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  • #2245750

    Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

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    by maxwell edison ·

    For the past twenty years (ten, here at TR), I’ve been warning about the possibility – no, make that the inevitability – that the United States government will face the ultimate financial disgrace – financial bankruptcy.

    I’ve been extremely critical of the Democratic Party for advancing policy positions – especially social policy positions – that will ultimately lead to such an outcome; and I’ve been even more critical of the Republican Party for capitulating to said Democrats and for failing to advance a more fiscally responsible and libertarian principled philosophy for the sake of [i]bipartisanship and/or compromise[/i].

    Political party preference aside (if that’s even possible), what’s on the horizon for the financial stability of, what was once the most financially stable nation on the planet, the United States of America?

    P.S. I expect most replies to be nothing but typical political rhetoric. Please prove me wrong.

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    • #2864869

      On the road?

      by santeewelding ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      Sir: the full faith and credit of the United States of America is, at this point, a fiction. It is upheld by us all only because not a one of us can conceive of the alternative — an ugly thing, indeed.

      • #2864868

        “. . .not a one of us can conceive of the alternative . . .”

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to On the road?

        How true. But, therefore what?

        • #2864867

          A 60-Minute thing I saw the other day online

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to “. . .not a one of us can conceive of the alternative . . .”

          Where Scott Paley was interviewing the “99s”, those people whose extended unemployment benefits will expire this month.

          (I paraphrase):

          “What will happen when they run out?” he asked the woman.

          “The abyss,” she said.

          “And, then what?”

          “Over the edge,” she said.

          The “abyss” is the lowest, darkest, coldest point on earth under the seas, where only Beebe (I think) and an associate visited once, tethered and insulated in an iron sphere with a wall about a foot thick.

          You got wall?

        • #2864866

          I saw that.

          by boxfiddler ·

          In reply to A 60-Minute thing I saw the other day online

          Disheartening, to put it mildly.

        • #2864862

          On being “unemployed”

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to A 60-Minute thing I saw the other day online

          I’ve been technically, unemployed, in the sense that I went from ~20 years with the same “employer”, to being laid-off, to having no “employer” at all for the past 18 months.

          Over that 18 months, I’ve neither applied for, nor collected one dime of “unemployment” payments.

          Where there’s the will, there’s a way. Unfortunately, all too many people lack the will. But government will, for them, ride in and save the day! (Yea, right!)

          P.S. Unemployment payments – especially extended unemployment payments = one more brick laid on the road to national bankruptcy!

        • #2864861

          Scattered, Max

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to On being “unemployed”

          Too scattered for me to bear in with some kind of singular, ball-busting reply.

          The lack of cohesion, however, does serve both the first tactic and the strategy of self-defense, which is, to say nothing identifiable or locatable about it.

          So, I will not ask after how you have achieved what you have achieved. Nor, I suggest, do you relent and describe how for any who ask.

          Keep your mouth shut.

        • #2864561

          Been there

          by unhappyuser ·

          In reply to On being “unemployed”

          Done that.

          Too many people believe it’s the government’s job to pull them out of the quagmire. The problem is the government IS the quagmire!

          EMD

        • #2854144

          Not this again

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to On being “unemployed”

          Max, I understand that you are struggling in a situation where there is just no much work, even for the highly skilled and experienced people with years of stability with their company, I sincerely hope that things will get better for you very soon.

          Your CHOICE to not collect unemployment ‘insurance’, which you have paid into for decades is entirely your own choice and doesn’t make you any more upstanding as a citizen or more noble than anyone who actually does collect the insurance that they paid their premiums for.

          [i]”Where there’s the will, there’s a way. Unfortunately, all too many people lack the will. But government will, for them, ride in and save the day! (Yea, right!)[/i]

          When you have a car accident, their fault or not, you rightly collect the insurance that you have paid into for however long. When you visit the doctor, you also use your insurance that you have paid into for X years.

          If you choose not to collect your car or medical insurance and pay out of pocket, that is entirely up to you and if you didn’t use your insurance, you wouldn’t be considered the sharpest knife in the drawer by any means.

          So why you feel that the unemployment insurance is any different, if you are eligible to collect it, is no different.

          People who pay into and then collect insurance in such times of hardship and need, should not be chastised or looked down upon for doing so. I am sure than the vast majority would much rather work and pay into it than collect it, but many don’t have that luxury.

          So when you say [i]”Unfortunately, all too many people lack the will. But government will, for them, ride in and save the day! (Yea, right!)[/i]you are looking down on those who pay for insurance and collect said insurance in times of great need.

          Not everyone lives your life, not everyone is able to create income as needed to get by. Why you would condemn people for collecting from a system your government designed for just such hardships is beyond me. It merely illustrates yourself as thinking you are superior to others and don’t see why anyone would burden YOUR government and jeopardize YOUR future.

          I’d like to think that I know you better than that and that you are really a warm hearted and empathetic member of society but if you insist on showing yourself otherwise…

          When I lost my F/T gig last Xmas, I just did my own thing for 8 months until I figured I was tired of actually working for a living and sought out an employer again. I collected UI for 2 months then, as I was declaring self made income, I earned too much to collect UI anymore.

          This doesn’t mean I was a burden on my country, my neighbours, my society. I paid for insurance, I collected it and worked until I was earning more than UI would pay me, then I eventually got a day job again. I am fortunate that way, I can earn a decent living with a 3 line ad on Craigslist an dbe so busy I have to turn down work. Many are not as fortunate as me, but I don’t condemn them or expect them to suffer just because I can sort my own sh*t out.

    • #2864860

      We can fix it

      by nicknielsen ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      And anybody who can see past political beliefs to actual facts (granted, an increasingly small part of the population) knows it will take a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. But it ain’t gonna be easy. And it won’t happen as long as the noisemakers in Washington keep talking through their…selves.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/07/AR2010110704541.html?nav=rss_opinions

      What’s on the horizon? More of the same, at least for the next two years. Then, in 2012, when the swing voters repudiate the Republicans the same way they just repudiated the Democrats, it might start sinking in. If not, wait two years, lather, rinse, repeat. Maybe the party leadership will get the message by 2020.

      • #2864858

        Revert to post below.

        by santeewelding ·

        In reply to We can fix it

        .

      • #2864857

        Thing is

        by santeewelding ·

        In reply to We can fix it

        I don’t think we have until 2020. Business as usual is headed straight for a brick wall — not a yellow-brick road.

      • #2864735

        Nick: A question for you

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to We can fix it

        Speaking for yourself, if you add up (estimated, of course) all the taxes you currently pay per year: federal, social security, medicare, state, local, sales, gasoline, property, various fees, various surcharges, etc., and estimate those to be a certain percentage of your total income, how much are you willing to have your taxes increased? Would you be willing to pay ten percent more? Twenty? Twenty-five?

        • #2864683

          About 35-40%

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to Nick: A question for you

          I could live with not more than a 10% increase in that, but only if rational budget cuts also take place.

          Now, Max, a question for you: South Carolina is living the nightmare right now.
          – An electorate that virulently hates taxes,
          – a Republican legislature that refuses to raise taxes, and
          – an increasing budget deficit due both to irresponsible tax policies and the current economy.

          How much do you cut before you raise taxes? http://www.thestate.com/2010/10/31/1537808/fraud-danger-and-dirt-state-letting.html

        • #2864650

          Would you also be willing . . . . . . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to About 35-40%

          …… to be sent to a work camp for 5 months, each and every year, to toil and work – without pay – for the benefit of others? The only difference between that and what you said is the location and possibly the type of work.

          P.S. Don’t forget the required reading from your little red book. (I actually have a copy on my book shelf.)

        • #2854130

          Does it also benefit me?

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to Would you also be willing . . . . . . .

          To a large extent, as I see it, it does. Does all of it benefit me, even indirectly? Of course not.

          You seem to think that because I can accept some, I will accept all. There are federal departments that need to be greatly reduced or eliminated. The Department of Education is one; it should be a coordinating committee under the Commerce Department, with the sole function of promulgating national education standards. There are federal programs that need to be greatly reduced or eliminated. Any and all subsidy programs come immediately to mind: you don’t promise people a minimum price for their product, nor do you pay them to NOT do something. It distorts the market. On the other hand banking regulation, medicine, transportation safety, product and food safety, and other public safety issues are the province of government. This is not a black or white issue.

          The laissez-faire government of the 19th century allowed (and sometimes actively participated in) the rise of the robber barons, the slaughter of native Americans, and the repression of free men. I don’t want a return to that kind of government, and I really don’t think you do either.

        • #2864560

          It’s close to 50% now

          by unhappyuser ·

          In reply to Nick: A question for you

          Depending upon your income level, if you drink or smoke, etc.

          EMD

      • #2854213

        WAY TO GO NICK!

        by oz_media ·

        In reply to We can fix it

        You mean, what’s that word…HOPE?

        LOL, the way I look at ANY situation is;

        Q)
        Will I actually die from this and not wake up tomorrow morning?

        A)
        If NO, I’m not going to die tonight, no problem then, tomorrow’s another day.
        If YES, may as well make the most of it and not worry about it then there’s nothing I can do about it.

        In most cases I realize that, no matter what happens, I will still wake up tomorrow and live another day, when I don’t I wouldn’t know it anyway.

    • #2864852

      With the current US Defect

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      Being so much of the US’s GDP that is coming very quickly and has been building for quite a few years now.

      It’s taken at least 20 years to get to this stage so it’s going to take a lot longer and a lot of [b]Pain[/b] on the part of the Citizens to get over it, if that ever happens.

      From past Political Experience if it takes 1 year to get into a mess it takes 3 or more to get out of it. Being that it’s now at least 20 years of successive Poor Economic Administration on the behalf of successive US Governments I really don’t think that there is any [b]Political Will[/b] to do anything about the way that the US Government works.

      Also I remember the US Authorities deriding Japan for what they called [i]Quantitative Easing[/i] and it now appears that while it was Bad for Japan and going to cause much trouble for Japan it’s acceptable for the US.

      Probably because it’s [b]EASY[/b] and the people who do it now will not be around when it’s time to clean up the mess. The longer that the current situation continues the worse it’s going to be for all US Citizens but Unfortunately with the Political System being the way that it is I think you’ll find that the Brick Wall has to be Hit and then who ever comes after that mess will blame the previous Government and say that they are going to fix the mess. Of course it’s not going to happen quickly and with the current need from the US for [b]Quick Fixes[/b] I very much doubt that there will be enough Political Will to see it out as things should be done and that the Governments who ever they may be will resort to the [b]Easy[/b] Fix.

      Max see why I consider all Politician’s the same? 😉

      Col

      • #2864777

        Pain.

        by charliespencer ·

        In reply to With the current US Defect

        Pain that none of our ‘leaders’ are willing to ask us to accept. You’re dead on about the political will. The opportunities of Sept. 11th are gone, squandered on luggage inspections and wiretaps. The population was in a mood to accept sacrifice; no one in power was willing to ask it.

    • #2864806

      Yes

      by delbertpgh ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      I should qualify my answer to “Yes, virtually,” because we can’t technically go bankrupt, so long as we can print more money. If we can’t pay our bills, i.e. become bankrupt, we can always inflate.

      I think the country has big-scale problems that go beyond politics. The biggest is that we buy vastly more from overseas than we export. The only reason we keep getting away with it is that we are the world’s largest economy and the international reserve currency. Central banks are willing to hold our paper. You need to value something to run a banking system, and for now, the USD is it.

      A problem that goes hand in hand with the first one is that we don’t make stuff here like we used to. Capability, performance for price, and exclusivity of technology marked our world-leading manufacturing base up to 1970. Now we put as much business energy into finding ways to outsource our manufacture as we used to invest in making things we could sell and use. The new economy is based primarily on loaning each other money, serving each other lunch, wiping each others’ rear ends, and shopping.

      We have a particular failing in our leading service industry, the rear end-wiping business, health care. We spend one dollar in six (2008 statistic) on health. We don’t manage it in any competitive way; our means of paying for it is irrational and suppresses efficiency; we don’t have, as a population, better outcomes than countries that spend less; and it promises only to grow in cost. I saw today an article on a new vaccine procedure that will fight already in progress prostate cancer: it promises to extend life by four months at a cost of $93,000 per treatment. You’re going to hear a lot about this. Is it properly priced? Can we afford to add this to an overburdened insurance system? Can we even get around to discussing whether an extra four months at the end of life is a worthwhile investment, given that the party that has risen to power has run against “death panel” discussions like that?

      As a rising country in the 50s and 60s, bearing the burdens of defending the free world and building our own prosperity, we were able to invest huge sums in building interstate highways, sea ports, and airports, and all the other infrastructure that goes with being a first-rank economy looking to grow. Today we can’t find the political will to invest money to keep it all in repair. In part that’s because everything we do costs more money than it did 50 years ago. Some portion of that is government regulation that requires expensive features, and some due to fears of lawsuits that requires every niggling event in life be insured. I remember in 1960 driving in Iowa and Kansas and seeing the new interstate highways, with signs proudly announcing that it cost $50,000 per mile and was 90% paid for by Federal funds. Who can imagine public works projects for so little these days? Who can imagine a jet fighter aircraft for $220,000, the F-86?

      We can’t educate people to support the economy we wish we had. In the 50s and 60s we produced all of our own engineers, and they led the world; now we import them from Delhi and Taiwan, while our own kids major in communications and criminal justice. My wife teaches at a state college, and she gets the B students who come out of our high schools. And at the rural area college where she teaches, they pretty much get only the white ones, in case you were wondering. And they’re stoooooooopid. They come out unprepared to write or reason, and don’t see the importance of picking up facts, and have checked out of difficult nerd subject material like math or chemistry.

      We have lost the will to regulate our banks, as the populace has lost its will to save and invest. The financial disaster that we experience now is nothing compared to the nightmare we narrowly avoided, but nobody has caught on to what occurred. It will happen again. We’ve also lost the will to pay for the government services we demand. Tax cuts have become a cure-all and a religious chant that displaces financial reason in our national accounts, and recipients of entitlement spending rail against any talk of rationalization at the expense of their comfort.

      So, I’ll agree with you, on a lot of issues. Maybe there are some here you haven’t thought much about. All these issues are critically important. Government is dysfunctional and wasteful, and so are the people, in their politics and social imagination.

      • #2864674

        On savings and investment

        by nicknielsen ·

        In reply to Yes

        [i]…as the populace has lost its will to save and invest. [/i]

        The biggest problem I see here, Delbert, is a tax code that rewards consumption and penalizes saving and investing. It’s not as bad as it used to be, when credit card interest was deductible, but it’s still bad. What to do?

        1. As a home-owner, I’m all in favor the the mortgage interest deduction. If government wants to encourage home ownership, this is a good way to do it. But if you can afford a “home” that covers tens of thousands of square feet and costs millions of dollars, you sure as hell don’t need the government’s encouragement to buy it. Reduce the limit on mortgage value from $1,000,000 to $500,000, or, better yet, give the deduction to the people who need it the most. Limit it to a certain threshold, say 125% of the median home price in the area at the time of purchase, as provided by the NAR and certified in the mortgage.

        2. Most of us have all we can do to make payments on one home; limit the mortgage interest deduction to the primary dwelling. No second homes, vacation homes, etc.

        3. If you want people to save, they need some encouragement. Exempt the first $1000 of interest or dividend income. This includes savings accounts, certificates of deposit, mutual funds/money market accounts, and stock dividends. Leave IRAs alone.

        The other part of the issue is much more problematic. The stock market has changed over the past several decades from a way to capitalize corporations to a way to speculate on society. Don’t know how to fix that.

        • #2864653

          How to encourage savings

          by delbertpgh ·

          In reply to On savings and investment

          1. The home mortgage tax deduction is so holy, you’re not going to cut it, so forget it. We don’t need to pump more money than we already have into housing, so no need to make the deduction even sweeter.

          2. Tax deductions won’t make people save.

          3. Pay people more. With more money on hand, they won’t take out second mortgages, and will have the cash to invest. And by people, I mean the bottom 98%. The years since Reagan have seen all the country’s growth captured by the wealthiest few, while median (not average) income has scarcely budged.

          We’ve had 30 years of trickle-up economics, in case you haven’t noticed. And I haven’t seen where the top crust have gotten so much better at their jobs, or have provided so well for the rest of the country, that one could say they deserve so much better from the economy.

        • #2864646

          How to encourage savings

          by boxfiddler ·

          In reply to How to encourage savings

          It might be worth teaching people the pitfalls of covetousness, and the value of being content with less.

          You can’t save what you don’t have.

          edit
          points for using covetousness in a sentence

        • #2864634

          Points granted

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to How to encourage savings

          Points subtracted from [b]delbert[/b] for his hellashish contention that someone is in charge of this thing we call the, “econonmy”.

        • #2864597

          Mortgage interest deduction.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to On savings and investment

          I’ve owned four homes. Not once has it been worth itemizing my return to take the mortgage interest deduction. Even in the first full year of each mortgage, when the interest paid is at its highest, I always came out ahead taking the standard deduction instead of itemizing.

          Just one goober’s opinion, but I wouldn’t miss it. I wonder what percentage of home owners can deduct it, or itemize without comparing against the standard deduction.

        • #2864586

          You need more deductions

          by delbertpgh ·

          In reply to Mortgage interest deduction.

          You have to be able to claim lots of stuff to beat the standard deduction. My wife has a ton of unreimbursed professional expenses, and we have a thoroughly unwanted condominium that we try to rent out, and the money we lose on that is also deductible. All this stuff, with the home mortgage interest, makes it possible to save a little on taxes.

          Of course, along comes the Alternative Minimum Tax, and takes a lot of that away anyhow.

        • #2864562

          No thanks.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to You need more deductions

          I’m not going to spend more just to save a little. I was mostly wondering how many homeowners are able to take advantage of this deduction. I’m with Nick – cap the deduction and apply it to primary residences only.

    • #2864802

      America has been greedy

      by the ‘g-man.’ ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      time to diet or die…

      • #2864734

        Define being greedy

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to America has been greedy

        Give examples, please.

        • #2864599

          We need more Oil…

          by the ‘g-man.’ ·

          In reply to Define being greedy

          Iraq has Oil

          Cut a few corners here and there – major oil spill 2010

          Add those up for starters…

          Same Applies to the UK as well!

        • #2864565

          What does the American consumer’s thirst for oil . . . . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to We need more Oil…

          ….. have to do with American government out-of-control spending, deficit spending, accumulation of massive debt, etc.?

          Our trade deficit is related to oil, to be sure, but federal spending?

        • #2864564

          Why else are we in the Middle East?

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to What does the American consumer’s thirst for oil . . . . .

          Why did we go to war defending Kuwait in 1990 if it wasn’t over oil? Why are we there now? There may be other excuse, but oil is a prime factor.

          It isn’t cheap to maintain a military presence there for eight years. Unlike previous military excursions, we funded this one with … tax CUTS.

        • #2864551

          Two points

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Why else are we in the Middle East?

          The amount of money spent on military presence in the middle east pales in comparison to federal spending on social programs. Moreover, you want to see our economy really tank? Then stop the flow of imported oil!

          Re: Tax cuts – more accurately, tax rate cuts. Why is it that over those years of tax rate cuts, the total revenue collected by the federal government increases (almost) every year after year, and is always on a general upward climb? I certainly acknowledge that if tax rates were cut to zero percent, or some other ridiculously low number, that total revenues would drop, but that hasn’t been the case.

          The answer is obvious: They’ve taken in MORE money – regardless of tax rate cuts – but their spending has outpaced even those increases in revenue!

          http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/downchart_gr.php?year=1902_2014&view=1&expand=&units=b&fy=fy11&chart=F0-fed&bar=0&stack=1&size=m&title=&state=US&color=c&local=s

          If federal spending could be frozen at a particular level – and tax rates, for that matter – the growth in GDP would result in higher revenue year after year, thereby eliminating the annual budget deficit in a very short time, and eventually allow the national debt to be paid down. In the very least, STOP INCREASING FEDERAL SPENDING!

        • #2854217

          “stop the flow of imported oil”

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to Two points

          The only thing that will do THAT is the bankrupting of your economy. There is never going to be the widespread adoption of a more energy-conserving lifestyle when there are other alternatives.

        • #2854208

          Response

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Two points

          You asked what was the connection between oil consumption and federal spending – military defense of the source. There it is. I’m not making claims as to the size in comparison to other expenditures, or in terms of value for the money spent, just that the expenditures are there.

        • #2854199

          Response to your response

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Two points

          [i]You asked what was the connection between oil consumption and federal spending – military defense of the source. There it is. I’m not making claims as to the size in comparison to other expenditures, or in terms of value for the money spent, just that the expenditures are there.[/i]

          And what would happen if the U.S. military didn’t defend the free flow of oil – the life blood of not only the U.S. economy, but the world’s economy? Maybe the French would do it. Or the Brits. Or maybe the Russians?

          Why do people treat [i]oil[/i] as a four-letter word? All the people who speak out against it as something evil, depend on it themselves!

          Besides, I doubt very much the G-Man was referring to the military use and/or defense of the flow of oil. He just saw an opportunity to paint Americans as [i]greedy[/i].

        • #2854194

          As supposed to

          by pser ·

          In reply to Two points

          painting Americans as stupid, helpless, cowards?

        • #2854193

          PSer

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Two points

          That was funny. I laughed. Touche’

          P.S. But I really do see a lot of people as afraid to face life’s challanges without the guarantee of a government bail-out! And politicians prey upon that fear.

        • #2854191

          Max,

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Two points

          “And what would happen if the U.S. military didn’t defend the free flow of oil … Why do people treat oil as a four-letter word?”

          As I already said and as you already quoted, “I’m not making claims … in terms of value for the money spent…” Again, I’m just pointing out where the connection is, in response to your original query, “Our trade deficit is related to oil, to be sure, but federal spending?” Federal money is used to pay for military operations in the Middle East that are primarily conducted to sustain the flow of oil. (It’s also used to subsidize arms deals to questionably friendly countries for the same reason, now that I think about it. One could make a case it is a factor in our support of Israel.)

          I assume you’re addressing your ‘What’ and ‘Why’ questions to someone else, despite their being in your reply to me. Seek value judgments on this topic elsewhere; I’m not making any today. As to G-Man, I won’t speculate on his motivations.

        • #2854183

          Your

          by pser ·

          In reply to Two points

          eyes …

          Mine have seen many people (myself and my family included), throughout my life, live on beans and rice never asking for or receiving ANYTHING close to a ‘government bailout’, as you would label the measly checks one would receive in the form of unemployment/welfare checks.

          My eyes have also seen … multimillion (billions) of corporate ‘government bailouts’.

          In my eyes, they do not equate.

        • #2854179

          I’m also opposed to corporate bail-outs. (eom)

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Two points

          .

        • #2854178

          For what its worth Max

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Two points

          Bush has suggested in his memoirs he has no regrets about the automobile industry bailouts.

        • #2854175

          For what it’s worth, James (edited for additions)

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Two points

          Re: [i]Bush has suggested in his memoirs he has no regrets about the automobile industry bailouts.[/i]

          I haven’t yet read President Bush’s book, [i]Decision Points[/i], but I plan to very soon.

          But as you may or may not know, I haven’t always agreed with what President Bush did. Personally speaking, I think GM and Chrysler should have been forced into reorganization bankruptcy. But the auto unions wouldn’t have anything to do with such a thing!

          P.S. Who’s going to bailout the United States government?

          [i]I am disappointed that the Senate could not reach agreement on a short-term plan for the auto industry. I share the frustration of so many about the decades of mismanagement in this industry that has helped deliver the current crisis. Those bad practices cannot be rewarded or continued. [/i]
          -Barrack Obama

          And what about the [i]decades of mismanagement in (government) that has helped deliver the current crisis[/i]?

        • #2854172

          Of course Max I wasn’t suggesting that

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Two points

          I’m only suggesting that Bush has had time to reflect on his decision, and right or wrong hasn’t changed his mind, though he could have easily done so with the benefit of hindsight.

          From what I read and hear, many people have forgotten that the Bush government started the process, and a lot of people are blaming Obama for those bailouts.

        • #2854167

          Being critical of GWB:

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Two points

          I was also critical of President Bush for:

          Failing to address the illegal immigration problems.

          Expanding the role of Medicare.

          Failing to push hard for real Social Security reform.

          Failing to ……

        • #2854121

          Errm – NO!

          by the ‘g-man.’ ·

          In reply to Two points

          You say: “Besides, I doubt very much the G-Man was referring to the military use and/or defense of the flow of oil. He just saw an opportunity to paint Americans as greedy.”

          Totally incorrect – you asked and I told you exactly what I meant.

          So am I talking to the real ‘Mad Max’ of the future when petrol is a premium and a currency?

      • #2864639

        More like

        by boxfiddler ·

        In reply to America has been greedy

        gluttonous. Either way, a diet and some awareness would go a long way.

    • #2864800

      Is this a pride thing?

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      Don’t worry about it, you’ll still be richer than us….

      • #2864790

        Warms my heart, thanks so much

        by delbertpgh ·

        In reply to Is this a pride thing?

        Bland reassurances make the decline so less dismaying.

        • #2864759

          It’s only a decline

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Warms my heart, thanks so much

          if you believed in the incline.

          They aren’t real numbers, they had, have and will continue to have no basis in reality.

          Somebody says something and your ‘value’ doubles or halves in minutes?

          It’s bollocks, let the market place find it’s real value, if a few of the parasites who make zeros out the imaginary relationship between value and money top themselves, no great loss…

        • #2864744

          There are very real numbers involved

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to It’s only a decline

          The amount of the debt that the US government owes the world is a real number.

          The ratio of that debt to the Gross Domestic Product is a very real number. That ratio determines whether or not the US government gets low interest rates or high. That can mean the difference between a managable debt and one that is spirally out of control.

          The stock market is the real of unreal numbers, as the price of stock reflects expectations not reality. Dividends reflect past performance, stock prices are all about future anticipation. But the stock market isn’t directly about government debt.

        • #2864730

          But…

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to There are very real numbers involved

          that debt is in US$… so just devalue your US$s to turkish lira levels, then sell some stuff to Europe or Canada or India or China or anybody else with harder money…
          I’d recommend selling Alaska to Canada, for instance. Get rid of Palin and make things easier on the map-makers too.
          With the hard money from the sales you can pay off your devalued debts in no time.

          Sure, it would destabilize the world and might cause some wars. But you’d get out of your debts.

        • #2854181

          ansu, that’s where the problem is though

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to But…

          The US doesn’t really sell anything. The rest of the world relies on selling to the US.

          We could do Alaska though, not much different than a lot of the Canadian snow and tundra towns, it would just make BC a greater oil resource to pad Alberta’s sands. BUT, then of course the US would want the oil and would want to pay less because they are broke. We’d set out some deal and ship them oil, they’d reneg on paying as per ‘the deal’ and still want even more oil for less and we are right back where we started. A broke US pretending they can save everyone from imminent doom (which they will fabricate somehow) if we lend them a hand.

        • #2864713

          I refute your argument thus

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to There are very real numbers involved

          The stock market
          The futures market
          Currency Speculation
          Quantitive Investment…

          It’s all bollocks, the values are only real within the system.

        • #2864691

          Government debt is not in stocks

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to I refute your argument thus

          Government debt is calculated in real numbers. The only intangible is what the government owes at any given moment, cause it keeps growing.

          Stocks have a tangible value when you buy one or sell one.

          Governements sell bonds, the value of which is constant. Its fixed at a specific rate and for a specific time. Or they get loans, for a specific time at a specific rate. If their credit rating changes, it effects new loans, not existing ones.

          If you buying another countries bonds, then you could argue that the relative value of your currency or the curency from the other country vary.

        • #2864680

          Bonds based on what?

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Government debt is not in stocks

          It’s a piece of paper, a fiction, a way of keeping score.

          Dear america you owe us forty billion dollars
          Here you go

          IOU $40,000,000,000
          Signed Uncle Sam

          Now they don’t?

        • #2864672

          If Bonds are fiction

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Government debt is not in stocks

          so are all the pounds in your bank account.

          If they are all fiction, I’m sure you can be persauded to give them to me.

          Somehow I doubt thats going to happen.

        • #2864669

          James

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to Government debt is not in stocks

          That is not fair.

        • #2864616

          I’m afraid I have no pounds to give you

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Government debt is not in stocks

          my bank spent them all..

          All money is, is a promise, bearing in mind it’s backed by bankers and politicians, relying on it, is an iffy proposition.

        • #2864700

          recessions are used to put a stop to ever increasing prices

          by cg it ·

          In reply to There are very real numbers involved

          which results in ever increasing wages, which results in ever increasing prices.

          Social programs like medical care, retirement, are the same as insurance and the same as a pyramid.

          one needs an ever increasing base to support and ever decreasing top, and most of all, less and less people taking out than putting in.

          Greece had about their entire population not putting into the retirement system and just about everyone pulling out of it.

          Unions keep lowering the retirement age as a perk for being union, yet pensions rely upon an increasing population of young people paying into the system while the retired hopefully die off.

          Here in the US, you’ve got government employees, retiring after 20 or 30 years in their 50s getting 100% of their salary and living for another 30 years…. when social security bet that those retiring at 65 might live to 72 or 73, only pulling out 6 to 8 years not 20 to 30 years….

          Personally what I think will happen is the US will go back to pre 1929 era social programs, that is there wasn’t any, and that it’s up to the people to plan and prepare for retirement, and the wealthy will still their money just like they did in 1929…

          that’s what this most recent recession is all about. The wealthy stealing the middle class and poor’s money in the stock market, because the middle class and poor will always believe they will win the next hand like a gambler at the card table, and lose everything.

        • #2854184

          The economy isn’t though

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to There are very real numbers involved

          The “economy” does not equate to a real number though, it is just a term to describe a decline in the situations you described.

        • #2854115

          But the point of the discussion isn’t the economy,

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to The economy isn’t though

          Its the debt.

          Take it to a personal finance situation. You can be making a million dollars a year, but if you owe 10 million, and you have 10% interest, you aren’t rich, you are on the way to bankruptcy.

      • #2854214

        That doesn’t make much difference ,Tony

        by oz_media ·

        In reply to Is this a pride thing?

        People out here, for the most part, NEED more money to live a happy life. (I am speaking of Canada specifically now, but I see the same issues in the US).

        However, when I am in the UK, and for those friends and family that I have there, THEY are just as happy with far less, though they all talk about how nice it would be to live in Canada and make so much money.

        The difference I see is that people spend more time in social situations in the UK and Europe in general than out here.

        Financially they don’t have as much, but they still enjoy the money they have, moreso than most out here do. People here generally stop going to the bar in order to save money, in the UK I find people with less will STILL socialize at the local with all their friends and neighbours.

        People in the UK seem to DO more with less, if they are broke they don’t care. People out here seem to be insecure doing that as they are used to having more, when they think that they will have less as a result of doing something, they stop doing it.

        Maybe that’s what it all comes down to, the HAVE’S are scared of not HAVING so they stop DOING. The HAVE NOTS, are used to not HAVING so they are less worried about it and enjoy what little they DO HAVE and don’t fear NOT HAVING! 😀

        Say that 5 X fast! I THINK you’ll get what I mean though.

        Perhaps its a matter of being content, while everyone WANTS more, I find people that are used to not having more are comfortable with it and don’t fear it as those who always have more. They are able to enjoy life even though they have less. There is actually some sense in there somewhere.

        I just know that people in the UK and Germany seem to do more with less, and enjoy it a lot more than people out here and south of our border do. In fact I think the fears of being broke in the US are running rampant now, people are really getting freaked out that they just might not have as much money as they are used to having.

        If I were you, I wouldn’t trade what you have for anything out west (well we have gorgeous mountains and scenery but that’s where it ends), it’s all just shiny and pretty on the surface but it’s really the same dire, grungy economic dump out here too.

        Nobody has money, fewer have jobs and those that do fear losing them any day whether they like the job or not. AND ITS BLOODY EXPENSIVE HERE TOO (specifically in Vancouver)!

    • #2864789

      Headed in that general direction

      by jamesrl ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      But I also know from experience that it can be turned around.

      Canada faces many of the same issues the US does. Plus the US is our number customer, so if the US suffers, so do we.

      But Canada was, in the early 90s, in worse shape than the US, in terms of government deficit/debt per capita. The books hadn’t been balanced since the 60s and the interest cost of the debt was starting to eclipse spending on social programs. So the government (Liberal, to give them their due) took drastic action. About 10% of the federal government workforce was eliminated, some program areas were pushed to the provinces (downloading), and virtually every program was reduced in some way. In a few years, the government broke even, and then started to pay down the debt with surpluses, reducing the interest costs. This leadership lead the provinces to follow suit.

      Now this latest crisis has meant that our governments have had to borrow heavily again and projections say it wll be many years before we are paying down the debt again.

      But in theory, Governments should be paying down their debt in the good times, and have room to borrow and spend in the bad times.

      I think some level of long term government debt is inevitable. If you build a bridge to last 50 years, you shouldn’t ask the taxpayers to pay for it all at once, when it will be of benefit to generations yet unborn.

      But to continually add to your debt, and get to the point where you lose your triple A creditor rating (which means you pay higher interest rates on your debt), is reckless.

      I don’t think that bankruptcy is predestined, I think the US can and I hope will take action to turn things around. But I don’t see any indication this will happen any time soon. It may mean an INCREASE in taxes, and that doesn’t seem very palatable.

    • #2864737

      How come social spending will topple you?

      by ansugisalas ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      After all… there are bigger pies being handed out, left and right.
      War-pie, Tax-pie, Bank-pie, Pork-pie, W-pie.

      As for your question… it depends on a lot of things. Will the US kiss and make up with China? Will the war spending be curtailed? Will the political system be cleaned up to reduce the pork-pie ratios? Will the US continue to think that wastefulness is a prerequisite for growth?

      You have a lot of avenues available, that can all save your asses, but you have to stop and think about which ones to use.

      Social spending is investing in the nation’s #1 resource – the people. You wouldn’t like it if the government started investing in (i.e. developing ownership of) US corporations… nor would you like it if they started buying mineral commodities. That would be market manipulation, and not the business of a government.
      Making the population more productive and less wasteful (sick days are waste) is one of the few non-manipulative ways for a government to spend money on improving it’s own future economy.
      Infrastructure is another, but that’s very porky.

      • #2864729

        Your assumptions are incorrect

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to How come social spending will topple you?

        [i]After all… there are bigger pies being handed out, left and right.[/i]

        That’s not quite true.

        Two thirds – or more – of U.S. spending is for various social programs. One third for everything else. And in 25 years, or so, it’s projected that social spending will account for ALL projected federal revenue.

        Social Security and Medicare alone have projected spending of upwards of 70 trillion dollars that’s not accounted for anywhere in budget projections.

        P.S. Spending is not [i]investing[/i].

        • #2864726

          Spending is investing

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to Your assumptions are incorrect

          if it pays dividends.
          Social spending, when done right, does pay off.
          So call it what you will.

          But you’re probably the right person to ask for a run-down of US federal and state spending, so you can probably give sources on the two-thirds thing.
          I’ll say it’s hard to believe. Not that I don’t believe you, per se, I just would need some assistance in the endeavour.

        • #2864722

          We’ll have to respectfully agree to disagree

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Spending is investing

          Paying unemployment benefits, for example, is not [i]investing[/i] in anything. It provides absolutely no return.

          Giving people money they did not earn is not [i]investing[/i] in anything except creating a larger dependency class, providing absolutely no return.

          But, like I said, we’ll have to just agree to disagree.

        • #2864717

          Depends…

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to We’ll have to respectfully agree to disagree

          In some cases it’s keeping people in a working order for the limited duration of unemployment. After which they will repay, in taxes.
          Someone who’s in the middle of foreclosure is not a very reliable worker.
          Nor is someone who is now living in his/her car.
          Bankrupcty is wasteful. Foreclosures are wasteful. Suicides are wasteful. People turning to crime is wasteful.
          A government should optimize its social management to minimize waste. It’s not about spending more or spending less… it’s about deciding the level of spending that gives the greatest returns.
          If you think that a dollar given to a starving man is pure loss, then you’ve got a few things to learn about synergy. And about starving men, too.

        • #2864694

          You make more false assumption

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Depends…

          You assume that the role of government is [i]social management[/i]. No it’s not – at least it’s not supposed to be in the USA.

          You also assume that without a nanny government, people would be unable to find alternatives to cure their own life’s challenges. They would.

          I could have applied for unemployment myself, but I chose not to – which FORCED me to find alternatives. I’m no smarter or better than anyone else. I simply adapted to a period of change. Others can too.

          I also know that many people – maybe most people – abuse the unemployment system. So many of them earn money [i]on the side[/i] and don’t report it to the unemployment office. And I know some of them personally.

        • #2864685

          Social Management

          by j-mart ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          The whole point of any government is to manage society the alternative is anarchy.

        • #2864679

          j-mart@… – throwing around the anarchy word

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          We apparently have different visions of what our friend from Finland meant with his use of the term [i]social management[/i].

          Government role, among other things, is, of course, to structure itself as to prevent societal breakdown. But [i]social management[/i] is so vague and open to myriad interpretations. And in the case of the particular subject at hand – unemployment payments – government failing to provide such a thing is hardly tantamount to anarchy.

          Less government nannyism does not equal anarchy.

        • #2864676

          And that’s where there are many differing opinions

          by j-mart ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          what does a government need to do to manage society?. How best to spend finite funds. Is it better to spend taxes on people, militarism, infrastructure, taking into consideration a major factor in the ending of the cold war and the USSR was the financial drain. The direction the US goes in is not up to me and if a solution to any of the western worlds financial woes is found it won’t be simple and based on any black and white ideology.

        • #2864666

          That they earn money on the side

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          is not a condemnation of the unemployment system, but of their ethics.

        • #2864662

          j-mart@… – the answer is easy

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          You and I (and/or others) might disagree, so we refer to the rules – the United States Constitution – which has been absolutely butchered and/or ignored for decades (at least in my opinion).

          For example, show me exactly where in the U.S. Constitution it allows government to provide funds for those folks who are unemployed. (And if you cite the [i]General Welfare[/i] clause, please tell us what James Madison said about that particular clause.)

        • #2864659

          That’s the nutshell, Max

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          [i]For example, show me exactly where in the U.S. Constitution it allows government to provide funds for those folks who are unemployed. (And if you cite the General Welfare clause, please tell us what James Madison said about that particular clause.) [/i]

          What is the role of government?

          Until that is settled to everybody’s satisfaction (or at least a consensus reached), all else is moot.

          Unfortunately, given the increasing animosity from both fringes, I don’t see consensus in the near future.

        • #2864658

          Nick: “What is the role of government?”

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          It’s spelled out – specifically – in the U.S. Constitution. No more, no less.

          Hint: If you have to go searching for the clause that might justify your desired end result, it’s probably not something that was intended.

        • #2864657

          Nick

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          I was about to post the same.

          Thought better of it, though. Got nowhere when I tried it in the past.

        • #2864656

          If it’s that specific

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          Why is there so much discussion and argument? It’s not as cut-and-dried as you (or I) would like, Max.

          Give me a few days, and I can probably raise a reasonable justification for health care reform under the commerce clause. (I said reasonable, not convincing, eh?)

        • #2864652

          Nick:

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          What it’s been made to be, versus what it should be, that is what disagreements – and revolutions – are made of.

          Dont tread on me – I won’t tread on you – Don’t tread on others. A pretty good rule of thumb.

        • #2864651

          Rule of thumb

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          For any two or more sovereigns who understand that “government” means self-government. Anything else here is a farce.

        • #2864648

          Santee: Self government is not possible . . . . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          ….. without accepting self responsibility. (Who’s gonna’ pay for my health care?)

          We live in a nation of cowards – afraid to accept self-responsibility and the outcome that follows. And they are dragging those who are willing to accept it down with them.

        • #2864647

          Max

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          This goes to my point in another place, viz., there is no constitutional answer to the Constitution.

        • #2854204

          The job of any government

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          like that of any corporate direction, is to manage the resources bestowed upon it for optimum returns. If a corporation allows its employees to lapse into unproductiveness for preventable reasons, then it’s not doing its job well. If it doesn’t have a policy for dealing with employees in danger of falling into alcoholism, that’s poor leadership. If it doesn’t care to deal with poor indoor air quality causing excess sick days, that’s poor leadership.
          And no, if enough people are out of work at the same time, not everyone can find new work, the tricks you have used won’t work for everybody, in fact, each “emergency niche” can sustain only so many people.
          So, if government does nothing, that’s piss-poor government.
          Maybe if you’d have taken the benefits you’ve already paid for in advance you’d have had the time to find a job that lets you pay more taxes and thus assist your nation in averting bankruptcy?
          Not that I’m pointing a finger at you, but I remember you pointing fingers at others in the past. The government would prefer its subjects to be productive, and it pays social benefits for those same reasons.
          It’s simply a tried-and-true way to improve the economy.
          But if you could, I’d be very interested in seeing what the US government spending is made of.

        • #2854195

          The “job” of governments

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          It’s so silly debating the issue, what’s the [i]job[/i] of government – or the role of government – especially between people from different countries. The [i]job[/i] of government – the role of government – is different in different countries.

          Moreover, I don’t presume to tell people of Finland what the role of the Finnish government is. Why is it, then, that a person from Finland presumes to tell an American what the role of the American government is? (Fill in any other country as a substitute.)

          Besides, it shouldn’t be debated as much as it is, even among Americans, because…..

          The [i]job[/i] of the U.S. government – its role regarding the lives of United States citizens – is not a matter of opinion. It’s spelled out quite clearly in our constitution. That’s its role; no more, no less. Why is that so hard for people to either understand or accept?

        • #2854168

          Oops, posted in the wrong place.

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          ,

        • #2854157

          Why is it so hard?

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          Perhaps a document written several hundred years ago, my men who’s minds were limited by technology and vision, were unable to predict a more complicated state of affairs 200 years into the future.

          If a group of men were to found a new country today and set out a constitution, do you really expect that it would apply to all situations in 200+ years? Not bloody likely! We don’t even know what’s around the corner and what would need to be changed in just one, two or even five years.

          It is possible we could lay down a very basic framework from which we can elaborate later as needed, just as the Constitution offers, instead of seeing it as an unchanging, unmoving set of ‘laws’ to be accepted verbatim for eternity.

        • #2854146

          I dismiss your assertion, Oz, that . . . . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          ….. our constitution is outdated because it was written over 200 years ago.

          Do you also dismiss the English Bill of Rights, written before our U.S. Constitution because it’s also outdated dogma?

          How about the 1948 Universal Declaration of Rights? Will it, too, become outdated in 100 years?

          But instead of simply asserting that the U.S. Constitution is outdated, perhaps you’ll indulge us and point out the exact articles and/or amendments that you consider outdated and no longer valid.

          And like I said, I don’t consider the concept of liberty and freedom outdated – the very concepts the U.S. Constitution was designed to protect.

        • #2854143

          Concepts vs verbatim

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          You often refer to the Constitution and expect it to be adhered to verbatim and unamended.

          as for me, YES I do think the UK Bill of RIghts is outdated, and so do many Canadians who have lived under Canada’s Bill of Rights (based on the British)and have no problem with modernisation and amendment to bring the basic principles into modern day society.

          The base concepts of the Bill of Rights/Constitution are fine.

          But specifics and amendments are necessary if we are to move forward as a modern society.

          This whole redistribution of wealth kick you are on, you base on very basic principles and don’t seem to accept that there should be variance and exception applied to accommodate changing times and an evolving, heavily populated and global society.

          We can amend our basic rights to facilitate the needs of a changing society.

          If they wanted to rewrite the entire bill of Rights, I wouldn’t care. if it retained basic freedoms, rights that we assume in any free Western Democracy, that would be fine, if not I’d just move to a country I preferred. Nobody OWES me anything, I can always leave if i don’t like it.

        • #2854126

          You mistake

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          the legal framework for the natural impetus for government.
          A constitution is the basis for legality, nothing more.
          Legalities can be added later, through additional legislation, and these should at the very least be keyed to items set fast in the constitution.
          The natural impetus for government (vide natural rights of subjects) is to observe good practices of government so as to secure and improve the upholding of the natural rights of it’s citizens.
          Running an economy isn’t in the constitution (only the levying of taxes to pay for the military, or so I hear), but it is still a prerequisite for realizing the purpose of government.
          Military investments, BTW, are just “spending” too, according to your own measure; there are no immediate returns, only further spending.

        • #2854093

          I know it is abused

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          So is medical and welfare, however we cannot devise a system that weeds out all the false claims and I feel it is imperative that people have access to SOME support whilst, as you suggest, finding alternatives.

          Many if not most people these days live check to check, they don’t have a nest egg to lean on while getting their feet on the ground again. Therefore the insurance system in place, sees that people are helped with the absolute BASIC needs to pay rent, buy some food and pay minimal bills. It’s not like most people are able to live comfortably on welfare, which doesn’t even cover basic rent in most cases.

          I have no problem with such a support system, whether it helps me, my friends or people I have never met. They would add to the homeless and become a much greater burden on society as they became drug users, criminals etc. I have SEEN this myself.

          I have seen someone (over 50)go from a high level role with an Airline to living in squalor on the streets, turning to drugs and then finally lifting his head up again, getting clean, getting on his feet again and shortly after, passing away due to related diseases from when he was on the street.

          This is someone who had a family, a home etc. It was all lost, his life was over within 7 years.

          He actually GOT support, just very limited and not enough to get out fast enough.

          This is not unique in anyway, and until a better system is devised, I accept that people abuse it, but it is still better than NOT having any system of support for those in real need.

          YOU, are extremely fortunate, as am I, and I hope you realize it, I know I sure do and I don’t have that much. I am not well off or wealthy by any means, I live comfortably and that’s it. It’s not the case for everyone though, I know you are driven, like me and will do what you need to do to eke out a living in harder times, I honestly tip my hat to you and I understand that not everyone can do it, as you or I may.

          I guess what I find most odd is how people support their government sending aid to countries faced with disaster and publish it proudly to the world to see how generous they are, but when it comes to a citizen fallen on equally difficult times, it is unacceptable to support them with tax dollars.

        • #2854089

          Oz, you couldn’t be more wrong

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          Re: [i]You often refer to the Constitution and expect it to be adhered to verbatim and unamended.

          as for me, YES I do think the UK Bill of RIghts is outdated, and so do many Canadians who have lived under Canada’s Bill of Rights (based on the British)and have no problem with modernisation and amendment to bring the basic principles into modern day society.

          The base concepts of the Bill of Rights/Constitution are fine.

          But specifics and amendments are necessary if we are to move forward as a modern society.

          This whole redistribution of wealth kick you are on, you base on very basic principles and don’t seem to accept that there should be variance and exception applied to accommodate changing times and an evolving, heavily populated and global society.

          We can amend our basic rights to facilitate the needs of a changing society.

          If they wanted to rewrite the entire bill of Rights, I wouldn’t care. if it retained basic freedoms, rights that we assume in any free Western Democracy, that would be fine, if not I’d just move to a country I preferred. Nobody OWES me anything, I can always leave if i don’t like it.[/i]

          ——————————————–

          I’ve often mentioned the amendment process to make changes in the constitution when changing times makes changes a necessity, and I’ve suggested that it was that amendment process that should be used instead of trying to interpret the constitution to say what one wants it to say. In fact, you’ve even blasted me in the past for suggesting the amendment process was the best way to go! And you criticized the USA for the [i]high number of times[/i] it’s been amended.

          [i]This whole redistribution of wealth kick you are on…..[/i]

          It’s not just a [i]kick[/i] I’m on, Oz. I see it as the very thing that’s created whole classes of people dependent on government – something that’s neither good for them or government – and it’s a primary contributing factor in causing the very financial problems we’re facing. Moreover, there is no basis for such wealth distribution in the constitution – and, as I’ve said before, if that should be a [i]new and modern[/i] role of government in the USA, then use the amendment process to specifically spell it out.

          Two things are crystal clear to me: you simply don’t have a good understanding of the US constitution; and you criticize me just for the sport of it. (As evidenced in your contradictory criticism regarding the amendment process – blast me because I do, then blast me because you claim I don’t.)

        • #2854069

          And you’ve made similar false assumptions it seems

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to You make more false assumption

          [i]In fact, you’ve even blasted me in the past for suggesting the amendment process was the best way to go![/i]

          I fully support the amendment process, always have. Can you show me where I have blasted you for doing so also? I believe amendments are imperative to keep basic governing principles evolving with changing nations.

          [i]And you criticized the USA for the high number of times it’s been amended. [/i]

          Not for the process of amendment but to illustrate that The Constitution does not apply to all instances in modern times and thus amendments are needed in order to stay current.

          Pointing out the number of amendments simply illustrated my point that The Constitution does not apply to nor hold the answers to all of today’s issues. I am sure it was yourself who implied that amendments were abused and that they detract from the core values of the Constitution, which should be adhered to and not simply adjusted to suit people’s needs.

          [i]I see it as the very thing that’s created whole classes of people dependent on government[/i]

          Of course it has, it has also helped millions get back on their feet and not become a permanent burden on society. Half full/half empty. We all know that ANY system will be abused, including the very basis of political power, democratic voting etc. It is ALL up for abuse but we keep it as it works, for the most part.

          So welfare, is one of the main contributing factors for your financial problems today?

          The trillions spent on war don’t have any impact? The millions of unqualified citizens that were given mortgages and can’t pay the trillions in accrued debts are not a major factor?
          It’s mainly due to those that are unable to work and get $500 a month to live on that are the problem?

          Selective vision.

          [i]
          You also assume that without a nanny government, people would be unable to find alternatives to cure their own life’s challenges. They would.[/i]

          Don’t tell me what I assume, especially when it is merely your own assumption.

          SOME if not MANY people CAN find alternatives, but SOME if not MANY cannot.

          SOME people’s alternatives are selling drugs, robbing stores, committing fraud etc. Those that abuse the system would be the first to find alternate crimes that would impact lives wore than by collecting a welfare check. Those who don’t abuse it either need it or will use it while getting back on their feet, dismantling it does nothing positive except push more people into the crime and poverty pile.

          What if they ABOLISHED welfare tonight? Would you have more money in your pocket? No, of course not, it will be allocated to something else, war, corporate bailouts, new letterheads for the Oval Office etc. You won’t see penny ONE in return, you know better than that, governments reallocate taxes they don’t refund them.

          Even companies that reply on government funding PURPOSELY waste money near their fiscal year end just so they can justify asking for more next year, money does not get given back. If you want to have more money you have a few choices, earn more, earn tax free income, move.

          [i]”I’m no smarter or better than anyone else. I simply adapted to a period of change. Others can too.[/i]

          You really don’t understand that people are not all equal and many have problems that would not make it possible. I know a lady who is VERY good at her job, she has done it for over 35 years and has seniority out her yin yang. She was let go last year at age 56. She doesn’t have the foggiest CLUE how to compete in today’s job market. No motivation at all, just complete defeat. She is skilled but too old, over qualified, etc.

          Please explain what her recourse is in this situation, in detail please so I can pass it on to her.

          [i]I also know that many people – maybe most people – abuse the unemployment system. So many of them earn money on the side and don’t report it to the unemployment office. And I know some of them personally. [/i]

          Heaven forbid!!! No kidding! but what is it, many, maybe most or some?

          The lack of conviction or proof leads me to believe that you know it exists but don’t have clue who really needs support and who doesn’t. You know that everyone TALKS about making money on the side, as to how much and how many actually do, you have no idea though. So your only basis of any fact there is that you know the system is abused, well done, common knowledge.

          If we did away with welfare, would these people then just go out and get jobs then? Criminals wouldn’t continue to be criminals once the gig was up?

          As for the unemployed, many DON’T report that income, if they do they can’t pay rent as UI is not paying them enough as it is. They are all but forced to go to work, but if they declare income they earn they are penalized for working and earning SOME money while seeking a permanent income. In many cases just reporting that you have earned ANYTHING, even money for babysitting, means you then have to fill out a self employment form, and your benefits are withheld while they ‘process’ you in the system, meaning you lose your home for not paying rent, can’t feed your family, can’t pay your car insurance etc., all because you TRIED to actually start supporting yourself and supplementing your insurance payout.

          UI is a bitch, it’s not a cakewalk for free money and neither is welfare.

          Sure there are many who abuse the system, those who do not abuse it need it though and what do we do with them? Tell them to suck it up and find a good park bench until a job comes along? Let them press that shirt and iron a tie in the public bathroom until they begin their next career in such a competitive marketplace?

          Stop talking out of your arse, Max. Just because you can do it, and again I tip my hat at your tenacity and fortitude, it doesn’t mean everyone else can and that’s where you are HORRIBLY mistaken and UTTERLY clueless.

        • #2864714

          Some government spending is investing

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to We’ll have to respectfully agree to disagree

          Money spent on transportation infrastructure is investing, because it opens up markets. Money well spent on education(note not just throwing money at it) can mean a smarter workforce which keeps high value jobs in America.

          But much of government spending goes beyond that kind of investment and into non productive wealth transfer.

        • #2864660

          Max, whatever direction the US goes..

          by j-mart ·

          In reply to Some government spending is investing

          That is their choice. You would probably class Finland or New Zealand, a nanny state, you are entitled to your opinion. I myself would prefer to live in Finland rather than the US. A less uptight and less desperate population makes for a much less violent society to live in. Life is for living.

          Your constitution, like any legal document can often be turned into shades of gray depending on what interpretation you hire your lawyers to find in it. It is the same with our founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, whenever a sharp lawyer finds a loophole, there will always be another lawyer who will bend it into something else. Even the 10 commandments, seemingly black and white have been bent by all religions to be interpreted in their own way.

        • #2864655

          The U.S Constitution is more than just a legal document

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Max, whatever direction the US goes..

          Legal documents should have a basis upon which decisions should be made. That basis is the United States Constitution.

        • #2864643

          But Max

          by j-mart ·

          In reply to Max, whatever direction the US goes..

          Those legal documents are still based on the interpretation of the founding document, and as the original document was written in a different world, there is always opportunity to look at it in a light that suits your particular preconceived view.

          The US Constitution will not make the slightest difference to saving the US economy.

        • #2864641

          You said

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Max, whatever direction the US goes..

          [i]The US Constitution will not make the slightest difference to saving the US economy[/i]

          Maybe, maybe not.

          However, decades of ignoring its true intent is what caused the problem in the first place.

        • #2864698

          US Budget 2010

          by j-mart ·

          In reply to Spending is investing

          Some quick links to US Budget 2010, 2011. You can use to work out split of governments spending.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_federal_budget

          http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget.

          You can judge for yourself the validity of Max’s analysis.

        • #2854198

          I get around 56%

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to US Budget 2010

          If counting together social security, unemployment/welfare+other_mandatory_spending, medicare, medicaid+child_health.
          But this doesn’t take into account the taxes paid on these benefits, nor does it take into account the part of this spending which is a de facto subsidy for medical businesses, which in itself generates a sizeable tax revenue.
          And it doesn’t take into account the amount of this that goes to payroll, which again is not all spending as part of it comes back as taxes.

        • #2864706

          No point in making this a ‘right’ versus ‘left’ argument

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Your assumptions are incorrect

          Govmints of either stripe spend our money like it’s not theirs, on somethimg or other. When was the last time either of our two regimes managed by whoever, gave us less government?

          First rule of government, first you decide what you want to spend, then you change the rules so it looks like the previous mob wasted all the money on something else, so you have to borrow it.

          Generational ponzi scheme….

        • #2854158

          Pay attention

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to No point in making this a ‘right’ versus ‘left’ argument

          Of course it’s a left s right thing, or else it would never have been posted to begin with. The “open discussion” stuff is really just just a means to an end. Look up, closed ended questioning. 😉

        • #2854142

          With Max its always right wing viewpoint

          by j-mart ·

          In reply to Pay attention

          His view on any topic can always be defined in terms of his personal politics, he only sees in right wing or left wing points of view, unless you agree with his right wing opinion, and it is only opinion, not the absolute facts he credits his opinion as being, your opinion is worthless.

          All the countries of the western world have economies that are suffering many of the ills of the US, some fortunately to a lesser degree, some unfortunately worse off. The world is not the same place as it was in the 1960’s and 1970’s, or even the 1980’s. Its called the global market. Before globalization, the west did not need to compete on equal footing. the east was kept down but now the beast has been unleashed, in a market driven world why pay more than you need for anything, is this not the capitalist way? Let the market drive the economy, the Chinese and Indians will work much harder and for much less. This may have made large numbers of the western workforce now surplus to requirements, from factory assembly line workers to IT staff, many of whom will now have skills and experience the west no longer needs, they will either be unemployable or fast food outlet staff. The right wing view would be, its their problem, its not the job of the government to provide assistance, there will be some smart enough and resourceful enough to eek out an existence, but many will not be able to, they are now surplus to the requirements of society. The options, crime, labor camps, or as they are no longer of any use does the society that does not have any use for them and finds it against their politics to provide for them just simply get rid (exterminate) them ?.

          My point being, in the world we live in today is, there will be no straight forward right wing or left wing politics answer, that will solve these problems. Paying taxes to provide for many who will only be a burden for the rest of their days may seem abhorrent, but many of the alternatives are far worse, considering also that terrorists and the like tend to be pissed off, hungry, have no real future other than misery, and take up their causes because they see nothing better in their future prospects. Even from an economic viewpoint, a government supported social program can be cheaper than the alternative.

        • #2854128

          There never is

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to With Max its always right wing viewpoint

          [i]”My point being, in the world we live in today is, there will be no straight forward right wing or left wing politics answer,[/i]

          Left or right has never been THE solution. I believe in weighing issues from both sides, sometimes the left is closest to my opinion, sometimes the right but I find both are usually extremes and middle ground should be sought. There are many countries where parties represent extreme opposites and do so just to differentiate themselves. I prefer a more centered government.

          As for Max, while he adamantly opposes the left, I believe he prefers to be seen as more libertarian than extreme right, though he clearly sides more with Republicans than Democrats. He’s entitled to his opinion though and I’m sure he’d share it if he found something relevant to reply to. I wont speak for him though.

        • #2854086

          If that’s what you think . . . . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to With Max its always right wing viewpoint

          ….. you haven’t been paying very close attention.

          Re: [i]His view on any topic can always be defined in terms of his personal politics, he only sees in right wing or left wing points of view, unless you agree with his right wing opinion, and it is only opinion, not the absolute facts he credits his opinion as being, your opinion is worthless.[/i]

        • #2854159

          It CAN be investing

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Your assumptions are incorrect

          Perhaps not your chosen investment but, in the case of health care, more healthy workers = more earning, taxpayers and less on compo or disability.

          Maybe letting a bunch die off is just natural process of elimination, survival of the fittest. Fewer mouths to feed, fewer consumer etc. But that’s not exactly the type of thing the world would accept from a Western Democracy. Perhaps instead of hanging Saddam you should have let him dictate America for a few years.

          Could he REALLY have done worse than ‘the last guy’ ( I didn’t say it 🙂 !).

    • #2864727

      Likewise

      by tbostwick1 ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      I’ve been heartily disappointed that the conservative movement would allow, if not practically promote the idea of living and spending beyond one’s means. It’s so easy to look at, for example, credit cards. This is one area which our entire economy was floated on “credit” (mostly bad) and a notion that I could sell you a $500k house with only a name
      and nothing else. We entered into yet another realm that took “buyer beware” to another level within housing, real estate, mortgages and the list goes on. While folks were shaking hands on the outside, they were laughing on the inside and all the way to the bank for 10+ years. We need to develop a new term for this form of “free-market” and “free-trade” – call it something simple, like greed or gluttony. Socially -we’ve even worse and “society” really doesn’t exist anymore, nor does community. It’s also apparent that history is absent from your article – and is biased heavily in favor of blind ignorance and letting the corporate world rule society – as if no other possibility existed. What this country needs is a good, honest dose of socialism – and perhaps it’ll wake up – otherwise it’ll wake up one day, still plugged in and when the headphones come off – your world has disappeared beneath your feet.

      • #2864720

        Infrastructure

        by tbostwick1 ·

        In reply to Likewise

        And of course – your ignorance is more than apparent when it comes to infrastructure. When 1/3 of the nations counties can’t provide adequate water supplies to their citizens, and we still (some 10+ years later) properly fund or staff hospitals to meet the crisis of another 9/11 or Katrina – we argue, spit and claw around in the sewer known as politics. republicans – make a lot of money for themselves, and hope that it “trickles down” – for their own projects.
        Dems – spend the money instead of hording it because no one else will, esp. Republicans

        This system is failing us all and only puts our country further and further out of touch with the top countries. Soon, the USA will be nothing but a bunch of over-zealous demagogues who can’t think, talk or act for themselves.

        • #2864708

          The root cause

          by hdkinney ·

          In reply to Infrastructure

          Unless the government stops creating money as a private debt instrument, we will be destroyed by the interest owed: http://www.thedailycrux.com/content/6183/Bankruptcy/eml

        • #2864701

          What I think will happen….

          by rayezilla ·

          In reply to The root cause

          …Twenty or thirty years down the line, a military coup will put a strong personality in capitol hill. He’ll reorganize things so that they work again, with the only catch being that he will put his kids as the next generation of leadership. (effectively making US an empire by a ruling family).

          As long as the leaders are ‘ok,’ things will go on like that until we finally get a leader who is so inept that one of two things will happen: 1) assassination by the military 2) public dissent will result in a revolution.
          If it’s the first, the USA probably will cease to exist as we know it. If it’s the second, we may have hope.

          Sound impossible? This is ancient (Roman) history… and as the sages say, history repeats itself.

        • #2864678

          Most sci-fis

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to What I think will happen….

          predict the US
          Will go super socialist
          Become a theocracy
          or break up into corporate fuedalist states, some would say that has already happened…

          Can’t see the dictator bit working, you’ve all got guns….

        • #2864572

          well..

          by rayezilla ·

          In reply to Most sci-fis

          All of those options (theocracy, socialist, corporate feudal system) require a cult of personality around a single person (maybe a few different people in the case of corporate feudalism) and most of them would support hereditary leadership.

          I’m think that however the guy fixes it, he’s going to say that the country ‘owes him’ enough to turn his family line in the leaders… which will work out ok at first, but eventually we may have a Roman scenario.

    • #2864661

      This may be interesting

      by ozmidnight ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      I found this and thought it may be interesting this is the web address

      http://www.ustreas.gov/tic/mfh.txt

      MAJOR FOREIGN HOLDERS OF TREASURY SECURITIES
      (in billions of dollars)
      HOLDINGS 1/ AT END OF PERIOD

      Aug
      Country 2010
      ——

      China, Mainland 868.4
      Japan 836.6
      United Kingdom 2/ 448.4
      Oil Exporters 3/ 226.6
      Brazil 165.0
      Carib Bnkng Ctrs 4/ 159.1
      Hong Kong 137.8
      Taiwan 130.2
      Russia 129.0
      Switzerland 106.6
      Canada 103.4
      Luxembourg 79.1
      Thailand 60.9
      Germany 58.7
      Singapore 52.7
      Ireland 42.0
      Korea, South 41.6
      India 39.0
      Mexico 36.0
      France 35.5
      Belgium 34.3
      Egypt 33.6
      Turkey 29.5
      Poland 24.1
      Italy 20.9
      Norway 18.2
      Netherlands 17.7
      Colombia 17.0
      Israel 16.4
      Sweden 15.7
      Philippines 13.7
      Chile 13.2
      Denmark 12.9
      Malaysia 11.7
      Australia 11.7
      All Other 165.7
      Grand Total 4212.9

      Of which:
      For. Official 2771.8
      Treasury Bills 495.6
      T-Bonds & Notes 2276.1

      Department of the Treasury/Federal Reserve Board
      October 18, 2010

      1/ Estimated foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury marketable and non-marketable bills, bonds, and notes
      reported under the Treasury International Capital (TIC) reporting system are based on annual
      Surveys of Foreign Holdings of U.S. Securities and on monthly data.
      2/ United Kingdom includes Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
      3/ Oil exporters include Ecuador, Venezuela, Indonesia, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar,
      Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Gabon, Libya, and Nigeria.
      4/ Caribbean Banking Centers include Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Netherlands Antilles and Panama.
      Beginning with new series for June 2006, also includes British Virgin Islands.

    • #2864645

      Who’s gonna’ pay for my health care?

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      I shouldn’t pay for my own health care, should I?

      Okay, who should pay for it?

    • #2864636

      It’s not about money.

      by boxfiddler ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      It’s about mentality. We’ll go down the tubes if we don’t change our mentality.

      My two cents.

    • #2864620

      on the road and off the rails

      by paladin2 ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      The fact that you differentiate between the two parties shows a certain naive knowledge of the system because there is but the One Party and the circus of an ‘opposition’ keeps em coming to the show. The U.S. is already bankrupt and has been for a while, it’s just gotten to the point where either they can’t hide it or maybe they just don’t care what the people ‘think’ because they’ll just squash any real attempt to make them honest. Once a right has been given up or a power unconstitutionally taken it won’t ever come back and they will never give anything they’ve taken up. When other countries, and it’s happening now, stop buying worthless bonds, the real reality will no longer be deniable. I’ve lived outside the states now for 16 years and the U.S. isn’t just in trouble, it’s finished. WW3 is what will probably happen before the 1/10 of a percent that own and run the country give up any power and that ball is already rolling but the so called ‘press’ in the U.S. has become nothing but a press release system for them. You’d be quite shocked at the news that is not mentioned in any of your media. Shocked and really pissed. The foreign policy of the U.S. has nothing to do with ‘national security’ and certainly isn’t in the interests of We The People. You can call it ignorance by choice or a more correct term like cognitive dissonance but the fact is that most gringos don’t want to hear the truth and even with the documented facts staring them in the face they will still deny it. And drop another bomb on someones mud hut.

    • #2864563

      YES

      by unhappyuser ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      Don’t blame either party, though. It’s a generational thing – blame the Baby Boomers.

      EMD

    • #2864556

      Message in a song to nanny government and nanny people

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ckied5fDnC4&p=D23444FEC887CE56&playnext=1&index=37

      Heeding that message, alone, would cut federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars!

    • #2854215

      Perhaps we are treading on some old ground here, Max

      by oz_media ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      and I again revert to oil, sigh, sorry.

      You know how I have often commented about how Middle Eastern investors have socked away trillions into the US for huge chunks of Florida etc. You know how I have often commented on the dire straits if more Middle Eastern Nations start trading in “Eurodollars” instead of the American “petrodollar”.

      The US government, sorry to say this and I hope you are sitting down, is probably just as aware of the economic situation as you are. Perhaps they have even seen it since you began posting to TR too?

      So is there not some bizarre coincidence, IS it a coincidence, that the US is VERY infatuated with the countries that control oil trade?

      The whole Afghan pipeline thing, where it is in America’s best interests to make sure control is not turned over to the wrong hands, must play a role too.

      If they make peace and allies with these Middle Eastern nations, prove to the Middle East that US relations are imperative to their security and safety against terrorist, Russia etc., are they not in turn securign the petrodollar and therefore the Middle Eastern investments in the US?

      We aren’t talking about money that can simply be produced when requested. What if the investors of those trillions decide THEY would rather invest in the European economy and Eurodollar? Can America even handle that kind of “refund”? Will they start selling hotels, then houses, then their get out of jail free cards in order to make the bill?

      I think people who say it’s not all about oil are either in denial or simply don’ tget it. Then again, those who say it is ALL about oil may be the same, but there IS undeniably some VERY strong relation between the US economy, Middle Eastern oil, terrorism and support.

      This isn’t new either, as you very well know. This goes way back through many presidencies where Middle Eastern support has been for the good guy, then the bad guy, then the good guy etc., because one day they are an enemy, the next an ally.

      I think they have the US government over a barrel, it’s funny how Tony Blair had such interest in it too, being a representative of a major European power that ALSO relies heavily on the Middle East for oil.

      Was the cold war ALL about nukes? Why not oil too? Were we duped into hating Russia just so governments had an opening if they needed to go to war in Eastern Europe? Was it not Russia’s OIL that Hitler’s commanders initially sought out in WWII to try and turn the tide when he had failed at dominating England?

      Obviously there’s a lot more to it than most care to put together or admit to when they do.

      Just thoughts, not bait, not seeking argument just thoughts. In fact, I’d welcome some healthy dialogue on the issue as I am sure you have a lot of insight in it too.

      • #2854206

        To a certain extent

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to Perhaps we are treading on some old ground here, Max

        To a certain extent its the old “What is Bill Gates worth” question.

        Because If he decides to sell a certain amount of his stock, the price will plummet.

        Similarly Japan (bought lots of US Real Estate), China (US gov’t bonds) and the oil barons of the Middle East may not like the policies of one US admin or another, but they all have very large holdings in the US economy, and If they tried to liquidate even 10% of their holdings at once, the value of the rest would drop like a stone.

        As for Hitler, if you read Mein Kampf and listen to his early speeches, Britain was never the target. Russia was, and Poland was a stepping stone to get there. Hitler constantly referred to the need for more land for the German people. Many accounts suggest that he was gambling in 1939 in attacking Poland, betting that France and Britain would fold again. After all it worked in Czecheslovakia. He never had a workable plan to conquer Britain, but the Battle of France knocked France and Britain out long enough to concentrate on the longer term objective of defeating Russia. He knew Stalin was weak, after killing off many of his officers. He knew Stalin was thinking the truce between them would hold for another year or more.

        Hitler coveted the Russian/Romanian oil fields for his war machine. It wasn’t as easy to get as Middle eastern oil from an economic exploitation standpoint, but Hitler knew he wasn’t going to take over the Middle East.

        As for modern middle east, I’ve watch OPEC work their pricing magic. When the price gets too high and people start buynig smaller cars or looking harder at alternatives, OPEC allows more oil to be produced and the price lowers, and people start buying big trucks again. They need customers.

        • #2854200

          Of course

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to To a certain extent

          I have read Mein Kampf, more than once over the years.

          Hi focus was to get Russian oil, to ease his campaign to take over the world completely. His temporary truce with Stalin was in place so he relaxed and decided to conquer Western Europe. Having taken Britain, he would have ruled the Atlantic, as it was Americans were having many transports destroyed by U-Boats off the US coast in the Altlantc.

          With Japan working to hold the Pacific and eventually cut off Australia (a massive point of potential attacks by British Navy vessels) and the axis foothold in Africa, the Axis Armies would have wiped out the British commonwealth and been all but unstoppable. With US resources, UK navy, Australiacut off and Western Europe conquered, Russia would have no choice but to lay down and give up its resources to the Axis powers.

          Really it was a feasible master plan. By the time his syphilis got to the point of causing mental issues, he had started recalling his armies who were moving toward the Southern Russian borders, where oil was stored and produced. Despite their protests, he sent the few remaining officers, who would still follow him, on a frontal attack toward Stalingrad, which was where he met his end.

          His megalomania that began as his strength became his weakness and ultimately his end, which was further fueled by madness set in by his advanced syphilis.

      • #2854188

        Looking for that healthy dialogue

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to Perhaps we are treading on some old ground here, Max

        I don’t want to debate or discuss oil – unless you (or anyone) can tie the US’s financial woes to its consumption of oil. Otherwise, I’d rather not go there. If it is a factor, it’s very small.

        Our government spends more than it takes in, and it’s been doing it at alarming rates for several decades. And the future, as it seems to be unfolding, will be more of the same, but only more of it.

        I really can’t see how anything oil-related has anything to do with that.

        • #2854164

          Our government spends more than it takes in

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Looking for that healthy dialogue

          Our government spends more than it takes in….I really can’t see how anything oil-related has anything to do with that.

          You buy, you don’t sell. therefore you will always spend more than you take in unless…(don’t hit me) you raise taxation but that’s a bad thing, right?

          The reason I went to oil is that is paramount to the US economy. The value of your money is so important to the oil trade that they use your currency worldwide (well, most of it) for oil trade. The oil trade has such a direct influence on the US economy that I don’t see how it is irrelevant in this case at all.

          Of course the consumption of oil, the investments that oil companies and private owners have in the US is directly related to the US economy. The value of your dollar directly relates to the value of the foreign investments in your country.

          I honestly don’t understand how you can’t see a relation there.

          Money makes the world go ’round and the value of your money makes America go ’round.

          Was it not you who agreed with and justified the spending of trillions on a war but denounced increased taxation?

          Isn’t that just one example of how the government puts out but doesn’t take in?

          To be more specific I suppose its true that you feel that taxation is okay, just not redistribution of your taxes.

          So, it’s not quite the same, but more income (taxation) means more government. More government = unhappy Max.

          Less taxes=less government=less income with same expenditures.

        • #2854162

          Higher taxes

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Our government spends more than it takes in

          If simply rasing taxes will cure our ills, then let’s raise them all to 80, 90, or even 100 percent! Would that do it?

          If a small tax increase is good, wouldn’t a really big one be even better?

          P.S. It’s consumers buying the oil (at least most of it), not government.

        • #2854160

          I don’t think so

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Higher taxes

          Raising taxes means most, average people will simply consume less, they won’t buy things unless absolutely necessary. This means your expenses reduce, but so would your income. You’d still continue to lose jobs as everything will NEED to be sourced out offshore due to rising production costs and a need for lower prices to keep costs within the consumer’s reach.

          I don’t mean any offense to you personally or even America as a nation, I honestly don’t, but you are the world’s biggest consumer of just about everything, to the point of gross gluttony.

          However, you don’t have the largest population, (though 10X Canada’s).

          WHY? Why is it that Americans use more fuel, consume and waste more food (one must go with the other of course)and God only knows how many other imports you buy to sate the needs of a consumer society?

          Why? It’s not that you NEED more just to serve more people, that is a given, but the amount EACH consumer “desires” is greater than other nations, without statistics of course but are they REALLY needed to make such an obvious point?

          America is charitable, for other nations in need, and I assume that is a portion of such over expenditures but not the bulk of it nor even a relevant figure that would tip the scales.

          So perhaps it’s all of the above, over consumption of resources, imported goods, low taxation and a HUMUNGOUS amount haphazardly spent on war efforts (by haphazardly I don’t mean the resources required should be questioned, they are out there with the bare minimum sometimes), but the reasons and rush to war should be, now look where you are.

          I know you saw it coming, but you still supported less tax and more war funding all along.

          Didn’t that mentality, shared by many, have any impact on the state of affairs now? Especially since you’ve given up on Iraq now and didn’t really achieve what you set out to do to begin with? Hindsight is 20/20 but not always free.

          Instead of consuming less, the American consumer demanded lower prices for products they ‘desire’. As a result they get cheaper products and continue at the same rate of consumption, instead of using less and saving jobs.

          I think the mindset of too many Americans has been, “it’s no big deal, we are big and strong, we won’t suffer from it, I don’t need to make any personal changes.”

          If the government were to impose changes, limit consumers, BEg people to be more resourceful, they simply question the source of the information and laugh it off as BS.

          GW, perhaps true perhaps not, but that’s irrelevant. As I have said all along, people need to be more resourceful. When the government urges it, people laugh and stick a middle finger up while bitching about false science and AlGore.

          Are any of these individual causes for the current situation? No, I wouldn’t even go there.

          Are these all contributing factors? yes, and yet Americans thumb their nose at such concepts as it requires personal sacrifice and it appears that Americans don’t like that unless it is patriotic and they are recognized for it.

    • #2854129

      There is no doubt we are in bad shape

      by av . ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      I can’t see this country ever going bankrupt, though. We can fix this, but its going to take many years and people have to be very patient.

      The TARP program instituted by GWB, even though I’m not a fan of bailouts, actually prevented our economy from collapsing. Much of the money was repaid and the taxpayer could actually see a profit from some of it. It was one of GWB’s better decisions.

      Obama’s stimulous packages created only temporary growth that wasn’t sustainable after the government stimulous money ran out.

      Then there is the health care bill. Everyone needs healthcare and there are good things in the bill, but it has contributed to an uncertainty in the business community as to the cost of it all and suppressed job growth.

      I can’t forget that before Obama, Wall St. and the like did what they wanted without oversight. Now we have lots of regulations, maybe too much.

      So here we are.

      We can fix this if we can get Congress to work in a bi-partisan fashion so that they make more balanced decisions.

      Our country is divided in their political views and neither party in Congress wants to compromise. That attitude has got to change or we will all go off the cliff together.

      Our government has to stop the spending and borrowing, and start cutting. Everyone will feel the pain, but its the only way.

      Lets start with getting out of Iraq and then Afghanistan.

      AV

      Edited: Added we

    • #2853975

      Here are some suggestions

      by nicknielsen ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      The report (50 page pdf) of the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

      It’s a good start.

      Whether it has a chance is another story.

    • #2853949

      Bi-partisan deficit reduction committee – preliminary proposals

      by charliespencer ·

      In reply to Is the United States on the road to bankruptcy?

      http://www.statesman.com/news/nation/deficit-reduction-plan-targets-social-security-spending-taxes-1038671.html?page=2&viewAsSinglePage=true

      I’d appreciate it if someone could find a site with more details. My morning paper had more details, but apparently they can’t post syndicate-provided content (AP?) on their home page.

      Nothing here I can’t get behind, at least not at first review. The question is how much it will be watered down. I can support another 15 cents gas tax; we were paying more than that to foreign supplier 3 years ago. I can support reduced social security benefits; I’m going to be eligible for them in a dozen or so years and was planning on them not being available anyway. I use national parks but wouldn’t object to paying user fees; it might make them less crowded.

      • #2853941

        National/Provincial Parks

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to Bi-partisan deficit reduction committee – preliminary proposals

        Do you not have user fees?

        I haven’t been to a National Park in a while, but our provincial parks here not only charge user fees, they have also been privatised. Each park is run by a separate management company, the park rangers are still provincial employees, but the people taking reservations, cleaning the washrooms etc are not provincial employees. And the user fees are set to try and cover all costs. So camping, which I do a fair amount of, isn’t as cheap as it used to be, but thats ok. And I wish it made a dent in the crowds, its difficult to make a reservation here unless you do it 5 months in advance.

        James

        • #2853935

          Depends on the park.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to National/Provincial Parks

          But in many cases, no.

          Most national parks (including the ‘lower tier’ monuments, battlefields, forests, recreation areas, seashores, etc, in addition to the top-tier ‘National Parks’) are available at no charge for any services offered. Others are free to enter but charge a nominal fee for programs (guided hikes, canoe rentals, campsites, parking, etc.) or parking. A few, usually the most popular, charge an admission fee in addition to program fees. These parks usually mandate you park your motor vehicle during the most popular months, and require you travel by shuttle bus if you want to cover long distances by vehicle. Obviously you’re free to hike and bike instead.

          State parks fee schedules vary for state to state; I assume some may vary from park to park. I don’t think any part of the SC park system is privatized.

        • #2853932

          User fees would be a good idea

          by delbertpgh ·

          In reply to National/Provincial Parks

          United States national parks don’t charge admission fees for the most part. They don’t have any income of their own except what Congress allocates, and in tough budget years (they’re usually tough,) the allocation is smaller than is needed. Most parks have a long list of deferred maintenance issues. They aren’t well cared for.

          Tying their budgets to actual use, rather than to taxpayer generosity, is a more sensible management policy.

        • #2853929

          Agreed

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to User fees would be a good idea

          I was thinking more about the “camping” style parks. In Canada, National or Provincial, even day use has a fee. As a result they are generally well kept.

          Having lived in Ottawa for a while, I know there is a special government body, the National Capital commission, that looks after monumnents buildings etc. in that region. None of them have fees, for Parliament etc. The NCC spends big bucks on free festivals, including a Canada day celebration, but no one seems to mind.

          The national museums do charge fees, though I suspect there is also some taxpayer money there are well.

      • #2853934

        The announced plan is that of the two chairmen, not the whole commission’s

        by delbertpgh ·

        In reply to Bi-partisan deficit reduction committee – preliminary proposals

        Erskine Bowles (Democrat) and Alan Simpson (Republican) released this plan ahead of the deficit commission’s vote. They admit freely that they doubt a majority of the commission will agree with their proposals. I think they were either trying to use publicity to force a vote, or just grabbing the maximum exposure they could get because they didn’t believe their commission could ever vote on a hard choice.

        The commission is supposed to deliver a proposal to Obama by December 1st.

        It’s interesting that they propose very low income tax rates, 23% for top earners, as opposed to about 31% now. However, they propose to do away with special rates for capital gains and dividends, and re-introduce the estate tax at 45%, but with a much higher exclusion for estates up to $3.5 million ($7 for a married couple.)

        • #2853933

          Low top rate

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to The announced plan is that of the two chairmen, not the whole commission’s

          They also propose to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction on secondary or vacation homes, and cap it for primary residences. That will offset the lower top rate for some taxpayers.

          Based on what I’ve read today, I hope the majority of the commission goes along with them. There may be some ‘gotchas’ still to come to light, but I could accept what I’ve seen so far. I just with someone would ‘man up’ and accept that balancing the budget is going to take some form of sacrifice.

        • #2853931

          Mortgage proposal would shaft me; AMT elimination would help

          by delbertpgh ·

          In reply to Low top rate

          I got stuck with a second home I can’t afford, can’t rent, can’t sell, and don’t want. I inherited the thing when my mother died; I had cosigned the mortgage, so I can’t walk away from it easily. It was supposed to be worth a pretty sum, but now it’s worth less than nothing, and even pricing for a big loss I can’t find any buyers.

      • #2871994
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