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Comment Re: Google the phrase (Score 1) 607

Thats a fine goal but it must be approached gradually. Do not try to get out of debt faster than you got in. Do not try it in a recession and for crying out loud do not try to do it by spending cuts - at least not by themselves. If you are going to cut spending you need to raise, not lower, taxes to make up the lost revenue.

Comment Re: Google the phrase (Score 1) 607

But a recession by definition is a lack of spending. If government doesnt change it by spending you end up with a depression.

And its impossible to cause inflation by printing and spending in a recession. Its never happened except where a previous unrelated event destroyed the productive capacity of tge economy (war or plague usually). It takes all the print and spend a government can manage in a recession just to prevent deflation. Deflation = 2nd great depression.

Comment Re: Don't care (Score 1) 161

An organisation who calls themselves geniusses yet spend their time in an organisation of self proclaimed geniusses.

Actual geniusses don't join MENSA - they are too busy trying to make the world a better place. They are in research laboratories painstakingly trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe, working on vaccines for deadly diseases, finding ways get more energy out of cleaner technologies, digging through miles of dirt to learn more about our ancient ancestors and their cousins and the history of life, coding meticulous synchronization algorithms to keep the many dishes of the world's largest radio telescopic interferometer moving correctly together and discovering new galaxies by the thousands.

What they are not doing - is joining an organisation so they can claim they are geniusses. I know quite a few proud MENSA members... they all have one thing in common, they are idiots who can't think their way out of a wet paper bag and they joined MENSA because rather than own their stupidity their insecurity demanded they find some way to pretend it wasn't there by getting a bunch of other equally insecure idiots together so they can all reassure each other of how smart they all are.

It's the participation trophy of intellectual pursuits.

Comment Re:Yeah, keep laughing, UMC (Score 1) 607

Trump is going to break Goldwater's record for worst landslide loss ever. Actually 'landslide' doesn't fit - avalanche is more apropos.

Clinton is a terrible possible president, somewhere between Dubya and Obama terrible... but Trump is the only candidate so absolutely atrociously bad that Clinton looks good next to him.

That said - I wouldn't advise a vote for a third party, much as I love Jill Stein, I agree with Dan Savage - the third parties have to actually start BEING parties. This running a president every 4 years bullshit isn't ever going to work.
If the greens or the libertarians want to build a viable third party - they need to start at the groundlevel and work their way up. You don't aim for the presidency. You aim to put green and lp candidates in ever city council. Run them for every councilor spot in every race. Run them for fucking dogcatcher. For district judge. Run them in the small, cheap local races - and run them everywhere. Build a grassroots movement so you have candidates, so you have funding, and run them low level. Take over a few towns - show results, then maybe a state (Vermont could easilly go green if enough people run for state legislature - especially if a few cities have green councils).
Then start running for congress and the senate. Get people in there - start reforming things. Get choice-rated voting in place so voting for your first choice cannot inadvertently be a vote for your LAST choice - by having enough people in congress to keep pushing that until it happens.

Do the hard work.. and maybe in 3 or 4 or even 5 elections time - THEN we can have a viable third party candidate running for president and maybe even win. It's all well and good for Jill Stein to complain that the lack of rated voting means thirdparty candidates like her are excluded since people who would want Her, or else Hillary know voting for is a vote for Trump instead. But she's not DOING anything to fix that. You can't fix that by running for president every 4 years complaining how the other guys ruined it. You fix it by starting at groundlevel.

Bernie is the only one who did it right. He didn't run for senate as an independent. He ran for mayor of Burlington. He lost. He ran again. He lost. He ran again and won - and then he did a damn good job. A really good job so he became very popular and won two more terms.
THEN he ran for senate. And then he did good work in that senate (he is one of the single most productive and legislatively successful senators in history and THE most productive in the current government). For 2 decades.
Only then did he run for president... and found there was no viable third party to run for... so, he was forced to join the democrats... and he almost won. We know he got sniped in some states where he DID win (Nevada for one). But the fact is - he came close enough to scare the pants off the party elites. The dems are running their most progressive platform since FDR - he forced them to change their tune.

And he did it - because decades ago... he had the guts to run for mayor.

If the third parties want to learn something from him, then do the thing he's been begging you to do his whole life and this whole campaign: organise, at ground level - and run for every office you can. Forget the presidency. The US is not a monarchy and the president isn't all that powerful anyway. The local mayor has a LOT more control over your life than he does. So maybe get 4 or 5 green or libertarian (or whatever variant you side with) candidates in the council - and then get one of them in the mayors position.

But if you haven't done that - then frankly Jill Stein and Gary Johnson has this in common: they are fucking america for their own egos instead of actually doing what their supporters and their beliefs require to progress.

Comment Re:I'm totally shocked... (Score 1) 607

I prefer the older term for the same thing - 'horse and sparrow economics', the idea being that if you feed the horses well there will be lots of seeds for the sparrows in the droppings.

It's more honest... because it outright admits that as far as republicans and libertarians are concerned the poor are literally expected to eat shit.

Comment Re:I'm totally shocked... (Score 1) 607

And the fact that those places are filled with billionaires running massive companies that are bringing in hordes of workers from all over who are desperate for housing (at the expense of the locals who aren't trained in the careers those companies want) have nothing to do with it ?

By the way - how many of those CEOs do you think vote democrat ? What percentage of their political donations go to the republicans and what to the democrats ?

You think Carly Fiorentina was a liberal ?

The people who work in those companies may be overwhelmingly liberal - but they are not the ones making the decisions, they just work there. Their biggest influence was to make the corporate culture in those companies tolerant on social liberal stuff. It's easy for a company to be pro-gay-marriage and pro-transrights and pro-choice... those things don't cost the company money and keeps the working plebs in the company happy so they don't question the business practises.
Even Oracle was liberal on social issues when I worked there - and they were stealing 65-million dollars from Oregon's taxpayers at the same time (this is why I resigned and will never work there again... but almost nobody else did)!

Comment Re:I'm totally shocked... (Score 1) 607

We already do that, that's why corporations are taxed so differently from individuals.

I earn money. Government takes taxes. I have to pay my expenses out of what's left.

Corporation earns money. They pay their expenses. Government gets to tax what's left.

See the difference ? It's HUGE and those 'corporations are people' proclaimers never seem to realize that this absolutely flies in the face of the concept of 'equality before the law' - if they are people, they shouldn't get special treatment in laws. But the justice/practicality aspects aside - the reason we do that is exactly what you said: to try and encourage them to spend their money so they'll pay less tax.

The pattern of hoarding at the moment is proving that this incentive isn't working. The main reason is that they aren't paying taxes to begin with. General Electric was the largest corporation in America until recently (by some metrics they still are) and they go through most years without paying a single cent in tax. There are so many ways to cheat the system legally that they end up paying nothing - so there's no incentive to save on an expense of zero.
Ironically one of the best ways for a corporation to spend money to reduce it's tax bills is to pay huge bonusses to major executives... which keeps the money in the business but gets it written up as an expense. Of course those executives have nice little corporate shell accounts of their own which receive the money and then spend it all on a payment to some other shell corporations which is entirely anonymous... and happens to, though there is no record of this fact, belong to the executive, who can then have this anonymous and shell company spend it all on a corporate yacht, which he leases for a nice big expense against his other income while owning the company he is making the expense too...

You see the problem ? It's entirely possible to create massive expenditures without ever letting go of the cash.

Comment Re:I'm totally shocked... (Score 1) 607

Both your claims are empirically false.
The best long-term global studies have consistently found that moderate minimum wage increases have a nett ZERO effect on either inflation or employment. The few studies that observed any effect on employment rates at all couldn't get it with any statistical significance and those effects were increased employment.

Here is why you are wrong - for both counts:
It seems obvious that a higher wage would lead to firings - but you're seeing it in isolation, the minimum wage also produces another force: increased demand. People earning more - want to buy things, to supply those things you need labor, so to fire people because of a moderate increase in minimum wage would COST you more money than it saves.
But that wouldn't be true if inflation went up as the demand would be eradicated by higher prices, and it again seems obvious that raising prices is a natural response to a higher wage cost. Except that businessmen are not that fucking incredibly stupid. They can do the math too. They know that, if they keep prices the same, they can sell their products to all the workers at all the other businesses who can now afford it and previously couldn't.

The reason these things do not shift as you expect - is because shifting them would cost a business a fortune in potential profits. A huge increase may have these effects, we don't know since it's not been done often enough to study well, but a moderate increase leaves every businessman calculating that keeping staffing levels the same (or increasing them) while not raising prices will make him a lot more money than he can save by cutting workers or raising prices.

Businessmen are not stupid enough to raise prices or fire people over a moderate minimum wage increase - they cash in on it. They always THREATEN to do so beforehand, but they never ACTUALLY do so. The reason they threaten has nothing whatsoever to do with the cost of labor either. It's about power. If wages are low - then workers are desperate and accept any terms in their contracts and afraid to quit - which gives you great power over them. If wages are better, then workers can better themselves - and they start demanding decent working conditions and start refusing to obey unethical demands from bosses and all sorts of other things which authoritarian business-types do not like.
Businesses love having lots of poor people who are desperate for work - as long as there are wealthy people SOMEWHERE to buy the stuff, a steady supply of cheap and desperate labor is good for business.
But if you remove the cheap and desperate it doesn't make the business turn into an idiot - they make the best of the situation - by keeping prices the same and not firing people, so they can cash in on the increased paychecks of all the workers in town.

Comment Re:Google the phrase (Score 1) 607

But balancing the books is NOT an in-order financial house for a government because government budgets have less than nothing in common with household budgets.

Let me explain by way of example.
Say I earn $10. I spend $2 on a soda. I now have $8.
If I didn't buy the soda, I would have $10.
That's a household budget in a nutshell. If I spend less, I have more.

Now say I earn $10. I spend $2 on a soda and the soda vendor has to give me 50c back. He takes that $2 note to buy a hotdog. I take 50c from the hotdog vendor. The hotdog vendor now spends the $2 on ketchup for his stand. I take 50c from the ketchup vendor. The ketchup vendor uses the $2 to pay the guy who squashes his tomatoes for him. I take 50c from the tomato squasher (note I have now made my $2 back). The tomato squasher spends the $2 a sandwhich. I take 50c from the sandwhich vendor. Now I'm 50c up. That $2 will on average be changing hands another 2000 times before it's destroyed, and I'll get 50c every time.
So ... if I buy the soda, I now have $508 dollars.
That's government budgets in a nutshel.

Money the government spends becomes somebody's income - which is taxed, they spend it and it becomes somebody else's income which is taxed etc. etc. etc.

That's why austerity inevitably makes deficites and debts WORSE - it's never, ever made them better, it can't, because while austerity does reduces expenses it reduces income by exponentially more.
Austerity is the economic equivalent of trying to save on your heating bill by cashing your paycheck for singles and burning them.

Comment Re: Makework (Score 1) 1135

>you need (in the real meaning of the word) a lot of labor trade in order for the society to function

You're confusing "How we did it" with "How it has to be done" - that's an appeal to tradition fallacy. We've had civilization for some ten-thousand years now, depending which great leap forward you choose as a start - and we've had employer/employee relationships for 200 years -it is not the only way to produce anything. It is not even the only way to trade labour. Hell in the very next paragraph I gave you an example of labour trade that doesn't involve employers and employees (worker-owned coops).

The thing you're ignoring is that trading labour is trading the single most valuable resource on earth - for pennies. You're trading your time alive to another. A resource you cannot renew. A resource you can never replace. Hell it's a resource that even if you buy it you cannot get more off. And you get way too little of it to sell it for less than a good life.

>Those additional wages mean less need that a welfare system has to cover.
So why are you pushing for a system where wages are fewer ? And what makes you think there will ever again be enough work for more than a fraction of us to have work. You are aware that almost every welfare earner in the US actually DOES have a job - in fact, most of them have 2 ? You say we 'punish' employment, which is odd in a country where we've allowed corporations to actually outsource a huge chunk of their wagebill to the taxpayers (and claim the remainder as an expense against their own taxes) !

>And further, we have strong evidence gathered over the past few centuries, that this route works amazingly well with many billions of people, most of the world, currently benefiting from this exchange of labor.

So something invented a mere few centuries ago, that worked well - is therefore the end of invention ? By your logic we would still be on steam engines (Which, by the way, were invented [or at least made practical] around the same time and led to huge advances that benefitted lots of people).
I'm arguing we should KEEP inventing - even if you think this system is 'good' (a purely subjective assessment which I don't agree with since I consider the flaws far more egregious and important than you do) - it's ridiculous to claim we can't do better.

>And the academic world has reasons, such as an alleged concern in protecting academic free speech and scientific integrity, which just don't apply in the rest of the world

Actually - they do. Terry Pratchett wrote that the single greatest tragedy in the world is all the people who never get to discover what they are great at. All the fantastic poets who instead spend their lives as mediocre blacksmiths - and all the fantastic blacksmiths who never learned smithing and spend their lives writing bad poetry. It's a tragedy that's a direct consequence of the system you are defending so passionately - the need to have work to live, means doing what you can convince somebody to pay you to do - not doing what you are great at, and we're ALL poorer when people don't discover the thing they are a genius at.
>When there's no longer the threat of losing one's job from slacking off,
You can't lose a job if your job is voluntary - which is the only kind of job worth having, nor is it a problem if people slack off - that's the whole point. Slacking off is a phrase from that calvinist moralism I already said I do not share. It's impossible to 'slack off'. The phrase means 'not doing what other people want you to be doing'. If what YOU want to be doing is spending your life sitting on a couch watching bad reality TV (which is true of very, very few people) then you ought to be able to do that.
The proof you're wrong is that hobbies are a multi-billion dollar industry. People spend a fortune to be able to do things that make them happy which they don't do for money or profit. Just to be able to spend a little bit of time on something that makes them happy. From model trains to gaming to crocheting. Billion dollar industries exist to provide the means for people to do highly productive labour for free - just to have a chance to actually do what they enjoy and not be doing it for a boss. The hobby industry is mankind's desperate cry for help. The fact that only the middle classes can afford to have hobbies these days - that's a great tragedy. The only remedy we offer for the horror of selling a third of your adult life doing things you hate to do ... we reserve for those who mostly get to do things they actually enjoy.
If the labour market was actually a free market then the price of labour would be determined by how pleasant the work is. White collar office jobs would pay a pittance and sewage workers would be the richest people in society. The guy willing to dig through other people's shit to keep the system going - he'd be a billionaire.

>Show me the one in a million burger flipper or coal miner who makes all our lives better to that same extent.
He doesn't exist - that's the point. He can't exist because he has to spend his life flipping burgers instead of doing what he is actually good at just to survive.

>it's highly delusional to apply post-scarcity ideas to a scarcity world
I didn't say we are there. I said we're on the verge of being able to GO there. I didn't even say it's going to happen, I said we are closing to have the means to MAKE it happen.

>That kills people!
So does this system - way too many actually. You haven't shown any evidence that it will kill more.

>And it's worth noting that the Star Trek world didn't have such tenure in Star Fleet both for safety reasons
It's even more worth noting that Star Fleet was a clear exception - and that exception existed for very good reasons. Nobody had to join star fleet, the vast majority of people didn't. For everybody else - they didn't have a 'job'. They had everything they could ever want, they did something to keep themselves busy and happy. Cisco's father had a restaurant that sold traditional Louisianna food - not to live of the proceeds, just because he enjoyed cooking it and enjoyed watching people eat it.
In the TNG era this is not the state of the universe - but it is the state on earth. On the other hand - the Ferengi have the same level of technology - and they are hardcore capitalists with jobs and bosses and an ingrained desire for great wealth. Infamous for their greed and lack of ethics. A libertarian writer I know called them a 'cruel and unrealistic parody of capitalism' - I call them a euphemistic portrayal of it's horrors.
There's nothing guaranteed about building (to use Cisco's word 'paradise') out of post-scarcity, just a possibility. I believe we can do it.

>if they had to wait for someone else to die first (perhaps several someones and we're speaking of Star Trek health care too!) before they could advance to their current positions?
Actually that does seem to be the case at the upper levels. Once out of the ship-service the admirality seemed to serve until death. Advancement in the earlier ranks mostly happened by going to a different ship. We saw three different paths to advancement in TNG. You can be promoted into a new role on a newly built vessel. You can take over the role from a deceased crewmember on any of the vessels in the fleet or, you could take over from somebody who was promoted.
We also got to see how they handled what you term 'slacking off'. When we first meet Lt. Barclay he is a thorn in Geordie's side. This member of the engineering team is constantly late, doesn't focus, doesn't pay attention. Geordie goes to the captain to complain and request that Barclay be transferred to a less commanding position - on a different ship (note: not fired). And The Captain tells Geordie he won't even consider it yet. Geordie as his C/O has the responsibility of first trying to help him reach his potential - instead of assuming he isn't good enough - to find out how much better he could be and help create an environment in which he can excel.
The thing is Barclay does excel - in fact once he finds his niche in his chosen field, he becomes extraordinarily important. He makes some serious mistakes along the way, but some of what he creates ends up averting a major disaster - and he ended up writing most of the code for Voyager's holographic doctor.

> You don't need the whole world to be on board to demonstrate a prototype society.
I'm not so sure you're right about that, even so - you need a fairly large section at the very least. That said, I never said we are there, I merely said we are starting to develop the technology to be able to go there if we so choose.

> I'm sticking with what works
And fuck all the people who get destroyed by it's flaws ? Should mankind not always be seeking to advance ? Always be seeking to improve ? Do you really believe we cannot improve over a mere 200-year old system that was, itself, an improvement over 10-thousand years worth of other systems ?
You do realize that, when the enlightenment philosophers started proposing democracy as a viable way to run a country they were laughed at ? Democracy, it was said, had been tried in ancient times and been a disaster that led to far worse dictatorship than even the most unpleasant monarchs. Why would it work now ?
Yet, with some serious tweaking - it turned out to work better than monarchy. I still think it could use more tweaking - and there almost certainly is an even better system we have yet to discover.
I don't believe there is such a thing as the 'best' way to do anything -there is only the best way we've found so far.

Comment Re:Do the math (Score 1) 1135

Something else is going to grow an economy if we don't ?

What are you ? High ?

There are lots of ways to grow - we have a solar system with quite a few teraformable places we can colonize and a galaxy to explore. None of that, not one single thing, depends on growing the ECONOMY. They depend on growing knowledge - there is no link between the two.

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