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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » How does the USA pay off a 15 trillion dollar debt? (Page 3)

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Author Topic: How does the USA pay off a 15 trillion dollar debt?
The Pixiest
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I shouldn't have scanned this thread... I shouldn't be replying... Heck, I shouldn't be reading hatrack, it's bad for my mental health... I didn't even find the Dr Who thread I was looking for yet...

Anyway...

The debt will be inflated away. This is effectually a tax on people with savings, so you people out there who ran up debt, good for you. For those of us who scrimped and saved to do the right thing all these years, yeah... buy gold or something cuz we're screwed.

kmb: You expressed concern over the divide between the wealthiest and the poorest... Why? the poorest in this country are still better off than in most other countries. Heck, the poor in California are doing so well they cash their checks in Casinos. Why should the fact that some people are very rich be a problem?

Stonewolf: If we limited wealth to 1 billion dollars in this country, the billionaires would take their money and relocate to a country without such a limit. They'd get fast-tracked to citizenship and would happily pay the much lower taxes in their new country and the USA would be out in the cold. You can see this in action in this country where people of means move from high tax states like NY and CA to no tax states like TX and FL.

And even if we got away with it it wouldn't do a bit of good. We can not TAX our way out of this. The debt is too approaching GDP. When that happens, even if we took everything everyone in the country made we'd still have a debt.

We have to cut spending. Since that isn't going to happen, and spending will continue to increase, we're back to my initial assertion. Inflation.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
We can not TAX our way out of this.
Can you back that up with any evidence?
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fugu13
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quote:
And even if we got away with it it wouldn't do a bit of good. We can not TAX our way out of this. The debt is too approaching GDP. When that happens, even if we took everything everyone in the country made we'd still have a debt.

GDP is a flow quantity. Debt is a stock quantity. Your statement here betrays a complete misunderstanding of the interaction between debt and GDP.

It would be a bad idea to not cut spending and only tax our way out, but it could certainly be done. There's no barrier to it being done that appears when debt equals GDP. The saner course, however, is to both increase taxes judiciously and cut spending.

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Juxtapose
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Hey fugu, I wanted to let you know that I always appreciate your thoughts in threads like this one. I don't always agree with you, but I enjoy hearing your reasoning.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:
And even if we got away with it it wouldn't do a bit of good. We can not TAX our way out of this.

We've been here before. Tom's right, you need some citations on this, because we can't take you at your word.
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Blayne Bradley
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You can tax your way part of the way, obviously taxes alone are not the solution but its a huge part of the need. You experimented with the concept of low taxation to increase economic growth and it completely failed.

Next spending isn't bad in of itself, spending, on hard investments like infrastructure, R&D and education have longterm multiplier effects on GDP and *do* par for themselves.

The problem is Keynesians who think ALL forms of spending irregardless of target will serve to foster GDP growth, this is incorrect and only serves to create bubbles at best that screws over million of people and benefits only those who bet against the success of the country.

Spending is good when it make sense.

What you need is to cut down spending on broken window fallacious "Broken Windows" whose only justification for existing is "because otherwise THE JOBS!!!!".

Military spending needs to be cut, severely. Preferably by half and America to withdraw from its wars, regional organizations for NATO are utterly incapable of acting in a coordinated fashion and lack the budgets or endurence to project even 20,000 men outside Europe, this is because they rely too much on the US.

Pull 90% of US support and they'll be forced to reorient.

Close loopholes, simplify the tax code, ramp up investment in railways, transportation and education, improve standards.

Switch to single payer/universal healthcare, prices will drop like a rock and the cost of healthcare will lurch back to sane levels as HMOs and private insurence is forced to provide better service for lower prices.

Cut spending, AND raise taxes back to their sane levels AND divirt wasteful spending that only enriches people into proper spending that makes the people as a whole prosper.

Most importantly strengthen the welfare state, eliminate the need of bailouts. People losing jobs don't matter with enough support, pay for their living expenses so they'll have time to find more work and offer to pay 4x more for a short time period for them to go back to school and retrain for something better and fastrack the workforce to better employment.

HIGHER SOCIAL AND WORK MOBILITY and you completely eliminate the need for bailouts, because it won't matter of 80k go out of work, that 80k can find better work within 2 years if some what are otherwise prohibitive expenses are taken care of in the short term.

All of this at a fraction of the cost of bailouts.

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Samprimary
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quote:
What you need is to cut down spending on broken window fallacious "Broken Windows" whose only justification for existing is "because otherwise THE JOBS!!!!".
... um, what?
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Blayne Bradley
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It makes complete sense.

Do you know of the "Broken Window Fallacy"? If yes then your simply nitpicking grammar.

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Samprimary
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Asking what you meant when you wrote something that didn't make a lot of sense isn't 'nitpicking grammar.' Especially when one is stuck wondering if you're talking about the parable of the broken window or broken windows theory. It's an important distinction because spending on the latter has usually done quite a bit of good.

Also I don't know of many keynesians (or today's post-keynesian derivatives or whatever) who are behind 'ALL forms of spending irregardless of target,' really.

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fugu13
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Blayne, I know about the broken windows fallacy. You're misapplying it (and I say that as someone who's not so hot on a lot of the recent/current stimulus efforts).

I even agree with some of what you think are good ideas, but it reads like you're reciting a magic incantation. It doesn't sound like you know very much about the actual details of anything involved, or care to know (due to things like misusing the broken windows fallacy).

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SenojRetep
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So Blayne, to boil your statement down:

1) Don't spend money on wasteful things (like defense) but productive things (like workforce training, infrastructure, and the social safety net).

2) Raise taxes back to "sane" levels, close tax "loopholes" and move to a single payer healthcare system.

I would guess the amount of revenue generated by the suggestions under (2) would be about 7% of GDP (depending on how aggressively you define loopholes, and interpreting "sane" as the tax code under any modern administration before Bush). Cutting defense dramatically might net another 4% at the outside. The additional infrastructure and social spending you seem to be suggesting could easily cost twice the proposed increase in revenues.

I think your heart is in the right place, but the truth is either taxes need to be moved to a level never before seen in the US (or most non-Scandinavian developed countries) or the growth of spending needs to be significantly curtailed. That means containing the persisent creep in mandatory spending on social programs. If we don't want to pay more (and by "we" I mean the broad middle class) then we need to start to expect less.

<edit>And even if taxes were moved to Denmarkian levels, we'd still have to solve the problem of social spending creep within the next thirty years or we'd be facing the same problem all over again. Maybe if demographics stabilize that would solve it, but my guess is the continual increase in life expectancy and the increasing cost of keeping old people alive longer (among other things) will result in persistent cost growth in mandatory spending even if/when demographics stabilize.</edit>

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Blayne Bradley
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It has already been pointed out that things like Medicare, Social Security etc, can be adjusted to remain within reasonable cost parameters for the indefinite future as people live and can work longer due to improving healthcare. What this will do is help force people earlier on to realize that hey working sucks, and be more proactive in saving up for retirement while still having that safety net there even if things don't work out.

The biggest problem is that this isn't a video game, you can't magically wave the debt gone through sliding tax and spending sliders to wherever you want; because the cuts in spending would need to be so ridiculously large that it would massively disrupt the country and the standard of living. There *might* be a successful adjustment, or there might be a Communist Revolution by angry poor people and wealth redistribution and simply do what the Russians did and say "we aren't paying this debt and aren't obligated to pay it".

What you *CAN* do is be fiscally responsible in the long term, work on investments that might cost a lot NOW but will cost SEVERAL TIMES MORE LATER that will pay dividends in that same later, reduce spending and waste work on reforms that are very likely to reduce costs overall and create a surplus.

Once you have a significant enough surplus you'll be able to gradually pay off the debt and restructure it to present relief, it'll take decades but most people with credit cards also have decades to pay off their debts too.

quote:

Especially when one is stuck wondering if you're talking about the parable of the broken window or broken windows theory. It's an important distinction because spending on the latter has usually done quite a bit of good.

Also I don't know of many keynesians (or today's post-keynesian derivatives or whatever) who are behind 'ALL forms of spending irregardless of target,' really.

"What the spending is on doesn't matter, JUST GET SPENDING GOING" from that Hayek vs Keynes video seems to imply this.

But regardless the overall point is sound, military spending is like a broken window. Its existence depends on the rallying cry of "If we cut spending it'll cost American jobs!" when it would cost a fraction to simply retrain with government encourage to have better jobs elsewhere, ala Japan and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

Military spending is like any other kind of bubble, something happens, you spend money to replace it (munitions, the window, etc) that creates a bunch of jobs and presents work and profit to a bunch of people down the production line that all comes crashing down once your out of windows to replace or countries to invade and nothing to show for it but inflated artificial GDP and a whole lot of debt. (Because who had to pay for the window?)

Not that some things like military R&D couldn't have an effect on growth ala infrastructure investment and other military forms of spending like it. But at this point I suspect a majority of it is with partnerships with private industry who might even be more efficient without relying on government subsidies.

Go through it line by line with a scalpel, mandate massive reductions in costs without hurting benefits and salaries, start down sizing focus on mobility and rapid reaction with partnerships with regional organizations that now have to step up to fill the void.

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fugu13
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quote:
But regardless the overall point is sound, military spending is like a broken window. Its existence depends on the rallying cry of "If we cut spending it'll cost American jobs!" when it would cost a fraction to simply retrain with government encourage to have better jobs elsewhere, ala Japan and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

You're looking at Japan, the country with a phenomenally larger debt as a percentage of GDP, no credible path out of a deepening population well, and huge unemployment problems after nearly three decades of economic stagnation (excepting a brief intermission) as an example of good macroeconomic policy?

quote:
Military spending is like any other kind of bubble, something happens, you spend money to replace it (munitions, the window, etc) that creates a bunch of jobs and presents work and profit to a bunch of people down the production line that all comes crashing down once your out of windows to replace or countries to invade and nothing to show for it but inflated artificial GDP and a whole lot of debt. (Because who had to pay for the window?)

As nobody's been making the argument that wars increase GDP, this is nothing but straw man jousting, and continuing to misunderstand both the point of the US military and the broken windows fallacy.
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:

You're looking at Japan, the country with a phenomenally larger debt as a percentage of GDP, no credible path out of a deepening population well, and huge unemployment problems after nearly three decades of economic stagnation (excepting a brief intermission) as an example of good macroeconomic policy?

I'm looking at when this was SOLID foundation of the "Japanese Miracle" and their record breaking growth during the 50's to 80's.
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fugu13
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quote:
simply retrain with government encourage to have better jobs elsewhere
was not in any way the foundation of the Japanese miracle and their very high growth.
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Blayne Bradley
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Partially it was the case, the MITI euthansized unprofitable/uncompetitive firms and allocated the worthforce to else where.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
You're looking at Japan, the country with a phenomenally larger debt as a percentage of GDP, no credible path out of a deepening population well, and huge unemployment problems after nearly three decades of economic stagnation (excepting a brief intermission) as an example of good macroeconomic policy?

Well dude. It's *Japan*. Nuff said, amiright?
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fugu13
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quote:
Partially it was the case, the MITI euthansized unprofitable/uncompetitive firms and allocated the worthforce to else where.
There might have been a tiny boosting effect. Nowhere near a "foundation". The foundations of Japanese growth in that time were an extremely well educated population ready to change employment from agriculture for low wages, access to the technology of more advanced nations, an industrial policy that made capital restructuring and trade expansion feasible, and extremely beneficial trading terms with US trading partners as part of rebuilding, to name some of the most obvious. The activities you called "the foundation" wouldn't make any foundations list I can imagine, even if it extended for twenty or thirty items.

And I think you'll find unprofitable firms tend to be a self-solving problem, absent gov't efforts to keep them in business.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
quote:

You're looking at Japan, the country with a phenomenally larger debt as a percentage of GDP, no credible path out of a deepening population well, and huge unemployment problems after nearly three decades of economic stagnation (excepting a brief intermission) as an example of good macroeconomic policy?

I'm looking at when this was SOLID foundation of the "Japanese Miracle" and their record breaking growth during the 50's to 80's.
That growth came at the cost of their economic stagnation since the 80's. The "miracle," of the Japanese economy was really just the result of the Japanese government giving preferential loans to companies in Japan, who could then outcompete foreign competitors and keep cash flow coming into the country. This money was then deposited back into government administered banks, who loaned it back to its people again to fuel even more growth. Unfortunately, having begun by giving away money to the tech industry in order to make it artificially competitive, the Japanese government then was forced to continue giving it more money, for fear that without preferential treatment, it would stop being competitive.


The industrial growth was rapid, but continued to depend on ever rising profits from foreign sales, and continued governmental subsidies in the form of low interest loans. This left Japan in a deceptively weak position, because it has to also buy all of its raw materials from abroad. When the need for raw materials becomes too pressing, and prices increase, the cost of manufacturing goes up, the cashflow from foreign sales is cut off (because Japan is no longer beating competition), and the nation finds itself having loaned all of its money to an economy that is suddenly not profitable, and cannot return on the investment.

Basically, Japan has the ages old problem of having nothing to offer except being able to do things better than others do them. This means they depend entirely on never failing to be the best, and never failing to find resources to work with.

That's not a "solid" foundation, any more than the current trade deficit between the US and China places China on "solid" economic footing.

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fugu13
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quote:
That growth came at the cost of their economic stagnation since the 80's. The "miracle," of the Japanese economy was really just the result of the Japanese government giving preferential loans to companies in Japan, who could then outcompete foreign competitors and keep cash flow coming into the country. This money was then deposited back into government administered banks, who loaned it back to its people again to fuel even more growth. Unfortunately, having begun by giving away money to the tech industry in order to make it artificially competitive, the Japanese government then was forced to continue giving it more money, for fear that without preferential treatment, it would stop being competitive.

That's not an accurate account of Japan's situation, either. Japan's public debt was extremely manageable all the way through the end of the 80s, and only as they kept trying to compensate past the oil shocks did they start sinking into the trap you indicate. What's more, even when gov't funding has not been forthcoming to Japanese manufacturing and tech industries, they've been extremely competitive; the loans and other support seem to be more a symptom of excessive public/private entanglement than a belief that the industries would lose competitiveness. Indeed, if Japan's demographics weren't in the hole like they are, they'd still be sitting pretty.

quote:
Basically, Japan has the ages old problem of having nothing to offer except being able to do things better than others do them. This means they depend entirely on never failing to be the best, and never failing to find resources to work with.

Since pretty much every first world nation's external trade is based in the vast majority on doing things (relatively) better than others do them, I think it's a rather reasonable basis for an economy. Comparative advantage is a remarkable thing [Smile] .
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Orincoro
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As to the first point, of course you're right. They could have floated that kind of system for a lot longer if they didn't have such demographic problems, and if resources had been more forthcoming. But I still think that's a key issue for Japan. They are a totally value-added economy, with no natural resources to exploit. This was a huge contributing factor in their engagement in WWII, and will be a major factor in all of their future political decisions. America, and many other developed nations, could afford a serious leveling off of international trade and huge hikes in energy prices, and still maintain some economic stability just by more aggressively exploiting their own resources and land. Japan has no such options.
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fugu13
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If they weren't so dense, they'd be fine, too; they're actually incredibly well-off in terms of arable land, and have some of the best cropland in the world (especially measured as a percentage of their total land area).

But yes, in a total catastrophe situation, they'd be pretty screwed. I just don't see that as being anywhere near where things are at.

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Johivin
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The current economic format of the United States requires reductions on all fronts. Most of the issues result from the corruption and greed that plagues us at all levels of society. The solution revolves around all facets of government and societal influence. Below I've listed things that will, in my opinion, assist in decreasing the debt while also providing a higher opinion for those who would be putting them into action.

#1) Reduce the pay rates for all government officials. The President does not need to be making $400,000 a year. Members of Congress do not need to be making, on average, $174,000 a year. Drop the President's salary to $150,000 a year and members of Congress to $80,000 a year. They are public servants. This will save ~$22 million per year considering just Congress and the President. Reductions of this across the board for public employees will save billions per year. The cuts need to come from the top down, however, as both a sign of good faith and because those who are making six figure salaries can afford a slight reduction in wages. Superintendents of school districts should not be making $200,000+ as some currently do.

#2) Eliminate political parties and revamp the political process. This is a social and political issue in one, though not as much economic. The government can save money on this one by stopping the massive campaigning and instead hold a series of debates on topics that are nationally broadcasted. Additionally, end all political advertising. The reasoning for this is that it is wasted money, frequently public money, and has made a mockery out of the electoral process.

#3) Close the loopholes in the tax code, this alone will supposedly gain the government ~$1 trillion a year. As well, end the corporate welfare especially for companies (like Big Oil) who are consistently showing a profit despite the fact that gas prices have gone up repeatedly. They will survive.

#4) End the billions and billions in foreign aid until we are in a position where we can again assist our allies. If our own country collapses under the debt, we'll be no good to them anyway. Additionally, this will ease some of the danger that exists from terrorist groups as they will no longer be able to hold our alliance with Israel against us.

#5) Expand government to replace government contracts and force government accountability. Too often the contractors provide poor service and poor quality. Lowest bidder doesn't work when they are pocketing half the funds provided.

#6) Cut the military budget and withdraw troops from foreign nations, save for those places we are currently bound (South Korea). Protect our own country and put those men and women to work protecting our nation and rooting out both illegal immigrants and home grown terrorists.

#7) New technologies! Our country has become service based and cannot be sustained. We do need to invest in new technologies and then sell these products internationally. If we need to return to taxing inbound goods to help businesses who make their product within the United States, so be it.

I'm sure there are other things that I could think of and some of my statements do increase government spending, but they also a counterbalance. I'd love to discuss the matter further as this is a topic near and dear to my heart.

[ June 22, 2011, 02:34 PM: Message edited by: Johivin ]

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by The Pixiest:

kmb: You expressed concern over the divide between the wealthiest and the poorest... Why? the poorest in this country are still better off than in most other countries. Heck, the poor in California are doing so well they cash their checks in Casinos. Why should the fact that some people are very rich be a problem?


Are you suggesting that we should wait until our poor are as poor as the worst off people in the world before we fix it?
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mr_porteiro_head
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I'd guess that she's suggesting that you come across as not so much being worried about people actually being poor, but worried that there are too many people around that are too rich in comparison.
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SenojRetep
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Your daily doom and gloom on the fiscal state of the federal budget.

quote:
The national debt will exceed the size of the entire U.S. economy by 2021 — and balloon to 200 percent of GDP within 25 years — without dramatic cuts to federal health and retirement programs or steep tax increases, congressional budget analysts said Wednesday...Over the long term, the CBO said, a projected explosion in government spending outside interest on the debt is “attributable entirely” to the ballooning cost of “Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and (to a lesser extent) insurance subsidies” intended to help finance coverage for the uninsured under President Obama’s new health-care law.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I'd guess that she's suggesting that you come across as not so much being worried about people actually being poor, but worried that there are too many people around that are too rich in comparison.

When everyone has access a decent place to live, good food, clothing, education, transportation, and health care the rest of you can be as rich as you like.
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Johivin
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I'd guess that she's suggesting that you come across as not so much being worried about people actually being poor, but worried that there are too many people around that are too rich in comparison.

When everyone has access a decent place to live, good food, clothing, education, transportation, and health care the rest of you can be as rich as you like.
Kmbboots, I'm curious how much time you've spend speaking to the poor and homeless? I, during my college years, spent a great deal of time speaking with those who were.
One gentleman who was in his late 50s talked to me about where he could get free food and free housing/clothing from different organizations in the community.
Another gentleman, who was also a crackhead, spent an hour talking to me because he believed that I'd give him money if he spoke to me about himself. When I offered to buy him something to eat, myself, he got angry and left. He wasn't interested in food, just the money to buy more drugs.

It would be nice to think that all people want a good job, medical benefits, food and shelter. Giving everyone that would be wonderful, if the people wanted them and would work hard to maintain that. That's not the case though.

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fugu13
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Johlvin: much of your list is ill conceived.

One: Lowering salaries for Congress, given the extreme travel demands, is only going to make it even harder for anyone who isn't rich to become a member of Congress. What's more, while some aspects of public sector salaries could use mild adjustment, there aren't billions in savings out there. The numbers just aren't that out of whack. And even a few billion dollars is such a tiny drop in the bucket that this isn't worth much discussion in any serious debt reduction plan.

Three: considering that Big Oil benefits from no loopholes to speak of, and has quite low profits (and high taxes) compared to other similar industries, you might want to revisit your assumptions. Further, it ignores the incentive problem -- remove those "loopholes" just as a way to raise taxes, and businesses will change how they operate (likely to the detriment of the economy). I'm in favor of tax simplification, but that needs to be mostly revenue neutral, with tax increases saved until the landscape readjusts.

Four: Hardly anything goes to foreign aid, as a percentage of the budget. Further, some of the "foreign aid" you specifically identify is in the form of purchase rights. That is, Israel is given the right to purchase our weaponry, and we make money on the deal.

Five: I don't think you have any idea how huge an expense and expansion of government you are proposing here.

Six: put the military to work rooting out illegal immigrants? Wow. You might want to look into how the economy of Georgia is doing after they cracked down in illegal immigrants. That's ignoring the gross misunderstanding of the role of most of our military endeavors (excepting Iraq and Afghanistan).

Seven: I don't think you understand what service-based means. Most of the technology-related jobs in the US are counted in the service sector. As for tariffs helping create new products, the result would be quite the opposite.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Johivin:
That's not the case though.

Yeah. Who could possibly refute a proof by two dubious anecdotes? [Wink]
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Johivin
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
quote:
Originally posted by Johivin:
That's not the case though.

Yeah. Who could possibly refute a proof by two dubious anecdotes? [Wink]
How many more do you want, Mucus? I have hundreds of people whose stories I can give to prove my point. I can also give the viewpoints of those who would be worthy of such a society. As kmbboots stated that it was something for everyone, I merely pulled two people who I had spoken to who lacked the motivation to pull themselves into a "regular life".
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kmbboots
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I don't care if they lack motivation and you have no idea how hard it may be for some people to "pull" themselves into a "normal life" or how much farther they have to pull themselves than you did.
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Johivin
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#1) I love that you want to negate drops in the bucket, fugu. These are public sector employees, fugu. They are there to serve the public. Going into public service, you are there to serve others not become a millionaire. From NJ alone, cutting the salaries of superintendents to $100k a year would save $40 million. That's one state and ONLY the superintendents, not including the Vice Superintendents. If that was a similar amount for each state on just the superintendent level, you'd talking about savings of 2 billion per year from a very minor sector of society. Ignoring these "drops" because you don't seem capable of taking from a plethora of different areas is your choice, but they are viable.

#3) As far as Big Oil, if you really want to compare them to "comparable" companies, I have severe concerns for your ethical standpoint. $11 billion profit for Exxon Mobil while throwing excuses about how gas prices going up isn't related to them doesn't give them much room to stand on.

#4) "Some" of the aid, fugu, and of the billions that we've given to Israel, how much have they repaid and how much will they have to repay? The fact is that most of it has not and will not be repaid and yet we continue to provide them with ~$3 billion a year.

#5)I don't think you really understand how much waste occurs from GOVERNMENT FUNDS under the current process.

#6)There is a loss in revenue for the government by the presence of illegal immigrants. Personally, I feel that we should just shoot a group that have been rounded up to discourage illegal immigration into the country.

#7) I understand completely what a service-based. Technology, seeing as you clearly do not understand, includes the making and crafting of new tools to improve life and efficiency. Tariffs would potentially help to return to the production of products on U.S. soil. It would open old industries back up that have moved overseas.

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Rakeesh
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Why can't that anecdotal crackhead just *will* himself into sobriety, amiright? He just lacks motivation.
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Johivin
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I don't care if they lack motivation and you have no idea how hard it may be for some people to "pull" themselves into a "normal life" or how much farther they have to pull themselves than you did.

I've had to revamp my life repeatedly in order to survive. I did what needed to be done in order to survive. I received basic skills from my parents and my education and that's it. I put myself through college without a single penny of financial aid or outside help. I had an average start but I always made choices to make sure that I and mine survived.

You choose how you respond from the cards that you're dealt. Two people given the same circumstances can go in different directions. The individual makes their choice. Some people choose to marry for money, others for love. Some people follow their religion fanatically while others follow it from a distance.

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Johivin
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Why can't that anecdotal crackhead just *will* himself into sobriety, amiright? He just lacks motivation.

Who made his choice for him? Do we have free will or is it destiny? If I killed a man tomorrow, can I say that someone made me do it or did I do it of my own volition?
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Rakeesh
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How many crack dealers were selling in your neighborhood? And I note you say 'parents'. Had both of 'em in your life, then? How exactly did you put yourself through college without any kind of financial aid? Got a job early, started saving? Guess you didn't need to get a job to keep the lights on when you were a kid then.

And so on and so forth.

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fugu13
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quote:
#1) I love that you want to negate drops in the bucket, fugu. These are public sector employees, fugu. They are there to serve the public. Going into public service, you are there to serve others not become a millionaire. From NJ alone, cutting the salaries of superintendents to $100k a year would save $40 million. That's one state and ONLY the superintendents, not including the Vice Superintendents. If that was a similar amount for each state on just the superintendent level, you'd talking about savings of 2 billion per year from a very minor sector of society. Ignoring these "drops" because you don't seem capable of taking from a plethora of different areas is your choice, but they are viable.

This is a public choice problem. If we demand public sector servants get ridiculously low wages (as $100k for someone managing a large school district is), there will be only a few kinds of people who take such jobs. People who are altruistic and willing to take a huge wage hit to serve the public, people who will use the job to gain some other compensation, and people who will look for the job purely for the power it brings. It feels good to demand they work for low wages as a sacrifice for the good of the whole, but it is stupid policy.

quote:
#3) As far as Big Oil, if you really want to compare them to "comparable" companies, I have severe concerns for your ethical standpoint. $11 billion profit for Exxon Mobil while throwing excuses about how gas prices going up isn't related to them doesn't give them much room to stand on.

Exxon Mobil's profit is a lot more than that if you want to make them sound bad [Smile] .

quote:
#5)I don't think you really understand how much waste occurs from GOVERNMENT FUNDS under the current process.

I do, quite well. But you aren't proposing anything that would help with the problem.

quote:
#6)There is a loss in revenue for the government by the presence of illegal immigrants. Personally, I feel that we should just shoot a group that have been rounded up to discourage illegal immigration into the country.

The first statement is factually incorrect, and has been repudiated again and again in studies. The second demonstrates amply the true roots of your attitude, I think.

quote:
#7) I understand completely what a service-based. Technology, seeing as you clearly do not understand, includes the making and crafting of new tools to improve life and efficiency. Tariffs would potentially help to return to the production of products on U.S. soil. It would open old industries back up that have moved overseas.
You're missing some words, there. What's more, I don't understand why you want to return industries that can't manage to be profitable at substandard wages to the US. The fact that our technology is assembled overseas is a cost savings, both for US companies and US consumers, not a loss.

quote:
How many more do you want, Mucus? I have hundreds of people whose stories I can give to prove my point. I can also give the viewpoints of those who would be worthy of such a society. As kmbboots stated that it was something for everyone, I merely pulled two people who I had spoken to who lacked the motivation to pull themselves into a "regular life".
Hundreds? Excellent, please provide a list.
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Johivin
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
How many crack dealers were selling in your neighborhood? And I note you say 'parents'. Had both of 'em in your life, then? How exactly did you put yourself through college without any kind of financial aid? Got a job early, started saving? Guess you didn't need to get a job to keep the lights on when you were a kid then.

And so on and so forth.

So every child who grows up with crack dealers in their neighborhood becomes a crackhead?

I put myself through college by working as an RA on campus and working 40 hours a week. I started working at the age of 12 after my father lost his job. My junior and senior year in high school I worked 40 hours on top of attending school to save up money. During the summers, I worked 60-80 hours a week.

I did what was necessary in order to achieve what I wanted. I had both of my parents, so what? Does having only one parent mean that you're immediately at a disadvantage? Do only people with two parents become successful? What about the people who have two parents and don't become successful? Where do you want to throw the blame for that? Maybe instead people should take responsiblity for their choices and actions to the extent that they can instead of making excuses.

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kmbboots
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Why do you care about how hard they may or may not have worked? How hard does an heiress work?
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Johivin
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#1, $100k per year is low for someone who has few actual responsiblities, especially in districts that also have 1 or 2 Vice superintendents? When the teachers are making 1/6th of what the superintendent is and are being attacked for their "outrageous" benefits, it is absurd to think that someone who has minimal responsiblities is somehow entitled to 200k a year.

#3) not refuting my point?
#5) Too often the contractors don't have to show reciepts after the fact. Having it internalized along with accountability measures forces it into public domain.
#6) Many illegal immigrants will receive medical care under Medicaid programs if needed. The hospitals bill Medicaid, thus it does cost the government. As far as my "attitude", I disapprove of people breaking the law, in general. My friends are quite aware that were they to commit a serious crime that I would report them to the police. Adults who choose to sneak into the country illegally do so knowingly and must be held accountable for their actions. As an open door policy has serious complications, I'd prefer limited immigration. Those who choose to break the law must be held accountable for their actions.
#7)Because it isn't sustainable. You cannot continue to do back-end work forever. Many Americans aren't capable of providing basic customer service.

You want me to post all the people who I've spoken with? Can I get a mod to confirm that I won't be warned for spamming?

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Johivin
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Why do you care about how hard they may or may not have worked? How hard does an heiress work?

And I disagree with the lifestyle of an heiress as well, kmbboots. I care about society and how it functions. I know I err by having expectations for people, it's one of my faults.
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Rakeesh
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The nice thing about heroic achievement stories in an online setting: much like anecdotes, they don't have to be at all substantiated.

Shoot illegal immigrants? Why, what a wonderful idea! We just need to *kill 'em!*, that'll do the job. It's amusing how quickly you go from (supposedly) addressing causes of problems in the economy to addressing just a symptom.

And as for responsibility, the point was (obviously) not that background determines result, but that achieving given results is easier for some people than others. And to point out, "Hey, when was becoming addicted to crack *ever* a serious possibility for you?

Anyway, please tell us more about how many hours you work or worked, that's *like* an actual argument rather than completely unsubstantiated preening.

Shoot illegal immigrants. Frickin' hell.

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Rakeesh
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And...no. You posting dozens or hundreds of anecdotes isn't, y'know, *evidence* of anything.
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fugu13
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quote:
#1, $100k per year is low for someone who has few actual responsiblities, especially in districts that also have 1 or 2 Vice superintendents? When the teachers are making 1/6th of what the superintendent is and are being attacked for their "outrageous" benefits, it is absurd to think that someone who has minimal responsiblities is somehow entitled to 200k a year.

Minimal responsibilities? You don't actually know what a superintendent does, I think. A superintendent is the CEO of a school district, and a school district of even moderate size is a huge business.

I'm not bothering to respond to most of your post because it's clear you're not actually interested in any information. You're just spewing things; I pointed out how drastically inaccurate your number on Exxon-Mobil's profits was to emphasize how little relation to reality your views have.

And, as far as I know, no person on this board who is not posting advertising has ever been warned for spamming. A list of hundreds of people you've talked to with a short account of how every single one of them fits the narrative you've given wouldn't even come close to being one of the longest legitimate posts ever.

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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Johivin:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
I'd guess that she's suggesting that you come across as not so much being worried about people actually being poor, but worried that there are too many people around that are too rich in comparison.

When everyone has access a decent place to live, good food, clothing, education, transportation, and health care the rest of you can be as rich as you like.
Kmbboots, I'm curious how much time you've spend speaking to the poor and homeless? I, during my college years, spent a great deal of time speaking with those who were.
One gentleman who was in his late 50s talked to me about where he could get free food and free housing/clothing from different organizations in the community.
Another gentleman, who was also a crackhead, spent an hour talking to me because he believed that I'd give him money if he spoke to me about himself. When I offered to buy him something to eat, myself, he got angry and left. He wasn't interested in food, just the money to buy more drugs.

It would be nice to think that all people want a good job, medical benefits, food and shelter. Giving everyone that would be wonderful, if the people wanted them and would work hard to maintain that. That's not the case though.

Dude, I work with this population on a daily basis, and have for years. For the most part you are dead wrong. And if you actually spent any time with these people outside of a few
"feel-good" soup kitchen moments you'd already know that.

What is the overall rate of mental illness in homeless people? What types of mental illness are most common? What is the overall level of education of these people? What is the average length of stay on the streets?

Just because you talked to a couple of winos in college doesn't make you an expert. All it does is expose your bias, and your lack of actual experience.

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Kwea
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Use contact information too. At this point I don't respect anything you have to say enough to actually take your word for any of it. You'd probably just cut and paste a phone book.

I've had well over 1500 people at my place of work this year alone. Since January. Probably 20% MIGHT fit PART of the profile you put forth. And most of them are still fighting serious mental illness.

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Rakeesh
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Well they *chose* to get a mental illness, obviously. Or chose not to get help. You believe in predestination or something?

Hey, know what'd work great? Cap a few of those homeless, right in the dome. Lesson to the others. Also a cure for mental illness, *and* endorsed by Sam Kinison!

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Johivin
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
And...no. You posting dozens or hundreds of anecdotes isn't, y'know, *evidence* of anything.

Consider them what you will, however, these are people who I -actually- spoke to, because I care about learning about other people.

As far as shooting illegal immigrants, has there been ANY conclusion that has been given by a politician in the last twenty years to create a viable solution? Sometimes a tough response is necessary.

You were the individual who tried to make the claim that someone's background plays a role. Each person is an individual who makes their own choices. Instead of blaming society for someone, why aren't people responsible for their own actions?

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Johivin
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quote:
Originally posted by fugu13:
quote:
#1, $100k per year is low for someone who has few actual responsiblities, especially in districts that also have 1 or 2 Vice superintendents? When the teachers are making 1/6th of what the superintendent is and are being attacked for their "outrageous" benefits, it is absurd to think that someone who has minimal responsiblities is somehow entitled to 200k a year.

Minimal responsibilities? You don't actually know what a superintendent does, I think. A superintendent is the CEO of a school district, and a school district of even moderate size is a huge business.

I'm not bothering to respond to most of your post because it's clear you're not actually interested in any information. You're just spewing things; I pointed out how drastically inaccurate your number on Exxon-Mobil's profits was to emphasize how little relation to reality your views have.

And, as far as I know, no person on this board who is not posting advertising has ever been warned for spamming. A list of hundreds of people you've talked to with a short account of how every single one of them fits the narrative you've given wouldn't even come close to being one of the longest legitimate posts ever.

#1, you know absolutely nothing about the role of a superintendent. I was a teacher for three years and went to college for education. My brother is a principal, my father a Supermarket teacher at a VoTech school, my mother is a 4th grade Special Ed. teacher, my uncle works at a school for the mentally handicapped. My aunt works at a college. I have more knowledge of the education system then you will ever have. So, please don't dare to have a pissing match with me on it. Superintendents are highly paid and do a fraction of the work of any teacher. School principals deserve their salary more than any superintendent.

I left my job as a teacher to be a stay-at-home father to my daughter. I strongly support public servants, however, the waste at the administrative level needs to be cut. These people are overpaid and it is not reasonable to expect teachers to pay more into their pensions and benefits when they are barely scraping by and allowing administrators to not be effected because it's "drops in a bucket".

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