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Comment Re:The problem with most environmentalist ideas (Score 1) 466

I was making a case for entitlement cuts?? Didn't know that...

Don't try to walk it back, here is what you wrote:

Note that Medicare/Medicaid(Fed only)/SSA is ALREADY the majority of the budget - it's not going to get any better without a painful revamp of the way we do things.

You directly linked Medicare/Medicaid/SSA with "a painful revamp" required to fix the budget issues.

The fundamental assumption on the left is that we could balance the budget by reducing military expenditures and raising taxes.

That is nowhere close to a fundamental assumption by the left.

You're tilting at windmills, buddy.

Comment Re:How did this moronic submission make it here? (Score 1) 466

We're on hydro-electric here. Our CO2 doesn't change a lick if we turn out our lights in the PNW.

Umm, bullshit. Hydro produces only about 40% of evening electric supply in the PNW (though at peak demand, hydro is about 70% according to PNWR, an industry lobby group). Fossil fuels are responsible for a higher percentage of evening power consumption than hydro.

At best, a few 'regular people' -might- think about the environment for a few days (or hours), akin to the hype around St. Patty's day this year.

That's not the best-case scenario. Earth Hour a couple years ago is what prompted my wife and I to implement a plan for reducing electricity consumption every day, year-round. This multiplied by thousands (or even millions, in the long run)is the best-case scenario.

Comment Re:The problem with most environmentalist ideas (Score 1) 466

Note that Medicare/Medicaid(Fed only)/SSA is ALREADY the majority of the budget

No they are not. SSA plus Dept of Health and Human Services (which includes Medicare and Medicaid) for 2012 totaled 1.701 Trillion, while the total enacted budget was 3.796 Trillion.

As to raising taxes and/or reducing the military, neither is going to have a huge long-term effect on the deficit.

What? If we reduce spending on the military by 200 billion/year, that will definitely have a long-term impact on the deficit. If we raise revenues by any appreciable amount, the same is true. Yes, there is disagreement about how much extra revenue will be raised by tax increases... but that does not mean its impact would be negligible.

The real deficit driver for the foreseeable future is Medicare spending (which is expected to be the majority of the budget within a couple decades).

Medicare expenditures are currently roughly 3.6% of GDP, in the 500-600 billion range. They are expected to increase to 6% of GDP as the baby boomers age, then level off around 2040... which would make them about 1.2 Trillion on this year''s budget. This is much less than half.

Furthermore, the ACA and the recession have reduced the rate of growth of Medicare expenditures, and now Medicare costs are growing at the same rate as the rest of the economy. The CBO forecast is confident that this decrease in growth rate will last at least a few more years, and many experts think this reduction in growth rate is somewhat permanent.

In short, you exaggerate in order to make the case for entitlement cuts. Boo on you.

Comment Re:The problem with most environmentalist ideas (Score 1) 466

Commercial facilities ARE installing solar as fast as they can import the panels. One of the reasons solar prices continue to be high is limited supply, which allows the producers to peg the price pretty much at the breakeven on ROI.

Unfortunately, the high startup costs for solar panel production mean we won't see a huge bump in supply or competition anytime soon... the current producers have no incentive to sell at a lower price, since they are already running their plants at max capacity and selling every unit immediately.

There's no technical reason solar can't produce cheaper electricity than generic electric company electricity... but there are microeconomic ones.

Comment Re:If you wanted to know about humans, (Score 1) 450

Perhaps people in Europe and the UK who do bathe everyday don't feel the need to wear chemical antiperspirants?

Hell, for that matter, I've ridden the subway and the Path train in NY/NJ many thousands of times, and I've noticed a *strong* smell of BO. And the Path train is noted for being the cleanest mass-transit system in the US!

Comment Re:Furthering class warfare (Score 1) 376

Such a patent-less system undoubtedly favors the wealthy who have access to the means to do such things.

From the perspective of many economists, this is not a problem for the overall economy. I've noticed that they tend to view consolidation as a good thing, as there are increased efficiencies due to economies of scale, etc -- i.e., better to have a big company with massive capital roll out an invention quickly and effectively than to waste capital and labor on a start-up doing the same thing and making tons of mistakes along the way, etc.

Comment Re:NB4 too much regulation (Score 1) 470

GS did nothing illegal, and there was no embezzlement or fraud


Recommend to your customers they buy an instrument YOU OWN, that you know is going to fail, to offload the risk from your own portfolio? Not revealing a conflict-of-interest to people who pay you for investment advice is fraud.

Of course, the US government is too chicken (or too in bed with GS) to prosecute this. But it happened.

Comment Re:NB4 too much regulation (Score 2) 470

but there are ways that the markets could be fixing these problems themselves but many financial products used today have not matured enough to be "market monitored".

Mature markets mean little profit, so there will always be the incentive to create new products and profit off them before the market matures. The more complex the products, the better -- this way, it is more likely you can fleece your victims due to their own ignorance.

but newer instruments like mortgage backed securities and credit default swaps do not have such standards or openness to allow the broader market (through research or statistical/heuristic analysis) to judge the products.

Another problem here is that all the people valuating these instruments were using a bad risk estimate. This was a mistake that propagated through the financial industry because (1) as you say, the products weren't mature enough for informed analysis, (2) There was financial incentive to keep the calculated risk low, in order to be able to sell the product and remove the risk from your portfolio, and (3) there was a systemic risk that was missed, in additional to the risk of an individual instrument would fail (if one goes bad, they all go bad).

The other problem, and one that Greenspan has copped to, is that we assume entities like banks will self-regulate due to self-interest. However, the decision-makers are individuals, not entire banks. For the housing meltdown that Greenspan talked about this, individuals made decisions that profited them personally... but were risky to the banks and to the economy as a whole. Self-regulation (and/or market regulation) fails when (1) the decision-makers are not the same as the entities whose behavior we wish to regulate and/or (2) the entities in question are so large that punishment for bad behavior threatens the economy as a whole.

If you want markets to self-regulate, you need to at least tie individual compensation to long-term profitability, and you need to lower compensation to the point that loss of compensation would actually hurt the decision-makers. Someone who has already banked $200 million isn't badly impacted by loss of new income.

Comment Re:Limited Government and Unlimited Companies. (Score 1) 470

I agree with your premise to a certain extent... but not wholly.

Think for a moment how peaceful the world could be if America was giving Israel tractors and farm equipment to build up Palestine with, instead of guns and missiles to enslave it.

It would be peaceful, because Israel would have been eliminated in the 1950s or 1960s.

The US simply doesn't have the wealth to buy the friendship of every nation on the planet,especially when there is competition (look what China is doing in Pakistan and in Africa). And even if we did, we could never eliminate hostilities between all of our friends. So instead we strategically pick and choose who our allies are, and make sure they can defend themselves... unfortunately sometimes not in the most preferable way.

Comment Re:Fundamentally... (Score 1) 470

I know why the banks lied – they had an incentive to make themselves look better by low balling their LIBOR numbers

That's a very small reason they lied, IMO. Above that reason, I'd put direct profits to their friends/associates/contacts. Currency traders made fortunes by using their influence to manipulate the LIBOR rate.

I also recall reading, although I'm too lazy to find it right now, that there was pressure from bigwigs to manipulate LIBOR to alter public perception of the health of the banking industry as a whole. I don't know if this is true, I just recall reading it from a source I have no reason to distrust.

Comment Re:Fundamentally... (Score 1) 470

Reinstate most of Glass-Steagal and force investment banks apart from retail banks.

Investment banks do serve a useful purpose.. but if they stand alone from retail banking, they wouldn't be "too big to fail", and they would in fact self-regulate to a certain degree if ownership was at risk.

Comment Re:Fundamentally... (Score 1) 470

still keep almost everything they have in bonds, equities, and real-estate.

Bonds are a *horrible* hedge against inflation. Investing in bonds is equivalent to betting on low inflation.

So the only thing I think is telling is that those people value having diversified investment portfolios.

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