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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #21
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 12:49 AM)At Ease Wrote:  Sorry, that was a joke. You guys have made your distaste for Obama abundantly clear over the last 18+ months.

And a poor and tasteless attempt at that.
What we ALL should have wished was that the American people had listened instead of falling for the hype.
The Obama platform spouted a number of idealistic and arguably desirable goals. Unfortunately the numbers never came close to adding up, something that the media should have noted--and would IMO if they hadn't all been busy having tingly feelings running down their legs.

And it's not distaste for Obama.
It's distaste for what we believe will prove to be an extremely misguided set of policies that have the potential to turn us into the newest banana republic.
Policies that clearly got their start under Shrub (last year's stimulus handouts, TARP, going back to the prescription drug boondoggle), and policies that McCain was unable to distance himself from. I do not think things would be materially better under McCain than I think they will be under Obama.
A friend who is a politician in UK (Labour) admits, "Labour win elections because we have more attractive candidates; Tories win elections because they have better ideas." I used to think something similar applied here, but under Shrub the republicans ceased to be the party of better ideas. They had better get that back--for their own sake, because as long as elections are personality contests they lose, and for te country's sake, because we won't long survive the current crock of ideas.

Tell you what--I laid out a disaster scenario above. You think this is going to work. Why don't you walk us through the scenario where it works? Tell us what happens, and how, and why, in roughly the same level of detail that I laid out mine. Then let's talk about which scenario is more likely.
03-11-2009 06:11 AM
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Hambone10 Offline
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Post: #22
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-10-2009 07:13 PM)texd Wrote:  Let's put it this way... Odds are not insignificant that no matter what we do or don't do, we're all just kind of screwed for a good decade or so, but if there is something that can be done to legitimately accelerate the healing (i.e. without creating simply a bubble yet another sort), I trust the current administration to find it and do it -- even if it is something that was not originally proposed by them.

This belief is based upon what? Seriously. While you may like his ideas, and that is fine... he doesn't have a track record of success in reaching across party aisles OR solving economic issues... other than to vote for increased spending. Obama talks about bi-partisanship, but clearly can't control Pelosi nor apparently his own Press Secretary. We can argue about what passing an almost $1 trillion bill that not one single member of the opposition party voted for means... and carrying on much of the negotiation in a party caucus as opposed to committee, but it clearly doesn't scream at an attempt at bi-partisanship. If you want to blame the Republicans for that, fine... but I don't recall many Republicans being elected by promising to be bi-partisan. That was Obama. The burden is his to do what he said... and his press secretary completely dismissed the head of the RNC and openly called Rush Limbaugh the leader of the Republican party. The White House press Secretary of an administration seeking bi-partisanship should know better. That is something you'd expect Pelosi or Gingrich to do.

As to what Republicans have proposed... They voted against an $800byn "Emergency" stimulus bill where more money is spent beyond 2011 than in 2009. What in the world about that screams "URGENT"? Let's hurry up and vote to spend money in 2011 and beyond??

69/70... I don't believe Republicans have better ideas and Democrats have better personalities. I believe that having the government do more for you sells more easily to this generation than having it do less. Some (many/most?) Republicans have abandoned doing less in order to get elected. We blast ideas like wiretaps for suspected terrorists (while we can debate the specifics, protecting us from attack IS a primary governmental function) and support behavior like home ownership and marriage (which isn't a primary function of government) and try and regulate what consenting adults do in their bedroom.

In the simplest example... If business decides that loaning money to someone with less than 20% down, dti of over 50% and a questionable history of paying their bills is a bad idea... but they don't discriminate based on age, sex, race or sexual orientation... then WHY should the government force them to do something else?

The degree to which we have screwed ourselves is WAY beyond what most people imagine... and only the "good" of capitalism has sheltered us thus far.

If a politician came in tomorrow and said that we are going to keep taxes on individuals where they are for the moment... cut business taxes to the level of our developed peers... and cut governmental services and headcount by 50% over the next four year

how many votes do you think that guy would get??
(This post was last modified: 03-11-2009 08:49 AM by Hambone10.)
03-11-2009 08:43 AM
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emmiesix Offline
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Post: #23
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
I try to chime in here from time to time to avoid the echo-chamber effect that I feel is a little stiffling (no offense). I think you all are very intelligent and have some interesting arguments, but when I try to learn from others I need a few different points of view. In terms of economics I only passed econ 201 so I'm not much help, but I do have plenty of questions... if you guys can excuse the naivete. :)

(03-10-2009 11:16 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  I don't.
I can't imagine any reason why anyone would choose to manufacture anything here, except for itms to be sold in the domestic market. We will be out of the export sales business entirely, as the extra tax and overhead load being placed on our businesses and entrepreneurs will simply make us uncompetitive with other countries for export sales.

I was not under the impression that the US economy was supported by export sales, or at least not like other countries. The one thing I was aware of was food (particularly grains), and given the subsidies there it seems unlikely we'd kill the agricultural business.

I need more numbers here, if you have them. What kind of increases do "extra tax and overhead load" imply? If US-made goods are priced above those available from other countries, can't you just put taxes on those imports to balance things out? I realize that might not sound so great to the consumer, but it would place the advantage supplying the US population with those based locally.

In a very basic sense, you can have a country which is completely self-sufficient on one extreme, or a "world economy" where every country trades with every other, on the other. It seems untenable to me to try to maintain the vastly different standards of living the US enjoys as we move towards the latter. I get some sense that this is just a tectonic shift of sorts. I certainly have never believed the US would maintain it's high differential during my lifetime.

(03-10-2009 11:16 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  The impact of losing the export business should push unemployment somewhere in the 20 to 50 million range by mid 2011. The impact of the dollar drain to pay for imports (which we will still need), plus the dollar outflow to service the debt we incurred to finance the "stimulus," will start to tank the dollar, and I expect to see inflation in the 20% to 50% range by late 2011 to 2012. The falling dollar won't help export sales, because nobody will be making anything here to export, and that will enable high rates of unemployment and high rates of inflation to coexist.

So... are you saying the plans to reduce the deficit will fail? Because of the closing up of ALL US businesses? I'm a little confused how this follows. I understand you're making an intuitive argument, but I don't really connect the dots here.

(03-10-2009 11:16 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  What happens next? I really don't know. These seem to be the options that I can see. You may be able to foresee others.
1. Anarchy, as roving bands of unemployed marauders terrorize the streets in search of food. This does not strike me as desirable, but other options might be worse.
2. A breakup of the US as various regions blame each other for the problem and feel that they could do better going alone. This is probably the best of the avaialable outcomes, IMO. Not a good outcome, but better than the rest. At least parts of the country could support some semblance of an economy and a life.
3. Some kind of totalitarian government takeover. I think this one would be hard to push onto the American people, but not impossible.
4. A military coup. Impossible, we'd like to think. But if dissatisfaction runs as high as I anticipate, it might slip into the realm of possibility. Would it lead to 3? I hope not.
5. Stay the course, and watch the American lifestyle decline until we are Nicaragua. I actually think this is the most likely case. "Not with a bang, but a whimper."
Wow, that's very pessimistic. (1) seems very silly to me. The one thing this country can produce fairly well is food, and there is no way any government is going to let people starve. You might have (3) happen before (1), and then you have farmers basically forced to produce food as happened under fascist regimes in the past.

(2) makes no sense to me either, as there's no pressure which would push such an option into plausibility. You'd have all the same problems as before, and regions like the breadbasket would be better off, since they would produce all the food...

(4) No way.

I would say it's far more likely that we end up with a socialist-democracy type system, where the government controls most banks, and healthcare, and retirement. Our military expenses will be curtailed greatly, and while standard of living will drop for some, it will actually rise for others. Something like Australia might be a good model.

[/quote]

(03-10-2009 11:16 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  The whole approach is prefaced on Keynesian economics. There are a few problems with that approach:
1. Despite what proponents say, there is no clear-cut case that Keynesian economics has ever worked. FDR's ending the Great Depression with the New Deal is claimed as a triumph by Keynsians, but modern research suggests it's a mixed bag at best.
2. Keynesian economics assume something of a closed system. Their big talking point is the mulitiplier effect. Government gives me money, I spend it. The guy I spend it with buys something else. The guy he spends it with buys something else. That dollar turns into multiple dollars of economic activity. When I took Eco 200, the literature of the day suggested that the multiplier could be as high as 7 times the original expenditure. In today's global economy, there is no closed system. This model doesn't work as well to help the US economy if, by the third iteration, the money is in China. There was a lot of economic debate about multipliers and spending while the "stimulus" was under consideration. Proponents of the "stimulus" took great pride in pointing out that various studies suggest that the greatest multiplier effect comes from direct government spending, as opposed to tax cuts and other measures. To me, the most telling part of that analysis was that most of the multipliers hovered around 1, and none of them were higher than 2.
3. Keynesian economics assumes that supply and demand are in some reasonable balance. Since at least the 1960s we have been overstimulating demand and understimulating supply to the extent that supply and demand are now so far out of balance that we have to be the largest net importer in the world (with greater net imports than the other 100 importing countries combined) in order to meet demand. It's supply that needs stimulating, not demand. Shrub didn't help with tax cuts that didn't do much to stimulate supply. So long as other governments adopt tax and regulatory approaches designed unabashedly to stimulate domestic industry, and we view the main function of domestic industry as providing tax revenues to run our government, we'll remain in a supply deficiency. That means fewer jobs, which means higher unemployment, in case you have trouble connecting the dots.
4. Americans save less, and consume more, of their incomes than any other people in the world. Our government sucks up a disproportionate share of what we do save to finance its budget deficits. We ship dollars overseas at a rate that challenges the size of the federal budget deficit. This means there is no money going into the market. That's why stocks are tanking. Without investment capital, domestic industry cannot grow. It's a shortage of investment capital that sank the banks, and it will sink one industry at a time over the next few years until we fix this (auto industry next? airlines after that? who's after that?). Stimulating demand without stimulating supply just means that we will import more.
5. The increased debt to finance the federal budget deficit, plus the increased debt to finance our imports, will eventually put a huge strain on the dollar. Worse, the creditors are all overseas, which puts some incredible strains on our foreign policy. When the dam breaks, the dollar may well start to free-fall. We could easily become Argentina, very easily.

That's my take. It's long enough as is, but in an attempt not to write War and Peace, I may have skipped over some things that need further explanation--or discussion. I would like to hear what others think.

I'd really like for someone to give me a compelling analysis indicating that this thing will work. Because otherwise I really don't see any alternative for me personally but to leave the country, and that's something I'd rather not do if I don't have to.

I think the greatest outcome of all of this would be to have an increase in corporate responsibility and accountability, so that we can avoid becoming a socialist republic. I really am not a huge fan of giant government programs, but as long as people are willing to screw everyone and their mother for an extra buck on next quarter's profit-loss, I'm not sure the it is a worse alternative.

I would actually operate all government rules and regulation on the principle that people are inherently bad, and will act in short-term selfish ways even to their long-term detriment. Somehow I wish we could get decent laws out of a system of mutual distrust, but instead we just get the pay-off lobbying we see now.
03-11-2009 09:38 AM
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OptimisticOwl Offline
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Post: #24
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 12:49 AM)At Ease Wrote:  Sorry, that was a joke. You guys have made your distaste for Obama abundantly clear over the last 18+ months.

Actually, that is distaste for his ideas and policies, and in some cases, his methods, but not for him. Like Clinton, I think he would be a great person to know on the personal level.

You haven't answered the original question. Do you believe that any of the administrations policies are going to work? If so, which ones? Which ones won't?

So far, we have 6 people replying no and two who want to attack the Republicans. Nobody has said yes yet. From the inception of this forum to, oh, a couple of months ago, there was no shortage of people who would defend Obama's every statement, plan, misstep, misspeaking, association, background, experience, every move he made. All of a sudden, defenders are scarce as hen's teeth. The main change i see is that instead of talking about what he is going to do, now we are talking more about what he is doing or has done.

I would rather see him succeed than fail, but hope is not the same as expectation, and I think many of his voters confused the two. If a person says he is going to lower his cholesterol by having more eggs and bacon, I can hope it works out for him but I expect that it won't. If he is the person in charge of dictating what I and everyone else is going to have to eat, I REALLY hope he is right but I still don't expect it. I thought his tax and fiscal policies were bad for a good economy, would make it worse. For a bad economy, same result, different starting point. JMO, now AND then.
03-11-2009 10:04 AM
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emmiesix Offline
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Post: #25
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 10:04 AM)OptimisticOwl Wrote:  So far, we have 6 people replying no and two who want to attack the Republicans.

Did you read my post? Or are you talking about someone else?
03-11-2009 10:10 AM
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Post: #26
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 09:38 AM)emmiesix Wrote:  If US-made goods are priced above those available from other countries, can't you just put taxes on those imports to balance things out? I realize that might not sound so great to the consumer, but it would place the advantage supplying the US population with those based locally.

In a very basic sense, you can have a country which is completely self-sufficient on one extreme, or a "world economy" where every country trades with every other, on the other. It seems untenable to me to try to maintain the vastly different standards of living the US enjoys as we move towards the latter. I get some sense that this is just a tectonic shift of sorts. I certainly have never believed the US would maintain it's high differential during my lifetime.

One thing we know is that a self-sufficient country is a poor one. To cite just a few clear examples: France in the 1810s, the Confederate States in the 1860s, and Germany in the 1940s all had to make due with what they could produce locally, because they were cut off from seaborne trade by the US and Royal navies. And those countries starved as a result. Even with "local" production augmented by conquered neighbors and slave labor, they still couldn't do it.

Trade does not necessarily narrow prosperity differences, nor should it. What it does do is raise the overall prosperity of everyone. Conversely, cramping trade may benefit some local would-be monopoly, but in the aggregate it decreases everyone's prosperity.
The key thing to remember is that economics is NOT a zero-sum game. The other key thing to remember is that no scientist or government can predict which specific economic activity will be beneficial and which will be dead ends. So the surest (indeed the only sure) way to increase prosperity across the board is to make it possible for people to interact with each other freely, knowledgeably, and securely. Trade is part of that; so is education; so are basic Western concepts like respect for law and contracts and a predictable justice system; and so is the most fundamental concept of all, liberty. The surest way to decrease prosperity for all is to erect barriers that make it harder for people to do that. Protectionism is the most obvious such barrier. Nationalization, monopolies, and oligopolies are other such barriers, less obvious but no less insidious.
03-11-2009 10:17 AM
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Hambone10 Offline
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Post: #27
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
Editing for length... not intending to remove important details... Emmie... I PREFER a non-echo chamber... as I think most of us do. PLEASE post, ESPECIALLY when you disagree.
(03-11-2009 09:38 AM)emmiesix Wrote:  
(03-10-2009 11:16 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  I don't.
I can't imagine any reason why anyone would choose to manufacture anything here, except for itms to be sold in the domestic market.

If US-made goods are priced above those available from other countries, can't you just put taxes on those imports to balance things out? I realize that might not sound so great to the consumer, but it would place the advantage supplying the US population with those based locally.

Out tax on business is higher than all other industrialized nations. Our labor costs are many times that of most other nations. Given the current structure, why would business locate here when they can locate in Mexico, Canada, Ireland, India or China for a fraction of the cost and tax expense? Sure, we can tax imports... and they will tax our exports of dollars... by raising the prices of their goods and lowering our taxable income. I mean why sell something for $700 if there's going to be a "normalizing" $300 tax put on it. Sell it for $999 and have a $1 tax. Net/net... our costs rise, and we don't produce substantially more than we already did... and how would you tax quality... as in Honda or Toyota versus GM?? The bureaucracy would be mind-boggling
Emmiesix Wrote:I think the greatest outcome of all of this would be to have an increase in corporate responsibility and accountability, so that we can avoid becoming a socialist republic. I really am not a huge fan of giant government programs, but as long as people are willing to screw everyone and their mother for an extra buck on next quarter's profit-loss, I'm not sure the it is a worse alternative.

I would actually operate all government rules and regulation on the principle that people are inherently bad, and will act in short-term selfish ways even to their long-term detriment. Somehow I wish we could get decent laws out of a system of mutual distrust, but instead we just get the pay-off lobbying we see now.

Starting with the argument that people/businesses are inherently bad is wrong. People are inherently self-serving... not bad. They are interested in making a buck for themselves MUCH more so than in screwing other people. Businesses are in business to make money. It takes a product and people to produce that product to do so... so the profit motive isn't the problem... in fact, it is the GOOD that makes things work. You are taking advantage of what people want to do naturally for the betterment of more people. In the old days, you could get screwed over at "The Company Store" because it was the only place to get what you need. Nowadays, that isn't really an issue... so regulations designed to promote "fairness" in business aren't really necessary, and have become tools of social design. Certainly, there are people who would screw over certain people... for a variety of reasons... but in most places, there are ways around that guy... and you can hurt his business... and he loses business so hurts himself... so he will stop. NOT because you told him to, but because it doesn't serve HIM to continue to do so. This idea if regulating fairness is the problem. What we should be doing is increasing availability of alternatives. If people choose to hurt themselves by being unfair, then let them suffer alone... don't drag the rest of the country into it. Between the internet and Fed Ex, we could solve 90% of our problems with virtually no Federal regulation at all.

Easiest example...

Assume that for every dollar earned, the government took 25 cents. What is your incentive?? To make more dollars. Generally speaking, this is good for you, the economy and the government. Now, suppose that the government only took 25 cents from every dollar if you make more than $25,000. Where is your incentive? The person making $25,000 takes home the same amount of money as the person who makes almost $35,000 but has to give 25% to the government... Now, the person who made $50,000 or more is indifferent... but you have encouraged everyone making less than $25,000 to stop trying to make more... UNLESS they can make more than $35,000. This is how our tax code started... and look at it now. Business codes are the same way.

In this day and age, we should be ENCOURAGING people and businesses to make more money... and let the markets punish the hurtful methods.
03-11-2009 10:20 AM
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OptimisticOwl Offline
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Post: #28
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 10:10 AM)emmiesix Wrote:  
(03-11-2009 10:04 AM)OptimisticOwl Wrote:  So far, we have 6 people replying no and two who want to attack the Republicans.

Did you read my post? Or are you talking about someone else?

edit: I just now saw your post #23 on this thread.

I read your post on the other thread after i posted this. IIRC, you said you didn't think his policies would work but economics was not why you voted for BHO.

So, yes, i was referring to other people.
(This post was last modified: 03-11-2009 10:33 AM by OptimisticOwl.)
03-11-2009 10:25 AM
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Post: #29
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 10:04 AM)OptimisticOwl Wrote:  Do you believe that any of the administrations policies are going to work? If so, which ones? Which ones won't?

I have been avoiding answering this one. In general, I don't think the policies are going to work to their intended effect. However, I will bring up two things:

  1. First off, the infrastructure investments, particularly for repairs (roads/bridges) and upgrades (electrical grid) as two relatively easy examples, are long overdue. This part has been ignored for too long, and it is an invisible tax on our economy. The problem is, by improving these things, we need to keep spending on them to keep them up. But I don't think we have an option, at least until teleportation or personal wormholes are developed.
  2. I am intrigued by the proposals on the education front. It's far from a teacher-union-friendly list, and it doesn't shrink away from testing and measuring. There's a lot of stuff that has succeeded in places out there, and it's a good start. There is still the question of federal mandates versus states rights to be had in this conversation, but a lot of $$$ are set aside to take a crack at this. Again, though, how do we afford this long-term? You can't just spend it once and forget it. (And this is a problem with most of the "stimulus" spending.) I'm hoping that these education investments repay for themselves down the road when we are able to develop more productive adults.

I still haven't dug into some of the other pieces to know if I think they will succeed. One item I'm waiting on is health care, because I'll be honest here - the system is broken. It's an absolute nightmare, both from a personal experience and with the total national expenditure on it. I got along fine as a single adult without major expenses, but with a family? Forget about it. I waste so much time with forms, tracking down insurance payments, paying bills, and everything else that's required as a consumer that it is another huge tax on our productivity. I'm not into state-rationed/controlled care, but the current system doesn't work for me, either. If it's Hillarycare, forget it. But what we have now is a Frankenstein system that should be run out of town by the pitchfork-carrying townfolk.

Lastly, I'm still in the camp that we are still spending too much. Either that, or taxes have to be raised. The debt cannot continue to climb this fast. National debt is reaching a dangerous territory here, where countries really start to struggle under the burden. We will not be the exception to history and get away with this. And cheating on our entitlement obligations (as we have all of these years) is only hiding us from understanding how bad things really will become without major changes.
03-11-2009 11:49 AM
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S.A. Owl Offline
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Post: #30
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 10:04 AM)OptimisticOwl Wrote:  So far, we have 6 people replying no and two who want to attack the Republicans. Nobody has said yes yet. From the inception of this forum to, oh, a couple of months ago, there was no shortage of people who would defend Obama's every statement, plan, misstep, misspeaking, association, background, experience, every move he made. All of a sudden, defenders are scarce as hen's teeth. The main change i see is that instead of talking about what he is going to do, now we are talking more about what he is doing or has done.

I won't say "no" and I won't attack the Republicans. I don't think anyone here knows what's going to happen. I don't have the expertise to compel anyone here to think Obama's policies will work. For every article or column I'd point you to, you'd throw back another from the other side. This whole bank bailout thing, for instance, boggles the mind. Lots of smart people speak to all sides of that issue. I'm not going to pretend I have a clue whether Geithner is a clown or a genius. (What I do know is that this is not simply a case of rewarding bad behavior.)

I also don't know if the stimulus will "work" - but I think, by and large, it was a good thing. I think government spending on infrastructure is sorely needed (and will benefit commerce) and I'm disappointed the stimulus package didn't have more of that.

And, as I've suggested here before, I haven't been convinced that returning to pre-GWB marginal tax rates will hurt the economy. And we need the money.

Hambone: "Now, suppose that the government only took 25 cents from every dollar if you make more than $25,000. Where is your incentive? The person making $25,000 takes home the same amount of money as the person who makes almost $35,000 but has to give 25% to the government..."

I must be reading this wrong, because I refuse to believe you would make this common error about marginal tax rates. (There was an unintentionally laughable article on a network website recently about people making above $250,000 who were trying figure out how to get their income down to $249,999.) I'm sure there are disincentives in the tax code, but this isn't one of them.

P.S. I'm still glad I voted for Obama, but I simply don't have the time to come on here every time he needs defending. So I'll probably remain as scarce as hen's teeth. I haven't been "driven away," though I'll admit there were times when I was frustrated by how my posts were taken.
03-11-2009 11:53 AM
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OptimisticOwl Offline
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Post: #31
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 11:53 AM)S.A. Owl Wrote:  I don't have the expertise to compel anyone here to think Obama's policies will work.

I don't think that compeling a change a mind in anyone is the reason for this thread, or even for this forum. George asked if we thought the policies would work. Some think no, some think in other directions. Of course we won't know until we can look back in hindsight. If honest discussion does cause a change of mind, that would be good, but the discussion in and of itself is good.
03-11-2009 12:14 PM
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Post: #32
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
Agreed.
03-11-2009 12:56 PM
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Hambone10 Offline
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Post: #33
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 11:53 AM)S.A. Owl Wrote:  Hambone: "Now, suppose that the government only took 25 cents from every dollar if you make more than $25,000. Where is your incentive? The person making $25,000 takes home the same amount of money as the person who makes almost $35,000 but has to give 25% to the government..."

I must be reading this wrong, because I refuse to believe you would make this common error about marginal tax rates. (There was an unintentionally laughable article on a network website recently about people making above $250,000 who were trying figure out how to get their income down to $249,999.) I'm sure there are disincentives in the tax code, but this isn't one of them.

You're applying reality to my "now suppose" comment. In an attempt to be as simple as possible, I avoided the trick of "marginal" rates and simply assumed a 25% tax on everything... in part because that is originally how I understood the conversation about taxes in this country began. as a correlary, The bible says 10%... it doesn't say 10% on every dollar above some marginal rate... The application of marginal rates was brought in to address the obvious disincentive... but as we only change rates and breakpoints over the years, something that was originally designed to be "fair" is now something else. A conversation about the disincentives in our tax code alone would take hours if not days... not to mention Sarbox and Graham-Leach etc.

The simple point is one that you agree with... that there are disincentives to success in some federal regulations. That disincentive doesn't exist in a truly free market, or even in one where taxes are flat and from dollar one. People wouldn't quit working because they only made $10,000 and had to give $2500 to the government... but they might quit working if the government gave them $7500 to do nothing. It's a hypothetical... but it has basis.

The idea of "cliff" funding is absolutely applicable to some people I know on government assistance... one of whom posted on here a while back... at 40hrs/week and (from a poor memory) $12/hr, he got a few thousand dollars in benefits bringing his average earnings to $17/hr. He turned down a better paying job at $16/hr because he would lose his benefits. A 33% bump in salary, and it costs him money. I know people who get divorced to save money. I know people who would spend $900,000 to save $1mm in taxes.

The bottom line for me is this...
Many of these programs will require funding well beyond the life of these bills... and we've spent almost $2 trillion dollars without any real plan to pay for it. Government (not Bush or Obama or anyone else) but Government doesn't have much of a history of cutting funding, but in the case of administration changes... and the definition is loose. Raising taxes by eliminating a tax break is a spending cut?? Sending money to people who don't pay taxes is a tax break?? The GOAL of government should be to increase efficiency... which by definition means getting more by spending less. We may or may not get more by spending more... but at SOME point, we should be able to cut spending on things like education, healthcare, infrastructure... and I don't believe government can or will do that.... and IMO, Obama's decisions and priorities just make a bad situation (out of control spending) worse.
(This post was last modified: 03-11-2009 01:17 PM by Hambone10.)
03-11-2009 01:11 PM
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At Ease Online
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Post: #34
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 05:34 AM)georgewebb Wrote:  
(03-11-2009 12:49 AM)At Ease Wrote:  Sorry, that was a joke. You guys have made your distaste for Obama abundantly clear over the last 18+ months.

I believe that folks on this board are opposed to current policies not because the policies are Obama's, but because the policies appear to be destructively stupid.

The fact that not even the proponents are arguing that the policies will actually work is telling.

It is telling, although where's the hopelessness in such argument? In the policies, or in the audience of this thread?

Yes, I agree with his tax policy. Confiscation and redistribution? 03-melodramatic Brother, you'd think we were seizing the farms of white families and giving them to welfare queens, instead of instituting a modest uptick of taxes to levels the country somehow managed to survive and prosper through under Clinton.

More regulation a disaster? Aren't we in large part where we are because of the lack of regulation? Lenders putting people in houses they can't afford. The lack of regulation or transparency with CDS's? The speculation driven 5$ gasoline? Yes, I believe we should absolutely put in protections to keep us from facing similar disasters in the future.

The stimulus plan is not going to end our crisis, but yes, I think America investing in itself-- infrastructure, energy, training, education, and by helping the middle class weather through their hardship-- tax cuts, extension of unemployment benefits/food stamps/medicaid, is in the best interest of our nation short and long term.

(03-11-2009 06:11 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  
(03-11-2009 12:49 AM)At Ease Wrote:  Sorry, that was a joke. You guys have made your distaste for Obama abundantly clear over the last 18+ months.

And a poor and tasteless attempt at that.

Heh, my initial response was what?! lighten up Francis. But then I had skipped over your second post in this thread, and didn't realize your doomsday predictions had matured so much. Given your impending apocalypse, I can see why you wouldn't be in a joking mood. 04-cheers


(03-11-2009 10:04 AM)OptimisticOwl Wrote:  
(03-11-2009 12:49 AM)At Ease Wrote:  Sorry, that was a joke. You guys have made your distaste for Obama abundantly clear over the last 18+ months.


So far, we have 6 people replying no and two who want to attack the Republicans.

Keep my good name out of the partisan crap, por favor.
03-11-2009 01:27 PM
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Hambone10 Offline
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Post: #35
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 01:27 PM)At Ease Wrote:  
(03-11-2009 05:34 AM)georgewebb Wrote:  
(03-11-2009 12:49 AM)At Ease Wrote:  Sorry, that was a joke. You guys have made your distaste for Obama abundantly clear over the last 18+ months.

I believe that folks on this board are opposed to current policies not because the policies are Obama's, but because the policies appear to be destructively stupid.

The fact that not even the proponents are arguing that the policies will actually work is telling.

It is telling, although where's the hopelessness in such argument? In the policies, or in the audience of this thread?

Yes, I agree with his tax policy. Confiscation and redistribution? 03-melodramatic Brother, you'd think we were seizing the farms of white families and giving them to welfare queens, instead of instituting a modest uptick of taxes to levels the country somehow managed to survive and prosper through under Clinton.
Many things have changed since Clinton was President. Global corporate income taxes are lower today than they were, but ours aren't. We are by definition less competitive at the same rates than we were under Clinton. Further, the internet continues to blur global lines and CHina has embraced a form of capitalism (certainly of industry) since Clinton. To make your same argument... things worked pretty well before we had income taxes at all.. so why not return to that?
Quote:More regulation a disaster? Aren't we in large part where we are because of the lack of regulation? Lenders putting people in houses they can't afford. The lack of regulation or transparency with CDS's? The speculation driven 5$ gasoline? Yes, I believe we should absolutely put in protections to keep us from facing similar disasters in the future.
No we are not... and the only people trying to convince you of that is the regulators (the government).

If I asked you to tell me how much money you would earn this year, you can probably tell me to a degree of certainty. If I asked you to tell me what your taxable income after adjustments etc. was going to be, I'd bet you couldn't. The first is a lack of regulation... the second is regulation. The first contains no smoke or missors... the second contains a myriad of them.

Quote:The stimulus plan is not going to end our crisis, but yes, I think America investing in itself-- infrastructure, energy, training, education, and by helping the middle class weather through their hardship-- tax cuts, extension of unemployment benefits/food stamps/medicaid, is in the best interest of our nation short and long term.

Take a look at the bill, and then listen to RATIONAL opponents of it. First, much of the bill does not involve the issues you speak about. Second, even some of the spending on what you DO speak of has nothing to do with emergency stimulus... but is merely "off-budget" financing of priorities.
Finally, some of the spending is obviously inefficient, and other comes with unwanted, unhelpful and unnecessary strings.

Why should the State of Louisiana or the City of Houston have to change its laws to qualify for emergency relief? Why should a relatively stable institution have to change its business practices to qualify for relief when barring the collapse of the FAILED banks, they would be just fine? Why is having the government spend $250mm to replace 100,000 late model cars in generally good repair at the lowest possible profit to the fewest number of auto related companies better than a proposal that involves adding private and corporate (especially bank) funds (loans) to spend a multiple of that $250mm without adding a single dime to the taxpayer cost to take older cars off the roads and to provide stimulus to many more auto related companies. In other words... If we're having a credit crunch and trying to encourage banks to lend... rather than have the government buy a stripped down Impala for $25,000 to replace a stripped down 2004 Malibu... (in the simplest of examples) we have the government offer a $25,000 "credit" to people with cars older than 2000 if they buy a $30,000 car. The banks would happily make a $5,000 loan to a moderate/low income person on a $30,000 car... the auto companies would make more money... as would the auto accessory companies when people buy chrome wheels and GPS that the government wouldn't have bought... plus the local dealership rather than the wholesaler in Detroit... I suspect many of the new car buyers could save their $5,000 in fuel efficiency/repairs.

My point being... "a" plan is not necessarily a GOOD plan jsut because it includes words like education, healthcare and infrastructure.
(This post was last modified: 03-11-2009 02:11 PM by Hambone10.)
03-11-2009 02:10 PM
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Post: #36
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 01:27 PM)At Ease Wrote:  Keep my good name out of the partisan crap, por favor.

Bravo. Finally, an Obama fan who is willing to stand up and say YES!
I disagree with most of your points, of course, but I am glad that you are expressing your opinion. Hard to have a volleyball game if everyone is one side of the net.

Nit-picking....

Por favor? I am of hispanic heritage(well, partly anyway). I am sure you meant nothing by this, but in these days of political correctness, we must all be careful of the words we use and who we use them to. At least one of my cousins would have gotten royally POed if you had spoken to her like that. Me, no problem.

Farms of white families? I think just the word "farms" would have gotten the point across without bringing race into it.

I did not mention your name.
(This post was last modified: 03-11-2009 03:28 PM by OptimisticOwl.)
03-11-2009 03:27 PM
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Post: #37
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
Though it was not me, as a Texan, I take liberal (little l) license to throw a little spanglish into conversation at times. It is not tempered as a result of the parties (little p) to said conversation. I've even been known to throw in some French, but that's probably the Democrat in me.

As for the white family farms, I believe that was a topical reference to the current events in Zimbabwe. (Though, again, not me saying it, so I could have misread it.)

(03-11-2009 03:27 PM)OptimisticOwl Wrote:  
(03-11-2009 01:27 PM)At Ease Wrote:  Keep my good name out of the partisan crap, por favor.

Bravo. Finally, an Obama fan who is willing to stand up and say YES!
I disagree with most of your points, of course, but I am glad that you are expressing your opinion. Hard to have a volleyball game if everyone is one side of the net.

Nit-picking....

Por favor? I am of hispanic heritage(well, partly anyway). I am sure you meant nothing by this, but in these days of political correctness, we must all be careful of the words we use and who we use them to. At least one of my cousins would have gotten royally POed if you had spoken to her like that. Me, no problem.

Farms of white families? I think just the word "farms" would have gotten the point across without bringing race into it.

I did not mention your name.
(This post was last modified: 03-11-2009 04:04 PM by texd.)
03-11-2009 04:02 PM
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Post: #38
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 04:02 PM)texd Wrote:  Though it was not me, as a Texan, I take liberal (little l) license to throw a little spanglish into conversation at times. It is not tempered as a result of the parties (little p) to said conversation. I've even been known to throw in some French, but that's probably the Democrat in me.

As for the white family farms, I believe that was a topical reference to the current events in Zimbabwe. (Though, again, not me saying it, so I could have misread it.)

(03-11-2009 03:27 PM)OptimisticOwl Wrote:  
(03-11-2009 01:27 PM)At Ease Wrote:  Keep my good name out of the partisan crap, por favor.

Bravo. Finally, an Obama fan who is willing to stand up and say YES!
I disagree with most of your points, of course, but I am glad that you are expressing your opinion. Hard to have a volleyball game if everyone is one side of the net.

Nit-picking....

Por favor? I am of hispanic heritage(well, partly anyway). I am sure you meant nothing by this, but in these days of political correctness, we must all be careful of the words we use and who we use them to. At least one of my cousins would have gotten royally POed if you had spoken to her like that. Me, no problem.

Farms of white families? I think just the word "farms" would have gotten the point across without bringing race into it.

I did not mention your name.

Yeah, i was just tweaking him a little. My cousin really would go off on him - she is very (IMO, over)sensitive and very militant. Me, I don't care, most people are surprised to find out out i have Spanish blood. Physically, my German heritage stands out, my name comes from the English side of me, and my accent is pure North Texas country boy. But I am descended from the president of the FIRST Republic of Texas, (April-August 1813), Don Jose Bernardo Maximiliano Gutierrez de Lara. Look him up in the Texas History books. I am proud of all the different aspects of my heritage, not just one or the other.

On the farms, I first thought of the Zimbabwe thing too, but in that case, they confiscated white owned farms obstensibly for redistirbution to black families. He said welfare queens, which in my mind puts it right squarely in the US of A. In any case, I saw no need for race - the basic topic is confication and redistribution.
03-11-2009 04:19 PM
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Post: #39
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 09:38 AM)emmiesix Wrote:  I think the greatest outcome of all of this would be to have an increase in corporate responsibility and accountability, so that we can avoid becoming a socialist republic. I really am not a huge fan of giant government programs, but as long as people are willing to screw everyone and their mother for an extra buck on next quarter's profit-loss, I'm not sure the it is a worse alternative.
I would actually operate all government rules and regulation on the principle that people are inherently bad, and will act in short-term selfish ways even to their long-term detriment. Somehow I wish we could get decent laws out of a system of mutual distrust, but instead we just get the pay-off lobbying we see now.

Your model makes sense only if we assume that everyone outside of government is out to "screw everyone and their mother for an extra buck" and everyone inside government isn't. From years of personal experience in both government agencies and the private sector, I can tell you that's a very bad assumption. Government bureaucrats are much more likely to "screw everyone and their mother" than are corporate types. The rewards in terms of bucks may not flow as directly to them, but the accountability is lower too, so the risk is almost non-existent.

One other thing, if Exxon screws me I can go to Shell. If a government bureaucrat screws me, I'm pretty much out of options. In the private sector, you screw somebody over and you lose them as a repeat customer; if a government bureucrat screws you over, you just come back to them and beg again.

It's very frustrating to me when people make the argument you make here. The assumption that corporate types are greedy and government workers are benevolent is an easy one to make. But it's just plain wrong, based on 40 years of experience (about 20 with each).

I'll respond to your other questions later, got to run for now.
(This post was last modified: 03-11-2009 05:10 PM by Owl 69/70/75.)
03-11-2009 05:09 PM
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Post: #40
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 01:27 PM)At Ease Wrote:  More regulation a disaster? Aren't we in large part where we are because of the lack of regulation? Lenders putting people in houses they can't afford. The lack of regulation or transparency with CDS's? The speculation driven 5$ gasoline? Yes, I believe we should absolutely put in protections to keep us from facing similar disasters in the future.

Actually, no, we're not in this mess because of lack of regulation. If you want to argue that we are, fine. Show me one specific example of a problem that would have been cured by more regulation. Then be sure to discuss all of the other effects that regulation would have had, intended and unintended. Then tell me whether that regulation would have been a net positive or negative.

Things we could--and should--have done:
1. The CRA program should always have been a government-insured loan program. You want me to make those loans--fine, you guarantee them. Have some underwriting standards to qualify, and charge a quarter percent interest override to fund the program (adjusting the amount as needed).
2. When you initiate a mortgage and then package it up and sell it, you have to keep at least 25%. If you are going to have some skin in the game, you take due diligence a lot more seriously.

I'v been favoring these ideas since working on the S&L bailout in the 1990ish time frame. Would this have weeded out all the problem loans? No, but it would have helped. In particular it would have solved a lot of the MBS problems. Would it have had negative effects? Sure, there are people who would not have been able to buy homes, and the housing sector would have experienced slower growth at a point when it was accounting for all of the net growth in the economy.
03-11-2009 08:40 PM
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