Weekly discussion 24 (1/13/13-1/20/13): $1 trillion coin

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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Valhallen » Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:52 am

Rough Giraffe wrote:So, was Sentios not going to respond? Was kinda looking forward to his perspective. :\
I'm still curious about which budget you're talking about (the one which was unanimously voted down in the Senate, if it's not the one in Sentios's link), since the one described in the New England Council review never made it to a vote.

Rough Giraffe wrote:But anyway, as regards to employers telling their employees that if Obama's policies go through they may lose their jobs, if were related to party affiliation (i.e., "Vote Republican or you're fired"), I would agree that it is fucked up--and possibly illegal. However, the memos in question related to the policies themselves; in other words, the boss is saying something along the lines of "I don't appreciate having the money that the government borrows from us simply given to those who do nothing to earn it, with no limit in sight. If these policies are put in place I may have to downsize my force as a result."
When I link something to support my points, it's not just to fill space or to look pretty in purple. I'd appreciate it if you would carefully consider what they say.
The first link wrote:Orlando time-share mogul David Siegel has told his 7,000 employees that if Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is not elected, he may have to lay people off -- and might even retire and take their "opportunities" with him to a beach in the Caribbean.
...
The e-mail was forwarded anonymously to the Sentinel by someone who said, "I feel like my boss is threatening me."
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Siegel has said that in 2000, he strongly encouraged his employees to vote for George W. Bush and ran a "big sales campaign" for him. But when asked in the movie what he did to help Bush, he said, "I'd rather not say, because it may not necessarily have been legal."
The second link wrote:He also wrote: "At the request of many employees, we have also provided a list of candidates in your state that have been supported by Koch companies or by KOCHPAC, our employee political action committee."
The list sent to workers in Oregon? All 14 politicians mentioned were Republican.
The packet also included an anti-Obama editorial by Charles Koch and a pro-Romney letter by his brother, David.
In These Times reports the package adds to an already existing culture of fear at Koch. There's a social media policy that states, in part, "Even if your social media conduct is outside of the workplace and/or non-work related, it must not reflect negatively on GP's reputation, its products, or its brands." Many have experienced the rule as a form of political censorship.
...
In These Times also reports that Georgia Pacific companies must seek supervisor-approval before running for local office or serving on the boards of non-profits.
The third link wrote:In Michigan, the president of Lacks Enterprises warned his company's 2,300 employees that their paychecks will shrink if Obama is re-elected.
...
At a time of rampant job insecurity, workers across the country are fearful of doing anything to jeopardize their paychecks. And in a tight race, every vote counts.
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Bosses have little to fear from knowingly misinforming or threatening workers during election season. Calculated and determined efforts at worker intimidation are as brazen as ever this year. Professor Ferguson notes that the waning power of unions, along with non-enforcement of laws, has emboldened employers. CEOs are feeling quite comfortable putting their intimidation efforts into writing and making them public. There is no federal election law that specifically blocks bosses from telling workers they could lose their jobs if they vote for a particular person.
Ironically, despite the protests of the people writing these memos, Obama's policies would be better for business, as Romney's proposed cuts in spending and social services would reduce aggregate demand. Look at the situation in the first link, for example. David Siegel is the boss of a real estate and time share business, and like the rest of the real estate sector, his company took a large hit in the housing / financial crash before Obama was elected. Now, they're doing better than ever:
David Siegel, last week wrote:Westgate is operating at the highest profit levels in the history of the company,
If this is so, why would he tell his employees to vote for Romney? Perhaps because Ryan's proposed cutting of the capital gains tax rate to zero would eliminate nearly all of Siegel's tax obligations, netting him personally more money even if his company would not do as well as it would under Obama. Does any of this prompt you to reconsider your thoughts on the new relationship between corporate personhood and political speech?

Rough Giraffe wrote:For the sake of argument, let's say that your suggestion of raising taxes worked. Let's say that everyone making over $500K paid roughly a 60% tax rate, which gave us a surplus in taxes. What happens when congress starts spending BEYOND the surplus, and we have a deficit again (as happened in 2001)?
That's not what happened in 2001. In 2001, the tech bubble was deflating, resulting in some economic disruption (without 9/11 and its economic fallout, it probably wouldn't have technically qualified as a recession, but it was still a major issue at the time). The government was still running a surplus, and instead of directing it toward paying off the debt as Clinton had proposed, it was decided that a tax cut would be preferable by way of stimulating the economy. However, the supply-side tax cuts in a demand-loss period of economic difficulty not only turned the surplus into a deficit, they failed to stimulate the economy. W. Bush's administration had the worst growth since Hoover's (And also the second lowest top marginal income tax rate since Hoover's. HW Bush had the lowest top rate and the second worst growth.).

Rough Giraffe wrote:Are we going to raise taxes again? Should there be an upper limit for taxation?
Probably, and no, at least not a hard limit. The rates should reflect the circumstances of the situation at hand and the priorities of the government / society. Just to point out how remote concerns involving the downslope of the Laffer curve are, consider this: In 1942, when the top income tax rate was 88% (near its highest ever), the real GDP growth rate was 18.5% (its highest ever). The top rate was over 90% for nearly twenty years following that (initially in order to deal with the deficit and debt from WWII), and those years overall had unusually good growth by the standards of the century. Consider that all years since the Great Depression with 10% or better real annual growth had a top rate above 60%, and all but three of the years with 5% or better had a top rate of 70% or more. In the real world, not only do much higher top marginal rates than at present not impair the economy, they correlate with better growth.

Rough Giraffe wrote:Why is your first concern not instead to reduce spending?
Because in the recovery from a demand-loss recession, reducing government spending would lower aggregate demand and weaken the economy, possibly triggering a second recession, as happened in 1937 when a lot of New Deal spending was cut off. Cuts to government spending (if warranted) should come gradually after the general economy has returned to normal (which it might have already if state and local governments hadn't laid off so many of their workers).

Rough Giraffe wrote:Surely there is waste in the government we can cut, or programs that can be lessened, or things that the government owns that can be sold and privatized (Amtrak, public schools, etc.)?
Sure. How about Bush's Medicare Part D, which prevents the government from negotiating prescription drug prices for Medicare patients (as it does with other medical care), resulting in a huge handout to drug companies. That alone is projected to be a major part of future budget problems. Obamacare's "cuts" to Medicare are of this type, which maintain services while reducing the cost to provide them. Similarly, Obama's efforts to reform military spending have focused on eliminating waste, increasing capabilities while keeping the overall budget rather flat (ship numbers are on the upswing, for example, after bottoming out under Bush). Regarding public schools, please recall the previously-explained economics which says that public funding is necessary, regardless of who actually operates the schools. Regarding Amtrak, it is operated separately from the government as a for-profit company already, and it operates more efficiently than any private railroad in the US. Cutting waste is not the same thing as cutting service or even spending. For example, there are policies which would reduce waste while increasing services, which have been rejected by certain Republicans.

Rough Giraffe wrote:Why do you see government as the end-all for prosperity?
I don't. I'm not a Communist. Have you been paying attention what I've been saying?

Rough Giraffe wrote:Furthermore, you touched on alleged GOP voter fraud. First, three of the links you posted there relate to the same event---no need to post multiple links of the same story.
I did that to discourage you from dismissing the information out of hand. Do you agree that Colin Small was working for the Virginia and national GOP to register people to vote and in the course of his work (as a supervisor) threw out completed registration forms, that Nathan Sproul's company (and only his company) had been employed by the national GOP to register voters in swing states (until irregularities emerged in Florida) while long having a reputation for questionable practices (including televised interviews from 2004 with workers claiming to have thrown out Democratic registrations or seen their supervisor do so), or that Republicans have been evasive about their business relationships with these people and organizations? To contrast, ACORN's situation involved workers defrauding ACORN itself by submitting fake registrations, which were flagged by ACORN when they were passed to election officials (and for this, ACORN was destroyed), while this situation involved people hired by the Republican Party destroying registrations in what looks like a concerted effort (which may result in the people whose registrations were destroyed being unable to vote this year). Can you reconcile your past thoughts on ACORN with your current thoughts on this case?

Rough Giraffe wrote:Second, are you just going to ignore the fact that Democrats have publicly admitted that voter fraud is a common political strategy?
Rather, that is one former Democrat (Artur Davis, who is now a Republican) baldly asserting that it is so.

Rough Giraffe wrote:And it's not
Which discusses a single case where a person with dual-state residence voted in both states, whose candidacy was suspended when the Maryland Democratic Party discovered and reported it. Relatively few people maintain residences in multiple states, and neither voter ID nor registration laws would catch this sort of thing.

Rough Giraffe wrote:just
Which is a style of fraud similar to what I pointed out that Republicans are doing, a kind which would not be caught by ID or registration laws. Note the differences with the Republican case though. Here, a single candidate and his dad hired two guys to tilt a local election (in a place where no Republicans even run) in the candidate's favor. In the Republican case, the national and many state parties hired companies which apparently did this on a rather large scale in multiple elections over years.

Rough Giraffe wrote:the
Which is a video of a staged entrapment situation like the debunked ACORN video (which was by the same guy, James O'Keefe) in which no illegal activity actually took place.
The guy in the video wrote:At no point did I take this person seriously. He struck me as being unstable and joking, and for only that reason did I humor him.
Do you think he was going up to voters and giving them unsolicited advice on how to commit fraud, and do you think that any fraud actually took place there besides what O'Keefe was doing?

Rough Giraffe wrote:one either.
The people involved there voted once with an absentee / early ballot and then again normally on election day, and were caught by the election board when it processed things. Contrary to the statements by Republicans in your link, voter ID laws would not have prevented those cases.

Rough Giraffe wrote:It's a pretty big problem, despite what Eric Holder publicly tells us.
That's another James O'Keefe production. It's only a big problem if a lot of people are actually doing this sort of thing, and since people like O'Keefe and other Republicans would be pointing them out if they were (and people whose names had been used fraudulently would notice something), let's go with the studies like this one which found only ten such cases nationwide in the last twelve years. It's a tiny, tiny problem so rare as to be nonexistent for most practical purposes.

Rough Giraffe wrote:And then there are the flippant excuses the Democrats make about Voter ID,
I covered some of those examples specifically above, but I think that a commenter there said it nicely:
goreshade wrote:It's sad to see standards in critical thinking have gotten so low.

1. If a "well prepared team of say a dozen operatives could literally go from polling place to polling place and cast HUNDREDS of fraudulent votes" then hundreds of real voters would show up and be told they had already voted. This just doesn't happen en masse, which is why poll workers aren't that vigilant to stop it.
2.They had ID's. Voter Id laws wouldn't stop this.
3. Not an ID issue, but a voting roll issue. Voter Id laws wouldn't stop this.
4. Also not an ID issue, but a voting roll issue. Voter Id laws wouldn't stop this.
5. Absentee ballots? Voter Id laws wouldn't stop this.
6. Absentee ballots? Voter Id laws wouldn't stop this.
7. 52 years ago?
Also relevant for number 7: Buying votes? Voter ID laws wouldn't stop this.

Rough Giraffe wrote:among them that minorities would be disenfranchised because they can't get IDs like White people can. Well, why not? After all, you don't need to be able to drive to get a photo ID, you just have to be able to ride the bus and walk a few hundred feet, fill out a form and wait a little while.
Because of things like this. Some of the proposals for voter IDs require supporting documentation that costs more to procure than the old-time poll taxes. Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai said that voter ID would let Romney win Pennsylvania. Since the fraud that voter IDs would prevent is vanishingly rare (which has been acknowledged in court by the state), how do you think that was supposed to work? The problem isn't voter ID laws per se, it's voter ID laws designed to statistically skew the electorate. It wouldn't be an issue if, say, the state proactively provided IDs to everyone free of charge. The states with laws like that aren't having them overturned in court.

Rough Giraffe wrote:And if they're so concerned about it, why can't they, as their elected representatives, start a fundraiser or effort to get them IDs? They could get everyone an ID in the span of a week or two and have them mailed to their place of residence. Why don't they? Answer: Because they don't really care and they want people to be able to vote without any accountability.
See? Poll taxes aren't really bad, since if people really cared about voting accountability, they could hold fundraisers to make sure that people weren't disenfranchised. Too bad the courts don't agree. Seriously though, if a third party can buy lots of voter IDs on its own, how is such an ID system supposed to prevent fraud?

Rough Giraffe wrote:One more thing: Here's something surprising that I found just a few minutes ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Skw-0jv9kts
Because that is not at all comparable to your own misunderstandings of Obama's or other policies, and it has some bearing on the discussion so far?

Q.U. wrote:Does anyone else get the feeling that when the GOP was still picking its candidate they thought "this is still going to be years of recession, so let the democrat stay in charge and then once the country starts turning back we go back in and take the credit", and so picked Romney and Ryan as another "fail team" after McCain and Palin failed as a "somewhat try to win team"? (Because I don't think they actually believed that they could win by appealing to the complete extreme of the right political spectrum). And then once they realised that the USA has a predicted GDP growth to reach back into about 3% in the next years (which is the best among all the developed western countries) they suddenly got scared they wouldn't get to have the credit for it and launched a massive all-front panic attack on the Obama campaign to try and save their asses? Because I really did feel like in the previous months they haven't even been trying up until like one, or one and a half of month ago.
NeoWarrior7 wrote:Nah, pretty sure it's that only the shitty ones ran in the primaries since defeating an incumbent is a bitch, and you only get one shot.
Rumor has it that more credible candidates like Christie may be aiming for a 2016 bid. But it was never the plan to make it easy for Obama, what with the Congressional goal of making him single-term by way of obstruction. Romney may not be a very good candidate, but the rest of the primary field was worse. Except maybe Cain, who would have been awesome.

Rough Giraffe wrote:That's an interesting perspective, however let me ask you this, in all seriousness:

What is the difference between the start of Obama's term and now?
...
Q.U.'s and Mir@k's illustrations covered the basic situation, but here is some real-world information expressing the same idea.

Rough Giraffe wrote:You might think of it as more of a longshot, but from my perspective, the choice is between a known successful businessman that you hate for little reason besides that he is a businessman and a Republican, and a well-spoken politician that you like because he promises free stuff at the expense of those who have more stuff. In other words, the real question at hand is: which option is best for the country as a whole?
Romney was not much involved in conventional business. Rather, his expertise at Bain was more about leveraged buyouts (colloquially called vulture capitalism). You might find what Reagan's budget director has to say about that rather surprising (it's long, but please have a careful look). And it is indeed a question of which candidate would be better for the country. Have you been paying attention to what I have actually been saying on that matter? Do you think that GM and Chrysler said this because Romney is a Republican businessman? Did you notice how Romney pivots from previous statements as soon as they become inconvenient and how Christie reversed his appraisal of Obama when effective federal services suddenly became of critical importance?

Rough Giraffe wrote:@Sentios: Glad to see you have found a job. It's pretty odd that you're complaining about the hours, however, during a time when something like 23 million people can't find a job.
...
Jobs: Sure, the "official" unemployment rate has gone back down. But as we all know, that number does not account for people who were previously counted but stopped looking for work, and so are no longer counted. I prefer to use the U6 unemployment rate when I discuss these things, which usually paints a much more accurate picture.
If you prefer that measure of the economy, fine, but it's a different measure, not a more accurate one. U6 usually aligns closely with trends in U3 while being about 75% higher*. Both have been declining since late 2009, and are now 2-3% below their peaks.

*The scaling on the graphs makes this pretty clear if you open both links in different tabs and flip back and forth.

Rough Giraffe wrote:Health care:
...
Education: ...
Obama may not be perfect, but do you think (with evidential support) that Romney's proposed policies are better in any way in these areas?

Rough Giraffe wrote:Also, economists say that we could be seeing another recession, which could compound an already bad problem.
Rather, that's what one economist (David Malpass, a Republican who works for the Wall Street Journal and who ran his own Republican PAC) says, which is repeated there along with a generous helping of statistics by an employee of a "free market" think tank. Let's look at what a more evidence-based organization has to say.

Rough Giraffe wrote:He's been doing next to nothing to actually solve anything,
O RLY?

Rough Giraffe wrote:and the stimulus package was supposed to help but apparently didn't.
Says who? Because the organization responsible for keeping track of such things says that it worked.

Rough Giraffe wrote:Not fixed. Patched. The wound is still bleeding and it might get infected.
And who do you think has been rubbing salt in the wound?

Sentios wrote:
Valhallen wrote:Keep in mind that a cap on work hours would also be a cap on how much employees can work and earn.
Only in the sense that they couldn't just put in more time in on the job, they could still earn more by pursuing a better paying job. Consider it incentive to improve to improve job skills. It would have to be implemented smartly, but it's not like there's no incentives beyond tackling unemployment to the idea.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-03/americans-work-too-much-for-their-own-good-de-graaf-and-batker.html

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/life-line-healthful-habits-made-simple/2012/apr/22/nation-overworked-abandoning-happiness-and-health-/
But that's sometimes harder to do than picking up hours. And yes, Americans tend to trade leisure for work and suffer in some ways for that, but to the extent that workers choose to do that, I think that they should be allowed to. Note that the European situations mentioned in your links don't have hard caps on work hours, but instead use incentives to discourage overwork, like requiring that employers give part-time employees the same wage, benefits, and opportunities as full-time employees. And providing a more substantial social safety net, which reduces the need for building up emergency cash reserves.

Q.U. wrote:I would love to take those news reports seriously, but the glaring grammar mistakes are getting in the way. This site's editorials ooze such pure professionalism from every pore.
The original (rather longer) report was from Buzzfeed.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:14 am

Valhallen wrote:I'm still curious about which budget you're talking about (the one which was unanimously voted down in the Senate, if it's not the one in Sentios's link), since the one described in the New England Council review never made it to a vote.
I was referring to the vote in February of this year, in which the House of Representatives voted down Obama's budget 414-0. But actually, it turns out there's a more recent vote on it. Here: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/ ... budget_990

I find it rather telling that although the House and Senate Democrats want to try and call out the Repubicans on some kind of imagined obstructionism, that they haven't been able to propose or pass an actual budget since 2009. They've all voted no on nearly every budget the GOP presents; how's that for obstructionism?

Valhallen wrote:When I link something to support my points, it's not just to fill space or to look pretty in purple. I'd appreciate it if you would carefully consider what they say.
I most certainly did. You don't have to link it again, I got the idea the first time. Perhaps you're just not grasping my point.

Nothing that they told their employees is illegal or even immoral. They simply issued a warning to their employees regarding what they may do or might have to do if President Obama's policies (tax hikes, expensive regulations, etc.) are put in place. The fact that a few employees felt "threatened" is inconsequential. If Mr. Seigel wants to close his company and move to the Bahamas, that's his right. And it's a direct result of excessive taxation. Now we're getting first-hand evidence why it's such a bad thing. If Obama wants to raise taxes, we're going to see a significant drop in revenue in the first year.

Valhallen wrote:Ironically, despite the protests of the people writing these memos, Obama's policies would be better for business, as Romney's proposed cuts in spending and social services would reduce aggregate demand.
As I understand it, aggregate demand is a macro-economic concept, which affects middle and higher-income business owners the most. Recessions---such as the one we are in---are caused by a number of micro-economic factors, as they affect middle and lower-income households more greatly. Romney's policies appear to be targeting not just the problems at the top end, but also the problems of lower-income households, including---something I note that you advocated in another post---the decoupling of employee health insurance plans from the labor market. Often, these problems are things that go hand-in-hand. Would that not be better for both employers and employees alike due to increased flexibility in the job market? Also there's the fact that if employers are taxed higher, as Obama desires them to be, wouldn't that make it harder for them to hire more employees (thus lessening the overall burden of unemployment on the society) and still maintain their profits? If nothing else, wouldn't that hurt businesses more?

When you say it would reduce aggregate demand if he cut spending (reducing government waste and subsidies/tax breaks to businesses, etc.), and social services (reforming Medicare and Social Security, etc.) are you simply calling into question whether these policies would help or hurt businesses, or are you hinting at something else?

Valhallen wrote:Look at the situation in the first link, for example. David Siegel is the boss of a real estate and time share business, and like the rest of the real estate sector, his company took a large hit in the housing / financial crash before Obama was elected. Now, they're doing better than ever:
David Siegel, last week wrote:Westgate is operating at the highest profit levels in the history of the company,
If this is so, why would he tell his employees to vote for Romney? Perhaps because Ryan's proposed cutting of the capital gains tax rate to zero would eliminate nearly all of Siegel's tax obligations, netting him personally more money even if his company would not do as well as it would under Obama. Does any of this prompt you to reconsider your thoughts on the new relationship between corporate personhood and political speech?
Considering that what you mentioned about cutting the capital gains tax is completely false... then no.

Eliminating the Capital Gains tax is not a stipulation of the Ryan plan. I don't know what prompted you to think that, but perhaps you'd like to take a look at the actual plan proposed by Ryan and point out where it says that the Capital gains tax will be eliminated?

Spoiler:    It doesn't.   

Valhallen wrote:
Rough Giraffe wrote:What happens when congress starts spending BEYOND the surplus, and we have a deficit again (as happened in 2001)?
That's not what happened in 2001. In 2001, the tech bubble was deflating, resulting in some economic disruption (without 9/11 and its economic fallout, it probably wouldn't have technically qualified as a recession, but it was still a major issue at the time).
Ah, I apologize. I should have been more specific. I was talking about late 2001, when congress actually began spending more than it took in. Post-9/11. Please excuse me.

Valhallen wrote:The government was still running a surplus, and instead of directing it toward paying off the debt as Clinton had proposed, it was decided that a tax cut would be preferable by way of stimulating the economy. However, the supply-side tax cuts in a demand-loss period of economic difficulty not only turned the surplus into a deficit, they failed to stimulate the economy.
Top tax rates were cut from a 39.5% to 35%. What exactly and how much did a 4.5% drop in taxes supposedly harm? Considering that by the end of the fiscal year, before 9/11, as you said, the economy was doing pretty well and basically coming off of a high. A 4.5% drop wouldn't have done what you are suggesting it did.

Valhallen wrote: W. Bush's administration had the worst growth since Hoover's (And also the second lowest top marginal income tax rate since Hoover's. HW Bush had the lowest top rate and the second worst growth.).

Rough Giraffe wrote:Are we going to raise taxes again? Should there be an upper limit for taxation?
Probably, and no, at least not a hard limit. The rates should reflect the circumstances of the situation at hand and the priorities of the government / society. Just to point out how remote concerns involving the downslope of the Laffer curve are, consider this: In 1942, when the top income tax rate was 88% (near its highest ever), the real GDP growth rate was 18.5% (its highest ever). The top rate was over 90% for nearly twenty years following that (initially in order to deal with the deficit and debt from WWII), and those years overall had unusually good growth by the standards of the century. Consider that all years since the Great Depression with 10% or better real annual growth had a top rate above 60%, and all but three of the years with 5% or better had a top rate of 70% or more. In the real world, not only do much higher top marginal rates than at present not impair the economy, they correlate with better growth.
Actually they don't seem to correlate with growth of any kind at all. Regarding the scatter plot, the data points are all over the place without any actual trend. The data does not actually support that claim. Rather, I think a multitude of other economic factors are involved, and I don't see increased government taxation as a definitive positive influence.

The conclusions you draw from these graphs appears to only take partial data and accept it as the whole picture. It's like you're taking examples when we had peace (lower demand for goods and services) and lower taxes, then we have a war and everyone's rushing to produce products to support the country while congress hikes taxes to pay for the war effort, and you say "look, higher taxes means better growth."

Also, you did not answer my question. Let's say we raise taxes and it abolishes the deficit. Let's say that we are taxing at the rate indicated by the Laffer curve to most positively stimulate growth. What happens if government then continues spending beyond what we take in and we have a deficit again?

Valhallen wrote:
Rough Giraffe wrote:Why is your first concern not instead to reduce spending?
Because in the recovery from a demand-loss recession, reducing government spending would lower aggregate demand and weaken the economy, possibly triggering a second recession, as happened in 1937 when a lot of New Deal spending was cut off. Cuts to government spending (if warranted) should come gradually after the general economy has returned to normal (which it might have already if state and local governments hadn't laid off so many of their workers).
That way of thinking assumes that government spending unquestioningly equals either more economic activity or more jobs, which is an idea that has been proven false time and time again. Just because jobs exist as a result of some forms of government expenditure does not mean that government spending itself is tied to economic prosperity.

Valhallen wrote:
Rough Giraffe wrote:Surely there is waste in the government we can cut, or programs that can be lessened, or things that the government owns that can be sold and privatized (Amtrak, public schools, etc.)?
Sure. How about Bush's Medicare Part D, which prevents the government from negotiating prescription drug prices for Medicare patients (as it does with other medical care), resulting in a huge handout to drug companies. That alone is projected to be a major part of future budget problems.
Sure, I agree. Let's cut that. Then can we agree to cut all funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, seeing as they have their own personal income that eclipses what the government gives them?

Valhallen wrote:Obamacare's "cuts" to Medicare are of this type, which maintain services while reducing the cost to provide them.
Actually, the cost don't really change under his plan. They stay the same---they're just hidden and redistributed, and nothing is done to address the underlying causes of high health care costs to hospitals. He's really just pandering with this bill and putting a nice name on it (the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act"). Heck, if we want to have a separate discussion on exactly how we might go about fixing the underlying causes of high health care costs, let's have that discussion. But I don't think we're going to get anywhere by saying "costs sure are high" and then putting forth a plan that says "We're going to cut costs by separating them into several different pieces of legislation and say the problem is fixed."

Valhallen wrote:Similarly, Obama's efforts to reform military spending have focused on eliminating waste, increasing capabilities while keeping the overall budget rather flat (ship numbers are on the upswing, for example, after bottoming out under Bush).
I'm not seeing that one. Setting ship numbers aside, what kind of waste are you suggesting that Obama has cut?

Valhallen wrote:Regarding public schools, please recall the previously-explained economics which says that public funding is necessary, regardless of who actually operates the schools.
I would argue the opposite; that it matters a lot more more who operates the school than how much is actually spent on it, as evidenced by how spending for public schools has increased by a large amount over time with little to no improvement in test scores. Why don't we privatize failing schools and make the education market more competitive? Recall my argument for government assistance on lower-income earners. Children in families below the poverty line could FINALLY get a good education.

Fine, but since it's owned by the Federal government and runs at a deficit, let's sell the company to a private investor. What would be the problem with that? That's another $2 billion we can save; maybe more if the stock is worth anything at this point.

Valhallen wrote:Cutting waste is not the same thing as cutting service or even spending.
What if the service itself constitutes wasteful spending?

Maybe they didn't feel they wanted those services. What exactly is the problem with that?

Valhallen wrote:
Rough Giraffe wrote:Why do you see government as the end-all for prosperity?
I don't. I'm not a Communist. Have you been paying attention what I've been saying?
I'm not calling you a Communist. I'm pointing out that nearly every time I suggest that the influence of government is too high, you seem to imply that it's not high enough and seem to be advocating policies which would increase the ability of the government to intervene in our every-day lives. That's certainly not Communism, and I wouldn't try to label you as anything anyway, out of respect.

Valhallen wrote:
Rough Giraffe wrote:Furthermore, you touched on alleged GOP voter fraud. First, three of the links you posted there relate to the same event---no need to post multiple links of the same story.
I did that to discourage you from dismissing the information out of hand.
I'm not doing that at all. I recognize that voter fraud exists on both sides of the isle. You were expressly focusing on one side of the isle, which is bound to make people think that it's more of an issue with Republicans than it is with Democrats.

And then you proceeded to dismiss my claims that voter fraud was a problem on the Democrat side at all. I wonder if I should bother discussing this particular topic if you're not willing to show my argument the same respect that I show yours.

In all honesty, and in spite of what you might think, I do respect you and the arguments you make. I'm not very good at conveying my points adequately most of the time (communication is one of my weakest traits, both in text and in real life). You have a very strong hand at debate, but I feel you are very quick to dismiss arguments made by those on the Right. I at least take the argument seriously but I try to provide a counterpoint based in fact. You just called one of my pieces of evidence regarding voter fraud into question because it was a remark by "one man" who used to be a Democrat and is now a Republican. How does that, in and of itself mean that his testimony is false? I see arguments like those as a sign of disrespect; if I used a similar tactic on you, how would you respond?
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Whatis6times9 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:14 pm

I have no faith in privatizing public schools, just look at the studies on Philadelphia and what has happened with the school reform commission. The underlying problem with the education is that we look in alot of the wrong reasons and the wrong combinations, at a certain level the school district was underfunded, a certain level the funding was going to the wrong things, but most of it came from kids who didn't care and the problems they were coming in with. Until we can fix the underlying problems for those kids nothing will really work whether we dump $15,000/student or hand them all over to whatever private entity. It's like looking at what we spend on prisons and just blame look at the rising costs and not looking at why so many people are being locked up in the first place and that's what we have to do, we have to look at the underlying reasons for why these kids fail and it has much to do with the students apathy for being taught as any other cause you can name.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Rough Giraffe » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:04 pm

I get where you're coming from. A lot of social problems in predominantly black communities come from a lack of family structure (single mother families, bad mother-father associations, divorce, etc.) and a lack of job opportunities. Kids join gangs because they're angry and looking for an out, or they find a rapport with people in similar situations to themselves, or for any number of other reasons.

But I would argue that all of that is tied fairly closely to education. Because without the proper education, job opportunities are a lot harder to fill. If job opportunities are low, people have to find other (often illegal) ways in which to make money (drugs, prostitution, etc.). This in turn, tends to lead to a lot of extramarital relations, forced marriages or strained marriages and divorce or single mother households, and all of this perpetuates a bad home life and increases the crime rate. Children being brought up in areas where public education is bad and where conditions like those described above exist will almost invariably follow the same mistakes of those around them.

And education can't do its job without fixing the family situation. It would likely have to be a coordinated effort to improve home life AND education at the same time. Not even exactly sure where to begin...
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Whatis6times9 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:36 pm

That would require changing the way we hire, going back to an older style of work ideas and worker pay. The problem is we have switched to project work which means that employees aren't there for life, it means employees aren't receiving the on the job training that used to be standard and if you don't have the credentials to get one of those jobs you will spend a fair bit of time in minimum wage jobs that give you no useful experience outside of other minimum wage jobs or you have to go into debt to be able to get those credentials. Something would either have to change in the idea of on the job training and letting employees work their way up or we have to fix the higher educations system because the costs there have gone absolutely nuts in comparison to workers wages and inflation in general.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Blood Lord » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:17 am

There really isn't a way you can force family to be fixed. It would be a long time goal to reverse damage done, and that is also a social change as well. Family isn't the "cool" it use to be, and the effects of such a popular decision is having its effects.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Rough Giraffe » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:34 am

Precisely. It has to be a gradual change, and may require shifting positive messages away from things like abortion and de-glamorizing single motherhood while mentioning the importance of a strong father figure in a boy's life and a happy family image in a girl's life.

I might be labeled sexist or pro-life or something ridiculous like that to even suggest those things, but these issues are directly contributing to an already overbearing problem, and the damage needs to be reversed if we are to make any kind of change.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Icha » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:22 pm

(Aha, you've ignored me, that means I win, right?) While I do feel the same way as you for thinking that stronger family values > abortion/"single parents can work fine too", I don't think they are mutually exclusive. Well, the abortion one, anyway, because I figure two parents means more work per child could be split better, but what are you going to do to the single parents? Make them marry someone?

It is possible to argue that allowing abortion decreases the chance of the single parents you feel are incapable, right? Abortion means there isn't a kid to deal with later on, meaning that there is a higher chance of having a kid whose parents felt ready for all this.

I don't really know what a school could do in this respect, though. There are a few classes for living life, like that cooking class and personal finance, but I don't think that quite does it.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Rough Giraffe » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:23 pm

Single mothers and abortion: No, I wouldn't force them to marry someone. As for abortion, I don't think that a higher abortion rate is a good thing. And while I'm not a fan of abortion, I don't think we should have legislation criminalizing it either.

I mentioned in a previous post that it would be a much better idea for a single parent to put their child up for adoption; one might try to convince them that it was in the best interest of the child that they do so---I would never actually force force a mother to give up a child if she didn't want to, however. And while it sounds like an extreme stance, I actually have a valid reason for it: It really is in the best interest of the child. And this time I have a LOT of data to support my claim.

Official statistics on the numbers of single-parent families: http://www.census.gov/prod/3/97pubs/cb-9701.pdf
Study done on single-parent children: http://www.fatherhood.org/media/consequ ... statistics
Adoption statistics; Official: http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/ ... option.cfm
Independent study on adoptive families: http://www.americanadoptions.com/pregna ... tion_stats

As you can see, children are statistically and emperically better off being put up for adoption than they are in a single-parent family.

Ignored you: Sorry, didn't mean to, which post did you want me to respond to?
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Whatis6times9 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:39 pm

I think we have to push a different agenda on sex ed and make it easier for kids to get contraceptives. The problem is that the adoption system is currently broken in that we have switched to a foster care system in this country and what it costs for a private adoption is prohibitive for everyone but those with the resources to afford it. It also doesn't help that some states have policies that only allow adoptions to married couple or strictly forbid gay people from adopting.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Mir@k » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:08 pm

Well.

It's easy for people so spit solutions while they're sitting comfortably in their high moral ground, safe and warm without having been in a position where they had to suffer an unwanted pregnancy isn't it? Moreso solutions such as "put the kid on adoption", because fuck the mother having to suffer bearing the child for nine months and then suffer the pains of childbirth plus psychological traumas related to it and separating herself from the unwanted baby and etcetera.

My stance on it is "give women the choice to do so", because it's their primordial right, one that should never be regulated or discussed, and much less taken away or discouraged in favor for whatever option people think is better, because it is for them and not for the woman.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Tuor » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:17 pm

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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Sentios » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:31 pm

While family problems definitely make it harder to teach some kids, it's not reasonable to suggest that we shouldn't expect schools to be doing better until those problems are fixed. It ignores the short comings of the school curriculum and the policies governing it. Math education alone for example could be greatly improved just by getting with the times and integrating calculators, so much more time could be spent on understanding the conceptual aspects and applications instead if we didn't waste so much time on hand calculation, which is not even a practical skill anymore. http://www.ted.com/talks/conrad_wolfram ... uters.html


As for single mothers you'd probably be better off allowing unwilling father's to request an abortion(not forced but the woman would forfeit the right to said man's money) than attacking abortion itself. I mean it's pretty much a given than if a woman is a single mother she didn't abort, so telling her not to abort solves nothing. The disincentives need to be emphasized. Also assistance should be as non-monetary as possible to prevent abuses of it.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Rough Giraffe » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:12 pm

Mir@k wrote:[Emotional Hate Speech Disguised As Reason]

My stance on it is "give women the choice to do so", because it's their primordial right [etc].
Look, I'm not talking about taking CHOICE away from anyone. If the mother has an unwanted pregnancy, she can certainly keep it if she wants to, but the fact of the matter is that many of those same women who have an unwanted pregnancy give their children up for adoption regardless of all the "psychological trauma." How many women with unwanted pregnancies, do you think, were really all that concerned about the consequences of having unprotected extramarital sex with their boyfriend? Chances are, not many.

If the condom broke, or they were otherwise trying to be responsible by any number of other methods and they still got pregnant, I have no problem with them getting an abortion if they so choose. I'm not advocating any laws to outlaw one medical practice or another. I'm merely stating that Yes, it is a problem and Yes, I have solutions we can try to implement.

It's a lot more difficult to face the truth of a bad situation than it is to point a finger, Mirak. Maybe if your hand wasn't in the way, you could see that.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Icha » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:37 pm

icha_icha_paradise wrote:Could I see verification for the "democrats don't want blacks to vote"? Because the article you linked stated it but never gave a source.


Ah, sounds like you don't like abortion and want less of it, but you don't like it when it happens. Sounds perfectly reasonable.

In general, I tend to lean more towards civil liberties and the like, because I think empathy comes from how easily a person sees himself in said situation (ie, the difference between sympathy and not caring), and I feel that being able to do more things is better than not letting other people do things.

I've always had a few blank spots for emotional response to morality,although some holes were patched with philosophy back when I was younger and hanging around people, and when I used to think about these things. I might know how people are supposed to feel about certain events, but I sometimes don't feel it anyway. What's wrong with more abortions though, anyway (Disregard whether a fetus is a person or not, I don't think a response at that angle gives me insight)?
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Q.U. » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:43 am

Keep trying to get that opinion through. Majority of GOP members have already signed the personhood pledge.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Rough Giraffe » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:56 am

icha_icha_paradise wrote:Could I see verification for the "democrats don't want blacks to vote"? Because the article you linked stated it but never gave a source.
Not what I was saying at all, by the way. Democrats certainly want Black people to vote. For Democrats. But then Republicans want Black people to vote for them too.

Problem is---and it's just my own perspective talking here---that America has been bought out by promises for public assistance from Democrats using what is really their own money. Their own and other people's money, but still. It feels like more and more, people are under the expectation that the government will always provide for them (eliminating much of the need to provide for themselves) and do what's in their best interest--which, if you've learned history even badly, you'll realize that this is not the case.

Affirmative action, welfare, food stamps, school lunch, Social Security, unemployment insurance, public health care, etc... While they're not all bad, and surely they benefit people, I feel that they've been largely overused. Like... A LOT. But you can't get into a discussion about reforming any aspect of them without someone thinking you want to destroy the programs and demonizing you for it, which is what I saw happening in this election cycle.

Politics is a mind-killer, I guess.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Blood Lord » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:01 pm

Q.U. wrote:Keep trying to get that opinion through. Majority of GOP members have already signed the personhood pledge.

I enjoyed how many people got offended by "God" in there.

Grow some fucking tolerance, America.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby BeeAre » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:15 pm

Now that the election is over, I still have some tension built up in me I can't get rid of despite my diazepam (Valium). So I rolled into this thread.

Ruffdraft. I'm a little cross with you:

Rough Giraffe wrote:
Mir@k wrote:[Emotional Hate Speech Disguised As Reason]


Excuse me? Are these ideas mutually exclusive? Can someone not irrationally hate something with a basis in the rationality of its statistical impacts that they understand?

I hate war. Irrationally, because I know it does things that aren't good rationally.

Valhallen, if this definition seems sloppy to you, feel free to correct it.

Mir@k wrote:Well.

It's easy for people so spit solutions while they're sitting comfortably in their high moral ground, safe and warm without having been in a position where they had to suffer an unwanted pregnancy isn't it? Moreso solutions such as "put the kid on adoption", because fuck the mother having to suffer bearing the child for nine months and then suffer the pains of childbirth plus psychological traumas related to it and separating herself from the unwanted baby and etcetera.


Let's remove some of those mean adjectives that I believe could be easily construed as to qualify being hate speech. Give me some more if you're not satisfied with my rendition.

It's [clearer] for people [to offer] solutions while they're [convinced of their position,] without having been in a position where they had [an] unwanted pregnancy[.] Moreso solutions such as "put the kid on adoption", because [...the mother] having to [...] bear the child for nine months and then [go through] childbirth plus ["psychological traumas"][sic] related to it and separating herself from the [...] baby [...].


So have we stripped away the disguise, as you've put it? If not, make it more clear as to what words are distasteful to you. Once we get away from that disguise, what is it now?

Psychological trauma is a documented thing that is pretty conventional in all discussions and examples of even ideas relating to abortion. I'm not removing that. It happens.

Tell me it doesn't. Seriously. Find one reliable, medically accepted journal source that says that on average a woman going through the choices faced with the simple idea of abortion doesn't experience some psychological trauma. By "medically accepted", incidentally, I mean approved by the World Health Organization. Not a local or private thinktank.

Is it hate speech now? Tell me what it is now.

Rough Giraffe wrote:
Mir@k wrote:My stance on it is "give women the choice to do so", because it's their primordial right [etc].
Look, I'm not talking about taking CHOICE away from anyone. If the mother has an unwanted pregnancy, she can certainly keep it if she wants to, but the fact of the matter is that many of those same women who have an unwanted pregnancy give their children up for adoption regardless of all the "psychological trauma."


Which happens. Don't believe me? Look it up. Don't think you'll find anything? I'll provide you some god damn sources by doing a very simple "advanced search" by Google, making sure to hit up every country's stats, and I will translate them for you. "First-world" country stats don't deviate very much. Oh, well, ours do. But every other "first-world" country? Trauma exists.

I think I'm going to posit that you did not do much research in dismissing Mir@k's "hate speech". Or am I wrong? Do you have sources immediately available to you, accepted by the international healthcare community which indicate that abortion is not heavily associated with psychological trauma?

How many women with unwanted pregnancies, do you think, were really all that concerned about the consequences of having unprotected extramarital sex with their boyfriend? Chances are, not many.


Citation needed.

You and I aren't women. You and I don't know and will never know what it is like to have the potential for human life inside you. You and I cannot make fully rational and complete judgments against women on the nature of something you and I can never experience. Only women can. Chances are, you didn't do your research. Show me you did.

If the condom broke, or they were otherwise trying to be responsible by any number of other methods and they still got pregnant, I have no problem with them getting an abortion if they so choose. I'm not advocating any laws to outlaw one medical practice or another. I'm merely stating that Yes, it is a problem and Yes, I have solutions we can try to implement.


I agree that solutions exist to be implemented. You don't have them. Don't claim that. You're quoting other people's solutions. That's fine. Be honest about it.

It's a lot more difficult to face the truth of a bad situation than it is to point a finger, Mirak. Maybe if your hand wasn't in the way, you could see that.


Don't do this again. Ever. Don't say someone is being self-righteous unjustly and then do it back to them. Don't. Simply.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Q.U. » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:04 pm

BR just broke somebody.

So let me try to lighten the mood a bit.


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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Sentios » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:38 pm

Nice one Q.U.

Anyways the mood at work today was 'thank fuck it's finally over', referring to all the campaign ads no longer clogging the airwaves. I'm not sure this is the proper reaction to what should arguably be the most important event in the country at this time of year.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Rough Giraffe » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:31 am

BeeAre wrote:Don't do this again. Ever. Don't say someone is being self-righteous unjustly and then do it back to them. Don't. Simply.
You're absolutely right.

I am human, and when someone is constantly trying to demonize me, I do get a little peeved. But I lost my cool, and for that I apologize. I'm better than that. I should really keep it in check, even if I'm feeling outraged.

I'm actually really glad that I can count on you to hold me to that higher standard. That's what makes you such a good friend to me. I'll try to work on a quick response to some of your above points when I don't have one of those tension headaches happening.

Again, thanks for checking me. Really.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Rough Giraffe » Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:23 pm

CLEAR ! !

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So I guess the questions on everyone's mind are: 1) where the Hell have I been, and 2) why did I just necro this thread?

In order: 1) in Hong Kong. Yes, that's right, I was abducted and sold into the sex trade*. Just got back, and 2) eat all of the dicks**.

So I'm going to finally answer some of these questions in the above posts, starting from the earliest that I have not responded to. I will try to answer everything that is relevant; if I feel something isn't relevant, I'll skip it. Hopefully I can complete my post by Saturday.



*Yeah, that didn't happen, but I was in Hong Kong.
**I talked to Valhallen about it first, it's cool. Er. About necroing the thread. Not about you eating dicks***.
***Also, I was kidding about that. You shouldn't eat dicks. Choking hazard, etc.
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Re: Weekly discussion 23 (8/12-8/19): Rumble on the Potomac

Postby Valhallen » Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:07 am

Weekly Discussion 24 (1/13/13-1/20/13): $1 trillion coin

The US budget situation is sooo crazy.

How crazy is it?

Some people have proposed minting a trillion-dollar coin as an accounting trick to get around the debt ceiling now that Republicans have taken to using it to push policy. The coin won't actually be made, but the situation is representative of how strange things have gotten. Thoughts?

I'll be making a new thread to continue ongoing discussions when I have a reply ready, but if you have something to say on that before I post my next contribution, just post it here, and I'll move it to a new thread.
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Re: Weekly discussion 24 (1/13/13-1/20/13): $1 trillion coin

Postby Birdofterror » Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:49 am

I saw something about this earlier. I was certain I heard it wrong, and thought the coin was actually an alternative to the $100 bill.

To actually confirm that it's a trillion dollar coin? That just sounds bonkers. To what end- for what purpose would this even exist?
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