Cycloptichorn
 
  3  
Thu 10 Sep, 2009 10:06 am
@okie,
okie wrote:

Which is a better investment, in the business world, or in the U.S. Government? Which one is in bigger financial trouble now?


The business world is, Okie. Don't be a dolt. Without the government backing them, our financial sector and manufacturing both would have collapsed, and investments and accounts with those banks would have simply disappeared. Millions would have lost the contents of their savings accounts, not just SS, but actual money, if there was no FDIC to back it. Without public money saving these companies - government money - the stock market would have collapsed to a much larger degree than it actually did. This isn't an opinion of mine, it's a fact.

You ought to face the fact that US industry relies upon US government to back it, or there isn't much there at the end of the day.

Cycloptichorn
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Thu 10 Sep, 2009 10:15 am
@Cycloptichorn,
okie hasn't the faintest idea about why the government had to step in to save the banks and finance companies. These are Econ101 kind of lessons that those who have studied economics should understand without having it explained to them. Without banks, no economy can survive.
0 Replies
 
rabel22
 
  1  
Thu 10 Sep, 2009 10:21 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Why do you bother to trying to explain this to Okie. You would have as much luck explaining the theroy of reletivity to him.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Thu 10 Sep, 2009 10:26 am
@rabel22,
Actually, he'd have better success with a 10-year old.
0 Replies
 
Asherman
 
  1  
Thu 10 Sep, 2009 12:19 pm
A totally unregulated economy is subject to bubbles and busts. The nation suffered a depression at the end of the War for Independence that threatened the survival of the country. It was saved by the Constitution and the willingness of the Federalists under Washington, Hamilton and Adams to form a strong Federal government that assumed the war debts of the various States, imposed a sound national currency, and backed numerous projects to improved the economy. The Jefferson Revolution of 1800, undid many of those Federalist policies, and greatly reduced the powers and effectiveness of the national government. The result was another depression that almost completely destroyed the American economy. The idea of a national bank survived until the Age of Jackson, when he fought against rechartering the Bank. The national bank was corrupt, and it did have far too much power over the economy. That fight destabilized the currency and the nation fell into its next economic freefall. Martin Van Buren was blamed for the economic problems that were rooted in Jackson's Bank Wars, and he was easily defeated by Harrison and Tyler. The national economy recovered, as it always has. and the economy especially in the more industrialized Northern States grew steadily right up until the Civil War. Westward expansion was an important element, but even more important was the entrepreneurial spirit of the Industrial Revolution. The South, with it's roots deep in tradition and an ideological commitment to decentralized government based on large scale agriculture languished.

After the Civil War the economy continued to cycle between boom and bust, but the "better", really more ruthless, businesses tended to crowd out the smaller and less efficient operations. Monopolies made some immensely wealthy, largely at the expense of small businesses and agricultural operations. That was the Gilded Age, and it was thoroughly corrupt. Toward the end of the 19th century there were a number of reform movements. Some emphasized the co-op, or granges, where many small operations banded together to become more competitive and to challenge the large monopolies an Trusts. The Federal Government was noticeably slow to take action because of Constitutional limitations that were intended to limit the ability of the Federal government to interfere with how individual's manage their own pursuit of happiness, that has always been linked closely to property and wealth. There were a couple major economic failures in the late 19th century that helped prompt a change in attitude about the liaise-fair policies toward business that had existed pretty much intact from 1876.

The excesses of the 'Gilded Age', the 'Age of the Robber Barons', did result in some major changes. Civil Service reforms undercut corruption in government service, and began a slow move toward professionalism that has now become the bureaucracy that we have today. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act sought to curb the power of big business, but big business found loopholes. It was also in that period (late 19th and first half of the 20th century) that the divisions between labor and capital became acute. The national economy had begun to recover when the Great War broke out in Europe. President Wilson seized railroads, mines, lumber industries, etc. to insure the means of war would go uninterrupted by either business or labor taking advantage of the situation. To insure unity, Wilson imposed censorship and employed an army of spies who infiltrated virtually every level of society. At the end of the Great War, price supports and government controls were lifted. Some products boomed, and others failed. My great grandfather had almost cornered the market for long fiber cotton, and at the end of the Great War he was wiped out by the collapse of prices. No one offered him, or any of the other businesses that failed a stimulus package.

After the Great War the American People were tired of the heavy hand of government, and the nation went on an extended period of celebration and excess. The migration from farm to urban employment became a flood, and everyone expected to personally become as rich as the Rockefellers. The post-war administrations returned to a largely hand's off policy when it came to the economy... because that's what the public wanted. People believed that they could get rich by buying stocks that would go on rising in value forever. They didn't. In 1929 the house of cards began to tumble, and by 1932 the nation was in the midst of the Great Depression. Conditions were made even worse by the farming practices that had largely replaced the wild grasses of the Great Plains with endless straight rows of cash crops. A period of drought and high winds blew away the top-soil leaving nothing behind. The farmers, who operated largely on a credit basis, could no longer meet their obligations and the banks began foreclosures that threw tens of thousands off of land they had occupied and worked since the mid-19th century. The banks, already under pressure for loans they made to stock speculators failed in large numbers... thousands of banks closed their doors leaving their depositors wiped out. People across the nation were stunned, and lost faith in themselves and in the future of the country.

Communists, Socialists, and admirers of Fascism promised to fix things by getting rid of that bugaboo Capitalism and the Constitution that people believed favored the wealthy. Calls to redistribute the wealth were everywhere. Demagogues became powerful political forces. President Hoover, believing himself to be bound by Constitutional restraints from forcefully interposing Federal programs on the economy became a hated figure. FDR got elected by promising to use the Federal government to alleviate the suffering caused by a depression that had spread around the world. In his first 100 days, FDR got pocketful of legislation passed addressing the economic problems facing the nation. Even more important, FDR was instrumental in changing despair into hope. Federal action, even when it was ineffective, was seen by the public as better than Federal in-action, even if it did exceed Constitutional constraints on the government. The reach and scope of many of FDR's programs were found un-Constitutional by the Supreme Court, and he tried to pack the court to get favorable decisions. That failed, but many of the reforms instituted by the New Deal never the less became essential to our expectations of what government can, and should, do to regulate the economy.

FDIC has saved countless innocents savings from being wiped out by systemic failure. Federal management of the currency and prime rates hasn't eliminated economic cycles, but it has reduced the amplitude of the extremes. Social Security has provided a safety-net for those workers who for one reason or another are no longer employable. Medicare has been a god-send for those qualified and who are facing health costs that have become ruinous. The Federal government was an essential element in doing away with Jim Crow, and bringing civil rights to minorities.

All those good things have come at a cost. The Federal bureaucracy has grown to the point where it is almost beyond control of the Executive or Legislative branches. Washington politics and the Federal bureaucracy has its tendrils deep in every aspect of an American citizen's life. Washington can, and does make decisions that even fifty years ago would have caused a firestorm of public protest. The National Debt has grown steadily since 1933. Inflation has always been a major problem in cash cultures. When the Government decides it needs more money, and it prints more money, inflation takes-off and the value of savings and the buying power of the coinage drop like a stone. Inflation is a far worse condition than all but the worst "corrections" in the economy. Some debt is unavoidable for the Federal government which has a positive responsiblity and duty to secure the nation from foreign threat, to prosecute international diplomacy and conduct military operations.

The President is a steward of our national well-being and as such must have quite a bit of freedom of action. President Bush, like many Presidents before him, believed that military action was required for our national well-being. Most of the people here at A2K will disagree with President Bush's policies, but we don't elect Presidents to be popular; we elect them to take the tough choices, to do what they believe best for the national interest. Most of us Conservatives, are suspicious of this Administration and believe that the left wing of American politics stand for policies that run counter to the Constitutional foundations of our past. Even so, President Obama is entitled to our support and we should be patient as he works to achieve what he believes is necessary in these difficult times.

I think that there is a place for Federal regulation of the insurance industry, and that Federal legislation can curb the costs of health care while improving the care available to more citizens. I have some doubts that the sort of sweeping reforms proposed will not end up costing tax-payers a lot and that some folks may end up being worse off than they are today. Maybe not, that's why I vote to keep a strong GOP presence in the Congress. I thought the President's address last evening was overall pretty good, but no substitute for what the actual legislative language ends up being. I favor incremental change, over big revolutionary changes. If everyone agrees on 20% of the health proposal, why not pass that 20% into law and see how it works? If it works, then move on to make other changes one at a time.

My real concern is inflation. This administration has pumped trillions of dollars into programs promised to turn the economy around. Some seem to have helped limit or slow the economic crash, others seem to have wasted huge amounts of money with no effect beyond pushing left-wing agendas. The war in Iraq isn't over; its still a dangerous place, that will need US support for years to come if it is to survive as a reasonably open Islamic country that honors human rights and is hostile to terrorism. Afghanistan and Pakistan now come to the fore, and they are far tougher nuts to crack than Iraq was. Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal and a long-standing antipathy to India. A significant part of the Pakistani rural population support, actively or passively, the most radical elements of Islamic fundamentalism. Afghanistan can not be allowed to fall back under the sway of the Taliban and Al Queda. We shift troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, is that progress? Perhaps it is, but supplying those troops is far more difficult than the logistics we had in Iraq. Iraq had some semblance of a national government, but Afghanistan has always been more about warlords who dominate clans, who dominate families. The country has never had much infrastructure, because the terrain is so difficult. Roads, when they exist at all, are not up to the standards of even the most neglected unpaved county roads in Texas. The people have few alternatives for even making a living, and the best most can do is to grow a field of opium. Opium and corruption go hand in hand as the warlords need cash to keep themselves in power. Alliances shift in Afghanistan all the time, and murder is so common that it goes unremarked. The Afghan army is ineffective from top to bottom, though properly trained and led Afghan soldiers are among the world's most fierce. They are brave when properly led, but are also terribly without discipline.

Oh well..........
kickycan
 
  3  
Thu 10 Sep, 2009 12:32 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Okie. Don't be a dolt.


Might as well tell the sun not to be hot.
Rockhead
 
  2  
Thu 10 Sep, 2009 12:36 pm
@Asherman,
helluva a post, Asherman.

Ima hafta reread it a few more times to tell you how much I agree with you...
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Thu 10 Sep, 2009 07:04 pm
@kickycan,
What I like about you, kicky, is you get down to the nuts and bolts, and tell it like it is!
0 Replies
 
okie
 
  -1  
Thu 10 Sep, 2009 08:32 pm
@Asherman,
Asherman, thanks for the well written summary of things as you understand them. I agree with alot of it, although even you might admit that it has been summarized into some very general statements that might oversimplify the complexities of what actually happened? Even in a perfect world, things are cyclical, nature is cyclical, cultures and moods are cyclical, and the economy is cyclical and would probably still be cyclical even if all the correct measures to supposedly prevent it would be in place. So some boom or bust is just natural in my opinion.

I did notice some things from one paragraph in particular:
Quote:
Communists, Socialists, and admirers of Fascism promised to fix things by getting rid of that bugaboo Capitalism and the Constitution that people believed favored the wealthy.

I find it interesting you group communists, socialists, and fascists together as idealogies that opposed capitalism. On another thread (What Produces Ruthless Dictators), I have been ridiculed repeatedly by many, even some like George OB and High Seas that I respect, for claiming that nazism and fascism are left wing idealogies.
Quote:
Calls to redistribute the wealth were everywhere. Demagogues became powerful political forces.

Whether it was communists, socialists, or fascists that engaged in the above, I believe the proposals to redistribute wealth are all leftist in nature.
Quote:
President Hoover, believing himself to be bound by Constitutional restraints from forcefully interposing Federal programs on the economy became a hated figure. FDR got elected by promising to use the Federal government to alleviate the suffering caused by a depression that had spread around the world. In his first 100 days, FDR got pocketful of legislation passed addressing the economic problems facing the nation. Even more important, FDR was instrumental in changing despair into hope.

He did? My parents were FDR Democrats, but seriously Asherman, not much improved until World War II got the industrial machine moving, much of because we sold war materials and machines before we even entered the war.
Quote:
Federal action, even when it was ineffective, was seen by the public as better than Federal in-action, even if it did exceed Constitutional constraints on the government. The reach and scope of many of FDR's programs were found un-Constitutional by the Supreme Court, and he tried to pack the court to get favorable decisions. That failed, but many of the reforms instituted by the New Deal never the less became essential to our expectations of what government can, and should, do to regulate the economy.

Yes, and have we actually seen the fruits of what we have sown yet, Asherman? The entitlements that we have built up that we really have no money to pay for are staggering. You mentioned the boom and bust cycles, and how government can modulate those, but what about buying now pay later policies such as social security and medicare, unfunded commitments, etc. It seems to me that we are right now creating a situation, created by government, a situation that could cause runaway inflation due to the necessity to print outlandish sums of money just to pay for all the stuff that government has promised us. This is also potentially a very huge boom or bust cycle that could loom as large or larger than anything in our history.

I will close by saying that I believe the United States became the most prosperous nation on earth not because of government, but because of the freedom of individuals to invent and innovate, the entrepeneur spirit of this country. People came here from all over the world, not to receive social security or sit on their behinds, but for the opportunity to buy and sell, to live free, and to die as free men.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Thu 10 Sep, 2009 08:39 pm
@okie,
The only thing complex around here is you, okie. Nobody knows how to explain things to you - even with facts, evidence, resources, and first hand knowledge. It never penetrates your brains; it's the very first time in my life I have ever met someone like you! You belong in Ripleys.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Thu 10 Sep, 2009 08:41 pm
@okie,
Code:but seriously Asherman
The really funny thing is that Asherman probably will take Okie seriously.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Thu 10 Sep, 2009 09:00 pm
@dyslexia,
ROFLMAO
0 Replies
 
realjohnboy
 
  3  
Sat 12 Sep, 2009 05:51 pm
Good evening to yall. This thread has lain dormant for a few days. I can fix that.
Rasmussen reports that President Obama's approval index has risen from -11 to -5. They use a 3-day rolling poll, so the one that comes out Sunday morning will consist of calls made after his Wednesday speech. Support for his health plan has risen slightly, but is still under 50% among those polled.

There was an interesting op-ed piece in the NY Times today by one Michael Pollen from UC-Berkeley. He claims that, according to the CDC, most diseases in the U.S. can be traced to bad food/diet, specifically diabetes, some cancers and heart diseases. According to my notes, one in three children born after 2000 may be susceptible to Type 2 Diabetes. If that plays out, the cost to the health care system will be overwhelming.
He makes a rather inflammatory statement: health care providers get more revenue from amputating a leg from a diabetic than from providing preventative health care.
Mr Obama visited Minnesota today. There is a lot of corn raised there, with Federal subsidies for agri-business.
That, according to Pollen, equals cheap sugar which equals cheap soda pop and other junk food. He suggests that some portion of food stamps, for example, go only for fresh food.
Good luck to Mr Pollen on achieving this cultural shift.
okie
 
  0  
Sat 12 Sep, 2009 07:17 pm
@realjohnboy,
I can remember when my Dad's sister was extremely poor back in the 50's and maybe early 60's, and basically because her husband was a total loser, she received food supplements in the form of things like flour, oatmeal, and things like that. I believe that was before food stamps. What it did was require her to do the work to prepare food from the basics, and so things like pop, potato chips, ice cream, and other expensive food items were not part of the program. I think we should consider going back to a program like that. Actually now, doesn't the program called "Wick" do something like give out milk and other staples that are for children in low income homes?

Personally, I do not think taxpayers should be subsidizing junk foor for people, things like pop and potato chips. So perhaps the idea presented is not new, perhaps we just need to go back to some of the old ideas, perhaps reform them a little, but revert to those policies that make more common sense?
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Sat 12 Sep, 2009 07:51 pm
@okie,
What ever happened to the conservative meme about less government control?
0 Replies
 
DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Sat 12 Sep, 2009 08:06 pm
@okie,
as far as i know, they won't let you buy sodas and snacks with food stamps.

i don't know about wick, but i do remember that when dutch was president they were giving out tons of government cheese.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Sat 12 Sep, 2009 08:12 pm
@DontTreadOnMe,
the program is WIC (women/infants and children) and is not an entitlement program bur rather, a grant program
DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Sat 12 Sep, 2009 09:05 pm
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:

the program is WIC (women/infants and children) and is not an entitlement program bur rather, a grant program


thanx dys. i'd never heard of it before. looks like a good program.

here's the link to the WIC shopping guide. it's all very basic stuff. except for the cereals. the kids have a lot of choices.


http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/wicworks/Documents/WIC-ShoppingGuide-ShoppingGuideEnglish.pdf
revel
 
  1  
Sun 13 Sep, 2009 11:49 am
@DontTreadOnMe,
Actually you can basically buy any kind of food (junk food or otherwise) there is with food stamps, WIC is another story as it is geared towards women who are pregnant and soon afterwards and their children for a short time unless they have nutritional needs past a certain date.

Women, Infants and Children Program

If you go to the links below, it talks about nutritional choices but I don't think there are exclusions on what you can buy.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program



What can I buy with SNAP/food stamp benefits?



DontTreadOnMe
 
  1  
Sun 13 Sep, 2009 03:06 pm
@revel,
hmmm. i wonder if they changed the rules. i got food stamps for a month or so when the man i worked for died suddenly back in the late '70s. he did the skilled work on pro film cameras. without him, no work. he was a very good guy though.

anyway, i don't remember being able to buy sodas and such back then. i'm not sure i agree with that junk being on the approved list.

must be getting cranky in me old age.
 

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