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US Budget

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Re: US Budget

Postby Gman » 20 Apr 2011, 22:29

GuyInTaiwan wrote:This is a funny thread.


I completely agree with you. Of course, neither of us are American.
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Re: US Budget

Postby Jaboney » 20 Apr 2011, 22:29

Gman wrote:
cfimages wrote:Gman, talk to some long term unemployed and most will tell you that it is incredibly boring.
Then ask them if they'd take work at a fast food place or as a janitor. I've done that work in my time and it's was as about as exciting as being unemployed

They'll have to fight for the job.
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Re: US Budget

Postby Gao Bohan » 20 Apr 2011, 22:45

Dr. McCoy wrote:No, I think what we're saying (at least me) is that this austerical hysterical theatrical protestations are unnecessary. Suddenly stopping all the stimulus is going to prolong the recession which only will make things worse. The best thing we can do is fix the economy (which won't be done through cutting spending drastically) then work on balancing the budget.


Suddenly stopping the stimulus? :eh: Bones, there's very little left to stop. According to the US government, 92% of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009's $787 billion stimulus funds have already been made available. As the government website indicates, about a third went to tax cuts, a third to contracts, grants, and loans (i.e., infrastructure), and a third to entitlements (i.e, mostly unemployment insurance). The money is nearly all spent. Are you arguing that the remaining 8% of the 2009 stimulus not be withheld, or do you want another stimulus?

I agree with you that it is mighty convenient the Republicans have suddenly become so debt-conscious. Still, there's more than just right-wing theatrics backing this up. The president's own bipartisan fiscal commission issued this report in December 2010:

Economic recovery will improve the deficit situation in the short run because revenues will rise as people go back to work, and money spent on the social safety net will decline as fewer people are forced to rely on it. But even after the economy recovers, federal spending is projected to increase faster than revenues, so the government will have to continue borrowing money to spend. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects if we continue on our current course, deficits will remain high throughout the rest of this decade and beyond, and debt will spiral ever higher, reaching 90 percent of GDP in 2020.

Over the long run, as the baby boomers retire and health care costs continue to grow, the situation will become far worse. By 2025 revenue will be able to finance only interest payments, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Every other federal government activity – from national defense and homeland security to transportation and energy – will have to be paid for with borrowed money. Debt held by the public will outstrip the entire American economy, growing to as much as 185 percent of GDP by 2035. Interest on the debt could rise to nearly $1 trillion by 2020. These mandatory payments – which buy absolutely no goods or services – will squeeze out funding for all other priorities.

Federal debt this high is unsustainable. It will drive up interest rates for all borrowers – businesses and individuals – and curtail economic growth by crowding out private investment. By making it more expensive for entrepreneurs and businesses to raise capital, innovate, and create jobs, rising debt could reduce per-capita GDP, each American’s share of the nation’s economy, by as much as 15 percent by 2035.


So it appears I was wrong. We only have 14 years before we can't afford anything but entitlements and interest payments, not 20. And we won't be able to afford defense either, without yet further borrowing. And that's not from some hysterical Republican blowhard, that's from a bipartisan commission and the nonpartisan CBO. We may want to drop the pretense that our fiscal crisis is manufactured from GOP politicos.
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Re: Re: US Budget

Postby cfimages » 21 Apr 2011, 00:01

Gman wrote:It's not just me. $terms is how everyone values things. You clearly have no understanding about what money truley is. Capalist Soviet Union? what the hell does that even mean? I'll tell you one thing my way is built on the voluntary exange of labour. Your's is built on coercion by the state ie slavery. So if you want to look at it that way, you would have been right at home as a priveleged member of Mao's China or Stalin's Soviet Union.


This is the only part I'm going to bother replying to now.

What is money truly? Depends who you ask. Ask a tribesman and it might be a pig. Ask a bank or insurance executive and it might something to accumulate as much of as possible by any means possible regardless of who gets stepped on along the way. Ask a 5 year old and it might be a trading card and stick of gum. Ask a Beverly Hills housewife and it's something to spend on Rodeo Drive. Ask someone living next to a train track in Jakarta and it's something they never see. Ask an African villager and it's the thing that stops them growing crops because of Monsanto's terminator genes and Technology - Stewardship Agreements.

Capitalist SU essentially means required labor but done with profit as the end goal. Your system is not built on voluntary exchange of labour because you're essentially forcing the people, particularly those at the bottom, to work crappy jobs. Your attacks on welfare are basically coercion so I'm not sure how you can call my idea coercion by the state or slavery as nobody is being coerced into anything or forced to do something. I've offered a suggestion that gives everyone the freedom to do what they excel at, which is about as far from slavery as you can get - I'd probably be sent to a gulag in Stalin's Soviet Union or Mao's China.
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Re: US Budget

Postby Gao Bohan » 21 Apr 2011, 00:49

Alright, cfimages, let's think how your idea would play out. An additional $600 billion is gathered from the wealthiest Americans and disbursed to everybody. So we all get $20,000, perhaps enough to meet our most basic needs. So the factories shut down, as do the commercial farms and ranches. People leave the danger of the oil field behind, as do the sailors and longshoreman that bring us the oil on which we depend. All retail and distribution centers shut down, having no one willing to work in them. Even employees making high salaries and who want to continue working couldn't, because the bulk of the employees have left. Essentially our entire supply apparatus shuts down, and we are wholly dependent on imports. So we might have a few years to enjoy the good life, until our fuel reserves are used up and the billionaires on which we depend for welfare go bankrupt because all of their businesses shut down. So there goes the tax source on which the system depends. So now we're reduced to living in small agrarian communes. But we'll have lots of art, presumably.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I think we'll give it a pass.
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Re: Re: US Budget

Postby Gman » 21 Apr 2011, 05:04

cfimages wrote:
Gman wrote:It's not just me. $terms is how everyone values things. You clearly have no understanding about what money truley is. Capalist Soviet Union? what the hell does that even mean? I'll tell you one thing my way is built on the voluntary exange of labour. Your's is built on coercion by the state ie slavery. So if you want to look at it that way, you would have been right at home as a priveleged member of Mao's China or Stalin's Soviet Union.


This is the only part I'm going to bother replying to now.

What is money truly? Depends who you ask. Ask a tribesman and it might be a pig. Ask a bank or insurance executive and it might something to accumulate as much of as possible by any means possible regardless of who gets stepped on along the way. Ask a 5 year old and it might be a trading card and stick of gum. Ask a Beverly Hills housewife and it's something to spend on Rodeo Drive. Ask someone living next to a train track in Jakarta and it's something they never see. Ask an African villager and it's the thing that stops them growing crops because of Monsanto's terminator genes and Technology - Stewardship Agreements.


For the most part all you've talked about is currency and in the last part you've gone of on some wierd tangent that is basically expressing your own warped and twisted view that those who've accumulated money somehow did it at the expense of someone else. And, it's that warped and twisted view that you and people like you use to justify your theft. I'd repost one of the best explanations of money I've ever come across but, Guy In Taiwan would get mildly upset as he hates the book it comes from (yes Guy I too share your horror that it is being made into a movie). Frankly it'd be a wasted effort as understanding it is beyond your capacity.

Capitalist SU essentially means required labor but done with profit as the end goal. Your system is not built on voluntary exchange of labour because you're essentially forcing the people, particularly those at the bottom, to work crappy jobs. Your attacks on welfare are basically coercion so I'm not sure how you can call my idea coercion by the state or slavery as nobody is being coerced into anything or forced to do something. I've offered a suggestion that gives everyone the freedom to do what they excel at, which is about as far from slavery as you can get - I'd probably be sent to a gulag in Stalin's Soviet Union or Mao's China.
[/quote]

No, nobody is forced to work in a freemarket system. If by forced you mean that people either produce something of value or face poverty then you are wrong poverty is a consequence of not producing a product or provided a labour someone else values. The only people who are stuck doing 'crappy' jobs are; 1. People who are in the process of developing skills so they can move up in the world. or 2. Those who have no ability or no desire to accquire additional skills. The thing about those 'Crappy' jobs is that in order for society to function those 'crappy' have to be done by someone. So in your system you've eliminated all incentive for someone to do those jobs voluntarily (no profit motive). Leadership will quickly realise this (historically they've anticipated it) and eliminate free choice in the name of preserving the system for the greater good of society. Dissenter's will be jailed and possibly even forced to do those crappy jobs, what do you think one of the purposes of a gulag was? As for giving people the freedom to do what they excel at, a capitalist freemarket system does exactly that. You are free to do what you like and if you excell at it and it is of value to others you are rewarded. Now if what you excell at is sitting under a tree and reading then I guess you are going to be out of luck because very few people would value that sort of thing to the point where they'd be willing to pay you to do it. You like to point out cases where people are exploited or to an uneven distribution of wealth favoring the elite but, those are failures of government not the free markets. If you give a government too much power people will comendere government and use it for their own interests regardless of the economic system in place.
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Re: Re: US Budget

Postby Gao Bohan » 21 Apr 2011, 05:43

Gman wrote:You like to point out cases where people are exploited or to an uneven distribution of wealth favoring the elite but, those are failures of government not the free markets. If you give a government too much power people will comendere government and use it for their own interests regardless of the economic system in place.


How is the uneven distribution of wealth in capitalist nations a result of government failure? The uneven distribution of wealth is a predictable, and positive result of the free market system. Rewards go to those firms (and their investors) able to establish and sustain a competitive advantage over other firms. We would not expect equal financial rewards for success and failure. The uneven distribution of wealth is a direct result of capitalism, and rightly so. I notice that liberals who own businesses or invest in the stock market do not complain about the uneven distribution of wealth when it's in their favor.

Having said that, I believe there is a place in society for public institutions. And that means levying taxes and redistributing wealth in the form of government services. Sound terrible? Social Security has provided an enormous benefit to generations of Americans. I have many elderly relatives dependent on Social Security, not to mention Medicare, another popular government service. Of course, taxing and spending for public welfare should only be done within reasonable limits, and only when such services are sustainable. To keep this on topic, bipartisan and nonpartisan groups have found conclusively that US government services are not sustainable. That is the heart of the matter, and leaders of both parties acknowledge this basic truth. And yet a solution appears impossible because the parties can't agree on the obvious compromise.
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Re: Re: US Budget

Postby CraigTPE » 21 Apr 2011, 06:17

Gao Bohan wrote:The uneven distribution of wealth is a predictable, and positive result of the free market system. Rewards go to those firms (and their investors) able to establish and sustain a competitive advantage over other firms.

Or to those who have effectively learned how to lie, cheat and steal without getting caught, or who have effectively manipulated the system to their advantage so lying, cheating and stealing are not even a problem.

An unfettered, unrestricted, unregulated free-market system is not a good thing for society.

But back to the budget issue, both revenue and expenditures need to be looked at, but so far the right and the Republicans have so far only looked at expenditures. Time to balance the conversation.
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Re: Re: US Budget

Postby Vorkosigan » 21 Apr 2011, 07:11

CraigTPE wrote:[quote="Gao Bohan"The uneven distribution of wealth is a predictable, and positive result of the free market system. Rewards go to those firms (and their investors) able to establish and sustain a competitive advantage over other firms.

Or to those who have effectively learned how to lie, cheat and steal without getting caught, or who have effectively manipulated the system to their advantage so lying, cheating and stealing are not even a problem.

An unfettered, unrestricted, unregulated free-market system is not a good thing for society.

But back to the budget issue, both revenue and expenditures need to be looked at, but so far the right and the Republicans have so far only looked at expenditures. Time to balance the conversation.[/quote]

And only social welfare expenditures. The defense monster is untouchable.
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Re: US Budget

Postby cfimages » 21 Apr 2011, 08:50

Gao Bohan wrote:Alright, cfimages, let's think how your idea would play out. An additional $600 billion is gathered from the wealthiest Americans and disbursed to everybody. So we all get $20,000, perhaps enough to meet our most basic needs. So the factories shut down, as do the commercial farms and ranches. People leave the danger of the oil field behind, as do the sailors and longshoreman that bring us the oil on which we depend. All retail and distribution centers shut down, having no one willing to work in them. Even employees making high salaries and who want to continue working couldn't, because the bulk of the employees have left. Essentially our entire supply apparatus shuts down, and we are wholly dependent on imports. So we might have a few years to enjoy the good life, until our fuel reserves are used up and the billionaires on which we depend for welfare go bankrupt because all of their businesses shut down. So there goes the tax source on which the system depends. So now we're reduced to living in small agrarian communes. But we'll have lots of art, presumably.

Thanks for the suggestion, but I think we'll give it a pass.


It's not an additional $600 billion. I never said that it was an additional $600 billion. It comes from consolidating programs already in place. According to you chart posted earlier, $350 billion or so goes toward unemployment welfare already. That's eliminated. The parts of the social security budget directed to retirement, welfare, pension etc. That's no longer needed. Those two section alone would be more than adequate to cover it. If there was need for more (unlikely) then a small tax increase of billionaires was suggested.

And note well that the $20K figure was a random figure for argument sake. It may only be $10K. Maybe $5K. Maybe $15K. I don't know the average cost of living that covers the basics (housing, food, electricity, water) but that's all that'd be needed. It's certainly not intended to be a comfortable or luxurious life of leisure. Hell, at $10K you'd only need $300 billion.

And no, commercial activity wouldn't shut down for the simple fact that the majority of people want more than to just pay their rent / food and sit around staring at walls. They want to go to movies, take vacations, buy X-boxes and plasma TVs, drive SUVs, eat at restaurants. To do that, they'll still have to work. And the same jobs will still be there. And in many cases, the same people would be doing them because most people have a social conscience and want to contribute to society, most people want a better life which money can buy etc.

EDIT For the 91% of the US working age population that currently have jobs, stopping work to live on only the $20K would result in a major step back in terms of lifestyle and quality of life. Do you really think people will say, "yay, I can quit my $50K a year job and live on $20K without needing to work"?
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