Democrats & Liberals Archives

Solving Our Economic Problems

News media are filled with stories about the need for President-Elect Barack Obama to get going immediately to solve our economic problems. Our economic problems are many, but the most urgent problem for our president-elect to tackle is the depression, which promises to be as bad as the Great Depression of ‘29 and ’30s.

In addition to the depression, the major economic problems facing us are global warming, decrepit infrastructure and a dysfunctional healthcare system.

Global warming is definitely an economic problem. Complicated cap-and-trade systems will not solve the climate change problem. Regardless of what we do, Saudi Arabia and the other oil states will be selling oil, thus defeating our efforts. The best way to get us out of the looming global catastrophe is by finding and developing renewable energy resources that are cheaper than oil, gas or coal. If renewable resources are cheaper, the sale of fossil fuels will decrease.

Decrepit infrastructure is delaying production, increasing the price of goods and making the delivery of services inefficient. If the infrastructure is not rebuilt, our competitiveness will be reduced and it will be more difficult to get out of the depression.

Our healthcare system is more expensive and less effective than those in other industrial countries. The fact that 47 million are uninsured greatly reduces our economic efficiency.

Of course, solving the depression problem must be priority one. Without a decent economy we can't do anythig else. However, an excellent way to solve the depression problem is by solving our other economic problems - climate change, infrastructure and healthcare - at the same time. I believe that they are all related.

Let's look at the depression. Up to now, we have given bailouts to financial institutions with the hope that they will make loans to entrepreneurs that will increase economic activity that will eventually trickle down to the man on the street. Why not start from the other end by increasing the economic activity of people, which will trickle up to financial institutions. Let's give direct aid to investors and workers.

By far the most important area for investment is the development of renewable energy resources to beat the competition from fossil fuels. The government should give money directly to renewable energy entrepreneurs. To help workers, the government should invest directly in the rebuilding of our infrastructure. Healthcare may be considered to be part of the infrastructure: it is needed to increase the efficiency of the economy.

Bailouts of financial organizations helps primarily the fat cats that brought us to this sorry turn of events. By aiding investors and workers busy on renewable energy resources, infrastructure and healthcare we can solve all our major economic problems at the same time.

Posted by Paul Siegel at November 6, 2008 8:27 PM
Comments
Comment #269787

Good post — the right has always fought alternative energy but willing to do big oils bidding. They fought universal health care but do the insurance companies wishes — and all recall when they protected the credit card companies, saying the people where going bankrupt to much — but never said a word about the credit card companies preying on the poor.We spend billions in new weapon research but when it comes to research that could help the nation as a whole — no way hosa
What I would like to see done is all the money that`s going into weapon research yanked away and invested into alternative energy research -With limited pattens allowed -after a set profit -free for all to use - now that would change the world.
Its a strange world as it is though.

—Savage

Posted by: A Savage at November 6, 2008 9:24 PM
Comment #269795

Sorry, but Democrats are no longer going to have this luxury of sitting on the sidelines and talking about how our economy would be “improved” if we created huge new entitlement programs (universal healthcare), or how we should use stop using the forms of energy that exist and start using imaginary ones.

Posted by: Loyal Oppositon at November 6, 2008 10:57 PM
Comment #269805

Our health care system and our use of energy have one thing in common. They were both designed by lobbyists with one propose, to maximize profit. If you want to kick start the economy. Then build 30 windmill factories in every state, along with all the new electric lines to carry it. When Al Gore and T. Boone Pickens agree on something it’s worth looking at.
As far as fixing our health care by insuring every one I say first we have to fix the insurance companies. One half of the people declaring bankruptcy are doing so for health reasons that’s not surprisingly. The sad part’s 3 out of 4 of them had some kind of health insurance, but it didn’t pay enough. So we scrimp and save all of our lives to buy health insurance, and then when we get sick we declare bankruptcy.
Some say we have the best health care system in the world. I don’t know if we do or not, but one thing is irrefutable we have the most profitable. Poor people have to get so sick they go to the emergency room (very expensive) before they get treatment. I imagine rich people get more tests than they need and I’m afraid more surgeries than they need. In France doctors get bonuses if their patients are less sick than the norm. They actually practice wellness. Not only do they save mountains of money. But it’s a much better way of life.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at November 7, 2008 12:17 AM
Comment #269807

I like T Boone. some newer Types of windmills. http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/BroadStar_Brings_Revolutionary_New_Wind_Turbine_To_Europe_999.html

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 7, 2008 12:39 AM
Comment #269809


Great link Rodney Thanks

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at November 7, 2008 1:06 AM
Comment #269813

Nice Paul. Good job of identifying problems. Solutions are harder. BHO has the opportunity to make some real progress, at least for two years or so. He needs to make the tough choices early. One of the toughest ,but necessary choices is a flexible tariff on imported oil to stabilize the price at around a $100 a barrel. This is constitutionally well within the province of the feds and would not apply to Canada or Mexico because of NAFTA. For an alternative industry to develope, stability is absolutly necessary. OPEC and others can , will and have lowered prices to destroy alternates. They have little investment in final product and could afford to actually sell at a loss for long enough to wipe out alternate capitalization. How can an industry seek capital if there is no telling what the value of its product will be?Big giant government programs that will lose money are not politically sustainable for long.What the government can and should do is provide some start up support,research,patent law changes, and market stability . Government can also be a big user of new energy tech etc.and help with infrastructure. Again,the most important thing the Feds can do is provide market stability, either through tariffs or other mechanisms.

Posted by: Bills at November 7, 2008 7:46 AM
Comment #269815

LO

Sorry, but Democrats are no longer going to have this luxury of sitting on the sidelines and talking about how our economy would be “improved” if we created huge new entitlement programs (universal healthcare), or how we should use stop using the forms of energy that exist and start using imaginary ones


Unlike their counterparts dems will actually have the luxury of not having to deny possibilities and actually implementing new realities. They are not beholden to obstructions which did not allow the fair perpetuation of alternative sources. It will not be cost free, but in the long run it will make us leaders in the area of energy. It will allow future generations to move beyond the constraints and problematic associations of fossil dependence. It is called responsible progress.

Posted by: RickIL at November 7, 2008 8:32 AM
Comment #269819

Hi - First - Congratulations to Mr. Obama ! He ran a very dedicated campaign. I was and am still a great fan of Hilary but switched political support to Mr. Obama in his quest for the White House. I am concerned about the media referring to him as African-American - isn’t that rather discriminatory? Did you refer to Mr. Bush as ___________/American? Granted, Mr. Obama is of African decent but he is also 1/2 of Caucausian decent. I think he should be referred to as an American. If every person in America referred to them selves as German/American, Polish/American, German-Jewish American etc etc,,,isn’t that a way of discriminating between groups and races? We are all Americans by just living here - yes, we should be proud of our heritage, but let’s now stop with all the past and move into the future as AMERICANS.

Posted by: Beverly at November 7, 2008 9:25 AM
Comment #269820

Lets look at the military budget

For 2009, the base budget rose to US$515.4 billion, with a total of US$651.2 billion when emergency discretionary spending and supplemental spending are included. This does not include many military-related items that are outside of the Defense Department budget, such as nuclear weapons research, maintenance and production (~$9.3 billion, which is in the Department of Energy budget), Veterans Affairs (~$33.2 billion) or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (which are largely funded through extra-budgetary supplements, ~$170 billion in 2007) - the United States government is currently spending at the rate of approximately $1 trillion per year for all defense-related purposes

Research, Development, Testing & Evaluation Of new weapons systems $79.6 Bil.
Not included in the DoD budget is $23.4 billion to be spent by the Department of Energy to develop and maintain nuclear warheads.
The $84.1 billion procurement budget includes several programs with 2008 allocations of more than $1 billion.
Missile Defense $8.8 Bil.
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter $6.1 Bil.
F-22 Raptor $4.6 Bil.
Future Combat System $3.7 Bil.
and on and on till we hit a total of $84.1 billion

The recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan are largely funded through supplementary spending bills outside the Federal Budget, so they are not included in the military budget figures listed above. In addition, the United States has black budget military spending which is not listed as Federal spending and is not included in published military spending figures. Other military-related items, like maintenance of the nuclear arsenal and the money spent by the Veterans Affairs Department, are not included in the official budget. Thus, the total amount spent by the United States on military spending is higher.
Military discretionary spending accounts for more than half of the U.S. federal discretionary spending, which is all of the U.S. federal government budget that is not appropriated for mandatory spending.
All from wiki

ok now from me we have the biggest best military in the world.We also spend more on it than the rest of the world combined. Who the hell are we protecting our selves from?
Lets take all that research money and put it to saving the world instead of learning new ways to destroy it.
And to those of you that squawk about entitlement programs — the above is the biggest entitlement program out there and has done nothing but grow in the last 8 years.and the only people it helps are the weapons manufacturers.

—Savage

Posted by: A Savage at November 7, 2008 9:26 AM
Comment #269829

The Department of Defense is the United States Biggest Energy Consumer > here are some newer types of bio fuels take note of ALGAE, it had great promise in the 1990s but $19 a barell of oil put the kabosh on it, we can’t afford to be holding the bag all at once. 5 Clean Jet Fuels to Wean Planes and Trains! Off Oil. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/air_space/4283183.html

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 7, 2008 10:22 AM
Comment #269838

Savage:

How much do we spend maintaining military bases in Europe? What say we close them and bring the troops home? Sound good to you?

Posted by: Oldguy at November 7, 2008 11:02 AM
Comment #269840

I don’t think China or Russia is really a threat, let’s just cut our military to the level of say, Canada. Yea, that sounds good.

Posted by: Oldguy at November 7, 2008 11:05 AM
Comment #269841

Heck, let’s just do away with the military. The “messiah” is ushering in world peace. He’s going to talk our enemies into submission.

Posted by: Oldguy at November 7, 2008 11:07 AM
Comment #269845

“Great link Rodney Thanks”, you’re welcome Mike and thanks for your post.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 7, 2008 11:27 AM
Comment #269848

Beverly,
I don’t get it either. If they refer to his race (which they shouldn’t so much) shouldn’t they say he is bi-racial. It is all based on appearance - how is that appropriate?

Posted by: Schwamp at November 7, 2008 11:48 AM
Comment #269849

The largest expenditure in the budget is defense. Contrary to grump oldguy, it’s not necessary to completely dismantle defense to achieve savings. We spend more on defense than the next three lesser countries. We need to cut defense to something reasonable.

First thing to do is get the heck out of Iraq. Things are relatively stable there; just ask any McPalin supporter and they’ll tell you the surge worked. The Iraqis are holding up ratification of the SOFA agreement mainly because it doesn’t set a date by which we need to get out. So declare victory and get out. That will save a ton of money that’s going straight down the toilet in Iraq. In the same vein, Petraeus needs to provide a plan for getting out of Afghanistan before January 2013. If he needs more troops, he gets more troops. If it can’t be done by January 2013, then we start pulling out immediately.

Second thing, halt all new weapons development. Eliminate funding for all defense expenditures not directly supporting our troops in the field and our nuclear deterrent. This includes closing all domestic bases that are not supporting troops in the field and our nuclear deterrent. If not more than 25% of a base cost is being spent on troops in the field or nuclear deterrent, consolidate. This includes furloughing Pentagon employees not directly supporting troops in the field and the nuclear deterrent.

Third, re-establish the draft for all healthy males and females age 18 through 28. No student exemptions except for those studying for and committing to do equivalent service time as school teachers. These individuals will work the support roles instead of regular military, reserve, guard and contractors. All regular military, reserve and guard not currently fighting in the field or supporting nuclear deterrent will be offered the choice of fighting in the field, supporting nuclear deterrent or furlough.

Personnel unable to correctly pronounce the word “nuclear” will not be eligible for nuclear deterrent service.

Fourth, undertake a massive domestic infrastructure rebuilding plan including roads, bridges, water, sewer and utilities. 70% of expenditures must be directed to small business of 100 or fewer employees.

Fifth, immediately terminate the Paulson/Bernanke bonehead bailout plan. Let the failing investment banks fail and let the FDIC pick up the pieces of the failing commercial banks to the $250K limit. Jail Paulson, Bernanke, Cox and Greenspan for debasing the currency, which is a federal offense.

Sixth, treasury will immediately become the lender of last resort for all types of loans from commercial paper to mortgages, offering rates or 1.05 times best market rate. This will allow homeowners on the bubble with their ARMs to refinance at a reasonable rate but will not help out speculators.

Sixth, re-enact Glass-Steagall. All banks will have 30 days to choose between being regulated commercial banks with FDIC coverage or unregulated investment banks without FDIC coverage, or to spin off the parts into regulated or regulated parts.

Seventh, freeze all government wages and salaries at their current levels, including elected officials.

Posted by: EJN at November 7, 2008 11:50 AM
Comment #269858

“I don’t think China or Russia is really a threat, let’s just cut our military to the level of say, Canada. Yea, that sounds good.”

Oldguy has Russia or China attacked Canada?

Posted by: j2t2 at November 7, 2008 12:37 PM
Comment #269862

j2t2

your joking right ?

Posted by: dbs at November 7, 2008 12:45 PM
Comment #269865

Efficiency and Scalpel.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 7, 2008 12:47 PM
Comment #269869

“Heck, let’s just do away with the military. The “messiah” is ushering in world peace. He’s going to talk our enemies into submission.”

Oldguy the borrow and spend extravaganza for the miltary is breaking the financial back of this Country. Think defense not offense for our military. Think of the cost to be the worlds peacekeeper and how it violates the intent of our founding fathers and the constitution. Perhaps it is time to discuss whether a standing military is in the best interest of this country.

We are in Iraq for the benefit of the multinational corporations that dictate to our elected officials yet you want lower corporate taxes. Why is it ok for these freeloaders to benefit off of the hard work of our tax payer funded military?

I dont understand how as a conservative you can justify our politicians using the military as a nation building peacekeeping force. You want smaller government yet the largest military in the world. You want lower taxes yet insist the taxpayers fund the military for use by all nations and as an offensive weapon rather than for defense. I cannot see how you justify less government interference into our lives yet insist on a military that exerts itself into the lives of others in other countries that no longer need us. It looks like military nannyism to me.

While “worlds only superpower” may seem cool it costs , and with China holding our note it seems they won’t need to fight their way in they just buy their way into this country. The problem is they do it with the help of the conservatives of this country that thinks borrow and spend deficits is somehow wise.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 7, 2008 1:03 PM
Comment #269870

ejn

“Seventh, freeze all government wages and salaries at their current levels, including elected officials.”

won’t get any argument from me on this one. better yet attatch it to there approval rating. 15% approval rating 15% of your base salary.

Posted by: dbs at November 7, 2008 1:07 PM
Comment #269873

RE “”“F-22 Raptor $4.6 Bil.”“” The United States Air Force originally planned to order 750 ATFs, with production beginning in 1994; however, the 1990 Major Aircraft Review altered the plan to 648 aircraft beginning in 1996. The goal changed again in 1994, when it became 442 aircraft entering service in 2003 or 2004, but a 1997 Department of Defense report put the purchase at 339. In 2003, the Air Force said that the existing congressional cost cap limited the purchase to 277. By 2006, the Pentagon said it will buy 183 aircraft, which would save $15 billion but raise the cost of each aircraft, and this plan has been de facto approved by Congress in the form of a multi-year procurement plan, which still holds open the possibility for new orders past that point. The total cost of the program by 2006 was $62 billion.[3]

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 7, 2008 1:21 PM
Comment #269883

Thank you Paul. TGIF.
DEMOCRAT
You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
You push for higher taxes so the government can provide cows for everyone.

REPUBLICAN
You have twenty cows.
Your neighbor has none.
So?go to wall-mart. socialist. have two cows.
The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.

COMMUNIST
You have two cows.
The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
You wait in line for hours to get it.
It is expensive and sour.

CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE
You have two cows.
You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE
You have two cows.
Under the new farm program the government pays you to shoot one, milk the other, and then pours the milk down the drain.

AMERICAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one.
You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows.
You are surprised when one cow drops dead.
You spin an announce ment to the analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses.
Your stock goes up.

FRENCH CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.
You go to lunch and drink wine.
Life is good.

JAPANESE CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty tim es the milk.
They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains.
Most are at the top of their class at cow school.

GERMAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk,
and run a hundred miles an hour.
Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.

ITALIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows but you don’t know where they are.
You break for lunch.
Life is good.

RUSSIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You have some vodka.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You have some more vodka.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.

TALIBAN CORPORATION
You have all the cows in Afghanistan , which are two.
You don’t milk them because you cannot touch any creature’s private parts.
You get a $40 million grant from the US government to find alternatives to milk production but use the money to buy weapons.

IRAQI CORPORATION
You have two cows.
They go into hiding.
They send radio tapes of their mooing.

POLISH CORPORATION
You have two bulls.
Employees are regularly maimed and killed attempting to milk them.

BELGIAN CORPORATION
You have one cow.
The cow is schizophrenic.
Some tim es the cow thinks he’s French, other tim es he’s Flemish.
The Flemish cow won’t share with the French cow.
The French cow wants control of the Flemish cow’s milk.
The cow asks permission to be cut in half.
The cow dies happy.

FLORIDA CORPORATION
You have a black cow and a brown cow.
Everyone votes for the best looking one.
Some of the people who actually like the brown one best accidentally vote for the
black one.
Some people vote for both.
Some people vote for neither.
Some people can’t figure out how to vote at all.
Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which one you think is the best-looking cow.

CALIFORNIA CORPORATION
You have millions of cows.
They make real California cheese.
Only five speak English.
Most are illegal.
Arnold likes the ones with the big udders.



Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 7, 2008 2:04 PM
Comment #269886

One thing I could actually get behind with Obama is finding a way to shift more of the burden for their own defense to the Europeans, and for that matter, the Japanese and South Koreans. The days are over when these were poor technologically-backwards places, and considering how little thanks we usually get from, we should require them at the very least to foot the bill.

This relates directly to the thing I find most intriguing about having Obama for President—the way in which it could actually lead to a rightward turn in both US and European domestic politics.

Here’s why: the economic and social leftward drift of Europe is directly related to the same phenomenon in the US—in fact many Americans clamor for the some of the goodies (i.e., social programs) that Europeans especially have, and see Europe as a model.

But Europe can only do what they do because of they take their security for granted. At the same time they take short work weeks, live off the government dole, and shake their heads at the lack of such things in the US, they live comfortably under a security umbrella paid for by American manpower, technolgoy, and American tax dollars.

Let’s make some of those comfortable Europeans wonder if America is really going to be there in the future to face down a resurgent, nationalistic, and expansionist Russia, for example. To guarantee their supply of oil and goods from around the world, and to protect them from terrorism with American intelligence and American intervention.

Not only could we see them singing a different tune about the US, we could see their little socialist holiday from history end very quickly. It would be nice, for a change, if big bad America who they love to criticize actually let them pay more of their own bills and forced them to train, equip, and prepare for their own defense.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 7, 2008 2:43 PM
Comment #269890

Well said and certainly something to consider Loyal Opposition.

Posted by: Jim M at November 7, 2008 3:10 PM
Comment #269893

L.O.

I have always thought the same thing. It appears that ostensible allies (S. Korea, Japan,Westerm Europe) have gotten comfortable with the level of protection they receive from the U.S. While in our best interest to have some strategic interest in these locations, I agree that our allies should sholder some of their own burden. Case in point - our NATO allies are reluctant to commit forces to Afganistan, and place restrictions on their troops. If we drew down troops in Germany and South Korea for the needed forces in Afganistan (and then did not rotate them back into those countries at the end of their tour), a not so subtle message could be sent, and they could shoulder some of their own responsibility.

Posted by: Mike in Tampa at November 7, 2008 3:27 PM
Comment #269895

Sarkozy Spoke about the need for a stronger Defense in Europe, We have overstayed our welcome and should take a more advisory role, A visionary Idea from Eisenhower, America’s intensive involvement in European military affairs was supposed to be temporary. After World War II it became apparent that a militarily weak and politically divided Europe was at risk of falling under Soviet control. NATO was created primarily to address that threat. It was intended to provide the Europeans a protective umbrella under which to rebuild its military power and, just as importantly, regain its confidence to play an active geopolitical role. Eisenhower’s ultimate goal was for the US to recede militarily as quickly as possible and for Europe to become an independent and influential power bloc. This goal was not motivated by altruism. Rather, Eisenhower understood that a strong Europe, capable of acting independently and securing its own defense, would be as much in the interest of the United States as in its own.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 7, 2008 3:42 PM
Comment #269896

Rodney

thats hilarious !!!!

Posted by: dbs at November 7, 2008 3:50 PM
Comment #269901

U.S. EU Command troop levels were 116k in 2002, 63k in 2005, 43k in 2008, and are planned for 28k.

S. Korea went from 38k to 28k in 2005

4.5k were sent home from Saudi Prince Sultan back in 2003

Posted by: George at November 7, 2008 4:21 PM
Comment #269906

I have a feeling quite a few people are going to feel let down when the economy doesn’t recover instantly.

I still have faith that the idea of change will pull America through the crisis however.

Posted by: Dave at November 7, 2008 5:29 PM
Comment #269912

None of the countries mentioned in this thread would ever ever attack the U.S. or us them, unless they or we have a suicidal notion for the whole country. The U.S. could cut 100% of the land army, and no one would do anything, nukes pretty much guarantee world peace between the powers right now.

Also, to add, it’s directly in the best interest of Saudi Arabia and OPEC to counter and keep renewable energies off the table for as long as possible, maybe forever (not possible). They’ve launched and funded campaigns to “debunk” clean energy, and stolen, lied, and discredited anything that would get those ideas/companies/innovations off the ground. It’s basically their way of life’s end if the world in 50-100 years didn’t need oil anymore and they’d be back to a desert with no viable exports who’ve squandered their oil money trying to turn that desert into Europe.

Economy and clean energy are directly tied and if in 20-30 years, we really do NOT need oil at all and it’s looked at as how coal in the 19th was to 20th century then we will truly be free.

Posted by: Jon at November 7, 2008 6:36 PM
Comment #269913

j2t2, the borrow and spend redistribution of wealth is breaking this country as well. Are you suggesting we cut back on that spending as well? Or just the military that we don’t really need?

I think you know I am not ‘beholden’ to the military, in fact a standing army is against what we stood for many years ago, but we also allowed people the ability to decide if and when to help someone else or not. Novel idea, I know, freedom and all…

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 7, 2008 7:13 PM
Comment #269917

Jon, there are plenty of reasons to keep our conventional military capabilities strong—the main one being that none of know or can predict what will happen in the future. This notion that nuclear weapons ensure peace, so we can just nod off and ignore our conventional forces, is naive and dangerous.

The threat of terrorism, even more than the Cold War, demands a well-equipped, well trained army.

Look at Afghanistan, for example. Sure, we could have turned the whole place into a sheet of glass, killing everybody who lived there (as well as many who lived in neighboring countries) and saved ourselves the trouble of putting boots on the ground. But that would have been insane.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 7, 2008 9:00 PM
Comment #269921

Rhinehold I have often wondered why conservatives don’t mention a standing army when discussing the constitution.

As far as your question I have paid into 3 insurance programs OASDI, SUI and Medicare for years. When I was young, single and healthy I thought all were a waste of my money. Now however I am much more appreciative of these programs. These are entitlement programs that all of us have paid into so I don’t see them as wealth redistribution programs. In fact I think the feds should keep the OASDI money in a separate fund as it was just one of the ways the tax cuts of the Reagan administration amongst others seemed to make sense.

As far as workfare I am of the understanding that it is a 5 year program to help people to get back on their feet. Those that are physically or mentally disabled and unable to work don’t live that high off the hog to warrant squeezing them anymore than they have been. What with 1.2 mil and counting jobs lost this year I don’t think we can save any substantial amount of money by cutting these funds now.

So the next major outlay seems to be corporate welfare. Yes I am against this form of wealth redistribution and believe the recently elected Congress should look at eliminating subsidies and other government funding to corporations.

Posted by: j2t2 at November 7, 2008 9:37 PM
Comment #269922

So, you are for forcing people to help out people who, for the most part are in the situation they are in of their own volition but would put all of the people who support the military, military personnel, plants that produce the military tools and weapons, etc out of work instead?

Interesting.

And yes, there should be no ‘corporate welfare’ but then again I don’t think there should be any corporate taxation either. So we would probably disagree on that point.

Posted by: Rhinehold at November 7, 2008 9:56 PM
Comment #269925

They’re talking about a corporate bailout for the “auto” industry. They might consider telling them to make more “autos” instead of SUVs and trucks, for which the market is a little different than for vehicles that people can use to go to work cheaply. I guess Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, etc, will not be part of the bailout.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 7, 2008 10:12 PM
Comment #269926

It really depends on what you mean by “corporate welfare.” The very term seems to suggest that there’s some kind of pervasive issue with companies standing in line for money like homeless people at a soup kitchen.

The closest thing to that would be agricultural subsidies, something we won’t see Democrats allowing to lapse any time soon.

It’s almost never the case that the situations people call “corporate welfare” are primarily ideologically driven or even formalized in law.

They’re usually the result of some state or municipality making special allowances or putting together incentive packages (sometimes involving payouts) for companies they’re trying to prop up or entice into their areas. This isn’t done to line the pockets of CEOs or to benefit stockholders, even that is one of the results. It’s done to preserve or create jobs and to expand tax revenues.

It’s completely routine, for example, for cities and states to dangle incentives in front of companies that are considering either a relocation or opening a new plant. Afterward, people call it “corporate welfare.” Should this be illegal and why?

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 7, 2008 10:19 PM
Comment #269934

LO good point, And I’m not a wall-mart lover But but they had a raggedy 1990 old style small wall-mart in another town nearby that they leased and wall-mart wanted to put up a new super center in the same location that town said no we have a moratorium on new building you can’t they took it to court and lost, so my town said come on in and give them a little cheese they tore down a huge old empty plant that was sitting there for 25 years and put up a beautiful new super center with solar panels and all the bell and whistles end of story ,no the other area where they use to be is completely dead all the little shops and places folks would visit when they went to the old Wall-mart went out of business.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 7, 2008 11:14 PM
Comment #269935

Please don’t get me started on Wal*Mart…that company, almost single-handedly, has killed the American Middle Class.

Posted by: Marysdude at November 7, 2008 11:25 PM
Comment #269936

No MD, just showing how dumb some little H*ck towns can be.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 7, 2008 11:28 PM
Comment #269938

we lost our industry many years before they even came in.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at November 7, 2008 11:35 PM
Comment #269939

There is only one way to “bail out” the American auto industry.

They have to make cars people want to buy and sell them at a price people are willing to pay.

It’s just that simple.

The executives of American car manufacturers had their role in getting themselves into the state they’re now in—insofar as they tried to hawk products inferior to their Japanese and German competition for so many years. This problem alone could be addressed by improving the product, but that is not the lone problem.

But then we have the unions, who grew so powerful that they bled the car manufactures dry.

I’m a pro-union guy, usually, but in this case, there’s no way forward in making American automobile manufacturing competitive without doing something to break the unions’ stranglehold. This is not really something a President can or should directly control—the only thing a President Obama could do is pile one failed liberal idea (government subsidies) on top of another failed liberal idea (union control).

This is pure liberalism in action. Causing a problem and then throwing money at it without getting to the root of the problem.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 7, 2008 11:39 PM
Comment #269942

LO,

I’m not saying to cut the army off, obviously that’ll never happen, and shouldn’t. But spending billions of dollars to feed a military machine instead of streamlining and advancing it is foolish.

Like there’s dozens of programs for unmanned recon armed drones, land/air and sea, improved body armor for troops, armor to resist shrapnel damage, etc. But it seems like they’re happy to spend it on more planes and vehicles more than innovation.

But this again ties to energy, if we become THE supplier of clean energy in the future, it guarantees national security. Look at Saudi Arabia, it’s pipelines and oil infrastructure are the BEST protected in the world, beyond that of the US, along with it’s social system (of the 12th century). With no dependance on oil, our military can then do without the dependence of itself to keep vehicles fueled with oil, and paying the upkeep necessary.

It’s a long ways off from that standpoint though.

I do believe this for the auto companies: They need to be FORCED, yes forced, to design and make cars that follow a standard set. While socialist and decidedly un-American, their pumping out of SUV’s, Trucks, and especially the Hummer (dying but still there) is unacceptable for the American people. There’s dealerships ALL over with lot’s full of SUV’s and NO ONE is buying them, yet they continue to be manufactured and designed with 2009 and 2010 models incoming.

Why can’t the execs or unions or whoever take notes from the Japanese and Indians, and design mini-cars that everyone can afford. When did driving the biggest gas-guzzler become THE American thing to do?

I say THE American thing to do is become the world’s source of endless energy and have the Middle East and Russia and China be dependent on us instead of us on them.

Posted by: Jon at November 8, 2008 12:39 AM
Comment #269948

There is no quick fix for the auto industry. Poor Quality, bad decisions on product lines, bad trade policy, and a loss of customer loyalty as well as pension obligations are what is killing them.


I find this chart revealing, however:

http://econompicdata.blogspot.com/2008/11/auto-sales-month-over-month-shows.html

Posted by: gomer pyle at November 8, 2008 4:30 AM
Comment #269954

“And yes, there should be no ‘corporate welfare’ but then again I don’t think there should be any corporate taxation either. So we would probably disagree on that point.”

Rhinehold we agree on this point. The corporation should not be subject to taxation without representation. IMHO the reason we are in such a mess today is due to the corporate lobbyist an their money abusing our democracy as they reach for superiority in our capitalist economic system. I don’t believe they should have taxation or representation.

“So, you are for forcing people to help out people who, for the most part are in the situation they are in of their own volition but would put all of the people who support the military, military personnel, plants that produce the military tools and weapons, etc out of work instead?”

Depends on what you are speaking of Rhinehold. Workfare? If it weren’t for the children of these people who put/found themselves in a bad spot I would not be as generous with my money, but to stand by and allow the children to wallow in the mire of poverty and neglect serves no useful purpose.
Entitlements? I have paid for years into Social Security, Unemployment and Medicaid insurance plans it is not your money that is being taken to help me it is my money. Your money is for you if and when you should need it.

The weapons and equipment for the military comes from overseas just as our manufactured goods do. Veterans benefits, I don’t believe, are in the military budget and should not be cut (expanded maybe). If those people that lose their jobs because of say base closings end up on workfare we all know it is their own fault and if it weren’t for their children….

Posted by: j2t2 at November 8, 2008 10:06 AM
Comment #269985

Paul,

Congrats on the fact we finally have a decent President.

We are a long ways from the great depression. The stock market would have to go down from 14,000 to 1400 in one drop to be comparable. The economy is bad. The pro-corporatism mantra of Republicans created this deregulation game that the Democrats have played along with. What we most need now to reverse this is public financing of elections and a law that takes free speech rights (personhood status) away from corporations. Everything else that is needed will follow effortlessly and automatically once political power is returned to the people in this fashion (real human people with poop holes that is, not virtual corporate personhood status people). Opinions are like poop holes if you don’t have one, shouldn’t have one in our political process…

Posted by: Ray Guest at November 8, 2008 6:04 PM
Comment #270009

Paul Siegal,

The Great Depression was brought on by a LACK of intervention by the government. There is another Great Depression amongst our future potential scenarios, but it is not mandated by current economic conditions. An inordinate amount of neglect, ignorance, and failure in pedagogy aimed at the American public will be required to bring that future Depression into reality.

Gridlock in government would have brought it on. Republican ideology would have brought it on. This one party Democratic Government with Obama at its head, may avert that trajectory while Obama is in office. I use the word “MAY” very intently. A lot depends on how well the Democrats in the Congress scrutinize and back Obama’s coming austerity programs.

By austerity programs, I mean here, enforced austerity resulting from policy initiatives requiring sacrifices of citizens today, in order to invest in and protect the great middle classes of tomorrow. There is no path which circumvents a future depression which does not rest on America tightening its belt and doing without wants, today, in order to invest in the future.

There can by synergies in solutions that lessen the austerity of the present while investing in the future such as public works jobs creation which offsets the rising tide of unemployment at the same time it invests in the future economic infrastructure. This Obama plan is the kind of brilliance and pragmatism that can circumvent a future feedback loop leading to another Great Depression.

But, there will be those in Congress whose constituents will be left out, or under represented who will attempt to derail Obama’s path forward, and they will be Democrats. That is the major political challenge and obstacle to staying off a future Great Depression.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 9, 2008 5:15 AM
Comment #270020


The redistribution of wealth began in 1980 with the election of Reagan. Since then, the wealthy have aquired a government and huge luxury barges with many rowers to take them anywhere they wish to go. Everyone else is either swimming, doggy paddling or drowning.

If you think that the corporations have the only solutions to solve our energy crisis and global warming then you are going to love the democrats energy policy.

Posted by: jlw at November 9, 2008 3:40 PM
Comment #270025

jlw, actually, the redistribution of wealth began in 1932 with FDR. It only reversed direction under Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II. Under Obama and Democrats it will reverse direction again. The period from 1940 through the early 1960’s saw a massive creation and redistribution of wealth toward the middle class, and an unparalleled expansion in the size of the middle class. It was very economically sound and healthy given our natural and human untapped resources of the time.

The great challenge which besets us now, is that we no longer have vast untapped human, natural, and capital resources to look forward to as we did then, to effectively deal with the growth of debt that the economic recovery and WWII/Korean War created.

Going forward, we must balance and maintain capital asset availability during hearty economic growth cycles, and healthy consumer demand AND savings during the economic slumps. It is not going to be an easy balancing act if we keep electing uneducated presidents like Bush who think ideology and theory can balance this act optimally. We see the results of that and NO ONE likes the results.

Yet, a sizable minority of our population are going to support a Palin presidency going forward. Doesn’t say much about that segment of society’s education level and learning capacity either, does it?

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 9, 2008 4:06 PM
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