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Comment Re:Traffic Volume Trends (Score 1) 314

I live in a town of about 7500... and while people do spend more out of town now than before cheap travel became possible, what you miss is the diversity in products available to people. Going back to the late 70s, my town used to consist of a dairy, one small grocery store (similar to a corner grocery in a city, not a supermarket), a pharmacy (no doctors), a parts store, a lumber/hardware store, an appliance store and a small clothing store... and that's pretty much how it was in the time before that too; You had a general store and maybe a handful of specialty stores with very little competition.

Today, all of those same stores are available except for the dairy (regional consolidation) and we've gained a handful of doctors and even specialist, but they've all grown and carry a wider variety of goods because, within 15 miles, there are another 3 small grocery stores, 2 major supermarket chains, a Walmart, at least a dozen clothing/shoe stores, 3 more lumber/hardware stores, at least a dozen autopart stores, 4 appliance vendors, and regional stores that no particular town can support on its own (say, a farm equipment dealership)... and within 30 miles, there are hundreds of competing stores, some selling stuff that we simply can't get locally.

The car allows non-urban people to access a vasty wider variety of goods at different levels of quality and/or price points that weren't available before cheap travel. Sure, we're spending more money out of town, but it means I can actually buy a keyboard the day I need it, that I can find the part I need to fix my faucet or that I can easily get clothes that don't come printed with the name of my town on it (and something more than a basic tshirt, sweat shirt or pair of jeans at that). If you think every small town can support every store selling some niche product line, you're very wrong, which is part of why mail order was so popular in the early 20th century when travel was harder. And much like our horse-drawn ancestors, I consolidate my shopping trips when I "travel to town," meaning I might go to the doctor, buy food, and stop at the hardware store all in one trip. It's not like I have to drive 30 miles for every store I need to stop at in a given month, especially if I do a little planning ahead of time... plus I get the convenience of being able to go when I want to go since I'm not reliant on some MTA that may not be running efficiently that day, assuming the time I want to go is even in their operating hours.

Oh, and my local stores are so high priced, it's generally cheaper for me to get in the truck and drive for better pricing. Last summer, I did a project and it was $14 for a sheet of drywall locally versus $8 at the big box store 25 miles away. At $3/gallon and 22-26mpg, buying two sheets breaks even and anything more means I'm saving money by driving. Take my truck away, limiting my options and you don't think the local stores are going to charge less for their goods, do you? There aren't going to be many extra local jobs either, since the local lumber store isn't getting the bulk discounts of the big box stores, so most of that money travels out of town to the distributor/manufacturer anyway. Further, I'll have less money to spread around for other things I need, which means my quality of life goes down overall.

Modern travel and shipping (in addition to industrial manufacturing) is what enables our vastly higher quality of life versus our 19th century breathren, including shipping to cities, which are entirely unsustainable on their own/are completely reliant on outside goods for their entire existence - power, water, food, building supplies, raw goods, etc are all fed into a city and most of those things come from the rural counterparts that you want to limit in the hopes that they'd adopt your lifestyle. Simple fact is, cities die without rural people doing what they do, yet, somehow militant urbanites think the rural people should be punished by having to do without the benefits of modern society. I say let people live where they want to live, how they want to live and stop trying to force everyone to live the way someone else decides they should have to live. If they want to deny rural people cheap travel, I think rural people should deny them cheap food, water, gravel (used in asphalt and concrete, both of which cities love), lumber, coal, ore, etc.

If you want to interfere in the lives of others, you should expect everyone else to have the right to interfere in yours. I'm not your property, so don't tell me what's best for me or how I should live just because I value different things than you do. And please, cut the corn subsidies for rural farmers, oil producers, etc if that's where you want to go for your argument that travel is too cheap. In fact, cut all the subsidies, including the millions and billions regional/state/federal governments take from outsiders for urban pet projects, since that is precisely how we use the government as a means to force others into doing what we want but refuse to pay for ourselves. "Government oughta" is a pretty evil path to go down, even with the best of intentions...

Comment Re:regardless of the optimal queuing strategy... (Score 1) 464

Don't forget paying for things in change, especially starting with the lowest denomination first, working their way up until they have to pull out dollars to pay for the rest.

That'll be $8.37:
they get out their change purse, slowly count out 17 pennies, 12 nickles, 11 dimes, 18 quarters, and 2 $1 bills. Meanwhile, you're ready to just pay for their stuff yourself to get them out of the way.

Likewise, you've got the person paying for half of their stuff in food stamps, then the other half (the things like cigarettes and toys that aren't covered) with cash, so they're actually two transactions rather than one.

Comment Re:Unsurprising... (Score 1) 853

Yes, and that explains why foreign real estate markets crashed, too.

For a long time, the US Dollar has been the de facto world reserve currency. Everyone in the past was willing to take a dollar in trade for their goods and services and it was the only currency some commodities like oil were traded in. Countries would use tie their own currency to the dollar by keeping large reserves, like China, and large institutions and countries would also repatriate those dollars by investing in the American economy (treasury bonds, stock holdings, etc.

As such, any change in the dollar would have an immediate effect on most countries around the world, whether it be through direct investment of, or simple trade using, those dollars. The collapse of the financial sector, the "too big to fail" multinationals and overleveraged state/local government budgets caused a lack of confidence in the dollar. That drop in confidence combined with a large drop in the American stock market and the printing of ENORMOUS amounts of new money caused a rapid devaluation of the dollar for institutional investors, who then panicked, furthering the decline. After things bottomed out, institutional investors started buying bargains, shoring up the stock market, but the dollar's problems were never solved and are still on the horizon, waiting to bite us in the ass. The dollar would be worthless already if it wasn't for the collapse of the other major world currency (the Euro) due to the economic collapse of countries there, which seemed poised to continue falling like dominos (and the US is throwing more and more dollars their way, hoping to keep the Euro from failing completely).

In short, all of our markets are tied together because, instead of using a commodity backed currency, foreign countries have opted to use a foreign fiat currency as backing credit for their own money, and because for decades, the US dollar was the most tradeable currency across international borders. It really isn't surprising that we all failed at roughly the same time... and while Fannie/Freddie weren't the cause, they were a contributing factor in a larger problem, and that's the mishandling of the dollar by the Federal Reserve, especially after it was converted to a pure fiat currency. Combined with a government that knows know limits on spending or market interference and you have a recipe for disaster.

A nice right-wing talking point not born out by the facts. In fact, FNMA and FMCC did not start taking large percentages of high risk loans until well after private firms did. And why did they? Yes, politicians on the left were asking them to make homes more affordable. What is missed by the conservatards is that politicians on the right were doing the same thing - they called it spreading the American Dream - and they thought that if the GSEs were raking in the kind of money that Countrywide, et al. were, they wouldn't need to fund them at as high a level. So yeah, blame them all you want - you'll be stupid doing so, but go ahead.

How about we blame the people that decided to use the force of government to encouraging something that was bad economic policy all around, whether they be Democrats, Republicans or Martians? We have to realize that government is evil, a necessary evil, but evil nevertheless... and that if we ask the government to give to us, we also empower the government to take from us. The more we ask it to interfere on our behalf, the more it will interfere with us on the behalf of others.

Now, two last final points... First, despite expanding the CRA, Bush also wanted Congress to investigate the financial soundness of Fannie and Freddie but the Democrats in Congress blocked him, with Barney Frank going on about how they were fundamentally sound. Second, calling people you disagree with "conservatards" makes you sound like an ignorant four year old and neutral people will consider your opinion to be dubious at best, since you haven't progressed to the point where you can express yourself without childish namecalling. Then again, we are at Slashdot, where a well thought out reply = -1, I disagree while idiotic, false memes get modded to +5, insightful, so your name calling will fit right in.

Comment Re:Unsurprising... (Score 1) 853

The problem with the TPM is simple -- they think the Constitution is the only way we can live. This is absolutely ridiculous and almost laughable.

The Constitution amounts to the rule of law rather than the rule of man. The Constitution is a document that is the absolute bedrock foundation of the federal government - it describes precisely what the federal government is allowed to do and declares that any power not given to it explicitly does not belong to it. It also provides a means to modify the Constitution through the amendment process should something need to be corrected.

The opposite of that is the rule of man - a king, dictator, or other oligarchy which makes and changes the rules to suit their needs. as they see fit. I'm assuming you think this is a pretty bad idea because I don't see how anyone but the elite ruling class can support it.

So you must think that something should exist between those two... We'll make and enforce some laws, but we'll leave everything else up to the oligarchy... it'll be unjust when they disagree with you, but so long as it is your guy in power, well, you won't mind as long as he doesn't come after you.

Us Tea Party folks want to live by a Constitution (and more or less, the Constitution we have)... if you don't want to live by a Constitution, you're a fool who deserves whatever injustice you have coming from your ruler. If you want to amend our Constitution, at least say your problem is with our implementation, not the idea of living under a Constitution. Instead, you have a beef with the Tea Party, so you're willing to shred the notion of a Constitution to attack them.

The problem is that the Constitution does not cover the high tech, deeply mathematic equations for how the financial industry operations. If they basically gamble, there's no way to prosecute them for this, there's no way to even fine them because most people can't even understand what the HELL they are doing.

The Constitution wasn't designed to micromanage every little thing. It was designed to facilitate interstate trade, provide a unified body to handle international affairs and to protect our most basic rights.

The introduction of the SEC actually causes people to blindly operate in the stock market. People have the false assumption that the government is making sure nobody is out pulling dirty tricks to fleece them while, as the Madoff case exemplifies, the SEC is doing no such thing. Perhaps if people brought a little caveat emptor into their portfolios, they would do their homework, really finding out if an investment is worth it, rather than relying on the assumption that the government is doing it for them.

Let's also not forget the federal government's involvement through the Federal Reserve (a private, non-governmental banking operation that essentially controls the Treasury Department and refuses to be audited), the fractional-reserve banking system, Fannie/Freddie and the like underwriting loans so the banks can privatize the profits while socializing the debt, favorable loans and bailouts for entities "too big to fail", etc.

The problem is too much government involvement, not too little. Still, if you think the Constitution needs to micromanage everything the federal government has already screwed up, advocate an amendment, not the rule of man because he can change the law faster.

Conservatism as you put it, and "Constitution first" is another way of putting it as "less government", but that's really not the problem. Less government or more, either way they are not there to benefit you. They benefit themselves, and themselves only. I used to think the TPM was a bunch of rednecks but I've since changed that stance and realized that they are all about lowering government interference, but then go as far as to say things like healthcare shouldn't be universal, that the rich make jobs, and espouse ideals that not only don't exist, but ones that aren't even relevant to the troubles we have today.

If government isn't there to benefit you, only to benefit themselves only, why would you demand that they make healthcare universal. As for the rich making jobs, who do you think makes the jobs? The government? As for the other ideals you disagree with, since you don't enumerate them so I can't directly tell you why we believe in them, I'm just going to assume that, while you acknowledge government is evil, you think people having freedom is more evil.

You'd be best suited to put down the Constitution for a while, and pick up a finance book and start learning about how you are getting screwed. Yea, the FCC plays into this as well, but it's all driven by the idea that corporations own everything.

We have been warning about the financial systems of the US. Along with the libertarians, we're pushing to audit the Fed and ultimately get rid of it. We tend to favor a standard currency rather than a fiat currency. We think corporations ARE too powerful, but we realize that the government is even more powerful since it is the one true monopoly that exists nationwide. Just look at the FCC - they're appointed, not elected, and through this regulation they, as an executive branch, want to assume power that they were never given by Congress through legislation that they've created for themselves. Regardless of whether or not you support Net Neutrality, this is the absolute wrong way to do it... and remember, this is the same FCC that fines people for having a boobie on tv or saying tits on the radio.

Corporate cronyism is the banner that the Republicans carry, and the Tea Party carries the banner for the Republicans. Look at Rand Paul -- he talked big about all the things that the Tea Party wanted to hear, and as soon as he got elected started to reverse everything to fit the mold of the party. In fact, all the *extreme* Tea Party candidates didn't even get elected. Wonder why that is?

Corporate cronyism IS the banner of the Republican Party. It's also the banner of the Democrat Party, they just favor different corporations (hello pro-*IAA crackdown by Obama's DOJ). The Tea Party does not carry the banner for the Republicans at all... and are happy to attack the Republicans that they see as unfit (see Mike Castle, Dede Scozzafava, Lisa Murkowski, et al). SOME of the Republicans chose to align themselves with the Tea Party, others have chosen to buck it (a good chunk of the establishment, especially if they weren't up for re-election this year). The TPM exists outside of the Republican Party but, unlike the Democrats, some Republicans have decided to at least pay us lip service... You know, kinda like you don't have to be a Democrat if you're gay, but at least the Democrats pay gays lip service.

Why didn't all the "extreme" Tea Party candidates win? Like in Delaware, where residents voted 63-37 in favor of Obama two years ago? Of course, you overlook Tea Party candidates winning Russ Feingold's seat, Scott Brown picking up Kennedy's seat earlier this year, Mark Kirk picking up Obama's seat, Marco Rubio winning in Florida? I think you've got a bit of selection bias clouding your judgment. As for Rand Paul, although isn't as libertarian as his father, that doesn't mean he's suddenly legislating against the ideals of the Tea Party.

Ultimately, I think you made up your mind on what the TPM was about before you even really investigated it and, since we're all evil, misguided or whatever, the friends (like the Constitution) of your enemy must be your enemy too.

Comment Re:Um, we're broke? (Score 1) 760

Ummm, I hate to break it to you, but it WASN'T in the 90s that the U.S. debt soared. Since WWII, there are have been precisely two periods where the ratio of U.S debt to GDP rose in a sustained way. The first was under Reagan/Bush, when under Reagan especially, the (democratic) congress consistently approved a budget that was lower than what the president recommended. The second was under Bush Jr./Obama. Regarding the latter, Obama isn't spending at any greater rate than Bush Jr. did, but at least he has the excuse that deficit spending is the only thing that has kept the economy from going into a full blown depression.

Under modifications made to the Social Security Act in 1967, in order to cover up the exploding costs of the newly passed Great Society programs, which VASTLY exceeded CBO cost estimations, and the escalation of Vietnam, the government declared that any government body which took in its own revenue and generated a surplus for that year, would see that agency's revenue added to the General Fund and replaced with a promise to pay back that agency when it began running in the red. That is, starting in 1967, the government used Enron style accounting tricks to make it seem like they weren't spending us into oblivion by tapping the Social Security Trust Fund, knowing that they'd never be forced to answer for bankrupting Social Security for the next generation.

Now, does your source take that into account? By the time Reagan got into office, the Social Security Trust Fund was pretty depleted and this year, we're officially running in the red, meaning that some of the cost of paying Social Security is going to come out of the General Fund (actually, it's going to get borrowed on behalf of the General Fund). The budget deficits of the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s were pretty much a sham, kept artificially low after being propped up by the right hand taking money out of the left pocket, all while pretending the left pocket was still full because it had IOUs in it...

And that's not to say that Reagan and the 80s Democrats or GWB and the 2000s Democrats and Republicans (yes, both parties since the Dems had control of at least 1 branch of Congress for 4 of his 8 years) weren't prolific spenders, because they certainly were, it's just that the 70s (aided by existing money in the SSTF) and 90s (aided by the dotcom bubble increasing SSTF revenues) were way worse than we portray them as.

Comment Re:Cut YouCut (Score 1) 760

So, a lower income person buys a tv from Walmart for $324. 8% of that is sales tax, resulting in $24 going to the government, $40 goes to store overhead (including wages, utilities, shipping, shrinkage, profit, etc) and $260 is sent to South Korea, Taiwan, China or whatever. We end up with $64 injected into our economy out of $324. Now, lets suppose they bought that tv with stimulus money. So, we went $324 in debt to buy someone a tv in the hopes that it would stimulate the economy, while 80% of that money went toward stimulating a foreign economy rather than our own. And it isn't just tvs, think of all the stuff that is manufacturered elsewhere, processed food, toys, "durable" goods, etc, especially on the low end of things since poorer people can't afford luxury quality goods, and tell me how that isn't a waste.

On the other hand, some rich dude puts $3 million in the bank (about as close as you can come to not investing it short of putting it in your mattress, which almost nobody does), the bank, in turn loans it to someone wanting to start a business. That business then creates jobs, employing some of those poorer people so they aren't getting a handout from the taxpayers, while providing a good or service locally that they need. Oh, wait, we, the government, took his $3 million because he's an evil rich bastard that doesn't deserve it, and gave it to those poor people buying $300 tvs, so the business never got started (opportunity cost) and the money went overseas with nothing to show for it to top it off.

Keynesian economics has never been proven to be successful and it could only be successful if the money went back into the local economy (ignoring the Broken Window Fallacy). In the modern world of foreign production and international trade, it is absolutely guaranteed to fail. Further, it is even easier to renounce Keynesian economics after you realize that in the good times, governments never pay back the debts they created trying to stimulate in the bad times... yet most people blindly champion it today because they've never really thought about it critically.

Comment Re:Where is the budget for the Congress itself ? (Score 1) 760

Our debt isn't going to funding some great technological revolution that will generate future economic growth, it's mostly going to pay people not to work (welfare, Social Security, etc), to pay for health care (making people live longer so they suck up even more resources) and the military (generally in the business of destroying stuff and building up other countries rather than our own).

Why can't we afford it? We're barely treading water as it is and all the new spending we add is just adding another lead weight onto us. If were weren't mired in entitlement programs, we could afford to fund more research. In addition to the debt we do see, there's over $110 trillion in unfunded obligations owed for the existing entitlement programs, putting us, in reality, closer to 900% debt:GDP unless you're going to severely slash the entitlement programs. We're already well down the path to unsustainability.

Comment Re:Where is the budget for the Congress itself ? (Score 1) 760

That $84 billion is Congress, the executive branch, federal courts and prisons, the IRS, GAO, etc not just Congress. Still, I say cut it 10% and cut the NSF 10% too. The NSF funds plenty of ridiculous research in addition to the good stuff. If people are concerned about the amount of science funding (or whatever their pet outlay is), why not start a NGO to seek donations and provide the funds for the program they want instead of demanding everyone else pay it for them?

You don't want to cut the NSF, maybe someone doesn't want to cut corn subsidies. To them, your program is a waste and to you, their program is a waste. We simply can't give everyone everything that they want... and Uncle Sam isn't merely a benefactor, he's a tyrant holding a gun to the head of everyone else to pay for your pet project.

Comment Re:Where is the budget for the Congress itself ? (Score 2) 760

2010 estimates (in billions of dollars) from OMB's hist03z1 spreadsheet:

National Defense: 719

Human Resources: 2504
Education, training, employment and social services: 143
Health: 372
Medicare: 457
Income Security: 686
Social Security: 721
Veterans Benefits: 125

Physical Resources: 176
Energy: 19
Natural Resources: 47
Commerce and Housing credit: -25
Transportation: 106
Community and Regional Development: 28

Net interest: 188

Other functions: 214
International Affairs: 51
General Science, space and technology: 33
Agriculture: 27
Administration of justice: 55
General government: 29
Allowances: 19

So, figure Congress and the general operation of government costs about $84 billion. I agree we should cut Congress' expenses and their perks, but that would barely be the tip of the iceberg. I favor a 10% cut across the board from every outlay in each of the next 3 years. The problem is, for every one of those lines above, there are hundreds of lobbyists doing everything they can to access your wallet and thousands or millions of Americans that demand that you fund their idea. And don't let this year's interest line fool you, in just a couple years, interest on our debt will exceed the military budget (2015's estimate puts it at 685 military vs 571 interest).

Raising taxes isn't going to solve the problem, we have to cut spending... and yeah, that means someone's sacred cow is going to be gored, so I say we gut them all equally. Just look at slashdot, we already have the "gut the military but spare NSF funding" posts going on... everyone favors cutting the stuff they don't like while keeping or increasing funding for the things they do. Lets cut everything... we simply can't afford to continue spending the way we have for the last century.

Comment Re:The US is not having a "hard time." (Score 1) 611

The problem is, those of us on Slashdot are different than most people. To the average American, the current offerings are good enough for them, so there's little demand at this point for something faster. Most people can stream Youtube or Netflix fine, they can send their kids' pictures to grandma fast enough, etc.

Nobody is going to expand their infrastructure at high expense until there is demand for it. I'm sitting at my ISP's standard 15/1 rate and I find it adequate enough for me about 99% of the time.

Comment Re:first! (Score 1) 1425

My point is only that I think that experience in politics is a bad omen. Pushing 'experience' for politicians puts the people with the most to gain from harming the public interest in the best position to do so.

The problem is, the Presidency is a massive, massive job that, at this point in time, hell, even during the founding, no one person can handle alone... and to top it off, it's not a job that lends lightly to making mistakes. It's just as likely, maybe even more likely, that ignorance (in the "simply doesn't know" sense) will cause as many severe problems as those friends that you worry about doing it out of malice. And lets also face the fact that NOBODY is going to be elected President without knowing and owing a lot of people, regardless of their experience because they all need a massive campaign staff, including existing entrenched politicians, to promote their candidacy.

So, ultimately, experience is a factor important to a lot of people, which is why we've historically elected people that have had some form of previous executive experience at a high level.

I think it's easy to say that Obama is the President with the least amount of executive experience ever elected (mods: argue with my point above where I showed only 3 people were ever elected without executive government experience, don't downmod me simply because you disagree) and many would argue that he relied too heavily on Rahm, Pelosi and Reid to do the dirty work for him, which mired down his agenda and got him off track (regardless of whether you think his policies are beneficial or harmful to us, I don't think anyone can argue that he got knocked off his agenda by expecting everyone else to just bow down and give him what he wanted after passing the baton off to three of the most partisan people in DC to act on his behalf).

Comment Re:first! (Score 1) 1425

Experience doesn't have to mean as a professional politician... it could be as a business executive (a small business owner, a CEO, etc), a military officer, etc. It's about having the experience that comes with making tough decisions, given the constraints of those decisions and the politics involved (be they government politics or simple office politics) and then being responsible for those decisions (ok, every politician/executive tries to claim responsibility for good stuff that wasn't their doing and denies responsibility for the bad even if it was solely their own doing, but I digress).

In the history of the Presidency, only 3 were elected without previously being a governor, general or cabinet officer - Lincoln, Kennedy and Obama, and to their credit, Lincoln at least ran his own business as a lawyer and JFK was a military officer that commanded his own ship.

Obama had virtually no executive experience and much of his legislative experience consisted of voting present (in order to not have to take a controversial stand that would hurt his future aspirations) or campaigning for a higher office. That doesn't have to be a bad thing, but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in a candidate's leadership abilities.

Comment Re:Sarah Palin... (Score 1) 1425

Actually, immediately following the conventions, McCain was tied or slightly ahead of Obama in the polls, in large part due to the boost from a then-unknown Palin that gave a great red meat speech at the convention... his campaign collapsed when he suspended it for a week to go back to Washington to demand "OMGZ! we must do something" despite his base shouting "no bailouts, let the banks fail." Not only did he piss off the core Republicans, many of whom were already wary of him, he made himself look like an idiot in the process. By the time he got to the debates and actually endorsed Obama himself, THEN you can argue that he was deliberately trying to lose the election.

Comment Re:This is the real result of the election (Score 4, Insightful) 289

They could have spent the last two years dragging everyone and anyone who was involved with the Bush administration's more questionable policies (wiretapping, suspending habeus corpus, extraordinary rendition, Halliburton, bogus intelligence and so forth) and probably had a PR field day tearing the ethics of their predecessors apart.

First, a correction, the Democrats gained both houses in 2006, not 2008, so they could have started then... and as a member of the right, I WISH THEY WOULD HAVE. Not because the open partisanship would have cost them votes, because I don't think it would have given how reviled the right had become by 2006, but because we need an open an honest government. However, neither party wants that, they both want a closed, powerful government even if it means they take turns owning the keys.

Obama continued the Bush wiretaps, even "accidentally" extending them to domestic only calls and wants to extend it to the internet. Obama hasn't closed Gitmo, he's still practicing extraordinary rendition (which didn't started under GWB), Halliburton is still getting contracts (because they're one of only a handful of companies that does what they do), we still have problems with bad intelligence, etc.

I don't say that out of partisanship, I say it because Obama and Bush are relatively interchangeable in their practice of foreign policy (oh, sure, there are minor differences, but all the major policies are identical).

But oh no. Either they were idiots and thought that, after eight years of dirty pool, the Republican party's powerbrokers would respond well to bipartisanship (you'd think they'd notice how that was going after six months?), or they were hoping to pull some of the same stuff, in which case they pissed away the moral high ground which would have served them pretty well a few days ago.

Again, noting the above, there is one additional reason why they didn't... They were acting like Mark McGwire. Career batting average of .263, but you knew every time he got up to the plate, he was swinging for the fences, looking for that home run, or even better, grand slam. What do I mean?

Democrats have long been in love with socialized medicine... for the political leadership, it's the one thing they're missing in their dependency pie. Again, what do I mean? Every time a Democrat runs for office and is seriously challenged, what do they run on? "My opponent wants to starve your kids, kick your parents out of the nursing home, take away your childcare, etc." A HUGE portion of the Democrat bases votes Democrat on the fear that their precious entitlements would be taken away. By finally getting socialized medicine in place, it would have forced the working stiffs in the middle that traditionally vote Republican to vote for the party that would keep the handouts going.

So, they spent most of the first two years swinging for that grand slam. The bases were loaded - people already hated the Republicans, the Democrats occupied the White House and, most importantly, had large majorities in both houses of Congress. They came up to the plate, pointed to left field, swung and missed. The liberal Republicans weren't going to go along. They came up to the plate again and missed. This time the conservative Democrats weren't going to go along either. Then Ball 1, the Senate passed a bill in the middle of the night before Christmas break. Ball 2, the House would work on passing the Senate bill if they could get some fixes. Ball 3, they promise some meaningless stuff on abortion and to fix the bill's most glaring problems down the road, all while giving the crowd the finger. Democrats are standing at a full count. Finally, a homer down the left line! But wait! Now the umpire is trying to decide if it went out of bounds and most of the crowd is rowdy, throwing crap at the Democrats on the field.

Basically, the Democrats knew the whole government is corrupt and abusive... but they were willing to ignore that, especially if it meant they could be the (relatively) permanent rulers of that government. Much like the liberals that like to ask the Tea Partiers where they were during Bush, as a Tea Partier, I ask where did the anti-corruption liberals go after the 2008 election?

How they've silenced their conscience (and anyone else on the Left who has one) is even more shameful

One thing we can definitely agree on... and that goes for the Republicans who go to Washington promising to be the party of small government as well. The actual Tea Party victors are now in a fight with the GOP establishment over exactly that. The TP wants a revolution within the party while the establishment wants to assimilate the TP.

They really are past their sell-by date, and the few who have principles (Kucinich comes to mind) need to put some respectful distance between the rest of the chumps, endorse Nader (or someone like him) and start work on a progressive, thinking version of the Tea Party.

I probably disagree with everything Kucinich believes in... but he's one guy I absolutely respect. He means what he says. Ditto for Bernie Sanders, who makes no bones about the fact that he's a socialist.

I'll let the backhanded slap at the Tea Party go with one side note... a lot of us ARE educated and we are deep thinking, we just have a different believe from the progressives about what is the better way to govern. Progressives alone could never maintain a society since there would never be anything binding it together as they hop from one new idea to the next, while conservatives alone would produce a government that stagnates and dies by adhering too strongly to what used to work despite the ever changing world around us - we both need each other, so it's pointless to call one better, one worse, one smarter or one dumber.

Comment Re:This explains the political process (Score 1) 824

Your numbers for Social Security, Medicare and Medicare D are way off. Do you really expect anyone to take your post seriously when you suggest that social security is currently $14.7 trillion in debt, nearly the same as the entire GDP of the US? And moreover, that Medicare is currently $77 trillion in debt, which is $16 trillion more than the world GDP!.

Perhaps your numbers are over long periods of time, and if they are, then say that! Instead you just come off as someone who has absolutely no clue. Yes, SS/Medicare are doomed if we don't fix them, but keep the FUD numbers out of the discussion.

My source is the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank as I pointed out in another post, with updated projections provided by The numbers are the total unfunded liability. That is, not debt that is immediately owed today, but just how far in debt the programs are long term. Social Security owes $14.7 trillion more than it will take in by 2078 and is already running a deficit now despite projections that it wouldn't start until 2017. Likewise, Medicare is projected to go into the red in 2016. We're basically at the point of unsustainability already and things will only get worse.

Just because you don't like the numbers doesn't mean they are FUD. They're a stark reality that most people WANT to ignore because it points out just how much Enron style accounting goes on in Washington, DC - just like there was never an actual budget surplus in the late 90s, aggregate debt increased every year and has every year since 1957. It was all just "advanced" accounting techniques to hide the real deficits, just like the 40+ year long raid of the Social Security Trust Fund.

Every time someone says that my numbers are bogus (and I think you're about #5 in this thread), I can't help but think back to Liar, Liar:
Fletcher: Your Honor, I object!
Judge: Why?
Fletcher: Because it's devastating to my case!

However, I do want to respond to one point of yours, which is the idea that you'll never get your SS/Medicare back. There is one extremely important component of Social Security that even young people sometimes benefit from: Disability benefits. If you suffer an injury that will keep you out of work for 12+ months, you can get compensation. This is, of course, assuming you've been paying into SS for long enough (which varies based on your age and a whole host of seemingly random factors)

There are a non-trivial number of people that collect SSDI (my dad among them after a series of brain injuries initially caused by an aneurysm. We'll also ignore those born disabled that still collect SSDI even though they'll never work in their lifetime. Further, though there are a lot of people that illegitmately collect benefits as well, but we'll ignore them for purposes of this discussion). That said, you can't really even consider them as much more than statistical noise in a discussion of whether or not you're going to collect benefits because if even a large minority of every 30, 40 or 50 something started collecting early, we would have bankrupted ages ago. Yes, there is a 1 in whatever chance that it'll be you that ends up disabled and you'll actually get back what you pay in, but there's also a 1 in whatever chance that you're going to die early and not receive a single dollar in benefits, save the $250 death benefit, and neither will your kids unless they're under 18. On the other hand, if you die at age 58 of a heart attack, your 19, 25 and 30 year old children could have received the money you would have invested had the government not taken it from you. Of course, that gets us back into the debate about whether or not SSI should exist in the first place - it's something you either believe in or don't and there is plenty of merit for each argument. Unfortunately, because it's federally mandated, few people, save some government workers, mostly politicians, have little choice in the matter (yeah, some jurisdictions are exempt and politicians love to exempt themselves from the laws they pass... ah, so much for everyone being equal under the law).

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I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader