Discussion:
social security trustees' report released two months late
(too old to reply)
rick++
2006-04-27 19:06:56 UTC
Permalink
The 2006 Social Security Trustees annual report will be
finally released on Monday, instead of its usual March date.
The report is famous for calculating the annual "bankrupcy prediction"-
the year the trust fund runs out.
The delay was due to there were too few members to
issue a report because various factions couldnt agree
on replacements for departing trustees.
During the Congressional Easter break the Bush
did a "recess appointment" extension of departing trustees until
the report was finished.

(Theres alway some politicking with supposedly neutral trustees;
recently to make the program look more dire. However one cant
fudge the numbers too drastically because each report contains
a 75-year projection that overlaps 74 years of the previous report.
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.)
Harry Thompson
2006-04-27 22:56:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
The 2006 Social Security Trustees annual report will be
finally released on Monday, instead of its usual March date.
The report is famous for calculating the annual "bankrupcy prediction"-
the year the trust fund runs out.
The delay was due to there were too few members to
issue a report because various factions couldnt agree
on replacements for departing trustees.
During the Congressional Easter break the Bush
did a "recess appointment" extension of departing trustees until
the report was finished.
(Theres alway some politicking with supposedly neutral trustees;
recently to make the program look more dire. However one cant
fudge the numbers too drastically because each report contains
a 75-year projection that overlaps 74 years of the previous report.
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.)
Well, Harlow Wilcox wasn't here long. I guess the push to end (whoops, I
mean "save") Social Security is over for now.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Social Security

III

Oh men of Haddam, do you not see the Cato man
posting in your newsgroup?

(There's a dozen more verses, I'm working on them)

Hap
Jean Smith
2006-04-28 00:23:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.
So by then it will be time to open the envelope and find out how many
millions the thousands in the savings plan has become.
--
http://www.india-seminar.com/2003/521/521%20p.%20sainath.htm
http://www.pinchot.org/
http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/JFUA-6JP8W6?OpenDocument
http://ogj.pennnet.com/articles/article_display.cfm?ARTICLE_ID=252978
El Castor
2006-04-28 06:25:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jean Smith
Post by rick++
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.
So by then it will be time to open the envelope and find out how many
millions the thousands in the savings plan has become.
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU's written on yellow
crumbling paper -- in other words -- nothing. Unfortunately, retirees
can't spend IOU's, so Congress will have to produce real cash. They
won't like that. Wriggling time will have arrived.

"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
Rumpelstiltskin
2006-04-28 13:28:08 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 23:25:44 -0700, El Castor
Post by El Castor
Post by Jean Smith
Post by rick++
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.
So by then it will be time to open the envelope and find out how many
millions the thousands in the savings plan has become.
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU's written on yellow
crumbling paper -- in other words -- nothing. Unfortunately, retirees
can't spend IOU's, so Congress will have to produce real cash. They
won't like that. Wriggling time will have arrived.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
"Dusty old IOU's" is, I must admit, brilliant - probably the most
brilliant concept the Republican party has come up with in the
last 25 years. I have quite a few dusty old IOU's in my wallet
right now, with pictures of presidents on them such as
Washington and Jackson. I had thought they'd be worth
something in the future, but, silly me, the Republicans party
spent all the backing for them while I wasn't paying attention,
and now they're just dusty old IOU's.
Alan Lichtenstein
2006-04-28 16:02:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 23:25:44 -0700, El Castor
Post by El Castor
Post by Jean Smith
Post by rick++
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.
So by then it will be time to open the envelope and find out how many
millions the thousands in the savings plan has become.
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU's written on yellow
crumbling paper -- in other words -- nothing. Unfortunately, retirees
can't spend IOU's, so Congress will have to produce real cash. They
won't like that. Wriggling time will have arrived.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
"Dusty old IOU's" is, I must admit, brilliant - probably the most
brilliant concept the Republican party has come up with in the
last 25 years. I have quite a few dusty old IOU's in my wallet
right now, with pictures of presidents on them such as
Washington and Jackson. I had thought they'd be worth
something in the future, but, silly me, the Republicans party
spent all the backing for them while I wasn't paying attention,
and now they're just dusty old IOU's.
Sorry to throw some rain on your parade this time, Rumple, but Jeff, in
his sarcastic pessimism may be right about his prognosis. Neither
Congress nor The President( whomever that may be ) has no intention of
taking the political heat necessary in paying back those IOU's. The
'fix' they come up eventually will be no more than postponing the
impending deficit appearance with some stopgap measure. They'll then
say they 'saved' Social Security.

Problem is, the only real 'saving' would take place if we continued to
run surpluses and thus, exchange the 'dusty old IOU's' for real dollars,
which could then have been invested to provide some real money growth.
But SCOTUS took that option off the table when they appointed Bush
president in 2000, and the voters further continued to insure that
option would never see the table when they elected Bush in 2004.

Unfortunately, I must concur with Jeff's sarcastic pessimism.
Rumpelstiltskin
2006-04-28 17:57:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 23:25:44 -0700, El Castor
Post by El Castor
Post by Jean Smith
Post by rick++
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.
So by then it will be time to open the envelope and find out how many
millions the thousands in the savings plan has become.
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU's written on yellow
crumbling paper -- in other words -- nothing. Unfortunately, retirees
can't spend IOU's, so Congress will have to produce real cash. They
won't like that. Wriggling time will have arrived.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
"Dusty old IOU's" is, I must admit, brilliant - probably the most
brilliant concept the Republican party has come up with in the
last 25 years. I have quite a few dusty old IOU's in my wallet
right now, with pictures of presidents on them such as
Washington and Jackson. I had thought they'd be worth
something in the future, but, silly me, the Republicans party
spent all the backing for them while I wasn't paying attention,
and now they're just dusty old IOU's.
Sorry to throw some rain on your parade this time, Rumple, but Jeff, in
his sarcastic pessimism may be right about his prognosis. Neither
Congress nor The President( whomever that may be ) has no intention of
taking the political heat necessary in paying back those IOU's. The
'fix' they come up eventually will be no more than postponing the
impending deficit appearance with some stopgap measure. They'll then
say they 'saved' Social Security.
They'd better pay up, IMV. That may, and probably will, contribute
to the further collapse of the dollar, but "I meant to pay back what
I took, but then I didn't have the money" has never drawn a smile
from Judge Judy's face. I certainly agree that the government has
behaved with what is to me mind-bending irresponsibility, in my
old-world old-fashioned view that people should be honourable
about money rather than just steal anything they can then try out
lawyerlike weasel arguments to escape responsibility.

IMV, the pennies on the dollar remaining after the government's
years of theft and idiotic lack of foresight should be spread around
equally among social security and the other victims, the way things
are apportioned in bankruptcy cases. I'm not at all sympathetic
with any plan to just screw the people who already paid, but not
disturb the fat cats (who were in on a lot of the screwing) because
"that would damage 'the economy' ", whereas screwing retired
people and continuing to deliver steaks to the fat cats wouldn't,
it's contended by the same gang of crooks, "damage the economy"
as much.

I've thought lately of trying to draw a picture of "the economy".
I don't really have any idea what it would look like, but neither does
anyone else, it seems. "The economy" certainly doesn't seem to
be thought of by the government anything like the people once
thought it was - responsibility, and security and fair dealing for the
majority of the population. It's obviously something very different
from that, nowadays. I thought of starting out my artist's conception
of "the economy" by using the dragon from the Welsh flag.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Problem is, the only real 'saving' would take place if we continued to
run surpluses and thus, exchange the 'dusty old IOU's' for real dollars,
which could then have been invested to provide some real money growth.
But SCOTUS took that option off the table when they appointed Bush
president in 2000, and the voters further continued to insure that
option would never see the table when they elected Bush in 2004.
Unfortunately, I must concur with Jeff's sarcastic pessimism.
Alan Lichtenstein
2006-04-28 18:13:30 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 23:25:44 -0700, El Castor
Post by El Castor
Post by Jean Smith
Post by rick++
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.
So by then it will be time to open the envelope and find out how many
millions the thousands in the savings plan has become.
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU's written on yellow
crumbling paper -- in other words -- nothing. Unfortunately, retirees
can't spend IOU's, so Congress will have to produce real cash. They
won't like that. Wriggling time will have arrived.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
"Dusty old IOU's" is, I must admit, brilliant - probably the most
brilliant concept the Republican party has come up with in the
last 25 years. I have quite a few dusty old IOU's in my wallet
right now, with pictures of presidents on them such as
Washington and Jackson. I had thought they'd be worth
something in the future, but, silly me, the Republicans party
spent all the backing for them while I wasn't paying attention,
and now they're just dusty old IOU's.
Sorry to throw some rain on your parade this time, Rumple, but Jeff, in
his sarcastic pessimism may be right about his prognosis. Neither
Congress nor The President( whomever that may be ) has no intention of
taking the political heat necessary in paying back those IOU's. The
'fix' they come up eventually will be no more than postponing the
impending deficit appearance with some stopgap measure. They'll then
say they 'saved' Social Security.
They'd better pay up, IMV. That may, and probably will, contribute
to the further collapse of the dollar, but "I meant to pay back what
I took, but then I didn't have the money" has never drawn a smile
from Judge Judy's face. I certainly agree that the government has
behaved with what is to me mind-bending irresponsibility, in my
old-world old-fashioned view that people should be honourable
about money rather than just steal anything they can then try out
lawyerlike weasel arguments to escape responsibility.
Paying up in one fell swoop has too many downsides. And if we wait
until the shit does hit the fan, it will be even more difficult and
painful and debilitating. What should be done IMHO, is to rescind the
Bush tax cuts, which were ill-advised in the first place, and use the
money gradually to retire the debt, or at least, reduce it
substantially. Also, ending the unnecessary war would also help.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
IMV, the pennies on the dollar remaining after the government's
years of theft and idiotic lack of foresight should be spread around
equally among social security and the other victims, the way things
are apportioned in bankruptcy cases. I'm not at all sympathetic
with any plan to just screw the people who already paid, but not
disturb the fat cats (who were in on a lot of the screwing) because
"that would damage 'the economy' ", whereas screwing retired
people and continuing to deliver steaks to the fat cats wouldn't,
it's contended by the same gang of crooks, "damage the economy"
as much.
There's not pennies on the dollar. Social Security is going into
deficit in 2018, but the IOU's can be used to pay the difference. If
the Treasury has to pay Social Security, the Government will either have
to replace what the Treasury pays as debt to The Trust Fund, or increase
revenue, with all that entails. the negative effects for the economy,
considering the amounts involved would not have a very positive effect,
which would trickle down to the working people, proving that Reagans's
voodoo economics did work. But only for sharing the pain, not the
profits. Sorry, Rumple, that's not a good alternative.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I've thought lately of trying to draw a picture of "the economy".
I don't really have any idea what it would look like, but neither does
anyone else, it seems. "The economy" certainly doesn't seem to
be thought of by the government anything like the people once
thought it was - responsibility, and security and fair dealing for the
majority of the population. It's obviously something very different
from that, nowadays. I thought of starting out my artist's conception
of "the economy" by using the dragon from the Welsh flag.
A number of people have put forth relatively reasonable ideas. But the
simple fact is that if you increase taxes to such a high amount which
would be needed to pay off the IOU's, EVERYONE, businesses and
individuals is going to suffer.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Problem is, the only real 'saving' would take place if we continued to
run surpluses and thus, exchange the 'dusty old IOU's' for real dollars,
which could then have been invested to provide some real money growth.
But SCOTUS took that option off the table when they appointed Bush
president in 2000, and the voters further continued to insure that
option would never see the table when they elected Bush in 2004.
Unfortunately, I must concur with Jeff's sarcastic pessimism.
El Castor
2006-04-28 20:50:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 23:25:44 -0700, El Castor
Post by El Castor
Post by Jean Smith
Post by rick++
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.
So by then it will be time to open the envelope and find out how many
millions the thousands in the savings plan has become.
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU's written on yellow
crumbling paper -- in other words -- nothing. Unfortunately, retirees
can't spend IOU's, so Congress will have to produce real cash. They
won't like that. Wriggling time will have arrived.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
"Dusty old IOU's" is, I must admit, brilliant - probably the most
brilliant concept the Republican party has come up with in the
last 25 years. I have quite a few dusty old IOU's in my wallet
right now, with pictures of presidents on them such as
Washington and Jackson. I had thought they'd be worth
something in the future, but, silly me, the Republicans party
spent all the backing for them while I wasn't paying attention,
and now they're just dusty old IOU's.
Sorry to throw some rain on your parade this time, Rumple, but Jeff, in
his sarcastic pessimism may be right about his prognosis. Neither
Congress nor The President( whomever that may be ) has no intention of
taking the political heat necessary in paying back those IOU's. The
'fix' they come up eventually will be no more than postponing the
impending deficit appearance with some stopgap measure. They'll then
say they 'saved' Social Security.
They'd better pay up, IMV. That may, and probably will, contribute
to the further collapse of the dollar, but "I meant to pay back what
I took, but then I didn't have the money" has never drawn a smile
from Judge Judy's face. I certainly agree that the government has
behaved with what is to me mind-bending irresponsibility, in my
old-world old-fashioned view that people should be honourable
about money rather than just steal anything they can then try out
lawyerlike weasel arguments to escape responsibility.
Paying up in one fell swoop has too many downsides. And if we wait
until the shit does hit the fan, it will be even more difficult and
painful and debilitating. What should be done IMHO, is to rescind the
Bush tax cuts, which were ill-advised in the first place, and use the
money gradually to retire the debt, or at least, reduce it
substantially. Also, ending the unnecessary war would also help.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
IMV, the pennies on the dollar remaining after the government's
years of theft and idiotic lack of foresight should be spread around
equally among social security and the other victims, the way things
are apportioned in bankruptcy cases. I'm not at all sympathetic
with any plan to just screw the people who already paid, but not
disturb the fat cats (who were in on a lot of the screwing) because
"that would damage 'the economy' ", whereas screwing retired
people and continuing to deliver steaks to the fat cats wouldn't,
it's contended by the same gang of crooks, "damage the economy"
as much.
There's not pennies on the dollar. Social Security is going into
deficit in 2018, but the IOU's can be used to pay the difference. If
the Treasury has to pay Social Security, the Government will either have
to replace what the Treasury pays as debt to The Trust Fund, or increase
revenue, with all that entails. the negative effects for the economy,
considering the amounts involved would not have a very positive effect,
which would trickle down to the working people, proving that Reagans's
voodoo economics did work. But only for sharing the pain, not the
profits. Sorry, Rumple, that's not a good alternative.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I've thought lately of trying to draw a picture of "the economy".
I don't really have any idea what it would look like, but neither does
anyone else, it seems. "The economy" certainly doesn't seem to
be thought of by the government anything like the people once
thought it was - responsibility, and security and fair dealing for the
majority of the population. It's obviously something very different
from that, nowadays. I thought of starting out my artist's conception
of "the economy" by using the dragon from the Welsh flag.
A number of people have put forth relatively reasonable ideas. But the
simple fact is that if you increase taxes to such a high amount which
would be needed to pay off the IOU's, EVERYONE, businesses and
individuals is going to suffer.
I would take that one step further. Increasing taxes will not only
cause widespread "suffering", but it will adversely impact economic
growth, reducing total tax revenues and very likely more than offset
additional revenues generated by a higher rate of taxation. If a
country could tax itself to prosperity, France, with taxes nearly
double that of the United States, would be the richest country in the
world. Instead it has a moribund economy and pension problems worse
than the United States.

"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
Alan Lichtenstein
2006-04-28 21:03:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by El Castor
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 23:25:44 -0700, El Castor
Post by El Castor
Post by Jean Smith
Post by rick++
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.
So by then it will be time to open the envelope and find out how many
millions the thousands in the savings plan has become.
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU's written on yellow
crumbling paper -- in other words -- nothing. Unfortunately, retirees
can't spend IOU's, so Congress will have to produce real cash. They
won't like that. Wriggling time will have arrived.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
"Dusty old IOU's" is, I must admit, brilliant - probably the most
brilliant concept the Republican party has come up with in the
last 25 years. I have quite a few dusty old IOU's in my wallet
right now, with pictures of presidents on them such as
Washington and Jackson. I had thought they'd be worth
something in the future, but, silly me, the Republicans party
spent all the backing for them while I wasn't paying attention,
and now they're just dusty old IOU's.
Sorry to throw some rain on your parade this time, Rumple, but Jeff, in
his sarcastic pessimism may be right about his prognosis. Neither
Congress nor The President( whomever that may be ) has no intention of
taking the political heat necessary in paying back those IOU's. The
'fix' they come up eventually will be no more than postponing the
impending deficit appearance with some stopgap measure. They'll then
say they 'saved' Social Security.
They'd better pay up, IMV. That may, and probably will, contribute
to the further collapse of the dollar, but "I meant to pay back what
I took, but then I didn't have the money" has never drawn a smile
from Judge Judy's face. I certainly agree that the government has
behaved with what is to me mind-bending irresponsibility, in my
old-world old-fashioned view that people should be honourable
about money rather than just steal anything they can then try out
lawyerlike weasel arguments to escape responsibility.
Paying up in one fell swoop has too many downsides. And if we wait
until the shit does hit the fan, it will be even more difficult and
painful and debilitating. What should be done IMHO, is to rescind the
Bush tax cuts, which were ill-advised in the first place, and use the
money gradually to retire the debt, or at least, reduce it
substantially. Also, ending the unnecessary war would also help.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
IMV, the pennies on the dollar remaining after the government's
years of theft and idiotic lack of foresight should be spread around
equally among social security and the other victims, the way things
are apportioned in bankruptcy cases. I'm not at all sympathetic
with any plan to just screw the people who already paid, but not
disturb the fat cats (who were in on a lot of the screwing) because
"that would damage 'the economy' ", whereas screwing retired
people and continuing to deliver steaks to the fat cats wouldn't,
it's contended by the same gang of crooks, "damage the economy"
as much.
There's not pennies on the dollar. Social Security is going into
deficit in 2018, but the IOU's can be used to pay the difference. If
the Treasury has to pay Social Security, the Government will either have
to replace what the Treasury pays as debt to The Trust Fund, or increase
revenue, with all that entails. the negative effects for the economy,
considering the amounts involved would not have a very positive effect,
which would trickle down to the working people, proving that Reagans's
voodoo economics did work. But only for sharing the pain, not the
profits. Sorry, Rumple, that's not a good alternative.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I've thought lately of trying to draw a picture of "the economy".
I don't really have any idea what it would look like, but neither does
anyone else, it seems. "The economy" certainly doesn't seem to
be thought of by the government anything like the people once
thought it was - responsibility, and security and fair dealing for the
majority of the population. It's obviously something very different
from that, nowadays. I thought of starting out my artist's conception
of "the economy" by using the dragon from the Welsh flag.
A number of people have put forth relatively reasonable ideas. But the
simple fact is that if you increase taxes to such a high amount which
would be needed to pay off the IOU's, EVERYONE, businesses and
individuals is going to suffer.
I would take that one step further. Increasing taxes will not only
cause widespread "suffering", but it will adversely impact economic
growth, reducing total tax revenues and very likely more than offset
additional revenues generated by a higher rate of taxation. If a
country could tax itself to prosperity, France, with taxes nearly
double that of the United States, would be the richest country in the
world. Instead it has a moribund economy and pension problems worse
than the United States.
There is a 'right' figure to which taxes can be raised which would not
have the debilitating effects on the economy. In a perverse way, the
ill-advised Bush tax cuts did have such an effect on the economy, since
the current economic 'boom' is a result only of the increased Government
deficit. That, IMHO, cancels out the economic prosperity, as the
deficit will have to be addressed at some point. Raising taxes to the
degree that they were prior to Bush may be that right figure, assuming
that spending can be brought back to that amount. Of course, the
increase in spending due to the unnecessary war would be a prime
candidate for elimination.

Raising taxes slightly for the long term may very well solve all our
problems with a minimum of pain for all involved. The mantra of severe
economic difficulty which accompany ANY tax cut is stretching the rubber
way too far and does not take into account any less stretching, and
cannot be equated with the difficulties that would result from massive
tax increases, which would be needed to redeem ALL the 'dusty old IOU's'
as Rumple suggested.

Obviously a country cannot tax itself into prosperity, but neither can a
country create prosperity when it doesn't produce anything. And we
don't. All our production in industries which mean anything, has been
outsourced to China via Mexico, courtesy of the conservative 'free
market economy,' which severely understates long range problems in favor
of short term profits.
El Castor
2006-04-29 04:31:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by El Castor
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 23:25:44 -0700, El Castor
Post by El Castor
Post by Jean Smith
Post by rick++
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.
So by then it will be time to open the envelope and find out how many
millions the thousands in the savings plan has become.
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU's written on yellow
crumbling paper -- in other words -- nothing. Unfortunately, retirees
can't spend IOU's, so Congress will have to produce real cash. They
won't like that. Wriggling time will have arrived.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
"Dusty old IOU's" is, I must admit, brilliant - probably the most
brilliant concept the Republican party has come up with in the
last 25 years. I have quite a few dusty old IOU's in my wallet
right now, with pictures of presidents on them such as
Washington and Jackson. I had thought they'd be worth
something in the future, but, silly me, the Republicans party
spent all the backing for them while I wasn't paying attention,
and now they're just dusty old IOU's.
Sorry to throw some rain on your parade this time, Rumple, but Jeff, in
his sarcastic pessimism may be right about his prognosis. Neither
Congress nor The President( whomever that may be ) has no intention of
taking the political heat necessary in paying back those IOU's. The
'fix' they come up eventually will be no more than postponing the
impending deficit appearance with some stopgap measure. They'll then
say they 'saved' Social Security.
They'd better pay up, IMV. That may, and probably will, contribute
to the further collapse of the dollar, but "I meant to pay back what
I took, but then I didn't have the money" has never drawn a smile
from Judge Judy's face. I certainly agree that the government has
behaved with what is to me mind-bending irresponsibility, in my
old-world old-fashioned view that people should be honourable
about money rather than just steal anything they can then try out
lawyerlike weasel arguments to escape responsibility.
Paying up in one fell swoop has too many downsides. And if we wait
until the shit does hit the fan, it will be even more difficult and
painful and debilitating. What should be done IMHO, is to rescind the
Bush tax cuts, which were ill-advised in the first place, and use the
money gradually to retire the debt, or at least, reduce it
substantially. Also, ending the unnecessary war would also help.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
IMV, the pennies on the dollar remaining after the government's
years of theft and idiotic lack of foresight should be spread around
equally among social security and the other victims, the way things
are apportioned in bankruptcy cases. I'm not at all sympathetic
with any plan to just screw the people who already paid, but not
disturb the fat cats (who were in on a lot of the screwing) because
"that would damage 'the economy' ", whereas screwing retired
people and continuing to deliver steaks to the fat cats wouldn't,
it's contended by the same gang of crooks, "damage the economy"
as much.
There's not pennies on the dollar. Social Security is going into
deficit in 2018, but the IOU's can be used to pay the difference. If
the Treasury has to pay Social Security, the Government will either have
to replace what the Treasury pays as debt to The Trust Fund, or increase
revenue, with all that entails. the negative effects for the economy,
considering the amounts involved would not have a very positive effect,
which would trickle down to the working people, proving that Reagans's
voodoo economics did work. But only for sharing the pain, not the
profits. Sorry, Rumple, that's not a good alternative.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I've thought lately of trying to draw a picture of "the economy".
I don't really have any idea what it would look like, but neither does
anyone else, it seems. "The economy" certainly doesn't seem to
be thought of by the government anything like the people once
thought it was - responsibility, and security and fair dealing for the
majority of the population. It's obviously something very different
from that, nowadays. I thought of starting out my artist's conception
of "the economy" by using the dragon from the Welsh flag.
A number of people have put forth relatively reasonable ideas. But the
simple fact is that if you increase taxes to such a high amount which
would be needed to pay off the IOU's, EVERYONE, businesses and
individuals is going to suffer.
I would take that one step further. Increasing taxes will not only
cause widespread "suffering", but it will adversely impact economic
growth, reducing total tax revenues and very likely more than offset
additional revenues generated by a higher rate of taxation. If a
country could tax itself to prosperity, France, with taxes nearly
double that of the United States, would be the richest country in the
world. Instead it has a moribund economy and pension problems worse
than the United States.
There is a 'right' figure to which taxes can be raised which would not
have the debilitating effects on the economy. In a perverse way, the
ill-advised Bush tax cuts did have such an effect on the economy, since
the current economic 'boom' is a result only of the increased Government
deficit. That, IMHO, cancels out the economic prosperity, as the
deficit will have to be addressed at some point. Raising taxes to the
degree that they were prior to Bush may be that right figure, assuming
that spending can be brought back to that amount. Of course, the
increase in spending due to the unnecessary war would be a prime
candidate for elimination.
Raising taxes slightly for the long term may very well solve all our
problems with a minimum of pain for all involved.
I disagree. The problem is too enormous. A slight increase in taxes
would be like throwing gasoline on a fire and would only fuel
congress' inclination to always spend incrementally more than we take
in. Even if that were not the case, it still would be insufficient. We
have to deal with the outgo side by such things as increasing the
retirement age, lengthening the period between partial and full
benefits, tweaking the COLA, etc.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
The mantra of severe
economic difficulty which accompany ANY tax cut
I believe you meant to say "tax increase". If not, I really don't know
what you are trying to say. Assuming that's what you meant, then I
have to say that the Left always wants just a little more. The need
for "a little more" is insatiable. I could go along with the "little
more" approach if I believed that would be the end of it, but I do
not. It would be only the beginning. We need to spend less on Iraq, on
bridges to nowhere, and on out of control entitlements, however my
faith that we will do that is exceeded only by your faith in the
effectiveness of a border fence. (-8

The following statement regarding the necessity of massive tax
increases which would be needed to redeem the entire trust fund, is
true. And, by the way, the problem would not be solved when the trust
fund was redeemed -- it would continue at an accelerating pace, as
would the need for more and more money.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
is stretching the rubber
way too far and does not take into account any less stretching, and
cannot be equated with the difficulties that would result from massive
tax increases, which would be needed to redeem ALL the 'dusty old IOU's'
as Rumple suggested.
The following is a red herring.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Obviously a country cannot tax itself into prosperity, but neither can a
country create prosperity when it doesn't produce anything. And we
don't. All our production in industries which mean anything, has been
outsourced to China via Mexico, courtesy of the conservative 'free
market economy,' which severely understates long range problems in favor
of short term profits.
Alan Greenspan, whose opinion I respect, made the following comments
in testimony before congress in March of 2005. He does not seem to
preclude minor adjustments to tax rates, but certainly does not see
increased taxation as the solution. Alan, I realize you sincerely
believe that we can tax our way out of this. I disagree.

The problem is really not one of over-promising to retirees, nor is it
one of under taxation. Simply put, we are on a pay-as-you-go system,
and as the population ages, fewer and fewer workers are supporting
more and more retirees. Japan is in the worst fix in this regard, and
is looking at a future in which there will be one worker for every
retiree. We are headed down the same road. That is an untenable
situation.

Anyhow, here is Alan Greenspan:

"Failure to address the imbalances between our promises to future
retirees and our ability to meet those promises would have severe
consequences for the economy. The most recent projections by the
Office of Management and Budget show that spending on Social Security,
Medicare, and Medicaid will rise from about 8 percent of GDP today to
about 13 percent by 2030.3 Under existing tax rates and reasonable
assumptions about other spending, these projections make clear that
the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, in which large
deficits result in rising interest rates and ever-growing interest
payments that augment deficits in future years. But most important,
deficits as a percentage of GDP in these simulations rise without
limit. Unless the trend is reversed, at some point these deficits
would cause the economy to stagnate or worse. Closing the gap solely
with rising tax rates would be problematic; higher tax rates rarely
achieve a comparable rise in tax receipts, and the level of required
taxation could in itself severely inhibit economic growth.

In light of these sobering projections, I believe that a thorough
review of our commitments--and at least some adjustment in those
commitments--is urgently needed. The necessary adjustments will become
ever more difficult and larger the longer we delay. No changes will be
easy. All programs in our budget exist because a majority of the
Congress and the President considered them of value to our society.
Adjustments will thus involve making tradeoffs among valued
alternatives. The Congress must choose which alternatives are the most
valued in the context of limited resources. In doing so, you will need
to consider not only the distributional effects of policy changes but
also the broader economic effects on labor supply, retirement
behavior, and national saving. The benefits to taking sound, timely
action could extend many decades into the future."
http://www.federalreserve.gov/BoardDocs/Testimony/2005/20050315/default.htm

Jeff

"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
jimstevens
2006-04-29 05:32:55 UTC
Permalink
On Fri, 28 Apr 2006 21:31:19 -0700, El Castor
Post by El Castor
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by El Castor
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 23:25:44 -0700, El Castor
Post by El Castor
Post by Jean Smith
Post by rick++
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.
So by then it will be time to open the envelope and find out how many
millions the thousands in the savings plan has become.
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU's written on yellow
crumbling paper -- in other words -- nothing. Unfortunately, retirees
can't spend IOU's, so Congress will have to produce real cash. They
won't like that. Wriggling time will have arrived.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
"Dusty old IOU's" is, I must admit, brilliant - probably the most
brilliant concept the Republican party has come up with in the
last 25 years. I have quite a few dusty old IOU's in my wallet
right now, with pictures of presidents on them such as
Washington and Jackson. I had thought they'd be worth
something in the future, but, silly me, the Republicans party
spent all the backing for them while I wasn't paying attention,
and now they're just dusty old IOU's.
Sorry to throw some rain on your parade this time, Rumple, but Jeff, in
his sarcastic pessimism may be right about his prognosis. Neither
Congress nor The President( whomever that may be ) has no intention of
taking the political heat necessary in paying back those IOU's. The
'fix' they come up eventually will be no more than postponing the
impending deficit appearance with some stopgap measure. They'll then
say they 'saved' Social Security.
They'd better pay up, IMV. That may, and probably will, contribute
to the further collapse of the dollar, but "I meant to pay back what
I took, but then I didn't have the money" has never drawn a smile
from Judge Judy's face. I certainly agree that the government has
behaved with what is to me mind-bending irresponsibility, in my
old-world old-fashioned view that people should be honourable
about money rather than just steal anything they can then try out
lawyerlike weasel arguments to escape responsibility.
Paying up in one fell swoop has too many downsides. And if we wait
until the shit does hit the fan, it will be even more difficult and
painful and debilitating. What should be done IMHO, is to rescind the
Bush tax cuts, which were ill-advised in the first place, and use the
money gradually to retire the debt, or at least, reduce it
substantially. Also, ending the unnecessary war would also help.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
IMV, the pennies on the dollar remaining after the government's
years of theft and idiotic lack of foresight should be spread around
equally among social security and the other victims, the way things
are apportioned in bankruptcy cases. I'm not at all sympathetic
with any plan to just screw the people who already paid, but not
disturb the fat cats (who were in on a lot of the screwing) because
"that would damage 'the economy' ", whereas screwing retired
people and continuing to deliver steaks to the fat cats wouldn't,
it's contended by the same gang of crooks, "damage the economy"
as much.
There's not pennies on the dollar. Social Security is going into
deficit in 2018, but the IOU's can be used to pay the difference. If
the Treasury has to pay Social Security, the Government will either have
to replace what the Treasury pays as debt to The Trust Fund, or increase
revenue, with all that entails. the negative effects for the economy,
considering the amounts involved would not have a very positive effect,
which would trickle down to the working people, proving that Reagans's
voodoo economics did work. But only for sharing the pain, not the
profits. Sorry, Rumple, that's not a good alternative.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I've thought lately of trying to draw a picture of "the economy".
I don't really have any idea what it would look like, but neither does
anyone else, it seems. "The economy" certainly doesn't seem to
be thought of by the government anything like the people once
thought it was - responsibility, and security and fair dealing for the
majority of the population. It's obviously something very different
from that, nowadays. I thought of starting out my artist's conception
of "the economy" by using the dragon from the Welsh flag.
A number of people have put forth relatively reasonable ideas. But the
simple fact is that if you increase taxes to such a high amount which
would be needed to pay off the IOU's, EVERYONE, businesses and
individuals is going to suffer.
I would take that one step further. Increasing taxes will not only
cause widespread "suffering", but it will adversely impact economic
growth, reducing total tax revenues and very likely more than offset
additional revenues generated by a higher rate of taxation. If a
country could tax itself to prosperity, France, with taxes nearly
double that of the United States, would be the richest country in the
world. Instead it has a moribund economy and pension problems worse
than the United States.
There is a 'right' figure to which taxes can be raised which would not
have the debilitating effects on the economy. In a perverse way, the
ill-advised Bush tax cuts did have such an effect on the economy, since
the current economic 'boom' is a result only of the increased Government
deficit. That, IMHO, cancels out the economic prosperity, as the
deficit will have to be addressed at some point. Raising taxes to the
degree that they were prior to Bush may be that right figure, assuming
that spending can be brought back to that amount. Of course, the
increase in spending due to the unnecessary war would be a prime
candidate for elimination.
Raising taxes slightly for the long term may very well solve all our
problems with a minimum of pain for all involved.
I disagree. The problem is too enormous. A slight increase in taxes
would be like throwing gasoline on a fire and would only fuel
congress' inclination to always spend incrementally more than we take
in. Even if that were not the case, it still would be insufficient. We
have to deal with the outgo side by such things as increasing the
retirement age, lengthening the period between partial and full
benefits, tweaking the COLA, etc.
Remember that gas taxes have been created, increased, and collected to
for transportation (roads). And that is a joke that allows them to
just get more money.
Post by El Castor
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
The mantra of severe
economic difficulty which accompany ANY tax cut
I believe you meant to say "tax increase". If not, I really don't know
what you are trying to say. Assuming that's what you meant, then I
have to say that the Left always wants just a little more. The need
for "a little more" is insatiable. I could go along with the "little
more" approach if I believed that would be the end of it, but I do
not. It would be only the beginning. We need to spend less on Iraq, on
bridges to nowhere, and on out of control entitlements, however my
faith that we will do that is exceeded only by your faith in the
effectiveness of a border fence. (-8
The following statement regarding the necessity of massive tax
increases which would be needed to redeem the entire trust fund, is
true. And, by the way, the problem would not be solved when the trust
fund was redeemed -- it would continue at an accelerating pace, as
would the need for more and more money.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
is stretching the rubber
way too far and does not take into account any less stretching, and
cannot be equated with the difficulties that would result from massive
tax increases, which would be needed to redeem ALL the 'dusty old IOU's'
as Rumple suggested.
The following is a red herring.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Obviously a country cannot tax itself into prosperity, but neither can a
country create prosperity when it doesn't produce anything. And we
don't. All our production in industries which mean anything, has been
outsourced to China via Mexico, courtesy of the conservative 'free
market economy,' which severely understates long range problems in favor
of short term profits.
Alan Greenspan, whose opinion I respect, made the following comments
in testimony before congress in March of 2005. He does not seem to
preclude minor adjustments to tax rates, but certainly does not see
increased taxation as the solution. Alan, I realize you sincerely
believe that we can tax our way out of this. I disagree.
The problem is really not one of over-promising to retirees, nor is it
one of under taxation. Simply put, we are on a pay-as-you-go system,
and as the population ages, fewer and fewer workers are supporting
more and more retirees. Japan is in the worst fix in this regard, and
is looking at a future in which there will be one worker for every
retiree. We are headed down the same road. That is an untenable
situation.
"Failure to address the imbalances between our promises to future
retirees and our ability to meet those promises would have severe
consequences for the economy. The most recent projections by the
Office of Management and Budget show that spending on Social Security,
Medicare, and Medicaid will rise from about 8 percent of GDP today to
about 13 percent by 2030.3 Under existing tax rates and reasonable
assumptions about other spending, these projections make clear that
the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, in which large
deficits result in rising interest rates and ever-growing interest
payments that augment deficits in future years. But most important,
deficits as a percentage of GDP in these simulations rise without
limit. Unless the trend is reversed, at some point these deficits
would cause the economy to stagnate or worse. Closing the gap solely
with rising tax rates would be problematic; higher tax rates rarely
achieve a comparable rise in tax receipts, and the level of required
taxation could in itself severely inhibit economic growth.
In light of these sobering projections, I believe that a thorough
review of our commitments--and at least some adjustment in those
commitments--is urgently needed. The necessary adjustments will become
ever more difficult and larger the longer we delay. No changes will be
easy. All programs in our budget exist because a majority of the
Congress and the President considered them of value to our society.
Adjustments will thus involve making tradeoffs among valued
alternatives. The Congress must choose which alternatives are the most
valued in the context of limited resources. In doing so, you will need
to consider not only the distributional effects of policy changes but
also the broader economic effects on labor supply, retirement
behavior, and national saving. The benefits to taking sound, timely
action could extend many decades into the future."
http://www.federalreserve.gov/BoardDocs/Testimony/2005/20050315/default.htm
Jeff
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
marib
2006-04-29 11:56:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by jimstevens
On Fri, 28 Apr 2006 21:31:19 -0700, El Castor
Post by El Castor
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by El Castor
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 23:25:44 -0700, El Castor
Post by El Castor
Post by Jean Smith
Post by rick++
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.
So by then it will be time to open the envelope and find out how many
millions the thousands in the savings plan has become.
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU's written on yellow
crumbling paper -- in other words -- nothing. Unfortunately, retirees
can't spend IOU's, so Congress will have to produce real cash. They
won't like that. Wriggling time will have arrived.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
"Dusty old IOU's" is, I must admit, brilliant - probably the most
brilliant concept the Republican party has come up with in the
last 25 years. I have quite a few dusty old IOU's in my wallet
right now, with pictures of presidents on them such as
Washington and Jackson. I had thought they'd be worth
something in the future, but, silly me, the Republicans party
spent all the backing for them while I wasn't paying attention,
and now they're just dusty old IOU's.
Sorry to throw some rain on your parade this time, Rumple, but Jeff, in
his sarcastic pessimism may be right about his prognosis. Neither
Congress nor The President( whomever that may be ) has no intention of
taking the political heat necessary in paying back those IOU's. The
'fix' they come up eventually will be no more than postponing the
impending deficit appearance with some stopgap measure. They'll then
say they 'saved' Social Security.
They'd better pay up, IMV. That may, and probably will, contribute
to the further collapse of the dollar, but "I meant to pay back what
I took, but then I didn't have the money" has never drawn a smile
from Judge Judy's face. I certainly agree that the government has
behaved with what is to me mind-bending irresponsibility, in my
old-world old-fashioned view that people should be honourable
about money rather than just steal anything they can then try out
lawyerlike weasel arguments to escape responsibility.
Paying up in one fell swoop has too many downsides. And if we wait
until the shit does hit the fan, it will be even more difficult and
painful and debilitating. What should be done IMHO, is to rescind the
Bush tax cuts, which were ill-advised in the first place, and use the
money gradually to retire the debt, or at least, reduce it
substantially. Also, ending the unnecessary war would also help.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
IMV, the pennies on the dollar remaining after the government's
years of theft and idiotic lack of foresight should be spread around
equally among social security and the other victims, the way things
are apportioned in bankruptcy cases. I'm not at all sympathetic
with any plan to just screw the people who already paid, but not
disturb the fat cats (who were in on a lot of the screwing) because
"that would damage 'the economy' ", whereas screwing retired
people and continuing to deliver steaks to the fat cats wouldn't,
it's contended by the same gang of crooks, "damage the economy"
as much.
There's not pennies on the dollar. Social Security is going into
deficit in 2018, but the IOU's can be used to pay the difference. If
the Treasury has to pay Social Security, the Government will either have
to replace what the Treasury pays as debt to The Trust Fund, or increase
revenue, with all that entails. the negative effects for the economy,
considering the amounts involved would not have a very positive effect,
which would trickle down to the working people, proving that Reagans's
voodoo economics did work. But only for sharing the pain, not the
profits. Sorry, Rumple, that's not a good alternative.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I've thought lately of trying to draw a picture of "the economy".
I don't really have any idea what it would look like, but neither does
anyone else, it seems. "The economy" certainly doesn't seem to
be thought of by the government anything like the people once
thought it was - responsibility, and security and fair dealing for the
majority of the population. It's obviously something very different
from that, nowadays. I thought of starting out my artist's conception
of "the economy" by using the dragon from the Welsh flag.
A number of people have put forth relatively reasonable ideas. But the
simple fact is that if you increase taxes to such a high amount which
would be needed to pay off the IOU's, EVERYONE, businesses and
individuals is going to suffer.
I would take that one step further. Increasing taxes will not only
cause widespread "suffering", but it will adversely impact economic
growth, reducing total tax revenues and very likely more than offset
additional revenues generated by a higher rate of taxation. If a
country could tax itself to prosperity, France, with taxes nearly
double that of the United States, would be the richest country in the
world. Instead it has a moribund economy and pension problems worse
than the United States.
There is a 'right' figure to which taxes can be raised which would not
have the debilitating effects on the economy. In a perverse way, the
ill-advised Bush tax cuts did have such an effect on the economy, since
the current economic 'boom' is a result only of the increased Government
deficit. That, IMHO, cancels out the economic prosperity, as the
deficit will have to be addressed at some point. Raising taxes to the
degree that they were prior to Bush may be that right figure, assuming
that spending can be brought back to that amount. Of course, the
increase in spending due to the unnecessary war would be a prime
candidate for elimination.
Raising taxes slightly for the long term may very well solve all our
problems with a minimum of pain for all involved.
I disagree. The problem is too enormous. A slight increase in taxes
would be like throwing gasoline on a fire and would only fuel
congress' inclination to always spend incrementally more than we take
in. Even if that were not the case, it still would be insufficient. We
have to deal with the outgo side by such things as increasing the
retirement age, lengthening the period between partial and full
benefits, tweaking the COLA, etc.
Remember that gas taxes have been created, increased, and collected to
for transportation (roads). And that is a joke that allows them to
just get more money.
The lion's share of $3.00 a gal. gas is tax.
Post by jimstevens
Post by El Castor
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
The mantra of severe
economic difficulty which accompany ANY tax cut
I believe you meant to say "tax increase". If not, I really don't know
what you are trying to say. Assuming that's what you meant, then I
have to say that the Left always wants just a little more. The need
for "a little more" is insatiable. I could go along with the "little
more" approach if I believed that would be the end of it, but I do
not. It would be only the beginning. We need to spend less on Iraq, on
bridges to nowhere, and on out of control entitlements, however my
faith that we will do that is exceeded only by your faith in the
effectiveness of a border fence. (-8
The following statement regarding the necessity of massive tax
increases which would be needed to redeem the entire trust fund, is
true. And, by the way, the problem would not be solved when the trust
fund was redeemed -- it would continue at an accelerating pace, as
would the need for more and more money.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
is stretching the rubber
way too far and does not take into account any less stretching, and
cannot be equated with the difficulties that would result from massive
tax increases, which would be needed to redeem ALL the 'dusty old IOU's'
as Rumple suggested.
The following is a red herring.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Obviously a country cannot tax itself into prosperity, but neither can a
country create prosperity when it doesn't produce anything. And we
don't. All our production in industries which mean anything, has been
outsourced to China via Mexico, courtesy of the conservative 'free
market economy,' which severely understates long range problems in favor
of short term profits.
Alan Greenspan, whose opinion I respect, made the following comments
in testimony before congress in March of 2005. He does not seem to
preclude minor adjustments to tax rates, but certainly does not see
increased taxation as the solution. Alan, I realize you sincerely
believe that we can tax our way out of this. I disagree.
The problem is really not one of over-promising to retirees, nor is it
one of under taxation. Simply put, we are on a pay-as-you-go system,
and as the population ages, fewer and fewer workers are supporting
more and more retirees. Japan is in the worst fix in this regard, and
is looking at a future in which there will be one worker for every
retiree. We are headed down the same road. That is an untenable
situation.
"Failure to address the imbalances between our promises to future
retirees and our ability to meet those promises would have severe
consequences for the economy. The most recent projections by the
Office of Management and Budget show that spending on Social Security,
Medicare, and Medicaid will rise from about 8 percent of GDP today to
about 13 percent by 2030.3 Under existing tax rates and reasonable
assumptions about other spending, these projections make clear that
the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, in which large
deficits result in rising interest rates and ever-growing interest
payments that augment deficits in future years. But most important,
deficits as a percentage of GDP in these simulations rise without
limit. Unless the trend is reversed, at some point these deficits
would cause the economy to stagnate or worse. Closing the gap solely
with rising tax rates would be problematic; higher tax rates rarely
achieve a comparable rise in tax receipts, and the level of required
taxation could in itself severely inhibit economic growth.
In light of these sobering projections, I believe that a thorough
review of our commitments--and at least some adjustment in those
commitments--is urgently needed. The necessary adjustments will become
ever more difficult and larger the longer we delay. No changes will be
easy. All programs in our budget exist because a majority of the
Congress and the President considered them of value to our society.
Adjustments will thus involve making tradeoffs among valued
alternatives. The Congress must choose which alternatives are the most
valued in the context of limited resources. In doing so, you will need
to consider not only the distributional effects of policy changes but
also the broader economic effects on labor supply, retirement
behavior, and national saving. The benefits to taking sound, timely
action could extend many decades into the future."
http://www.federalreserve.gov/BoardDocs/Testimony/2005/20050315/default.htm
Jeff
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
*** Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com ***
Alan Lichtenstein
2006-04-30 22:49:41 UTC
Permalink
El Castor wrote:

( previous postsnipped-follow thread )
Post by El Castor
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by El Castor
I would take that one step further. Increasing taxes will not only
cause widespread "suffering", but it will adversely impact economic
growth, reducing total tax revenues and very likely more than offset
additional revenues generated by a higher rate of taxation. If a
country could tax itself to prosperity, France, with taxes nearly
double that of the United States, would be the richest country in the
world. Instead it has a moribund economy and pension problems worse
than the United States.
There is a 'right' figure to which taxes can be raised which would not
have the debilitating effects on the economy. In a perverse way, the
ill-advised Bush tax cuts did have such an effect on the economy, since
the current economic 'boom' is a result only of the increased Government
deficit. That, IMHO, cancels out the economic prosperity, as the
deficit will have to be addressed at some point. Raising taxes to the
degree that they were prior to Bush may be that right figure, assuming
that spending can be brought back to that amount. Of course, the
increase in spending due to the unnecessary war would be a prime
candidate for elimination.
Raising taxes slightly for the long term may very well solve all our
problems with a minimum of pain for all involved.
I disagree. The problem is too enormous. A slight increase in taxes
would be like throwing gasoline on a fire and would only fuel
congress' inclination to always spend incrementally more than we take
in. Even if that were not the case, it still would be insufficient. We
have to deal with the outgo side by such things as increasing the
retirement age, lengthening the period between partial and full
benefits, tweaking the COLA, etc.
The fact that the problem is enormous only means a more severe
solution. It does not justify ignoring the problem, which is apparently
what you propose doing. Ignoring the problem will ultimately
necessitate a devaluation in order to pay back the debt with worthless
money, with all that entails. I think that solution, which will be the
only one left if we don't do something soon, will have the most
deleterious effects. We can take steps to at least return to the
surpluses of the Clinton years by rescinding the ill-advised Bush tax
cuts and ending the war expenditures. Taken over the next 40 years, we
can at least significantly reduce the debt to the point where another
small tax increase could wipe it out.

I reject your pessimistic view of Congress. It ran surpluses under
Clinton and didn't spend the money and there's no reason to believe a
disciplined Congress of the future would do any differently. The one
thing we cannot abide by is the Republican policy of borrow and spend.
Post by El Castor
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
The mantra of severe
economic difficulty which accompany ANY tax cut
I believe you meant to say "tax increase".
I did.

If not, I really don't know
Post by El Castor
what you are trying to say. Assuming that's what you meant, then I
have to say that the Left always wants just a little more. The need
for "a little more" is insatiable. I could go along with the "little
more" approach if I believed that would be the end of it, but I do
not. It would be only the beginning. We need to spend less on Iraq, on
bridges to nowhere, and on out of control entitlements, however my
faith that we will do that is exceeded only by your faith in the
effectiveness of a border fence. (-8
There you go again, Jeff, rambling on using a dislike of the liberal
faction as if that somehow makes good economic sense for your side. It
doesn't. Fact remains that the gap in income between the wealthy and
the poor is widening, but the income gap between the middle class and
the poor is closing. If you don't see that the destruction of the
middle class is rapidly occurring, and if you don't understand that what
makes this country the economic power it once was is a strong middle
class, than you've got blinders on. Fact remains, we don't produce
anything here anymore, so what is there to invest a tax cut in? A
textile plant in China? An auto plant in Korea? A steel plant in
Japan? Jeff, wake up and smell the coffee. Tax cuts don't produce
anything, because there's nothing here to produce. They only serve to
provide income for the rich. But that's for another discussion. We're
talking about taxes and Social Security. So I apologize for my digression.
Post by El Castor
The following statement regarding the necessity of massive tax
increases which would be needed to redeem the entire trust fund, is
true. And, by the way, the problem would not be solved when the trust
fund was redeemed -- it would continue at an accelerating pace, as
would the need for more and more money.
Of course, if you mean the deficit due to demographics regarding Social
Security, you are indeed, right. But we also need a different way to
fund the program so that future deficits are precluded. Again, a topic
for another discussion.
Post by El Castor
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
is stretching the rubber
way too far and does not take into account any less stretching, and
cannot be equated with the difficulties that would result from massive
tax increases, which would be needed to redeem ALL the 'dusty old IOU's'
as Rumple suggested.
The following is a red herring.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Obviously a country cannot tax itself into prosperity, but neither can a
country create prosperity when it doesn't produce anything. And we
don't. All our production in industries which mean anything, has been
outsourced to China via Mexico, courtesy of the conservative 'free
market economy,' which severely understates long range problems in favor
of short term profits.
Statements of fact refuting assertions can hardly be described as red
herrings. They go straight to the fallacious theory of the positive
effects tax cuts have on the economy.
Post by El Castor
Alan Greenspan, whose opinion I respect, made the following comments
in testimony before congress in March of 2005. He does not seem to
preclude minor adjustments to tax rates, but certainly does not see
increased taxation as the solution. Alan, I realize you sincerely
believe that we can tax our way out of this. I disagree.
Over time, and with proper adjustment of the funding mechanism,
absolutely. You have no solution other than more of the same. And
neither did Greenspan. His only concern was for the impact Social
Security would have on the deficit. He couldn't give a rat's ass about
whether the fund was solvent or not. His only concern was that since it
was established by Law, he had to deal with it. He just didn't want it
messing up his precious Treasury.
Post by El Castor
The problem is really not one of over-promising to retirees, nor is it
one of under taxation. Simply put, we are on a pay-as-you-go system,
and as the population ages, fewer and fewer workers are supporting
more and more retirees. Japan is in the worst fix in this regard, and
is looking at a future in which there will be one worker for every
retiree. We are headed down the same road. That is an untenable
situation.
That is obvious. And what should be obvious is that the pay-as-you-go
funding mechanism is ineffective and needs to be changed. Republicans
don't want to do it, because they want individuals to take the risk so
that they can keep taxes low for the wealthy who don't need Social
Security, and the Democrats are afraid to change it because they would
have to take a page from the Republican play book and deal with the
stock market. And the people are too afraid because most of them have
no clue as to how the whole system of retirement funding works. So you
have every possible constituency afraid to change the system, for
different reasons, but the effect is still the same.
Post by El Castor
"Failure to address the imbalances between our promises to future
retirees and our ability to meet those promises would have severe
consequences for the economy. The most recent projections by the
Office of Management and Budget show that spending on Social Security,
Medicare, and Medicaid will rise from about 8 percent of GDP today to
about 13 percent by 2030.3 Under existing tax rates and reasonable
assumptions about other spending, these projections make clear that
the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, in which large
deficits result in rising interest rates and ever-growing interest
payments that augment deficits in future years. But most important,
deficits as a percentage of GDP in these simulations rise without
limit. Unless the trend is reversed, at some point these deficits
would cause the economy to stagnate or worse. Closing the gap solely
with rising tax rates would be problematic; higher tax rates rarely
achieve a comparable rise in tax receipts, and the level of required
taxation could in itself severely inhibit economic growth.
In light of these sobering projections, I believe that a thorough
review of our commitments--and at least some adjustment in those
commitments--is urgently needed. The necessary adjustments will become
ever more difficult and larger the longer we delay. No changes will be
easy. All programs in our budget exist because a majority of the
Congress and the President considered them of value to our society.
Adjustments will thus involve making tradeoffs among valued
alternatives. The Congress must choose which alternatives are the most
valued in the context of limited resources. In doing so, you will need
to consider not only the distributional effects of policy changes but
also the broader economic effects on labor supply, retirement
behavior, and national saving. The benefits to taking sound, timely
action could extend many decades into the future."
http://www.federalreserve.gov/BoardDocs/Testimony/2005/20050315/default.htm
So? All you have posted from Greenspan is that he's saying that if we
don't do something, the shit is going to hit the fan. A lot of people
have said that.
Rumpelstiltskin
2006-04-29 04:11:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
On Thu, 27 Apr 2006 23:25:44 -0700, El Castor
Post by El Castor
Post by Jean Smith
Post by rick++
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.
So by then it will be time to open the envelope and find out how many
millions the thousands in the savings plan has become.
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU's written on yellow
crumbling paper -- in other words -- nothing. Unfortunately, retirees
can't spend IOU's, so Congress will have to produce real cash. They
won't like that. Wriggling time will have arrived.
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
"Dusty old IOU's" is, I must admit, brilliant - probably the most
brilliant concept the Republican party has come up with in the
last 25 years. I have quite a few dusty old IOU's in my wallet
right now, with pictures of presidents on them such as
Washington and Jackson. I had thought they'd be worth
something in the future, but, silly me, the Republicans party
spent all the backing for them while I wasn't paying attention,
and now they're just dusty old IOU's.
Sorry to throw some rain on your parade this time, Rumple, but Jeff, in
his sarcastic pessimism may be right about his prognosis. Neither
Congress nor The President( whomever that may be ) has no intention of
taking the political heat necessary in paying back those IOU's. The
'fix' they come up eventually will be no more than postponing the
impending deficit appearance with some stopgap measure. They'll then
say they 'saved' Social Security.
They'd better pay up, IMV. That may, and probably will, contribute
to the further collapse of the dollar, but "I meant to pay back what
I took, but then I didn't have the money" has never drawn a smile
from Judge Judy's face. I certainly agree that the government has
behaved with what is to me mind-bending irresponsibility, in my
old-world old-fashioned view that people should be honourable
about money rather than just steal anything they can then try out
lawyerlike weasel arguments to escape responsibility.
Paying up in one fell swoop has too many downsides.
It's not one fell swoop.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
And if we wait
until the shit does hit the fan, it will be even more difficult and
painful and debilitating. What should be done IMHO, is to rescind the
Bush tax cuts, which were ill-advised in the first place, and use the
money gradually to retire the debt, or at least, reduce it
substantially.
Yep, but I think it might be too late now to ever retire the
debt. Further, perhaps catastrophic, devaluation of the
dollar may be the only possible outcome. But if so, let's
distribute the pain around, rather than disproportionately
blaming SS.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Also, ending the unnecessary war would also help.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
IMV, the pennies on the dollar remaining after the government's
years of theft and idiotic lack of foresight should be spread around
equally among social security and the other victims, the way things
are apportioned in bankruptcy cases. I'm not at all sympathetic
with any plan to just screw the people who already paid, but not
disturb the fat cats (who were in on a lot of the screwing) because
"that would damage 'the economy' ", whereas screwing retired
people and continuing to deliver steaks to the fat cats wouldn't,
it's contended by the same gang of crooks, "damage the economy"
as much.
There's not pennies on the dollar. Social Security is going into
deficit in 2018, but the IOU's can be used to pay the difference. If
the Treasury has to pay Social Security, the Government will either have
to replace what the Treasury pays as debt to The Trust Fund, or increase
revenue, with all that entails. the negative effects for the economy,
considering the amounts involved would not have a very positive effect,
which would trickle down to the working people, proving that Reagans's
voodoo economics did work. But only for sharing the pain, not the
profits. Sorry, Rumple, that's not a good alternative.
I don't see why people collecting SS should get all the pain while
the thieves who stole so much of the money in the first place should
be shielded as much as possible from the pain they created. Screw
"the economy" If "the economy" just means rich people staying rich,
then I don't have much use for it. People can buy Volkswagen
instead of Mercedes for a while, at least until everybody has a decent
standard of living, especially the people who paid insurance to that
end all their working lives.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I've thought lately of trying to draw a picture of "the economy".
I don't really have any idea what it would look like, but neither does
anyone else, it seems. "The economy" certainly doesn't seem to
be thought of by the government anything like the people once
thought it was - responsibility, and security and fair dealing for the
majority of the population. It's obviously something very different
from that, nowadays. I thought of starting out my artist's conception
of "the economy" by using the dragon from the Welsh flag.
A number of people have put forth relatively reasonable ideas. But the
simple fact is that if you increase taxes to such a high amount which
would be needed to pay off the IOU's, EVERYONE, businesses and
individuals is going to suffer.
Cutting down SS means that people are going to suffer too. It's
not a question of "are" versus "are not", of course, it's a question
of "who" and "how". I'm tired of SS being attacked as if it's the
problem - it's not so much the problem as the victim, but there
seems little concern expressed for taking a pound of flesh from the
sources that victimized SS. Any such responsibility gets swallowed
up into the fog of musings about "the economy", which doesn't
seem to mean the welfare of people who paid into SS in good faith.

I guess we could, for a while, keep collecting money from people
indefinitely with the promise it was going to help them out later,
then continue to renege when it came time for them to get the
benefits they'd been promised. Too bad for them, but it would
sustain "the economy" (in the new sense) a little longer until the
wheels of progress got to the point they had to go so fast that the
materials could no longer sustain the acceleration, and everything
flew apart at once because its safety margin had been cut so
thin it could no longer be of any help.

Alice in Wonderland. Run faster and faster, just to stay in the
same place.

Things may have gone too far now. People talk about how the
deficit is not much compared to the GNP, but, oddly enough the
roller coaster shows no ability even to slow down the
acceleration into heretofore unplumbed depths.. Hopefully, things
won't shatter into complete collapse until after I'm dead. Then,
après moi, la déluge.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Problem is, the only real 'saving' would take place if we continued to
run surpluses and thus, exchange the 'dusty old IOU's' for real dollars,
which could then have been invested to provide some real money growth.
But SCOTUS took that option off the table when they appointed Bush
president in 2000, and the voters further continued to insure that
option would never see the table when they elected Bush in 2004.
Unfortunately, I must concur with Jeff's sarcastic pessimism.
Alan Lichtenstein
2006-04-30 12:08:42 UTC
Permalink
Rumpelstiltskin wrote:

( previous post snipped-follow thread )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
And if we wait
until the shit does hit the fan, it will be even more difficult and
painful and debilitating. What should be done IMHO, is to rescind the
Bush tax cuts, which were ill-advised in the first place, and use the
money gradually to retire the debt, or at least, reduce it
substantially.
Yep, but I think it might be too late now to ever retire the
debt. Further, perhaps catastrophic, devaluation of the
dollar may be the only possible outcome. But if so, let's
distribute the pain around, rather than disproportionately
blaming SS.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Also, ending the unnecessary war would also help.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
IMV, the pennies on the dollar remaining after the government's
years of theft and idiotic lack of foresight should be spread around
equally among social security and the other victims, the way things
are apportioned in bankruptcy cases. I'm not at all sympathetic
with any plan to just screw the people who already paid, but not
disturb the fat cats (who were in on a lot of the screwing) because
"that would damage 'the economy' ", whereas screwing retired
people and continuing to deliver steaks to the fat cats wouldn't,
it's contended by the same gang of crooks, "damage the economy"
as much.
There's not pennies on the dollar. Social Security is going into
deficit in 2018, but the IOU's can be used to pay the difference. If
the Treasury has to pay Social Security, the Government will either have
to replace what the Treasury pays as debt to The Trust Fund, or increase
revenue, with all that entails. the negative effects for the economy,
considering the amounts involved would not have a very positive effect,
which would trickle down to the working people, proving that Reagans's
voodoo economics did work. But only for sharing the pain, not the
profits. Sorry, Rumple, that's not a good alternative.
I don't see why people collecting SS should get all the pain while
the thieves who stole so much of the money in the first place should
be shielded as much as possible from the pain they created. Screw
"the economy" If "the economy" just means rich people staying rich,
then I don't have much use for it. People can buy Volkswagen
instead of Mercedes for a while, at least until everybody has a decent
standard of living, especially the people who paid insurance to that
end all their working lives.
I agree that the people collecting Social Security should not be the
ones to shoulder all the pain. In fact, I believe they should not
shoulder ANY pain. And I would hardly characterize the irresponsible
actions of politicians as 'stealing.' They were just doing what
spineless politicians do: Trying to satisfy everyone without ever
having to make any hard decisions. And the economy is not just rich
people staying rich; it's about keeping Joe Sixpack working at a job
that pays him a middle class salary. Joe Sixpack doesn't buy a
Mercedes, but he doesn't even buy his Ford if he's unemployed. If you
raise taxes so high, you're going to hurt not only businesses, but those
working stiffs as well. And since the increase in taxes will NOT be
going to provide services to people, such as building roads, etc.,
instead going to retire debt, the public will additionally suffer. The
Public can take small amounts of belt-tightening, but not large doses.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I've thought lately of trying to draw a picture of "the economy".
I don't really have any idea what it would look like, but neither does
anyone else, it seems. "The economy" certainly doesn't seem to
be thought of by the government anything like the people once
thought it was - responsibility, and security and fair dealing for the
majority of the population. It's obviously something very different
from that, nowadays. I thought of starting out my artist's conception
of "the economy" by using the dragon from the Welsh flag.
A number of people have put forth relatively reasonable ideas. But the
simple fact is that if you increase taxes to such a high amount which
would be needed to pay off the IOU's, EVERYONE, businesses and
individuals is going to suffer.
Cutting down SS means that people are going to suffer too. It's
not a question of "are" versus "are not", of course, it's a question
of "who" and "how". I'm tired of SS being attacked as if it's the
problem - it's not so much the problem as the victim, but there
seems little concern expressed for taking a pound of flesh from the
sources that victimized SS. Any such responsibility gets swallowed
up into the fog of musings about "the economy", which doesn't
seem to mean the welfare of people who paid into SS in good faith.
I'm not in favor of cutting Social Security. I'm just a realist and I
understand the dilemma that we now have with regard to solving the
problem, which will only get worse the longer we wait.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I guess we could, for a while, keep collecting money from people
indefinitely with the promise it was going to help them out later,
then continue to renege when it came time for them to get the
benefits they'd been promised.
That's the Republican way.

Too bad for them, but it would
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
sustain "the economy" (in the new sense) a little longer until the
wheels of progress got to the point they had to go so fast that the
materials could no longer sustain the acceleration, and everything
flew apart at once because its safety margin had been cut so
thin it could no longer be of any help.
Alice in Wonderland. Run faster and faster, just to stay in the
same place.
That's the history of our politicians solutions to the problem. We will
have a similar one which will only defer the problem for another few years.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Things may have gone too far now. People talk about how the
deficit is not much compared to the GNP, but, oddly enough the
roller coaster shows no ability even to slow down the
acceleration into heretofore unplumbed depths.. Hopefully, things
won't shatter into complete collapse until after I'm dead. Then,
après moi, la déluge.
Rumple, just wait until China gets tired of purchasing our debt. That
day is coming very soon. We are a nation living on credit. Our life
styles are created NOT because we are a productive country, but because
we now have the largest consumer debt ever. When we can no longer
afford to pay the finance charges on the money our credit cards lend us,
you'll see a very rapid decline in our standard of living. You see the
handwriting on the wall now; the gap between rich and middle-class and
poor widening frighteningly fast.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Problem is, the only real 'saving' would take place if we continued to
run surpluses and thus, exchange the 'dusty old IOU's' for real dollars,
which could then have been invested to provide some real money growth.
But SCOTUS took that option off the table when they appointed Bush
president in 2000, and the voters further continued to insure that
option would never see the table when they elected Bush in 2004.
Unfortunately, I must concur with Jeff's sarcastic pessimism.
Rumpelstiltskin
2006-04-30 15:19:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
( previous post snipped-follow thread )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
And if we wait
until the shit does hit the fan, it will be even more difficult and
painful and debilitating. What should be done IMHO, is to rescind the
Bush tax cuts, which were ill-advised in the first place, and use the
money gradually to retire the debt, or at least, reduce it
substantially.
Yep, but I think it might be too late now to ever retire the
debt. Further, perhaps catastrophic, devaluation of the
dollar may be the only possible outcome. But if so, let's
distribute the pain around, rather than disproportionately
blaming SS.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Also, ending the unnecessary war would also help.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
IMV, the pennies on the dollar remaining after the government's
years of theft and idiotic lack of foresight should be spread around
equally among social security and the other victims, the way things
are apportioned in bankruptcy cases. I'm not at all sympathetic
with any plan to just screw the people who already paid, but not
disturb the fat cats (who were in on a lot of the screwing) because
"that would damage 'the economy' ", whereas screwing retired
people and continuing to deliver steaks to the fat cats wouldn't,
it's contended by the same gang of crooks, "damage the economy"
as much.
There's not pennies on the dollar. Social Security is going into
deficit in 2018, but the IOU's can be used to pay the difference. If
the Treasury has to pay Social Security, the Government will either have
to replace what the Treasury pays as debt to The Trust Fund, or increase
revenue, with all that entails. the negative effects for the economy,
considering the amounts involved would not have a very positive effect,
which would trickle down to the working people, proving that Reagans's
voodoo economics did work. But only for sharing the pain, not the
profits. Sorry, Rumple, that's not a good alternative.
I don't see why people collecting SS should get all the pain while
the thieves who stole so much of the money in the first place should
be shielded as much as possible from the pain they created. Screw
"the economy" If "the economy" just means rich people staying rich,
then I don't have much use for it. People can buy Volkswagen
instead of Mercedes for a while, at least until everybody has a decent
standard of living, especially the people who paid insurance to that
end all their working lives.
I agree that the people collecting Social Security should not be the
ones to shoulder all the pain. In fact, I believe they should not
shoulder ANY pain. And I would hardly characterize the irresponsible
actions of politicians as 'stealing.' They were just doing what
spineless politicians do: Trying to satisfy everyone without ever
having to make any hard decisions. And the economy is not just rich
people staying rich; it's about keeping Joe Sixpack working at a job
that pays him a middle class salary. Joe Sixpack doesn't buy a
Mercedes, but he doesn't even buy his Ford if he's unemployed. If you
raise taxes so high, you're going to hurt not only businesses, but those
working stiffs as well. And since the increase in taxes will NOT be
going to provide services to people, such as building roads, etc.,
instead going to retire debt, the public will additionally suffer. The
Public can take small amounts of belt-tightening, but not large doses.
You touched on something above that's one of my bugbears: taxes
in the USA. They're not as high as taxes many other places, but in
Europe one has National Health and better social programs. In the
USA, I find it hard to see what the taxes are doing for the people.

I would like to see the lobbying establishment killed off in the
USA. That institution seems to me a source of a great deal of
needless waste, and anti-democratic corruption.

Eventually, we have to retire the public debt or devalue. I don't
know if the public debt can be retired at this point, it certainly
won't happen with the republicans in office, the way they've been
going starting with and including Reagan. On the other hand, it
seems to me that most of the rest of the world is living the same
fantasy that debt doesn't really hurt.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I've thought lately of trying to draw a picture of "the economy".
I don't really have any idea what it would look like, but neither does
anyone else, it seems. "The economy" certainly doesn't seem to
be thought of by the government anything like the people once
thought it was - responsibility, and security and fair dealing for the
majority of the population. It's obviously something very different
from that, nowadays. I thought of starting out my artist's conception
of "the economy" by using the dragon from the Welsh flag.
A number of people have put forth relatively reasonable ideas. But the
simple fact is that if you increase taxes to such a high amount which
would be needed to pay off the IOU's, EVERYONE, businesses and
individuals is going to suffer.
Cutting down SS means that people are going to suffer too. It's
not a question of "are" versus "are not", of course, it's a question
of "who" and "how". I'm tired of SS being attacked as if it's the
problem - it's not so much the problem as the victim, but there
seems little concern expressed for taking a pound of flesh from the
sources that victimized SS. Any such responsibility gets swallowed
up into the fog of musings about "the economy", which doesn't
seem to mean the welfare of people who paid into SS in good faith.
I'm not in favor of cutting Social Security. I'm just a realist and I
understand the dilemma that we now have with regard to solving the
problem, which will only get worse the longer we wait.
I don't think we should just slough off the "dusty old IOU's". I
agree that something needs to be done for the future, but not
nearly so much as is advertised by those who think of the money
already paid in to SS as "dusty old IOU's". I'm personally opposed
to raising the SS taxes, which leaves me with raising the retirement
age - not an attractive prospect to me, but not as bad as
alternatives.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I guess we could, for a while, keep collecting money from people
indefinitely with the promise it was going to help them out later,
then continue to renege when it came time for them to get the
benefits they'd been promised.
That's the Republican way.
Too bad for them, but it would
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
sustain "the economy" (in the new sense) a little longer until the
wheels of progress got to the point they had to go so fast that the
materials could no longer sustain the acceleration, and everything
flew apart at once because its safety margin had been cut so
thin it could no longer be of any help.
Alice in Wonderland. Run faster and faster, just to stay in the
same place.
That's the history of our politicians solutions to the problem. We will
have a similar one which will only defer the problem for another few years.
It's a fairly recent problem, starting with Reagan. We did, true,
run up big debt for WWII, but that was for a vital reason. Now
we're running up debt for no good reason.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Things may have gone too far now. People talk about how the
deficit is not much compared to the GNP, but, oddly enough the
roller coaster shows no ability even to slow down the
acceleration into heretofore unplumbed depths.. Hopefully, things
won't shatter into complete collapse until after I'm dead. Then,
après moi, la déluge.
Rumple, just wait until China gets tired of purchasing our debt.
Oh yeah, I've mentioned that myself, as have others. Sometimes
I look toward China and see a cat waiting at a mousehole for the
most promising moment to pounce.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
That
day is coming very soon. We are a nation living on credit. Our life
styles are created NOT because we are a productive country, but because
we now have the largest consumer debt ever. When we can no longer
afford to pay the finance charges on the money our credit cards lend us,
you'll see a very rapid decline in our standard of living. You see the
handwriting on the wall now; the gap between rich and middle-class and
poor widening frighteningly fast.
I may have run my personal finances stupidly, in a sense, by NOT
getting into debt. If I eventually had to pay my debts, but with
devalued money, I'd in a sense have come out ahead. In another
sense, though, I wouldn't come out ahead because I wouldn't have
had peace of mind while I was living in debt. Maybe some people
can cope with being constantly in debt, but I can't even cope with
TV commercials, or with the telephone ringing more than twice a day.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Problem is, the only real 'saving' would take place if we continued to
run surpluses and thus, exchange the 'dusty old IOU's' for real dollars,
which could then have been invested to provide some real money growth.
But SCOTUS took that option off the table when they appointed Bush
president in 2000, and the voters further continued to insure that
option would never see the table when they elected Bush in 2004.
Unfortunately, I must concur with Jeff's sarcastic pessimism.
Alan Lichtenstein
2006-04-30 22:16:41 UTC
Permalink
Rumpelstiltskin wrote:

( previous post snipped-follow thread )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I don't see why people collecting SS should get all the pain while
the thieves who stole so much of the money in the first place should
be shielded as much as possible from the pain they created. Screw
"the economy" If "the economy" just means rich people staying rich,
then I don't have much use for it. People can buy Volkswagen
instead of Mercedes for a while, at least until everybody has a decent
standard of living, especially the people who paid insurance to that
end all their working lives.
I agree that the people collecting Social Security should not be the
ones to shoulder all the pain. In fact, I believe they should not
shoulder ANY pain. And I would hardly characterize the irresponsible
actions of politicians as 'stealing.' They were just doing what
spineless politicians do: Trying to satisfy everyone without ever
having to make any hard decisions. And the economy is not just rich
people staying rich; it's about keeping Joe Sixpack working at a job
that pays him a middle class salary. Joe Sixpack doesn't buy a
Mercedes, but he doesn't even buy his Ford if he's unemployed. If you
raise taxes so high, you're going to hurt not only businesses, but those
working stiffs as well. And since the increase in taxes will NOT be
going to provide services to people, such as building roads, etc.,
instead going to retire debt, the public will additionally suffer. The
Public can take small amounts of belt-tightening, but not large doses.
You touched on something above that's one of my bugbears: taxes
in the USA. They're not as high as taxes many other places, but in
Europe one has National Health and better social programs. In the
USA, I find it hard to see what the taxes are doing for the people.
The reactionaries have one valid point. Raising taxes never produced
anything. Economic growth does that. In Europe, they have settled into
a status quo and accepted essentially a second class economic status.
They have relatively little productive industries and while their high
taxes do indeed provide services for their citizenry, which we don't
have, they do tend to create a burden which I believe, ultimately works
against their welfare. Obviously, they don't think so, for they
continue to levy the taxes. And obviously, the population doesn't
care, because they continue to get the services. Odd.

Now, that doesn't mean that we can't find some middle ground. We still
have the semblance of an economic plant, which we could still use if
we'd get off this nonsense of the free market economy, which is the
shortsighted mantra of the reactionaries. The one thing the U.S. has in
its favor is that it still has the market for the consumer goods that
are produced. We don't use that club to leverage our interests.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I would like to see the lobbying establishment killed off in the
USA. That institution seems to me a source of a great deal of
needless waste, and anti-democratic corruption.
A free society has to have access to Government. Unfortunately, access
tends to generate influence peddling. We need more stringent laws to
keep our politicians honest. After all, if the politicians weren't
buying, the lobbyists would have no audience.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Eventually, we have to retire the public debt or devalue. I don't
know if the public debt can be retired at this point, it certainly
won't happen with the republicans in office, the way they've been
going starting with and including Reagan. On the other hand, it
seems to me that most of the rest of the world is living the same
fantasy that debt doesn't really hurt.
I agree that we won't retire the debt with the Republicans in Office.
But that is very likely to change soon.


( snip )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Cutting down SS means that people are going to suffer too. It's
not a question of "are" versus "are not", of course, it's a question
of "who" and "how". I'm tired of SS being attacked as if it's the
problem - it's not so much the problem as the victim, but there
seems little concern expressed for taking a pound of flesh from the
sources that victimized SS. Any such responsibility gets swallowed
up into the fog of musings about "the economy", which doesn't
seem to mean the welfare of people who paid into SS in good faith.
I'm not in favor of cutting Social Security. I'm just a realist and I
understand the dilemma that we now have with regard to solving the
problem, which will only get worse the longer we wait.
I don't think we should just slough off the "dusty old IOU's". I
agree that something needs to be done for the future, but not
nearly so much as is advertised by those who think of the money
already paid in to SS as "dusty old IOU's". I'm personally opposed
to raising the SS taxes, which leaves me with raising the retirement
age - not an attractive prospect to me, but not as bad as
alternatives.
Unfortunately, given my position, I am inclined, unfortunately, to agree
with Jeff about that characterization. Those I.O.U.'s will never be
paid. And that's the problem.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I guess we could, for a while, keep collecting money from people
indefinitely with the promise it was going to help them out later,
then continue to renege when it came time for them to get the
benefits they'd been promised.
That's the Republican way.
Too bad for them, but it would
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
sustain "the economy" (in the new sense) a little longer until the
wheels of progress got to the point they had to go so fast that the
materials could no longer sustain the acceleration, and everything
flew apart at once because its safety margin had been cut so
thin it could no longer be of any help.
Alice in Wonderland. Run faster and faster, just to stay in the
same place.
That's the history of our politicians solutions to the problem. We will
have a similar one which will only defer the problem for another few years.
It's a fairly recent problem, starting with Reagan. We did, true,
run up big debt for WWII, but that was for a vital reason. Now
we're running up debt for no good reason.
Unfortunately, as much as I would like to blame Reactionary Ronnie, for
this one I can't. It's simply a case of demographics, which became
noticeable on his watch.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Things may have gone too far now. People talk about how the
deficit is not much compared to the GNP, but, oddly enough the
roller coaster shows no ability even to slow down the
acceleration into heretofore unplumbed depths.. Hopefully, things
won't shatter into complete collapse until after I'm dead. Then,
après moi, la déluge.
Rumple, just wait until China gets tired of purchasing our debt.
Oh yeah, I've mentioned that myself, as have others. Sometimes
I look toward China and see a cat waiting at a mousehole for the
most promising moment to pounce.
I don't consider it pouncing. It will strictly be a business decision.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
That
day is coming very soon. We are a nation living on credit. Our life
styles are created NOT because we are a productive country, but because
we now have the largest consumer debt ever. When we can no longer
afford to pay the finance charges on the money our credit cards lend us,
you'll see a very rapid decline in our standard of living. You see the
handwriting on the wall now; the gap between rich and middle-class and
poor widening frighteningly fast.
I may have run my personal finances stupidly, in a sense, by NOT
getting into debt. If I eventually had to pay my debts, but with
devalued money, I'd in a sense have come out ahead. In another
sense, though, I wouldn't come out ahead because I wouldn't have
had peace of mind while I was living in debt. Maybe some people
can cope with being constantly in debt, but I can't even cope with
TV commercials, or with the telephone ringing more than twice a day.
You're not going to be so lucky as to be able to pay your debts with
devalued money. The moneyed class will never permit it.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Problem is, the only real 'saving' would take place if we continued to
run surpluses and thus, exchange the 'dusty old IOU's' for real dollars,
which could then have been invested to provide some real money growth.
But SCOTUS took that option off the table when they appointed Bush
president in 2000, and the voters further continued to insure that
option would never see the table when they elected Bush in 2004.
Unfortunately, I must concur with Jeff's sarcastic pessimism.
Rumpelstiltskin
2006-05-01 00:05:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
( previous post snipped-follow thread )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I don't see why people collecting SS should get all the pain while
the thieves who stole so much of the money in the first place should
be shielded as much as possible from the pain they created. Screw
"the economy" If "the economy" just means rich people staying rich,
then I don't have much use for it. People can buy Volkswagen
instead of Mercedes for a while, at least until everybody has a decent
standard of living, especially the people who paid insurance to that
end all their working lives.
I agree that the people collecting Social Security should not be the
ones to shoulder all the pain. In fact, I believe they should not
shoulder ANY pain. And I would hardly characterize the irresponsible
actions of politicians as 'stealing.' They were just doing what
spineless politicians do: Trying to satisfy everyone without ever
having to make any hard decisions. And the economy is not just rich
people staying rich; it's about keeping Joe Sixpack working at a job
that pays him a middle class salary. Joe Sixpack doesn't buy a
Mercedes, but he doesn't even buy his Ford if he's unemployed. If you
raise taxes so high, you're going to hurt not only businesses, but those
working stiffs as well. And since the increase in taxes will NOT be
going to provide services to people, such as building roads, etc.,
instead going to retire debt, the public will additionally suffer. The
Public can take small amounts of belt-tightening, but not large doses.
You touched on something above that's one of my bugbears: taxes
in the USA. They're not as high as taxes many other places, but in
Europe one has National Health and better social programs. In the
USA, I find it hard to see what the taxes are doing for the people.
The reactionaries have one valid point. Raising taxes never produced
anything.
Running up a $10 trillion debt is preferable?
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Economic growth does that. In Europe, they have settled into
a status quo and accepted essentially a second class economic status.
They have relatively little productive industries and while their high
taxes do indeed provide services for their citizenry, which we don't
have, they do tend to create a burden which I believe, ultimately works
against their welfare. Obviously, they don't think so, for they
continue to levy the taxes. And obviously, the population doesn't
care, because they continue to get the services. Odd.
No, they don't think so. Australia runs something like Europe. My
Aussie roommate didn't have a steady job for three years (about age
19 to 21) after he left here and went back to Australia. I asked him
about health care, and he responded blithely that was not a problem
in Australia. I think the Australians, and the Europeans, like things
that way. I would I have liked things that way in America myself.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Now, that doesn't mean that we can't find some middle ground. We still
have the semblance of an economic plant, which we could still use if
we'd get off this nonsense of the free market economy, which is the
shortsighted mantra of the reactionaries. The one thing the U.S. has in
its favor is that it still has the market for the consumer goods that
are produced. We don't use that club to leverage our interests.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I would like to see the lobbying establishment killed off in the
USA. That institution seems to me a source of a great deal of
needless waste, and anti-democratic corruption.
A free society has to have access to Government. Unfortunately, access
tends to generate influence peddling.
I don't think anyone else has a lobby system anything near as bad
as the USA, where business rides roughshod over the interests of the
people. That is arguably entirely the fault of the American people,
though, because the population elsewhere feels more like it owns the
government rather than just being a helpless pawn tossed around by
hopelessly powerful and indifferent interests. There are laws to keep
government and business from colluding elsewhere as they do in the
USA, enacted by the watchfulness and demand of the people.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
We need more stringent laws to
keep our politicians honest. After all, if the politicians weren't
buying, the lobbyists would have no audience.
And if the American people wouldn't stand for their politicians
being bought, against the interests of the people, the lobbyists
wouldn't be able to buy the politicians, or at least wouldn't be
able to buy each one more than once.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Eventually, we have to retire the public debt or devalue. I don't
know if the public debt can be retired at this point, it certainly
won't happen with the republicans in office, the way they've been
going starting with and including Reagan. On the other hand, it
seems to me that most of the rest of the world is living the same
fantasy that debt doesn't really hurt.
I agree that we won't retire the debt with the Republicans in Office.
But that is very likely to change soon.
Unfortunately collapse may be unavoidable now no matter what's
done, and if the Democrats are in power when the house collapses,
they'll get blamed for the collapse.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
( snip )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Cutting down SS means that people are going to suffer too. It's
not a question of "are" versus "are not", of course, it's a question
of "who" and "how". I'm tired of SS being attacked as if it's the
problem - it's not so much the problem as the victim, but there
seems little concern expressed for taking a pound of flesh from the
sources that victimized SS. Any such responsibility gets swallowed
up into the fog of musings about "the economy", which doesn't
seem to mean the welfare of people who paid into SS in good faith.
I'm not in favor of cutting Social Security. I'm just a realist and I
understand the dilemma that we now have with regard to solving the
problem, which will only get worse the longer we wait.
I don't think we should just slough off the "dusty old IOU's". I
agree that something needs to be done for the future, but not
nearly so much as is advertised by those who think of the money
already paid in to SS as "dusty old IOU's". I'm personally opposed
to raising the SS taxes, which leaves me with raising the retirement
age - not an attractive prospect to me, but not as bad as
alternatives.
Unfortunately, given my position, I am inclined, unfortunately, to agree
with Jeff about that characterization. Those I.O.U.'s will never be
paid. And that's the problem.
They'll be paid if I have anything to do with it. Of course, I
won't have anything to do with it. I'll be in a wheelchair, assuming
my wheelchair hasn't been sold for scrap by then to help pay for
golden parachutes for Exxon execs.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I guess we could, for a while, keep collecting money from people
indefinitely with the promise it was going to help them out later,
then continue to renege when it came time for them to get the
benefits they'd been promised.
That's the Republican way.
Too bad for them, but it would
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
sustain "the economy" (in the new sense) a little longer until the
wheels of progress got to the point they had to go so fast that the
materials could no longer sustain the acceleration, and everything
flew apart at once because its safety margin had been cut so
thin it could no longer be of any help.
Alice in Wonderland. Run faster and faster, just to stay in the
same place.
That's the history of our politicians solutions to the problem. We will
have a similar one which will only defer the problem for another few years.
It's a fairly recent problem, starting with Reagan. We did, true,
run up big debt for WWII, but that was for a vital reason. Now
we're running up debt for no good reason.
Unfortunately, as much as I would like to blame Reactionary Ronnie, for
this one I can't. It's simply a case of demographics, which became
noticeable on his watch.
Ronnie is the one who started running up deficits and never paying
them off. That was the start, and it was an explosion rather than a
slow start, of the current fiscal irresponsibility.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Things may have gone too far now. People talk about how the
deficit is not much compared to the GNP, but, oddly enough the
roller coaster shows no ability even to slow down the
acceleration into heretofore unplumbed depths.. Hopefully, things
won't shatter into complete collapse until after I'm dead. Then,
après moi, la déluge.
Rumple, just wait until China gets tired of purchasing our debt.
Oh yeah, I've mentioned that myself, as have others. Sometimes
I look toward China and see a cat waiting at a mousehole for the
most promising moment to pounce.
I don't consider it pouncing. It will strictly be a business decision.
Sure, a lion pouncing on an antelope is a business decision too.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
That
day is coming very soon. We are a nation living on credit. Our life
styles are created NOT because we are a productive country, but because
we now have the largest consumer debt ever. When we can no longer
afford to pay the finance charges on the money our credit cards lend us,
you'll see a very rapid decline in our standard of living. You see the
handwriting on the wall now; the gap between rich and middle-class and
poor widening frighteningly fast.
I may have run my personal finances stupidly, in a sense, by NOT
getting into debt. If I eventually had to pay my debts, but with
devalued money, I'd in a sense have come out ahead. In another
sense, though, I wouldn't come out ahead because I wouldn't have
had peace of mind while I was living in debt. Maybe some people
can cope with being constantly in debt, but I can't even cope with
TV commercials, or with the telephone ringing more than twice a day.
You're not going to be so lucky as to be able to pay your debts with
devalued money. The moneyed class will never permit it.
As mentioned before, one of my friends bought land and a house
in Kentucky in hopes of protecting against a collapse of the dollar.
Unfortunately, though the house is gorgeous in a lovely setting, he
just doesn't want to live in Kentucky. That's a problem. If I bought
a house in San Fran, it would just about break me, and I have no
confidence that the housing prices won't collapse. (Of course, I
said that when I moved here in 1969 too, and the cost of houses
has increased by at least a factor of 10 since then.) I don't want
to buy a house where I don't want to live, and I want to live in San
Fran.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Problem is, the only real 'saving' would take place if we continued to
run surpluses and thus, exchange the 'dusty old IOU's' for real dollars,
which could then have been invested to provide some real money growth.
But SCOTUS took that option off the table when they appointed Bush
president in 2000, and the voters further continued to insure that
option would never see the table when they elected Bush in 2004.
Unfortunately, I must concur with Jeff's sarcastic pessimism.
rick++
2006-05-01 15:20:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
No, they don't think so. Australia runs something like Europe. My
Aussie roommate didn't have a steady job for three years.
They're more relaxed too. Most Ozzies I've run into have been
on year-long vacation trips which they take several times in their
lives. They dont feel compelled to work 2200 hours a year and
borrow lots of money to buy the mountain of consumer goods
Americans do.
Rumpelstiltskin
2006-05-01 16:24:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
No, they don't think so. Australia runs something like Europe. My
Aussie roommate didn't have a steady job for three years.
They're more relaxed too. Most Ozzies I've run into have been
on year-long vacation trips which they take several times in their
lives. They dont feel compelled to work 2200 hours a year and
borrow lots of money to buy the mountain of consumer goods
Americans do.
I'm English-born and felt the same way. I quit working three
times for stretches of about two years each during my working
life, between ages 21 and 54. I would have quit for good
sooner, but got offered working only three days a week for the
last three or four years. That was nearly as good as not working
at all, so I stuck it out for a while without any trouble. I'm sure
the spotty work record "hurt my career", but it enhanced my life.
I never wanted a lot of consumer goods. In fact, I regard them
as mostly just nuisances. People who have a lot of them seem
to me more usually frantic than happy.

My Aussie Roommate wasn't yet 18, as I recall, when he moved
in with me. He was on a long overseas jaunt at the time, between
high-school and college. He's done college now, or at least as
much as he's ever going to do, since he's over 40 now. I was
over there when he was 35, and he still looked 18 even at that
age. I was joking with his sister about a portrait in the attic that
might be looking older and older as time went on. His father is
close to 70 now though and is still a strikingly handsome man, so
I guess it runs in the family. Lucky - I wish I'd been anywhere
near as good looking.

Shortly after he got back to Oz, my roommate, who had been
brought up in Papua-New-Guinea since his father was a lawyer
with the Australian administration there, took off for a long hike
along the Sepik River Trail. He stayed with people who had
been cannibals just 20 or 30 years before, but he said they
were the sweetest people in the world.
jimstevens
2006-05-01 17:58:40 UTC
Permalink
On Mon, 01 May 2006 16:24:36 GMT, Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by rick++
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
No, they don't think so. Australia runs something like Europe. My
Aussie roommate didn't have a steady job for three years.
They're more relaxed too. Most Ozzies I've run into have been
on year-long vacation trips which they take several times in their
lives. They dont feel compelled to work 2200 hours a year and
borrow lots of money to buy the mountain of consumer goods
Americans do.
I'm English-born and felt the same way. I quit working three
times for stretches of about two years each during my working
life, between ages 21 and 54. I would have quit for good
sooner, but got offered working only three days a week for the
last three or four years. That was nearly as good as not working
at all, so I stuck it out for a while without any trouble. I'm sure
the spotty work record "hurt my career", but it enhanced my life.
I never wanted a lot of consumer goods. In fact, I regard them
as mostly just nuisances. People who have a lot of them seem
to me more usually frantic than happy.
My Aussie Roommate wasn't yet 18, as I recall, when he moved
in with me. He was on a long overseas jaunt at the time, between
high-school and college. He's done college now, or at least as
much as he's ever going to do, since he's over 40 now. I was
over there when he was 35, and he still looked 18 even at that
age. I was joking with his sister about a portrait in the attic that
might be looking older and older as time went on. His father is
close to 70 now though and is still a strikingly handsome man, so
I guess it runs in the family. Lucky - I wish I'd been anywhere
near as good looking.
Shortly after he got back to Oz, my roommate, who had been
brought up in Papua-New-Guinea since his father was a lawyer
with the Australian administration there, took off for a long hike
along the Sepik River Trail. He stayed with people who had
been cannibals just 20 or 30 years before, but he said they
were the sweetest people in the world.
Must be something in those cannibal's diets eh Rump? ;)
jimstevens
2006-05-01 17:58:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
No, they don't think so. Australia runs something like Europe. My
Aussie roommate didn't have a steady job for three years.
They're more relaxed too. Most Ozzies I've run into have been
on year-long vacation trips which they take several times in their
lives. They dont feel compelled to work 2200 hours a year and
borrow lots of money to buy the mountain of consumer goods
Americans do.
You need to take Rump and go live there!
Alan Lichtenstein
2006-05-01 19:44:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
( previous post snipped-follow thread )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I don't see why people collecting SS should get all the pain while
the thieves who stole so much of the money in the first place should
be shielded as much as possible from the pain they created. Screw
"the economy" If "the economy" just means rich people staying rich,
then I don't have much use for it. People can buy Volkswagen
instead of Mercedes for a while, at least until everybody has a decent
standard of living, especially the people who paid insurance to that
end all their working lives.
I agree that the people collecting Social Security should not be the
ones to shoulder all the pain. In fact, I believe they should not
shoulder ANY pain. And I would hardly characterize the irresponsible
actions of politicians as 'stealing.' They were just doing what
spineless politicians do: Trying to satisfy everyone without ever
having to make any hard decisions. And the economy is not just rich
people staying rich; it's about keeping Joe Sixpack working at a job
that pays him a middle class salary. Joe Sixpack doesn't buy a
Mercedes, but he doesn't even buy his Ford if he's unemployed. If you
raise taxes so high, you're going to hurt not only businesses, but those
working stiffs as well. And since the increase in taxes will NOT be
going to provide services to people, such as building roads, etc.,
instead going to retire debt, the public will additionally suffer. The
Public can take small amounts of belt-tightening, but not large doses.
You touched on something above that's one of my bugbears: taxes
in the USA. They're not as high as taxes many other places, but in
Europe one has National Health and better social programs. In the
USA, I find it hard to see what the taxes are doing for the people.
The reactionaries have one valid point. Raising taxes never produced
anything.
Running up a $10 trillion debt is preferable?
A different issue. When they're right, they're right. and on the
assertion I commented on, they happen to be right.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Economic growth does that. In Europe, they have settled into
a status quo and accepted essentially a second class economic status.
They have relatively little productive industries and while their high
taxes do indeed provide services for their citizenry, which we don't
have, they do tend to create a burden which I believe, ultimately works
against their welfare. Obviously, they don't think so, for they
continue to levy the taxes. And obviously, the population doesn't
care, because they continue to get the services. Odd.
No, they don't think so. Australia runs something like Europe. My
Aussie roommate didn't have a steady job for three years (about age
19 to 21) after he left here and went back to Australia. I asked him
about health care, and he responded blithely that was not a problem
in Australia. I think the Australians, and the Europeans, like things
that way. I would I have liked things that way in America myself.
I do not want to accept a second class status quo situation for a few
conveniences. I believe that we can have both, if we refuse both the
reactionary free market stupidity and the lefties total government care
from cradle to grave. There needs to be a middle ground, where
Government picks up those services which private individuals no longer
can manage. Health care is indeed one of them. But we don't have to
kill the goose to get it's eggs.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Now, that doesn't mean that we can't find some middle ground. We still
have the semblance of an economic plant, which we could still use if
we'd get off this nonsense of the free market economy, which is the
shortsighted mantra of the reactionaries. The one thing the U.S. has in
its favor is that it still has the market for the consumer goods that
are produced. We don't use that club to leverage our interests.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I would like to see the lobbying establishment killed off in the
USA. That institution seems to me a source of a great deal of
needless waste, and anti-democratic corruption.
A free society has to have access to Government. Unfortunately, access
tends to generate influence peddling.
I don't think anyone else has a lobby system anything near as bad
as the USA, where business rides roughshod over the interests of the
people. That is arguably entirely the fault of the American people,
though, because the population elsewhere feels more like it owns the
government rather than just being a helpless pawn tossed around by
hopelessly powerful and indifferent interests. There are laws to keep
government and business from colluding elsewhere as they do in the
USA, enacted by the watchfulness and demand of the people.
We could easily cure that by total government funding of election
campaigns.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
We need more stringent laws to
keep our politicians honest. After all, if the politicians weren't
buying, the lobbyists would have no audience.
And if the American people wouldn't stand for their politicians
being bought, against the interests of the people, the lobbyists
wouldn't be able to buy the politicians, or at least wouldn't be
able to buy each one more than once.
The American people enjoy being fat dumb and happy, with the emphasis on
the dumb. They don't want to think; they don't want to have to
critically evaluate. They want to make their political decisions on the
basis of witty sound bytes rather than informed judgment. They want to
'be sold' by the media on their political candidates, the way they are
'sold' their breakfast cereal. the one worst thing that could happen to
America would be the elimination of political party labels on the
ballot. Such an action would strike fear into the hearts of most
citizens, so much so, that without the label, they wouldn't know who to
vote for, and consequently, wouldn't.

That would be a GREAT thing for the Democrats, since their voters are
generally more discriminating and do tend to make critical choices,
which Republicans tend not to do. Republicans know this, and of course,
would never permit it.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Eventually, we have to retire the public debt or devalue. I don't
know if the public debt can be retired at this point, it certainly
won't happen with the republicans in office, the way they've been
going starting with and including Reagan. On the other hand, it
seems to me that most of the rest of the world is living the same
fantasy that debt doesn't really hurt.
I agree that we won't retire the debt with the Republicans in Office.
But that is very likely to change soon.
Unfortunately collapse may be unavoidable now no matter what's
done, and if the Democrats are in power when the house collapses,
they'll get blamed for the collapse.
I don't think so. When the Democrats get back in power, you'll see an
end to this quagmire of a war, and a tax increase to pay for the
largesse of the dark Bush years. Somebody will have to clean up the
mess, and it sure as hell won't be the Republicans who made it.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
( snip )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Cutting down SS means that people are going to suffer too. It's
not a question of "are" versus "are not", of course, it's a question
of "who" and "how". I'm tired of SS being attacked as if it's the
problem - it's not so much the problem as the victim, but there
seems little concern expressed for taking a pound of flesh from the
sources that victimized SS. Any such responsibility gets swallowed
up into the fog of musings about "the economy", which doesn't
seem to mean the welfare of people who paid into SS in good faith.
I'm not in favor of cutting Social Security. I'm just a realist and I
understand the dilemma that we now have with regard to solving the
problem, which will only get worse the longer we wait.
I don't think we should just slough off the "dusty old IOU's". I
agree that something needs to be done for the future, but not
nearly so much as is advertised by those who think of the money
already paid in to SS as "dusty old IOU's". I'm personally opposed
to raising the SS taxes, which leaves me with raising the retirement
age - not an attractive prospect to me, but not as bad as
alternatives.
Unfortunately, given my position, I am inclined, unfortunately, to agree
with Jeff about that characterization. Those I.O.U.'s will never be
paid. And that's the problem.
They'll be paid if I have anything to do with it. Of course, I
won't have anything to do with it. I'll be in a wheelchair, assuming
my wheelchair hasn't been sold for scrap by then to help pay for
golden parachutes for Exxon execs.
Rumple, come back to reality; they'll never be paid.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I guess we could, for a while, keep collecting money from people
indefinitely with the promise it was going to help them out later,
then continue to renege when it came time for them to get the
benefits they'd been promised.
That's the Republican way.
Too bad for them, but it would
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
sustain "the economy" (in the new sense) a little longer until the
wheels of progress got to the point they had to go so fast that the
materials could no longer sustain the acceleration, and everything
flew apart at once because its safety margin had been cut so
thin it could no longer be of any help.
Alice in Wonderland. Run faster and faster, just to stay in the
same place.
That's the history of our politicians solutions to the problem. We will
have a similar one which will only defer the problem for another few years.
It's a fairly recent problem, starting with Reagan. We did, true,
run up big debt for WWII, but that was for a vital reason. Now
we're running up debt for no good reason.
Unfortunately, as much as I would like to blame Reactionary Ronnie, for
this one I can't. It's simply a case of demographics, which became
noticeable on his watch.
Ronnie is the one who started running up deficits and never paying
them off. That was the start, and it was an explosion rather than a
slow start, of the current fiscal irresponsibility.
Well, Clinton did fix the mess that Ronnie made somewhat. The problem
is that the American public was so damn stupid that they didn't learn
that his voodoo economics just didn't work, and they went right on in
their stupidity and elected Dumbya who is doing the same thing, in spades.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Things may have gone too far now. People talk about how the
deficit is not much compared to the GNP, but, oddly enough the
roller coaster shows no ability even to slow down the
acceleration into heretofore unplumbed depths.. Hopefully, things
won't shatter into complete collapse until after I'm dead. Then,
après moi, la déluge.
Rumple, just wait until China gets tired of purchasing our debt.
Oh yeah, I've mentioned that myself, as have others. Sometimes
I look toward China and see a cat waiting at a mousehole for the
most promising moment to pounce.
I don't consider it pouncing. It will strictly be a business decision.
Sure, a lion pouncing on an antelope is a business decision too.
The difference between what you post in each example is significant,
making the analogies incomparable. In your initial post, your
underlying motivation, which you wanted to communicate was malice of
forethought, where one party takes an action to deliberately do harm to
a second party, and for no other reason than to do harm. The example
you post above, does not have that underlying motivation, but rather a
clear example of how two organisms interact in the ecosystem.

The effect might be the same, but the motivation is different. And
that's why your analogies are not applicable.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
That
day is coming very soon. We are a nation living on credit. Our life
styles are created NOT because we are a productive country, but because
we now have the largest consumer debt ever. When we can no longer
afford to pay the finance charges on the money our credit cards lend us,
you'll see a very rapid decline in our standard of living. You see the
handwriting on the wall now; the gap between rich and middle-class and
poor widening frighteningly fast.
I may have run my personal finances stupidly, in a sense, by NOT
getting into debt. If I eventually had to pay my debts, but with
devalued money, I'd in a sense have come out ahead. In another
sense, though, I wouldn't come out ahead because I wouldn't have
had peace of mind while I was living in debt. Maybe some people
can cope with being constantly in debt, but I can't even cope with
TV commercials, or with the telephone ringing more than twice a day.
You're not going to be so lucky as to be able to pay your debts with
devalued money. The moneyed class will never permit it.
(snip )
Rumpelstiltskin
2006-05-02 02:20:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
( previous post snipped-follow thread )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I don't see why people collecting SS should get all the pain while
the thieves who stole so much of the money in the first place should
be shielded as much as possible from the pain they created. Screw
"the economy" If "the economy" just means rich people staying rich,
then I don't have much use for it. People can buy Volkswagen
instead of Mercedes for a while, at least until everybody has a decent
standard of living, especially the people who paid insurance to that
end all their working lives.
I agree that the people collecting Social Security should not be the
ones to shoulder all the pain. In fact, I believe they should not
shoulder ANY pain. And I would hardly characterize the irresponsible
actions of politicians as 'stealing.' They were just doing what
spineless politicians do: Trying to satisfy everyone without ever
having to make any hard decisions. And the economy is not just rich
people staying rich; it's about keeping Joe Sixpack working at a job
that pays him a middle class salary. Joe Sixpack doesn't buy a
Mercedes, but he doesn't even buy his Ford if he's unemployed. If you
raise taxes so high, you're going to hurt not only businesses, but those
working stiffs as well. And since the increase in taxes will NOT be
going to provide services to people, such as building roads, etc.,
instead going to retire debt, the public will additionally suffer. The
Public can take small amounts of belt-tightening, but not large doses.
You touched on something above that's one of my bugbears: taxes
in the USA. They're not as high as taxes many other places, but in
Europe one has National Health and better social programs. In the
USA, I find it hard to see what the taxes are doing for the people.
The reactionaries have one valid point. Raising taxes never produced
anything.
Running up a $10 trillion debt is preferable?
A different issue. When they're right, they're right. and on the
assertion I commented on, they happen to be right.
No, not different. The $10 T debt was instead of collecting
taxes sufficient to cover expenses.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Economic growth does that. In Europe, they have settled into
a status quo and accepted essentially a second class economic status.
They have relatively little productive industries and while their high
taxes do indeed provide services for their citizenry, which we don't
have, they do tend to create a burden which I believe, ultimately works
against their welfare. Obviously, they don't think so, for they
continue to levy the taxes. And obviously, the population doesn't
care, because they continue to get the services. Odd.
No, they don't think so. Australia runs something like Europe. My
Aussie roommate didn't have a steady job for three years (about age
19 to 21) after he left here and went back to Australia. I asked him
about health care, and he responded blithely that was not a problem
in Australia. I think the Australians, and the Europeans, like things
that way. I would I have liked things that way in America myself.
I do not want to accept a second class status quo situation for a few
conveniences. I believe that we can have both, if we refuse both the
reactionary free market stupidity and the lefties total government care
from cradle to grave. There needs to be a middle ground, where
Government picks up those services which private individuals no longer
can manage. Health care is indeed one of them. But we don't have to
kill the goose to get it's eggs.
I myself prefer the Australian/European way of doing things. It's
not second-class at all to me: Hanging onto a job beyond retirement
age, or despite a distaste for it, in order not to be in danger of
being out on the street or having to beg for help or put up with
bureaucratic indifference and contemptuousness is what seems
second-class to me.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Now, that doesn't mean that we can't find some middle ground. We still
have the semblance of an economic plant, which we could still use if
we'd get off this nonsense of the free market economy, which is the
shortsighted mantra of the reactionaries. The one thing the U.S. has in
its favor is that it still has the market for the consumer goods that
are produced. We don't use that club to leverage our interests.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I would like to see the lobbying establishment killed off in the
USA. That institution seems to me a source of a great deal of
needless waste, and anti-democratic corruption.
A free society has to have access to Government. Unfortunately, access
tends to generate influence peddling.
I don't think anyone else has a lobby system anything near as bad
as the USA, where business rides roughshod over the interests of the
people. That is arguably entirely the fault of the American people,
though, because the population elsewhere feels more like it owns the
government rather than just being a helpless pawn tossed around by
hopelessly powerful and indifferent interests. There are laws to keep
government and business from colluding elsewhere as they do in the
USA, enacted by the watchfulness and demand of the people.
We could easily cure that by total government funding of election
campaigns.
That's a possibility, but I myself have one big objection, in that
it entrenches existing parties. They're entrenched anyway, I know,
but government funding entrenches them further and reduces
hope of large-scale change. We do, IMO, need the possibility of
making large-scale change short of revolution, or we'll have little
hope of ever eliminating scourges such as the lobbyist
establishment and the military-industrial marriage and the
medical-industrial-political marriage.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
We need more stringent laws to
keep our politicians honest. After all, if the politicians weren't
buying, the lobbyists would have no audience.
And if the American people wouldn't stand for their politicians
being bought, against the interests of the people, the lobbyists
wouldn't be able to buy the politicians, or at least wouldn't be
able to buy each one more than once.
The American people enjoy being fat dumb and happy, with the emphasis on
the dumb. They don't want to think; they don't want to have to
critically evaluate. They want to make their political decisions on the
basis of witty sound bytes rather than informed judgment. They want to
'be sold' by the media on their political candidates, the way they are
'sold' their breakfast cereal. the one worst thing that could happen to
America would be the elimination of political party labels on the
ballot. Such an action would strike fear into the hearts of most
citizens, so much so, that without the label, they wouldn't know who to
vote for, and consequently, wouldn't.
I think the worsening of the condition of the middle class might be
starting to wake some people up. I can't swear to really having
clearly observed any such thing though, admittedly, and I might just
be engaging in wishful thinking. Just before the French Revolution
there was a very stable society of upper class and lower class, but
it got too far out of touch with reality and it collapsed suddenly,
and unexpectedly to those who thought they were securely in
control. Things would have to get a lot worse in America before
they got to that extreme, but that is the direction they're heading.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
That would be a GREAT thing for the Democrats, since their voters are
generally more discriminating and do tend to make critical choices,
which Republicans tend not to do. Republicans know this, and of course,
would never permit it.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Eventually, we have to retire the public debt or devalue. I don't
know if the public debt can be retired at this point, it certainly
won't happen with the republicans in office, the way they've been
going starting with and including Reagan. On the other hand, it
seems to me that most of the rest of the world is living the same
fantasy that debt doesn't really hurt.
I agree that we won't retire the debt with the Republicans in Office.
But that is very likely to change soon.
Unfortunately collapse may be unavoidable now no matter what's
done, and if the Democrats are in power when the house collapses,
they'll get blamed for the collapse.
I don't think so. When the Democrats get back in power, you'll see an
end to this quagmire of a war, and a tax increase to pay for the
largesse of the dark Bush years. Somebody will have to clean up the
mess, and it sure as hell won't be the Republicans who made it.
The total income taxes collected by the federal government
in 2005 was less than a trillion dollars, according to:
http://mb26.scout.com/fncprepsfrm15.showMessage?topicID=41.topic

Our national debt at the end of 2005 was about
eight trillion dollars, according to
http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/faq.html

Where will the money come from to pay off the debt?
Shall we double personal income taxes for the next eight
years? If not that, then what can do the job? The
Democrats are great, relatively speaking, but this is too
huge a task.

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

--- Lewis Carrol
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
( snip )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Cutting down SS means that people are going to suffer too. It's
not a question of "are" versus "are not", of course, it's a question
of "who" and "how". I'm tired of SS being attacked as if it's the
problem - it's not so much the problem as the victim, but there
seems little concern expressed for taking a pound of flesh from the
sources that victimized SS. Any such responsibility gets swallowed
up into the fog of musings about "the economy", which doesn't
seem to mean the welfare of people who paid into SS in good faith.
I'm not in favor of cutting Social Security. I'm just a realist and I
understand the dilemma that we now have with regard to solving the
problem, which will only get worse the longer we wait.
I don't think we should just slough off the "dusty old IOU's". I
agree that something needs to be done for the future, but not
nearly so much as is advertised by those who think of the money
already paid in to SS as "dusty old IOU's". I'm personally opposed
to raising the SS taxes, which leaves me with raising the retirement
age - not an attractive prospect to me, but not as bad as
alternatives.
Unfortunately, given my position, I am inclined, unfortunately, to agree
with Jeff about that characterization. Those I.O.U.'s will never be
paid. And that's the problem.
They'll be paid if I have anything to do with it. Of course, I
won't have anything to do with it. I'll be in a wheelchair, assuming
my wheelchair hasn't been sold for scrap by then to help pay for
golden parachutes for Exxon execs.
Rumple, come back to reality; they'll never be paid.
One of them just got paid $400 Million.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I guess we could, for a while, keep collecting money from people
indefinitely with the promise it was going to help them out later,
then continue to renege when it came time for them to get the
benefits they'd been promised.
That's the Republican way.
Too bad for them, but it would
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
sustain "the economy" (in the new sense) a little longer until the
wheels of progress got to the point they had to go so fast that the
materials could no longer sustain the acceleration, and everything
flew apart at once because its safety margin had been cut so
thin it could no longer be of any help.
Alice in Wonderland. Run faster and faster, just to stay in the
same place.
That's the history of our politicians solutions to the problem. We will
have a similar one which will only defer the problem for another few years.
It's a fairly recent problem, starting with Reagan. We did, true,
run up big debt for WWII, but that was for a vital reason. Now
we're running up debt for no good reason.
Unfortunately, as much as I would like to blame Reactionary Ronnie, for
this one I can't. It's simply a case of demographics, which became
noticeable on his watch.
Ronnie is the one who started running up deficits and never paying
them off. That was the start, and it was an explosion rather than a
slow start, of the current fiscal irresponsibility.
Well, Clinton did fix the mess that Ronnie made somewhat. The problem
is that the American public was so damn stupid that they didn't learn
that his voodoo economics just didn't work, and they went right on in
their stupidity and elected Dumbya who is doing the same thing, in spades.
No argument from me there.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Things may have gone too far now. People talk about how the
deficit is not much compared to the GNP, but, oddly enough the
roller coaster shows no ability even to slow down the
acceleration into heretofore unplumbed depths.. Hopefully, things
won't shatter into complete collapse until after I'm dead. Then,
après moi, la déluge.
Rumple, just wait until China gets tired of purchasing our debt.
Oh yeah, I've mentioned that myself, as have others. Sometimes
I look toward China and see a cat waiting at a mousehole for the
most promising moment to pounce.
I don't consider it pouncing. It will strictly be a business decision.
Sure, a lion pouncing on an antelope is a business decision too.
The difference between what you post in each example is significant,
making the analogies incomparable. In your initial post, your
underlying motivation, which you wanted to communicate was malice of
forethought, where one party takes an action to deliberately do harm to
a second party, and for no other reason than to do harm. The example
you post above, does not have that underlying motivation, but rather a
clear example of how two organisms interact in the ecosystem.
The effect might be the same, but the motivation is different. And
that's why your analogies are not applicable.
I don't remember the "malice" part. I wasn't thinking of malice
on the part of China, except in that China would like to replace
the USA as the world's great power, but that's not different from
Rockefeller trying to beat Vanderbilt, or from a battle of lions to
take over a pride. There might be malice as an evolutionarily-
proven spur to implementing a successful strategy, but malice
isn't the thing that makes things happen - it's the strategy itself -
the quest for self advantage - that makes things happen.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
(snip )
Alan Lichtenstein
2006-05-02 11:50:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
( previous post snipped-follow thread )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I don't see why people collecting SS should get all the pain while
the thieves who stole so much of the money in the first place should
be shielded as much as possible from the pain they created. Screw
"the economy" If "the economy" just means rich people staying rich,
then I don't have much use for it. People can buy Volkswagen
instead of Mercedes for a while, at least until everybody has a decent
standard of living, especially the people who paid insurance to that
end all their working lives.
I agree that the people collecting Social Security should not be the
ones to shoulder all the pain. In fact, I believe they should not
shoulder ANY pain. And I would hardly characterize the irresponsible
actions of politicians as 'stealing.' They were just doing what
spineless politicians do: Trying to satisfy everyone without ever
having to make any hard decisions. And the economy is not just rich
people staying rich; it's about keeping Joe Sixpack working at a job
that pays him a middle class salary. Joe Sixpack doesn't buy a
Mercedes, but he doesn't even buy his Ford if he's unemployed. If you
raise taxes so high, you're going to hurt not only businesses, but those
working stiffs as well. And since the increase in taxes will NOT be
going to provide services to people, such as building roads, etc.,
instead going to retire debt, the public will additionally suffer. The
Public can take small amounts of belt-tightening, but not large doses.
You touched on something above that's one of my bugbears: taxes
in the USA. They're not as high as taxes many other places, but in
Europe one has National Health and better social programs. In the
USA, I find it hard to see what the taxes are doing for the people.
The reactionaries have one valid point. Raising taxes never produced
anything.
Running up a $10 trillion debt is preferable?
A different issue. When they're right, they're right. and on the
assertion I commented on, they happen to be right.
No, not different. The $10 T debt was instead of collecting
taxes sufficient to cover expenses.
Rumple, in the manner in which you wrote it, it indeed different. The
tone in which you wrote it was an attempt to substitute this issue in
favor of the discussion dealing with the relationship between taxes and
economic prosperity. totally different issues. Now, if you want to
speak about the effects redeeming those I.O.U.'s will have on our future
economic prosperity, why that is another matter, and one which I have
been posting to.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Economic growth does that. In Europe, they have settled into
a status quo and accepted essentially a second class economic status.
They have relatively little productive industries and while their high
taxes do indeed provide services for their citizenry, which we don't
have, they do tend to create a burden which I believe, ultimately works
against their welfare. Obviously, they don't think so, for they
continue to levy the taxes. And obviously, the population doesn't
care, because they continue to get the services. Odd.
No, they don't think so. Australia runs something like Europe. My
Aussie roommate didn't have a steady job for three years (about age
19 to 21) after he left here and went back to Australia. I asked him
about health care, and he responded blithely that was not a problem
in Australia. I think the Australians, and the Europeans, like things
that way. I would I have liked things that way in America myself.
I do not want to accept a second class status quo situation for a few
conveniences. I believe that we can have both, if we refuse both the
reactionary free market stupidity and the lefties total government care
from cradle to grave. There needs to be a middle ground, where
Government picks up those services which private individuals no longer
can manage. Health care is indeed one of them. But we don't have to
kill the goose to get it's eggs.
I myself prefer the Australian/European way of doing things. It's
not second-class at all to me: Hanging onto a job beyond retirement
age, or despite a distaste for it, in order not to be in danger of
being out on the street or having to beg for help or put up with
bureaucratic indifference and contemptuousness is what seems
second-class to me.
I reject the European system, because what you have is economies which
are stagnant. There is little economic growth, little opportunity for
venture capitalism and essentially, a status quo. I prefer opportunity
married to provision of services for the citizenry. We could do better,
but we don't necessarily need the European model. The downsides are not
in our interests.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Now, that doesn't mean that we can't find some middle ground. We still
have the semblance of an economic plant, which we could still use if
we'd get off this nonsense of the free market economy, which is the
shortsighted mantra of the reactionaries. The one thing the U.S. has in
its favor is that it still has the market for the consumer goods that
are produced. We don't use that club to leverage our interests.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I would like to see the lobbying establishment killed off in the
USA. That institution seems to me a source of a great deal of
needless waste, and anti-democratic corruption.
A free society has to have access to Government. Unfortunately, access
tends to generate influence peddling.
I don't think anyone else has a lobby system anything near as bad
as the USA, where business rides roughshod over the interests of the
people. That is arguably entirely the fault of the American people,
though, because the population elsewhere feels more like it owns the
government rather than just being a helpless pawn tossed around by
hopelessly powerful and indifferent interests. There are laws to keep
government and business from colluding elsewhere as they do in the
USA, enacted by the watchfulness and demand of the people.
We could easily cure that by total government funding of election
campaigns.
That's a possibility, but I myself have one big objection, in that
it entrenches existing parties. They're entrenched anyway, I know,
but government funding entrenches them further and reduces
hope of large-scale change. We do, IMO, need the possibility of
making large-scale change short of revolution, or we'll have little
hope of ever eliminating scourges such as the lobbyist
establishment and the military-industrial marriage and the
medical-industrial-political marriage.
Somewhere along the line, you're going to get a popular member of one
party or the other who got burned by his party and will create a new
following. Equal campaign funding will give him equal status, and a new
party. Almost happened in 1992. Can happen again. Best candidate for
something like that is McCain.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
We need more stringent laws to
keep our politicians honest. After all, if the politicians weren't
buying, the lobbyists would have no audience.
And if the American people wouldn't stand for their politicians
being bought, against the interests of the people, the lobbyists
wouldn't be able to buy the politicians, or at least wouldn't be
able to buy each one more than once.
The American people enjoy being fat dumb and happy, with the emphasis on
the dumb. They don't want to think; they don't want to have to
critically evaluate. They want to make their political decisions on the
basis of witty sound bytes rather than informed judgment. They want to
'be sold' by the media on their political candidates, the way they are
'sold' their breakfast cereal. the one worst thing that could happen to
America would be the elimination of political party labels on the
ballot. Such an action would strike fear into the hearts of most
citizens, so much so, that without the label, they wouldn't know who to
vote for, and consequently, wouldn't.
I think the worsening of the condition of the middle class might be
starting to wake some people up. I can't swear to really having
clearly observed any such thing though, admittedly, and I might just
be engaging in wishful thinking. Just before the French Revolution
there was a very stable society of upper class and lower class, but
it got too far out of touch with reality and it collapsed suddenly,
and unexpectedly to those who thought they were securely in
control. Things would have to get a lot worse in America before
they got to that extreme, but that is the direction they're heading.
Well, I hope you're right. Maybe economic strait jackets will force the
middle-class to take a critical look at their 'leadership.' Perhaps
then, they'll vote with their pocketbooks, rather than with their false
national pride.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
That would be a GREAT thing for the Democrats, since their voters are
generally more discriminating and do tend to make critical choices,
which Republicans tend not to do. Republicans know this, and of course,
would never permit it.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Eventually, we have to retire the public debt or devalue. I don't
know if the public debt can be retired at this point, it certainly
won't happen with the republicans in office, the way they've been
going starting with and including Reagan. On the other hand, it
seems to me that most of the rest of the world is living the same
fantasy that debt doesn't really hurt.
I agree that we won't retire the debt with the Republicans in Office.
But that is very likely to change soon.
Unfortunately collapse may be unavoidable now no matter what's
done, and if the Democrats are in power when the house collapses,
they'll get blamed for the collapse.
I don't think so. When the Democrats get back in power, you'll see an
end to this quagmire of a war, and a tax increase to pay for the
largesse of the dark Bush years. Somebody will have to clean up the
mess, and it sure as hell won't be the Republicans who made it.
The total income taxes collected by the federal government
http://mb26.scout.com/fncprepsfrm15.showMessage?topicID=41.topic
Our national debt at the end of 2005 was about
eight trillion dollars, according to
http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/faq.html
Where will the money come from to pay off the debt?
Shall we double personal income taxes for the next eight
years? If not that, then what can do the job? The
Democrats are great, relatively speaking, but this is too
huge a task.
"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.
--- Lewis Carrol
Obviously, the money will have to come from those debtors, namely, the
American People. Taxes on the wealthy can be raised and general tax
levels can be returned to the pre-Bush days, when we had surpluses.
Surpluses over a 40 year period can substantially reduce the debt. And
if you cut expenditures( like an unnecessary war ), you do even better.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
( snip )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Cutting down SS means that people are going to suffer too. It's
not a question of "are" versus "are not", of course, it's a question
of "who" and "how". I'm tired of SS being attacked as if it's the
problem - it's not so much the problem as the victim, but there
seems little concern expressed for taking a pound of flesh from the
sources that victimized SS. Any such responsibility gets swallowed
up into the fog of musings about "the economy", which doesn't
seem to mean the welfare of people who paid into SS in good faith.
I'm not in favor of cutting Social Security. I'm just a realist and I
understand the dilemma that we now have with regard to solving the
problem, which will only get worse the longer we wait.
I don't think we should just slough off the "dusty old IOU's". I
agree that something needs to be done for the future, but not
nearly so much as is advertised by those who think of the money
already paid in to SS as "dusty old IOU's". I'm personally opposed
to raising the SS taxes, which leaves me with raising the retirement
age - not an attractive prospect to me, but not as bad as
alternatives.
Unfortunately, given my position, I am inclined, unfortunately, to agree
with Jeff about that characterization. Those I.O.U.'s will never be
paid. And that's the problem.
They'll be paid if I have anything to do with it. Of course, I
won't have anything to do with it. I'll be in a wheelchair, assuming
my wheelchair hasn't been sold for scrap by then to help pay for
golden parachutes for Exxon execs.
Rumple, come back to reality; they'll never be paid.
One of them just got paid $400 Million.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I guess we could, for a while, keep collecting money from people
indefinitely with the promise it was going to help them out later,
then continue to renege when it came time for them to get the
benefits they'd been promised.
That's the Republican way.
Too bad for them, but it would
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
sustain "the economy" (in the new sense) a little longer until the
wheels of progress got to the point they had to go so fast that the
materials could no longer sustain the acceleration, and everything
flew apart at once because its safety margin had been cut so
thin it could no longer be of any help.
Alice in Wonderland. Run faster and faster, just to stay in the
same place.
That's the history of our politicians solutions to the problem. We will
have a similar one which will only defer the problem for another few years.
It's a fairly recent problem, starting with Reagan. We did, true,
run up big debt for WWII, but that was for a vital reason. Now
we're running up debt for no good reason.
Unfortunately, as much as I would like to blame Reactionary Ronnie, for
this one I can't. It's simply a case of demographics, which became
noticeable on his watch.
Ronnie is the one who started running up deficits and never paying
them off. That was the start, and it was an explosion rather than a
slow start, of the current fiscal irresponsibility.
Well, Clinton did fix the mess that Ronnie made somewhat. The problem
is that the American public was so damn stupid that they didn't learn
that his voodoo economics just didn't work, and they went right on in
their stupidity and elected Dumbya who is doing the same thing, in spades.
No argument from me there.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Things may have gone too far now. People talk about how the
deficit is not much compared to the GNP, but, oddly enough the
roller coaster shows no ability even to slow down the
acceleration into heretofore unplumbed depths.. Hopefully, things
won't shatter into complete collapse until after I'm dead. Then,
après moi, la déluge.
Rumple, just wait until China gets tired of purchasing our debt.
Oh yeah, I've mentioned that myself, as have others. Sometimes
I look toward China and see a cat waiting at a mousehole for the
most promising moment to pounce.
I don't consider it pouncing. It will strictly be a business decision.
Sure, a lion pouncing on an antelope is a business decision too.
The difference between what you post in each example is significant,
making the analogies incomparable. In your initial post, your
underlying motivation, which you wanted to communicate was malice of
forethought, where one party takes an action to deliberately do harm to
a second party, and for no other reason than to do harm. The example
you post above, does not have that underlying motivation, but rather a
clear example of how two organisms interact in the ecosystem.
The effect might be the same, but the motivation is different. And
that's why your analogies are not applicable.
I don't remember the "malice" part. I wasn't thinking of malice
on the part of China, except in that China would like to replace
the USA as the world's great power, but that's not different from
Rockefeller trying to beat Vanderbilt, or from a battle of lions to
take over a pride. There might be malice as an evolutionarily-
proven spur to implementing a successful strategy, but malice
isn't the thing that makes things happen - it's the strategy itself -
the quest for self advantage - that makes things happen.
The malice was inserted to demonstrate the difficulty with your analogy.
China does indeed want to replace the U.S as the world's greatest
economic power, and whether we like it or not, they're going to do it.
The only question is "how soon?" The free market economy will hasten
that day, while if we take steps now to reduce those effects, we'll be
able to defer it for a goodly number of years. And the reason is
because WE control the major markets now. If we wait too long when we
slip into economic decline, as is rapidly happening with the demise of
our middle class, then we'll lost that edge and we'll be totally
impotent as an economic power. We need to force China to raise its
costs of production NOW, when it can't really afford to do so in order
to compete in our markets. And if we force China to raise its costs, we
can once again make manufacturing profitable HERE and effectively compete.
Rumpelstiltskin
2006-05-02 16:09:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
( previous post snipped-follow thread )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I don't see why people collecting SS should get all the pain while
the thieves who stole so much of the money in the first place should
be shielded as much as possible from the pain they created. Screw
"the economy" If "the economy" just means rich people staying rich,
then I don't have much use for it. People can buy Volkswagen
instead of Mercedes for a while, at least until everybody has a decent
standard of living, especially the people who paid insurance to that
end all their working lives.
I agree that the people collecting Social Security should not be the
ones to shoulder all the pain. In fact, I believe they should not
shoulder ANY pain. And I would hardly characterize the irresponsible
actions of politicians as 'stealing.' They were just doing what
spineless politicians do: Trying to satisfy everyone without ever
having to make any hard decisions. And the economy is not just rich
people staying rich; it's about keeping Joe Sixpack working at a job
that pays him a middle class salary. Joe Sixpack doesn't buy a
Mercedes, but he doesn't even buy his Ford if he's unemployed. If you
raise taxes so high, you're going to hurt not only businesses, but those
working stiffs as well. And since the increase in taxes will NOT be
going to provide services to people, such as building roads, etc.,
instead going to retire debt, the public will additionally suffer. The
Public can take small amounts of belt-tightening, but not large doses.
You touched on something above that's one of my bugbears: taxes
in the USA. They're not as high as taxes many other places, but in
Europe one has National Health and better social programs. In the
USA, I find it hard to see what the taxes are doing for the people.
The reactionaries have one valid point. Raising taxes never produced
anything.
Running up a $10 trillion debt is preferable?
A different issue. When they're right, they're right. and on the
assertion I commented on, they happen to be right.
No, not different. The $10 T debt was instead of collecting
taxes sufficient to cover expenses.
Rumple, in the manner in which you wrote it, it indeed different. The
tone in which you wrote it was an attempt to substitute this issue in
favor of the discussion dealing with the relationship between taxes and
economic prosperity. totally different issues. Now, if you want to
speak about the effects redeeming those I.O.U.'s will have on our future
economic prosperity, why that is another matter, and one which I have
been posting to.
We disagree.



<snip>
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I myself prefer the Australian/European way of doing things. It's
not second-class at all to me: Hanging onto a job beyond retirement
age, or despite a distaste for it, in order not to be in danger of
being out on the street or having to beg for help or put up with
bureaucratic indifference and contemptuousness is what seems
second-class to me.
I reject the European system, because what you have is economies which
are stagnant. There is little economic growth, little opportunity for
venture capitalism and essentially, a status quo. I prefer opportunity
married to provision of services for the citizenry. We could do better,
but we don't necessarily need the European model. The downsides are not
in our interests.
As noted elsewhere, I don't know what "the economy" means
anymore. I do know that the Australians are happy with their
way of life and don't seem at all envious of the USA, though
they feel very friendly toward the USA. I know less about Europe
since there is a language barrier, but in England, everybody in my
family of course complains about the English government, as
everybody complains about their government, but nobody has
expressed any wish to exchange their health system or security
for the American model, despite the extra expense. There
doesn't seem any great dislike for the American model, but though
some of them could easily have come here, nobody has tried to
do it, not even a cousin who's wealthy and could make out better
in America since she has no need of the security and wouldn't
have to pay so much in taxes to support it for others.

I do have a cousin on my father's side who moved to Canada
long ago.



<snip>
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
We could easily cure that by total government funding of election
campaigns.
That's a possibility, but I myself have one big objection, in that
it entrenches existing parties. They're entrenched anyway, I know,
but government funding entrenches them further and reduces
hope of large-scale change. We do, IMO, need the possibility of
making large-scale change short of revolution, or we'll have little
hope of ever eliminating scourges such as the lobbyist
establishment and the military-industrial marriage and the
medical-industrial-political marriage.
Somewhere along the line, you're going to get a popular member of one
party or the other who got burned by his party and will create a new
following. Equal campaign funding will give him equal status, and a new
party. Almost happened in 1992. Can happen again. Best candidate for
something like that is McCain.
But how would he get equal campaign funding? Would the
Democrats and Republicans volunteer equal money to an
interloper? Not bloody likely, I would think: they'd fight it tooth
and nail. He'd gave to get a huge following before he could get
money. It could, and I think would, end up being, even harder
than it is now to get a foot in the door.

McCain's sucking up despite being rudely and falsely trashed
by the Bush forces has largely taken away my respect for him.
He looks like "just another politician" now to me, and, I think, to
a lot of other people. I'm gay, anyway, so I wouldn't support him
even if he hadn't tarnished. Why should I vote for my enemies
in something so important to me, just because my they're not
the enemies of people who are not like me? Maybe you think
I should, but you'll never persuade me or any other gay person
who isn't just a dishrag. Support for gay people may cost the
democratic party votes from anti-gay people, but that's the price
of getting gay support. If the support isn't worth the price, the
Democratic party can go another way, and if they do, gay
people will also go another way. I would assume everybody
already knows this on both sides. Same situation as with Jews
and Blacks in the past. And women, I should add, though I
have no idea which party most supported women's suffrage -
maybe Rita remembers.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
We need more stringent laws to
keep our politicians honest. After all, if the politicians weren't
buying, the lobbyists would have no audience.
And if the American people wouldn't stand for their politicians
being bought, against the interests of the people, the lobbyists
wouldn't be able to buy the politicians, or at least wouldn't be
able to buy each one more than once.
The American people enjoy being fat dumb and happy, with the emphasis on
the dumb. They don't want to think; they don't want to have to
critically evaluate. They want to make their political decisions on the
basis of witty sound bytes rather than informed judgment. They want to
'be sold' by the media on their political candidates, the way they are
'sold' their breakfast cereal. the one worst thing that could happen to
America would be the elimination of political party labels on the
ballot. Such an action would strike fear into the hearts of most
citizens, so much so, that without the label, they wouldn't know who to
vote for, and consequently, wouldn't.
I think the worsening of the condition of the middle class might be
starting to wake some people up. I can't swear to really having
clearly observed any such thing though, admittedly, and I might just
be engaging in wishful thinking. Just before the French Revolution
there was a very stable society of upper class and lower class, but
it got too far out of touch with reality and it collapsed suddenly,
and unexpectedly to those who thought they were securely in
control. Things would have to get a lot worse in America before
they got to that extreme, but that is the direction they're heading.
Well, I hope you're right. Maybe economic strait jackets will force the
middle-class to take a critical look at their 'leadership.' Perhaps
then, they'll vote with their pocketbooks, rather than with their false
national pride.
As noted, though, I can't say that I've actually seen any such
thing. I feel I should have seen such a thing, which perhaps might
induce me to think I actually have seen some slight trace of it.



<snip>
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I don't remember the "malice" part. I wasn't thinking of malice
on the part of China, except in that China would like to replace
the USA as the world's great power, but that's not different from
Rockefeller trying to beat Vanderbilt, or from a battle of lions to
take over a pride. There might be malice as an evolutionarily-
proven spur to implementing a successful strategy, but malice
isn't the thing that makes things happen - it's the strategy itself -
the quest for self advantage - that makes things happen.
The malice was inserted to demonstrate the difficulty with your analogy.
If you see malice, that's not my responsibility. I see nature.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
China does indeed want to replace the U.S as the world's greatest
economic power, and whether we like it or not, they're going to do it.
The only question is "how soon?" The free market economy will hasten
that day, while if we take steps now to reduce those effects, we'll be
able to defer it for a goodly number of years. And the reason is
because WE control the major markets now. If we wait too long when we
slip into economic decline, as is rapidly happening with the demise of
our middle class, then we'll lost that edge and we'll be totally
impotent as an economic power. We need to force China to raise its
costs of production NOW, when it can't really afford to do so in order
to compete in our markets. And if we force China to raise its costs, we
can once again make manufacturing profitable HERE and effectively compete.
I wonder how much success we'll have forcing China to do
something she doesn't want to do and which she feels is
against her best interest? We may be able to negotiate some
influence here and there when China feels she gets enough
in return, but I think China has a pretty good mind of her own,
despite the repulsive (to us) suppression of freedom of
thought.

I admit to being perplexed why China (and others) have put up
with supporting the US debt for so long. Maybe she's playing
some kind of clever game, with "oriental inscrutability" if one
wants to colour that with "malice". The malice is just colour
as described by a person wearing a particular shade of
sunglasses, though. Scorpions and countries look scary to us,
but they're really just trying to succeed as best they can,
according to their own calculations, just as ourselves are.
Alan Lichtenstein
2006-05-02 20:59:46 UTC
Permalink
Rumpelstiltskin wrote:

( previous post snipped-follow thread )
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
No, not different. The $10 T debt was instead of collecting
taxes sufficient to cover expenses.
Rumple, in the manner in which you wrote it, it indeed different. The
tone in which you wrote it was an attempt to substitute this issue in
favor of the discussion dealing with the relationship between taxes and
economic prosperity. totally different issues. Now, if you want to
speak about the effects redeeming those I.O.U.'s will have on our future
economic prosperity, why that is another matter, and one which I have
been posting to.
We disagree.
Fine. We'll leave it at that.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
<snip>
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
We could easily cure that by total government funding of election
campaigns.
That's a possibility, but I myself have one big objection, in that
it entrenches existing parties. They're entrenched anyway, I know,
but government funding entrenches them further and reduces
hope of large-scale change. We do, IMO, need the possibility of
making large-scale change short of revolution, or we'll have little
hope of ever eliminating scourges such as the lobbyist
establishment and the military-industrial marriage and the
medical-industrial-political marriage.
Somewhere along the line, you're going to get a popular member of one
party or the other who got burned by his party and will create a new
following. Equal campaign funding will give him equal status, and a new
party. Almost happened in 1992. Can happen again. Best candidate for
something like that is McCain.
But how would he get equal campaign funding? Would the
Democrats and Republicans volunteer equal money to an
interloper? Not bloody likely, I would think: they'd fight it tooth
and nail. He'd gave to get a huge following before he could get
money. It could, and I think would, end up being, even harder
than it is now to get a foot in the door.
If there was no private funding, and equal funding were given to
candidates, he would get the same amount in the same manner as the other
candidates received it. Presumably, that would be fulfilling each state
requirements for getting one's name on the ballot.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
McCain's sucking up despite being rudely and falsely trashed
by the Bush forces has largely taken away my respect for him.
He looks like "just another politician" now to me, and, I think, to
a lot of other people. I'm gay, anyway, so I wouldn't support him
even if he hadn't tarnished. Why should I vote for my enemies
in something so important to me, just because my they're not
the enemies of people who are not like me? Maybe you think
I should, but you'll never persuade me or any other gay person
who isn't just a dishrag. Support for gay people may cost the
democratic party votes from anti-gay people, but that's the price
of getting gay support. If the support isn't worth the price, the
Democratic party can go another way, and if they do, gay
people will also go another way. I would assume everybody
already knows this on both sides. Same situation as with Jews
and Blacks in the past. And women, I should add, though I
have no idea which party most supported women's suffrage -
maybe Rita remembers.
I use McCain, only because he appears to have positions which can
attract members of each of the current parties. No other reason. As
far as voting, I usually vote on the basis of the candidates total
position on the issues. Not every candidate reflects my position on
every issue, but I generally vote for the person who is most reflective
of my views in general. Simply because MCCain happens to be a
Republican and most Republicans are selfish reactionaries, that doesn't
mean McCain is also. He believes in as small a government as possible,
but recognizes that there are certain things that Government must do for
the people because that's the job of Government. There, he parts
company with themore rigid members of his Party who seem to feel that
the only thing that matters is the size of Government.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
We need more stringent laws to
keep our politicians honest. After all, if the politicians weren't
buying, the lobbyists would have no audience.
And if the American people wouldn't stand for their politicians
being bought, against the interests of the people, the lobbyists
wouldn't be able to buy the politicians, or at least wouldn't be
able to buy each one more than once.
The American people enjoy being fat dumb and happy, with the emphasis on
the dumb. They don't want to think; they don't want to have to
critically evaluate. They want to make their political decisions on the
basis of witty sound bytes rather than informed judgment. They want to
'be sold' by the media on their political candidates, the way they are
'sold' their breakfast cereal. the one worst thing that could happen to
America would be the elimination of political party labels on the
ballot. Such an action would strike fear into the hearts of most
citizens, so much so, that without the label, they wouldn't know who to
vote for, and consequently, wouldn't.
I think the worsening of the condition of the middle class might be
starting to wake some people up. I can't swear to really having
clearly observed any such thing though, admittedly, and I might just
be engaging in wishful thinking. Just before the French Revolution
there was a very stable society of upper class and lower class, but
it got too far out of touch with reality and it collapsed suddenly,
and unexpectedly to those who thought they were securely in
control. Things would have to get a lot worse in America before
they got to that extreme, but that is the direction they're heading.
Well, I hope you're right. Maybe economic strait jackets will force the
middle-class to take a critical look at their 'leadership.' Perhaps
then, they'll vote with their pocketbooks, rather than with their false
national pride.
As noted, though, I can't say that I've actually seen any such
thing. I feel I should have seen such a thing, which perhaps might
induce me to think I actually have seen some slight trace of it.
<snip>
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I don't remember the "malice" part. I wasn't thinking of malice
on the part of China, except in that China would like to replace
the USA as the world's great power, but that's not different from
Rockefeller trying to beat Vanderbilt, or from a battle of lions to
take over a pride. There might be malice as an evolutionarily-
proven spur to implementing a successful strategy, but malice
isn't the thing that makes things happen - it's the strategy itself -
the quest for self advantage - that makes things happen.
The malice was inserted to demonstrate the difficulty with your analogy.
If you see malice, that's not my responsibility. I see nature.
the basis for your 'nature' is some negative ulterior motive. That's
hardly 'nature' and is far more descriptive of malice.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
China does indeed want to replace the U.S as the world's greatest
economic power, and whether we like it or not, they're going to do it.
The only question is "how soon?" The free market economy will hasten
that day, while if we take steps now to reduce those effects, we'll be
able to defer it for a goodly number of years. And the reason is
because WE control the major markets now. If we wait too long when we
slip into economic decline, as is rapidly happening with the demise of
our middle class, then we'll lost that edge and we'll be totally
impotent as an economic power. We need to force China to raise its
costs of production NOW, when it can't really afford to do so in order
to compete in our markets. And if we force China to raise its costs, we
can once again make manufacturing profitable HERE and effectively compete.
I wonder how much success we'll have forcing China to do
something she doesn't want to do and which she feels is
against her best interest? We may be able to negotiate some
influence here and there when China feels she gets enough
in return, but I think China has a pretty good mind of her own,
despite the repulsive (to us) suppression of freedom of
thought.
She'll have no choice. Producing goods that aren't sold makes no money.
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I admit to being perplexed why China (and others) have put up
with supporting the US debt for so long. Maybe she's playing
some kind of clever game, with "oriental inscrutability" if one
wants to colour that with "malice". The malice is just colour
as described by a person wearing a particular shade of
sunglasses, though. Scorpions and countries look scary to us,
but they're really just trying to succeed as best they can,
according to their own calculations, just as ourselves are.
China is hedging against something like what I have in mind. The
calling of the debt is a very powerful negotiating item.
Rumpelstiltskin
2006-05-03 13:36:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
If you see malice, that's not my responsibility. I see nature.
the basis for your 'nature' is some negative ulterior motive. That's
hardly 'nature' and is far more descriptive of malice.
I don't know what that ulterior motive could be.
Maybe my lack of confidence in humanity? That doesn't
usually fit into the meaning of "ulterior motive".



<snip>
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I wonder how much success we'll have forcing China to do
something she doesn't want to do and which she feels is
against her best interest? We may be able to negotiate some
influence here and there when China feels she gets enough
in return, but I think China has a pretty good mind of her own,
despite the repulsive (to us) suppression of freedom of
thought.
She'll have no choice. Producing goods that aren't sold makes no money.
There is that, true, but it's not decisive. Once China can
get started perhaps with a little help from pressure based on
the debt, she may not need us a whole lot. That's not to
say she'd drop us, just that we wouldn't loom so large in her
figuring out her own destiny.
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by Rumpelstiltskin
I admit to being perplexed why China (and others) have put up
with supporting the US debt for so long. Maybe she's playing
some kind of clever game, with "oriental inscrutability" if one
wants to colour that with "malice". The malice is just colour
as described by a person wearing a particular shade of
sunglasses, though. Scorpions and countries look scary to us,
but they're really just trying to succeed as best they can,
according to their own calculations, just as ourselves are.
China is hedging against something like what I have in mind. The
calling of the debt is a very powerful negotiating item.
rick++
2006-05-01 15:16:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
I'm not in favor of cutting Social Security. I'm just a realist and I
understand the dilemma that we now have with regard to solving the
problem, which will only get worse the longer we wait.
SS is not in dire straights. Its the only federal program running
massive surpluses. I wonder if the Trustees report which comes
out in a few hours, will push back bankruptcy again. They've pushed
back
13 years in recent reports.
George McGovern's recent book has the best analysis in my view.
Modest tweaks like raising the age to 70 and tying raise to COLA
rather than national income (twice as high) would strengthen it even
more.
Alan Lichtenstein
2006-05-01 19:51:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
I'm not in favor of cutting Social Security. I'm just a realist and I
understand the dilemma that we now have with regard to solving the
problem, which will only get worse the longer we wait.
SS is not in dire straights.
Depends on what you consider dire. Most individuals who understand how
defined benefit plans function don't share your opinion.

Its the only federal program running
Post by rick++
massive surpluses.
Temporary thing. But the surpluses are NOT held in the system, and are
NOT used to generate other money growth. Those surpluses have been
spent by the Government, and effectively don't exist. In 2018, the
trust will STOP running surpluses and have to begin redeeming those
I.O.U.'s from the Treasury. The Treasury, if it is going to continue to
spend as it currently does, will have to replace those revenues. This
means a tax increase with NO, repeat, NO additional Government services.
And you'll have to continue with MORE tax increases to pay off the
remaining notes, until 2042, when you've even exhausted them, and then
you'll have to increase taxes just to pay benefits.

The reactionaries say the trust fund is a myth, and when you consider
the shape the Government is in, they may be right.

I wonder if the Trustees report which comes
Post by rick++
out in a few hours, will push back bankruptcy again.
Hardly. The demographics, which we've known for many years, will say
otherwise.

They've pushed
Post by rick++
back
13 years in recent reports.
Deferring a problem is not a solution. It's wishful thinking.
Post by rick++
George McGovern's recent book has the best analysis in my view.
Modest tweaks like raising the age to 70 and tying raise to COLA
rather than national income (twice as high) would strengthen it even
more.
Decreasing benefits is never an effective means to solving the problem.
It is an expedient one, though. I prefer real solutions to expedient
ones, which really only further defer the problem, because they really
don't solve it. What you propose is no solution.
rick++
2006-04-28 14:16:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by El Castor
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU
Just endorse your "worthless" social security and medicare checks to me
and send them to ....
I'll gladly recycle them for you!

(Some of the biggest federal complainers are the biggest federal
customers).
Alan Lichtenstein
2006-04-28 16:04:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
Post by El Castor
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU
Just endorse your "worthless" social security and medicare checks to me
and send them to ....
I'll gladly recycle them for you!
Jeff is speaking about some point in the future. He understands the
relationship between the trust fund( to use the term quite loosely ) and
the Federal budget. From your post, one might conclude that you don't.
Either that, or you choose to ignore the problem.
Thumper
2006-04-28 20:40:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alan Lichtenstein
Post by rick++
Post by El Castor
It will be what it has always been -- dusty IOU
Just endorse your "worthless" social security and medicare checks to me
and send them to ....
I'll gladly recycle them for you!
Jeff is speaking about some point in the future. He understands the
relationship between the trust fund( to use the term quite loosely ) and
the Federal budget. From your post, one might conclude that you don't.
Either that, or you choose to ignore the problem.
Bush was hoping no one would understand the relationship when he cut
taxes.
Thumper
El Castor
2006-04-28 06:19:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by rick++
The 2006 Social Security Trustees annual report will be
finally released on Monday, instead of its usual March date.
The report is famous for calculating the annual "bankrupcy prediction"-
the year the trust fund runs out.
The delay was due to there were too few members to
issue a report because various factions couldnt agree
on replacements for departing trustees.
During the Congressional Easter break the Bush
did a "recess appointment" extension of departing trustees until
the report was finished.
(Theres alway some politicking with supposedly neutral trustees;
recently to make the program look more dire. However one cant
fudge the numbers too drastically because each report contains
a 75-year projection that overlaps 74 years of the previous report.
The main inaccuracy seems to be
underpredicting the near-future strength of US economy.
The 1990s online reports said the 2000s decade would have
half the growth it actually had. So that pushed bankruptcy 13
years later from 2029 to 2042.)
2042 is a phony date. The Trust Fund will be in big trouble much
sooner than that. In the early 2020's social security will start
draining the budget like Dracula sucking the life from one of his
victims. Long before that happens, Congress will see the handwriting
and apply a bandaid that will stave off the inevitable for several
more years.

"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
Jonathan Swift
rick++
2006-05-02 13:31:19 UTC
Permalink
The released the report on monday with little fanfare.
They moved "bankruptcy" up one year from 2041 to 2040.
The reason given is that treasury bond interest rates are
low and wont generate as much return on the trust fund.

Otherwise, they are still predicting that US economic
growth will plunge to half its historic rate since WWII
in three years and stay there for the next 70 years.
They made this same prediction in the first online
report in 1995 and it was very wrong.
Continue reading on narkive:
Search results for 'social security trustees' report released two months late' (newsgroups and mailing lists)
60
replies
Decrease in number of enrollment by 60%- NSA report
started 2005-05-06 09:49:23 UTC
talk.religion.bahai
46
replies
decline
started 2018-02-04 16:31:02 UTC
alt.politics.liberalism
19
replies
[Foundation-l] Report To The Board June & July 2008
started 2008-08-23 21:33:50 UTC
wikimedia-l@lists.wikimedia.org
88
replies
CURL: Is Obama a pathological liar?
started 2011-07-31 09:58:24 UTC
misc.survivalism
91
replies
CO school bans white kids from it's tutoring program!!!
started 2013-02-15 09:39:42 UTC
alt.politics.liberalism
Loading...