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Debt Ceiling Solutions

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by BobCox2, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. Jedouard

    Jedouard Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    That will never happen. I'd be a fool to think it would. But there are things we can do to make sure that there are more people who represent their electorate's interests.

    We need to get over the idea that going to punch holes in tickets once every two years will help anything and start participating regularly and more directly in our government. And for the cases where indirect participation (representation) is more efficient, becoming a representative shouldn't be contingent on bending over backwards for financial sponsors.


     
  2. SaroDarksbane

    SaroDarksbane Diabloii.Net Site Pal

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    What makes you think they aren't?

    The people demand that the government provide everything they want, so long as all of it is paid for by someone else.

    I think our politicians understand that quite well, actually. "In every democracy, the people get the government they deserve," after all.



     
  3. Glurin

    Glurin Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    Yup. It was. It is. Denial continues on both points, but facts are facts.

    Which have burdened and stood in the way of success and are now beginning to come to a head, threatening to completely undo the U.S.'s phenomenal success.

    So the party line goes. The real numbers and decisions don't look so good (though a small part of that is our fault due to us devaluing our currency). A lot like Obama!

    "Everything is fine. The economy is doing great! We are in a grand economic recovery thanks to me! If it still looks bad to you, well its all Bush's fault."

    By the way, it wouldn't surprise me if some European countries look like they are doing better than the U.S. right now, considering the state we are in at this point. They are ahead of us on this track in that we are on the very edge of the cliff while some of them have started taking steps to climb back up. Unfortunately it seems those in power are ignoring the warning signs and mangled corpses, fully intending to leap.

    Nope. Its just an example of what happens when you have too much policy, whether you think it good or bad.

    Yet that is exactly what you are defending.

    Giving it to them, yes. Forcibly taking it away, yes. Letting them keep it when they earn it, no.

    The rest does encourage idleness, as well as stupidity and the shirking of responsibility. I do feel the need to clarify my position on these though, since it might help you better understand why you are running into so much opposition. It was brought up earlier, but we'll try again. I'm not totally against the idea of a nation wide healthcare or education program per se. The problem is in the implementation. The government doesn't exactly have a stellar track record on pretty much anything they've done.

    Exactly. You provide just enough for them to be comfortable, thus encouraging poverty. You get the resources for this action from those who were successful, thus discouraging success.

    Encourage poverty, discourage success. You don't have to be a genius to realize how that turns out. Sadly, it doesn't stop there. When you factor in government corruption, which you agreed is a problem in any government, you roadblock success for all but a group of elite, and buy support from those who are in poverty. Now success is impossible and poverty is the norm.

    They most certainly do. They are called politicians and lobbyists.

    Not really. They "help" by convincing those active participants to make a lot of noise in the name of some feel good cause such as the ever reliable "Think of the children!". That cause just happens to fall in line with their agenda, or acts as a convenient cover for that agenda.

    Its bad until proven good. It must fix a problem without creating or exacerbating an even worse one. It must actually fix said problem, not pretend to fix it. It must acknowledge and accept all potential consequences. It must be easily understood and extremely limited in scope and power. It must not violate the constitution, the spirit of the constitution, the principles spelled out in the constitution, the principles expressed by the founders and authors of the constitution....(Really this is just not causing a worse problem, but politicians are pretty deaf on that.)

    You did. When you combine society and government into the same entity, that is a gigantic government. I'm beginning to suspect you're using a more literal interpretation of the term "big government" though.

    Wow, you missed saro's point by a few miles. :whistling:



     
  4. Jedouard

    Jedouard Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    (1) Europe is not a single country and there is quite a lot of variation in its countries’ economic policies. Comparing this continent to the US does not make sense at all.

    Moreover, what criteria are you using to state that the continent of Europe is a failure and the country of the US is a success. Unemployment? USA is at 9.2%, EU-27 is at 9.4% and 16 of the countries are doing better than the US, not to mention the countries of Europe that are not in the EU and are doing better than the US. That is not quite the polar difference you make it out to be. The same goes for pretty much every valid criteria for judging an economy, median household income adjusted for purchasing power being the most important.

    (2) The countries of Europe that largely avoided the economic crisis, Finland for example, also tended to most often have very efficient and effective social programs. (Finland could use some refinement on its education policy, but that is an issue the Finns have been discussing for a while.) On the other hand, the countries that took heavy hits – England, France, Greece, for example – had economies that redistributed wealth into corporate subsidies or relied heavily on luxury sectors such as tourism and/or had inefficient and ineffective social programs.

    (3) There is no such thing as too much policy. There are policies that are efficient and policies that are not. By efficient, I mean that the government can reduce the costs of unavoidable goods and services to the population at large and/or create an amount of economic growth with the policy that more than offsets the policy costs to the general population. If a policy achieves this, then it allows for more money to be reinvested in the economy. Known examples of efficient policies in various countries include: policing, sanitation, healthcare, education, etc.

    We already know the crap that comes of policies that do not take efficiency as a requirement.

    (4) It looks like you have never lived on the bottom, let alone know what causes the “shirking of responsibility” in the poorer classes, so I will tell you what it is like to be there and the hopelessness that leads to idleness. From 1999-2002 and again in 2007-2008. I did research in this rung in society, living in the “projects” in 5 countries (one per year): the US, Russia and Slovakia during the first three years and Finland and Kyrgyzstan in the last two years. Several of these places have since changed, but they give you an idea of the power of efficient social programs.

    The worst by far was Russia in 1999. All social programs – policing, transportation regulation, etc. – had failed. It was dangerous and there was a common feeling of forlorn. People who were poor could not afford food, clothes, education, healthcare. They withered. And not only that, it was getting worse. You had two options for policing: the corrupt police who robbed you or the gangs of old sports teams and mafia who robbed you. Once you fell to that point, there was no getting up except through crime, and that always led to quick end. Somehow I got “lucky” and made friends with a team of car-jacker’s that included my neighbourhood’s police. This is what probably saved me.

    Slovakia’s Petržalka was a slight step up in that you could get basically for free healthcare if you needed it, but a slight step down in that the crime wasn’t organised and rampant. It is far better to have rampant organised crime than rampant disorganised crime. Organised crime is predictable.

    Then there was the US. Cincinnati. Healthcare was free if you went to the emergency room; otherwise, you had to pay if there was no insurance. Somehow, everything became an emergency. Apartments were free, but you had to work two part-time minimum-wage jobs to stay in the program. Minimum-wage jobs – even two of them – are inadequate if you have just one dependent. Moreover, minimum-wage jobs offer no upward movement. There’s no training and no education. To make up for this permanent lack of upward movement, the government throws a little too much money at you. Enough that you can drown your ****ty life in a 40 that you exchanged your Band-Aid money for. So there’s your life: the emergency room, the minimum-wage job, the allowance, the anaesthetic and no way out. The culture this creates is only further exacerbated by the way politicians and newscasters talk about these people as subhuman and the way the police are afraid to go in the neighbourhoods. Not that I blame the police because the people who resent this life – the one’s who were forced to start working at 14 to contribute to their parents minimum wage – also resent anyone that resembles the other, nicer life. So crime is rampant. The smart criminals, though, they know to head to the nice neighbourhoods.

    Finland has by far the best. No one is comfortable. Far from it. The housing is cramped. You have a stipend, which will not cover your food and other expenses. You have two choices to cover your expenses: going to school will cover some of your expenses because food is far cheaper at the university and free at the primary and secondary schools or going to work will earn you some income. Many people choose both and work in career-oriented part-time, poorly paid jobs. The access to education and real work-experience give you the competency you need to move upwards and become a contributing member of the economy. The healthcare, stipend and housing keep you healthy, but nowhere near comfortable while you do it. The general feeling is work your *** off so you can earn a comfortable life. And the government does a lot to propagandise this mentality, unlike ours, which talks about the poor as if they should die. Perhaps this has to do with political participation, because the poor are far more politically active in Finland. Also, the police, who themselves are adequately paid, tend not to mind heading into such a situation when the need arise.

    Kyrgyzstan was quite a bit different than any other country in the feeling you got from poverty and the incredibly oppressive centralised government and its tentacles in the police. Half of the population is impoverished to point of it being extremely unhealthy. Another 45% are just poor. They can afford to eat, but not healthily. Many of these people are cops, who are paid little, but given the authority to rob, which makes them loyal to whatever leader is in their locale or, up until a year ago, heading the government. The other 10% range from the small-time corrupt to the super corrupt to the people who have joined in these patronage networks. In short, if you take the Russia experience above and let those phenomena slide for ten years until they become permanent and cyclical, that would be Kyrgyzstan. The panic of things getting worse is replaced by utter depression.

    The moral of the story is a solid foundation of the bare minimum of necessities to be healthy and the opportunity for self-improvement and thus advancement do not lead to a life of anything remotely resembling comfort; rather, they motivate people. Without these though, you can expect riots and revolutions (Cincinnati and Kyrgyzstan, respectively).

    And I will repeat this is not comfortable or even near comfortable.

    (5) Wealthy people gain far more from redistribution of wealth than your narrow example of politicians and lobbyists. Crime is largely financially motivated, and many cases comes from those who have been driven to a point of desperation where they believe crime is the only option and going to jail couldn’t be any worse. The wealthy have two options: pay for the increased policing, judging and detaining of criminals or pay for social programs to prevent the desperation and thus crime in the first place. And, once again, preventing despair does not mean funding someone else’s comfort and idleness.

    If the wealthy fail to do this, the poor will commit crimes, riot and revolt.

    (6) Your definition of “participation” is not participation. Participating is not toting the line of some politician. Participation is analysing the problems you see and possible solutions to those problems given the information available and then taking an active approach to putting your decisions into effect. That you would assume someone who participates in the government and who does not agree with you is automatically an “idiot” – “useful” or otherwise – is not indicative of your rightness, but of your arrogance.

    Even if someone has an approach or an analysis you disagree with, chances are they were exposed to different information or ideas than you were. That does not make them an idiot. And in your case, I would say that a good many people have information that you do not have.

    (7) If a policy is bad until proven good, then there would be no policies. All policies – given the countless unknowns – are necessarily iterative. And if you wait to be proven wrong, it is often to late, because the neighbouring country that figured out that policy X, Y and Z were good is that much more stable and powerful than you. Fortunately, we now have hundreds of countries and easy access to information to make better guesses about the direction to take.

    (8) No, I did not say I want a big government and I did not say that society and government are one and the same. I said government is part of society. Kind of like your immune system is part of your body, but you are more than your immune system.

    Perhaps to you think what I describe is a big government, but “big” is relative. The policies I want provide a stable foundation of the bare minimum of necessities, opportunity for self-advancement, but not comfort. You and I just disagree on what is a bare necessity and/or the need for the government to ensure them for those who can no longer do so for themselves. You’d rather watch the wounded and hungry fight and climb over their dead to get out of a pit, I would rather give them some medicine and food and a ladder. Having been in the pit, I know very very few people would want to stay there even with the food and medicine.

    Your inability to analyse policies other than “It costs me this much in taxes” and what appears to be your lack of experience in the culture and lifestyle economic classes you talk about and thus your unfamiliarity with the motivations these engender all lead you to define “big” as might directly do something good for someone other than me. And all of this has caused you more than once to adjust (distort) the realities of history and social organisation to the policies that allow you to save a penny from going to those wicked sloths at the bottom. You’d have a lot better life if you did it the other way around and adjusted your policies instead.

    The funny thing is you seem so unaware don’t get how much you have benefited from social policies – even the ones that haven’t directly affected you! – and would have been impossible without redistributing wealth.
     
  5. Glurin

    Glurin Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    Was a success. Past tense. Current indicators don't exactly say we're in good shape, as you so eagerly pointed out. Coincidentally, the U.S. starts failing when government tries to implement more and more socialism or Keynesian based policy, and thrives when these polices are removed. Yet they just can't seem to wrap their heads around that connection.

    Or maybe they have....

    You just blew away any credibility you had left.

    You don't happen to live in Brazil, do you?

    You would be wrong. I've witnessed everything I'm describing first hand. By U.S. standards anyway. I admit I haven't been sleeping in the ditch and eating dirt, like the poor in many other countries do. I'm thankful that I live in a country that still allows a person to pick themselves up, provided they haven't become complacent suckling the government teat.

    That's why they call them "minimum wage". :rolleyes:

    Depends on the employer for internal movement, but for the most part it depends on the employee to move themselves upward. The job is just the job, whatever the wage happens to be. Thus, I call bull**** on your "forced permanent poverty" assertion.

    Considering the state of our prison system, they might be right, but that's another topic. You're just fooling yourself if you think that redistribution of wealth is about giving the disadvantaged a leg up. Those in control want to stay in control, thus they remove competition and buy support from the less fortunate. They know damn well that dollar signs are very useful when it comes to blinding people to their circumstances, as well as the incompetence or malice of the one "helping" them. Their competition makes a convenient source for these dollars as well.

    Good! :tongue:


    Seriously though, the mindset should be "Prove to me this is a good idea before we do it." rather than "Lets do this and decide later if it was a good idea." That's just common sen........AHHHhhhh, I see the problem now.....
     
  6. krischan

    krischan Europe Trade Moderator

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    OK, you caught me on being imprecise. I have to admit that it was well done :thumbsup:. Whatever, I will call it budget issues then. You won't deny that taxes are an issue which influences what the budget involves.

    I don't know details about how the voting went. Was it a public voting or an anonymousl one? As said, to minimize the loss of credibility, the Tea Party supporters in the Congress just had to agree on an anonymous voting or if it was public, look the other way when the other Republicans said yes to it. However, that's the first step into betraying their ideals. We had it with the Greens here (although about other topics), with the difference that our system supports more than just two parties, so the "fundies" lost their power and the "realos" turned it into a party like the others. However, I think that in the US, either the Tea Party movement or the Republicans merge again or the one absorbs the other in the next few years (or their sets of ideas) and I would place my bets on the Republicans.



     
  7. Goryani

    Goryani Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    Actually, I do deny it. It's putting the cart before the horse. First you have to decide what to spend money on. AFTER you have decided what the budget is going to be, you can create a tax system which funds the budget. It's a bad idea to collect money because it's 'fair' then throw it away on Mickey Mouse crap that isn't worth the expense. That's exactly how America dug itself into this hole.

    Public voting, but that doesn't exactly help. The issue is identifying Tea Party members of congress. Anyone can call themselves a member of the Tea Party. Sixty have join the Tea Party Caucus. Thirty-two voted in favor of the debt limit increase and twenty-nine voted against. Sixty-one votes means wikipedia can't count.



     
  8. krischan

    krischan Europe Trade Moderator

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    You cannot decide about the budget without having an idea about how much to spend, at least that's the kind of thoughts which I have when deciding about e.g. which kind of car I want to buy. Taxes and the budget aren't a cart/horse issue, it's more like a chicken/egg thing. You need a chicken to produce eggs, but you also need eggs to produce chickens. So no, your explanation about why taxes aren't a budget issue doesn't convince me. Taxes influence the budget and the budget influences taxes.
     
  9. Stevinator

    Stevinator Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    Here's how the voting went. Yay google!
    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.co...-the-bill-complete-list/news/2011/08/02/24774

    Here's a list of all the tea party congresscritters (60 - All GOP)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_Party_Caucus

    There were 66 "no" votes in the republican party, so it is possible that no tea party members voted for the bill. Feel free to check all the names.



     
  10. vdzele

    vdzele Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    The Fed's 'Fictitious' Debt


     
  11. Stevinator

    Stevinator Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    Unfortunately, that's not how it works in the US. The presidential budget proposal doesn't have to line up in any way with expected revenues, it's up to our elected officials to determine what is the appropriate level of spending. Heck, we didn't have a budget last year because Obama's was voted down for too much spending and he never made another one. We don't have one this year either. It's actually a right wing talking point that the Democrats never put up any plans for fixing any of this. And that's actually true, if you consider that the plans produced would have resulted in huge deficits. The left would counter that they need the spending now to stimulate the economy. You see whenever the government spends money on anything, that goes into the GDP number. So if you overspend enough in a recession, it won't look like a recession anymore. See how that works? So really from Obama's point of view, he did put up a plan to fix the mess. he spent a bunch of money so that it looked like the economy was out of recession. Magic.

    This is why the balanced budget amendment is such a big talking point for the tea party. Having to balance the budget would FORCE the president and the congress to consider revenue when constructing the budget.

    I can't say it's a terrible idea, but I also don't think that it's really necessary to tie our hands like that. I don't mind a deficit here and there, and i don't mind that we have some debt that persists. It actually gives the federal reserve some of it's teeth, and it enforces our currency being used all over the world, which gives us some economic benefits. We just need to reign it in a lot. I'm talking 11-12 digit surpluses over 10-20 years. I want the Debt well under 1/3 of GDP (with the government spending figure taken out)

    That means there really are no sacred cows. In that sense the Tea Party is correct. IMHO, Social security will need to see some adjustments on how much and when you get it. they'll also have to reduce or freeze the COLA for a period of time. Seniors will not like this. But there's lower hanging fruit. The ballooning food stamp program, the silly length of unemployment, the defense budget, scaling back on medicare and medicaid. Increasing the age of medicare wouldn't help much, most of the money is spent in the last few years of their lives. The "death panels" that had the GOP up in arms last year might be something we actually have to do, because medicare/medicaid is the fastest growing segment of our Debt. I'm still for dropping social security taxes and reverting a bit higher federal tax, I'm still for phasing out social security, but I also know that that's all unlikely. It's right back to the common sense we've been talking about. There's no common sense in politics. Only talking points.



     
  12. Jedouard

    Jedouard Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    False. False on so many levels. Prior to the education offered by the GI Bill and education grants, most of the country was poorly paid farmers and poorly paid factory and construction workers. The result of the GI Bill was the opening hundreds of thousands of small, professional businesses.

    Moreover, if you want comparative evidence. The countries that were hit least hard by the crisis and currently tend to make up the majority of the countries with the highest per capita GDPs all had very efficient social programs that did the exact same function that I stated above: reduced the costs of unavoidable social services and goods such as medicine and healthcare, ensured the bare necessities and presented opportunities for self-advancement. What made them efficient were their ability to reduce costs (direct and indirect) and spur economic growth, both of which compensated for their expenses. Compare for yourself the per capita GDP of Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Austria to the others. I purposefully left out the countries with other major sources of income (Norway with oil and Switzerland, Luxembourg and Lichtenstein with huge influxes of dirty money) as well as those that are recovering from the collapse of the Soviet Union.


    I’ll bet I did since you couldn’t read the following sentence that qualified the statement or even your own sentences that set the context. Too much policy, according to you, was any policy that redistributed wealth. I was specifically referring to the fact that redistribution of wealth is not in and of itself “too much policyâ€. That is what I was responding to.

    I assumed you would understood the context and my meaning.

    Really? Did you not see you single-parent because she was working two minimum-wage jobs? Did you have no choice – no choice at all – but to quit school and start working at age 14 to feed your siblings? What project did you live in? Did you get exposed almost uniquely to the culture of despair and thus defeatism that pervades in the projects? Did you see your community despised without any compassion in the news and political arena? Were you exposed to the utter void of information about what opportunities existed?

    Tell me, Glurin, about the evils were you born into and suffered so thoroughly such that you know you, even in spite of these evils, you would be psychologically resilient enough, physically healthy enough, psychically powerful enough (to know of opportunities you never heard of) and cold-hearted enough not to care about your family eating so as to dig your way to the top? There is a difference between having it hard and being impoverished. Poverty carries its own culture.


    If minimum wage does not afford a living wage for a person with one dependant, then it is not minimum wage. And taken together with crap social programs that force you into minimum wage, it is essentially indentured servitude. The person has no options but to stay in the same situation


    And once again, your ignorance of a situation you claim to have experienced first hand is astounding. When you drop out of school to get an income for your family, there is very little opportunity for upward movement. And getting a diploma – even if you come to realise the value of one – is incredibly difficult since you are working minimum wage job. When you have the mentality that everyone is out to take advantage of you – because that is what you were exposed to from day one – you do not have the work attitude that leads to promotions. I could go on all day with this list. And of course, it is not like everyone faces all of these problems simultaneously, but they do live in a subsection of society that does and that creates a cultural dynamic that perpetuates and roots the mentality that goes along with this crap. That is perhaps the most forgotten issue.


    What redistribution of wealth is about is largely dependent on the country. You are describing the US experience, which need not be taken as the only experience. Several countries that have citizens who are far more politically active and policies that are far more stringent regarding who can finance politicians have arrived at quite a different model than what you are describing. I gave you quite a few examples already.

    The aforesaid countries, of course, still face problems with persons in power taking advantage of their position – but strangely enough in our society, when an official takes advantage of the population to his personal advantage, it is called corruption, but when a health insurance company, for example, does so, it is called fair business practice. My point is that it is not about the abuse, but about the degree of abuse and our ability to minimise it in order to make necessities as inexpensive and as high-quality as possible and ensure their availability to those who would otherwise be unable to afford them.

    If, after taking all the above into consideration, the state can provide sanitation cheaper and better than the private sector over the span of the average individuals life, then it makes sense for us to have the state do so. We can reinvest the extra money elsewhere. And there are a significant few necessities – not many, but a significant few – that meet these criteria.

    I agree. However, since you refute any sort of comparative policy analysis on the grounds that it doesn’t take into consideration every single factor at the atomic level, convincing you personally is impossible (unless of course you already agree with the results of the analysis).


     
  13. Stevinator

    Stevinator Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    No that's a living wage. A minimum wage is a number the government sets that you HAVE to pay someone. This idea that it should be a living wage is not something I would necessarily agree to. When I was 16, my dad sent me out to go get a job. Did I need to make a living wage? No, I just needed to "build character".

    Remember that book Nickeled and Dimed? That reporter with the PHD went out and tried to live in a few different cities doing different types of low wage work? Well she always made more than minimum wage, and often she was not able to make it. More interesting though when you read the book, you start to realize that many of the people she meets could do better. In the summary she went through and talked about why they continued to stay when they could have done better. Some of the practices that keep people from being upwardly mobile should be addressed, but simply raising the minimum wage does nothing but make jobs less abundant.

    Here are some obstacles (some stolen from her book) that we should address.

    ~Allowing companies (like walmart) to hire workers without disclosing their hourly wage. Every applicant should at least sign an offer letter so they understand what they're getting into and and what deductions would be coming from their check. One of the hardware stores deducted the price of tools she needed to do her job from her first check. Another place charged her for the uniform. I think if the company has a required uniform, then it should be provided. At low wage jobs, all that hassle and expense keeps people from changing jobs. this is much worse than just not paying well. mobility will help drive up wages

    ~With-holding the first paycheck (this should be illegal, I thought you HAD to pay someone within 30 days of the end of the pay period. Most places are semi monthly or biweekly, and low-wage jobs are often weekly since many low wage workers pay rent weekly. I 'm not sure how walmart got away with that practice, it's like having someone work for free for their first week. No wonder they hire people in droves.)

    ~Having applicants be forced to do a drug test (takes time and money and is mostly unnecessary) This goes with Mobility I suppose. It's dumb though because they are easy to beat, and if the employee comes to work high or whatever you're going to fire them anyway. Who cares if they smoked up when they weren't working for you?

    On a personal note to this, I've never had to take a drug test. The first bank I worked for you were supposed to but I just didn't, and somehow it slipped through the cracks. It's not a big deal-I don't do any drugs, but I also don't feel like an employer that does drug testing is one I want to work for. They're paying for my time my energy and my skills. they're not entitled to my personal life.

    Anyway, the reason other than mobility and expense of changing jobs is the psychological aspect you eluded to. it's not that there aren't more opportunities, it's that they are sometimes hidden in plain view. If starting wages were more public, and people more open about their income, AND people were more mobile, I'm still not sure that the situation would improve. Throughout her experience, she notes again and again that the low wage workers were often folks who had some psychological baggage that made them want to stay with the crappy job they were in instead of looking for something else. I don't think you can fix that with policy. I'd be frightened if we tried. In the end, we can push through some legislation to support the low wage worker. we can try to fix the market (I say it's broken because COL has increased far faster than Wages have grown), but we can't MAKE the irrational act rational. There will always be some left behind. At some point the low wage worker has to reach the point where they say, okay, no more. I'm going to find something better. Until then, they're going to be stuck.



    As I said above, you can't legislate mentality. If you hav ethe right attitude, you can escape. it's not easy, and many low wage workers are simply not prepared, but you CAN escape. It's not the government's job to MAKE people escape. I their job to foster an environment where there is vertical mobility, and let those that WANT to escape, escape. Raising the minimum wage doesn't address that issue. Making another 50 cents an hour won't change someone's mentality. The minimum age is a red herring and it need to just go away.


    All government is redistribution of wealth. They take the money from me with threat of force, then use it for some other purpose that I don't necessarily reap any benefit from. That why government should be kept to a smaller more manageable size. We should understand that when that money is taken from me, it better damn well go to a good purpose. And as a taxpayer, it really grinds my gears to hear about all the ridiculous things my money is spent on.

    Remember Senator Reid's Cowboy Poetry Festival? Ever stand in line at the grocery store and someone is selling their Link card balance? How about the commercials late at night about the hover-round scooter that they guarantee medicare will pay for (these things are ? How about the widow who comes into the bank asking how much is FDIC insurance because she has 800k in CDs, and never worked, but now she collects her dead husband's Social Security checks? Why? She didn't pay in, she certainly doesn't need the money if she's moving that chunk around--I wonder what else she has. And don't get me started on the military. They spend 500k on each hummer without any armor! Dude, Arnie's was tricked out with leather seats and top of the line everything and his only cost 150k. I bet we could negotiate that hummer number down to ~100k.

    It's all redistribution and that's why it all needs to be limited and carefully targeted to things that will actually help the country.



     
  14. Jedouard

    Jedouard Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    Stevenator,

    If we gear our minimum wage around teenagers whose parents take care of them, then what happens to the far greater population that gets relegated to those jobs either out of misfortune or because the culture in which they were raised? In any case, I wasn’t arguing for an increase in minimum wage, just that forcing someone to take one or two minimum-wage jobs in order benefit from a social program rather than, say, a training and insertion program prevents upward movement to a large degree.

    As for the psychological aspect, I wholly disagree that the government has no impact or obligation in motivating people who qualify to make use of its social program, and this motivation includes a certain amount of psychological work to overcome the culture of defeatism. It costs a lot of money for the government to adopt a social policy and establish the corresponding institution. If no one makes use of the institution, the capital and human resources still cost money. But, if people are made aware of this institution and motivated to use it, then their upward movement means that they pay taxes and contribute to and likely even more than compensate for the expenses in the long run.

    Moreover, legislating mentality is quite easy, and politicians are often fond of this because it wins votes. Clearly, policies don’t have 100% control over the matter, but many of them clearly have a significant impact on mentality. An after-school program, an outreach program, a training and insertion program, etc. – they all have significant impact on the culture of defeatism and, in the long run, they more than make up for their costs (e.g. via increased income and thus tax revenue, via reduced crime rates, etc.). It can not only easy to help cultivate the “right attitude” of which you speak, but it can also be quite cost effective for the long-term budget. I have studied and lived in countries that do both well, in countries that do one well and in countries that do neither. The quality of life the former affords is something we should aspire to.

    Lastly, I understand that all government is redistribution of wealth. I have been making this point for pages here. And I agree that having your money taken from you for policies that do not benefit you sucks. However, “small government” is not the answer; “efficient government” is. If the government is simply shrunk, the average American will spend more money on many unavoidable goods and services than s/he would have in taxes for the government to provide the service. It is pretty clear where these expenses lie: people who cannot get back on their feet either because they simply don’t have the ability to, they don’t know how to or they are disimpassioned become an economic burden. Their deficient quality of life leads to everyone to suffer increased costs because of crime, detainment, diseases, etc. If you make addressing these issues a private sector matter, then they become far more expensive.

    For example, the Carnegie Institute did a study on drug policy. It found that in order to reduce drug use by the same amount, government programs for drug prevention and addiction therapy were 27 times cheaper than the “war on drugs” approach of military intervention in other countries and punitive measures in the US. Moreover, taking no action at all and leaving it to the private sector was considered incalculably more expensive because the of the manifest decline in economic standing caused by the corresponding crime in what became “drug neighbourhoods”. And in the end, someone has to pay for our slums or else they spread. So why not use the most efficient approach known.

    In other words, the most cost-effective way to deal with such problems is to prevent this deficient quality of life. Indeed, it is often so cost-effective that it is profitable because these individuals contribute to more to the economy than they cost. So then the question is whether the government can achieve these policies efficiently. That is, will the money redistributed from the median American household to such programs offer save the median American household money? If so, then we ought to authorise the government to do so.

    The problem is of course, how much do we include in our expenses? It’s hard to say. But the longer this deficient quality of life is left to fester, the more people get sucked into it and the farther the consequences thereof will spread.

    I am sure the richest will feel they are overpaying, but how much profit do they make when their stores and homes are routinely robbed and destroyed in riots and when they pay to imprison these people? And that is what will happen if they leave things to slide because it “isn’t their problem”. If the social research being done doesn’t prove this, then my first-hand witnessing of two revolutions (Kyrgyzstan and Tunisia) and four riots (Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Kyrgyzstan and Prague) is enough to make it clear that the rich are the first targets. In other words, it is cheaper for the rich to re-invest in social programs too.

    Regarding your examples abuses, for the reasons stated above, cutting certain programs altogether will cause more expenses than it will save even if it does get rid of these abuses. Finding ways to minimise abuses is the answer. The same principle holds true for certain inefficient programs, which would cost more if cut altogether. These programs need to be made efficient.

    Also, I agree with all but one of your examples: the social security. Social Security was originally conceived as an obligatory retirement account. And just like any retirement account, your family ought to receive the either amount you deposited plus accrued and compounded interest or the amount agreed to in the terms set forth when you made the deposit. Johnson, the awful president, decided that the government could borrow at will from the social security fund, meaning that rather than invest the money into what are low-risk investments (essentially what were micro-loans for SMEs and low-risk mortgages for young families), he spent it however he wanted, which was largely to fund two wars (our Vietnam War and France’s Algerian War) and several other military ventures. The result is that of this and the precedent it set is that our fund is now empty and a lot of people currently paying into Social Security are being made to believe that they are paying for other people’s retirement. The truth is that we are paying for the theft of the Social Security Fund and the widow you mention is demanding what is rightfully hers.

    I fully agree we that we need to limit redistribution to targeted things and I’d even say those limitations must necessarily be efficiency, but there are two important factors to consider: the long-term impact of the program versus the lack of the program and political activism to make sure that good policies aren’t twisted and contorted the way Johnson did.
     
  15. Glurin

    Glurin Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    Man opens a grocery store. Hires one person to help him out. Sells goods, uses profits to expand, offering more goods and requiring more people to help him out. Sells more goods, uses profits to open more stores and hire more people to run them. Sells even more goods, profits help open more stores and hires more people. So on and so on and so on. People see store owner's success and want in on it. They open their own stores, with better goods and/or services. They hire people to help them. Competition takes place, store's thrive and die and are born again in a fluid economy, overall creating better and better goods and services.




    Man opens grocery store. Hires one person to help him out. Sells goods, profits taken by government. Government gives that money to people that don't work, who then buy goods from store owner. Government also demands owner pay employee more money so he can buy more goods, even if he doesn't do anything more than move boxes. Store owner has no money to expand and cannot afford to hire more people. Overrun with people demanding goods they can buy with their money, he runs out of goods. Seeing that he's loosing money, he raises his prices in a desperate attempt to survive. People complain that they can't afford as many goods. Government sees people without goods, decides to help by taking even more money from the greedy rich store owner and uses it to open Gov-Mart store. All Gov-Mart goods sold well below cost. People shop at Gov-Mart instead of owner's store. Owner gives up, declares bankruptcy, closes store and gets in line for the free Obama money. Gov-Mart no longer has a source of funding and starts offering fewer goods, all at reduced quality. Starving people eat their Obama money, then riot because their lives suck. Government blames former store owner. Mob kills former store owner. Lives still suck. Government takes more money from other greedy store owners and gives it to the poor. Starving mob eats money, lives still suck. Revolution begins. Years of chaos and bloodshed later, new government installed, cycle repeats.



    Which situation do you think helps the poor more?
     
  16. Jedouard

    Jedouard Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    You forgot to take into consideration so many things already discussed. I won't go into great detail because previous comments already do that. I’ll just say (1) you don’t take into account that there are more ways to support policies than taxes; (2) you don’t account for the long-term trends that cause the destitute to multiply; (3) you don’t account for stifling of opportunities and, more importantly, the awareness of opportunities that this destitution causes; (4) you don’t account for the culture of defeatism being born into destitution manifests; and (5) you don’t account for the consequences of this multiplication on society as a whole (e.g. crime), which the “store owner” will eventually have to eat or that will eventually destroy his business.

    When you are at the bottom of the totem because you dropped out of school to support your siblings at a minimum wage job, you have a crap income, you missed rent payments because you got sick and maybe on top of all of that you got into crime to try to compensate, it is nearly impossible to move upwards without state support. Companies rarely promote and banks don’t loan to dropouts with crap incomes, crap credit and possibly a criminal record. And this person will likely have a family – since that urge is primordial – whose kids will be relegated to the same situation so that the numbers of destitute multiply. And anyone who hits enough hardship, might fall down into this pit as well. They have no access to healthcare so they spread disease, they can’t get a good job so they turn to crime, cops try to come in so they hate the social order, etc. – and the end result is chronic crime, protests, riots and, after a few decades, revolt. This is why Tunisia revolted in January 2011. This is why Kyrgyzstan revolted in April 2010. This is why Cincinnati rioted in 2001. This is why the French revolted in 1789.

    These forms of backlash usually get triggered by some other form of disrespect – say a police officer smacking an unemployed man who then sets himself on fire in despair and protest or the shooting of an unarmed kid, etc. – but the fact remains that countless revolts and riots were preceded by a continual climb in the above-described destitution. You rarely see rich neighbourhoods that suffer one of these triggers go into revolt.

    Again, policies that prevent destitution by granting bare necessities, offering an opportunity for training and insertion and informing people about these opportunities can be very cost-effective. The punitive and social costs they save society as a whole can more than make up for them and often times the people who have gone from being destitute to income earners off-set their own costs. And there are several options for funding other than taxes for so many of these policies.

    In any case, there it's doubtful that anything else that hasn't already been said that can be brought to this argument, so I will sign off here.
     
  17. Thomh

    Thomh Diabloii.Net Member

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    New Comrade Glurin. Welcome to Marxism:thumbup:


     
  18. jimmyboy

    jimmyboy Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    As a voter, I wanted jobs.

    It was the overwhelming number one priority.

    Now that we just got downgraded to AA, I'm worried sick that interest rates will spike and push us into an even deeper recession. Thank God that it the news was released on the weekends to avoid a panic sell. Now I've to cross my fingers and hold my breath Monday morning to see how Wall Street reacts. I've not seen a recession couple with rising interesting for a very long time.

    If the Republicans wanted my vote with the next election, they really blew it with this stunt.
     
  19. Glurin

    Glurin Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    Stock market already took a dive right after the so called compromise went through, I can't imagine they'd ignore a credit downgrade. Funny how they were saying the Tea Party got almost everything they wanted when the Tea Party got squat.

    Big increase in current spending and a sliver off of future spending which you can't even guarantee. Yeah, that's what we were fighting so hard to achieve. :thumbsdown:
     
  20. jimmyboy

    jimmyboy Diabloii.Net Member

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    Re: Debt Ceiling Solutions

    The Chinese are already mouthing off about the downgrades. Great. Looks like they're shake up the bonds market. I've a real bad feeling about this.

    This is such a F--- Up.
     

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