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Why government regulation doesn't work
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turtle777
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Jun 14, 2010, 01:59 PM
 
Great opinion piece in the WSJ today.

It's bipartisan, blaming Dems and Reps alike for failed regulations.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...LEFTTopStories

Obviously, regulation failed. By all accounts, MMS [Minerals Management Service] operated as a rubber stamp for BP. It is a striking example of regulatory capture: Agencies tasked with protecting the public interest come to identify with the regulated industry and protect its interests against that of the public. The result: Government fails to protect the public. That conclusion is precisely the same for the financial services industry.

Financial services have long been subject to detailed regulation by multiple agencies. In his book on the financial crisis, "Jimmy Stewart is Dead," Boston University Professor Laurence Kotlikoff counts over 115 regulatory agencies for financial services. If more hands in the pot helped, financial services would be in fine shape. Few believe such is the case.
115 regulatory agencies ? WTF ?

Can you imagine how much tax payers money is wasted on this ?
All the directors and senior staff members that get paid hundreds of thousands of $ per year, bascially for sitting on their asses and doing nothing.

I like the ending of the WSJ piece:

Brazil has a simple rule for directors of failed banks: They are personally liable. That concentrates the mind of directors on reining in risk-taking by management more effectively than would creating a systemic-risk regulator.
I completely agree with the main argument: more regulation doesn't do any good.
We need smarter, simpler and generally less regulation to have effective and efficient regulation.

Regulation really has become a Big Government power grab.

Comments ?

-t
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:06 PM
 
The 115 regulatory agencies are in financial services, but I would suggest that this not be conflated with regulators who inspect our food, the toys that kids play with, stuff like that. I don't know whether this is true or not, but it could be true that regulation is a complete mess in some areas such as financial services yet fully functional and effective in another. Or not, but the point is that regulation is not some monolithic thing that is equal and comparable in all industries.

I'm also starting to believe that the answer is never best framed as "less" or "more" regulation, but in coming up with better structures to the systems that we depend on. If you keep on "repairing" broken structures with patchwork legislation you require more regulators to oversee that loopholes are not being exploited when the better solution is probably to come up with better legislation that does not have these loopholes in the first place. The problem is, we do not have the fortitude to rip apart structures and rewrite them from the ground up like an OS X app rewrite in Cocoa or something

All of this is a very old and complex issue that does not have a simplistic answer for either side to go off on simplistic emotional diatribes about in a fair and accurate way. The subject of this thread is at least somewhat bogus.
     
turtle777  (op)
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The 115 regulatory agencies are in financial services, but I would suggest that this not be conflated with regulators who inspect our food, the toys that kids play with, stuff like that. I don't know whether this is true or not, but it could be true that regulation is a complete mess in some areas such as financial services yet fully functional and effective in another. Or not, but the point is that regulation is not some monolithic thing that is equal and comparable in all industries.
I'm not sure, because I haven't done much research on the effectiveness of the EPA and FDA.

I remember some pretty ridiculous stories regarding the EPA and kids toys, where it basically boiled down to protectionist measures against foreign toy manufacturers.

Also, looking at the FDA, it doesn't seem like the current process of approving new medicines and treatment is always very efficient. That has in part to do with the broken legal system in the US, which allows for big paydays for frivolous lawsuits.

-t
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:14 PM
 
Turtle, I would also say that if you feel that government is becoming a big power grab that you look at corporations too, which have grown seemingly more and more aggressive and powerful too in recent years. That the government is allowed to become big via some people's perspective or in some parts of this country is probably in response to corporate America, at least in the minds of voters.

In other words, if you really want to solve these sorts of problems, doing stuff like reforming the banking industry so that we don't have to bail them out again, rethinking our anti-trust laws and how they are enforced, preventing accounting fraud and other forms of abuse, eliminating sleazy political lobbyists, etc. will certainly help a great deal. Obviously there is no way to completely eliminate forms of fraud and abuse, but a more concerted attempt to do so in the eyes of voters at least will help.

While distrust of government is and continues to be low, distrust of a company like BP is also low.
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I'm not sure, because I haven't done much research on the effectiveness of the EPA and FDA.

I remember some pretty ridiculous stories regarding the EPA and kids toys, where it basically boiled down to protectionist measures against foreign toy manufacturers.

Also, looking at the FDA, it doesn't seem like the current process of approving new medicines and treatment is always very efficient. That has in part to do with the broken legal system in the US, which allows for big paydays for frivolous lawsuits.

-t


See my next post about corporate America. Frivolous lawsuits and protection against lawsuits are another thing that could probably stand to be addressed that, if done properly, would probably reduce the justification for big government regulation in the minds of voters.
     
turtle777  (op)
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Turtle, I would also say that if you feel that government is becoming a big power grab that you look at corporations too, which have gotten seemingly more and more aggressive and powerful too. That the government is allowed to become big via some people's perspective or in some parts of this country is probably in response to corporate America, at least in the minds of voters.
Let's not forget: what allowed a lot of the banks and other financial companies become "too big to fail" was the government.

Like Clinton repealing Glass-Steagall. Or the Democrats making Fannie and Freddie the clusterf*ck they are.
Or bailing out banks that deserved to go bankrupt.

Other example: what keeps big companies like GM and Chrysler in business, although they are inept and lost billions of $ ? The government.

Again, if you look at it, government almost always makes things worse, not better.

-t
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Let's not forget: what allowed a lot of the banks and other financial companies become "too big to fail" was the government.

Like Clinton repealing Glass-Steagall. Or the Democrats making Fannie and Freddie the clusterf*ck they are.
Or bailing out banks that deserved to go bankrupt.

Other example: what keeps big companies like GM and Chrysler in business, although they are inept and lost billions of $ ? The government.

Again, if you look at it, government almost always makes things worse, not better.

-t


Right, but my point is that you can't really solve these problems by ignoring one and going after the other, the two work in tandem. For instance, Wells Fargo has something like a 300% debt to cash ratio. Being too big to fail is a political problem, but failing (by having debt like this as a bank) is also a problem.
     
Big Mac
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:42 PM
 
What failure of government allowed banks to become so indebted so as to collapse? Oh yeah, the Fed, the massive bureaucracies charges with regulating Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae, the FTC. Congress for enabling the behavior, certain Congressmen for proclaiming these things were solvent and that it was time to "roll the dice" to get more irresponsible loans out there. Congress and the president for creating a culture of ballouts. I know I'm missing some.

Thousands of regulations and thousands of regulators obviously don't solve the problem. More government obviously doesn't solve the problem.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
turtle777  (op)
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Being too big to fail is a political problem, but failing (by having debt like this as a bank) is also a problem.
Right.

But unless you're a politician or brain damaged, you would recognize that kicking the can down the road doesn't make anything better. Only politicians get rewarded for papering over the current problems, in hope to make it through just one more election.

But, to be fair, this IS in part the constituents fault. If they elect those morons, what else can be done ?

-t
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
What failure of government allowed banks to become so indebted so as to collapse? Oh yeah, the Fed, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the FTC. Congress for enabling the behavior, certain Congressmen for proclaiming these things were solvent and that it was time to "roll the dice" to get more irresponsible loans out there. Congress and the president for creating a culture of ballouts.

Thousands of regulations and thousands of regulators obviously don't solve the problem.

Also, the structure of our banking system and its infinite complexity. It has only been 10 years or so since banks have operated semi-nationally. Why is it only these big banks that have been failing while the smaller ones and credit unions for the most part have been doing fine?
     
turtle777  (op)
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Why is it only these big banks that have been failing while the smaller ones and credit unions for the most part have been doing fine?
Incentives.

Their executives don't get big paychecks for gambling with the houses money.
And since the execs of the big Wall Street firms are not liable for the losses, it's a sure thing that they will gamble.

And here is another secret: the smaller banks and credit unions know that they will NOT get a bailout.
If they mismanage, they go broke and are "sold" to another bank.
Hence, they are more prudent.

It's pretty clear to me that many politicians don't understand what "moral hazard" really means. They talk about it, and then act exactly the opposing way.

-t
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Right.

But unless you're a politician or brain damaged, you would recognize that kicking the can down the road doesn't make anything better. Only politicians get rewarded for papering over the current problems, in hope to make it through just one more election.

But, to be fair, this IS in part the constituents fault. If they elect those morons, what else can be done ?

-t

It is the politicians fault for not making necessary reforms, you are right, but the public has been programmed into generally not being up for big change, and the companies will fight you tooth and nail. You also have corruption in government in the form of financial kickbacks, lobbyists, pandering towards certain special interest groups, a generally politically apathetic public, an ineffective mass media that some would say is in bed with government, and elections and re-elections.

To be fair, it's a giant cluster****, isn't it?
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Incentives.

Their executives don't get big paychecks for gambling with the houses money.
And since the execs of the big Wall Street firms are not liable for the losses, it's a sure thing that they will gamble.

-t

Well, again, the bank bail out and semi-national bank thing is still a pretty new thing, in the last 10 years or so.
     
turtle777  (op)
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:52 PM
 
I say let the big banks go broke.

It'll hurt now, but be very liberating and beneficial for our future.

-t
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 02:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I say let the big banks go broke.

It'll hurt now, but be very liberating and beneficial for our future.

-t

Do you think it was a mistake to allow them to go semi-national? The most successful of these banks in terms of their market cap still have massive debt to cash ratios, compared to, say, the Royal Bank of Canada which comes in at #3 in North America in market cap. Point being, their success is sort of with big caveats.
     
turtle777  (op)
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Jun 14, 2010, 03:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Do you think it was a mistake to allow them to go semi-national?.
Not necessarily.

If they were able to do it in a way to have a sustainable business, I'm all for it.

But if "going national" means that they become too big to fail, and dependent on government handouts and bailouts, then I'll say "hell no".

-t
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 03:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Not necessarily.

If they were able to do it in a way to have a sustainable business, I'm all for it.

But if "going national" means that they become too big to fail, and dependent on government handouts and bailouts, then I'll say "hell no".

-t

Well, most of them were not able to succeed without these sorts of high debt caveats: Canada vs. U.S. - Whose Banks Are Safer? -- Seeking Alpha
     
Big Mac
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Jun 14, 2010, 03:18 PM
 
It seems to me, based on experience, that at a certain point banks have to be inhibited from growing too large because if they are allowed to grow beyond that threshold they automatically become too big to fail. The Fed knows which banks it deems at risk, so it can guide Congress in imposing such thresholds. Of course the danger in preventing mega-banks from forming is that they'll just move to a country with laxer regulations, but at least in that case some other country gets hit by the debt when a failed mega-bank gets its inevitable bailout.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 03:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
It seems to me, based on experience, that at a certain point banks have to be inhibited from growing too large because if they are allowed to grow beyond that threshold they automatically become too big to fail. The Fed knows which banks it deems at risk, so it can guide Congress in imposing such thresholds. Of course the danger in preventing mega-banks from forming is that they'll just move to a country with laxer regulations, but at least in that case some other country gets hit by the debt when a failed mega-bank gets its inevitable bailout.

The Royal Bank of Canada is bigger in market cap than several American banks including Bank of America and Citi, and it is doing fine: Canada vs. U.S. - Whose Banks Are Safer? -- Seeking Alpha . The pertinent question is, how did they manage to grow to where they were? What sort of investments were the taking on? What sorts of money were they lending, and to whom?
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 03:37 PM
 
We're wondering why government regulation doesn't work? Really?
Here's a clue:

Those that can, do.
Those that can't, teach.
Those that can't teach, criticise.
The rest live on benefits.
The few that are left go into politics.

In case you need it clearer: YOUR GOVERNMENT* IS FULL OF MORONS.


(* No matter what country you're in.)
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Big Mac
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Jun 14, 2010, 03:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The Royal Bank of Canada is bigger in market cap than several American banks including Bank of America and Citi, and it is doing fine: Canada vs. U.S. - Whose Banks Are Safer? -- Seeking Alpha . The pertinent question is, how did they manage to grow to where they were? What sort of investments were the taking on? What sorts of money were they lending, and to whom?
Congratulations to RBC, then. There are some things we can learn from Canada. Most people wrongly think we should be taking cues from Canada's failing health care system, but if your analysis is right then we could learn from Canadian banking regulation. (I've also heard from conservatives that there's more primary school choice in Canada than here.) Of course, Canada didn't have its legislature participate in a corrupt sub-prime loan housing bubble, right? That's definitely a major part of the equation.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 03:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Those that can, do.
Those that can't, teach.

You're really infatuated with this adage, aren't you?

It's not true though. Teaching and doing are completely different skill sets. There are many great doers that can't teach, and great teachers that can't do as you rightly point out, but in these cases this is because they lack this skill set of haven't bothered to develop it, because there are also people, albeit rare, that have done both exceedingly well.
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 03:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Congratulations to RBC, then. There are some things we can learn from Canada. Most people wrongly think we should be taking cues from Canada's failing health care system, but if your analysis is right then we could learn from Canadian banking regulation. (I've also heard from conservatives that there's more primary school choice in Canada than here.) Of course, Canada didn't have its legislature participate in a corrupt sub-prime loan housing bubble, right? That's definitely a major part of the equation.

How many Canadians do you know, Big Mac? Do you base your assessment of Canada's health care system on anything other than the stuff you read, which I would expect to be right wing biased since you do not seem intellectually curious about anything else?

This statement aside, you are still right because Canada's system is a single payer system and contrasts enough with where we ended up in health care reform to not make it a particularly good example to compare against.

Why did banks and regulators go along with the sub-prime stuff here and not in Canada? I don't know, but I'm willing to bet it has something to do with the complex structure of our banking system here making them willing to take the risk that they'll get away with something like this.
     
Doofy
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Jun 14, 2010, 03:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
You're really infatuated with this adage, aren't you?

It's not true though.
Yes it is.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Teaching and doing are completely different skill sets. There are many great doers that can't teach, and great teachers that can't do as you rightly point out, but in these cases this is because they lack this skill set of haven't bothered to develop it, because there are also people, albeit rare, that have done both exceedingly well.
Hi Bess. Ex professor here, remember. Kinda know what I'm talking about.
Yes, there are odd exceptions (me, for example), but in general the adage stands - because the skill set needed to make money in a particular subject in the real world is usually absent in those who teach it. Knowledge, yes. Application of knowledge with regard to putting beer in the fridge, no.

Same with your politicians. Morons, the lot of them.
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besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 04:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Hi Bess. Ex professor here, remember. Kinda know what I'm talking about.
You are definitely an expert on taking arrogance to new heights. Being an ex professor means you can account for teachers all over the world in all professions? Don't forget that I'm a jazz musician and that a great many of us rely on academia and teaching gigs as an income supplement. Maybe I kinda know a little bit too, and kinda enough to have a valid opinion on the matter?

Yes, there are odd exceptions (me, for example), but in general the adage stands - because the skill set needed to make money in a particular subject in the real world is usually absent in those who teach it. Knowledge, yes. Application of knowledge with regard to putting beer in the fridge, no.
This is a completely bogus argument. Commercial success and undeniable success at a craft have never gone hand in hand. There are all sorts of arts and artists who are insanely good at what they do and cannot become the commercial success that a rock star like yourself has enjoyed, in large part because no matter how good you become, the market for, say, classical music is just different (and lesser) than the market you work in. How many household name classical musicians can you name? Do you think they see a fraction of what somebody like Bono, Sting, Snoop Dogg, or whomever has come across? The same goes for many painters, quilters, weavers, sculptors, whatever. This is reality. No matter how ingenious you are at making money do you think some big deal sculptor is every going to approach Snoop Dogg money?
     
turtle777  (op)
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Jun 14, 2010, 04:20 PM
 
Well, one can argue about how Doofy arrives at his conclusion, but in the end ("Same with your politicians. Morons, the lot of them.", he's right.

-t
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 04:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Well, one can argue about how Doofy arrives at his conclusion, but in the end ("Same with your politicians. Morons, the lot of them.", he's right.

-t

I don't even agree with that. I think the politicians that are in their field for the right reasons and are really good at getting stuff done are *vastly* overshadowed by those that are morons, and that the entire game has become a moron's game with a moron's set of rules, but I can't believe that in the history of America or the world in general (I'm assuming Doofy feels the same way about other governments) that there has never been a political leader that wasn't a moron.
     
turtle777  (op)
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Jun 14, 2010, 04:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I don't even agree with that. I think the politicians that are in their field for the right reasons and are really good at getting stuff done are *vastly* overshadowed by those that are morons, and that the entire game has become a moron's game with a moron's set of rules, but I can't believe that in the history of America or the world in general (I'm assuming Doofy feels the same way about other governments) that there has never been a political leader that wasn't a moron.
Oh, I don't think Doofy would say that it was ALWAYS the case.

There were great politicians and leaders in the past, like Winston Churchill.

But (how ironic), Obama returned a bust of Winston Churchill back to Britain.
Barack Obama sends bust of Winston Churchill on its way back to Britain - Telegraph

I guess he felt a bit inferior in the presence of greatness

-t
     
besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 04:40 PM
 
Turtle, you are really a broken record

People used to tease you about going on about the MacNN hamsptor, but now I think that the government sucking has become your new MacNN hampstor. We get it! I think you've surpassed my bore thing, perhaps you need your own MacNN censor?

Have you noticed that the vast majority of people don't disagree with your assessment? Some might disagree with how you got there and may be interested in some more accuracy in particular cases, but I'd be surprised if you could find a single MacNN member that feels that this or any government of our generation has been filled with glorious shining examples of leadership, competence, and/or moral righteousness.

The funny thing is, I find that just about every time you go back to listen to interviews or read stuff from the past, the supposed time where everything was better and problems were less, you'll find people bitching about the same sorts of things we are. I wouldn't be surprised if your feelings about this or any other government are pretty much timeless, and ditto for the corporation, the decline of ___, our culture, our merchandise, or whatever.

Therefore, learn some new tricks
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 04:46 PM
 
Sir, put down the smiley and back away slowly.
     
turtle777  (op)
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Jun 14, 2010, 04:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Therefore, learn some new tricks
You mean, like, talking about poop ?

-t
     
Big Mac
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Jun 14, 2010, 04:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
How many Canadians do you know, Big Mac? Do you base your assessment of Canada's health care system on anything other than the stuff you read, which I would expect to be right wing biased since you do not seem intellectually curious about anything else?
I know a few. My father was born Canadian and couldn't wait to become an American. His family moved to America when he was 16, and he went into the Air Force to speed up the citizenship process.

Other than that, I've known a few. I've known expat Candians to be very stuck up and arrogant about the superiority of various aspects of Canadian life, virtues they love to extol but virtues that for some reason weren't strong enough for them to remain there in Canada. They love to talk about how great the Canadian educational system is, or how great Canadian Socialized medicine is, but for some strange reason they find themselves south of their border. And of course, when I've investigated their claims I've found that they're mostly hollow, and again, if Canada were really that much better than America, why did they leave? I ask that question to you because I'm also describing you, besson.

As for the cheap shot about me not being intellectually curious, if you mean I don't or have never investigated how other countries deliver goods and services to their people to see what works well and what does not, then you're wrong. I can assure you that Canada aside (which I'm not an expert in necessarily), in attaining a political science degree I've studied such things far more than you have. Now if by intellectual curiosity you mean self-brainwashing with the kind of leftist propaganda you most likely indulge in, then no, by that standard I'm not intellectually curious.

This statement aside, you are still right because Canada's system is a single payer system and contrasts enough with where we ended up in health care reform to not make it a particularly good example to compare against.
Isn't it failing? Aren't Canadians trying to figure out how to bring the free market into their health care equation because government health care is giong bust? Didn't a Canadian court find that Canadian health care is a violation of Canadian rights? Seriously?

Why did banks and regulators go along with the sub-prime stuff here and not in Canada? I don't know, but I'm willing to bet it has something to do with the complex structure of our banking system here making them willing to take the risk that they'll get away with something like this.
Oh, I definitely agree with you there (we can agree!) - US government, laws, regulations, regulators, etc. all of it is far too big and complex. I know someone in history said something along the lines of: As a country's laws increase justice decreases. That is absolutely the case. The Internal Revenue Code is so bloated, complex and corrupt that there's no way to comply with every letter of it. I'm sure bank regulations are the same way. Plus, every time there's a scandal - usually government caused - a whole new set of laws and regulations are thrown into the mix. There's a huge regulatory bureaucracy charged with regulating Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and those employees are apparently getting paid for absolutely nothing. SarbOx that was enacted post-Enron certainly didn't help us avert near market collapse just a few years later. The new financial reform bill that Congress just recently passed apparently doesn't mention Freddie or Fannie. I don't even know what key reforms the new law put in place - I doubt members of Congress could explain it either - and I highly doubt it will prevent the next looming financial crisis.

If we don't demand and get sweeping government reform soon in this country, based on the concepts of limited, efficient, Constitutional government, America deserves to fail.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Jun 14, 2010 at 05:17 PM. )

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Jun 14, 2010, 04:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
You are definitely an expert on taking arrogance to new heights. Being an ex professor means you can account for teachers all over the world in all professions? Don't forget that I'm a jazz musician and that a great many of us rely on academia and teaching gigs as an income supplement. Maybe I kinda know a little bit too, and kinda enough to have a valid opinion on the matter?
Jazz doesn't count Bess. We're talking about proper subjects here.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
This is a completely bogus argument. Commercial success and undeniable success at a craft have never gone hand in hand.
Just like commercial success and government "success" have never gone hand in hand. Glad to see you're coming around to my way of thinking.
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Jun 14, 2010, 05:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I don't even agree with that. I think the politicians that are in their field for the right reasons and are really good at getting stuff done are *vastly* overshadowed by those that are morons, and that the entire game has become a moron's game with a moron's set of rules, but I can't believe that in the history of America or the world in general (I'm assuming Doofy feels the same way about other governments) that there has never been a political leader that wasn't a moron.
Why the need to assume? I've already said as much.
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Jun 14, 2010, 05:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Other than that, I've known a few. I've known expat Candians to be very stuck up and arrogant about the superiority of various aspects of Canadian life, virtues they love to extol but virtues that for some reason weren't strong enough for them to remain there in Canada. They love to talk about how great the Canadian educational system is, or how great Canadian Socialized medicine is, but for some strange reason they find themselves south of their border. And of course, when I've investigated their claims I've found that they're mostly hollow, and again, if Canada were really that much better than America, why did they leave? I ask that question to you because I'm also describing you, besson.
You are also dodging the original question. The behavior of the Canadians you happen to know is pretty irrelevant to this discussion, and not particularly interesting to me either. Putting me under your microscope is even less interesting.

As for the cheap shot about me not being intellectually curious, if you mean I don't or have never investigated how other countries deliver goods and services to their people to see what works well and what does not, then you're wrong. I can assure you that Canada aside (which I'm not an expert in necessarily), in attaining a political science degree I've studied such things far more than you have. Now if by intellectual curiosity you mean self-brainwashing with the kind of leftist propaganda you most likely indulge in, then no, by that standard I'm not intellectually curious.
You are not intellectual curious in any ideology other than your own, and this is essentially a nice way of accusing you of being narrow minded. In fact, I can understand how now you'd feel defensive enough to start attacking me in accusing me of being brainwashed by lefist propaganda, but I've noticed that you often get really defensive at really anything that challenges your world view. If you are so self-righteous about your positions, why the need to be so defensive?

The main reason I feel this way about you though (other than your admission that you refused to be exposed to ideology different than your own in College, but that's another story) is that I feel that what really makes you feel defensive is the leftist rhetoric you hear (or the right's presentation of it), as you have not demonstrated an understanding or interest in any of our viewpoints, nor have you been willing to characterize any viewpoints other than your own fairly.

You'll notice that I'm not suggesting that you adopt any viewpoints other than your own, but to not be curious as to what they really are to me is frankly intellectually laziness, with all due respect.

Isn't it failing? Aren't Canadians trying to figure out how to bring the free market into their health care equation because government health care is giong bust? Didn't a Canadian court find that Canadian health care is a violation of Canadian rights? Seriously?
Perhaps you need to start reading more than American-centric conservative stuff? There are plenty of Canadians (the vast majority, in fact) who are happy with their health care, there are many positive stories, and many people that would argue emphatically that it is not going "bust". I'm sure none of this can be valid though (even if it doesn't change your basic opinions about health care in this country), since this is not part of your ideological sphere...

If we don't demand and get sweeping government reform soon in this country, America deserves to fail.
Corporate practices reform too, because you can't fix one without looking at the other. The two are intertwined (which is part of the problem).
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 05:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Doofy View Post
Jazz doesn't count Bess. We're talking about proper subjects here.



Just like commercial success and government "success" have never gone hand in hand. Glad to see you're coming around to my way of thinking.

Why is it that whenever somebody disagrees with you you just have to give the appearance of having the upper hand by sort of turning your arguments into something humorous, divert, or do these weird semantic things? Why not just admit to being wrong about something every once in a while, in general? I'm not trying to back you into a corner over this particular thing, I don't really care about this particular argument, but some of us see it as a sign of strength when they see somebody else as able to recognize fallacy or a weakness or something. I'm wrong about all sorts of shit, I'm probably wrong about all of this!

I think you're awesome, but just to be constructive, you do come across as a little arrogant at times online. I think having a pet monkey has gone to your head.
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 05:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
You are also dodging the original question. The behavior of the Canadians you happen to know is pretty irrelevant to this discussion, and not particularly interesting to me either. Putting me under your microscope is even less interesting.
Even less interesting eh? It sounds like you want to probe and assail my character, but you don't want to give me the opportunity to do the same to you.

But you're right insofar as I did not answer your question about what types of sources of information in forming my opinions. I read big media, independent media. I read blogs I definitely read Seeking Alpha. I read anything that isn't blatantly left-wing biased, although I sometimes also read Daily Kos for laughs.

You are not intellectual curious in any ideology other than your own, and this is essentially a nice way of accusing you of being narrow minded. In fact, I can understand how now you'd feel defensive enough to start attacking me in accusing me of being brainwashed by lefist propaganda, but I've noticed that you often get really defensive at really anything that challenges your world view. If you are so self-righteous about your positions, why the need to be so defensive?
I think it's clear that you're far more narrow-minded than I, besson. Everything you've said about me in this excerpt can be applied to you. It's clear that we're both partisans, but whereas I embrace the fact that I'm right-wing you have trouble owning up to your own ideological bias. You're very much like President Obama - you try to paint your rivals as partisan hacks, but then you act in ways that show you are just as partisan as those you attack, if not more so.

The main reason I feel this way about you though (other than your admission that you refused to be exposed to ideology different than your own in College, but that's another story) is that I feel that what really makes you feel defensive is the leftist rhetoric you hear (or the right's presentation of it), as you have not demonstrated an understanding or interest in any of our viewpoints, nor have you been willing to characterize any viewpoints other than your own fairly.
I never said that I refuse to expose myself to divergent views and foreign ideologies. I have no trouble understanding leftist ideology, just as I have no difficulty rejecting most all of it as deficient. I give the left credit where credit is due. Iraq probably wasn't a necessary war. Bush mishandled the economy and spent far too much. The Patriot Act is destructive to liberty. Those are all things the left got right to varying degrees. Are you happy? Now that the left has its poster child in office, it shows its fecklessness. So many issues it once cared about when Bush was the target (like fiscal responsibility, remember Democrats campaigned on it!) are now strangely on the back-burner. The only thing that the left seems to fault Barack on is that he isn't left-wing enough for some of them.

Now do you, besson, ever give the right credit for anything? Are you ever willing to fairly characterize any right-wing viewpoints? And please don't tell me that it's unfair to turn your own argument against you - if you think it's valid to attack me and my intellectual integrity, then certainly turnabout is fair play.

You'll notice that I'm not suggesting that you adopt any viewpoints other than your own, but to not be curious as to what they really are to me is frankly intellectually laziness, with all due respect.
I don't perceive your comments as respectful at all, and maybe that means you think I don't deserve any respect. But regardless, once again the intellectual laziness you're accusing me of fits you far, far better. I won't mince words here: If all we had to go on about your persona was your political thoughts posted in this forum, I'd be able to easily qualify you as a dullard, besson. I can't characterize you in that fashion because of your technical expertise, but politically you're ignorant, naive and highly arrogant all at once.

Perhaps you need to start reading more than American-centric conservative stuff? There are plenty of Canadians (the vast majority, in fact) who are happy with their health care, there are many positive stories, and many people that would argue emphatically that it is not going "bust". I'm sure none of this can be valid though (even if it doesn't change your basic opinions about health care in this country), since this is not part of your ideological sphere...
Perhaps your outlook on Canadian health care is superior to mine. You lived there after all. Yet, the evidence I've seen paints a picture quite to the contrary. And as I said before, I think you Canadian expats have some vested interest in keeping rose colored glasses on when it comes to your former home, as a matter of national pride. There aren't too many things Canadians can take pride in, in comparison to America, so some of you seem to feel the urge to embellish the record in Canada's favor. That's just my take.

Corporate practices reform too, because you can't fix one without looking at the other. The two are intertwined (which is part of the problem).
I agree with you there. Special interests have been allowed to buy off and corrupt government. But it's not just big business. It's also big labor. It's also the senior citizen lobby. And at the root of it, big government got corrupt because we allowed big government in the first place. Constitutional government is too small, too limited in power, money and scope, too restrained by the rule of law, to be corrupted by big money because Constitutional government wouldn't be in the position to hand out the favors and special carve outs that our current, enormous governments hand out now.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Jun 14, 2010 at 05:58 PM. )

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besson3c
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Jun 14, 2010, 06:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Even less interesting eh? It sounds like you want to probe and assail my character, but you don't want to give me the opportunity to do the same to you.
You do this all the time such as when you said I was a poor debater, or the countless number of times you've accused me of reading leftist propaganda and being brainwashed by it and the like. I figured you wouldn't mind if I reciprocated, especially since I'm at least trying to be constructive?

I think it's clear that you're far more narrow-minded than I, besson. Everything you've said about me in this excerpt can be applied to you. It's clear that we're both partisans, but whereas I embrace the fact that I'm right-wing you have trouble owning up to your own ideological bias. You're very much like President Obama - you try to paint your rivals as partisan hacks, but then you act in ways that show you are just as partisan as those you attack, if not more so.
You don't get it, narrow-minded does not equate to being partisan, of course we both have our own biases. Narrow minded means that you are not *interested* in really listening to and intellectually entertaining ideology that is not your own. I've characterized positions on the right several times, and fairly accurately on several occasions, I've acknowledged the validity to several of these ideas, and I seek out understanding of what these positions are on this board. You don't care what I think about anything because you feel that nobody on this board on the left has anything to offer you, which is the difference.

You are welcome to pick any issue and characterize the moderate left position on this without the spin and without the rhetoric, if you can. I suspect that you are not able to differentiate between the rhetoric and the actual underlying belief, but go ahead if you wish to do so.

And as I said before, I think you Canadian expats have some vested interest in keeping rose colored glasses on when it comes to your former home, as a matter of national pride. There aren't too many things Canadians can take pride in, in comparison to America, so some of you seem to feel the urge to embellish the record in Canada's favor. That's just my take.
Relative to our population and power in the world based on these geographic and historic circumstances, sure we do! Sure some embellish the record, just as Americans embellish their record. That you feel the need to try to bring Canadians down a notch or two makes me wonder why you feel defensive? You seem a little defensive.


I agree with you there. Special interests have been allowed to buy off and corrupt government. But it's not just big business. It's also big labor. It's also the senior citizen lobby. And at the root of it, big government got corrupt because we allowed big government in the first place. Constitutional government is too small, too limited in power, money and scope, too restrained by the rule of law, to be corrupted by big money because Constitutional government wouldn't be in the position to hand out the favors and special carve outs that our current, enormous governments hand out now.
I don't think you do agree, because you are distilling this down to the "root of it, big government", and I'm saying that you can't - the two entities are intertwined. Big government exists largely because of or as a result of big corporate interests, and vice versa.
( Last edited by besson3c; Jun 14, 2010 at 06:17 PM. )
     
turtle777  (op)
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Jun 14, 2010, 06:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I think having a pet monkey has gone to your head.
Wait, is that what Doofy considers you ?
I kid, i kid ;-]
-t
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 06:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Wait, is that what Doofy considers you ?
I kid, i kid ;-]
-t

Maybe, but I was actually talking about his actual pet monkey, Blair (named after a certain British PM)...
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 06:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Maybe, but I was actually talking about his actual pet monkey, Blair (named after a certain British PM)...
Ah, I see.

When Blair left office, I didn't know eh left for Doofy's head. Good to know.

-t
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 06:51 PM
 
Well, actually rock stars owning pet monkeys is pretty common...
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 07:06 PM
 
Ah, and when they spank the monkey, they actually literally mean it

-t
     
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Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Ah, and when they spank the monkey, they actually literally mean it

-t

Only the has-been rock stars have to spank their own monkeys, the big ones usually get their monkeys spanked in cocaine enhanced orgies.

See what I did here?
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 07:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
There aren't too many things Canadians can take pride in, in comparison to America, so some of you seem to feel the urge to embellish the record in Canada's favor. That's just my take.
Care to list some of the things Americans "can take pride in"?

In other words, what are some of the distinctly American behaviors/traits/accomplishments that would make an American say "I am proud to be an American"?

(A simple list will suffice.)
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Jun 14, 2010, 08:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
Care to list some of the things Americans "can take pride in"?

In other words, what are some of the distinctly American behaviors/traits/accomplishments that would make an American say "I am proud to be an American"?

(A simple list will suffice.)

That's an interesting question! Can others answer too?
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 08:38 PM
 
The real problem, which none of us will admit, is that we just plain don't give a damn unless something affects us directly. We don't contact our representatives and we don't organize our neighbors, family, and friends, until we are directly affected. Then, when it's too late, which it is for this country (IMO), some of us gather around the water cooler, bitch, and then stop at the bar on the way home, to drown our misery. It's a tired old cliche, but we get the government we deserve.
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 08:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by OldManMac View Post
The real problem, which none of us will admit, is that we just plain don't give a damn unless something affects us directly. We don't contact our representatives and we don't organize our neighbors, family, and friends, until we are directly affected. Then, when it's too late, which it is for this country (IMO), some of us gather around the water cooler, bitch, and then stop at the bar on the way home, to drown our misery. It's a tired old cliche, but we get the government we deserve.

I agree. I think the rhetoric has grown to far surpass the actual issues, and I think that the public does not demand enough from the media.

Everybody bitches about whether the media is left or right, how fair they are, blah blah, but I don't think that really matters much. When the public is more concerned about whether Sarah Palin got herself a boob job, and are satisfied with little news sound bytes and infotainment that are seemingly designed for people with ADD, you simply cannot elevate culture to do more than you are describing with such limited access to substantive information, no matter what the bias. I'll take a far right wing NPR or PBS over Fox News as it stands any day, because at least there would be an attempt to provide substantive information with the NPR/PBS coverage.
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 08:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
Care to list some of the things Americans "can take pride in"?

In other words, what are some of the distinctly American behaviors/traits/accomplishments that would make an American say "I am proud to be an American"?

(A simple list will suffice.)
The USA a (was ?) meritocracy - anyone with hard work and a good idea can make "it", there are no restrictions based on your social standing.

You know, the old "from rags to riches", it's what millions of people come for to America.

I have yet to hear some Indian or Chinese dude say "I'm going to Canada to become a millionaire".

-t
     
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Jun 14, 2010, 08:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
All of this is a very old and complex issue that does not have a simplistic answer for either side to go off on simplistic emotional diatribes about in a fair and accurate way. The subject of this thread is at least somewhat bogus.
Food? Hundreds more regulatory agencies. When they turn to fats, sodium, soda, etc... they're trying too hard to be relevant. Time to cut. Toys? Many more regulatory agencies watching kids choke on stuff made in China. Trust me, bureaucratic bloat is not somehow exclusively a financial services phenomena.

This thread is absolutely necessary and the problem painfully simple. It was emotionally-charged fear mongering that sold us these monolithic wastes of money. It's time to ignore the emotional diatribes that seek to hide the small print in "complexity" and cut, cut, cut.
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