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Debt Problems revisited

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Balladeer
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25 posted 08-05-2011 07:42 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Who owns US debt?

Hong Kong: $121.9 billion (0.9 percent)
    Caribbean banking centers: $148.3 (1 percent)
    Taiwan: $153.4 billion (1.1 percent)
    Brazil: $211.4 billion (1.5 percent)
    Oil exporting countries: $229.8 billion (1.6 percent)
    Mutual funds: $300.5 billion (2 percent)
    Commercial banks: $301.8 billion (2.1 percent)
    State, local and federal retirement funds: $320.9 billion (2.2 percent)
    Money market mutual funds: $337.7 billion (2.4 percent)
    United Kingdom: $346.5 billion (2.4 percent)
    Private pension funds: $504.7 billion (3.5 percent)
    State and local governments: $506.1 billion (3.5 percent)
    Japan: $912.4 billion (6.4 percent)
    U.S. households: $959.4 billion (6.6 percent)
    China: $1.16 trillion (8 percent)
    The U.S. Treasury: $1.63 trillion (11.3 percent)
    Social Security trust fund: $2.67 trillion (19 percent)

So America owes foreigners about $4.5 trillion in debt. But America owes America $9.8 trillion.


http://www.businessinsider.com/who-owns-us-debt-2011-7
Huan Yi
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26 posted 08-06-2011 11:36 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


"BEIJING — China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, demanded Saturday that America tighten its belt and confront its “addiction to debts” in the wake of Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating. "


http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/china_bla sts_us_over_credit_rating_Gf8Wl5kavOIfYSSumMZ8UN?CMP=OTC-rss&FEEDNAME=


Things are going to get ugly . . .


.
Bob K
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27 posted 08-06-2011 03:40 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     So, how about taxing the people who are making $250,000 a year and more in this economy at a higher rate and cloising some tax loopholes for them.  We're already talking about what we can do to cut back on the spending for the people on foodstamps, aren't we?  And a lot oif those folks are children.

     It's time for a tax increase among the wealthiest folks in the country on the income they make above $250,000 per year.  It's time to put that money into some public works projects and infrastructure repair projects to put people back to work.
Balladeer
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28 posted 08-06-2011 06:48 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Ok, Bob. What percent would that increase be and how much revenue would it produce??

It's time to put that money into some public works projects and infrastructure repair projects to put people back to work.

Excuse me????? Sounds like what the stimulus plan was supposed to do, you know, that thing Obama said he had to have to save the economy with all of those shovel-ready jobs (that he now jokes about). Now that the stimulus plan has flopped, you ignore that and say how tax increases for the rich are supposed to be responsible for doing what the stimulus didn't? What makes you think Obama wouldn't screw around with the extra tax money coming in like he did with the stimulus.....and please don't try to tell me how the stimulus was such a success or you wouldn't have to be laying the job creation on taxing the 250K "rich" Americans two years later.

Uncas
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29 posted 08-06-2011 07:42 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas


The stimulus package is clear evidence that tax cuts aren't the answer.

What the US needs in the short term is jobs, in the long term spending has to be reduced and revenue increased to turn the deficit into a surplus so that the outstanding debt can addressed.

That won't happen though, the US will do what Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy and the rest of Europe has done, they'll introduce even more austerity measures targeting spending  and they'll get the same result - a spiral into default.

.
Bob K
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30 posted 08-07-2011 04:54 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     The President is and has been too much of a fiscal conservative.  The spending measures slowed the recession and halted it temporarily, but weren't enough.  I don't claim to be enough of an economist — actually I don't claim to be an economist at all — to give you an honest figure.  The plan did have a decent effect for perhaps two years.

     Cutting spending, however, is not a really great thing to do in the middle of a recession.  What's needed is a stimulus.

     I have only a limited amount of agreement with Uncas in this matter, it appears, since I think that austerity in social programs slows the economy significantly, while money directed through social programs at the economy is a more directly efficient way of getting the economy moving.  Money invested into the economy through social programs goes almost directly into small businesses because the consumers it goes to can't afford to put it in the bank.  They have to spend directly for food, gas, rent and clothes.

     Money given to businesses in the form of tax breaks and so on tends not to get injected into the economy that directly but has recently been directed into bonuses.  Frequently these same businesses have been cutting workers and downsizing and shipping jobs overseas — maybe good for the stockholders and their managements, but not good for the local economy and the economy of this country.

     Re-instituting some protective tariffs may be a useful thing as well to protect our labor market here.

     I think that Paul Krugman probably had the right idea about the stimulus package being much too small initially for it to do the sort of good that it was supposed to do.  The President being basically a centrist, stayed well to the right of Dr. Krugman's suggestions in the hope of bringing some of the Republicans on board.  I don't think he really believed that the sort of Republicans he was trying to address had been essentially purged from the Republican Party quite a while back, and that they really didn't have any solid representation in the congress or senate at this point.

     Perhaps I'm misunderstanding that piece, but I think I have perhaps a piece of it.

     Thoughts?
Balladeer
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31 posted 08-07-2011 08:37 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Ok, Bob. What percent would that increase be and how much revenue would it produce??.....once more.

Bob K
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32 posted 08-07-2011 06:41 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



quote:


I don't claim to be enough of an economist — actually I don't claim to be an economist at all — to give you an honest figure.  The plan did have a decent effect for perhaps two years.




     Once again.

     What part of this did you not understand?

     It appears that you'd feel better if I lied to you and pretended to an expertise I don't have.  Won't do that.  Furthermore, It's beyond me why you'd think I should do so, especially when I told you once I wouldn't.  

     Furthermore,  we need to do more than simply bring more dough into the treasury.  We need to spend it appropriately and not sabotage the spending measures at the same time, as in passing a bill that provides 750 billion dollars  to put into the economy and then reauthorizing the Bush tax cuts, which took money out of the economy at the same time.

     What the stimulus bill did do was it put off cuts in state and many local services for an additional year and a half or two years by supplying funds for fire and police and educational services, and easing the burden on many of the less productive states.  It stabilized the country for a while.  When that money ran out, things started to circle the drain once again.

     Paul Krugman said when the stimulus package was first suggested that it wasn't enough.  President Obama didn't follow Paul Krugman's advice, or couldn't manage to get the votes to put such a program into action.  Probably because President Obama is a basically conservative guy, probably a  Liberal Republican at heart, who finds Paul Krugman's economics too liberal for him.  In my opinion.

     We need to be spending more.  We need to be canceling the Bush tax cuts and going back to the Clinton era tax rates.  If necessary, we need to borrow to fund social network spending because that money will actually kick start the economy and pay us back.  This is something we have discussed before, with references to the CBO and various other sources.  I do not remember the details of the where and when, but perhaps you do; it was pretty clear.  Perhaps other people may recall the conversation as well.

     Or not.  
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33 posted 08-07-2011 08:42 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I don't claim to be enough of an economist — actually I don't claim to be an economist at all — to give you an honest figure.

Ok...then I don't understand why you would offer a plan for which you acknowledge you are not qualified to know if it would work or not.  You call for a tax increase but don't know how much of an increase it would take. You speak of channeling that money into public works and infrastructure but don't say how much or if it would be enough to make a difference or not. Can you understand why someone would be confused about why you even brought it up in the first place?

When that money ran out, things started to circle the drain once again.

Bob, more than half of the money sat there for two years without being used! His proposed plan was to take that money immediately, start up those shover-ready jobs, get infrastructure projects going.....and guess what? He didn't.....

We need to be spending more.

Only a Democrat could say that. It's the old definition of insanity....doing the same thing, expecting different results.

Obama has raised our debt higher than it's ever been.
The unemployment rate is higher than when he took over.
Private job layoffs reported Wednesday were at 60%, a 16 month high.
Consumer spending last Tuesday was announced at .2%, worst in 2 years.
Economic growth was at 1.3% last quarter.

If these were the figures of a Republican president you and every other democrat in the country would be screaming for his blood.

The reason for all of this? The public isn't really buying scapegoating Bush any longer. They got all of the mileage out of that they could. Now, according to Obama, it's the Japanese earthquake, the Arab summer, and the problems in Europe. According to John Kerry, the tea party is responsible for it.

Could a problem be Obama, his policies or his alienation of the business world? Of COURSE not!!! Just give him some more money and keep the spending spree going...gotcha.


Huan Yi
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34 posted 08-07-2011 09:43 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


What if China just decides it doesn’t want any more American debt?


.
Balladeer
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35 posted 08-07-2011 10:38 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


I agree that the first priority is employment, getting people back to work. Did the stimulus do that? Actually, it could have done just the opposite. Everyone receiving unemployment got a twenty five dollar weekly raise from stimulus money. In addition to the 26 weeks of standard unemployment benefits, extended benefit added another 20 weeks tacked on. Not only did this use a nice chunk of stimulus money, it also gave people more time NOT to look for employment. Does that sound like a plan to promote employment?

You want to make the argument that, at least, income tax was generated from unemployment checks? Guess what? Under the stimulus plan, the first 2,400.00 of unemployment compensation became non-taxable. Twenty-four hundred times everyone on unemployment results in a very nice piece of change that the government forfeited.

You want to give employment a shot in the arm? You don't increase the benefits for not working; you make it more necessary for people to find employment. Forget the "there are no jobs out there" defense. There ARE jobs, maybe not ideal ones, maybe not ones that would pay as much as you want but jobs that would keep food on the table while looking. No one want those....and why should they? Obama made it more beneficial NOT to take them for a longer period of time....and used the stimulus money to do it.


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36 posted 08-08-2011 02:51 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     No, Mike, I don't have to have a Ph.D. in economics to know better than what you're talking about.  I may not be particularly good with the sort of chaos theory that they're using to pick their way through portions of economic theory right now, and I may not be able to specify exactly how much money we'd have to raise, but I can say that the money set aside for direct grants to those who are out of work is a good economic investment.  And that is not because the country would get a portion of that money back in direct taxation of a portion of that money.  In fact, taxation of that money would be shooting ourselves in the foot.

     That money gets spent as soon as it's issued, unlike tax cuts to the wealthy.  Direct grants to the poor gets spent on needed consumer goods, including food and clothing and rent and toilet paper and all the various sundries that people need to get along on a daily basis, and which people who are out of work cannot afford.  They'll even spend money on an occasional movie or two, car repairs and gasoline.  

     At one point tax cuts for the wealthy actually produced that sort of benefit as well.  That was a long time ago, however, when the highest tax bracket in this country was about 90%, and the tax cut that was instituted did produce a large surge of revenue for the treasury.  I don't think it was particularly important that it was a democratic program, and that Jack Kennedy ran on it.  It could have come from either party and would have made sense at that time; it was mere chance that it wasn't a Republican Program, I think.  I believe that the rationale for this was something called the Laffer Curve, which is a central aspect in Conservative Economic Theory.  I believe that with high income taxes being that high, the Laffer curve predicts that a tax cut on that end of the spectrum would produce a stimulus effect on the economy.

     With the high end tax rate being where it is now, down around 35%, further tax cuts for folks on the high end do not predict a stimulus effect.  They predict pretty much what we have now.  People on the high end of the economy are doing profit taking, they're taking cash out of the economy and we're going into recession.

     You'd also tend to predict this from more left wing economic theory as well, as I understand it.

     In either case, money pumped into the economy as direct aid creates money in the economy.  You'd have to do the research yourself.  It was a least a year ago when I cited the CBO and treasury sources which said that money pumped in as direct grants to the poor tended to create between 1.26 to 1.50 or so for every dollar pumped in, while money pumped in the form of tax cuts to the wealthy actually cost the economy.  For every buck we pumped in the form of cuts, we got about .75 dollar back, a loss of 25 cents.  Money to the wealthy on the particular side of the Laffer curve we're on now tends to lose us money rather than help us out.

     I've been over this material several times over the past several years.  You've seen the references and you've had a chance to check them out.  I'm not about to do the same work again only to be ignored again.  If you want the references, go back and check the older postings.  They will include The Economist among others.

     I find the conservative argument that the reason that people aren't working is that they're lazy is basically a contemptible argument.  I similarly find the argument that the reason that people aren't making as much money as they used to make a contemptible argument as well.  These same people do very well when economic conditions improve.  It doesn't matter how hard you work if the work that's available doesn't pay a living wage in the amount of time that a person can work without collapsing, does it?  And suggesting that we eliminate any option for having health care available to stave off collapse, is contemptible and insulting as well.  
Balladeer
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37 posted 08-08-2011 07:08 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Democrats find many things contemptable and insulting....normally anything that disagrees with them. If you want to believe that the best way to create employment is to make unemployment benefits longer and more beneficial, be my guest. If you want to believe tht the best way to use stimulus money is to give it to the unemployed, not in the manner of job creation, but as a benefit from NOT working, go ahead. It's a democrat mindset that I wouldn't even attempt to argue with.
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38 posted 08-08-2011 07:48 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Here is a surprisingly decent article (coming from the NY Times) which agrees with some of your points, Bob, like the stimulus plan needed more money and the wealthy tax breaks need to be removed and also gives a pretty good opinion of why Obama has fallen short. I agree and disagree with things in the article. Here a small portions that I consider to be very interesting...


IN contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it. He never explained that decision to the public — a failure in storytelling as extraordinary as the failure in judgment behind it. Had the president chosen to bend the arc of history, he would have told the public the story of the destruction wrought by the dismantling of the New Deal regulations that had protected them for more than half a century. He would have offered them a counternarrative of how to fix the problem other than the politics of appeasement, one that emphasized creating economic demand and consumer confidence by putting consumers back to work. He would have had to stare down those who had wrecked the economy, and he would have had to tolerate their hatred if not welcome it. But the arc of his temperament just didn’t bend that far.
The truly decisive move that broke the arc of history was his handling of the stimulus. The public was desperate for a leader who would speak with confidence, and they were ready to follow wherever the president led. Yet instead of indicting the economic policies and principles that had just eliminated eight million jobs, in the most damaging of the tic-like gestures of compromise that have become the hallmark of his presidency — and against the advice of multiple Nobel-Prize-winning economists — he backed away from his advisers who proposed a big stimulus, and then diluted it with tax cuts that had already been shown to be inert. The result, as predicted in advance, was a half-stimulus that half-stimulated the economy. That, in turn, led the White House to feel rightly unappreciated for having saved the country from another Great Depression but in the unenviable position of having to argue a counterfactual — that something terrible might have happened had it not half-acted.
To the average American, who was still staring into the abyss, the half-stimulus did nothing but prove that Ronald Reagan was right, that government is the problem. In fact, the average American had no idea what Democrats were trying to accomplish by deficit spending because no one bothered to explain it to them with the repetition and evocative imagery that our brains require to make an idea, particularly a paradoxical one, “stick.” Nor did anyone explain what health care reform was supposed to accomplish (other than the unbelievable and even more uninspiring claim that it would “bend the cost curve”), or why “credit card reform” had led to an increase in the interest rates they were already struggling to pay. Nor did anyone explain why saving the banks was such a priority, when saving the homes the banks were foreclosing didn’t seem to be. All Americans knew, and all they know today, is that they’re still unemployed, they’re still worried about how they’re going to pay their bills at the end of the month and their kids still can’t get a job. And now the Republicans are chipping away at unemployment insurance, and the president is making his usual impotent verbal exhortations after bargaining it away.


I find this part very interesting....

Like most Americans, at this point, I have no idea what Barack Obama — and by extension the party he leads — believes on virtually any issue. The president tells us he prefers a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction, one that weds “revenue enhancements” (a weak way of describing popular taxes on the rich and big corporations that are evading them) with “entitlement cuts” (an equally poor choice of words that implies that people who’ve worked their whole lives are looking for handouts). But the law he just signed includes only the cuts. This pattern of presenting inconsistent positions with no apparent recognition of their incoherence is another hallmark of this president’s storytelling. He announces in a speech on energy and climate change that we need to expand offshore oil drilling and coal production — two methods of obtaining fuels that contribute to the extreme weather Americans are now seeing. He supports a health care law that will use Medicaid to insure about 15 million more Americans and then endorses a budget plan that, through cuts to state budgets, will most likely decimate Medicaid and other essential programs for children, senior citizens and people who are vulnerable by virtue of disabilities or an economy that is getting weaker by the day. He gives a major speech on immigration reform after deporting a million immigrants in two years, breaking up families at a pace George W. Bush could never rival in all his years as president.

The most charitable explanation is that he and his advisers have succumbed to a view of electoral success to which many Democrats succumb — that “centrist” voters like “centrist” politicians. Unfortunately, reality is more complicated. Centrist voters prefer honest politicians who help them solve their problems. A second possibility is that he is simply not up to the task by virtue of his lack of experience and a character defect that might not have been so debilitating at some other time in history.


HERE is what I have preached since his election..


Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted "present" (instead of "yea" or "nay") 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/opinion/sunday/what-happened-to-obamas-passion.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
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39 posted 08-08-2011 11:04 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
You want to give employment a shot in the arm? You don't increase the benefits for not working; you make it more necessary for people to find employment. Forget the "there are no jobs out there" defense. There ARE jobs, maybe not ideal ones, maybe not ones that would pay as much as you want but jobs that would keep food on the table while looking. No one want those....and why should they?

I agree.

I can remember when Unemployment Insurance was provided (albeit involuntarily) by your last employer, not by the government. It was a stopgap measure, designed to give people who habitually lived from paycheck to paycheck time to adjust to a sudden and unforeseeable loss of employment. It was never supposed to be welfare.


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40 posted 08-08-2011 01:31 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

That's right, Ron, and not only that, the employee had to be fired or laid off to collect. Workers who simply quit were not entitled to anything.
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41 posted 08-08-2011 02:32 PM       View Profile for Uncas   Email Uncas   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Uncas


I agree pretty much with Krugman - the stimulus was not big enough by a long stretch and was spent on the wrong things. For instance, the largest portion of the stimulus was tax cuts that, according to non-Keynesian economists and most right wing commentators, should have resulted in oodles of jobs - but didn't.

quote:
Forget the "there are no jobs out there" defense. There ARE jobs,


I think if you look at the available data Mike the "there are no jobs out there" defence seems to be perfectly reasonable.

http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/charts/view/21
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     The New York Times article seems pretty straightforward, and I like what it has to say.  It certainly points out some of the President's flaws.  He ran as a Democrat, and there was a lot of unfortunate rhetoric that painted him as a communist and a socialist from the right wing.  I think that was a bad call.  His weakness is for the positions that are somewhat to the right of center, and those are the ones that he seems to end up signing legislation to support, for the most part.  

     I agreed with and still agree with what Dr. Krugman suggested about the size of the stimulus and what the stimulus should have covered.  I think that the President did not do a good job of explaining what was needed, when it was needed and why.  I think he was too interested in Republican support that was not going to be forthcoming.  As I've said in the past, he's Republican Lite.  Republicans these days are unwilling to admit to such a thing, and many of them have found refuge in the Democratic ranks.

     Socialist or Communist — hardly.  Certainly not fascist.

     I feel he has a very good chance for re-election next time because the Democrats are unlikely to replace him, and the Republican alternatives are going to look a lot like Vlad The Impaler, with fiscal and social policies to match.  The whole notion of a Conservative who was willing to believe in a serious safety net went out with Dwight Eisenhower.

      I must thank Mike here for an extremely open-minded appraisal of the situation, and in many ways I find this one that I am in agreement with.  I am probably as surprised as Mike is, but I think that much of what he's said here and quoted here is essentially stuff that I'd go along with, too.

     The one point where I'd have some differences might be around the notion of the who willingly walk away from jobs.  Certainly there must be some folks like that, and I'm willing to stipulate they exist.  I would also suggest that there may be fewer than you think there are, especially when this country does not consider .0% unemployment to be full unemployment.  During the early '60's, when I was helping my Dad study for his "A" exams in Business Administration at Cornell, the economists were talking about full employment being around 6.0%, and there was a lot of skepticism about ever being able to reach that level.  Later, that level was reached and surpassed, as I recall, during the late '6o's.  During the Depression, it was common to call the Hobo's lazy and shiftless shirkers; but, oddly enough, as the economy heated up, they disappeared and were absorbed without a trace back into the workforce.

     This tends to be the case over and over during down cycles in the economy.  The folks who are out of work end up getting blamed for being out of work or having obsolete skill sets.  Once the economy heats up enough, these same people get reabsorbed into the economy as workers and the unemployment figures fall to what's essentially "full employment" for that society.

     These folks are not generally the most robust workers, nor are they generally the most essential workers.  They are frequently the most at risk workers.  The more robust of the dislocated workers tend to do the sort of things that would come to mind right off the bat:  Start pounding pavements, look for retraining, accept pay cuts for less specialized work, start private businesses and so on.  These folks don't remain on the unemployment rolls as long as their less robust fellows.  The longer the downturn goes on, the more the unemployment rolls select for these folks, and the less sense the "straighten up and fly right" advice makes to them.  These folks tend to self-select for being shell-shocked.

     When they get work, they tend to recover slowly but with scars.  I'm old enough to remember people who survived the great depression but never really recovered from it, and were terrified of doing anything for the rest of their lives that involved any risk whatsoever.  Most people my age will remember people like that, more brittle than resilient.

     Asking these folks to pull themselves up by their bootstraps is like asking a trout to write the great American novel.  You can ask and demand all you want, but any serious expectation you have of a publishable manuscript from the trout is your own misjudgment.  It's simply a fishy expectation that reasonable people might reconsider; in my opinion, of course.
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43 posted 08-08-2011 09:42 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I had my a/c unit replaced a couple of weeks ago. A fellow came by in an old truck while it was being done and asked if he could have the metal from the old one being replaced. He had several pieces of metal in the back of the truck, telling me how he went around collecting metal and turning it in and made around 700 bucks a week doing so. I doubt it was easy work.

If I had to find a job in order to feed my family, I could find one. So could you. So could every person reading this thread.

Be that as it may, the question would be why aren't there more jobs? Why aren't companies hiring? Why are businesses holding back, unsure of what Obama is going to do? Why has he alienated the business world, which he has? He is not going to see business expansion until he convinces business that he is not their enemy. They do not know that now. They don't trust him and have said so. They are right not to. Obama has no idea what he is doing.
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44 posted 08-08-2011 09:49 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Thank you, Bob. I'm pleased you enjoyed the article. I am still interested in what you think of the last paragraph.
Bob K
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45 posted 08-09-2011 03:07 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



quote:



Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted "present" (instead of "yea" or "nay") 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.



     I don't particularly find myself in agreement with the final paragraph, Mike, and I didn't feel that was the main thrust of what you were talking about, so I kept silent.  I don't mind talking about my thinking, here, I only want to be clear that I'm not doing so to be truculent, only to follow up on a request.

     I enjoyed his rhetoric during the campaign.  I was disturbed about the stories that were coming out about his time at Harvard Law, that he had campaigned for president of the Harvard Law Review by  playing up to the left, but that he was unwilling to back up his leftish rhetoric at that time and ended up being fairly cozy with the more rightish folks in the law school.  I was nervous that he might do that again.

     When people ask psychologists or psychiatrists to predict behavior of people they're giving expert opinions on, you'll often get a statement that says something like, "You really can't predict individual behavior, and it's a mistake to even try."  This is true enough, but when you have to do it, for example, when you have to make a decision about whether it's safe to give a patient a day pass or something of that sort, you'll get another story.  That story is, "What I said before is true, but if I have to make a decision, then the best predictor of the future is past behavior."

     That goes for political behavior as well, I think, and not simply predictions of violence or sexual misbehavior.  

     If the President faked left and went right at Harvard, it's likely he'd do so in The White House and with the congress.  I think it may have to do with not really wanting to alienate people if possible, and especially not wanting to alienate authoritarian sorts of people if he can help it.  That's my take on who The President is and where he comes from.

     I don't believe that you've got to have run a business or a state to be a successful President.  I think that the skill set is different, and that the suggestion that you've got to have that sort of experience before going into politics is a result of the country confusing Democracy and Capitalism.  Or believing that the skills of one are the same as the skills of the other.  In fact, if you try running a country like a company, the companies in the country tend to become somewhat scared that you may be competing with them, and it's entirely possible that they will try to close your administration down.  Capitalistic skills are prized only under specific circumstances; capitalistic skills are skills at making money, and private business wants to make the money.  They'd rather the  country stay out of the marketplace.

     Remember how the various banks got upset when the government decided it wanted to go into the student loan business directly?  That was a great capitalistic decision for the government.  The government was in the position of actually making money on student loans by cutting out private business as middle men, who wanted to use government money as their own private funding source, to earn interest on at zero risk for themselves.  It was like being handed the keys to Fort Knox.

     They certainly didn't want any capitalist making the decisions there, though they were willing to say they did so long as they thought that position would get them a pro-business administration.  They certainly wouldn't want the real thing actually wanting to put the government on competitive footing with the Pirate Sector (please forgive my little pun).

     It's not simply the Republicans who bring the subject up, of course.  Anybody who thinks they can get away with making the charge and getting a boost in the votes is likely to do so, I don't care which party they represent.  I think it's simply poor reasoning no matter who makes that particular pitch.  I don't think it makes any particular difference.  You will need people who understand money, but those will probably be economists, who  have a better understanding of the whole picture rather than Capitalists, who have some notion about making money.

     Countries aren't in business.  The purpose of countries is not to turn a profit and to pay money to investors and to minimize the liability of those investors.  That's an entirely different language and set of values than the language of politics and country.  The meaning and purpose are different.  The expertise in one may or may not help in the other.  

     Lincoln was not a Capitalist, nor was he a distinguished legislator, nor was he more than a member of the House before he became President.  By the argument put forward here, he should have been a terrible President.  Grant was not a particularly good President by most accounts.  He was not a legislator at all, and he was a failure in business.  I happen to think that he was a fine General, but we weren't talking about the military as background.  Nixon was not a particularly good businessman, Eisenhower was not fond of him as a V.P., and his legislative career was — pardon the pun — Checkered, to say the least.

     Nobody can or should even try to take away his achievement in helping to re-open diplomatic relations with China.  I don't think a Democrat could have done that politically, only a Republican, and he and Kissinger both deserve a lot of credit for that, and I have spoken up for them  often.  I have had to, because of other actions that almost destroyed the constitution and even today leave the country in very fragile condition.  Again, in my opinion.

     I believe that President Obama's time in the Senate was very much affected by the likelihood of his running in the 2008 election.  Had he spent time before that in the senate, I don't know what his record would have looked like.  I suspect that any record would have made it more difficult for him to run, and the fewer absolutely iron clad votes that he cast, the better off he was politically for 2008.  It certainly seemed like a more solid strategy for him that the more identifiable strategy followed by Senator Clinton, which left tracks for opponents to follow and a record for them to point to.  It is pretty much the strategy that the Younger President Bush followed — leave no tracks — and it seems to have works as well for President Obama as it did for President Bush Minimus.

     The negatives are there to be pointed to, as they are in the paragraph we are discussing; among the positives is the increased possibility of election.  Both of the last two Presidents chose the same rough path.  You may recall the same criticism was leveled at President Bush when his record was stacked against Al Gore.  In both cases, the fact that there really wasn't much of a record and that the two contenders presented themselves as outsiders worked in their favor.

     I don't know that they should have; but they did.  I think the criticism in this regard in the Times Article simply didn't take this into account.  Given the amount of consideration that it may have mobilized in the minds of voters, perhaps it should have been.

     As for the suggestion that President Obama didn't do essentially anything before his election to the Presidency, I think we can dismiss that.  The amount of rage and the number of pages that Republicans and those who sympathize with them in this area have devoted to The President's concern with community organizing and with ACORN specifically should belie the suggestion of inactivity on the part ,of those who are sympathetic with this position.  Those who don't feel sympathy with the right should already be aware of the value of community organization and how it can change the picture on a precinct by precinct basis.  The charge that The President did nothing is risible on the face of it for exactly that reason, and the fury of the Republicans at this fairly mild mannered slightly right of center guy is really all the proof that anybody should need.
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46 posted 08-09-2011 10:07 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I don't particularly find myself in agreement with the final paragraph, Mike, and I didn't feel that was the main thrust of what you were talking about, so I kept silent

Understood, Bob. Actually that is the main thrust of what I have been talking about ever since Obama got elected. We hired, elected, a man to lead the country who had absolutely no experience whatsoever either in business, foreign affairs or even politics, and now everyone is either shocked that he doesn't know what to do or spend all their time trying to defend the wrong choice they know they made. We got hypnotised by a glib tongue and a good slogan. That was basically all that Obama brought to the table. Do you really think he was considered presidential material by the democrats in power because of his experience or abilities? Think about it, Bob. He was considered presidential material for one reason and one reason only. He gave a great speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. That was it. The Democrat powers that be saw the speech, how the listeners responded to his speech, and felt they had someone who could appeal to the people enough to get votes. That's the only reason he was even considered. What do you think...they looked at his congressional record, which was tepid at best - all one and a half years of it -and  thought "HERE'S a man to lead our country!!"? At least THEY were smart. They knew  what they were doing. They knew he didn't have the credentials but also knew that he had the charisma, the eloquence and the ability to get votes, which was all they wanted. The supposedly intelligent people who voted for him? Were they smart? Well, as the article states, maybe not so much. They got caught up in the fervor and ignored the fact that Obama brought nothing to the table at all. Obama won because people closed their minds to those facts, because he was not Bush and because he got 97% of the  black vote. That's the only reason he is in office today. People like you, Bob, have been put into a position of having to defend him mainly along party lines, remaining true to your party. Ok, you may deny that and claim that you are behind Obama because of his knowledge, experience, intelligence and ability and I won't disagree becaue perhaps you may feel that way but I think that would be a hard sell.  You saw the fertilizer he was selling as a tool to make the country grow and are seeing now that it's nothing but fertilizer. (I say the "you" figuratively, not personally).

Countries aren't in business. The purpose of countries is not to turn a profit and to pay money to investors and to minimize the liability of those investors.

I contend that companies are in a business to remain solvent. When countries go bankrupt, they  realize they should have used more business sense. You do not want a president that does not realize that of have that as a top priority. Unfortunately we have one now. Obama is running the country with the same philosophy he used at teaching ACORN workers. Get the mob together, picket the banker's house, threaten his family, storm the banks with signs, sit-ins and intimidation, cause as much chaos as possible until you force them to give out unsecured housing loans that they will not be able to repay, ultimately losing their houses in the long run. He's doing the same thing now....go after the rich, villify them, send their money to the poor and downtrodden, the 54% that pay no taxes at all, extend their unemployment welfare checks and foodstamps and then complain that the rich still aren't doing enough and companies aren't hiring.

Countries ARE in business, Bob. Their business is to keep the country going. They handle billions of dollars. They set up retirement programs. They run Wall Street. They collect money and redistribute it. That's all business. There is nothing that is not business, Bob, with the exception of death. Your family is business...the income you bring in, the budget you live by, the paying of the necessities you need to survive....that's all business. The family cannot survive without it. Neither can the country.

I believe that President Obama's time in the Senate was very much affected by the likelihood of his running in the 2008 election. Had he spent time before that in the senate, I don't know what his record would have looked like.

Bull....not even a worthy attempt at justification of  a mediocre record.

for the suggestion that President Obama didn't do essentially anything before his election to the Presidency, I think we can dismiss that.

No, what you are saying is that YOU can dismiss it. I don't, millions of Americans who see Obama for what he is don't, and the writer of that article, who seems to be a very fair-minded, unbiased, present both sides, qualified professor doesn't, either. That should tell you something.

I'll admit that you put out a wonderful effort trying to defend the indefensible, Bob. It just ain't gonna fly. The American public bought a lemon, and regardless of how hard you try to paint is as a Ferrari, it still is what it is and, like the president himself, it only picks up speed when going downhill.
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47 posted 08-09-2011 11:53 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
We hired, elected, a man to lead the country who had absolutely no experience whatsoever either in business, foreign affairs or even politics ...

Do you want experience, Mike? Or competence? While not mutually exclusive, neither are they irrevocably entwined. Our past few presidents, both prior Governors, should be sufficient proof that experience doesn't necessarily lead to competence. Similarly, there's no rule that says competence can't precede experience.

Lack of experience stopped being a factor the minute Obama was elected. Once he entered the Oval Office, the only thing of import was whether something he did was right or something he did was wrong.

quote:
We got hypnotised by a glib tongue and a good slogan. That was basically all that Obama brought to the table.

That's where I think you continue to perpetuate a big mistake, Mike. Marlon Brando and Charlie Sheen have glib tongues; that doesn't necessarily make them leaders.

People like Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama bring a lot more to the table than eloquent oratory. They have the ability to both inspire and persuade, the very epitome of leadership. You may not approve of the direction Obama intends to lead, but that in no way detracts from his leadership capability. He convinced a lot of people, even if one of them wasn't you. He hasn't done everything he said he was going to do, and he's done a few things he never hinted he would do, but by and large President Obama has been remarkably predictable. He's certainly been a lot more honest with us than his immediate predecessor.

quote:
People like you, Bob, have been put into a position of having to defend him mainly along party lines, remaining true to your party.

I don't have party lines; I'm pretty much equally disgusted with both.

When I jump in to seemingly defend Obama, more times than not, it's going to be because passionate people have let their feelings usurp control of their thoughts. I don't have much patience with propaganda, misinformation, and blatant lies, which seem more and more to be the Republican party's weapons of choice. I'm not really defending Obama most times; I'm defending our right to think clearly and act honestly.


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48 posted 08-09-2011 01:05 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Well, we can agree to disagree. I see bnlatant lies,  misinformation and propaganda at the democrats weapons of choices, more so because they have the press behind them.

There's no need to point out Obama's failings any further. The economy and  the state of the country do that very well
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49 posted 08-09-2011 01:45 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I see bnlatant lies,  misinformation and propaganda at the democrats weapons of choices, more so because they have the press behind them.

You're probably right, Mike. Neither party is particularly  interested in honesty, not if it costs them so much as a single vote. Still, from where I sit, I can't easily forget those silly Death Panels. Or Bush's not-at-all-silly WMD. Sadly, those lies will likely color my feelings for a good many years to come.

quote:
The economy and  the state of the country do that very well

Mike, that would be absolutely true IF Obama had inherited a healthy economy and a country at peace with both itself and its (distant) neighbors. We all know, however, that wasn't the case.

Did Obama make everything worse? Or did he stave off catastrophic disaster, at least for a while? The answers to those questions will never be more than speculation; no one can know "what might have been."
 
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