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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #41
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 01:27 PM)At Ease Wrote:  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

Instead of making another joke, why don't you try to explain why the scenario I laid out won't happen? In fact, I'd like for anyone to explain why that isn't what is going to happen.

If you think the stimulus is going to work, just how and why do you think it will? Because Obama told us it will work, and he's not George W. Bush, is not good enough.
03-11-2009 08:44 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #42
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 11:53 AM)S.A. Owl Wrote:  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.

I agree that infrastucture rebuilding is needed. But it should be done as part of a broader attempt to improve productivity in order to make the USA more attractive to private enterprise, not at the be-all and end-all of the program itself. And you are right, there is precious little actual infrastructure spending, and precious little of that is actually related to anything that will improve productivity.

The pre-GWB tax rates were aong the lowest in the world. Today, despite the "Bush tax cuts," our tax rates are among the highest. Why? Because everybody else cut taxes more than Bush and the republican congress did. I would agree that returning to tax rates that were among the lowest in the world would be good. That would mean loweering our tax rates, not raising them.
03-11-2009 08:51 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #43
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 11:49 AM)gsloth Wrote:  
(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.

The infrastructure and education provisions are the best parts of the bill, although too much of the "infrastructure" is not stuff that will actually help productivity.

As for health care, do some variation of the French approach and be done with it. Free care for all with a free market out for anyone who doesn't want to wait on socialized medicine quotas.

Agree that we are spending too much. And it's getting worse rather than better. If we raise taxes, we need to be very careful not to do it in a way that will drive away investment--and jobs.
03-11-2009 08:58 PM
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Post: #44
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-10-2009 10:31 AM)georgewebb Wrote:  ...that any of the administration's economic initiatives are actually going to work?

They won't work because Obama won't make the tough decisions. Some of these Banks/Corporations should go into Bankruptcy/Receivership and be done with it. Obama just wants to throw money at the problem when he should say "No".

Already a Newsweek editorialist says the "Inside the Beltway Crowd" is of the opinion that Obama doesn't have what it takes... and its just been 52 days.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/188565/output/comments/

And when Newsweek starts dumping on Obama, the rest of the media will soon follow.

You can't solve all of these problems by throwing money around. Treasury has allocated over half the TARP money, but nobody will say where it went, etc. Banks still aren't making loans. And all the garbage commercial paper that sparked this mess is still on the books.

The Feds keep pouring Billions into AIG, and still it needs more.

GM and Chrysler? Chrylser should go Chapter 11 and file a Liquidating Plan. the only products they have with value are their trucks and Jeep. There are specific statutory provisions in Bankruptcy that govern most of their problems and the PBGC will be on the hook for their pensions. GM can restructure in Chapter 11 and come out OK.

"Hope and Change" sounds nice, but it isn't cutting the mustard so far.
03-11-2009 09:21 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #45
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-11-2009 09:38 AM)emmiesix Wrote:  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.

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.

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.

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.

Sorry, but I don't know how to split quotes up, so I'll try to take these from the top.

The US economy is not supported by export sales. It used to be, but not anymore; that's the problem. We used to bring in raw materials, turn them into finised goods, and sell the finished goods both domestically and overseas. The goods we sold overseas were worth more than the imported raw materials cost, so there was a net influx of wealth. We performed functions that added value, and that added value represented wealth to be distributed among Americans.

You are correct that we export agricultural products. Unfortunately we are on our way to becoming a country that exports nothing else. There's a name for such countries--banana republics. Think Nicaragua. Honduras. That's where we are headed.

Since the 1960s, the value added functions have left. In their place, we have a retail/service driven economy. Perot wrote about this extensively in 1992. The guy who ran a steel mill a generation ago is delivering pizzas today. Delivering pizzas doesn't add as much value as making steel, so we don't pay the guy today as well as a generation ago. I find it interesting that people attribute the widening gap between rich and poor to the "Bush tax cuts." It has been going on since the 60s, pretty consistently regardless of the president or party in power. If this trend was well enough established that Perot could write about it in 1992, it obviously wasn't caused by Shrub's tax cuts.

Some people like to say that we cannot compete against countries that pay slave wages and destroy the environment. We obviously can't compete in those areas. So our choices are:
1. Lower wages and loosen environmental standards to compete. Not going to happen, nor should it.
2. Force other countries up to our standards. And how big an army do you think we'd need to enforce this?
3. Find other offsetting areas to compete and win.
4. Lose.

Fortunately, labor and environmental costs are just two of many areas that businesses consider before locating their plants, so we can attract businesses by winning some of the other areas--productivity (largely influenced by infrastructure and education), taxes, costs of legal and regulatory compliance, proximity to market, availability of raw materials and labor, political risk. We used to pile up enough wins in those areas, and by wide enough margins, to offset the obvious losses and keep businesses coming here. Today we still win on political risk by a wide enough margin to keep some money coming here (hence the dollar's strength), but we don't get the wins in areas like productivity and tax advantages like we used to.

As for extra tax and overhead load, one example will hopefully illustrate some things. Ten years ago, the top US corporate tax rate was 35%. The average top rate for all developed countries (OECD) was 33.6%. Competitive. Today the top US rate is unchanged at 35%, but the rest of the world average has dropped to 27.6%. Not so competitive. If we are targeting an after tax net income of 12%, the US company has to charge 2% more if all other factors are equal. That's huge when you are competing with French and German companies for international sales. Particularly if you assume that winning the tax game is one way to offset higher labor and environmental costs.

29 of the 30 OECD countries utilize a VAT, GST, or some other form of national consumption tax. We, of course, are the outlier. Let's say we have a 15% VAT. That means that we can, under international law and treaties to which we are a signatory, charge a 15% tax on all imports and rebate 15% on exports. When labor unions and others rail about foreign countries subsidizing exports "unfairly," this is what they are talking about. It's perfectly okay under international law--as long as what you are doing is rebating a consumption tax. No consumption tax, no can do; it's a treaty violation. Do you see how that hurts us?

The problems with just slapping tariffs on imports are (1) doing so may violate international law and treaties to which we are a signatory, and (2) doing so gives us no help on export sales. In fact, it actually hurts export sales. If you manufacture something out of steel, and we put a tariff on Chinese steel, your cost just went up. If France does not have a similar tariff, your French competitor can use Chinese steel and make his product cheaper than you can. That hurts your ability to sell to, say, India.

I'm not saying all US businesses will close. But the 40-year trend, where those dependent on export sales become non-competitive and either close or move, will continue and will be exacerbated by Obama's policies generally. As we lose export sales we lose the ability to bring wealth in. And that will blow a significant hole in an already weak economy.

The Australian model won't work here. Australia is a sparsely populated country with immense natural resources. Australia can create wealth in its domestic economy simply by exploiting and exporting its natural resources. We have to import significant natural resources. If we are to create any wealth to be distributed, we have to make those natural resources into more valuable finished goods. We're steadily getting worse at doing that now.

When we get to 20 to 50 million unemployed and 20% to 50% inflation, I think all my alternative scenarios are in play. You think they are unrealistic because you are thinking in terms of going there directly from where we are today.

The problem with your "treat everybody as inherently bad" scenario is the the government bureaucrats doing the regulating are inherently bad too. All politicians are corrupt. It's the nature of the beast. Bureaucrats are politicians who don't have to stand for reelection. Most of them are simply immune to accountability. That's not who I want in charge of my life.
(This post was last modified: 03-12-2009 07:04 AM by Owl 69/70/75.)
03-11-2009 10:06 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
Emmie, quick lesson. Uncle Miltie cuts to the chase much better than I. Maybe that's why he won more Nobel Prizes than I have.



The best part may be Donahue stunned speechless.
(This post was last modified: 03-12-2009 07:08 AM by Owl 69/70/75.)
03-12-2009 06:07 AM
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Post: #47
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-12-2009 06:07 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  Emmie, quick lesson. Uncle Miltie cuts to the chase much better than I. Maybe that's why he won more Nobel Prizes than I have.



The best part may be Donahue stunned speechless.

That entire clip is awesome!

And to think there are college professors now who think the name Milton Friedman is unworthy of being associated with an academic chair or institute. One wonders how worthy those particular professors are of their precious credentials.
03-12-2009 10:35 AM
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Post: #48
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
Amazing find 69/70. You and I both said similar things... but nowhere near as clearly (and with the clout)

People generally act in their own self interest which CAN screw other people. Even most of those who do "good", do so for the betterment of their souls... I mean, is a company who sees profit in curing cancer "less worthy" than a company that sees curing cancer as a "good"? Is it cheaper if people work for free, of course... but more people are willing to work for pay... and the simple law of numbers means that you are more likely to succeed "for profit" than "for good".


(03-11-2009 08:40 PM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  
(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.

The BETTER answer is that we MAY be having some problems as a result of lack of oversight, not regulation. Just as in taxes and law, the more you regulate, the more questions you leave open to interpretation... and it is the interpretation that can cause problems. Interestingly, bank regulators will almost NEVER answer a hypothetical question from a bank they are examining... they almost always say something to the effect of... do it, and we'll let you know if we liked it. How the heck are you supposed to run a business when the people "in charge" act this way? and they act this way because the regulations are so complex and in many cases conflicting, that the people sent out to enforce the "laws" don't know what the laws mean? Can you imagine asking a cop if you'll get in trouble if you cross the street, and having him say... do it, and I'll let you know??
Quote: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).
agree 100%. This is not about telling a company not to pollute... or about telling a company that they can't discriminate in lending.

Quote: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.

Absolutely... but as Congress wanted to encourage small business (who wouldn't have the capital required to do as you say)... and not big business (who would)... they left out this important detail.

Interestingly, the FNMA DUS program does just that and is generally relegated to only the larger companies... but even there, the default rate on DUS properties is lower than for virtually identical NON-DUS programs.

Quote: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.

I was right there with you... and I recall we discussed the "home" bubble as early as Clinton (not blaming him... just for time reference). It was exacerbated by those who borrowed against their home equity to invest in rental/flip properties (pimp this house) or worse, the tech-booming stock market.

When something fails, people always ask about the lack of regulation... but more often, it is a lack of oversight and/or TOO MUCH regulation.
03-12-2009 11:25 AM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #49
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
What we really had with the banks is conflicting regulations. One set of regulators telling them to tighten underwriting standards, at the same time that another set was telling the to make more questionable loans. I know bankers who met both sets, back to back, on the same day--and tried very hard to get the one set to stick around until the other sat arrived, so they could get them all in one room and get some straight answers.

More regulation might be the answer if the regulators could be relied upon to act out of principle rather than self-interest. But they can't.
Show me a regulator without a hidden self-serving agenda and it'll be a first for me. And I've spent probably half of the last 40 years either working as a contractor for or dealing with regulatory agencies.
03-12-2009 12:20 PM
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S.A. Owl Offline
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Post: #50
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
Here's my admittedly limited understanding: That banks were making questionable loans was only part of the problem. What made it a disaster was the ridiculous, house-of-cards finance system that grew up around those loans. As someone who's not part of that world, I look at how failed mortgages snowballed into the credit crisis and I can only shake my head at what appears to be a total breakdown of rationality and responsibility - going well beyond the constructive application of greed. Is it any wonder that the great unwashed are wondering how this system is supposed to work out for the best for all? (Not that I'm saying the system can't work.)

69/70/75, I've been a contractor for a regulatory agency for 15 years. Maybe that agency is an exception, but I work with a lot of serious, professional people who are dedicated to doing what is right.
03-13-2009 10:10 AM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #51
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-13-2009 10:10 AM)S.A. Owl Wrote:  69/70/75, I've been a contractor for a regulatory agency for 15 years. Maybe that agency is an exception, but I work with a lot of serious, professional people who are dedicated to doing what is right.

Glad to hear from someone with a different experience. It's nice to know that there are some of those people drawing government paychecks. To be fair, my original statement was probably a bit hyperbolic, I have found the odd good one here and there. But on the whole, I've found both quality and integrity to be much lower in government bureaucracies than in private enterprise.

And I've worked with federal, state, and local agencies, many of them at each level. The two areas where I've found probably the most dedicated people are the military and small town governments. The worst have generally been in large cities and federal welfare programs. I would actually make San Antonio an exception to the large cities; the city employees that I've worked with there have generally been better than most. Of course, many of them were retired military.
(This post was last modified: 03-13-2009 02:00 PM by Owl 69/70/75.)
03-13-2009 01:59 PM
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Fort Bend Owl Offline
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Post: #52
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
If everything is as bad as everyone says, then why the hell are we even playing college athletics? I don't mean just Rice, I mean all D1 schools.

I'm serious here. No one spent serious money on sports in the 30's.

Rice won't be the first school to pack it in as far as sports goes, but some school with limited resources will bite the bullet and just say we can't afford to lose 2 million on football this fall and 5 million for the year.

All the doom and gloomers here need to be realistic about this possibliity. D1 athletics in C-USA is on life support.
(This post was last modified: 03-14-2009 07:33 AM by Fort Bend Owl.)
03-14-2009 07:31 AM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #53
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-14-2009 07:31 AM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  If everything is as bad as everyone says, then why the hell are we even playing college athletics? I don't mean just Rice, I mean all D1 schools.
I'm serious here. No one spent serious money on sports in the 30's.
Rice won't be the first school to pack it in as far as sports goes, but some school with limited resources will bite the bullet and just say we can't afford to lose 2 million on football this fall and 5 million for the year.
All the doom and gloomers here need to be realistic about this possibliity. D1 athletics in C-USA is on life support.

Good observations.

In particular, if the limits on charitable deductions go through, college athletics may be hardest hit of all. College athletics are probably more dependent on large contributions from wealthy donors (who will be hardest hit by the change) and less on large numbers of $5 and $10 donations than almost any other non-profit activity. Given how divorced from reality much of college athletics has become, this might not be a bad thing.
03-14-2009 07:40 AM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #54
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-14-2009 07:31 AM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  All the doom and gloomers here need to be realistic about this possibliity. D1 athletics in C-USA is on life support.

Your scolding reference to doom and gloomers reminds me that you have generally been quite favorable toward Obama.

With that in mind, do you see much basis for hope? Serious question, do you see an Obama vision that translates into an America where you would want to live? I've tried very hard, and I just can't see it.

I think the world will start to pull out of this some time next year. When it does, business will get going and new jobs will be created worldwide. I see very little reason to believe that many of those jobs will come to the US. What Obama has done so far, and what he and his minions have promised, will create a climate here that is very inhospitable to private enterprise--particularly those businesses that have some freedom to locate elsewhere. Consumer/retail businesses and manufacturers of products that are intended for the domestic market and are not easily transported will stay here. I can't make a pizza in Brasil and get it to you in 20 minutes, and the cost of shipping a car made in Brasil to you pretty much offsets the advantages to me. Aside from those cases, I can't imagine any reason why anyone else will want to start or expand a business here.

It would not surprise me for the US to lag ten years behind the rest of the world in restarting after this.

So, if you think things are going to be good and/or that I'm a doom-and-gloomer, tell me why you think that. Not just feel-good reasons, but real reasons.
03-14-2009 07:56 AM
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RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-14-2009 07:40 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  
(03-14-2009 07:31 AM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  If everything is as bad as everyone says, then why the hell are we even playing college athletics? I don't mean just Rice, I mean all D1 schools.
I'm serious here. No one spent serious money on sports in the 30's.
Rice won't be the first school to pack it in as far as sports goes, but some school with limited resources will bite the bullet and just say we can't afford to lose 2 million on football this fall and 5 million for the year.
All the doom and gloomers here need to be realistic about this possibliity. D1 athletics in C-USA is on life support.

Good observations.

In particular, if the limits on charitable deductions go through, college athletics may be hardest hit of all. College athletics are probably more dependent on large contributions from wealthy donors (who will be hardest hit by the change) and less on large numbers of $5 and $10 donations than almost any other non-profit activity. Given how divorced from reality much of college athletics has become, this might not be a bad thing.

Actually, all university fundraising is going to get hit hard by this. I'm sure there will still be plenty of loopholes and favorable rulings from the IRS to keep some of the really large stuff alive, but when it comes time for estate planning and everything else, it's going to be tough. It seems like every major research university out there is in the middle or will soon be launching some $500 million or $1 billion (or more) fundraising campaign right now, and I've got to believe these types of changes are going to hit these types of contributions hard.
03-14-2009 09:55 AM
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Post: #56
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
The example I see always used by proponents if the charitable limitation is that "a wealthy person giving $1000 will see a decrease in his deduction from $350 to $280, only a $70 decrease that is largely menaingless to someone that rich". This ignores two things: (1) the actual cut after the tax increases is from 39.6% to 28%, and most importantly (2) these are people we depend on for multimillion dollar gifts, not $1000. These are the Recklings, the Tudors, the McMurtrys,, etc. The difference on a Ten million gift is $1,160,000. That may not be significant to you, it is to me, and it may be to potential large donors.

I find it odd that a person making, say, $300K/yr could give it all, 100%, to charity, and still end up owing taxes on it. Is that fair? Apparently so, as these changes are to make the tax code more fair. The people who declare fairness say so. Anyone making above the 28% bracket will owe taxes on money they gave away, in proportion to how much they gave away. Say you made a mil, gave away 200K. You owe taxes of 11.6% on that $200K. The no-skin-off-my-nose-it-won't-affect-me crowd won't care. Question is, will the taxpayer care? I see no way this will encourage giving. The best hope is that it will not affect it, but i think that is a vain hope.
03-14-2009 01:49 PM
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Fort Bend Owl Offline
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Post: #57
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
I'll be honest. I haven't paid as close attention to everything since the election so I don't feel qualified to offer up concrete examples. Obviously the economy is really bad right now and won't get any better any time soon.

But I saw you at the ballpark last Sunday and you weren't wearing green and yellow. I just don't think many Americans are going to turn their back on this country. We've been in a lot worse situations than this.


(03-14-2009 07:56 AM)Owl 69/70/75 Wrote:  
(03-14-2009 07:31 AM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  All the doom and gloomers here need to be realistic about this possibliity. D1 athletics in C-USA is on life support.

Your scolding reference to doom and gloomers reminds me that you have generally been quite favorable toward Obama.

With that in mind, do you see much basis for hope? Serious question, do you see an Obama vision that translates into an America where you would want to live? I've tried very hard, and I just can't see it.

I think the world will start to pull out of this some time next year. When it does, business will get going and new jobs will be created worldwide. I see very little reason to believe that many of those jobs will come to the US. What Obama has done so far, and what he and his minions have promised, will create a climate here that is very inhospitable to private enterprise--particularly those businesses that have some freedom to locate elsewhere. Consumer/retail businesses and manufacturers of products that are intended for the domestic market and are not easily transported will stay here. I can't make a pizza in Brasil and get it to you in 20 minutes, and the cost of shipping a car made in Brasil to you pretty much offsets the advantages to me. Aside from those cases, I can't imagine any reason why anyone else will want to start or expand a business here.

It would not surprise me for the US to lag ten years behind the rest of the world in restarting after this.

So, if you think things are going to be good and/or that I'm a doom-and-gloomer, tell me why you think that. Not just feel-good reasons, but real reasons.
03-14-2009 03:18 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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Post: #58
RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-14-2009 03:18 PM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  I'll be honest. I haven't paid as close attention to everything since the election so I don't feel qualified to offer up concrete examples. Obviously the economy is really bad right now and won't get any better any time soon.

But I saw you at the ballpark last Sunday and you weren't wearing green and yellow. I just don't think many Americans are going to turn their back on this country. We've been in a lot worse situations than this.

If this country becomes unlivable, or threatens to do so, I will leave. I have some very specific triggers in mind. If I decide to go, I'll view it as my country turning its back on me, not the other way around.
I'm sorry, but I see nothing in Obama's vision that appeals to me.
(This post was last modified: 03-14-2009 03:41 PM by Owl 69/70/75.)
03-14-2009 03:37 PM
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Fort Bend Owl Offline
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RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
Sorry that was a bad choice of words. My point is I don't believe many people are going to leave this country. Maybe they'll try to move some funds to a different country but they will still remain here and perhaps commute between several homes. I can't imagine Americans would be welcome too many other places anyway if things became unlivable as you say.

Personally I'm in a better situation than most. Worst comes to worst for me, I can take over my wife's father's 80-acre farm in Illinois. I can't picture myself doing the Green Acres thing but who knows what the future lies?
03-14-2009 04:18 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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RE: Does anyone genuinely believe...
(03-14-2009 04:18 PM)Fort Bend Owl Wrote:  Sorry that was a bad choice of words. My point is I don't believe many people are going to leave this country. Maybe they'll try to move some funds to a different country but they will still remain here and perhaps commute between several homes. I can't imagine Americans would be welcome too many other places anyway if things became unlivable as you say.

Personally I'm in a better situation than most. Worst comes to worst for me, I can take over my wife's father's 80-acre farm in Illinois. I can't picture myself doing the Green Acres thing but who knows what the future lies?

When you start doing the Green Acres thing, I'm coming to see you and I'm bringing my camera. As someone who did grow up in Green Acres, I find that way out of character for you.

Like you, I'm in better shape than most. House and cars are paid for, no debts, got enough saved that I could probably quit working if I had to, a teaching job at a state university is probably going to be one of the last to go, and I'm in a rural exurban area (which I expect will remain safe long after the cities crumble). I'm going to be hard to hurt, and yet I find the possibilities terrifying. How bad must they look to someone else?

I really, seriously believe we are headed where I forecast earlier on this thread. I don't see how we remain a livable country at that point. Obama has much to attract as a personality, but I think his ideas for the economy cannot point anywhere but toward disaster. I just don't see why anyone is going to start or expand any economic activity in the US if there is a legitimate choice to go elsewhere. And if that holds up, then I don't see how we avoid massive unemployment, plus massive inflation when the bills for the "stimulus" start to come due.

I've about decided to slide into the overseas thing. I've got a pretty good idea where I want to go, and I'm looking at buying property there this summer. Then go down 3-4 times a year, move some assets out of the country, basically position myself so I could go in a hurry if need be. I find it really depressing to feel this way about the USA, but I just do.

I'll go visit your corn farm, and you can come visit my sugar cane plantation, and we can battle for the sweetener--and ethanol--markets.
(This post was last modified: 03-14-2009 04:58 PM by Owl 69/70/75.)
03-14-2009 04:31 PM
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