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TIDYING UP

July 14 2011 at 10:29 AM
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Response to "economic illiterates"?

 
This thread became a long back and forth dialog mostly between Brandon and I, which ran clean off the right side of the page so in order to tidy things up I've combined the next 18 posts into one- not a word has been changed or omitted.

- Anyone is welcome to add to this by clicking the "Reply" button at bottom.


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Re: "economic illiterates"? July 12 2011, 11:31 AM Brandon

I wasn't referring to you Nat, but to the vast majority of people out there who don't understand simple economic facts.

But there is a difference between microeconomics and macroeconomics, so many times even CPAs don't understand the complexities of the global economy.

The problem is not that the rich aren't paying enough taxes, the problem is Obama has spent $4.4 trillion in 3 years that we did not have. That is 37% higher than Bush had in deficit spending over his entire 8 years.

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Cleaning up the mess July 12 2011, 11:51 AM Nat

Most of money Obama has spent has been cleaning up the mess Bush left- the two wars and banking collapse were all dumped in his lap to clean up!

Bush had it time just right- he bails out leaving the mess he made for the next guy to clean up.
I just wonder why anyone was foolish enough to want to be president in 2008. It's like wanting to be captain of the Titanic after the previous captain ran it into a iceberg. You inherit a sinking ship and things are going to be bad no matter what you do but you get the blame.

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Re: Cleaning up the mess July 12 2011, 12:14 PM Brandon

The problem is that Obama has spent all this money but has not cleaned up the mess.

The economy for the average person is just as bad if not worse, we are still engaged in needless wars etc.

Obama has been an absolute failure by any objective criteria. I told you in 2008 that he would fail. You can't elect someone who had ZERO experience or accomplishments and expect them to be competent to be president.

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Re: Cleaning up the mess July 12 2011, 12:55 PM Nat

Nobody could fix this mess in one term or even two terms. It took eight years to make it and it will take even longer to fix it. There is always a long lag between cause and effect in the economy. And the causes- like Bush's tax cuts and the wars are still with us!

Thats why I said only a fool would want to be president in 2008. It was a mission doomed to fail.


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Actually It Was The Perfect Time July 12 2011, 2:33 PM Bob

The time to take control of things are when they are at their worst -- there is no where to go but up -- and if things don't improve, just blame the previous guy (sound familiar?) You cannot lose.

Conversely, if things are going very well when you take the reigns, you can hope to keep the good going, but chances are better that an inevitable downturn will occur, at which point it looks to be all your fault. They call it "law of averages" and "things run in cycles". Whenever things go really well, you should expect a downturn, while when things have gotten very bad, you should expect a degree of improvement.

Now, I'm not claiming that Bush did a bang-up job. I just think that, in fairness, everyone does some good things and also screws up at times. Personally, I prefer to follow issues rather than candidates, as candidates will deviate from the course I prefer and will be a letdown -- if for no other reason then that they want to get elected/re-elected (e.g., Republicans during the past 20 years who claimed to be conservatives, yet they too became very reckless with taxpayer money and contributed along with Democrats to this mess that has been created).

By the way . . is ANYONE here sweating the prospect of U.S. defaulting on its debt come August 2nd? I'm not sweating it, as this is what the pols do . . grandstand til the 11th hour, and then make a late compromise agreement, at which time both sides proclaim victory. I think the debt ceiling gets raised within the next 2 weeks . . just in time to avert calamity.

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Acually no July 12 2011, 6:20 PM Nat

People have short memories in politics. It's always the guy in office who gets the blame. I hardly hear Bush's name mentioned these days- everyone is bashing Obama.

I don't agree with everything Obama has done but I think he's done as well as anybody can under the circumstances. He had a very bad hand to play, and I had no illusions he had magical answers. The "Obamania" that existed at his inauguration with Ophra Winfrey and others crying tears of joy as if Jesus had returned to solve all our problems was pathetic. I knew there was going to be a lot of disappointed disillusioned people in a couple years.

I am concern with how adversarial politics has become, Republicans and Democrats no longer work together- they are like two teams fighting each other, trying to make the other side look as bad as possible. This does not help solve the many serious problems we have.

As for the debt ceiling- yes, I suspect they will come up with some stopgap compromise, but the future is bleak. I just hope my retirement nest-egg will not be totally destroyed by devaluation and inflation which is the only way the country is going to get out of this mess.

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Re: Actually no July 13 2011, 11:05 AM Bob

"I hardly hear Bush's name mentioned these days- everyone is bashing Obama."

I think Bush was smart to stay out of the limelight and not criticize Obama and the Dems once he left office, regardless his motivation for that decision. (He has claimed that it was only fair (I paraphrase): "The job is hard enough without the previous guy speaking out about what he thinks is being done wrong.") Obama and his Admin., on the other hand, have often invoked the Bush Administration (if not by name) as the source of all problems. They have certainly strived to lay all of the fault for the great increases in the debt that have occurred under Obama upon Bush and the Repubs. -- whether people buy all of those claims or not (I know you do), I think it is a good strategy to blame the predecessor for as many of the current problems as possible.

"I am concern with how adversarial politics has become, Republicans and Democrats no longer work together- they are like two teams fighting each other, trying to make the other side look as bad as possible. This does not help solve the many serious problems we have."

We agree.

"As for the debt ceiling- yes, I suspect they will come up with some stopgap compromise, but the future is bleak. I just hope my retirement nest-egg will not be totally destroyed by devaluation and inflation which is the only way the country is going to get out of this mess."

You know my solutions. I think our generation needs to help fix the problems. It shouldn't matter that you and I didn't personally cause the problems (though, we certainly contributed to them, by doing the same things younger generations have done -- such as our insistence on paying the lowest prices for comodities, which resulted in American jobs being shipped overseas). The only way out of this mess is for ALL Americans to participate in making sacrifices and doing more for ourselves and expecting less help from govt. Of course, that would be a sea change in American attitude, back to a time when Americans fought for independence, endured the Great Depression and prevailed over Nazism in WWII. It will be a real test to see if we can step up and make the grade, or if we continue the adolescent whining.

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Re: Actually no July 13 2011, 12:53 PM Brandon

As I posted earlier, Obama has spent 37% more in 3 years than Bush did in 8. What does Obama have to show for all that deficit spending?

One could credibly argue the need for a government "stimulus." Now I personally don't believe Keynesian economics work, but it is a valid theory and one that I would expect Obama to believe in. But the facts are that Obama's "stimulus" program did not do anything but give us more debt. It did not cause consumers to spend, entrepreneurs to invest or employers to hire.

At this point who cares who got us into this economic mess. I'm only interested in who can help get us out. That person is obviously not an incompetent ideologue like Obama.

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Don't you understand? July 13 2011, 1:16 PM Nat

Brandon don't you understand that much of what has been spend in the Obama administration is going to pay for things that Bush started?

Take the two wars- a lot of equipment and supplies that have been destroyed or used up fighting those wars and is now having to be replaced during the Obama administration.

It's like you married someone who's previous husband bought a lot of expensive things on her credit card- and now you have to paid for them.

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Re: Don't you understand? July 13 2011, 1:37 PM Brandon

While Obama is still spending money on unnecessary wars, he spent $25 billion less in his first two years on war than Bush did in his last two years. I don't see how you can say that his massive increase in deficit spending (highest since WW II) is mainly because he is cleaning Bush's mess.

Obama has increased discretionay domestic spending by 25%, 80% if you count the stimulus.

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What domestic spending? July 13 2011, 1:57 PM Nat

Well first, are you forgetting the interest on the bonds sold during the Bush administration to finance the wars? We are paying that interest now.

As to this 25% increased domestic spending- I don't know where you get this number or how valid it is. What are these domestic programs Obama has started? I can't think of any. Last I heard government employment is going down- which is in fact increasing unemployment figures.

I suspect much of this 25% is Social Security and Medicare which are naturally going to rise as 'baby-boomers' (like me) begin retiring and start drawing benefits. You can't blame Obama for this. It would happen under any president. And it shouldn't even be counted in the federal budget- but it is.
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Re: What domestic spending? July 13 2011, 4:03 PM Brandon

No, the increased Obama spending I'm talking about has nothing to do with interest on the debt or Social Security.

A huge percent went to extension of unemployment benefits, but other things Obama is spending money on include:

$46 billion for mass transit

$31 billion to modernize federal buildings

$5 billion to weatherize homes

$54 billion to states for education programs

$21 billion to modernize schools

$13 billion for Head Start

$4 billion to increase broadband access

And the list goes on...

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Re: What domestic spending? July 13 2011, 4:16 PM Nat

Well those look like pretty good investments for the future- and the building modernizing will ultimately save money.

In any case, this is a trivial amount compared to what the two Bush wars are costing us.

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Re: What domestic spending? July 13 2011, 4:50 PM Brandon

They aren't trivial when the country has NO money.

You might could argue that some of them are good investments if we had the money and the funds were spent wisely. But under the Obama administration much of this money is mainly used to pay off union supporters.

Also Obama believes in nonsense like high speed rail and "green jobs" and has spent billions in areas like that where there will be no economic return or in the case of high speed rail where the projects are not needed or wanted by the local municipalities and will continue to waste money for decades.

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The great Has-been July 13 2011, 6:55 PM Nat

Considering how overloaded and worn out our highways are becoming (I don't guess you want money spend for those either) we need a good rail system. I think it's ridiculous that we have the worse passenger rail system of any advance country. Ofcourse, at the rate we are falling behind in one category after another, we will soon be out of the 'advance' class anyway.

On that point, as we retired our worn-out shuttles and now must depend on the Ruskkies for our space transportation, China announces a ambitious program to go to the moon and replace us as preeminent presences in space. (JFK must be turning in his grave)

But another sign of what a 'has-been' country the US is fast becoming. How far we have fallen just in my lifetime. I just hope I'm gone before we have to apply to Haiti for aid. sad.gif

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Re: The great Has-been July 13 2011, 8:19 PM Brandon

I have no problem spending money on highway infrastructure. Yes, we should spend more money on things like research and development and certainly NASA. The space program is exactly the kind of thing the federal government should be spending money on.

I'm opposed to spending money on projects that aren't wanted or needed. Outside of the Northeast corridor where cities are close together, rail transportation simply does not work because of the vastness of our country and how our cities are laid out. Taking the train from say Atlanta to Miami when it is easier to fly or rent a car is simply not practical. The U.S. is not Europe.

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Re: The great Has-been July 13 2011, 10:28 PM Nat

Highway travel is a very inefficient form of transportation and as energy costs continue to rise this will become ever more a problem. One rail car can take dozens gas-guzzling cars off the road. Granted for long distant travel air is best but short to medium distances a high-speed rail system could transport people much cheaper and nearly as fast when airport delays are factored in. I would be happy to sit back and nap or watch a movie or surf the web instead of hours of tedious and hazardous driving. There are even "auto-trains"- where you can take your car with you on the train and have it to drive when you get there.

I'm glad we at least agree about the space program. I think the future will show our letting the Russians and soon China take over space is one of the worse decisions we ever made. It's a showcase example of why we have become a "has-been" country.


 
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  1. The Conversation is good - Bob on Jul 14
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