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What do I believe, and why do I believe it?

by Paul C / October 9, 2013 8:27 PM PDT

The answer's simple: We as a nation have spent too much, borrowed too much and now see the day of reckoning coming - if we're looking at all (which too few are doing).

John Hayward, a writer for Human Events, defines it as a "priority problem" , but the real problem has taken many years, many politicians (both Republicrats and Demopublicans - the two halves of our de facto one party system - to create, and now the bill's due and there's little chance of kicking the can down the road:

The whole thing is a scam, perpetrated on the American people year after year. We aren't educated about the opportunity costs of compulsive government programs. We don't equally share the tax burden of the government's agenda. We are told that not even the most badly malfunctioning or useless appendage of the central State can be dissolved, which is another way of refusing to set priorities - we cannot decide that any given chunk of our individual liberty is more important than the government power it was sacrificed to nourish. Every bit of machinery packed into the super-State over the past century must be kept running, even when it's absurdly obsolete or counter-productive. The system can only get bigger.

We're being ill served by a Leviathan government whose only purpose is to enrich itself and its cronies at the cost of our children, grandchildren and generations yet to come. That's why I believe as I do.

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Yes we've been scammed but we should be willing
by Steven Haninger / October 9, 2013 8:32 PM PDT

to accept the blame for it ourselves. To paraphrase from an old Native American storytelling session, 'We knew they were snakes when we picked them up'.

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I absolutely agree, and it's time
by TONI H / October 9, 2013 9:29 PM PDT

to rip out the fangs, chop off the heads, and eat what we have created.......get ready for the stomach cramps and what follows after eating the bad stuff, cleanse ourselves, and learn to leave the snakes to feed off themselves instead of us again. We are a nation that has always been able to bounce back from the edge....we just have to learn to stop repeating history and perhaps the insanity of expecting different results will finally end.

No rational person believes it won't hurt, but it's far better to rip off that bandaid quickly and begin the healing process.

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I wouldn't mind it
by James Denison / October 9, 2013 10:05 PM PDT

If only the snake handlers suffered for it, but they've tossed snakes at others who never wanted to pick one up in the first place and so everyone gets snakebit. If there's some fault of those who refused to pickup the snakes, it's our forebearance in not stomping the heck out of those picking up the snakes. We may have to do that in the future sometime anyway.

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We've allowed people without a clue
by Steven Haninger / October 9, 2013 10:52 PM PDT
In reply to: I wouldn't mind it

how to pick a leader to pick our leaders. We've allow some would be leaders to round up the clueless, promise them free gifts and drive them to the polling places. We need to stop that. We still have little more than 1/2 of the eligible voters actually and regularly participating. It would seem there's plenty of opportunity to be explored (not exploited) by getting more people properly educated and involved with their own country and the future of their children. I'm just clueless as to how to do that but refuse to offer goodies paid for by other people.

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Key word being "cronies"
by Josh K / October 10, 2013 6:03 AM PDT

We need to remove the influence of powerful individuals and lobbying groups -- on both sides. What they do amounts to legalized bribery and in many cases, extortion. What we end up with is a Congress beholden to them instead of their constituencies.

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Part of the problem is to see National Economies as
by Ziks511 / October 10, 2013 10:02 AM PDT

analogous to Household Economies. The Budgetary practices of the Nation are not in any way related or linked to the Economy of a Home. Among other things householders with Homes can't sell Bonds on the open Market and expect other Countries and Business Entities to buy them. Nor do Households pass Laws regulating their own actions.

I do agree that the US is essentially a One Party State little different from the old Soviet system, but Mr Hayward is part of the extreme conservative movement and not a neutral unbiased observer. "He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell." Which means he's effectively a Tea Party Conservative who thinks any but the most Darwinian Capitalism is rampant Socialism or Communism, and is immoral and fattening to boot and should in an Extreme Right World be illegal too. Mr Hayward is a man who has plucked out his Left Eye because it offends him, and has blocked half the vision in his Right Eye. What goes on in his head I dread to think. http://www.humanevents.com/author/john-hayward/

The whole point of living in a Democracy is to have more than one eye to see with and more than one voice and opinion being heard. All I ever hear are the Extreme Right whining about how everything is everyone else's fault, how self-indulgent everyone but they themselves is, and how everyone else (except themselves) has to suffer for those years of self indulgence. Generally they exempt politicians they like, like Ronnie Ray-Gun and George W. "Somebody else provided my papers at Yale and Harvard for me, and I had coaches" Bush. It's about as effective a way of seeing the broad picture as examining the world through a slit in a telescope which only allows you to see things to the right of centre. It's a ludicrous sham masquerading as the Fount of Wisdom and Truth.

It also discounts the Economic experiences of all the other countries in the world who don't act in the way Laffer, Friedman, and their co-religionists insist is the "Only Possible Way To Act." It is Ayn Randism writ LARGE.

Pensions are not Rampant Socialism, they're what a Human Society does to ensure that people who no longer are able to work can live a decent modest life. It used to be that when your working days were over you died, mostly from poor quality food and near starvation unless the Lord of the Manor took pity on you, or perhaps the Parish selected a few to live in its Pensioners Cottages. It's the French Foreign Legion approach to life: "March or Die". And it only rewards the Crooks and the Very Lucky. For myself, I think Mankind has progressed beyond that Hobbesian concept of life as "Nasty, Brutish and Short." We live in a bountiful society which can afford to help people. It used to be a commonplace idea that the United States was so productive Agriculturally that it could feed the whole world. That died in the back rooms of the Republican National Committee in the mid 70's, as simply not a thought compatible with a party which represented the One Percent. What is the good of wealth if there's no one in sufficiently Grinding Poverty to look down on, in whose premature death one cannot rejoice, and feel that your great good fortune and your crimes have bought you a better life than the hoi polloi. If everyone is living out his or her life in modest comfort, what use is it to live yours in grotesque wealth. Grotesque Wealth is only half the equation. Being able to look down and mock the desperate is far more satisfying, at least in the short term.

People didn't make up aphorisms like Behind every Great Fortune lies a Great Crime out of envy, as some of you think. Generally those aphorisms were concocted by the Wealthy who have the courage to look behind the veil of secrecy, and face the truth.

"And where did your Great Great Great Grandfather make his fortune, Sir?"

"Oh he was involved in the Three Cornered Trade."

"The Three Cornered Trade? What's that?"

"Well we brought Slaves from Africa to the West Indies and America, we took Cotton from America or Rum from the West Indies to Britain, and then got money from the goods which we deposited in Banks except for the small amounts to buy slaves with in Africa. Fabulous business. Made money hand over fist on every leg of the journey."

"That's all very well Sir, but what about the sailors."

"Died like flies. Convenient that, don't have to pay dead men, don't you know. We lost one or two men each leg of the voyage."

"And the slaves?"

"Haven't a clue, we didn't keep records. Not really people you see."

"And what are you doing now?"

"I've had the greatest bit of luck, got in on the ground floor in a little enterprise called Enron. Money for old rope."

"Plus ca change, Plus c'est la meme chose then, from your point of view"

"What does that mean, exactly?"

"The more things change, the more they stay the same."

"Well, you have to work at it you know. Opportunities don't grow on trees. You have to carefully search out the good ideas, and not be afraid to pounce on one, and then defend it from all the other predators out there. It's very competitive."

"By the way Sir, do you know about fracking? No, what is that?"

"It's the new source of energy for the future.

"Oh, sounds very good."

"Yes we think highly of it. Do you see this document?"

"Yes?"

"This document is the mineral rights for a parcel of land. Specifically it's for the mineral rights under your parcel of land, where you have just built that very nice home."

Oh, you like it do you."

"Yes, sir. We'll be pumping fluid and water into the sandstone and shale under your home for the next 20 years in order to extract Natural Gas."

"Wait a minute. This is my home. You can't do that."

"Well, I understand your concern, but it's all quite legal, I assure you. The owner in the 1920's sold the mineral rights to the land to my Grandfather and we have the right to extract any mineral wealth we wish from under your land. But do relax sir, Be happy it isn't coal under your land, or we'd have to dig everything up. We'll be doing seismic surveys on your land for about 3 months, then we'll need to park some drilling equipment on it for a rather extended period of time. Don't be troubled by the smell or the occasional bursts of flame which may erupt out of your lawn and tennis court. We'll try not to crack your pool when we do seismology. And if your water begins to smell or taste strange, or burst into flame, well, that's just the price of progress. Have a nice day."

If only life were really like that.

Rob

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And something I should have included in my previous post
by Ziks511 / October 10, 2013 12:08 PM PDT

concerning the Nowhere Man Milton Friedman. You can only find him on Wikipedia now he is considered such a has-been.

"Recently Senator Rand Paul, potential presidential candidate and self-proclaimed expert on monetary issues, sat down for an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. It didn't go too well. For example, Mr. Paul talked about America running "a trillion-dollar deficit every year"; actually, the deficit is projected to be only $642 billion in 2013, and it's falling fast.

"But the most interesting moment may have been when Mr. Paul was asked whom he would choose, ideally, to head the Federal Reserve and he suggested Milton Friedman — "he's not an Austrian, but he would be better than what we have." The interviewer then gently informed him that Friedman — who would have been 101 years old if he were still alive — is, in fact, dead. O.K., said Mr. Paul, "Let's just go with dead, because then you probably really wouldn't have much of a functioning Federal Reserve."

"Which suggests an interesting question: What ever happened to Friedman's role as a free-market icon? The answer to that question says a lot about what has happened to modern conservatism.

"For Friedman, who used to be the ultimate avatar of conservative economics, has essentially disappeared from right-wing discourse. Oh, he gets name-checked now and then — but only for his political polemics, never for his monetary theories. Instead, Rand Paul turns to the "Austrian" view of thinkers like Friedrich Hayek — a view Friedman once described as an "atrophied and rigid caricature" — while Paul Ryan, the G.O.P.'s de facto intellectual leader, gets his monetary economics from Ayn Rand, or more precisely from fictional characters in "Atlas Shrugged."


"How did that happen? Friedman, it turns out, was too nuanced and realist
a figure for the modern right, which doesn't do nuance and rejects
reality, which has a well-known liberal bias.
"

This comes from an article about 2 months ago in the New York Times by Nobel Economist Paul Krugman under the title Milton Friedman Unperson
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/12/opinion/krugman-milton-friedman-unperson.html?_r=0

The article is simply an observation of how a titan for Conservatives everywhere from the late 60's on, has completely disappeared from the Pantheon of Conservatives now. Now they prefer Fiction, and economic tomes you can get as Audiobooks. They're so much snappier than all that slogging through hard concepts and math. And beside, Kirk Douglas played him in the Movies, so you can really just go out and rent the movie, sit down for a couple of hours and become completely informed. Or completely deluded. Whatever it is it's cheap and its quick and you sound like you actually might know something. Except you don't.

What you learn is how a refugee from Soviet Communism and German Nazism wanted to see the world. And curiously, it is a totalitarian vision, where anybody who doesn't agree, is quietly shuffled off to a work camp for re-education. Sounds like what the Paul's all have in mind Ron, and Rand and Paul Ryan. Beware deep thinkers like them. They're the first step to the Thought Police.

Rob

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I am new here and was going to post something
by chrstdvd / October 11, 2013 11:09 PM PDT

similar to this thread about it being time to cut up the national credit card. I was pointed to this forum from another forum where from time to time, I interject something about current events.

The Fox people explained this morning that the Senate is contemplating a bill to extend the Debt Ceiling for a year to 17 Trillion. That gives Uncle Sam 2.74 billion a day to waste, above the revenue brought in by taxes and fees.

Also heard on Fox and CNN that worst case cost for Affordable Health Care Act will be will be 2.4 Trillion dollars rather than the rosy $984 billion projection which is just shy of the Trillion anyway.

I think they should raise taxes to pay the debt down and run the government, not borrow more money.

I know that may not be practical or popular but we need to put on the economic breaks and get into reality.

Did I just say the government can take my Social Security check back?

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What would drastically help
by TONI H / October 12, 2013 12:23 AM PDT

our situation is if the Treasury/Fed would stop dumping $83 BILLION PER MONTH into the economy, because not only does it force the debt ceiling debate all the time, but it falsely improves the economic outlook and devalues the dollar constantly to where we are again forced into borrowing more because the dollar just won't buy any more than about 55 cents' worth now.

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(NT) just for information 55 cent of what year $
by Roger NC / October 12, 2013 2:17 AM PDT
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We're borrowing
by TONI H / October 12, 2013 3:32 AM PDT

nearly 45 cents of every dollar now, so our own dollar with the Feds printing all the time to cover that $83 billion every month has reduced our purchasing power down to $.55 or so.

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What does that really mean,
by chrstdvd / October 12, 2013 4:13 AM PDT

I never have understood, what "Printing Money" or "pumping money into the economy" means? I suppose, literally, the government prints new currency bills. Where does the cash go; who gets it; what do they do with it?

In my mind, money belongs to someone, but if the government prints new, extra, money; is it theirs to pay their debts with?

How does the world economy run on "Fake" money? Do not tell me to read an Economics book, I decided in college as an Accounting Major that Economics was the School of Business's attempt to mimic School of Physics or School of Engineering math.

It may work, I just do not have the patience for economics in general

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Supposedly the funny money
by TONI H / October 12, 2013 4:26 AM PDT

being printed is supposed to be going almost exclusively to the banking industry, which is supposed to be using it to lend out to businesses and home loans; however, I suspect a large portion, if not all, is actually going from one pocket to another by using it to buy up Treasury Bonds, which are then used as collateral against foreign loans we request.


I did some digging on this and found this older (Feb 2013) explanation about it....

http://www.economicpopulist.org/content/tbtf-banks-get-83-billion-year-taxpayer-subsidy

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Read up on how the Federal Reserve works
by James Denison / October 12, 2013 4:46 AM PDT

It usurped the powers of the Treasury and gave Congress a pass from accepting responsibility for the money supply. Read about Credit Cycles and how they expand an economy (inflation), and how a Credit Collapse can rapidly shrink the virtual money (credit dollars), leading to a deflationary recession or depression.

Basically the govt "borrows" the money through the Federal Reserve, which then secures the debt using Treasury notes and bonds to cover the new bills put into circulation. Since this all happens between the Fed and the Federal Reserve Banks, and filters down from there, all the borrowing is mostly done first at the top of the economy. It takes a while for all that extra money to hit main street and paychecks. Govt projects for value items such as replacing or rebuilding or creating new infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc) would instead have put the extra money into the economy among the people.

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were you the poster of the "MacBurger minimum wage"
by Roger NC / October 11, 2013 11:39 PM PDT

pointing out how no matter what the minimum wage is set at, probably inflation will result in a big Mac costing about the same in term of percentage of median income?

Was looking once for something similar to that online. don't know if the post I remember here was an original or a shared theory.

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Roger, I was not the one who posted that here,...
by Paul C / October 14, 2013 7:40 PM PDT

...but whoever did was right. After all, the (overly simplistic) definition of inflation as "too much money chasing after too few goods" is based in truth. Raise the wage of fast food workers, and their employers (most of whom are franchisees, not corporate entities) have no choice but to raise prices to account for their higher expenses.
Raise the cost of producing a good or service, whether through taxation, regulation, or increased raw material costs, and the finished good or service's price must rise. Debase the currency through scams such as money printing, er, "quantitative easing", and more money's required to buy goods and services.

Or, as Milton Friedman (yes, Rob, I've read him) said, "Inflation is anywhere and everywhere a monetary phenomenon."

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