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Lessons Taken From Greece's Economic Collapse
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Big Mac
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Feb 17, 2010, 06:21 PM
 
What can the economic collapse of Greece teach us about America's potential economic problems? Here is CNN's explanation of the cause of Greece's problems:

So what's the problem in Greece?
Years of unrestrained spending, cheap lending and failure to implement financial reforms left Greece badly exposed when the global economic downturn struck. This whisked away a curtain of partly fiddled statistics to reveal debt levels and deficits that exceeded limits set by the eurozone.
How big are these debts?
National debt, put at €300 billion ($413.6 billion) is bigger than the country's economy, with some estimates predicting it will reach 120 percent of gross domestic product in 2010. The country's deficit -- how much more it spends than it takes in -- is 12.7 percent.
Anyone else see the parallels between Greece's financial meltdown and America's future, or is it just me?

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
dcmacdaddy
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Feb 17, 2010, 06:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
What can the economic collapse of Greece teach us about America's potential economic problems? Here is CNN's explanation of the cause of Greece's problems:


Anyone else see the parallels between Greece's financial meltdown and America's future, or is it just me?
Nope. It's not just you. All that was accomplished by the bank, housing, and business bailouts was to prolong the inevitable. Bush was dumb enough to start the bailout process and Obama was dumb enough to continue them. Shame on both of them for not having the courage to do the right thing.

I just hope the American crash comes sooner rather than later so we can being the process of rebuilding our economy on economically sustainable principles. Things like requiring a balanced budget, low debt levels, greater oversight of our financial and banking industries, a central bank that is not a separate legal entity from the federal government, greatly reduced military spending, greatly reduced federal spending overall (via removal/elimination of lots of federal-level agencies), massive push for use of renewable energy to remove our need to be involved with the Middle East and their world of problems.
( Last edited by dcmacdaddy; Feb 17, 2010 at 06:59 PM. )
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turtle777
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Feb 17, 2010, 07:17 PM
 
Well, there's two possible outcomes to the clusterf*ck:

1) inflation is phased in moderately over the next years and kept at a moderate level (5-10%) for many years (min 10) to "pay off" all the government debt. Many people are going to lose their nest eggs because they are stupid enough to invest in bonds, annuities or money market funds.

2) inflation spirals out of control and leads to hyper-inflation; the economy goes belly-up and America is forced to default on debt

Either way, the burden on the American people is going to be huge.

-t
     
dcmacdaddy
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Feb 17, 2010, 07:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Well, there's two possible outcomes to the clusterf*ck:

1) inflation is phased in moderately over the next years and kept at a moderate level (5-10%) for many years (min 10) to "pay off" all the government debt. Many people are going to lose their nest eggs because they are stupid enough to invest in bonds, annuities or money market funds.

2) inflation spirals out of control and leads to hyper-inflation; the economy goes belly-up and America is forced to default on debt

Either way, the burden on the American people is going to be huge.

-t
Yup. And the sooner we start this process the sooner we can begin to rebuild our economy. No matter how the US financial crisis is resolved it will be a solution that takes 10-20 years to implement. This is really a generational problem that will take at least one generation to resolve.
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Big Mac  (op)
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Feb 17, 2010, 09:29 PM
 
The funny thing is, we don't have to let those things happen to get rid of this problem. We could fix it tomorrow. The fix would be very painful for some people who only want the status quo, but it would solve the deficit and debt problem immediately because the problem is a creation of the federal government. The real question is whether the American people would rather have liberty and a sound dollar/economy for the price of abolishing public and private entitlements as we know them and substantial spending reductions in other areas, or if they'd prefer to just shut their eyes and roll off the cliff with the unsustainable Socialist promises of yesteryear left in place.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Feb 17, 2010 at 09:37 PM. )

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turtle777
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Feb 17, 2010, 10:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
The real question is whether the American people would rather have liberty and a sound dollar/economy for the price of abolishing public and private entitlements as we know them and substantial spending reductions in other areas, or if they'd prefer to just shut their eyes and roll off the cliff with the unsustainable Socialist promises of yesteryear left in place.
The sad truth is, most Americans are clueless and ignorant, have no idea about sound finances (just look at the household balance sheets), and are utterly naive about the government.

Plus, they like to be lied to, and they don't realize when they are being f*cked over, even when they see a 10 foot pole sticking out of their asses.

In short: there is no hope that this will just be averted by people and politicians suddenly getting a clue.

-t
     
dcmacdaddy
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Feb 18, 2010, 01:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
The funny thing is, we don't have to let those things happen to get rid of this problem. We could fix it tomorrow. The fix would be very painful for some people who only want the status quo, but it would solve the deficit and debt problem immediately because the problem is a creation of the federal government. The real question is whether the American people would rather have liberty and a sound dollar/economy for the price of abolishing public and private entitlements as we know them and substantial spending reductions in other areas, or if they'd prefer to just shut their eyes and roll off the cliff with the unsustainable Socialist promises of yesteryear left in place.
Absolutely.

We need to get rid of Medicaid and Medicare and cut our defense spending by 80% or more. (Personally, I would like to see our defense spending limited to a fixed percentage of GDP.) That would remove well over $1.5 Trillion dollars from the federal government's annual expenditures.
( Last edited by dcmacdaddy; Feb 18, 2010 at 02:08 AM. )
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dcmacdaddy
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Feb 18, 2010, 02:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
The sad truth is, most Americans are clueless and ignorant, have no idea about sound finances (just look at the household balance sheets), and are utterly naive about the government.

Plus, they like to be lied to, and they don't realize when they are being f*cked over, even when they see a 10 foot pole sticking out of their asses.

In short: there is no hope that this will just be averted by people and politicians suddenly getting a clue.

-t
You are correct. No one is going to "suddenly getting a clue". We are in for a couple decades of severe economic turmoil as our economy reconfigures itself for a deficit neutral spending environment. Personally, I can't wait for this to happen. My total personal debt--between housing, transportation (e.g.: cars), and personal expenditures--is right now about $1000 dollars. I will be in great shape when the US economy goes into the sh*tter and all my debt-laden peers find themselves without a pot to piss in. And either they will figure out a way to live within their means or they will die trying. Either way, the outcome is the same: less people living beyond their means. I say bring it on: Bring about the economic collapse of the United States. The sooner the collapse happens the sooner we can start to rebuild our economy.
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OAW
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Feb 18, 2010, 12:50 PM
 
Having a low personal debt load is good thing without question. However, an "economic collapse of the United States" would affect a lot more than those who have debt. To say that you would be in "great shape" simply because of a low debt load is being overly optimistic IMO. People still need employment. Businesses still need customers. Even if one doesn't have to pay a credit card company or a car note one still would need to pay for food, clothing, & shelter. Electricity might come in handy every now and again too. As would clean water. Etc. A complete economic collapse would put a serious damper on such things for everyone. Probably not a good idea wish for all that.

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turtle777
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Feb 18, 2010, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
Having a low personal debt load is good thing without question. However, an "economic collapse of the United States" would affect a lot more than those who have debt. To say that you would be in "great shape" simply because of a low debt load is being overly optimistic IMO. People still need employment. Businesses still need customers. Even if one doesn't have to pay a credit card company or a car note one still would need to pay for food, clothing, & shelter. Electricity might come in handy every now and again too. As would clean water. Etc. A complete economic collapse would put a serious damper on such things for everyone. Probably not a good idea wish for all that.
You are right with your assessment, except that you insinuate that we "wish" for that outcome.

Of course I would like the economy to just magically recover, and all the stupid ass mistakes and screwups of the politicians to disappear w/o any impact. But that's not realistic.

The current (and past) administration put this train on a track leading to a cliff, and instead of slamming the brakes, they press for more speed.

-t
     
ort888
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Feb 18, 2010, 01:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
The current (and past) administration put this train on a track leading to a cliff, and instead of slamming the brakes, they press for more speed.

-t
Dude... they are trying to jump the canyon. Buckle up, it's gonna be awesome.

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turtle777
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Feb 18, 2010, 02:02 PM
 


-t
     
finboy
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Feb 18, 2010, 02:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post


-t
Things can only devalue so far. The key difference between here and Greece is that the US has a history of turning the unproductive into the productive. Grecian experience is the opposite for the past 2k years.

Two problems continue to plague us:

Congress and the admin. still think that wishes will get houses and other credit for people who can't pay it back. They're still pushing FHA to sponsor loans, and still dawdling with Freddie/Fannie. SBA/student loans have yet to be pointed to as problematic, but SBA lending is a joke. All of it should collapse and the Congresscritters responsible ridiculed. It won't happen b/c people will always vote themselves wealth when given the chance.

The rating agencies have no credibility. Credit default swaps (CDS) were designed as a workaround to credit agencies that had to rate Freddie/Fannie as tippy top even when they weren't. There's no believable system of ratings, or as Greenspan says "counterparty screening" hasn't caught up. Without a rating system, there won't be credit, and years and years of the system's rating reputation is gone. Poof. CDS are toast, too, thank goodness. But there needs to be a way for institutional investors to apply the "prudent man" rule and shove that off on ratings agencies, and they can't. The system is really really broken because of the smoke & mirrors BS at Freddie etc.

I'll add another: the degradation of the educational system. It's been going downhill for a few years, sure, but man it's spiraling out of control these days. I'm seeing students, even students at "good" schools, who've been brainwashed into thinking that blind obedience is education and that they're entitled to everything for nothing. The basic skills of reading and analysis aren't there, and it seems that more and more of these folks don't want anything to do with actually learning anything or understanding how things work. The most basic level of effort seems ridiculous to them. There seems to be no link between effort and outcomes. There's a core few of young people who are still carrying values with them, but it's more and more frustrating every year.

The system seems configured to ENABLE the idiots to get some type of certification, BS or BA or MS or MBA or whatever. I've never encountered the level of apathy for understanding that I get lately, and it seems to be getting worse, and worse than that, institutionalized. Man o man.
     
Chuckit
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Feb 18, 2010, 02:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by ort888 View Post
Dude... they are trying to jump the canyon. Buckle up, it's gonna be awesome.
Hazzard County economics?
Chuck
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Feb 18, 2010, 03:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Chuckit View Post
Hazzard County economics?
YEEHAA! Thread needs more Daisy Duke.

cause we're not quite "the fuzz"
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Feb 18, 2010, 04:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
You are right with your assessment, except that you insinuate that we "wish" for that outcome.
We don't, but clearly dcmacdaddy does and naively believes a full collapse of the country (an entirely avoidable event) would be a good thing for him. Everything that OAW said in response is properly directed at dcmacdaddy. Having no personal debt if the country goes tits up will only really be acceptable if you're a backwoodsman type with a self-sustaining compound.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Feb 18, 2010 at 04:36 PM. )

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OAW
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Feb 18, 2010, 04:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
We don't, but clearly dcmacdaddy does and naively believes a full collapse of the country (an entirely avoidable event) would be a good thing for him. Everything that OAW said in response is properly directed at dcmacdaddy.
And it was. My apologies for failing to quote dcmacdaddy's post. It was immediately after his and given my references to his statement about his debt load I just figured that it would be apparent that I was responding to him.

OAW
     
turtle777
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Feb 18, 2010, 04:56 PM
 
To dcmacdaddy's defense, I don't think he's a masochist who likes to suffer.

His point is that the earlier this collapse goes down, the sooner we will also overcome it and rise from the ashes.
In that respect, he's just saying "Let's get it over with", rather than prolonging it.

-t
     
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Feb 19, 2010, 01:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
To dcmacdaddy's defense, I don't think he's a masochist who likes to suffer.

His point is that the earlier this collapse goes down, the sooner we will also overcome it and rise from the ashes.
In that respect, he's just saying "Let's get it over with", rather than prolonging it.

-t
I concur. I think that's his stance. And I agree, better to get on with it, sooner.

BUT I have to mention that what Big Mac (I think) is talking about is the "rescue fantasy" that some people harbor regarding The End of the World As We Know It (there's an acronym for that). Some people seem to think that a total meltdown would be good for us, cleansing, and would let us get back to "how things were back in the good old days".

I see this on BOTH sides of the political spectrum. On the Left, it's a desire to get back to some Utopian vision of communal living, often expressed as the opinion that primitive peoples are "better" because they live "in harmony with nature." If you include staggering infant mortality rates, malnutrition, and a marginal existence from generation to generation as "better" then that fits. On the other side, it's "living closer to our Lord" with vague references to the pilgrims and religious "freedom". Ask the folks at Waco how that played out for them.

Either way, total breakdown isn't something to look forward to, and I don't think DCMacDaddy is thinking that way. But lots of folks out there see it as a way out of their boring, tiny lives, and it's attractive to them. The appeal of the Mad Max films isn't a coincidence. Some adventure in an otherwise humdrum life.
     
dcmacdaddy
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Feb 19, 2010, 06:15 PM
 
All,

I was a bit incautious in my use of the term collapse. While I do want to see a radical re-ordering of the economic priorities on which this country operates, only in my darkest, most perverse moments do I want to the United States to "collapse" from the weight of our un-restrained spending.

turtle777 and finboy are correct in their assumption that my attitude was more "let's get the changes happening sooner" than "let's have the whole thing collapse". I like the analogy of bandage removal: You pull a band-aid off slowly and the pain last longer and feels more intense. Whereas, if you pull off the bandage right away, the immediate pain is intense but then quickly goes away. In other words, I want our government to do the hard things to right our economy* sooner rather than later.


*While we will disagree about where our national spending priorities should lie, I think we all can agree our government needs to a) reduce its annual budget deficits and b) reduce our overall national debt if we are to remain in any way economically competitive. What to cut will be the subject of debate. But I think we are all in agreement that cuts do need to be made.
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Feb 19, 2010, 06:34 PM
 
WE as citizens are responsible because we were too stupid and gullible. The mainstream media has been lying to us for decades and we did nothing. Our politicians kept lying to us and we let them stay in office. We only get the government we deserve. It's time to clean house, and not just at a national level, but at the state and local level too. Its time to put down the toys and games, sober up and become familiar with all those who want to lead us. Ask them hard questions, and if they won't answer questions, get rid of them. its time to punish those who betrayed our trust as a warning to those who would follow.
     
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Feb 19, 2010, 07:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
WE as citizens are responsible because we were too stupid and gullible. The mainstream media has been lying to us for decades and we did nothing. Our politicians kept lying to us and we let them stay in office. We only get the government we deserve. It's time to clean house, and not just at a national level, but at the state and local level too. Its time to put down the toys and games, sober up and become familiar with all those who want to lead us. Ask them hard questions, and if they won't answer questions, get rid of them. its time to punish those who betrayed our trust as a warning to those who would follow.
You have a lot of faith in your fellow citizens, don't you?
     
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Feb 20, 2010, 01:47 AM
 
The lesson? This is what 100 years of moving toward progressivism gets you.

Too bad the remedy will be…MORE progressivism.
Being in debt and celebrating a lower deficit is like being on a diet and celebrating the fact you gained two pounds this week instead of five.
     
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Feb 20, 2010, 08:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
The lesson? This is what 100 years of moving toward progressivism gets you.

Too bad the remedy will be…MORE progressivism.
You can always move back into a cave, and work for $5/hour, without benefits. "Progessivism" is what got you away from the slave labor tenements of the early 20th century, and a 40-hour work week (which is slowly being eroded, as Americans now work longer, for less benefits, than other civilized countries), and the ability to buy a car and your own home, and a college education, and on and on. Corporations used to pay much higher tax rates, which financed our enormous growth. Now, the leaders of those corporations want it all for themselves, and don't give a damn about you and I (billions of dollars in recent bailouts, with billions of your and my money being handed out for bonuses, right now, ring a bell?)

This is what your "free market" has gotten you; a return to the Robber Barons of the early 20th century. You should be outraged, yet all you can do is make sweeping, broad, generalizations.
     
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Feb 20, 2010, 08:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
You have a lot of faith in your fellow citizens, don't you?
Right now, pretty much none. TV and video games have conditioned those to have the attention span of a goldfish, and it is replacing actual learning. What you get is lots of youngsters with spotty and incorrect knowledge and background. The liberal indoctrination of kids has left them not knowing the truth about the history of our country and instead have been conditioned to think success is bad. Responsibility and accountability are not taught in schools and you end up with clueless kids who are not prepared to become adults. Immaturity is the norm. Emoting instead of analyzing facts and arriving at reasoned solutions is a lost skill.
     
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Feb 20, 2010, 12:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
This is what your "free market" has gotten you; a return to the Robber Barons of the early 20th century. You should be outraged, yet all you can do is make sweeping, broad, generalizations.
Huh ?

I'm only feeling robbed by the government.

Everything else is my choice.

-t
     
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Feb 20, 2010, 01:48 PM
 
Unions and the collective bargaining have caused much economic damage to large companies and industries no matter who is managing them. Without the useless unions a single person or group of workers could be fired without the layers of BS and waste. Union members take no risk as workers. They have not created and invested in whatever company pays their wages except by acquiring stock. workers could be promoted for performance, not just how long they worked at the company. The individual worker is judged on his own merits and abilities, and those who are average and below move along more slowly, and the lowest performers get the boot. If someone wants to do the hard work of starting their own business and develop it into a large money maker why can't that owner take a bigger paycheck? With the risk can come the rewards.
     
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Feb 20, 2010, 09:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
Right now, pretty much none. TV and video games have conditioned those to have the attention span of a goldfish, and it is replacing actual learning. What you get is lots of youngsters with spotty and incorrect knowledge and background.
On that we agree.

the liberal indoctrination of kids has left them not knowing the truth about the history of our country and instead have been conditioned to think success is bad.
Nonsense. If we told them the true history of our country, we wouldn't be seen as the valiant purveyors of democracy and morals. As it is, they get a whitewashed history, where the Indians greeted us with open arms, and they're fed the American myth, which is that everyone can grow up to succeed, which ignores the fact that it's never happened in any society in history, and it couldn't happen, as there will always be disparities between the haves and the have-nots (the question is how much that should be, but that's another discussion altogether).

Responsibility and accountability are not taught in schools and you end up with clueless kids who are not prepared to become adults. Immaturity is the norm. Emoting instead of analyzing facts and arriving at reasoned solutions is a lost skill.
It isn't the school's place to teach children responsibility and accountability; it is their place to teach them skills they need to succeed. It is the parents' place to teach them ethics, morals, responsibility, and on that most parents fail. Sadly, most parents (or at the very least, more than should), think that school is a babysitting service and an excuse for them to get out of parenting. We always want to point at someone else besides ourselves for our failures, because denial is an extraordinarily strong emotion.
     
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Feb 21, 2010, 01:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
On that we agree.



Nonsense. If we told them the true history of our country, we wouldn't be seen as the valiant purveyors of democracy and morals. As it is, they get a whitewashed history, where the Indians greeted us with open arms, and they're fed the American myth, which is that everyone can grow up to succeed, which ignores the fact that it's never happened in any society in history, and it couldn't happen, as there will always be disparities between the haves and the have-nots (the question is how much that should be, but that's another discussion altogether).



It isn't the school's place to teach children responsibility and accountability; it is their place to teach them skills they need to succeed. It is the parents' place to teach them ethics, morals, responsibility, and on that most parents fail. Sadly, most parents (or at the very least, more than should), think that school is a babysitting service and an excuse for them to get out of parenting. We always want to point at someone else besides ourselves for our failures, because denial is an extraordinarily strong emotion.


Well said!
     
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Feb 21, 2010, 05:05 AM
 
I'm convinced that much of liberalism is equal parts deep-rooted cynicism that the person clings to and revels in imparting to as many other people as possible, mixed with equal parts distortion and purposeful mischaracterization of anything to the contrary.

Where to even start?

First off, the liberal definition of 'success' is some warped, distorted and shallow worldview that of course, is unobtainable. To a liberal, to say 'anyone can succeed' gets turned into some warped nonsense where success is defined as everyone being wealthy, having everything they want, basically everyone leading the same life and being the same person.

Success as defined by a realist, is simply that one can achieve their own independence, be able to survive on their own and live a fulfilling life. A realist knows that takes on as many different forms as their are different people.


To a lib, it's all boiled down to just some cynical sniveling over amounts of money and possessions, and how it compares to what someone else has. Then it's hand-wringing over how can we get a big and insanely powerful enough government to take over and make everything 'equal'. The entire mindset is ridiculously shallow, and you libs prove it everytime you spout it- but of course being mired in it, you can't see it.

And again, there's the purposeful mischaracterization of ideas; no realist says strictly that 'everyone can succeed'. Realists know that anyone, meaning not everyone, but any given individual can succeed based on certain criteria: that they apply themselves, that they have realistic goals that match their knowledge and skill, that they have the drive, will, ambition, etc. to achieve what is for them success, and probably most importantly, that they live where narrow-minded busybodies can't rob them of all opportunity for success.

A lefty probably can't even process that last paragraph. Anyone? Say what? What about race? Gender? Sexual orientation? How much money a person has? How much stuff they have? How much stuff they have not? What about this crutch? That excuse? This that and the other meaningless trait that a lib zeros in on, focuses on, obsesses over, and uses to define everything about entire groups of people.

Anyone can succeed. Liberals simply don't have a proper definition of ANY of the three words that make up that sentence.

Anyone- meaning individuals, not all your crazy "in need of rescue by a nanny-state" stereotypes. Anyone is not EVERYone. It's reality that not EVERYone will meet the criteria needed for success, or even if they do -for myriad reasons as varied as life itself- simply won't. So what? There's no nanny-state program that can toss enough of someone else's money down a rathole to 'fix' this; it's simply part of life.

Can- not- WILL. (An entire universe of difference between those two words- sails over the heads of a cynical lefty)

Succeed
- see above.
( Last edited by CRASH HARDDRIVE; Feb 21, 2010 at 05:20 AM. )
     
mattyb
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Feb 21, 2010, 05:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
Right now, pretty much none. TV and video games have conditioned those to have the attention span of a goldfish, and it is replacing actual learning. What you get is lots of youngsters with spotty and incorrect knowledge and background. The liberal indoctrination of kids has left them not knowing the truth about the history of our country and instead have been conditioned to think success is bad. Responsibility and accountability are not taught in schools and you end up with clueless kids who are not prepared to become adults. Immaturity is the norm. Emoting instead of analyzing facts and arriving at reasoned solutions is a lost skill.
Strange, those people with wrinkles and grey hair that I saw being interviewed before Obama was elected, who said that he was a muslim and was related to Bin Laden didn't look like kids to me.
     
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Feb 21, 2010, 09:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
Nonsense. If we told them the true history of our country, we wouldn't be seen as the valiant purveyors of democracy and morals. As it is, they get a whitewashed history, where the Indians greeted us with open arms, and they're fed the American myth, which is that everyone can grow up to succeed, which ignores the fact that it's never happened in any society in history, and it couldn't happen, as there will always be disparities between the haves and the have-nots (the question is how much that should be, but that's another discussion altogether).
But most every race and country has at one time been overrun and beaten by another. it's the nature of us animals. The native americans warred between themselves as much as any other. Not all the Indian nations greeted others.

As far as success, the politicians, hungry to spend tax dollars on favorite projects and getting in the way of things they don't like has been limiting us in this country. The bigger and more intrusive we allow political hacks to make our country, the harder it will be to be successful. There is no guarantee of success for anyone, but limiting the options isn't a solution. This fact has not been learned by those currently in power, or those who elected them.
     
OldManMac
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Feb 21, 2010, 10:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
But most every race and country has at one time been overrun and beaten by another. it's the nature of us animals. The native americans warred between themselves as much as any other. Not all the Indian nations greeted others.
The point I was making is that American history isn't the pretty idealism that's portrayed in textbooks and on tv, yet that's what many in power want us to believe. They want us to think that this was once a country based on Leave It To Beaver reality, when nothing could be further from the truth.

As far as success, the politicians, hungry to spend tax dollars on favorite projects and getting in the way of things they don't like has been limiting us in this country. The bigger and more intrusive we allow political hacks to make our country, the harder it will be to be successful. There is no guarantee of success for anyone, but limiting the options isn't a solution. This fact has not been learned by those currently in power, or those who elected them.
We are the ones who elect those politicians, and we are responsible for controlling them, not the other way around. We don't turn away the pork barrel projects when they come to our neighborhoods. (As a side note, pork is such a small percentage of the budget, it really makes no difference, but it's an easy target for those who don't really know what's going in government). We are the ones who decides what is necessary for our children to be successful, and it isn't Crash Harddrive's ridiculous notions expounded on above, where he blasts the "left" for allegedly implying that everyone has to be rich to be successful; it's being able to live past paycheck to paycheck, which is getting harder in this country, as the rich and powerful control more of the wealth.

There have to be checks and balances in any system, in order for all to survive at more than just a bare subsistence level, and those balances are being destroyed in Washington, by people who claim to be both left and right, via people who take our money and use it for personal gain, to the detriment of all.
     
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Feb 21, 2010, 11:22 AM
 
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Feb 21, 2010, 12:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by CRASH HARDDRIVE View Post
And again, there's the purposeful mischaracterization of ideas; no realist says strictly that 'everyone can succeed'. Realists know that anyone, meaning not everyone, but any given individual can succeed based on certain criteria: that they apply themselves, that they have realistic goals that match their knowledge and skill, that they have the drive, will, ambition, etc. to achieve what is for them success, and probably most importantly, that they live where narrow-minded busybodies can't rob them of all opportunity for success.

A lefty probably can't even process that last paragraph. Anyone? Say what? What about race? Gender?
Well? What about those things?

You seem to be deliberately ignoring the complete and utter fact that persons with a particular race, or particular gender could not succeed at even recent points in your country's history. No matter if they had "the drive, will, ambition, etc." as you put it - they would not and could not succeed, because they were not allowed to succeed.

Is this the case today? Certainly not so much, although I don't think there can be any doubt that there is some lingering legacy. But the fact that it was the case is what's responsible for much of the affirmative-action programs that many are so against. Those are historical legacies.

But the fact remains that "government handouts" because of historical legacies exist everywhere throughout society. Look at the incredibly vast sums of money that subsidize modern American agriculture; there are literally billions of dollars that are handed out to this industry on a yearly basis. I've never seen anyone crying about that on this board.

greg
Mankind's only chance is to harness the power of stupid.
     
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Feb 21, 2010, 01:51 PM
 
I have. I just don't write walls of text about it.

I don't think that the government should be giving one single dime of the money the federal government extorts from us to subsidies, welfare, social security, medicare, bailouts, etc.. ZERO. Period.
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Feb 21, 2010, 01:53 PM
 


That's a great piece.

Charles really knows what's going on.
And unlike Warren Buffet (who is more in the spotlight), Charles doesn't hold back on what he thinks is right and wrong.

-t
     
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Feb 21, 2010, 01:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
We are the ones who elect those politicians, and we are responsible for controlling them, not the other way around.
Which is why our federal government is supposed to consist of what the constitution spells out and nothing more. Not this gigantic, bloated cancer that it is now. The REAL power is supposed to belong to the states and locally…i.e. closer to the people…where it is easier to control.
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BadKosh
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Feb 21, 2010, 05:35 PM
 
Well, the politicians AREN'T LISTENING, so that assumption is incorrect. Those same democrats are forcing health care BS (which doesn't have ANYTHING to do with health care) by adding costly corrupt layers of pencil pushers to raise costs. it's the limits that our government clowns are adding which is slowing down a recovery and getting jobs created. Either the democrats are far stupider than they and the bought and paid for press reported, or they are ruining the ways we have to crate wealth ON PURPOSE.
     
besson3c
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Feb 21, 2010, 07:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
Which is why our federal government is supposed to consist of what the constitution spells out and nothing more. Not this gigantic, bloated cancer that it is now. The REAL power is supposed to belong to the states and locally…i.e. closer to the people…where it is easier to control.
The States have been free to reform their on health care for years, nothing was stopping them, some of them did (Mass, Hawaii, Vermont, etc.) However, how do you run a program like Medicare or Social Security at the state level? What happens if you move out of that state and the new state does not have a SS or Medicare equivalent, do you get a check back or something for all of the money you put into a system that is no longer relevant to you? In the case of one of these entitlements, that is a lot of money. Knowing that you are not big on entitlements, what do we replace these with?

Some things have to be coordinated at the national level. While we can have a valid debate about what should and shouldn't be, and while I'd agree with you on many points, I can't agree with this blanket statement.
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Feb 21, 2010, 08:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
However, how do you run a program like Medicare or Social Security at the state level? What happens if you move out of that state and the new state does not have a SS or Medicare equivalent, do you get a check back or something for all of the money you put into a system that is no longer relevant to you? In the case of one of these entitlements, that is a lot of money. Knowing that you are not big on entitlements, what do we replace these with?
No government at any level in America should be in the business of directly controlling and administering retirement benefits for the masses. At the very most small, defined, capped and time-limited programs for the truly impoverished makes sense at the state level.

Social Security should be replaced by a voluntary, privatized pension system with private accounts administered by competing corporations with limited federal oversight to guard against excessively risky investment schemes. People should be able to choose how much they wish to save, if anything, and the money they put away should be theirs, not their government's to squander as with the dying Socialist scheme we now have.

Medicare should be replaced by free market choice in insurance with limited federal oversight that establishes competition across state lines and sets some coverage minimums.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
besson3c
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Feb 21, 2010, 08:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
No government at any level in America should be in the business of directly controlling and administering retirement benefits for the masses. At the very most small, defined, capped and time-limited programs for the truly impoverished makes sense at the state level.

Social Security should be replaced by a voluntary, privatized pension system with private accounts administered by competing corporations with limited federal oversight to guard against excessively risky investment schemes. People should be able to choose how much they wish to save, if anything, and the money they put away should be theirs, not their government's to squander as with the dying Socialist scheme we now have.

Medicare should be replaced by free market choice in insurance with limited federal oversight that establishes competition across state lines and sets some coverage minimums.

Both of your replacement propositions sound reasonable, although I think you put too much faith in people to make wise investment choices at the expense of everybody else. What do you do with the people who don't put anything into their SS accounts and instead build themselves a house made out of gummy bears, and then don't have enough money to retire?

I would also think that we need these programs in place *before* we start pushing this off to the States.

I'm not convinced that politicians on both sides are really interested in health care reform that is best for the largest number of people, whether it be your ideas or any others.
     
OldManMac
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Feb 22, 2010, 12:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Social Security should be replaced by a voluntary, privatized pension system with private accounts administered by competing corporations with limited federal oversight to guard against excessively risky investment schemes.

Medicare should be replaced by free market choice in insurance with limited federal oversight that establishes competition across state lines and sets some coverage minimums.
Gotcha. You must be talking about things like our banks inventing useless collateralized debt obligations, and we all know how that went. Limited government oversight is what got us into the mess we're in, with the housing bubble, and the soon to be commercial real estate bust. I hate to break it to you, but there are people out there who don't give a shit about you and me; they're only out to play shell games, and if they screw a few million people in the process, they somehow still manage to sleep well at night, while going to the government trough and asking for bailouts.
     
Big Mac  (op)
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Feb 22, 2010, 01:05 AM
 
And you think more government regulation would have saved us from the most recent financial crisis? More regulation like the CRA? More government control like we have with Fannie and Freddie and the likes of Franklin Raines? Face it, OldManMac, the colossal federal government that you apparently laud is a far bigger aider and abetter of fraud against the American people than the worst private sector crooks. As a ponzi scheme Social Security dwarfs Bernie Madoff's fraud many times over.

The answer isn't bigger government and more government control. The answer is more private competition to deliver superior services to the customer coupled with better oversight - and oversight should be performed not only by governments but also by private consumer protection organizations.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
smacintush
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Feb 22, 2010, 02:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The States have been free to reform their on health care for years, nothing was stopping them, some of them did (Mass, Hawaii, Vermont, etc.) However, how do you run a program like Medicare or Social Security at the state level? What happens if you move out of that state and the new state does not have a SS or Medicare equivalent, do you get a check back or something for all of the money you put into a system that is no longer relevant to you? In the case of one of these entitlements, that is a lot of money. Knowing that you are not big on entitlements, what do we replace these with?
First, you have to get this fantasy out of your head that you are "paying into" some program where you get some kind of return on investment. It's a TAX. They extort money from you and do as they please with it. This is how it works now and this is how it works with a state. How does it work with other forms of state run welfare systems now?

Now, if you are talking about a system where you actually INVEST money in order to get a greater return later such as a quasi-private system then it would depend. If the states allow it you could transfer. If they don't you roll it into an IRA or something like we do with 401(k)s now, it could be kept invested in the state system as-is and collected at the appropriate age sort of like a pension program. Also, if you simply MUST get the federal goverment involved with YOUR money you could expand FDIC to cover qualifying state program on case of a REAL economic disaster that would wipe you out when it's too late in life to recover. Then again, you liberal types don't like privatization very much do you? I guess the small risk of temporarily losing part of the investment is somehow worse than a system that creates $100T in unfunded liabilities and threatens to collapse the system.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in favor of privatized SS either. I just come at it from the other side. It's the goverment that has no place on such affairs IMO and any such scheme would be at least partially goverment controlled.

Some things have to be coordinated at the national level. While we can have a valid debate about what should and shouldn't be, and while I'd agree with you on many points, I can't agree with this blanket statement.
Some things do, but this isn't one of them. The list is incredibly small IMO. The only limitation is the people over-reliance and undeserved trust of the federal goverment.
( Last edited by smacintush; Feb 22, 2010 at 02:36 AM. )
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besson3c
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Feb 22, 2010, 02:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
First, you have to get this fantasy out of your head that you are "paying into" some program where you get some kind of return on investment. It's a TAX. They extort money from you and do as they please with it. This is how it works now and this is how it works with a state. How does it work with other forms of state run welfare systems now?
Old people utilizing Medicare is a fact, no? People getting social security checks, the same. Perhaps it is not a *great* return on investment, but it is not a tax either.

Now, if you are talking about a system where you actually INVEST money in order to get a greater return later such as a quasi-private system then it would depend. If the states allow it you could transfer. If they don't you roll it into an IRA or something like we do with 401(k)s now, it could be kept invested in the state system as-is and collected at the appropriate age sort of like a pension program. Also, if you simply MUST get the federal goverment involved with YOUR money you could expand FDIC to cover qualifying state program on case of a REAL economic disaster that would wipe you out when it's too late in life to recover. Then again, you liberal types don't like privatization very much do you? I guess the small risk of temporarily losing part of the investment is somehow worse than a system that creates $100T in unfunded liabilities and threatens to collapse the system.
I'm not necessarily against private programs replacing some or all of our various entitlement programs, I was just taking exception to the idea that we can remove the federal government entirely. We'd still need oversight of these programs, and since many of these companies will no doubt have jurisdiction across state lines it makes sense for this oversight to be controlled at the federal level where it can be best coordinated.
     
smacintush
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Feb 22, 2010, 02:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Old people utilizing Medicare is a fact, no? People getting social security checks, the same. Perhaps it is not a *great* return on investment, but it is not a tax either.
By that definition you can say that almost anything is not a tax. Property taxes supposedly go to schools. It's not a tax...it's tuition! Gas taxes supposedly go to pay for roads. Why...that's just trading my money for a service. Like hiring someone to pave my driveway! It's not a tax either!

Here's a clue: it's mandatory and it's not a fee or a fine. It's not a "contribution". It's a tax, pure and simple. The fact that it comes in the form of a check or direct payment of personal services doesn't change that. It's still goverment mandated payments to pay for programs whether you like them or not.

I'm not necessarily against private programs replacing some or all of our various entitlement programs, I was just taking exception to the idea that we can remove the federal government entirely. We'd still need oversight of these programs, and since many of these companies will no doubt have jurisdiction across state lines it makes sense for this oversight to be controlled at the federal level where it can be best coordinated.[/QUOTE]

I guess if you insist that it work EXACTLY like the current SS system you may be right. It's pretty hard to find another entity who can make a mess quite like the federal government.
Being in debt and celebrating a lower deficit is like being on a diet and celebrating the fact you gained two pounds this week instead of five.
     
besson3c
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Feb 22, 2010, 03:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
By that definition you can say that almost anything is not a tax. Property taxes supposedly go to schools. It's not a tax...it's tuition! Gas taxes supposedly go to pay for roads. Why...that's just trading my money for a service. Like hiring someone to pave my driveway! It's not a tax either!

Here's a clue: it's mandatory and it's not a fee or a fine. It's not a "contribution". It's a tax, pure and simple. The fact that it comes in the form of a check or direct payment of personal services doesn't change that. It's still goverment mandated payments to pay for programs whether you like them or not.
Sorry, I'm just trying to be accurate here.

Your thinking is that it is a tax because it is mandatory and you do not wish to pay for or support these entitlements. Fair enough, but there are people who support Medicare and are not against paying for it.

Part of our tax dollars in theory go toward services that we may benefit from, but part of them also go to paying politician's salaries, and paying for things in indirect ways (such as property taxes) that nobody really wants to pay for or benefits from (except living legally) but many consider a necessary evil. Medicare is a service paid for with our tax dollars. Just because you don't like it doesn't make it accurate to classify as a tax.
     
smacintush
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Feb 22, 2010, 03:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Old people utilizing Medicare is a fact, no? People getting social security checks, the same. Perhaps it is not a *great* return on investment, but it is not a tax either.
By that definition you can say that almost anything is not a tax. Property taxes supposedly go to schools. It's not a tax...it's tuition! Gas taxes supposedly go to pay for roads. Why...that's just trading my money for a service. Like hiring someone to pave my driveway! It's not a tax either!

Here's a clue: it's mandatory and it's not a fee or a fine. It's not a "contribution". It's a tax, pure and simple. The fact that it comes in the form of a check or direct payment of personal services doesn't change that. It's still goverment mandated payments to pay for programs whether you like them or not.

I'm not necessarily against private programs replacing some or all of our various entitlement programs, I was just taking exception to the idea that we can remove the federal government entirely. We'd still need oversight of these programs, and since many of these companies will no doubt have jurisdiction across state lines it makes sense for this oversight to be controlled at the federal level where it can be best coordinated.
I guess if you insist that it work EXACTLY like the current SS system you may be right. It's pretty hard to find another entity who can make a mess quite like the federal government.
( Last edited by smacintush; Feb 22, 2010 at 03:29 AM. )
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Feb 22, 2010, 03:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
Well? What about those things?

You seem to be deliberately ignoring the complete and utter fact that persons with a particular race, or particular gender could not succeed at even recent points in your country's history.
First off, that's not even remotely true, and just illustrates you're operating from some shallow definition of success. You're honestly, with a straight face trying to present it as 'fact' that no minority or female was ever self-sufficient and led a successful life, due to racism or sexism or anything else? Talk about an extremely warped and pessimistic outlook. I would think such a ridiculous view would even be insulting to minorities and women, and a huge pat on the back "job well done!" to racists and bigots. It's patently absurd. You really think this way?

You libs have such a tendency to take the fact that the past wasn't some perfect rose-colored fantasy (which in and of itself is a distortion, because no one believes it was) and go overboard by casting everything in the darkest, most negative light possible, with their being absolutely nothing at all redeeming or worthwhile about either the past, or concepts and ideas that originated in the past. It's all part of that deep-rooted cynicism I was talking about. You guys warp everything in the complete opposite direction- everybody was either pure evil, or a pure victim in the past. All history (if you even bother to know it) becomes some distortion of pure evil vs. pure victimhood, with everyone either the enslaver or the enslaved.


No matter if they had "the drive, will, ambition, etc." as you put it - they would not and could not succeed, because they were not allowed to succeed.
I listed the most important element as not being prevented from succeeding by narrow-minded busybodies. Those take many forms.

Is this the case today? Certainly not so much, although I don't think there can be any doubt that there is some lingering legacy. But the fact that it was the case is what's responsible for much of the affirmative-action programs that many are so against. Those are historical legacies.
Yes, but how long does one keep clinging to the past as a bludgeon to keep people believing they can't succeed in the present and future? What real point does all the cynicism do? In my own experience, the people I've met who most believe that minorities and women can't succeed, are always liberals. Always. And it seems to bring liberals great joy to browbeat minorities with that message: "Hey, you can't succeed! You need government to do it for you! The past was terrible, and now you're doomed because of it!"

Really, what is the point of all that? At what point do we say, "The past is in the past, now let's move forward, starting right now, with THIS generation." What does it serve to keep droning on about past injustices as if they can never be overcome? Why even think that way? It's totally alien to me, but it seems to be a deeply clung-to belief of liberals that I honestly think part of you will be unhappy to ever let go of. I don't understand that mindset, never will.

Look at the incredibly vast sums of money that subsidize modern American agriculture; there are literally billions of dollars that are handed out to this industry on a yearly basis. I've never seen anyone crying about that on this board.

greg
Actually it's been gone over many times. The conservative position is pretty consistent that it's not the role of the government to be bailing anyone out, rather, it needs to stay out of most people's way.
( Last edited by CRASH HARDDRIVE; Feb 22, 2010 at 03:31 AM. )
     
 
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