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It's the Economy, Stupid!

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Balladeer
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0 posted 04-24-2008 07:26 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

That was the democrat wry cry in the past.

Remember the election in 2006? Thought you might like to read the following:
A little over one year ago:

1) Consumer confidence stood at a 2 1/2 year high;
2) Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon;
3) The unemployment rate was 4.5%.

Since voting in a Democratic Congress in 2006 we have seen:

1) Consumer confidence plummet;
2) The cost of regular gasoline soar to over $3.50 a gallon;
3) Unemployment is up to 5% (a 10% increase);
4) American households have seen $2.3 trillion in equity value evaporate (stock and mutual fund losses);
5) Americans have seen their home equity drop by $1.2 trillion dollars;
6) 1% of American homes are in foreclosure.

Congress makes the laws, not the president...and yet both Clinton and Obama are pointing at the economy and screaming about Bush. Perhaps they feel that, if they scream loud enough, people will not stop to realize that we have a Democrat congress. They should be a little more careful wabout what they criticize - especially concerning problems which have come to pass under their command.
Seoulair
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1 posted 04-24-2008 08:01 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

Are you serious?  If you make cause-effect this way then 911 and Katrina must be Bush's fault. But not catching Bin Laden and poor relief of New Orleans disasters are definitely his fault.

and it is the war, the war. (that reached too far )
Balladeer
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2 posted 04-24-2008 09:11 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Seoulair, if you recheck the title of this thread, you will find the word economy in it. I assume you missed that since your response was about everything but.....
Seoulair
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3 posted 04-24-2008 09:50 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

More specific:
Since voting in a Democratic Congress in 2006 we have seen:

Perhaps they feel that, if they scream loud enough, people will not stop to realize that we have a Democrat congress. They should be a little more careful wabout what they criticize

Yes, the economy is bad. And I think that it is because the war. And some one would say one reason could be tax -cutting  But in election  years, not body wants to touch the hive.  If one make connection between Democratic congress with bad economy in this way. The same way one can apply to Bush and 911 but it is not true though. Bush did not cause 911. Though 911 happened after he took office.

I hope I made myself clear.

Balladeer
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4 posted 04-24-2008 10:03 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Well, Seoulair, the tax-cutting has generated more revenue, not less, and it's not because of the war, either, and I have no idea in the world what the connection with Bush and 9/11 means.....otherwise it's clear   especially the part about how you think the economy is screwed up by everything EXCEPT congress.

See ya...
Seoulair
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5 posted 04-24-2008 11:06 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

quote:
the tax-cutting has generated more revenue,

Brilliant.
Why, in bad economy, does Government have more money? Average American has less money?
Bob K
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6 posted 04-25-2008 03:38 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Balladeer,

           What has the democratic congress been able to do to over threat of filabuster and presidential veto to change the course of the economy has taken since 2000?  

     I would like to acknowledge that the Democratic President, Mr. Clinton, certainly helped in creating the current housing loan difficulties by cooperating in deregulating some of the loan industry.  I think he was foolish to do so.  He also had the more than enthusiastic support of the Republican Congress at the time.  

     I also believe that the surplus that was left the country by Mr. Clinton when he left office was given away in tax cuts to the very very wealthy, and that the combination of these tax cuts and various boondoggles for the wealthy has run up a multi-trillion dollar debt and wrecked the economy.  The Republican government has poured the wealth of the United States into the dry Desert Sands of Iraq and is trying to find a way to continue to do so, by fighting a War that from the beginning they were told was ill-conceived and without an exit strategy.  The only clear benefactors so far have been the religious extremists we have been fighting, the anti-american elements throughout the world, and those people close to the administration who supply second and third class supplies at shameful profit margins to an army that the administration has all but destroyed.  The army that the current administration claimed in their original campaign was in no shape to fight a war, and which endured years of internal assault before the current conflict from the "reordering of priorities" from secretary of Defense, has put up with a very long war indeed.  And done so with grace and courage, despite the government's shameful treatment of them with the stop-loss programs, the refusal to acknowledge depression and PTSD as actual frequent disabling problems and the dismantling of much of the VA system.
Thank heavens for the integrity of so many of the flag officers who have been willing to speak up against this insanity from the beginning.

     The military needs, along with almost everything else in this country, thanks to the poor stewardship of our current administration, vast sums of money to be poured into it simply to repair the damage this administration has done to it.  The VA is a wreck.  The supplies for the army are a wreck.  They have turned over to private enterprise tasks such as cooking that they did more safely, more cheaply and with higher quality.  In order to reclaim the damage done with these experiments, which have cost lives, as well as money, we are going to have to re-do stuff which was done before.

     The money that should have paid for these things has gone into the pockets of the super rich.  The Republicans are looking around with their thumbs in their mouths and a silly expression on their faces saying, "Yes! Yes! Now we know what happened!  It all comes back to us in a flash of blinding light!  IT WAS THE DEMOCRATS!"

     And now those sneaking rotten Democrats are going to raise taxes on you!

     Sorry, guys!  You've been spending as though the bill would never come due since the year 2000!  And now we owe everybody!
You've wanted it this way, so we won't be able to fund any sort of social service programs, and any time we get our heads a little bit above water you're going to do it to us again.  You're going to keep doing it to us until you've destroyed social security, too.  You certainly tried hard enough during this administration.

     People are going to dislike the Democrats enough for taking some fiscal responsibility soon enough.  Somebody's got to pay off the rubber checks you guys have written.

     By the way, the word "Democrat" is a noun.  Nouns are not properly used as modifiers for other nouns, as in your clumsy usage of "Democrat Congress."  The adjectival form of the word is 'Democratic," according to The New Oxford American Dictionary.  The variant form is taken as an insult and if Balladeer has not until this time been aware of this piece of information, he is now been informed.  

[This message has been edited by Bob K (04-25-2008 04:50 PM).]

Bob K
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7 posted 04-25-2008 04:41 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Balladeer,

           Many economists, including conservative economists believe Tax cuts do not pay for themselves.  They lose money for the economy overall. ]The Economist, cited below, is a well respected English conservative magazine.  You might want to look at their assessment.

Media Mattersis of course a Liberal source, but I think they’ve done a fair job here.
http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/have_tax_cuts_always_resulted_in_higher.html
http://www.oldamericancentury.org/tax_cuts.htm
http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2007/03/i_can_do_that_v.html
http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2007/09/raising_revenue_by_cutting_tax.cfm[/  URL]
[URL=http://mediamatters.org/items/200804220005]http://mediamatters.org/items/200804220005


     The tax cuts are good for the economy thesis is at best dubious and debatable, an opinion shared by left and right wing economists alike.  Some folks do disagree, but to act as though they are the primary voice in economics doesn’t seem justified on the basis of a survey of the field.

Respectfully, BobK.
Susan Caldwell
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8 posted 04-25-2008 06:24 PM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

Black and White.

I don't think so.

"too bad ignorance isn't painful"
~Unknown~

Bob K
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9 posted 04-25-2008 08:42 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Susan Caldwell,

                      I don't follow your comment in terms of this discussion.  I am sorry, I'm not clear if even it was addressed to me.  May I be of service in some way?  By the way, I love the Bill The Cat logo you use and I've been thinking about whether ignorance is painful or not.  I'm pretty convinced it may actually be since I'm reading some commentary on some old (8th century) Buddhist dude, Shantideva.

     The woman who's writing the commentary is a modern American Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, who is one smart cookie.
I'm not even bright enough to figure out how to put the umlauts over the "O"s in her last name.  My best,
    Yours, BobK.
Ringo
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10 posted 04-25-2008 08:52 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

quote:
The army that the current administration claimed in their original campaign was in no shape to fight a war, and which endured years of internal assault before the current conflict from the "reordering of priorities" from secretary of Defense...

Mike, I apologize for going off topic, yet this needs to be addressed...
This is 100% a Bill Clinton act. From 1993 to 2000, the Army lost 6 entire divisions (that is an entire Army); The Navy was reduced by 166 ships; Air Force squadrons were reduced from 72 to 56... and that doesn't include the Marine Corps, which is the smallest of the services.While the military levels were being dropped to their lowesat since WWII, the missions and use of those troops were increasing, even as the pay was decreasing... the president inmplimented a pay freeze for those in the military service, which caused the number of requests for food stamps to sky-rocket, even as re-enlistment numbers plummeted. With military members adding to the welfare rolls, and losing financial stability wholesale, is it any wonder that the economy began to tank? (and, NO, I am no blaming that exclusively).
As for the VA... that was also a shamblesd LONG before Mr. Bush, Jr came into power... My father needed the services of the VA with a militarily-caused medical condition, and was handed a very substantial bill because he did not retire from the marine COrps, and had never done combat time...even though I grew up on Marine Bases around the world, and he had been awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, 4 Purple Hearts, and an entire host of other ribbons and medals that are not available to those who do not feel the fire. When I discussed the matter with my local VA rep, his face turned a really pretty shade of purplpe, and her made the statement that he was sick and (expletive) tired of the VA doing that to his troops. Who could he be sick and tired of something that was not a common occurrance? The horrendous consitions at Johns Hopkins did not all occur on the current administrations watch... conditions do not happen that quickly... and yet this administration is forced to pay for it, further stretching the economy.

As for other reasons that the economy has tanked... ALL of the current candidates for the highest office in the land are screaming about how NAFTA has destroyed the economy and how it is sending jobs overseas and causing the poor American workers to lose everything, includinig their homes, their insurance, their self-respect,and all sorts of other things... hmmmmmm... I seem to recall the powers that were hailing this as the salvation of the American Economy in...let's see... 1993? 1994? That would be... BILLARY'S time in office wouldn't it? Then, there was GATT, whose latest round of "improvements was right around the same time... and was opposed by the right side of the house... and which created the WTO... which has screwed us over at every turn.. yet another SLick Willy Pet Project. Yet, the Republicans don't have the intestinal fortitude to tell the Democrats to stop screaming about it, and to stop telling the Americans that it wasn't their poster boy's doing. Ask any famerican worker who was responsible, and they will tell you that.. well,their labor unions say it was the Republicans who didn't control ANY of the three houses... yet the Republicans have ruined the economy?
As for other possible reasons that the economy has "tanked" in the 200's: during the Clinton years, personal bankrupsices increased dramatically, and personal savings dropped. Once the economic downturn started happening, the American population had nothing to fall back on, and personal spending slowed.

Let's talk about some economic factors during this presidency (last year's figures):
After-tax personal income has risen 9.6% during the last 6 years. During the 1990's it had grown only 6.7%.
7.2 million new jobs since August 2003.
Unemployment was 4.5% (as opposed to 4.1 during president Clinton's BEST year... not too far apart). This is also below the average for each of the last 4 decades.
Real income rose 1.7% faster than the average income increase during the 1990s.
Student Loan interest rates are at 6.8%, lower than all but 6 of the last 48 years.
Job creation increased almost 50 straight months.
Unemployment fell for all minority groups.
Worker lay offs were only 1.1%, down from 1.3% from the beginning of the current administration.
Annual wage growth was 1.7%... more than  the average of .4% loss from the former administration.
Since the tax cuts went into effect, 7 million new jobs have been created.
US Productivity increased 2.5% in the last 5 years, up from a high of 2.2% during the 90's.
Real growth in manufacturing has increased more than the private sector over the same time period.
Home ownership has risen from around 67% to around 69% (a near record high) since 2001.
Minority home ownership is up.
Minority business ownereship is up.

Now, I will admit that the economy is not all roses and chocolates; however, the doom and gloom that the Democrats are screaming about at the top of their lungs might not be the actual facts. Actually, let's make this a little personal, and bring this into real numbers that affect real people:
The median income for a family of 4 for the county that I live in (Carbon County, Pa) is just over $52,000. My girlfriend and I combined, make just over $32,000. Out of that, we are paying the mortgage on her house, raising 5 kids in the household, and I am paying my child support for my daughter. Do we have money flowing out of our ears? Do we have all of the extras that our children would like? Do we have digital cable, the 10G internet modem, a brand new car, dance/music/acting/etc lessons for the kids, vacations every year, and eating out once a week? Not even close; however, we are making it without too many sweats. We have a used car and a used van that work well enough for us. We have the basics (basic cable, entry level cable modem, movies once a month or so, pizza once a month or so, rented movies every so often, etc.) and we get by with a few dollars at the end. My income has increased 25% in the past year (as a cook in a local small family restaurant). Our customer base has increased (according to the owners at the last employee meeting) 14% or so in the last year. We made enough to do a complete renovation of the restaurant, including a few new pieces of equipment, and a complete change in look inside and out, front and back of house. Usually, one of the first areas to suffer in a bad economy is the food service industry, because no one has the money to eat out... hmmmm... yet people in one of the areas in Pa with the highest rate of families on assistance, are still eatinig out in increasing numbers.

It's time people stop listening to all of the politicians who are saying and doing anything possible to gain/keep their jobs and start focusing on real people, and real (as opposed to partisan) numbers.

What would you attempt to do...if you knew you could not fail?.
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Bob K
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11 posted 04-25-2008 10:18 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Ringo,

           I’ll have to get back to you a little bit at a time on your facts and figures.  Sources would be helpful so I might have a chance to fact check them.  My first effort was to see what I can find out about the V.A.  I checked the V.A. funding and so far all I’ve been able to find is a history of the R&D budget  The graphs go back to 1990 and run to 1996 at about the same level, but a look at the text explains that.  1997, the year of the large hike in funding, is the first year that salaries are included in the budget.  Before they were a separate item.  This was Mr. Clinton.  The funding appears at roughly the same level until a slight rise in 2000 and three rises in 2002,3,and at which point they have stayed at roughly the 1999 levels since.  This does not count inflation, which as you will understand has taken a substantial bite out of the whole thing for at least the past three or four years.  You do the math.   The link is
http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/va08p.pdf

More material on the V.A.
http://sentineleffect.wordpress.com/2007/05/15/95/

More material, tying the specific problems to the V.A. to the influx of patients from Iraq and Afghanistan.  My personal opinion is that there was an unmentioned bump like this following the first Iraqi war.  From personal experience—I was doing an MSW internship at a V.A. hospital in 1993—the computer systems and communications were very old and bad.
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2007/03/21/soldiers_trapped_in_limbo/

Wikipedia weighs in:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Reed_Army_Medical_Center_neglect_scandal

     What makes this problem with the V.A. worse in my mind is the attempt to privatize it.  The notion of making an profit of any sort of the blood of the soldiers and even out of the potential of denying them care frankly turns my stomach.  This stuff belongs in the public sector, and it deserves to be generously funded, and not with room to make money from patriot’s blood.  I would like to think that opinion’s not very controversial.

     I will try to get back with other responses later.  Sincerely, BobK.

     By the way, if you could source the facts and figures a bit more closely, I would be able to make a better and speedier response.
Balladeer
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12 posted 04-25-2008 11:12 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Thanks, Bob. I now understand that the Republicans are the cause of all the troubles in the world and that I am an idiot when it comes to grammar. How could I have been so blind as to not have known all this before?

Now it is all clear to me. When there is a Democrat in the White House any economic problems are caused by the republican congress and when there is a Republican in the Oval office, any fault lies with him and not the DemocratIC congress...oh, and lest we forget, if there is a surplus it is through the effort of the democratic president and not the Republican congress.

That should do it...

Case in point... I would like to acknowledge that the Democratic President, Mr. Clinton, certainly helped in creating the current housing loan difficulties by cooperating in deregulating some of the loan industry.  I think he was foolish to do so.  He also had the more than enthusiastic support of the Republican Congress at the time.  

The one thing that Bob would criticize Clinton over comes with the disclaimer that the Republican congress was at fault there, too, for supporting him. Were they also  as responsible for the pluses of the Clinton administration? Of course not....he walked on water in SPITE of them. Must be nice....

Ringo, I thank you for your effort but trying to convince some people that Clinton was not the second coming of Christ or republicans do not rank any higher on the evolutionary scale than pond scum is normally a wasted effort.

Oh, and by the way, communist is a noun and so is fascist and yet I never heard of a country having a communistic or fascististic government - but what do i know, being the clumsy linguist that I is.
Ron
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13 posted 04-25-2008 11:57 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
The notion of making an profit of any sort of the blood of the soldiers and even out of the potential of denying them care frankly turns my stomach.  This stuff belongs in the public sector, and it deserves to be generously funded, and not with room to make money from patriot’s blood.  I would like to think that opinion’s not very controversial.

Wow, Bob. You don't want to pay the doctors and nurses? You don't want to buy the equipment they need to treat our soldiers because someone somewhere is going to make a profit on that purchase? You don't want to provide drugs or medications developed and produced outside the military sector? Or maybe you'd like to just give our government the power to requisition, without recompense, anything it needs?

Not very controversial, Bob? I suspect that's one wish that will bring only disappointment.

*

Personally, I don't think our dismal economy is the fault of either the Republicans or the Democrats. The fault, rather, lies squarely with the American people. Collectively, we tend to be short-sighted and greedy, and our elected leaders get elected because they play to that greed and lack of vision. Bread and circuses still play well, it seems.

The second best thing about our form of government is that, generally, we get exactly what we deserve. The best thing, though, is that we then get to blame someone else for it.


Bob K
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14 posted 04-26-2008 04:03 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




Dear Balladeer,

          I said no such things.  You seem to believe that if I don't echo your words and your opinions that I reject your thoughts and feeling completely.  Far from saying "that the Republicans are the cause of all the troubles in the world" I went well out of my way to say where I had disagreements with Democratic policy and politicians.  My point of view is often to the left of many of the current Democratic positions, but this is not always the case, and in the past I've mentioned my admiration for Rockefeller Republicans, some of them, and for some of the positions that Senator McCain has taken.  I am sorry to say he has waffled from those positions, especially on torture, since that time.  Your characterization of me is incorrect and misleading; and if I didn't believe that you had actually forgotten these things that I've just mentioned or thought for some reason they had no importance in my character, I would be angry with you.  As it is, I think that you cannot hold in your head the possibility that somebody can respect you, agree with you about some things and disagree with you about other issues of substance.  It's either Black or White, and frankly I'm more complex than that, and I believe you are as well.

     If you are not aware that using the locution "Democrat Party" is not only seen by some of us as awkward syntax but as an insulting attempt to rename our Party by the party of our adversaries.  The same people who turned the formerly honorable world "Liberal" into the near insult "the 'L' word" are not the people I would trust with anything of linguistic importance to me.  I would no more accept such a thing happily than you would be thrilled to hear Bill Clinton start talking about the Republican Party as The Tories.  Either is an unnecessarily aggressive gesture.  Nor have I said you are an idiot about grammar.
I do feel you're being disingenuous about this bit of political theater, but perhaps you've not noticed how provocative some folks feel it is.      

     "Communist" and "fascist," by the way are certainly noun forms of the words.  They are also listed as adjectival forms as well.  The word "democrat" is not.
"Fascistic" is listed as an alternative adjectival form, and I would certainly use "communistic" in the same way without hesitation.  

     My understanding about the reason for the surplus at the end of the Clinton was the continued efforts on the part of both the white house and the congress to balance the budget.  You may recall that there were some notable clashes there, however, in which Clinton had to resist efforts by the Republicans to torpedo the more or less balanced budgets he was proposing and the government was shut down for a while.  This was a showdown of sorts.  Clinton won the power struggle and the net result was more balance to the budgets.  All increases to armed service budgets had to be paid for by cuts in other places.
Everybody screamed, but in the end the armed service budgets were increased, simply only at a level that could be paid for out of current income.  

     There was a fight.  Congress wanted an inflationary budget, Clinton fought it.  The armed services, as I understand it was not as well funded as it should have been, but better funded and better treated than it is today.
I believed NAFTA was a good program at the time it was passed, unlike many of my fellow Democrats.  In this I was in agreement with the majority of the Republicans in congress.  I am still somewhat in favor of NAFTA, unlike my fellow Democrats, because I do believe, like many Republicans, in Free Trade.

     I believe that this administration, however, has sold the traditional conservative Republicans and those Democrats who took a chance on supporting a free trade initiative down the river.  It has done so by not insisting on the human rights provisions that were built in to the agreement, and to the two way design that the agreement was supposed to follow.  This administration has followed the interests of the Multi-national firms and not the interests of the United States in giving away tax breaks for companies who relocate jobs and workers overseas.  I could go on.  I don't believe, frankly, that the current administration has very much to do with the traditional American Republican Party.  

     As for Mr. Clinton's supposed ability to walk on water.  Balladeer, I wish you'd stop putting words in my mouth once again.  I did not like the congress during the clinton years.  I felt they were very difficult and did the most they could do to keep his administration from any success it might have been able to accomplish.  I find it a personal flaw within myself that I cannot give them more credit right now than I am able to muster.  Spending time in England, a few weeks, during the Clinton impeachment fiasco, I found that those folks who could speak English—not simply the foreign tourists from Spain, Italy, France and elsewhere who had trouble—couldn't believe the idiocy of the government here.  Time and again they asked me if I didn't think those folks who were questioning the witnesses hadn't had extra-marital affairs as well?  And when I said, sure, I thought probably a fair number of them had, they looked at me like I was from some other galaxy.

     What could I say?  

     As for Mr. Clinton deregulating the mortgage industry, the reason I'm upset about that is because I think he ought to have known better.  The reason that I mention that the congress helped him is because they did.  I don't single them out for special blame because they've done it before, with the Savings and Loan Fiasco, and I don't think
I expect better, though I should.

     Despite your off the cuff remark to Ringo, I neither believe Clinton is the second coming, nor do I believe that Republicans are lower than pond scum.  My thinking is neither as Black nor as White as that, and I try not to categorize your thinking in the same way.  I know that seeing this as a more broad spectrum discussion, critical of the democrats and the republicans and supportive of something about each of them too is difficult, but that really is what I trying to set out here.  Nor do I see you as a bad guy, but I guy who's trying to come to grips with something that's genuinely mind-bending.  I know it is for me.

     And Ron, I'll try to respond to you later.  Interesting stuff.

Thanks for your patience, All my best, BobK.
Bob K
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15 posted 04-26-2008 02:12 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Ron,

          My understanding is that since i997 or so salaries, including those of doctors and nurses, have been included in the V.A. operating budget, which I have advocated increasing.  The drugs that the V.A. buys are bought, unlike the drugs that the Republican Congress rammed through under the signature of the Republican President for the elderly, by contract and by bid, so they are high quality and fairly low cost drugs without the wildly inflated profit margins the drug industry has factored in.
Medical machinery is part of the cost of doing business.  Traditionally certain V.A. hospitals have specialized in certain types of problems, so the majority of the medical machinery for X problem generally went there for work with folks who had advanced needs in those areas.

—————————————

Personally, I don't think our dismal economy is the fault of either the Republicans or the Democrats. The fault, rather, lies squarely with the American people. Collectively, we tend to be short-sighted and greedy, and our elected leaders get elected because they play to that greed and lack of vision. Bread and circuses still play well, it seems.

     Actually, a certain amount of our difficult economy is probably due to plain old fashioned business cycles, over which we have limited to zero control, to my mind.  But there is a certain amount of responsibility to be apportioned here, at least in recent years.  The Republicans have been systematically selling off pieces of the government, not funding them to the point of collapse, and deregulating them with fairly predictable results.  There has been some Democratic complicity in this, I'm ashamed to say.  The deregulation of Savings and Loans lead to one of the biggest fiscal crunches in the history of the country.  The deregulation of the banking industry has lead us to the sub-prime mortgage crunch.  The deregulation of the credit card companies and the bankruptcy laws is hanging over us now like a bad dream.

     I don't believe any of the legislators involved ran on platforms that included these measures.

More later.  Yours, BobK.
Ron
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16 posted 04-26-2008 04:57 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I think you missed my point entirely, Bob. You decry anyone making a profit from treating soldiers, apparently ignoring the fact that everyone is already doing so, from the military professionals who want to be paid, to the drug companies, to the medical equipment manufacturers, to the construction workers who build the hospitals, to the utility companies that light the halls or warm the rooms. It's called Capitalism, Bob?

quote:
The Republicans have been systematically selling off pieces of the government, not funding them to the point of collapse, and deregulating them with fairly predictable results.

And that's more Capitalism, Bob.

quote:
The deregulation of Savings and Loans lead to one of the biggest fiscal crunches in the history of the country. The deregulation of the banking industry has lead us to the sub-prime mortgage crunch. The deregulation of the credit card companies and the bankruptcy laws is hanging over us now like a bad dream.

Do you believe, Bob, that government should fix all prices or just some of them? What role should a free market system play?

Ironically, Bob, this is precisely the kind of attitude I was trying to highlight. Deregulation of credit isn't the problem here. Unwise credit choices are. Maybe it's time to start putting the responsibility where it belongs?


Balladeer
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17 posted 04-26-2008 06:08 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Your characterization of me is incorrect and misleading;

I suppose so, Bob, but, for some reason I was swayed by the comments in your reply, such as.....

the surplus that was left the country by Mr. Clinton when he left office was given away in tax cuts to the very very wealthy,

The combination of these tax cuts and various boondoggles for the wealthy has run up a multi-trillion dollar debt and wrecked the economy.

The Republican government has poured the wealth of the United States into the dry Desert Sands of Iraq

despite the government's shameful treatment of them with the stop-loss programs, the refusal to acknowledge depression and PTSD as actual frequent disabling problems and the dismantling of much of the VA system.

The military needs, along with almost everything else in this country, thanks to the poor stewardship of our current administration, vast sums of money to be poured into it simply to repair the damage this administration has done to it.

The VA is a wreck.  

The supplies for the army are a wreck.  

The money that should have paid for these things has gone into the pockets of the super rich.

The Republicans are looking around with their thumbs in their mouths and a silly expression on their faces

You've been spending as though the bill would never come due since the year 2000!  And now we owe everybody!

You've wanted it this way, so we won't be able to fund any sort of social service programs,

You're going to keep doing it to us until you've destroyed social security, too.  You certainly tried hard enough during this administration.

Somebody's got to pay off the rubber checks you guys have written.


For some reason, they made me feel that you did not have any kind feelings toward either republicans or the administration.

Good grief, man. You are simply spouting the same talking points that Democrats have drilled, or tried to drill, into the minds of the populace since 2000. It's as if someone turns a key in one's back and the same tired old chatty Cathy phrases come out....tax breaks for the rich! Social security is a wreck! Bush takes care of his rich buddies! Bush doesn't  care about veterans! Tax cuts hurt the economy! etc etc etc

You rely on links and newspaper articles to confirm your points. When's the last time you went to the VA, Bob? I go every month to Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Palm Beach. My brother goes to the ones in Missouri. Guess what, Bob? They are great institutions who care about and take care of our veterans. I've heard no one there complain about either treatment or attention and yet you come along to say the VA is a wreck. Why? By personal experience or do you just pounce on headlines or Democratic talking points whenever there is an instance to criticize? Bush took all of the surplus and gave it away in tax cuts to the super wealthy? Again, a tired old talking point that cannot stand up to even the smallest scrutiny. Then you also claim that money had been poured into the sands of Iraq. You have to make up your mind - or did you mean whatever scraps were left over after Bush took care of his super wealthy went to Iraq?  Want to know where our money is going, Bob?

1. $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare to illegal aliens each year by state governments.
2. $2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens.
3. $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens.
Verify at: http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.html
4. $12 Billion dollars a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English!
Verify at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.0.html
5. $17 Billion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies.
Verify at http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html
6. $3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens.
Verify at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html
7. 30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens.
Verify at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html
8. $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on illegal aliens for Welfare & social services by the American taxpayers.
Verify at: http://premium.cnn.com/TRANSCIPTS/0610/29/ldt.01.html
9. $200 Billion Dollars a year in suppressed American wages are caused by the illegal aliens.
Verify at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html
10. The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's two and a half times that of white non-illegal aliens. In particular, their children are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the US
Verify at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0606/12/ldt.01.html
11. During the year of 2005 there were 4 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that crossed our Southern Border also, as many as 19,500 illegal aliens from Terrorist Countries. Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroin and marijuana, crossed into the U. S from the Southern border.
Verify at: Homeland Security Report: http://tinyurl.com/t9sht
12. The National Policy Institute, 'estimated that the total cost of mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion or an average cost of between $41 and $46 billion annually over a five year period.'
Verify at: http://www.nationalpolicyinstitute.org/pdf/deportation.pdf
13. In 2006 illegal aliens sent home $45 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin.
Verify at: http://www.rense.com/general75/niht.htm
14. 'The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One Million Sex Crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants In The United States.'
Verify at: http://www.drdsk.com/articleshtml
The total cost is a whopping $ 338.3 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.

You like NAFTA? NAFTA was supposed to reduce illegal aliens coming into the US, according to Clinton. It has more than tripled. So what about that 340 billion, Bob? How much of it went to Bush's friends? How much of it went to Iraq?

Sure, the Democrats want to raise taxes...that's what they do. But why? Hillary and Obama were both presented with the fact that lowering capital gains taxes always has resulted in more money going into the governement and they STILL said they would raise it. Why? It's what they do. Since Democrats took over the congress in 2006 unemployment has increased by 10% over what it was, 2.3 trillion dollars in equity value (stocks and mutual funds) has evaporated and home equity has dropped by 1.2 trillion dollars. They said, "Put us in control and we will show you what we can do". Well, they have showed us very clearly.

not with room to make money from patriot’s blood  That would be good as a movie preview line but it belongs in Hollywood.

BobK, you're an intelligent fellow. I KNOW you are. It seemed very out of character for you to resort to such silly name-calling and insults. It also seemed out of character for you to feel so offended by my usage of the word democrat instead of democratic to the point of calling my grammar clumsy. You certainly attached more more importance to it than I did. I enjoy decent, intelligent conversations with you but calling out THE VA IS A WRECK!  REPUBLICANS WITH THUMBS IN THE MOUTHS AND A SILLY EXPRESSION ON THEIR FACES, YOU CERTAINLY TRIED HARD ENOUGH TO DESTROY SOCIAL SECURITY do not meet that criteria and will be met with little more than tongue-in-cheek sarcasm on my part. Sorry....


Ron, I could not agree with you more. You nailed it in my book. Why should we accept blame for our own actions when we have a governement we can throw blame at? It's never really our fault, is it??     

Bob K
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18 posted 04-26-2008 06:48 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Balladeer,

          In reference to your list of references, I have a reference here that takes most of them and addresses them with references.  That would be:

http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?sid=415

     In regard to your claim of over a million sex crimes per year being committed by illegal aliens, I did some digging and I found that there had been less than that number of rapes and assaults committed on folks over 18 by everybody in the country.

http://www.witnessjustice.org/news/stats.cfm#rapeassualt.

     Given the calculation of 12,000,000 illegals in the country and being extremely generous saying that 10,000,000 of them were men, that would mean that those guys would be rapists at a rate of one in ten.  Total number of registered sex offenders in the country is between 600,000 and 700,000, and the rate of first generation latino men is less than that of the regular population, those it tends to equalize over the second and third generations.

     The web site you note, Center for Immigration Studies, while proclaiming itself to be non partisan is not.  The pretense bothers me more than the right wing bias, though their mention of Victor Davis Hanson certainly scores points.  The problem is that Hanson's field of expertise, in which he is unexcelled, is classical literature and history.  His book on Greek Hoplite Warfare actually sheds a lot of light on the roots of Democracy and the joining of Democracy with the military tradition.  You might like it, Ron might like it.  It's not a qualification for him to talk well, though, about this topic, though whatever he says will be well said and well thought out.  Pardon me for giving the plug, but he's an impressive scholar, whatever his politics.

     Through your list of point, until about point 10, I believe it is, the references lead back to the same Lou Dobbs transcript.  Nothing wrong with having a single source for so many facts.  I've chosen not to spend a lot of extra time digging beyond the first article I've cited because it gives reference materials in it and I don't see that Dobbs is very good at that; but beyond that, you seem to have overlooked the caveat at the head of the page which informs the reader that this is in fact a rush transcript, and that later versions may be different.  

     In other words, Lou Dobbs is not gonna take responsibility for the accuracy of these facts.  Maybe they're true, maybe they're not; but you'd better not bet the farm.

     Disclaimers like this are sometimes easy to overlook, and I'm sorry that you did in this case.  I suspect that because the material looked so much like what you wanted to see, you didn't look for more solid material.  I still probably wouldn't have agree, if it'd said roughly the same things, but if the emphasis or the point had been different, who knows?  You do make good points or thought provoking points fairly often.


quote:
  BobK to Balladeer:
Your characterization of me is incorrect and misleading;

Balladeer to BobK:

I suppose so, Bob, but, for some reason I was swayed by the comments in your reply, such as.....

the surplus that was left the country by Mr. Clinton when he left office was given away in tax cuts to the very very wealthy,

The combination of these tax cuts and various boondoggles for the wealthy has run up a multi-trillion dollar debt and wrecked the economy.

The Republican government has poured the wealth of the United States into the dry Desert Sands of Iraq

despite the government's shameful treatment of them with the stop-loss programs, the refusal to acknowledge depression and PTSD as actual frequent disabling problems and the dismantling of much of the VA system.

The military needs, along with almost everything else in this country, thanks to the poor stewardship of our current administration, vast sums of money to be poured into it simply to repair the damage this administration has done to it.

The VA is a wreck.  

The supplies for the army are a wreck.  

The money that should have paid for these things has gone into the pockets of the super rich.

The Republicans are looking around with their thumbs in their mouths and a silly expression on their faces

You've been spending as though the bill would never come due since the year 2000!  And now we owe everybody!

You've wanted it this way, so we won't be able to fund any sort of social service programs,

You're going to keep doing it to us until you've destroyed social security, too.  You certainly tried hard enough during this administration.

Somebody's got to pay off the rubber checks you guys have written.

For some reason, they made me feel that you did not have any kind feelings toward either republicans or the administration.





     You insist on making me into somebody I am not.  I find it endlessly fascinating.  It is true I am not fond of this administration for the reasons you quote above and many others, hopefully stated in a more in depth and coherent fashion.  As for Republicans and Democrats, you apparently did not read my comments in Number 14 above, where I spoke kindly of at least one Republican policy that I thought more useful than Democratic policy.  Free Trade, as it happens.  I also said that I didn't regard this current administration as real Republicans because of their views on spending.  I should also have added expansionism, but Teddy Roosevelt was willing enough when push came to shove.  I still admire his economic sense, though, and his environmental sense.  He was a guy who understood what conservative meant.

     As for my understanding of the V.A. system, I was trained in it.  I was particularly pained about how they treated the Viet Nam vets and I remember the long fights many of them had to get anything like appropriate services.  I remember the doctors—the psychiatrists in the area where I was working—who were being trained by the leading researchers in the world in the details of psychopharmacology and physical treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy.  These Doctors were very good with such things; but they didn't have a clue about how to do psychotherapy because in part the cultures they came from  weren't compatible with it, and the economics of the profession were such that you could see more patients in an hour doing psychopharmacology than psychotherapy.

     Most of these Doctors were pretty good.  It's simply I wished they were good at different skills.  

     I'm absolutely sure that you and the people you know have had excellent services at your VA hospitals.  On the other hand,  have you talked to any of the current group of folks who are trying to get benefits?  Have you asked any of the Vietnam era guys with chronic PTSD how they feel about their services?  Because I know from the time I spent interning (social work) in one that there were always loads of complaints going around, and that was during the Clinton years, when you'd expect me to say everything was rosy.

     Over the last ten years or so, there have been a series of closings and consolidations and declining funding in general.  
This is part of the wave of base closing and reductions that the government has been working on for years now.  The ones that Ringo spoke about so bitterly  as if it were the sole provence of Mr. Clinton.  These are the same closing that have taken place over the last eight years as well, and have including the V.A. hospitals.  The current government—I believe—has been toying with privatizing those services as well.  The physical plants in a number of the VA hospitals is not in tip-top condition and much of it should be replaced or redone.  Do you think the current government is about to ask for money to do that?  I think they would rather have the Democrats do that and call them Tax Raising Democrats.  Yet somebody has to bite the bullet, Balladeer; somebody's got to.

     What about you?

     By the way, once again you bring up the business about tax cuts paying for themselves.  In posting number 7 I've offered 5 references that address that pretty clearly, including references from within the current government and from the noted English conservative Journal The Economist.  Sometimes I think you skip over these references because your nervous about what they're going to tell you.  The truth is, I try to make them as objective as I can, and if there's information that disagrees with the main thrust of the article—which does agree with me, of course; otherwise why bother—I'll still use the article to post.  I'm doing my best to be fair here.

     In the face of the current economic information, though, I don't see how you can treat folks badly when they don't agree that all tax cuts are good.  The evidence is on their side.

     Respectfully yours, BobK.

[This message has been edited by Bob K (04-26-2008 09:42 PM).]

Seoulair
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since 03-27-2008
Posts 776
Seoul S.Korea


19 posted 04-26-2008 07:37 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

So, it is not the economy. It is the illegal immigrant!!!

Then why Government/congress instead  went to Iraq, should have let the troops overthrow every single illegal immigrant? right? Was Congress wrong or right?

Unemployment rate.... Pure capitalism would not care about it. But why, Knowing Rand's "philosophy' , "unemployment rate" is still used to measure "good or bad" government?  

Why does Government have a role in Economy? Where is the free market? Corporation wants to make maximum benefit, Why should Government stop it? (by what kind of nature?)

Right, reality is not black and white. (non-black, non-white dose not mean  gray )

[This message has been edited by Seoulair (04-27-2008 01:08 AM).]

Seoulair
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since 03-27-2008
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20 posted 04-26-2008 07:44 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

quote:
In particular, their children are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the US


Australia history proved that  this is wrong statement. and it is discrimination. (now, second time )
Seoulair
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since 03-27-2008
Posts 776
Seoul S.Korea


21 posted 04-27-2008 01:07 AM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

quote:
Personally, I don't think our dismal economy is the fault of either the Republicans or the Democrats. The fault, rather, lies squarely with the American people.


So, it is not the economy, it is the American people!!!

Just because we lost pepper nickel bread we call economy bad? Yes, 3$-a gallon gas, why do we have to drive SUV? We could drive electric car. Why do we want to use credit card, or take loans when we can always  get cash from bank and ATM? (and there is a saying about interest in Bible))

So, who shall come to correct short-sighted and greedy in "we", Government? Philosophers? Religious leaders? or self-correction by meditation?

Or, because we deserve it so we shall all endure whatever?

who is "we"? In a free country like America, it is very hard to find "we". There are all different opinion and voices.

My thought (with cheap wine)

Dear Ron, have a wonderful weekend!!!    

[This message has been edited by Seoulair (04-27-2008 03:42 PM).]

Ron
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22 posted 04-27-2008 09:21 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Seoulair, your voice is starting to sound eerily familiar. As does your IP address. We wouldn't have known you previously under different user names perhaps? Bao?
Balladeer
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23 posted 04-27-2008 09:38 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

On the other hand,  have you talked to any of the current group of folks who are trying to get benefits?  Have you asked any of the Vietnam era guys with chronic PTSD how they feel about their services?

Many people trying to get benefits are having a difficult time, I'll agree. There's a reason for it. I applied for benefits 15 years ago. I had come up with a lump on my neck that wouldn't go away and kept growing. I went to a doctor who confirmed it was indeed a lump and charged me 400 for that revelation. He then told me that a biopsy and tests were in order, which would come to arount 1200. Any treatment after that depending on the results would be - who knows? I had never used the VA before and hadn't even considered them. When I left the service I left it behind me. I was talking to a customer one day and she mentioned the lump on my neck was growing and, when I told her the costs of checking it out, she said, "You're a Nam vet, aren't you? Why not go to the VA?" I stood there for a second and thought "Ok, why not?". The next day I went there. They gave me papers to fill out, sent me down the hall to have a biopsy done on my neck and, the next day I was in the hospital and surgery was done that evening. A dentist friend of mine told me that would have cost over 125,000 in the private sector. Why is it so hard now? About 2 or three years ago - don't recall exactly - insurance companies stopped paying for prescriptions, which affected a lot of people. The VA got hit with a landslide of hundreds of thousands of veterans applying for benefits since prescriptions at the VA were 7 dollars at the time, regardless of the drug. They have since gone up to 8 but still an incredible bargain. The VA simply could not handle this avalanche and people had to wait for 6 months or longer to have benefits start. This, of course, created a lot of grumblings. Were these grumblings justified? You make the call. True, these people are veterans and have the right to receive care. Like me, they did not apply for benefits for years for whatever reason. When I went to apply, if they had told me I would have to wait so many months to initiate care, I would have said nothing but these people, outraged that they would have to start paying for prescriptions, DEMANDED (and still do) that the VA take them IMMEDIATELY. Are their screams and complaints justified? As I said, you make the call. As for me, they are not.

A very good friend and neighbor of mine has PTSD along with more problems than you can shake a stick at thanks to Agent Orange. Two years ago he was given 6 months to live but he's a fighter and still with us. He is a fixture at the VA hospitals. He has never complained about VA treatment. We have Vietnam vet rallies and activities periodically in the local are and in Orlando. I hear no complaints there, either. You know who complains? Mr. I-am-a -successful-businessman and I want coverage now for the cheap drugs and I don't want to have to wait in line with 60 year old hippies and degenerates and I expect you to treat me with the respect I demand, and I want things done NOW! That's who complains...

As far as your history, Bob, I apologize for my comments about any lack of knowledge of  yours concerning the VA. I went only by the talking points you were throwing out, which are eerily similar to comment made by those who know nothing of the system at all. I would be interested in knowing exactly what you were trained in and, whatever it is, I appluad you for it. I cannot speak about the psychological side of treatment, having had no contact with it, although there are people who would swear  I should have been committed years ago for the medical part, I certainly can, though. for that operation I began this thread with as an example, the chief surgeon at Jackson Memorial hospital in Miami headed the team of 3 doctors and did the work. Jackson is world-known as one of the best hospital in the field. Another time I had major skin cancer in my face and was sent to the Sylvester cancer clinic, which has been labeled one of the top three cancer centers in the world. Not bad or unqualified people to hold the scalpel, I would say. everywhere you go in the VA you will find students, beginning doctors getting training and experience. It is a teaching facility, after all, and the doctors are not there for the money, either. but when push comes to shove and it's time for the scalpel to touch the skin, you can feel assured that you have top doctors holding it.

By the way, once again you bring up the business about tax cuts paying for themselves.

What I said, Bob, was that, during the debate, both Gibson and Stephanopolis stated to the candidates that figures showed that, every time capital gains taxes were lowered, more money was generated for the government. More than once, when the candidates tried to sidestep that fact, they were reminded of it once again to try to get an answer out of them. This was not Fox news. This was a respected journalist in Gibson and Clinton's former press agent. For them to say that before millions of viewers, not to mention newspapers, congressmen and economist around the world, I would guess that their facts had been well-documented and were accurate, wouldn't you? Neither candidate claimed that fact was incorrect and, since the debate, no one has come out to report that those facts were wrong. That's good enough for me to believe the facts to be accurate, no matter how many people try to toss pebbles into the water to make ripples.

and STILL they would not state they will not raise capital gains taxes. It was very easy to see the discomfort and fidgeting displayed over the subject. One could almost feel sorry for their feelings - NOT!

By the way, Bob, for what it's worth, I do not consider this administration to be real Republicans, either, based on their spending tendencies. I find fault with many things they do. They simply continue to be the lesser of two evils in my eyes..

Have a good Sunday, sir.
Seoulair
Senior Member
since 03-27-2008
Posts 776
Seoul S.Korea


24 posted 04-27-2008 01:06 PM       View Profile for Seoulair   Email Seoulair   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seoulair

quote:
Seoulair, your voice is starting to sound eerily familiar. As does your IP address. We wouldn't have known you previously under different user names perhaps? Bao?


Yes, sir.

[This message has been edited by Seoulair (04-27-2008 04:00 PM).]

 
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