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JIMV
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The World Economy

Forgetting the politics for a moment the world is in FAR worse shape than our rapacious politicians want to let on, assuming they are smart enough to know the details. Iceland went broke as a nation in October. They had riots today. This bit about the UK is really spooky:


Quote:

Britain has foreign reserves of under $61bn dollars (
Buddha
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Re: The World Economy

Tossing money at the problem won't fix things, but I think the idea is to make us all relax and think something is being done which will keep us more happily working - which will help.

The whole mess is a bit abstract, anyway.

Governments invent their own cash, they don't even print it any more - so maybe at some point we just need to hit the erase button and quit paying attention....after we catch and hang the banking/insurance/subprime mortgage/Wall Street scoundrels that have vandalized the country.

We have developed a parasitic economy where handling money is more lucrative and well regarded than producing a product. There are people who make money merely by sitting at their computers moving cash around - what a world.

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Re: The World Economy

A piece of paper is a promise to pay. Gold has intrinsic value and has always had value. Wall Street didn't screw stuff up; Washington did when they abandoned the gold standard. And, governments have been screwing up pushing on the string ever since.

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:
A piece of paper is a promise to pay. Gold has intrinsic value and has always had value. Wall Street didn't screw stuff up; Washington did when they abandoned the gold standard. And, governments have been screwing up pushing on the string ever since.

I agree...gold is real, paper is a promise. My wife and I are doing the Atlas Shrugged bit.We sold our house at the top of the market, moved to a tax friendly state, bought a new home 10% below asking, paid all debts, moved our minor retirement accounts to safe areas (made money last quarter) and are watching. Let other folk who did not prepare, did not think, and voted themselves a government of rapacious pandering politicians pay the tab. I figure we can survive several years of really hard times. To those who planned and voted unwisely, well, elections have consequences.

Those who believe in a free lunch, may they reap what they sow.

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:

Quote:
A piece of paper is a promise to pay. Gold has intrinsic value and has always had value. Wall Street didn't screw stuff up; Washington did when they abandoned the gold standard. And, governments have been screwing up pushing on the string ever since.

I agree...gold is real, paper is a promise. My wife and I are doing the Atlas Shrugged bit.We sold our house at the top of the market, moved to a tax friendly state, bought a new home 10% below asking, paid all debts, moved our minor retirement accounts to safe areas (made money last quarter) and are watching. Let other folk who did not prepare, did not think, and voted themselves a government of rapacious pandering politicians pay the tab. I figure we can survive several years of really hard times. To those who planned and voted unwisely, well, elections have consequences.

Those who believe in a free lunch, may they reap what they sow.


Selling the house, moving to a tax friendly state & all the rest is hardly Galt's Gulch even if it does make some sense at a time when so called capitalism is on the dole. Dropping the gold standard always was a form of economic suicide, as Rand herself warned some decades ago, but to imagine un-bridled capitalism will solve all humanities problems is equally delusional.
As the reality of global warming ( & no, I won't debate if it's actually happening or not) hits home we may come to realize that a drastic slowing of economic growth, no matter how painful, could be one of the best things that's happened. For instance, at the rate the Chinese were commissioning coal fired power stations - at something like one per fortnight - a slow down in the insane obsession with growth at all costs does make some sense.
Oh, and Washington AND Wall St did screw things up as did economies of the more nationalized kind. Human irrationality is not restricted by the bounds of ideology and anyone who asserts the laws of supply and demand always work in a rational manner hasn't paid much attention to way our species behaves.
As the ancient Chinese curse has it :- " May you live in interesting times"

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:

Quote:
A piece of paper is a promise to pay. Gold has intrinsic value and has always had value. Wall Street didn't screw stuff up; Washington did when they abandoned the gold standard. And, governments have been screwing up pushing on the string ever since.

I agree...gold is real, paper is a promise. My wife and I are doing the Atlas Shrugged bit.We sold our house at the top of the market, moved to a tax friendly state, bought a new home 10% below asking, paid all debts, moved our minor retirement accounts to safe areas (made money last quarter) and are watching. Let other folk who did not prepare, did not think, and voted themselves a government of rapacious pandering politicians pay the tab. I figure we can survive several years of really hard times. To those who planned and voted unwisely, well, elections have consequences.

Those who believe in a free lunch, may they reap what they sow.

I bought a small business in California and like hanging with liberals and conservatives alike.

Living free is worth twice the price. I never met a rich man who was 'driven poor' by paying his damn taxes.

Choosing your state of residence based on it being 'tax friendly' is poor augury for a blissful future.

When I have made those decisions, 'tax friendly' wasn't even on the list. Works out better that way.

Now, if you are serious about this stuff. Go look up which states get more from the federal government than they send and start raising Hell about the states that suck more than they produce. (Hint: many of them are 'tax friendly.')

Go here:

Where the money goes.

If you state is a net parasite, then you are not a Rayndian, you are a parasite.

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:
To those who planned and voted unwisely, well, elections have consequences.

I think it's relevant to point out that the election wasn't just about Wall Street: see, for example: www.netrootsmass.net/hughs-bush-scandals-list. Ignore the introduction and jump to the first of 399 items in the list and begin reading.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: The World Economy


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Choosing your state of residence based on it being 'tax friendly' is poor augury for a blissful future.

But living in the state that is number one for tax burden when compared to income is not a recipe for happiness either. While money does not buy happiness, the lack of money is hardly conducive to bliss either. Show me any relationship between high taxes and happiness of citizens? If such were the case then the tax happy paradises of NJ, NY,California, and others would not be seeing a decades long outflow of jobs and tax paying citizens while being overrun by folk of limited means and illegals.

Put another way, is staying to be fleeced all that bright when presented with other options? Maybe to folk who believe $100K audio gear is 'value' but not to normal folk.


Quote:
Now, if you are serious about this stuff. Go look up which states get more from the federal government than they send and start raising Hell about the states that suck more than they produce. (Hint: many of them are 'tax friendly.')

Go here:

Where the money goes.

This fails because it assumes the folk paying those high taxes in blue high tax states are blue voters...I can make as strong an argument that the folk paying the taxes in blue states are the red voting minority.

Is life in any blue center city better or more free than in any red state? Perhaps for the very wealthy but not for the normal citizens.

JIMV
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Re: The World Economy

Anyone can make a list of perceived 'crimes'. In a 10 minute web search I can come up with a half dozen lists of crime for the Clinton's or the Dem leadership in Congress. In addition, the list would include 'crimes' that resulted in actual plea bargains and fines.

Juvenal one wrote "... Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions - everything, now
restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things:
bread and circuses"

We live in a time of Bread and Circus, government bribes and Oprah...the media has been in propaganda mode 24/7 for 8 years. The public turned out the party for a lot of reasons, many simply invented and believed as true. Politics is a lot like the subjective in audio. It is true because we say it is true, not because it really is.

I'll leave the post with another quote:

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
- C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)

Freedom is not free.

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:
Anyone can make a list of perceived 'crimes'. In a 10 minute web search I can come up with a half dozen lists of crime for the Clinton's or the Dem leadership in Congress. In addition, the list would include 'crimes' that resulted in actual plea bargains and fines.

But nothing to the degree of what was listed at the link I supplied even you must admit. My point is, that despite your disdain for the results of the recent election, people didn't vote in such numbers for Obama or for Democratic candidates for Congress and the Senate arbitrarily or in a vacuum.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:

Quote:
Anyone can make a list of perceived 'crimes'. In a 10 minute web search I can come up with a half dozen lists of crime for the Clinton's or the Dem leadership in Congress. In addition, the list would include 'crimes' that resulted in actual plea bargains and fines.

But nothing to the degree of what was listed at the link I supplied even you must admit. My point is, that despite your disdain for the results of the recent election, people didn't vote in such numbers for Obama or for Democratic candidates for Congress and the Senate arbitrarily or in a vacuum.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Really, remember the Vince Foster charges...they were BS, like most of the list of charges produced by BDS sufferers but can be found on scores of internet lists. The seriousness of the charge does not matter, what matters is its truth.

I agree they didn't vote arbitrarily or in a vacuum, but from ignorance and a false sense of wrong. Remember the big lie...if one says something long enough and loud enough, folk will believe it, even if it is not true.

To quote Reagan "The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant: it is just that they know so much that isn

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:
Obama may prove to be a great President, or not. As he has done nothing at all so far, let's wait and see. The Roman Triumph we saw yesterday was a trifle premature, the glory before the accomplishment.

If you imagine being black and becoming President of the United States isn't a triumph of sorts you're out of touch with history.

JIMV
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Re: The World Economy

That speaks to color and political skills, not exactly Kings dream. The country needs more than that, we need competence and leadership. The fellow spent less than 200 days in the Senate and did little of consequence before.

That does not mean he will not be a good president, maybe a great one, just that he has done nothing yet to merit the adoration.

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Re: The World Economy


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A piece of paper is a promise to pay. Gold has intrinsic value and has always had value. Wall Street didn't screw stuff up; Washington did when they abandoned the gold standard. And, governments have been screwing up pushing on the string ever since.

How is gold not a mere icon??? The world's supply is mostly sitting in vaults. If it were something that we really needed (like oil, coal, water, etc.) it would be put to use for commercial purposes, not put on pallets and stored.

Currencies, such as gold, sea shells, beads or dollar bills, only have value if agree that they have value. If there's a collapse of world economies, then gold will lose its value, just like every other currency. Barter will replace all currencies, so you'll give x bushels of wheat for x gallons of gasoline. Having gold will only be important to jewelry makers and manufacturers of gold plated banana plugs.

BTW, Wall Street did screw up, big. I'm part of that and warned agaisnt the lax underwriting and unrealistic cash flow modelling at the root of the problem. Intentional greed is at the bottom of this current problem.

Dave

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:

Quote:
A piece of paper is a promise to pay. Gold has intrinsic value and has always had value. Wall Street didn't screw stuff up; Washington did when they abandoned the gold standard. And, governments have been screwing up pushing on the string ever since.

How is gold not a mere icon??? The world's supply is mostly sitting in vaults. If it were something that we really needed (like oil, coal, water, etc.) it would be put to use for commercial purposes, not put on pallets and stored.

Currencies, such as gold, sea shells, beads or dollar bills, only have value if agree that they have value. If there's a collapse of world economies, then gold will lose its value, just like every other currency. Barter will replace all currencies, so you'll give x bushels of wheat for x gallons of gasoline. Having gold will only be important to jewelry makers and manufacturers of gold plated banana plugs.

BTW, Wall Street did screw up, big. I'm part of that and warned agaisnt the lax underwriting and unrealistic cash flow modelling at the root of the problem. Intentional greed is at the bottom of this current problem.

Dave

You are right when you say gold only has the value that we say it does. The thing is, everyone and I mean everyone world wide knows gold has value in and of itself. Paper is only worth what it will buy and it takes more paper to buy gold every day as the printing presses churn.

A few stats that most people do not know. All the gold ever mined could be put into a cube 19 meters on a side, or about the size of a modest house. We mine under 3000 tons every year world wide. All the paper money in circulation is only about $85 billion. All the rest of our 12 trillion economy is paper or electronic promises.

Gold and silver are real...paper is a government promise. I'll take the bullion if I have a choice.

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Re: The World Economy

This is also interesting...it seems the mint cannot keep up with demand...

http://goldandsilverblog.com/actions-of-the-us-mint-discourage-gold-ownership/

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Re: The World Economy

Obama has achieved being the "first." His place as a "first" is secured. With solid majorities in both houses, he will have ample opportunity to become a great President to go along with being first. Or, he'll confuse the voter's desire for "change" with his desire for a more socialized form of governing, in which case he'll have a severe backlash in the mid-terms and be a one term "first."

Presidents who achieve greatness seem to face the most difficult of challnges and rise to the occasion. He certainly has his work cut out for him.

I'd like to see Obama become wildly successful and genuinely wish him well. However, I have zero confidence in leftist policies being the solution for anything and am planning for things to become much worse.

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:

I'd like to see Obama become wildly successful and genuinely wish him well. However, I have zero confidence in leftist policies being the solution for anything and am planning for things to become much worse.

Leftist policies have always rescued this country and it's the rightist policies that drive the country to become a third world nation. However, leftists are at their best when they have the rightists providing a counter balance. The rightists are at their best as the opposition party since they can't govern effectively.

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:

Quote:

I'd like to see Obama become wildly successful and genuinely wish him well. However, I have zero confidence in leftist policies being the solution for anything and am planning for things to become much worse.

Leftist policies have always rescued this country and it's the rightist policies that drive the country to become a third world nation.

Leftist policies kept us in the great depression for 3 years after Europe recovered. Leftists gave us Carters double digit unemployment and inflation and Reagan saved us. Leftists only do one thing right...they grow government and take both money and freedom.

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:

Quote:

I'd like to see Obama become wildly successful and genuinely wish him well. However, I have zero confidence in leftist policies being the solution for anything and am planning for things to become much worse.

Leftist policies have always rescued this country and it's the rightist policies that drive the country to become a third world nation. However, leftists are at their best when they have the rightists providing a counter balance. The rightists are at their best as the opposition party since they can't govern effectively.

I want to know where the leftists are. Obama is very slightly to the left of center in the US, but in Europe, he'd be considered right of center. (See, eg, Boris Johnson, the Conservative Lord Mayor of London, who flew the US flag on 1/20 in honor of Obama. Or in honour of Obama, even.) Keynesian economics theory is not leftist-- unless Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford were leftists. When Obama names Noam Chomsky Secretary of State, or Bernie Sanders Secretary of Labor, or Dennis Kucinich Secretary of Defense, I'll believe he's a leftist...

When I was in Italy a few weeks after Election Day in the States, people were still laughing at the "socialist" claim about Obama. (How could he be a socialist, my relatives asked, if he doesn't believe in single-payer healthcare?) If a 39% tax rate on millionaires is socialist, what was the US in the 1950s, when it was 90%?

Lionel
(Somewhere to the left of Ted Kennedy, somewhere to the right of Tony Benn)

dcstep
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Re: The World Economy


Quote:

You are right when you say gold only has the value that we say it does. The thing is, everyone and I mean everyone world wide knows gold has value in and of itself. Paper is only worth what it will buy and it takes more paper to buy gold every day as the printing presses churn.

A few stats that most people do not know. All the gold ever mined could be put into a cube 19 meters on a side, or about the size of a modest house. We mine under 3000 tons every year world wide. All the paper money in circulation is only about $85 billion. All the rest of our 12 trillion economy is paper or electronic promises.

Gold and silver are real...paper is a government promise. I'll take the bullion if I have a choice.

You need to think about it a little more. Your very first statement about the value being only what we agree to assign it is absolutely correct, but then you go into the delusions of crowds logic. Just because "everyone" believes something doesn't make it real. We can "trade" on that belief (I actually invest some funds in gold, but it's only as a hedge and I'd never dream of holding a significant part of my wealth in bullion). Just like the tulips, dot.com and subprime mortgages there can also be a gold or silver bubble.

As long as governements are somewhat functional, gold and other currencies will have value. however, don't count on gold or any currency to do anything for you if there's economic collapse. If you own gold and your opponents own weapons, then your gold has no value to you. Wheat and corn will be far more valuable than gold because gold lacks true intrinsic value relative its "price."

I'm not discouraging investing in gold, just being aware that it's just another currency. Just because you can put it in a safe will not assure that it'll have value when you need it the most.

Dave

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Re: The World Economy

You do realize that puts 'the center' about in the Teddy Kennedy area of public service, which I figure most people would disagree with.

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Re: The World Economy

I actually agree with Lionel. Americans don't know a leftist if one sneaked up and bit them in the ass. So, when I say "leftist", I mean within the narrow right wing parameters of American politics.

Thanks for clarifying that, Lionel.

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Re: The World Economy

I've spent a lot of time overseas and in the 3rd world. I've encountered leftists more serious than America's Cocktail Party fakes. We are a right of center country and Obama is way to the left of that world. He just had good PR and a very good propaganda dept. His actions will speak for themselves.

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:
We are a right of center country and Obama is way to the left of that world.

I certainly hope so. We could use some real leftists in this country. I want to see nationalized health care, serious regulations imposed on the traders (and actually enforced), I want to see all companies offer vacations to employees as a matter of law, I want to see bailout money having the "no layoffs" conditions attached, I want to see the end to outsourcing, and I want to see a growing middle class again. I don't ask for much.

JIMV
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Re: The World Economy

What you ask for is not America but sort of a Cuba light. I have no desire to destroy our foundation of freedom and self reliance in order to let a minority of non hackers have an easy life on someone else's dime.

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Re: The World Economy

That's all well and good until you become one of the non-hackers.

JIMV
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Re: The World Economy

How many folk 'become' non hackers as opposed to how many simply do not try? Taking from the capable to give to those of lesser capabilities sounds great, till you start asking for those with their hands out to vote. Do you know that the "Obama' tax reform plan being touted has over 58% of the adult NOT paying any income taxes? That is a voting majority. Why should they care about the impact of voting themselves ever increasing benefits that others pay for?

Can you think of a single activity you or anyone else does that is not already taxed, regulated, or controlled by government? Is there no end to the lefts desire for power, paid for by folk of the other party?

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Re: The World Economy

If you want to live in a civilized society, you have to pay taxes and you have to pay a lot.

I hope you never develop any kind of a major illness or get laid off a job or have your career outsourced so that you can never find out what it's like to be a "non-hacker".

The free for all that you advocate skews the stack towards the wealthy because they have the resources to hack at the little guys. In that type of a scenario, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the middle class disappears.

Furthermore, the unregulated free for all leads to a boom and bust economy. So, the hackers today quickly become the non-hackers of tomorrow.

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Re: The World Economy

I am reminded of this quote:

"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-ridden, regulated, penned up, indoctrinated, preached at, checked, appraised, seized, censured, commanded, by beings who have neither title, nor knowledge, nor virtue. To be governed is to have every operation, every transaction, every movement noted, registered, counted, rated, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, refused, authorized, endorsed, admonished, prevented, reformed, redressed, corrected"

I do not see that as a plus.

We used to be a country of folk free to accomplish greatness. TR wrote

Quote:
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat"

Today we have made those grey folk our ideals and settled into being nannied and badgered by unelected bureaucrats and dumber than dirt politicians. The scary thing is, so very many folk seem to love the stifling cocoon of mediocrity instead of risking greatness.

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:
If you want to live in a civilized society, you have to pay taxes and you have to pay a lot.

I have to ask, why? Perhaps you define 'civilized' in an odd manner.

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Re: The World Economy

If you want to have roads, you got to pay. You want to have bridges? You want to have cops? You want to have firefighters? You want to have sewers, water distribution, military, mass transit, on and on and on.

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Quote:
I am reminded of this quote:

"To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-ridden, regulated, penned up, indoctrinated, preached at, checked, appraised, seized, censured, commanded, by beings who have neither title, nor knowledge, nor virtue. To be governed is to have every operation, every transaction, every movement noted, registered, counted, rated, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, refused, authorized, endorsed, admonished, prevented, reformed, redressed, corrected"

I do not see that as a plus.

It's a price you pay. Otherwise, you're advocating anarchy and that's a whole other discussion.


Quote:
We used to be a country of folk free to accomplish greatness. TR wrote
Quote:
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in that grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat"

TR never visited the tenements and the slums in NYC. He never lived that life. It's easy to romanticize TR and the rough and rugged lifestyle that he represented, but the reality of that time was much more sobering.


Quote:

Today we have made those grey folk our ideals and settled into being nannied and badgered by unelected bureaucrats and dumber than dirt politicians. The scary thing is, so very many folk seem to love the stifling cocoon of mediocrity instead of risking greatness.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
And everybody knows that the good guys lost
Everybody knows that the fight is fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
And everybody knows

This is why there has to be some social netting or what you call "nannying".

JIMV
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But we have had those for 240 years yet we didn't have to pay 50% of our income in taxes to get them. Are you saying that countries that pay less have none of those things? Perhaps you are saying states with lower than average taxes are lacking roads, schools, or police and fire protection?

I saw a chart a day or so ago. Are you aware that, for the first time in our history, including WWI and WWII, we have more folk employed directly by government, over 23,000,000 than we have employed in manufacturing and construction?

I think you confuse government with an employment office.

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Quote:
It's a price you pay. Otherwise, you're advocating anarchy and that's a whole other discussion.

In logic that is called a false either/or argument. Either we have all the trappings of overwhelming government or we have anarchy. It fails because it pretends all the possible situations between smothering nannie government and anarchy do not exist. It ignores the vast majority of our history. It is possible to be free and have government. Our founders proved that in 1791.


Quote:
TR never visited the tenements and the slums in NYC. He never lived that life. It's easy to romanticize TR and the rough and rugged lifestyle that he represented, but the reality of that time was much more sobering.

I somehow doubt that but it is not associated with either the quote of my argument. TR was writing of str5iving for greatness and I was writing of how that goal has been lost entirely by the left and mostly by the rest of us. We wrap ourselves in the smothering government blanket of the Nannie State and declare ourselves secure while not noticing what we have lost, what made us great.


Quote:
This is why there has to be some social netting or what you call "nannying".

Another false either/or

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But we have had those for 240 years yet we didn't have to pay 50% of our income in taxes to get them. Are you saying that countries that pay less have none of those things?

I am saying that countries that pay less have fewer of those services. We didn't have roads until FDR and we didn't have highways until Eisenhower, at which point, the rich were paying 90% income tax.


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Perhaps you are saying states with lower than average taxes are lacking roads, schools, or police and fire protection?

States that collect less in revenue provide fewer services. They don't have as many roads, they don't have as many schools, their schools are not as well equipped, etc.


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I saw a chart a day or so ago. Are you aware that, for the first time in our history, including WWI and WWII, we have more folk employed directly by government, over 23,000,000 than we have employed in manufacturing and construction?

Yes, I'm aware of that. We also started subsidizing all kinds of industries, especially the military industries right at around that time.


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I think you confuse government with an employment office.

Government has its place. When it's run well, everyone is better off.

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Re: The World Economy


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I am saying that countries that pay less have fewer of those services. We didn't have roads until FDR and we didn't have highways until Eisenhower, at which point, the rich were paying 90% income tax.

That is not exactly straight. Detroit sold a lot of cars that drove on something before Roosevelt and Eisenhower and, we had a working passenger rail system. The rich didn

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Re: The World Economy

I made an assumption in that I thought it was understood that just because lots of money gets taken in doesn't mean that it's spent well and just because there's less money taken in, doesn't mean that it can't be spent efficiently. Please take that as a premise for all my arguments. Let's assume that whatever money is going to be taken in will be spent efficiently. That has to be the premise because otherwise, we will be arguing multiple issues and we'll be all over the place.

So, assuming that all money taken in will be spent well, it is understood that the more you take in, the better your services are going to be.

Now, if you're talking about inefficiencies within government, the corruption and the theft that goes on, I agree with you. However, just because there are inefficiencies, corruption and theft, doesn't mean that we should all embrace anarchy and starve the government out of the funds. What it means is that we should reform the government and address those issues as they come. I don't agree with the premise that governments cannot be efficient, spend the money well and serve a very important purpose. Sometimes, that purpose means employing people. Working for the government is a hell of a whole lot better than not working at all. Does that mean that the ONLY thing the governments should do is employ people? Of course not, but there are times when they have to and there are times when they have to spend the money to foster private enterprise. Like I said, government has a purpose. Its purpose to provide steady economic growth, social stability, security and foster an atmosphere where a society can thrive and run interference when things break down.

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Re: The World Economy

This is neither here nor there, but I just wanted to jump in and say that I find the phrase nannie state kinda fascinating. The way I see it (and I could be very wrong cuz I don't have kids) the nannie is somewhat subordinate to everyone, both the children she/he cares for and the parents she/he assists. What I don't quite understand is who the parent would be in the context of gov't. Just thinking out loud...

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Re: The World Economy

I don't see the gov't as the nanny, rather I see it as the facilitator. The gov't creates conditions that foster security and prosperity. I think we all agree on that (at least I hope so). Where we disagree is that I think that the role of the gov't is also to run interference between the rich and the poor, employee and employers and to generally prevent exploitation by one segment of society of another. I also think the role of the government is to provide a landing cushion when the processes break down such as economic crises, war, etc.

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Re: The World Economy

I think JIMV and Alexo are both right.

Living here is a stone cold bargain - safe water, cops, roads, etc...

But that doesn't mean I am not keenly interested in efficiency and transparency!

We often get too little of either.

Am I allowed to be a small goverment liberal?

For my own self, I think a true 33% tax would be fine...just so long as there are no loopholes for those with greater means, and then let's get some higher capital gains rates for inherited money.

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Re: The World Economy


Quote:
I made an assumption in that I thought it was understood that just because lots of money gets taken in doesn't mean that it's spent well and just because there's less money taken in, doesn't mean that it can't be spent efficiently. Please take that as a premise for all my arguments. Let's assume that whatever money is going to be taken in will be spent efficiently. That has to be the premise because otherwise, we will be arguing multiple issues and we'll be all over the place.

But we cannot take that for granted. It is the essence of the entire political debate. No one seriously debates the idea of a safety net, we just differ on its cost and effectiveness. When the warts on the program are revealed, the left wants more money and the right wants what we have already spent to be spent wisely, which most assuredly is NOT a given.


Quote:
Now, if you're talking about inefficiencies within government, the corruption and the theft that goes on, I agree with you. However, just because there are inefficiencies, corruption and theft, doesn't mean that we should all embrace anarchy and starve the government out of the funds.

Come on, be honest...has government ever been been 'starved'? At the absolute worst, they grow at a slower rate than folk in government want. Has there ever been anarchy? I lived in NYC before Rudy and they had an ocean of money and the city was far closer to anarchy than now.


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What it means is that we should reform the government and address those issues as they come. I don't agree with the premise that governments cannot be efficient, spend the money well and serve a very important purpose.

OK, so reform the program so as to get the biggest bang for the existing buck instead of promising reform when one gets more money, which never happens.


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Sometimes, that purpose means employing people. Working for the government is a hell of a whole lot better than not working at all. Does that mean that the ONLY thing the governments should do is employ people? Of course not, but there are times when they have to and there are times when they have to spend the money to foster private enterprise. Like I said, government has a purpose. Its purpose to provide steady economic growth, social stability, security and foster an atmosphere where a society can thrive and run interference when things break down.

SOMETIMES! Always is more like it. The segment of society that costs the most and is the most unaccountable is government. The purpose of government is to provide an unbiased set of laws, to provide the citizens a modicum of security, and to help the most needy, not to provide all things to all people, and most assuredly not to take money from one group to give to another for their vote.

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Re: The World Economy


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I don't see the gov't as the nanny, rather I see it as the facilitator. The gov't creates conditions that foster security and prosperity. I think we all agree on that (at least I hope so). Where we disagree is that I think that the role of the gov't is also to run interference between the rich and the poor, employee and employers and to generally prevent exploitation by one segment of society of another. I also think the role of the government is to provide a landing cushion when the processes break down such as economic crises, war, etc.

The government never, ever facilitates anything. It controls...everything. Again, there is nothing that you do that is not taxed, regulated, or controlled, nothing. That is not the role of government in a free society.

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Re: The World Economy


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For my own self, I think a true 33% tax would be fine...just so long as there are no loopholes for those with greater means, and then let's get some higher capital gains rates for inherited money.

I would agree with that as long as everyone pays...no exempting the bottom half from taxes or we end up with the old bubaboo....

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most money, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, followed by dictatorship." - Alexander Tyler

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Re: The World Economy


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But we cannot take that for granted. It is the essence of the entire political debate. No one seriously debates the idea of a safety net, we just differ on its cost and effectiveness. When the warts on the program are revealed, the left wants more money and the right wants what we have already spent to be spent wisely, which most assuredly is NOT a given.

Ok, now we're getting somewhere. If we're not debating the idea of a safety net, then there is no debate. EVERYONE wants efficiency. EVERYONE wants bang for the buck.

As far as the statement about left wanting more money and the right wanting spending money more wisely, that hasn't been my experience. My experience has been that both want the same amount of money, but the right wants guns and the left wants butter.


Quote:

Come on, be honest...has government ever been been 'starved'? At the absolute worst, they grow at a slower rate than folk in government want. Has there ever been anarchy? I lived in NYC before Rudy and they had an ocean of money and the city was far closer to anarchy than now.

When I say "starved", I mean not having enough money to fund existing programs. As far as NYC is concerned, no one ever said that NYC was the epitome of efficiency, transparency or good government even during Rudy.


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OK, so reform the program so as to get the biggest bang for the existing buck instead of promising reform when one gets more money, which never happens.

Absolutely. Everyone wants to see efficiency and transparency, but I think the crux of the argument are the spending priorities.


Quote:

SOMETIMES! Always is more like it. The segment of society that costs the most and is the most unaccountable is government. The purpose of government is to provide an unbiased set of laws, to provide the citizens a modicum of security, and to help the most needy, not to provide all things to all people, and most assuredly not to take money from one group to give to another for their vote.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that the gov't solution to EVERY problem is to ALWAYS employ more people. Sometimes, that's what's needed. It's better to have people working for the government than not working at all.

Wealth redistribution is a fundamental role of the government. It has to take money from one group (the wealthy few) and distribute it to another group (the many poor). If that doesn't happen to one degree or another, a country will inevitably turn into a banana republic and that will in turn lead to a revolution. Once again, the debate will rest as to:

a. How much money to distribute

b. Which income brackets to include as the "haves" and which income brackets to include to indicate the "have nots".

c. What form should redistribution take place i.e. services, cash payments, infrastructure to poor areas, etc.

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Re: The World Economy


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The government never, ever facilitates anything. It controls...everything. Again, there is nothing that you do that is not taxed, regulated, or controlled, nothing. That is not the role of government in a free society.

Of course it facilitates. For example, by building roads, it facilitates commerce. It facilitates trade through various laws. It facilitates research through tax incentives and grants. It facilitates commerce through contract resolution - courts. It facilitates prosperity by assuring security from outside invasion and crime. It facilitates employment by building mass transit systems. It facilitates education by creating schools and universities, by creating an atmosphere of academic freedom, etc.


Quote:

Quote:
For my own self, I think a true 33% tax would be fine...just so long as there are no loopholes for those with greater means, and then let's get some higher capital gains rates for inherited money.

I would agree with that as long as everyone pays...no exempting the bottom half from taxes or we end up with the old bubaboo....

The problem with "not exempting the bottom half from taxes" is that if you make a million dollars and you have to pay a third in taxes, you can still live pretty comfortably. However, if you make minimum wage and you have to pay a third in taxes, you won't be able to feed yourself.

So, in order for income taxes to be equitable, they have to be progressive (meaning the more you make, the bigger PERCENTAGE you will pay). In fact, income taxes are the only equitable taxes we pay. Every other tax has a much greater burden on the poor than it does on the rich.

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Re: The World Economy


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As far as the statement about left wanting more money and the right wanting spending money more wisely, that hasn't been my experience. My experience has been that both want the same amount of money, but the right wants guns and the left wants butter.

Apples and oranges

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Re: The World Economy


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Of course it facilitates. For example, by building roads, it facilitates commerce. It facilitates trade through various laws. It facilitates research through tax incentives and grants. It facilitates commerce through contract resolution - courts. It facilitates prosperity by assuring security from outside invasion and crime. It facilitates employment by building mass transit systems. It facilitates education by creating schools and universities, by creating an atmosphere of academic freedom, etc.

By building roads it guards its power, it plays favorites, and it buys votes. If government was to

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Re: The World Economy

If you feel the government is so completely inept, why do you trust it with defense? That's the last thing I would trust it with.

Let's just do away with government all together, have a free for all and see where that takes us.

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Re: The World Economy

Track record...we more often than not win wars and are safe from invasion while we are more often than not looted for social programs and have very limited success...All we have really accomplished is to increase government employment from around 12 million in 1965 to 23 million today, and the military is far smaller.

The bottom line remains...what is the business of government? Under the Constitution government employment and income redistribution are not.

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Re: The World Economy

Nikkei down 231 as I type...

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