wrote:Now, seriously, what's wrong with communism that makes you dislike it?...
Help me in a discussion, rather than an argument, to find a model we could both agree on.
In my opinion, the thing that's wrong with communism is that it can't withstand large-scale contact with human nature. It has sometimes worked on very small scales, but I don't know of any model that would plausibly work for anything like the real world.

DaCrum wrote:So this new law prevents the workers from meeting together. Also known as assemble. So it's unconstitutional.
Freedom of assembly does not protect unions' ability to collectively bargain. Rather, it protects their ability to gather together and express their opinions.

Mathias wrote:From my experience, unions only make things more difficult than they have to be.
Which is why things like this should be kept in mind.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAre wrote:RD: your questions assume that you are still functioning under capitalism since you advocate the exchange of money. by me disregarding that assumption, yes, i throw out your premise. it's not me disrespecting you, it's me disrespecting the need for money at all.
Mmmmmm. Sorry, but I'm a hardcore capitalist. I actually dream of owning a business some day and becoming rich off it. I have some good ideas that I'm trying to churn out into an actual plan. If I get rich, the vast majority of my money will either be recycled into the company or kept to myself, that's just the way that is. Does that make me a bad person?
No, but neither does it address BeeAre's point there.

RuffDraft wrote:
BeeAr wrote:And if you want to talk about this ridiculous game of class warfare I like to play, then no money means nothing stopping a government from giving everyone who wants a job a job, which means low unemployment.
Are you telling me that the government being in charge of something always works out great for everyone? (education, mail, health care; all of these are worse in the public sector versus the private sector)
It doesn't always work out great for everyone, but it often works out better than a free market solution would. I assume you agree for things like the military, roads, police, and fire protection. How about enforcement of safety and health regulations? Generally, a government outperforms the private sector in providing goods and services with large positive externalities, because a market left to its own devices will underproduce them.

Take education. I assume you're referring there to how some private schools outperform some public schools. Fair enough, but consider what the situation would be if the government did not provide for public education. Only those wealthy enough to pay the full cost of education would be able to send their children to school. Consequently, many (probably a large minority of) children would not receive much formal education. The human capital of that and future generations would be greatly reduced, greatly impairing economic development. Thus, public education is a Very Important thing.

Now consider the USPS. It's competes capitalistically with FedEx and UPS for packages, and for that it is competitive. It also has a monopoly over standard letters. How do you conclude that it performs worse than the private sector?

Also, that's not what BeeAre was saying there.

RuffDraft wrote:Many, if not most, rich people own businesses--and each business creates jobs for thousands if not millions of people
There is only one business in the US that employs more than one million people, and about half the employees in the US work for businesses with 500 or fewer employees. And those that hire large numbers of people tend to be corporations owned by multiple shareholders, who are not necessarily rich individually.

RuffDraft wrote:A few years back, in D.C., Michelle Rhee proposed this: If teachers wanted to keep their tenure, they could only be paid what they were currently being paid (about $70K plus benefits); if they wanted to drop their tenure, they could be paid almost twice that. However, the Union leaders found that idea so threatening they wouldn't even let it go to a vote.

The Union leaders claim to favor better working conditions and higher salaries for the employees, but all they really want is to get rich off the Union's dues and make deals with politicians for more money.

It kinda upsets me.
Consider what would rationally motivate Rhee to offer that deal. It implies the estimation that the cost of nearly doubling salary would be less than the cost of tenure. That implies that there was a plan to fire a lot of teachers who took the deal at the next opportunity. Not a good deal for the union to take. Though I suppose that letting it go through would weed out the teachers dumb enough to take it, if it was an individual choice offer.

RuffDraft wrote:
DaCrum wrote:17) When Barack Obama was sworn in, the Dow Jones was at 6500. Today, it’s at 12,400, almost double where it was. And at that time, the economy was shedding 700,000 jobs per month, a trend that has been arrested and reversed ever since. From that, you deduce Obama’s the one who wrecked the economy.
Cute statistic. I could also point out that in 2007, under Bush, the Dow Jones did remarkably well, climbing to 14,000. And yes, Bush was very likely responsible in some way for the recession, but the fact is that when B. Hussein Obama was sworn in the Dow was about 8500, not 6500. About two months later it had fallen below 6500.
Note that that was the bottoming out of the Dow for the recession. After that, it increased pretty quickly. Now, what happened just before the turnaround? The stimulus bill passed. Thoughts?

RuffDraft wrote:B. Hussein Obama
G. Walker Bush
W. Jefferson Blythe
G. Herbert Walker Bush
R. Wilson Reagan
J. Earl Carter
L. Lynch King
R. Milhous Nixon
L. Baines Johnson
J. Fitsgerald Kennedy
D. David Eisenhower
H. S Truman
F. Delano Roosevelt
H. Clark Hoover
J. Calvin Coolidge
W. Gamaliel Harding
T. Woodrow Wilson

DaCrum wrote:29) Your spiritual hero, the Grande Dame of the conservative movement, is Ayn Rand; the dedicated anti-socialist. And yet, she herself in her later years, had no problem secretly cashing in on social security and Medicare.
@RuffDraft: I was going to mention this about Rand, but DaCrum beat me to it. From what you've been saying, it seems that you have a fairly Randian view of things. What do you think it says about the merits of a government-provided social safety net when such a paragon of extreme individualism makes use of it?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:50 pm

...I should really remember it include sources when I battle against DaCrum. Makes things easier for when Valhallen powerbombs my posts. Heh.

I'll admit you are right on most of what you say; you pretty much have me over a barrel, as my grandfather probably said at one point in his life before dying at age 99*. So I'm not going to debate you on this stuff. In some cases we even agree on a few things.

You asked for a few sources, such as the nine trillion dollars lost by the Federal Reserve, and the ban on off-shore drilling causing companies to go bankrupt in the middle of a recession. So there you are. I hope that clarifies things...



(*) My grandfather probably stopped saying "over a barrel" many years before he died, so you can ignore that comment as you see fit.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:49 pm

Depending on what exactly you mean there to, taxes qualify as that. Social contract and such.

Well, you have a point, we are all bound by who we are and the very classification of belonging to a country and its government does mean we all fall into one category and have the same set definitions of property and public property. That still does not mean that people who have to pay more don't have a reason to find the system unfair.

And that's why progressive taxation is less bad than the alternatives. The problem is that calculating an optimal setup depends on the goals to be achieved, and people don't all agree on that.

Indeed. That's why instead of oscillating between Democrats and Republicans in the president's chair that switch each 5 or 10 years and thus never having the time to finish anything properly I would consider monarchy or tyranny more efficient than democracy. Democracy makes the system too fluid for deep change and long-term plans/goals to be pursued. Lest both/all sides taking office through that time agree on something, but that's rare.
I think US should at least start trying to slow down the debt increase by now. Thus the setup should be in favour of saving money at the lowest possible social and economic expense.

4 internets for the nuclear physics though.

I knew you'd like.

Not necessarily. Money is a medium of exchange, and using money does not require a capitalist economy. And money makes a lot of things a lot easier.

Yeah, I don't get why BR keeps trying to play this anti-capitalist hippie. Money is one of the most useful inventions of the world. It's been developed by every known isolated civilisation at some point independently. It helps equate values of products and services to a common denominator making exchange easier. If BR postulates that money only cause trouble as in "people kill people for money" then it's a moot point since people would kill people for goods of any sort, with or without money involved.

In my opinion, the thing that's wrong with communism is that it can't withstand large-scale contact with human nature. It has sometimes worked on very small scales, but I don't know of any model that would plausibly work for anything like the real world.

Thank you Val. I've been putting that through since that previous thread myself.
Perfect execution of communism in a stable manner simply fails most reality checks.

(But then BR will come and say that people are good and hard-working by nature, so it would work anyway.)
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:07 am

it's not so much the point system of value as the ease with which these point systems and how they differ cause such powerful abuse to cause such amazingly perverse situations for the living conditions of so many.

Say what you will about the application of real value of things, if we make an assumption that a government of even a tribal level of complexity has a fairly stable economy of real goods, it is much harder to play the stock market against itself to generate wealth from the system itself when all the capital being invested has a real world application. I'm all for the "gold standard", if you will, in a world without money. :\

A quick tangent into Valhallen's vague sort of admonishment against me for us vastly wealthy first-world commoners: it is a given that we have pretty nice lives. Would it be more useful to give people the world over the resources of our relatively wealthy lifestyles, or more useful to go a step beyond that and press, as a cultural issue, that people should strive to make the billions of dollars it takes to snort expensive drugs off of your own slaves?

I'm all for someone really trying to accomplish a dream, man, but I am sympathetic to suffering, and want it to stop, because yeah, it makes me feel bad that i have some benefits that others just won't get, and i am ultimately greedy like everyone else because i don't just want to not give it up, i want to have others help me get more of it, but i would insist that i want everyone else to have it to, and justify myself through that want to Spread The Wealth. Anyone not satisfied with that level of philosophical rationalization can claim moral high ground over me, I guess.

And man, I've really begun to digress here: My real issue is that there is a significant SIGNIFICANT change in the very way the tip top peak of resource-holding people begins to view the world. In many of them, this becomes a good thing, and they do what they can to actually be good to the world. However, a lot of the people at this level of control are goddamned abusive, so it seems reasonable to, with today's technology, try to begin imposing restrictions on those people, to quell them their privileges simply from how far it distances them from other people. :[

But I don't assume people are "good" with nothing attached to that, Q.U., man. I assume people want a generally stable way to explore their reality and increase their knowledge and collection of experiences, and that those goals, because they are capable of being communicated, are also capable of being, for the most part, able to operate with each other.

It just makes sense to me logically that if you have something you want and another person has something they want and you both can do things to get what you want, that in the reality we inhabit where there are laws of nature like time and gravity that dictate what things you're going to do to get what you want, it would make sense to try and want the other person's goal accomplished too, so that the both of you can work together.

That's ALL I'm going to argue about the nature of people's morality: that when you lay it out simply that working together is generally more efficient (and let's not talk about the levels OF efficiency please, we all know that there are types of things that having more and more people will not benefit), people's natural inclination would be to cooperate. That's all. Hard-working has nothing to fucking do with it. :[

Okay, so I'll drip back a little into more worldly engagement and discourse now.

I agree with Valhallen on a recurring theme in his posts. Let me try and figure out how to say it, though. Like. RuffDraft keeps insisting that it's terrible that corporate taxes etc etc go up etc etc and that Obama is the guy who is doing it etc etc and George Soros is evil etc etc

But it seems like there's really not much evidence to support that position. I'm not really saying this right, I know, but I am hesitant to say something without being able to term it properly. Corporate Entities do not historically seem to be a source of economic stability, and those business rights exercised by corporations are the ones most threatened by the decisions of the United States Federal Government through recent policies passed by the Congress and President. Is that close? Yeesh, it's tough to find the right words, because I don't want to put words in anybody's mouth! :(

In his latest post, I'm not sure how the youtube video's article (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid= ... q2B3XeGKok) is coming up with the total figure of 9 trillion here, but it seems to be an aggregate number from a bunch of stuff, and to cite that as simply 9 trillion dollars misplaced seems misleading. I won't really comment on it yet, but the article itself isn't revealing its specifics here. The only way to get information is to personally contact the reporter or publisher, which to me is strange on its own. :\

Like, I wish he would acknowledge this more thoroughly, because I've cornered him in arguments on Skype before and gotten him to admit stuff and he'll say I haven't on AIM or something, I swear it's in the history somewhere, but damnit, he won't change his position, despite you making this argument, Val. D:

Like, a flat tax is a bad idea. Social Programs are good ideas. State-run Healthcare works in plenty of countries that are just as broke as the United States. Unions did play significant rolls in the development of modern business ethics practices. Obama is not a bad president. Glenn Beck is crazy.

Those things RD will not admit, despite all you've said, Valhallen. :P

BUT

The real truth of it, RD, is that I am upset so often not really at you or the things I disagree with you on, but myself these days, because I used to be better at debate, and well, I used to be able to at least make you and other people go "well I will think about that" instead of feeling like I couldn't change anyone's mind at all. I feel like an old man all the time these days. -_- I just want to make sure you understand that I think you are a wonderful person. D:

you too, Valhallen.

and even you, Q.U.

not DaCrum though. WHAT A JERK nah i'm kidding. big gay communist group hug.

I'm going to go lay down now. pills.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:05 am

I'm all for the "gold standard", if you will, in a world without money. :\

I just cannot imagine how global trade would work without a common currency. Most likely it would just become one huge clusterfuck.

And man, I've really begun to digress here: My real issue is that there is a significant SIGNIFICANT change in the very way the tip top peak of resource-holding people begins to view the world. In many of them, this becomes a good thing, and they do what they can to actually be good to the world. However, a lot of the people at this level of control are goddamned abusive, so it seems reasonable to, with today's technology, try to begin imposing restrictions on those people, to quell them their privileges simply from how far it distances them from other people. :[

And actually all we need to do to make you stop feeling bad for having a better life than a Somalian, is for all countries in the world to merge into one, with equal laws, opportunities, and social standards. And we are on our way to that, frankly. First abominations like the European Union and North American Union are a testimony to that process. They might not succeed, as did Edison 10 000 times before he managed to get his light bulb working. Problems we have yet to face are movements against globalisation and cultural differences, also a lot of drag from religious differences among countries of the world. Culture and heritage is thought to be worth more than the new American-driven model of "get fat eating McDonald's, drink cola and don't study at school and achieve the American dream", and that's why they reject it in favour of their old cultural roots. Same with religion. Should you offer a better model, one that appeals to more people it could be done. And at that point, your country of origin would no longer matter, should you get past the prejudice and racism. Then you're on your way to making one stable economic model for all countries to use, and a single social care model is bound to follow.
Does that require communism and relinquishing money? No.

But I don't assume people are "good" with nothing attached to that, Q.U., man. I assume people want a generally stable way to explore their reality and increase their knowledge and collection of experiences, and that those goals, because they are capable of being communicated, are also capable of being, for the most part, able to operate with each other.

Yes, cooperation is golden. But whenever power is involved it can easily turn into slavery or abuse.

You would fix that by equalising the power and wealth level of each and every human on earth to the same one level. Which is insanely difficult. I would fix it by adding laws preventing it and enforcement good enough to keep the laws in place.

But now more importantly, it's true that cooperation is awesome to maximise achievements and efficiency. But as you mentioned it yourself, to push people to cooperate, even to work, they must have a need, or a desire for something. And I don't think just experience and knowledge will ever cut it. Now how will you provoke desire if your communist utopia is to be giving everything free to everyone? If you already have everything you need, and you know you can't get more than others because all must be equal, then where is the motivation to desire something? Learning something new, satisfaction of achieving something, discovering something new, doing something completely unproductive yet difficult for the sake of achieving it, that's all your idea has to offer as incentive.

I will totally agree that the best motivator to work hard is not necessity. As in if you don't work your kids starve. But rather extras. As in, work harder and you will get that good golf club that you always wanted that will make all your golf friends jealous. Now THAT's incentive. Putting pressure of necessity can stunt their creative capacity at work, but offering them bonuses, rare achievements or luxuries that aren't entirely common is one of the best ways to motivate people to work and cooperate.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:03 pm

ya see my only real thing is that positive reinforcement seems to get better results than negative reinforcement!

i could start talking about how our intellect was a result of our ability to dialogue and self-reflect, that our greed counterbalanced with our group mentality is likely what caused our frontal lobe development. i could bring up the neat point that a helpless infancy requires both innovation on part of the parent and the child in order to survive until adulthood, thus fostering an evolutionary trend.

but i don't want to get too complicated. let me just say this, Q.U., A NEW WORLD ORDER ONE GOVERNMENT WORLD would be great economically, because you could create a money system for it that had very little... uh,

this is not exactly the best word for it, and this is really inaccurate, but for brevity, i hope you get what i mean,

corruption. I hope that you're with me on what I mean there, because you know. It's not really. Like. Malicious or anything but you know. Unintended complexities that generate financial loopholes. and what not. >_>

but once everything is one government, the money wouldn't be competitive. no competition. so absolute transparency is required for every single action, otherwise the inevitable margin of error could lead to a bunch of consciously intended malcontent.

I feel like an MMO model is a good way to approach it, like world of warcraft's in-game structure (barring the actual business outside of the game's universe). everyone can exist and contribute to the extent that they wish and based on their efforts they get more stuff, but they aren't actively maligned by the world if they don't try things. you can stay level 1 forever and not do shit, but then that's really boring, so people will be there saying "heh yeah this is my 800th top level character, i've seen it all, you should level up and put in the time and effort to achieve something".

i mean, it's all fine that there is some of that nowadays in the real world, but too much of the world suffers from a lack of education and technology and so culturally are left ignorant of why they should contribute and so don't, or worse they know and can't find motivation because they feel despair from the system in action. And the reason that these conditions exist is because too much of the world's wealth is concentrated.

so to help with that underlying problem, it would be best to make money at least less important, even if you don't get rid of it, Q.U. Money not being the ends to which you justify any means would allow people to more freely abandon their money in the act of getting more people to be in a less bad state.

so i mean ya you don't have to get rid of money right away, but making it less tied to the very lives of people seems reasonable to me. :X
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:48 am

I still don't see why you believe that money is the source of corruption. Because I think it's greed, power, and possession. Money is nothing, it's nothing material. Not worth anything until we decide it's worth something. In the face of apocalypse where there is no food or water, all money can do is burn giving you a warm fire. You cannot eat it, you cannot buy anything for it if nobody sells, etc. Now people who have money have power. And power corrupts. That's all fine and dandy, but you should remember that money itself is just a common denominator of material wealth. Should there be no money, you could still have rich people, they'd just be having a lot of gold, oil, or even eggs. Yes, the friggin eggs again. Either way they'd be powerful. Getting rid of money is imho a completely missed idea, where one misinterpreted what the source of the problem was. If you want money, or in fact material possessions to give less power to those who own them, then you can decree that some possessions/products are simply free and given away to anyone who wants them. You would need a very rich country/world to manage providing all its people with all the necessities to everyday life, but with it there would be no real negative reinforcement, other than not having luxuries which are not necessary for anything other than comfort. Whether you use money or not, is irrelevant here.

And that is how I would make money less important, as you pointed out. But I'd never try to get rid of it completely, it's too useful really.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:26 am

money in that GOLD STANDARD sort of way (as I said), and an economy that is simplified, without the complex algorithms of a stock market or complicated needs for banking profits, is effectively a point system for valuing things. That is as you put it fine and dandy. Adding more and more rules about the system itself is what I dislike. I understand that the supply and demand cycle regulates things, but a lot of factors these days can be too readily manipulated and ARE manipulated in ways that are detrimental to the whole exchange process of an economy as a whole. :P I think you're pretty right on about the one value system of the money, in most ways, because there's definitely unsavory changes to local economies based on the international value of one region's currency. :[
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Fri Mar 04, 2011 7:52 am

Maybe I just lack imagination, but I'd like you to comment on this imaginary situation:

So, I live in a country with no money, and no currency. All trade is done item for item or service for service. I have eggs, and I want to buy milk (Don't go off arguing about "these things you'd be given" etc, because these are arbitrary examples, and if you make me I'll just change every item mentioned to fissionable and fissile radioactive isotopes). I find a guy who sells milk, but he wants salt, so he won't sell me for eggs. So I must go find a guy who sells salt, and find out that he wants to buy bread, then find somebody who will sell me bread for eggs, and then go through all the trades to get what I want.
Now BR, I'd like you to tell me how would you improve/fix the situation, a grand exchange market?

Another case, I want to sell my eggs for apples. Can I decide on my own how many apples is one egg worth? Or is that dictated by the centralised economy? And if so, then does the government spend most of their time thinking up exactly how many eggs is an apple worth, how many eggs is a loaf of bread worth, how many eggs is a bed worth, how many eggs is a plank of oak wood worth, etc? Doesn't that seem kinda counter-productive?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:48 am

BR, Q.U. is "more right than you are." I'm sorry.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:51 pm

There is no "right" in this argument man, we're talking about rather abstract things like perfect governments and theoretical societies basing them on loose assumptions of the human nature (which is a huge field of discussion per se) and guessing what the outcomes would be. You can only be right when you talk about facts.

Right now I'm just trying to understand BR's aversion to money and how he would go about managing realistically without it, since I already understood how he assumes the human nature to be like, and even though I don't agree, I will keep asking questions until I understand what his vision is, after which I can agree or disagree, instead of just saying he's stupid straight away.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Fri Mar 04, 2011 4:27 pm

It's an inside joke, Q.U.

Didn't mean to startle ya.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:59 pm

Q.U. wrote:There is no "right" in this argument man, we're talking about rather abstract things like perfect governments and theoretical societies basing them on loose assumptions of the human nature (which is a huge field of discussion per se) and guessing what the outcomes would be. You can only be right when you talk about facts.

Right now I'm just trying to understand BR's aversion to money and how he would go about managing realistically without it, since I already understood how he assumes the human nature to be like, and even though I don't agree, I will keep asking questions until I understand what his vision is, after which I can agree or disagree, instead of just saying he's stupid straight away.


hey hey man I am all fine with money as I said once you eliminate everything but the 1:1 point system, because then you can just give people a credit card that marks transactions and weighs them against everything else. Generally speaking, using this credit card would simply be a petition for your acquisition of whatever given resource you're interested in, with an extremely high threshold for necessities.

I feel like if you can reasonably articulate some sort of essay that explains your going to use a particular item of non-daily use, that would be an implement of sorts for more complicated petitions for things like vacations.

Fortunately, at this point, this sort of system means that most of the production is automated to the point where storage and transportation is near guaranteed.

Basically, almost the system we have now, except with less people cloistering themselves away from others or exploiting the entire economic system to the point of having a controlling influence in it.

Having money as a marker to hold against any particular level of resources is not what I am against, Q.U., so just having a system of exchange based on that marker that people are allotted, say through points on a credit card that regularly accumulate every day/week/month/year, that's fine.

I just disagree with the ability to influence that value exchange system through the rules for more complicated exchanges, like the individual stocks for companies being pitted against one another for profit.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Valhallen » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:00 am

RuffDraft wrote:I'll admit you are right on most of what you say; you pretty much have me over a barrel, as my grandfather probably said at one point in his life before dying at age 99*. So I'm not going to debate you on this stuff. In some cases we even agree on a few things.
Does that mean that you agree that the optimal solution to a deficit probably involves both expense cuts and revenue increases, raising taxes can increase revenue, the government can provide some goods and services better than the private sector, and the US economy is currently improving by several measures?

RuffDraft wrote:You asked for a few sources, such as the nine trillion dollars lost by the Federal Reserve
You had said that the Federal reserve had ""lost track of" something like nine trillion dollars of the bank bailout money". "Bank bailout" usually refers to TARP, which, as I implied before and the article referenced in that video says, was about $700 billion, not something that $9 trillion can be lost from. As the Bloomberg article (dated Feb 9 2009) says, that total lumps together things attributed to the Fed, the FDIC, lending, and stimulus, with few details given. For one, the FDIC increased its coverage limit from $100k to $250K in 2008, which could account for some trillions. Or, as mentioned in this video, short term loans (which that and the Bloomberg article imply should have been mostly paid back by early 2009, with the amount lent at any given time much less than $9 trillion) can account for trillions more. Note that the guy asking the questions in the video you linked basically says "I read in some article that the Fed is doing some stuff with a value of trillions of dollars. Are you investigating it? I'm shocked that you don't know specifics of what's going on with the things I vaguely alluded to."

All right. Note that the drilling moratorium only affected deepwater wells being drilled - production and shallow wells were unaffected, meaning that the moratorium affected ~1% of the Gulf oil wells. Naturally, this wasn't good for companies that specialize in drilling, but it didn't affect other parts of the economy very much. The spill itself (which was caused by shoddy well construction) was causing much greater problems for the rest of the economy, and the moratorium was supposed to give time to check that other wells were up to spec. In retrospect, probably not necessary, but still a decent attempt at risk reduction (there have been several spills since then, after all). The political pressure to be perceived as doing something to help the situation probably helped.

RuffDraft wrote:So there you are. I hope that clarifies things...
Valhallen wrote:Citation? How have you reached these conclusions?
By "these conclusions" I was referring to "All [Obama] cares about is pushing his agendas. He's demonstrated that he doesn't care who stands in his way, he will shove them aside without a thought." That could still use some clarification.

Q.U. wrote:Indeed. That's why instead of oscillating between Democrats and Republicans in the president's chair that switch each 5 or 10 years and thus never having the time to finish anything properly I would consider monarchy or tyranny more efficient than democracy. Democracy makes the system too fluid for deep change and long-term plans/goals to be pursued. Lest both/all sides taking office through that time agree on something, but that's rare.
in theory, a benevolent dictatorship works great. The problem with implementation is that reliably benevolent and competent dictators are in short supply. There seem to be a lot more Caligulas than Marcus Aureliuses in the world, and as such, dictatorships in practice tend to be less efficient than democracies, as they lack self-corrective mechanisms.

Q.U. wrote:Money is one of the most useful inventions of the world. It's been developed by every known isolated civilisation at some point independently.
Useful, sure, but there have been non-monetary economies through history. Mostly barter and gift economies, which tend to be small and simple by modern standards.

Q.U. wrote:(But then BR will come and say that people are good and hard-working by nature, so it would work anyway.)
People are good and hard-working by nature. Not enough to make large scale anarcho-communism work, but enough to make capitalism work, especially as part of a mixed economy.

BeeAre wrote:Say what you will about the application of real value of things, if we make an assumption that a government of even a tribal level of complexity has a fairly stable economy of real goods, it is much harder to play the stock market against itself to generate wealth from the system itself when all the capital being invested has a real world application. I'm all for the "gold standard", if you will, in a world without money. :\
An economy with a "tribal level of complexity" probably doesn't have a stock market or financial system. As such, while it may be stable, it probably has a very low rate of growth, as most tribal societies through history have had. If you had a stock market or financial system based on real assets or commodity money, they would be as vulnerable to shenanigans as real markets that use fiat money, though the currency itself may be somewhat more stable. For example, we've talked some about short selling in previous discussion. Short selling is just as possible in an economy that uses commodity money or a barter system. The wealth to be had by mediating economic transactions is why traders have been wealthy through history, even in barter situations.

BeeAre wrote:A quick tangent into Valhallen's vague sort of admonishment against me for us vastly wealthy first-world commoners: it is a given that we have pretty nice lives. Would it be more useful to give people the world over the resources of our relatively wealthy lifestyles, or more useful to go a step beyond that and press, as a cultural issue, that people should strive to make the billions of dollars it takes to snort expensive drugs off of your own slaves?
It was more an admonishment against your point ("I badmouth the vastly rich who are not contributing most of their fortunes to helping people.") than you. Once you get past the amount of wealth that lets you meet basic needs pretty easily, rich is just a matter of degree, and that typical first-world people are "vastly rich" by historical standards. As such, the Biblical bit I alluded to has some interesting implications, since typical modern people are at least comparably wealthy to the rich guy in that passage. My point was that, like in that passage, though it would be nice if people gave as much as they could to help the less fortunate, it's not realistic to expect people to do that. If you want to draw a line above which people should be obligated to help others, you should justify it.

BeeAre wrote: people's natural inclination would be to cooperate.
One of the propositions for why humans are so intelligent is runaway selection for smartness due to socialization. Humans are enormously better at social dynamics than anything else, and a major driver there is working within a group for personal benefit. So while cooperation is a natural inclination, so is politics and treachery.

Q.U. wrote:I just cannot imagine how global trade would work without a common currency. Most likely it would just become one huge clusterfuck.
Global trade works now without a common currency. Different currencies can be exchanged fairly easily though.

Q.U. wrote:And actually all we need to do to make you stop feeling bad for having a better life than a Somalian, is for all countries in the world to merge into one, with equal laws, opportunities, and social standards.
...
While a single world government may look good on paper, I think that it should wait until after there is a significant self-sustaining offworld presence. Having all of humanity under one government represents a single point of failure for bad policy, and different nations doing different things can help show what works and what does not as circumstances change. For the current situation, continent/subcontinent scale government and economic blocs are probably about right. Merging things together too quickly would cause all sorts of economic problems, even ignoring all cultural resistance (which I think you are simplistically underestimating there).

Q.U. wrote:But now more importantly, it's true that cooperation is awesome to maximise achievements and efficiency.
tl;dr: My Little Pony: Friendship is Pareto Optimal

Q.U. wrote:But as you mentioned it yourself, to push people to cooperate, even to work, they must have a need, or a desire for something. ... Learning something new, satisfaction of achieving something, discovering something new, doing something completely unproductive yet difficult for the sake of achieving it, that's all your idea has to offer as incentive.
Turns out that those can serve as sufficient incentives in certain situations, especially creative work. The problem is that it doesn't seem to be applicable to everything, so a working economy would need to be able to provide other incentives.

BeeAre wrote:ya see my only real thing is that positive reinforcement seems to get better results than negative reinforcement!
For encouraging good behavior, sure. Negative reinforcement works pretty well for discouraging bad behavior too.

BeeAre wrote:...
but once everything is one government, the money wouldn't be competitive. no competition. so absolute transparency is required for every single action, otherwise the inevitable margin of error could lead to a bunch of consciously intended malcontent.
How does a lack of competition follow from the establishment of a single government? And how is the point about transparency different than the real world at present?

BeeAre wrote:I feel like an MMO model is a good way to approach it, like world of warcraft's in-game structure (barring the actual business outside of the game's universe). everyone can exist and contribute to the extent that they wish and based on their efforts they get more stuff, but they aren't actively maligned by the world if they don't try things. you can stay level 1 forever and not do shit, but then that's really boring, so people will be there saying "heh yeah this is my 800th top level character, i've seen it all, you should level up and put in the time and effort to achieve something".
This rather depends on the MMO. For example, in Eve Online, those motivations produce an anarcho-capitalistic dystopia of ridiculous violence. The bulldozer in that picture is the established power blocs, which sometimes take delight in obliterating smaller organizations for fun and profit. WoW is different because the game mechanics prevent that sort of thing, analogous to regulation in the real world.

BeeAre wrote:so to help with that underlying problem, it would be best to make money at least less important, even if you don't get rid of it, Q.U. Money not being the ends to which you justify any means would allow people to more freely abandon their money in the act of getting more people to be in a less bad state.

so i mean ya you don't have to get rid of money right away, but making it less tied to the very lives of people seems reasonable to me. :X
Problem: fiat money, like power, is by definition a means to other ends. If it's treated as an end itself, it indicates an error in the goal system somewhere. Because money can be used to provide necessities, how would you propose making it less tied to the lives of people? That's kind of intrinsic to its use as a medium of exchange.

BeeAre wrote:money in that GOLD STANDARD sort of way (as I said), and an economy that is simplified, without the complex algorithms of a stock market or complicated needs for banking profits, is effectively a point system for valuing things. That is as you put it fine and dandy. Adding more and more rules about the system itself is what I dislike.
The problem is that a simple system without rules is easy to exploit. That's a big reason for the complex rules governing real markets.

RuffDraft wrote:BR, Q.U. is "more right than you are." I'm sorry.
Right enough to let you begin.

BeeAre wrote:hey hey man I am all fine with money as I said once you eliminate everything but the 1:1 point system, because then you can just give people a credit card that marks transactions and weighs them against everything else.
In other words... fiat money?

BeeAre wrote:Having money as a marker to hold against any particular level of resources is not what I am against, Q.U., so just having a system of exchange based on that marker that people are allotted, say through points on a credit card that regularly accumulate every day/week/month/year, that's fine.
The problem is that with fiat money, a continuous supply without a sink or comparably increasing real goods to spend the money on will lead to significant inflation.

BeeAre wrote:I just disagree with the ability to influence that value exchange system through the rules for more complicated exchanges, like the individual stocks for companies being pitted against one another for profit.
Except that the profitability of such transactions derives from the basics of the market system. Suppose your diet is eggs and wheat. You maintain a personal stockpile of both to last you through the less productive seasons (you're in an isolated village). One day, one of the two chicken coops burns down, reducing by half the egg supply. Being savvier than the other villagers, you can exchange your wheat stockpile for eggs, and get wheat back as you need it by exchanging eggs later on. Because of the reduction in supply, the price of eggs increases, so you can get back more wheat than you used to buy the eggs. Meanwhile, because of your stockpiling and supplying of eggs, the egg shortage and price spike has been moderated.

Is that undesirable? If so, how would you propose preventing it?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Q.U. » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:31 am

in theory, a benevolent dictatorship works great. The problem with implementation is that reliably benevolent and competent dictators are in short supply. There seem to be a lot more Caligulas than Marcus Aureliuses in the world, and as such, dictatorships in practice tend to be less efficient than democracies, as they lack self-corrective mechanisms.

And a highly corrupt democracy is just as self-corrective as Caligulas' tyranny. I rest my case.

Useful, sure, but there have been non-monetary economies through history. Mostly barter and gift economies, which tend to be small and simple by modern standards.

Indeed, but the more globally you're trying to apply the standards and concepts of economy and trade, the harder it becomes without a currency.

Global trade works now without a common currency. Different currencies can be exchanged fairly easily though.

I meant to say common currency as all kinds of monetary units. It doesn't matter how many of them we have and how dynamically they change in time, the point is that having a common value denominator for products and services makes trade and growth much easier.

While a single world government may look good on paper, I think that it should wait until after there is a significant self-sustaining offworld presence. Having all of humanity under one government represents a single point of failure for bad policy, and different nations doing different things can help show what works and what does not as circumstances change. For the current situation, continent/subcontinent scale government and economic blocs are probably about right. Merging things together too quickly would cause all sorts of economic problems, even ignoring all cultural resistance (which I think you are simplistically underestimating there).

Of course I don't mean doing it straight away in one jump. But that's the general direction we should be heading. 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.

Turns out that those can serve as sufficient incentives in certain situations, especially creative work. The problem is that it doesn't seem to be applicable to everything, so a working economy would need to be able to provide other incentives.

Which is where BR disagrees, I think.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:03 am

Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:I'll admit you are right on most of what you say; you pretty much have me over a barrel, as my grandfather probably said at one point in his life before dying at age 99*. So I'm not going to debate you on this stuff. In some cases we even agree on a few things.
Does that mean that you agree that the optimal solution to a deficit probably involves both expense cuts and revenue increases, raising taxes can increase revenue, the government can provide some goods and services better than the private sector, and the US economy is currently improving by several measures?
In order:

I agree that we should dramatically cut spending and attempt to increase revenues, but increasing revenues is heavily determined by the private sector, taxes tend to discourage growth, and a raise of taxes might actually reduce revenues depending on how much money large businesses and corporations are able to make.

Raising taxes can increase revenues to a point, but because of the uncertainty as to the adverse consequences to raising taxes, it would probably be better to keep them where they are for now;

Even if the government does some things better than the private sector, that doesn't mean they should run everything.

Lastly, yes, the US economy has started to improve. The question is whether it had anything to do with the stimulus bill, which we were told would create jobs and prevent unemployment from rising.

If you look at this chart here, it seems that unemployment really started dropping since November, after the Republicans gained control of the House. What I think this means is that most businesses thought that the Republicans were going to keep taxes at their current level so they started hiring more. And while I don't have any concrete proof of this, it's an argument based in the following sequence of events:

If "Revenues - Expenses = Profits", then businesses have to determine how to keep their profits high in order to maintain a business. 2009, we were looking at a debt of about $10 trillion, and as you said, the government operates by having high revenues and (at least, ideally) low expenses, so to eliminate that debt, they need to do something. And what they ended up doing was spending over four trillion dollars in just the first two years, compounding the nation's debt even further. Any good businessman knows that (most) Democrats are in favor of higher taxes. Short of saying outright that they intended to raise taxes, the Democrats wanted to let the Bush-era taxes expire and rise to what they were before, and the Republicans were fighting to keep them the same. Because businesses rely on the amount of taxes they pay to determine how much of their profits they keep (and reinvest in their company), the uncertainty of whether or not those taxes would rise prevented them from hiring; some may have even laid off some of their workforce as a precaution. In November, a clear majority of Republicans were elected into the House; businessmen then predicted their taxes would not rise, so it would be safe to hire more people. And so unemployment drops.

At least, that's what think happened. As I said, I don't have evidence (written statements by businessmen, letter of intent to hire, etc.), so I can't back that up with anything but my own logic, which as we have seen hasn't always proven to be the best, but I'm confident that the truth is not far from the above.

Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:You asked for a few sources, such as the nine trillion dollars lost by the Federal Reserve
You had said that the Federal reserve had ""lost track of" something like nine trillion dollars of the bank bailout money". "Bank bailout" usually refers to TARP, which, as I implied before and the article referenced in that video says, was about $700 billion, not something that $9 trillion can be lost from. As the Bloomberg article (dated Feb 9 2009) says, that total lumps together things attributed to the Fed, the FDIC, lending, and stimulus, with few details given. For one, the FDIC increased its coverage limit from $100k to $250K in 2008, which could account for some trillions. Or, as mentioned in this video, short term loans (which that and the Bloomberg article imply should have been mostly paid back by early 2009, with the amount lent at any given time much less than $9 trillion) can account for trillions more. Note that the guy asking the questions in the video you linked basically says "I read in some article that the Fed is doing some stuff with a value of trillions of dollars. Are you investigating it? I'm shocked that you don't know specifics of what's going on with the things I vaguely alluded to."
You're missing something here. In the video I posted, the entire discussion was about the bank bailouts. Listen to Grayson at about time 0:10 in which he asks about Lehman Brother's bankruptcy and the Federal Reserve's decision not to bail them out. At time 1:21 he asks whether or not they know who received the $1 trillion dollars missing off their balance sheet. Time 1:54, he asks about the trillions of dollars of off balance sheets transactions, and at time 3:45 he clarifies the question to include that according to Bloomberg, the sum of off balance sheets transactions now totals more than $9 trillion dollars. Even if she doesn't know the Bloomberg article in question, it doesn't excuse her from not doing her job, which is to keep track of the money that goes in and out of the company's accounts.

Also, he did not vaguely allude to things. He referenced the article when talking about the $9 trillion, but when she said "I don't know the article," he clarifies that what he's asking is whether or not she had investigated the money missing off the balance sheet. She seemed to claim complete ignorance of her own duties as the Inspector General, and showed total irresponsibility in not investigating the transference of huge sums of money to, as of then, unknown recipients. It should not be the case that the people in charge of such a powerful arm the economy are handing out money (or in this case, loans, I guess) and the one person who should know the whos and how much, does not. I believe that is what he was having issue with.

Valhallen wrote:
All right. Note that the drilling moratorium only affected deepwater wells being drilled - production and shallow wells were unaffected, meaning that the moratorium affected ~1% of the Gulf oil wells. Naturally, this wasn't good for companies that specialize in drilling, but it didn't affect other parts of the economy very much. The spill itself (which was caused by shoddy well construction) was causing much greater problems for the rest of the economy, and the moratorium was supposed to give time to check that other wells were up to spec. In retrospect, probably not necessary, but still a decent attempt at risk reduction (there have been several spills since then, after all). The political pressure to be perceived as doing something to help the situation probably helped.
Well I'll give you that doing this has some merits in the regard of keeping the seas clean and preventing harm to the environment. On the other hand, if I were a betting man--not to mention a conspiracy theorist--I would probably think that Obama is trying to create economic strife, rather than eliminate it.

Valhallen wrote:
RuffDraft wrote:So there you are. I hope that clarifies things...
Valhallen wrote:Citation? How have you reached these conclusions?
By "these conclusions" I was referring to "All [Obama] cares about is pushing his agendas. He's demonstrated that he doesn't care who stands in his way, he will shove them aside without a thought." That could still use some clarification.
All right, well in the absence of real, concrete evidence, I guess all I have to go on are the actions he takes and what effect they have on the economy; his unwillingness to cooperate with the Republicans when they call for less spending (the budget with a $1.65 trillion deficit), the fact that he thought the stimulus bill was working when unemployment rose (perhaps he meant his Green Agenda was working? I dunno), the fact that he doesn't seem to think that a national debt of ~$14,000,000,000,000 is a major cause for concern...

There is a such thing as being buried under circumstantial evidence. Even if, with all the circumstantial evidence, an incomplete image is formed, there should be enough for a reasonable individual to say that something is amiss. The question is, how does one fill in the blanks if someone else doesn't want you to know what they are?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:43 am

so hey i have some questions for a few of you

valhallen: in a simple economy, what is the analog for corporations and stock shares?

ruffdraft: are you claiming that all taxes stunt growth in business? because i can create for you a few scenarios where that is not true.

and where exactly has the united states government put forth the intent to run everything? you make that claim early on in your latest post as the reasoning behind your arguments. more does not equal everything, nor has it ever been the case. :\

and obama constantly makes the political move to work with republicans and offers real numbers to programs for the cutting of spending. do you really deny that republicans are not equally or at the ery least partially responsible for delaying the progress of cutting spending when both parties publicly speak out for that as a goal?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Wizard » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:24 pm

Fuck Republicans. Fuck corporations.
Go Democrats. Go unions.
Michael Moore is my hero.
'nuff said about my political views.

You people talk too damn much.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby BeeAre » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:18 pm

cool you mean that while you are well-meaning you are mostly ineffectual and apathetic in a merely more optimistic way.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:49 pm

Either that or he's completely blinded himself to the faults of those he associates with and relies on propaganda that comes from a stupid fat white man who wrote a book called "Stupid White Men" and whose movies are consistently either factually inaccurate or paint a false picture?

That's some hero you have.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby DaCrum » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:58 pm

There's a little bit of truth between most lies.

Except Beck's lies. His lies are 100%. They're brash.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:57 pm

We went over this. Of the "lies" you showed me before that you said were made by Glenn Beck, one of them wasn't even said by him, many of them were not lies, and a few of them were opinions. If you want to make the case that he outright lies, you have to show me that A) what he was saying was not true and B) that he knew prior to saying it that he knew it was not true. So far, you have not proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that he has lied about anything; at least not the stuff that you were talking about.

And by the way, aren't all lies one-hundred percent?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby DaCrum » Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:19 pm

Bullshit. You ignored my arguments and accused me of logical fallacies which weren't true. You're just as brash and utterly stupid.
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby Rough Giraffe » Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:36 pm

So like that one about Obama being a Muslim? I proved that Beck did not say that, and in fact said "Obama is not a Muslim." Then you turned around and quoted Beck's opinion, saying "Oh, he's not a Muslim, but he's a bad Christian?!"

What about that one, "Obama wants to take away our guns?" I proved Obama's stance on gun control to be quite clear. He does want to take away our guns. He has supported numerous handgun bans, and he was against a bill protecting gun owners who defend themselves in their own homes against invaders.

Remind me: What else did you say that I claimed was a logical fallacy?
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Re: What the frick?!

Postby DaCrum » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:38 pm

You should know by now I have no desire to argue these points again. You just don't listen.
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