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Obama True to Form

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Bob K
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50 posted 05-14-2009 03:56 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Denise,

          I disagree with you pretty much straight down the line, including the distinction between Democracy and Republic that our grade school teachers made us memorize and made so much about.  It was not a distinction that as far as I know the founders made, and not one that was made until the Democratic Republican party fell apart and folks tried to introduce a distinction where there had been none before.  

     I also disagree about the success of socialism.  You may be talking about Communism, which didn't work out well.  But socialism and various degrees of socialism has worked out well in a number of countries.  The trick is to have a free electorate that decides how far they want the activities of the government to go and to experiment with less and more depending on the needs of the country.  Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy and a number of the Scandinavian nations seem to have done fairly well this way.  Their standards of living and their level of happiness seem to be doing about as well as ours, and in some measures they seem to be doing better.

     I suggest to you that it is important whether economics serves the government or vice versa, for reasons I stated above.  I don't see that you've actually addressed my points other than to deny them.  I will at the risk of being tedious repeat myself though.  When the government serves the needs of the few, it is not a Democracy any more, by definition.  A Democracy serves the will of the people, not the wish of the few.  A government that serves the wishes of the few is an oligarchy, also by definition.  That's what happens when your economic system rules your government, rather than vice versa.  

     It certainly can happen with a left wing economic system as well, make no mistake about it.  I'm not in favor of having a socialist economic system run things any more than I am having a right wing fascist or Capitalist system run things.  I don't want any economic system running things.  I want a democracy running things that decides where and in what direction the country needs to move, and where it needs to move away from when that proves necessary, as it does from time to time.

     There is more, but this is more than enough for now.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
rwood
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51 posted 05-14-2009 10:38 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Nay fray, Mr. Bob.

I think you’ve pegged Germany all wrong. I’m undecided about France and the other countries you’ve mentioned. Grinch is happy…lol…gotta love the irony of the name game though.

But Germany? If there was a free boat ride to America off the coast of “Fish Peoples,” (Hamburg) and the German Gov. didn’t care who was on it, it would be sunken with passengers before the first bottle of Halleroder was opened for a toast, (if even out of spite so they could come here to tell us how much better their form/way of life is over there.) LOL. It’s an endearing trait, for about an hour, and I’m fully aware that it’s a similar disposition. So it’s nothing I hold against them. I can “Hau weg die Scheiße!” with the best of them.

Speaking of boats/ships. Here’s ya an interesting little link on Entrepreneurships in Germany.

Yes, the link is a bit dated, but things are not largely paced for change across Germany. I mean-- Bad Frankenhausen celebrated their 1010th anniversary while I was there.

Note: “West Germany’s economy was fueled by the United States and after unification, East Germany’s economy rose.”

We certainly didn’t perfect any standing for anyone, but Who thinks the wall went down because socialism was working for the EG’s?

“The entrepreneurial mindset in Germany is hindered by cultural disapproval of individual enterprise and economic deterrents of exorbitant corporate taxes and high social security standards. Corporations, on average, reach a net profit margin of only 2% of revenue, while an unemployed man may receive up to 60% of his salary for as long as three years. Germany ranks first in corporate bankruptcies though it is a leader in social security benefits.”

I dunno?

Are they happy?

Or smart?

Or corralled?

Socialism reminds me of the zoo keeper in Andy Andrews—“The Traveler’s Gift.” He went on safari to trap the “world’s first-in-captivity” animals. He easily did it with honey and barley and one fencepost a night. When asked how? He replied: “I treat animals the same way I treat people: I give them what they want. I give them food and shelter. In exchange, they give me their beauty and their freedom.”

quote:
The trick is to have a free electorate that decides how far they want the activities of the government to go and to experiment with less and more depending on the needs of the country.


I’m sorry, but the only key word in that statement is “Trick,” for me.

Currently, there’s very little “free” anything in Germany and the fenceposts are more solidly set than experimental.

The amount of taxes one ordinary German citizen pays to the government from their capped wages and assigned employment would more than buy us both an all expenses paid 1st class trip to Frankfurt or Berlin with plenty left over for a blast during Oktoberfest.

But yes, they’ve learned a few tricks, such as becoming expert networkers, barterers and service traders, and in many households every member is a secret agent “power seller” on Ebay, since yard sales are illegal and private sales cannot exceed 512eur per year without paying a “speculation tax,” on top of the social insurance and local taxes. I think speculation tax is something Ralphy Nader proposed here on securities…and of course it involved taking from the wealthy. Poor rich people…they are so slapped around it ain’t safe to rattle two dimes without feeling like they owe 20 Lincolns to somebody—sorry, off track.

So hey? Why work if you can draw 60% of your normal income for 3 years? Work for year then go back to the 3 year cycle. Perfect!!

It just has to be paid back over…FOREVER.

Forever indebted to socialism, forever and ever, amen.


quote:
I want a democracy running things that decides where and in what direction the country needs to move, and where it needs to move away from when that proves necessary, as it does from time to time.


I agree, but what’s really happening when an alarming percentage of the democracy becomes dependent upon the state? There’s not much room for leaning anymore to the left or to the right. It’s becoming a static enterprise.
Bob K
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52 posted 05-14-2009 09:34 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Sear rwoods,

          West Germany was doing fine until it had to deal with east germany.  East Germany was, however, communist, and was not run by anything approaching free elections.  It was an ecological disaster and an economic disaster that West Germany has been trying to bring into the present for almost twenty years.  You usually understand the differences between communist and socialist, or I thought you did.  Have they blurred for you?

     East Germany was under the thumb of the Soviet Union as pretty much a client state from 1945 till 1989 and it was run pretty much for the benefit of the Soviet Union.  Part of the struggle that West Germany has been having with the citizens of the former East Germany is the notion that the decisions they make affect themselves and others, and that they need to understand that their votes actually mean something.  Hard to make when you've been tracked by the secret police all your life.

     Communist versus socialist:  There actually is a difference.

Yours, Bob Kaven
Denise
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53 posted 05-14-2009 11:12 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

The founders did make a distinction between the form of government they set up, a republic, and a democracy, Bob, and a few of them are quoted in the video link that I provided. And it's easy enough to go back to their original writings for verification of what we were taught in grade school.
Bob K
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54 posted 05-15-2009 03:49 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     A lot of those folks didn't get the distinction between direct democracy —as in Athens, which by and large the founding fathers loathed— and representative democracy, which they liked, but which they called " a republic."

     The clearest explanation that I could find on a short search was in a child's encyclopedia, which managed to lay the whole thing out clearly and concisely.
http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/de/Democracy

     If I can do anything more to get extra detail, I'll be glad to give it a shot.  The material I saw was much more detailed, but was fifteen years or so ago.  This material covers some of the same ground but more superficially.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven

rwood
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55 posted 05-15-2009 08:17 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

Dear Mr. Bob,

There is, indeed, a difference between communism and socialism.

Stalin strangled the Eastern Bloc, quite expertly in his madness.

He comported socialist economic models upon the Eastern Bloc to his Soviet communist models, and the whole kit-n-caboodle failed.

From the first wave of the "Five Year Plan"
to the "Planned Construction of Socialism" to the "New Course," yada yada, which all forms embraced a socialist economic regime, implemented by the SED (socialist unity party of Germany)

Walter Ulbricht, a communist, ran the SED, and sure, he bent things to the marxist-leninist side in gov principle, but the economic principles were still leaning toward a socialist economy, because they were struggling no matter which way one wants to look at them.


Sort of like Obama who's trying to bolster our democratic republic with socialist principles, but hey, it's still early into the next 3 centuries of debt.


Even when the Soviets purged the SED of socialists, lol, they still moved toward socialism.

AND, my point is.....: Germany is socialist and things are not working all that wonderfully, so I don't think that's the answer, especially if one looks at the stats.

Putin looks so good it's disgusting, due to the monster that he is.

oh well...

  
Bob K
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56 posted 05-15-2009 09:13 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Rwood,

          Ulbricht was a communist in the soviet model, closer to Stalin than others.  He ran East Germany during most of his time in office as an occupied territory.  Actual Soviet troops were stationed on East German soil and had powers to exercise there.  The Stasi worked with the KGB, and if Ulbricht hadn't been backed by the Soviets, it's unlikely her would have remained in power there.  When Reagan visited Berlin, he didn't say, "Mr Ulbricht, Tear down this wall!"  He had at least some idea of who was running things and were the power lay.  He understood the term "client state."  

     He addressed Mr. Gorbachov.

     Client state under control of Soviet Union.

     Freely elected socialist government or government with high level of socialist policies, also freely elected and re-elected freely, such as we have had on occasion in Scandinavian countries, in France, and — under other names — in the United Kingdom.  The governments in this paragraph are different than the government in the last paragraph.

     What about the term client state is there that I am failing to explain to you.  It is a state that is run for the benefit for another country's economy.  In the language of the Left, it is sometimes called a Colony.  It is not governed for anything but the send its resources elsewhere and it impoverish it.  It is the victim of a vampire.  The soviets did this to East Germany and many other countries for a long time.

     There is nothing in Marxist doctrine that suggests this is suitable behavior, by the way.  I have no portfolio for Lenin, but even Lenin on his death-bed warned against Stalin. Lenin thought Stalin was basically nuts.

     In a letter to his mom in the late twenties, Stalin said, essentially, and this isn't an exact quote, but the gist of it, Well, mom, you want to know what I do?  Remember the Tsar?  It's pretty much like that.

     If you want the exact quote you can find it in Niall Ferguson's The War of The World, which I can't recommend enough, even if it is somewhat on the Right Wing side.  It's a brilliant look at the twentieth century from a right of center military and political point of view that's worth anybody's time and attention, even if — as I do — you may disagree.  It's writing is a pleasure, and its thinking is first rate.  You can get it remaindered in hard-bound for under ten bucks and you can probably get it used off the internet for cheaper.

     In other words, I think that what we think of as the old Soviet Union was simply another incarnation of Imperial Russia with all of Imperial Russia's concerns played out on a bigger field.  I have similar ideas about China, by the way, and I think that we're still dealing with another dynasty of chinese emperors.  I think funny, though, as you may see.  I think the differences are more superficial and the similarities are more profound in both cases.  And that we have gotten their traditional imperial aspirations confused with their superficial political thinking.

     In Germany, the West Germans are trying to clean up the mess that fifty years of Russian occupation and paranoia have inflicted on East Germany.  That's not Socialism.  The Soviets lost at least 20 million dead from the Germans alone between 1941 and 1945.  Possibly more.  And at the end of world War I, they lost enormous swathes of territory to the Germans, including much of their industry, much or their agricultural lands, much of their resource rich land area.  They were feeling paranoid and vengeful.  The Germans paid.

     Now they're trying to reconstruct something approaching a whole country.  You might blame the Germans, you might blame the Russians, but the governments elected by the East Germans had very little to do with it, and the resources expended now by the West Germans aren't to repair the election of socialist or communist governments.  They're to repair the effects of the imposition of governments by outside powers.

     Any thoughts?

     I really do commend that book to you and to anyone, left or right, who likes tight writing and solid thinking.  

Sincerely, Mr. Bob


Bob K
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57 posted 05-16-2009 03:32 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I'd also be interested in seeing some sources on your thinking that Obama is bolstering anything with socialist principles.  He still looks like Republican Lite to me, from where I stand, on the model of a Rockefeller or a Stassen.  He not only was elected to the Law Review at Harvard — which isn't easy for anybody — but he ended up as President of the Law Review, which is darned near impossible, and nobody thought that his time as the President at the Law Review was a particularly Liberal time there.  The Liberals were somewhat upset with him, actually, for not being Liberal enough.

     Putting money into welfare and direct grants to the poor as Obama has done is a pretty decent way of kick-starting the economy at this point.  A lot of the trickle down stuff may have worked when the government had a 90% tax rate in the upper brackets — and it did; it worked quite well — but when the tax rate got as low as it became in the Clinton years, it didn't seem to be repaying the treasury for the tax cuts it was giving.  In the Bush years, the tax cuts were actually losing money for the treasury, not generating it.

     Direct grants to the poor get that money into the economy quickly, and there's a multiplier effect that kicks in quickly as well.  The poor can't afford to save it, they have to spend it, and that money goes into rents, and groceries and gas, and maintenance.  The money comes back into the treasury plus other monies in increased tax revenues.  Apparently, unlike tax cuts to to rich at this point on the Laffer curve, the government actually generates tax income this way.

     When the Tax rates on the rich were at confiscatory levels, tax cuts there also apparently generated net revenue for the treasury, though not at this point and not at the point where the tax rates were set in the Clinton years, at about 39% in the highest bracket.  They're now lower, though for folks in the very highest bracket they may go back up.

     Exactly what is Socialist about this escapes me, unless you'd consider Ike a socialist.  I think he'd disagree.

     In fact, you might try looking up some of the socialist platforms from the early 20th century and comparing them to what we consider pretty much standard operating policy these days.  No child labor — pure socialism.  The 40 hour work week — pure socialism.  Since I don't believe you're in favor of social security, I won't mention that, though it's quite possibly the most popular of government programs and it was also a socialist policy.  Women's right to vote?  Yep, pure socialism.  Racial equality— yep, those crazy socialists actually thought it was a great idea.

     Perhaps these and other advances which I happen to value are things that you'd like to get rid of.  I've got to tell you, though, that I still disagree with you, even about women's right to vote.  I don't care what nasty names you call me.  I still think you ought to have the right to vote, even if you think that it's a piece of socialist nonsense.  I also think we ought to keep six year olds off the labor market — call me a wild-eyed commie agitator as much as you want.

     Sincerely, Mr. Bob

Denise
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58 posted 05-16-2009 11:04 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

quote:

President Barack Obama, calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.

“We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”

Holders of U.S. debt will eventually “get tired” of buying it, causing interest rates on everything from auto loans to home mortgages to increase, Obama said. “It will have a dampening effect on our economy.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aJsSb4qtILhg&refer=worldwide


This is EXACTLY the message communicated by the participants of the nationwide TEA Parties, for which they were ridiculed.

But Obama's solution is far different than those who participated in the TEA Parties, who want less government and more free enterprise. His solution is MORE government control and regulation, in taking over our health care system and more federal regulation of credit card issuers.

Yeah, that should work.
Bob K
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59 posted 05-16-2009 11:43 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Should help.

     Should also help for credit card companies to stop offering credit cards to people who can't afford them.  Charging rates that would have gotten them burned at the stake in the middle ages doesn't help either.  When loan sharks do this sort of thing it called racketeering, and we close them down as criminal enterprises and put the people running them in jail.  When party donors (pick your party, Denise.  I'm mostly steamed at Republicans as a matter of principle, but I'd be willing to venture you'll get your share of Democrats in there as well) get involved, I guess it's called business and banking.  As far as I'm concerned, when the rates get up as high as they do, it's predatory lending and usury.

     These are the same folks who brought you the loan instruments the sent the economy south.  I think we should regulate those too, wretched Democrat that I am.  These are variations on theft, plain and simple, wrapped in a box with a pretty bow on it.  

     And we still need to jump start the economy.  There are only so many ways to do this.  I've written why giving tax breaks to the rich isn't a useful move at this time.  You really should respond to that.  I've written about why direct grants to the needy is a good move at this time.  You really should respond to that as well.  I do appreciate the sarcasm, but it's of limited use as a substitute for reason and facts.  Tell me what about the (much beloved of conservatives) Laffer curve makes tax cuts to the rich makes sense right now.  Show me what about the Laffer curve suggests that direct grants to the poor says don't actually put extra money into the treasury.

     Just thinking.

    
Denise
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60 posted 05-17-2009 10:16 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

A big part of what sent this economy south was the granting of mortgages to people who couldn't possibly afford them, by relaxing lending standards, Bob. And the government was a facilitator in this mess with the Community Reinvestment Act, given "new teeth" under Bill Clinton, forcing lenders to lend to those who didn't meet the lenders' standards. And George Bush was also complicit in this in "We want everybody in America to own their own home."

http://www.forbes.com/2008/07/18/fannie-freddie-regulation-oped-cx_yb_0718brook.html


Obama contributed to this as well, in his role as an attorney for ACORN, in suing lenders who didn't want to relax their standards, charging them with racism.

The problem, Bob, as I see it, is too much government regulation and interference, not too little.

The credit card issuers should tighten their standards and reduce offers of credit, and I think the extent of the government's involvement should be to see that they adhere to 'responsible' lending practices, and not force them to expand credit offers to those who have a high probability of default based on their income levels and credit history, as happened in the mortgage markets.
Bob K
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61 posted 05-18-2009 02:17 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




Dear Denise,

          Thank you for the link to Forbes.  I've always enjoyed their stuff, and the fact that this particular essay was by one of the folks in the Objectivist/ Ayn Rand camp didn't bother me.  The guy tried to make a clear argument, and I liked the way he reasoned, though I didn't agree with his conclusions.

     I particularly appreciate the care you've taken in finding such a well reasoned piece from such a well respected journal.  Thank you very much.

     There are interesting and appropriate responses by Paul Krugman, some of them going back to 2005 and earlier warning of this particular recession and giving the reasons for the predictions.  You can google them if you wish.  I found something that I thought was somewhat more interesting — to me, to be sure — that spoke to your comments about government intervention that I thought would be worth sharing.  I thought that they might add some extra depth and width to the discussion, since they talk about past uses of government intervention in situations of this sort, and they tracked how these interventions did and didn't work.
http://bus.utk.edu/econweb/faculty/davidson/cepapolicypub2008.pdf

     It's a bit on the lengthy side, but it's not written in an overly complex fashion, and it makes a number of interesting points in a fairly plain-spoken way.  About six pages.  

     Thank you once again for your selection of the article from Forbes.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
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62 posted 05-18-2009 05:37 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

latearrival brought this up from the archives and, actually, I forgot I had written it! Interesting that I wrote it at the beginning of 2000, no? Maybe I won't turn in tha crystal ball just yet
http://piptalk.com/main/forumdisplay.cgi?action=displayarchive&number=30&topic=002238
Denise
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63 posted 05-19-2009 10:41 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I'm glad you enjoyed the article, Bob. I'll have to read the one you provided when I have a bit more time. Thanks.

Hi Michael! I sure hope you are starting to feel better!

Yes, history sure does seem to have a way of repeating itself, doesn't it? Maybe one day we'll learn from it.
Bob K
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64 posted 05-19-2009 07:00 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Denise,

          I was reading some stock stuff and I came across this short article that supports a lot of your fears about taxes, though not quite from the angle you approach it from.  I disagree with a substantial amount of what he says, but he says it well.  You and Mike might find it useful because it really is cogent.

     I've got to get off line just now because the earthquake we're having seems to keep going and going, and I simply don't like that.  Here's the link.  Two pages, much of it a list.   Enjoy:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/22-reasons-obama-will-raise-your-taxes-soon?pagenumber=1


Sincerely,

Bob Kaven  (Shaken, not stirred)


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65 posted 05-19-2009 10:24 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

shaken..not stirred

Bob, you are the man! Anyone who can come up with a line like that gets my respect forever. Sorry to read you are going through that. Yes, with such few things in life to count on, when one can't count on the ground remaining still enough to live on, it does make life an unsettling for sure. Hopefully it doesn't reach 007 on the Richter scale. My best wishes are with you.
 
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