The Republican trump card

Despite the deceitful vitriol emphatically enunciated by the double-talking leftist blogosphere, who downplays the world’s most prolific economy and blames capitalism for all of America’s ills, credible evidence avows that America’s economy is thriving and that the capitalistic ideology advocated by Republicans is fostering innumerable wealth and prosperity not just for the affluent, but for all Americans.

That is the simple, unadulterated truth.

From a broad perspective, with a 3.5 expansion percentage over the last year, and an infinitesimal unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, one of the lowest rates in over thirty years, according to a Heritage Foundation report, the economy is not only benefiting wealthy investors, but also providing disadvantaged citizens with an expansive job market.

But broad perspective is not necessarily indicative of the true picture, and is sometimes misleading, especially concerning the average American, who doesn’t always directly benefit from a bustling stock market.

Heritage’s James Sherk asserts that the aforementioned growth is indeed not a façade, suggesting that this dynamic economy is advantageous to most Americans:

“The gains from America’s economic growth have been widely shared throughout society. Low- and middle-income families, not just the wealthy, have seen their standards of living improve dramatically. Family incomes have risen well above where they were a generation ago, and most Americans now enjoy luxuries that in the past only the well-off could afford. Almost all Americans now have better health, education, housing, and consumer goods than they did even a decade ago.”

However, critics of the economy argue, in essence, that America’s economic system is only conducive to the wealthy elite, resulting in, according to critics, a growing disparity in the wealth equilibrium, which has supposedly cultivated an egregious inequity in the distribution of wealth. The crux of their argument suggests that the current economy offers too many incentives to the elite while not offering an equitable prospect to America’s masses.

Sherk, while ceding that the statistics used to support this theory are accurate, believes that the conclusions drawn from the data are misleading:

“The only problem with this seemingly compelling argument is that it is not true. A comprehensive look at the data reveals that most Americans have shared in the United States’ rising prosperity and that America remains the land of opportunity.”

As part of the left’s deceptive attempt to stifle the successes of the Republican-led economy, dishonest critics claim that while the rich have always enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, the poor are seeing their standard of living deteriorate. This notion couldn’t be more false. In fact, according to Sherk, just the opposite has happened:

“The widespread gains from America’s prosper¬ity extend beyond rising incomes and are appar¬ent in Americans’ day-to-day lives. Middle- and low-income Americans have seen dramatic improvements in their standard of living during recent decades…Rising general prosperity also means that increas¬ing numbers of Americans can afford higher educa¬tion…Electronics and their conveniences represent another area in which the rich have lost their lead as all have moved ahead. This did not happen because the rich got richer…It happened because middle- and low-income Americans shared in the widespread prosperity.”

That is the simple, unadulterated truth. Americans are living comfortably. Americans are going to college. Americans are buying high-tech luxuries. Not all Americans, keep in mind, can enjoy these amenities, but the masses can. The masses are not floundering, but rather, flourishing.

As billion dollar conglomerates like Exxon rake in record revenues, and industrious CEO’s bolster their blustering compensation packages, critics, unwavering in their commitment to undermine the economy’s triumphs, are exploiting corporate America’s accomplishments by naively proclaiming that although the overall economy is doing well, productivity is not commensurate with worker compensation.

Actually, in the short-term, those critics are not incorrect, as noted by Sherk, who reports that earnings and productivity do not always change simultaneously. However, Sherk’s data reveals an entirely different scenario when productivity and compensation are compared over the long-term.

As reported by Heritage, who cited the U.S. Department of Labor, from 2000 to 2006, compensation and productivity fluctuated in almost perfect tandem, with sporadic sputters of inconsistent growth occurring only periodically.

Sherk concludes that “workers’ earnings as a share of national income remain at their usual historic levels and have grown along with the economy. Corporate profits, meanwhile, are strong but show no signs of usurping workers’ earnings.”

So much for shortchanging the little guy.

In fact, these figures underscore an economy that not only caters to entrepreneurial investors, but also to the average wage-earner. With productivity oscillating in step with earnings, the middle-class can rest comfortably knowing they aren’t being squeezed by the upper-class.

Another left-wing talking point aimed at undercutting the legitimacy of the economy, while illuminating the plight of the middle-class, is higher education costs. Albeit, the cost of college is rising and many Americans are expressing their concern. However, Heritage reports that from 1991 to 2004, the number of households headed by an individual with a Bachelor’s degree or higher rose 5.7 percent, while households headed by a person with at least some college experience increased 10.1 percent. So, while inflating college tuition costs do not help the average wage-earner, college is still accessible—not reserved exclusively for the wealthy elite—and more Americans are attending college.

Despite an unequivocally vibrant economy, critics present a valid argument by claiming that hourly wages of American workers are dipping. Although this is true, that statistic alone is misleading as it does not adequately characterize the entire situation. Granted, hourly wages are stagnant, but benefits are soaring, according to Sherk. By analyzing total compensation, which includes both hourly pay and benefits, it is clear that American paychecks are not languishing, despite a drop in hourly wages, and are actually increasing.

Further dispelling the relevancy of sluggish wages is evidenced in a consistent growth in total compensation of workers employed in non-farming industries, despite the sweeping wage decline—a 6.6 percent increase from 2003 and a 10.2 percent increase from 2000, as reported by the Department of Labor, typify this claim.

Indeed, Americans are not making less money, despite the misleading economics presented by leftist fabricators. Actually, almost none of the left wing’s drivel about the economy is true: the stock market is booming, the job market is expanding, the masses are not being squeezed by the elite, and the economic equilibrium is in balance. But yet again, the left wing, by lying with facts, has effectively manipulated the truth, replacing it with a disingenuous veneer devised to trumpet fabrication while infusing misinformation, hoping the American people won’t know the difference.

But the people know better. It’s time for America to filter out the troves of pretense, snub the erroneous propaganda—no matter how compelling—and divulge the truth—the simple, unadulterated truth.

Posted by Alex Fitzsimmons at October 25, 2006 3:42 PM
Comments
Comment #190242

Hey, that’s a fancy graphic. Kewl. I couldn’t get pass that first sentence, though. A bit overwrought. Let your nouns and verbs carry the burden; adjectives and adverbs are best used sparingly.

Posted by: Trent at October 25, 2006 4:37 PM
Comment #190243

Alex,

Be prepared for screaming liberals to attack your source as “right wing propaganda” and refute your entire post with their favorite objective sources like The Daily Worker or moveon.

Posted by: Duane-o at October 25, 2006 4:39 PM
Comment #190244

So,
The economy is booming, the country is safe and secure, (because we’re fighting ‘em over there, so we don’t hafta fight ‘em here) all is pretty much happy-happy? Is that it?

If you are right, and that is so, then the upcoming elections will bear that out. There will be a tremendous victory for the republicans, a vindication of all the great policies they have promulgated.

If, on the other hand, Americans feel that their standard of living has steadily eroded (how can that be,HERITAGE says otherwise!!),They just do not have a good feeling about the future, and the country is being flushed down the toilet due to a thunderous, memorable, stupendous incompetence, well, the republicans just may be on the way to a good, old-fashioned shellackin’. We shall see.

I myself would not cast a vote for a rebublican to be dogcatcher!! That’s how happy I am at the great economy. I admit I’m a little bitter that I had to let go of the health insurance that was costing me $12,000 a year, and also that I don’t know where the money to pay my federal taxes is going to come from. Don’t get me wrong, America is a great place to live! I am (on paper) a wealthy man. Thanks go to America and our freedoms for that. But somehow, no matter how much money I make, there somehow is just never enough.

Right or wrong, I blame the vicissitudes of financial being on the republicans. Tax cuts for the wealthiest among us. Subsidies for oil companies. A ball-less congress unwilling to investigate Cheney and his energy policy. Spending us into the next lifetime and beyond. On and on, it seemingly never ends. The brains on this site (and I am certainly NOT one of them) will, I am sure, go on to detail all the overspending, borrowing, et cetera, by these so-called “conservatives”.

This should be good….

Posted by: Steve Miller at October 25, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #190247

Everyone should read the Heritage report that Alex linked to. I admit I couldn’t get through Alex’s article, but from the first paragraph I assume it was all about how wonderful the Republicans are for the economy. But read the Heritage report and, more importantly, look at the charts. For the most part, they show that the enormous gains made during Clinton’s presidency are leveling or have leveled off.

So much for the overwrought rhetoric.

Posted by: Trent at October 25, 2006 4:55 PM
Comment #190251

More than 80% of those making under 50,000 per year said the new stock market highs add nothing to their own financial circumstances.

That is a huge number of Americans, and that is why the polls show the such large numbers of the American public lacking confidence in this economy. Add to that this the public’s growing awareness of this Republican government action in stealing from our grandkid’s earnings in the form of doubling the national debt, it just proving a hard sell to poor and lower middle class Americans that this economy is all that the wealthy cats say it is.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 25, 2006 5:12 PM
Comment #190258

I see… so, rather than attributing America’s economic greatness to say, AMERICA, we are to believe Republicans deserve all the credit.

I wonder how we live through those periods when Democrats are in power.

Posted by: Zeek at October 25, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #190264

Zeek, apparently quite well, according to the Heritage report.

Posted by: Trent at October 25, 2006 5:51 PM
Comment #190265

Trent

Presidents get too much credit for the economy. The “Clinton boom” actually started under Bush I in March 1992. It didn’t pick up full steam until 1997, when REPUBLICANS had been in control of congress for 3 years. It began to decline in January 2000, a year before Bush took office.

Then there is the lag time. 2001 we were still living with Clinton era priorites. Bush really doesn’t kick in until 2003.

Besides, through all that we have Alan Greenspan.

I do not propose to give Bush too much credit, but he really should not take the blame for 2001-2.

I expect if the Dems win, economic news will improve dramatically. That same economy with robust growth and low unemployment will be praised by the liberal media if they can credit the Dems.

Posted by: Jack at October 25, 2006 6:01 PM
Comment #190278

Trent,
You already nailed it, so I could have spared myself the effort. The author of the Heritage Foundation article uses a cute trick. You see, the author acknowledges the following are absolutely true and accurate:

“The share of income earned by the wealthiest Americans has risen, and these are the only Amer­icans whose standards of living have improved;
Inflation-adjusted wages have not risen for most Americans;

Wages have not kept pace with rising produc­tivity; and

Wages and salaries, as a share of the economy, have fallen in recent years, while corporate profits have risen.”

His trick is to average in statistics going back as far as 1980 to prove we are doing better today. It rather conveniently ignores the impact of failed Bush administration policies since 2001 by averaging in the successful policies of previous adminsitrations.

How precious.

Alex,
So this is the “simple, unadulterated truth”? Do you consider the methodology of James Sherk “deceitful”? If the only point was that there have been advances and improvements since 1980, no one would disagree. If the point is that Republicans under Bush have significantly contributed, the “credible evidence” is not there, not at all.

Posted by: phx8 at October 25, 2006 6:50 PM
Comment #190280

I love how this article spends more time repeating the conclusions (that the economy is great and people are just being stupid) than it does supporting them. The “support” is that: more Americans have more stuff (most of which was made in China); that a “comprehensive” look at the same numbers that reveal disparities between rich and poor can yiled the opposite conclusion (yet “comprehensive” is not defined and a reading of the article shows it to be speculation); that more people go to college (nevermind that otherwise they’d be relegated to working at Walmart with no benefits…and they are borrowing the money in record amounts because they feel they have no other choice); and a proportionate increase in wages (which, adjusted for inflation, have been flat for years while the housing market soars out of control).

The “support” is the same tired speculative crap and cherry picking. Alex, you don’t really feel like you’ve analized this thing from multiple angles do you? If not, then you’re being deceptive and irresponsible. If so, then you’re just naive and gullible. Either way, real people need real tangable benefits before they start saying anything is improving. We all know corperate profits are up, and we all know how much outsourcing, consolodation and restructuring it took to get the stock prices to record highs. And everyone knows that forclosures, bankruptcy filings, and almost every other tangable indicator of reality has skyrocketed as well.

Trump card? More like wishful thinking. Much more akin to holding the queen of spades during a game of heart.

“It’s time for America to filter out the troves of pretense, snub the erroneous propaganda—no matter how compelling—and divulge the truth—the simple, unadulterated truth.”

Agreed. Here it is: Americans are sick and tired of being told what to think. They want to be appealed to, not lectured on how stupid they are. Maybe if you actually paid attention to their complaints, you’d discover that your “support” doesn’t address them at all…just buries them alive under a bunch of meaningless crap. Burying people’s legitimate issues in crap will only serve to get the favor returned on you in November.

Posted by: Kevin23 at October 25, 2006 7:06 PM
Comment #190289

Jack, I’m playing the game as it’s presented. Presidents do propose budgets, of course, which end up being joint efforts of Congress and the president. Clinton was willing to work with Republicans; that was one of his strengths. Considering what we’ve seen budget and economywise with sole control by Republicans — right now I think the country needs the Democrats to take at least one branch of Congress. I know you like to give credit to House Republicans for the Clinton economy, but we both know Clinton had a knack for cutting deals that he liked. Actually, Jack, in a strange way, you seem to be arguing for a Democratic presidency and a Republican House.

Posted by: Trent at October 25, 2006 7:34 PM
Comment #190293
“His trick is to average in statistics going back as far as 1980 to prove we are doing better today.”

Phx8:

Actually, I don’t think the author of the heritage article used a single statistic prior to 1990, and a few of his stats reference only the last few years.

I’d be interested in seeing a stat that was used from the 80’s and I’d be more interested in seeing a stat that I actually used in my article from the 1980’s…

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at October 25, 2006 7:44 PM
Comment #190294

LOL, well written article as usual, Alex.

Too bad your article is just as much about the “left fabricators” screwing America up as it is about the economy doing well. Always politicizing the issue; one must remember, “correlation does not mean causation.” The economy is doing great and Republicans are in power, this is merely a correlation; I bet the economy would be the same if Democrats or whatever other political party was in power.

Posted by: greenstuff at October 25, 2006 7:46 PM
Comment #190297

Greenstuff-

Thanks for injecting a little common sense into the debate. It’s refreshing. And not even partisan. Imagine that?

Posted by: Kevin23 at October 25, 2006 7:57 PM
Comment #190305

Economists Are Destroying America

October 25th, 2006 by JohnKonop

Economists, politicians, and executives from both parties have promised American families that “free” trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA, and WTO/CHINA would accomplish three things:

• Increase wages
• Create trade surpluses (for the US)
• Reduce illegal immigration

Well, their trade policies have been in effect for about 15 years. Let’s review the results:

• Declining real wages for 80% of working Americans (while healthcare, education, and childcare costs skyrocket)
• A record-high 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance (due in part to declining wages and benefits)
• Illegal immigration out of control
• Soaring trade deficits, much with countries that use slave and child labor
• Personal and national debt both out-of-control
• Global environments threatened by lax trade deal enforcement

Economists Keep Advocating Policies That Aren’t Working

Upon seeing incontrovertible evidence of these negative trade agreement results, economists continue with Pollyannish blather. Some say, “Cheer up! GDP is up and the stock market’s doing fine.” Others say, “Be patient. Stay the course. Free trade will raise all ships.”

Even those economists who acknowledge problems with trade agreements offer us only half-measures—adjusting exchange rates, improving safety nets, and providing better job retraining. None of these will close the wage gap in America—and economists know it.

Why Aren’t American Economists Shouting From Street Corners?

America needs trade deals that support American families and businesses in terms of wage, environmental, and intellectual property abuses. Why aren’t economists demanding renegotiation of our trade deals? There are three primary reasons:

• Economists are too beholden to corporations and special interests that provide them with research grants.
• Economists believe—but refuse to admit—that sacrificing the American middle class is necessary and appropriate to generate gains in third world economies.
• Economists refuse to admit they make mistakes.

Economic Ambulance Chasers

Now more than ever, Americans need their economists to speak truth and stand up to their big business clients. Instead, economists sound like lawyers caught chasing ambulances: they claim they’re “doing it for our benefit”.

Posted by: John Konop at October 25, 2006 8:24 PM
Comment #190307

“I bet the economy would be the same if Democrats or whatever other political party was in power”

Oh so true Greenstuff. The only thing different? The left would be the ones talking about how great “their” economy was and the right would be talking about how bad it was.

Posted by: kctim at October 25, 2006 8:29 PM
Comment #190316

John Konop,

Now more than ever, Americans need their economists to speak truth and stand up to their big business clients.

I laughed… a lot.

Economists will stand up to big business the day politicians stop accepting bribes.

Posted by: Zeek at October 25, 2006 8:46 PM
Comment #190328

Trent

What I am mainly pointing out is that most of the people who write about the economy just do not understand it. They do not even know how to count. The economic recovery started in March 1992 and the downturn started in January 2000. Some people evidently think the first one took place when Clinton was president and the second one didn’t.

Beyond that, they seem completely unable to understand lag times. I would hate to drive with these guys, since they think they can go from 70 mph to a complete stop without any space of time between.

The whole analysis of government and economy gives government too much credit. The economy has been generally good since 1982. We had mild recessions in 1991 and 2001. I credit Reagan with starting the good times. I credit Clinton with not derailing it. But most of the credit belongs to American, workers, investors and managers.

re the economy - most Americans own computers, cars and VCRs or DVDs. Most American homes have airconditioning and 2+ bathrooms. The median American home has nearly doubled in size since the 1950s. You can get a mortgage loan at under 6%. Unemployement is 4.6% One of the biggest problems of the homeless is obesity.

Living in misery sure ain’t what it used to be.

Posted by: Jack at October 25, 2006 9:38 PM
Comment #190335
re the economy - most Americans own computers, cars and VCRs or DVDs. Most American homes have airconditioning and 2+ bathrooms. The median American home has nearly doubled in size since the 1950s. You can get a mortgage loan at under 6%. Unemployement is 4.6% One of the biggest problems of the homeless is obesity.

Living in misery sure ain’t what it used to be.

This is just to freaking arrogant. Amazing, but not surprising. It reaffirms my understanding of why you are a republican.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 25, 2006 9:53 PM
Comment #190337

Woman

Do you know anybody w/o a TV? How many of your friends do not have a car? Have any of your friends been on vacation to Las Vegas. How many people do you know who do not have air conditioning?

I am arrogant about this if you mean recognizing that things have changed. We still think in terms of Dickens, but it is no longer the case. Poor just is not what we used to think it was. I do not see many people who look like they are starving.

As I said, the economy has been good since 1982. Back then unemployment was in the double digits and so were mortgage rates. Since then, things have been getting better.

Posted by: Jack at October 25, 2006 10:15 PM
Comment #190338

Would someone please explain why CEO’s need multi hundred million dollar salaries and retirement plans? I could live off of 100 million for the rest of my life. Why are these guys getting paid so much if they don’t even know what’s going on in there company, as in the case of Enron and Worldcom? Are massive company profits really necessary? If gas companies are making so much money can’t they lower prices a little, put a little more cash in everyone’s pocket and still make a profit?

The credit for a good economy does not go so much to the government as to those participating in it. The government regulates, the people and companies participate. If a school has good test scores, who should get credit, students or the principal? The students, of course. They did the hard work and learned what they needed to know. The principal makes sure they learn as best he or she can but the students still should get most of the credit. Same goes for the economy. And republicans would probably score more points talking about how well people are making the economy go then talking about how well they make it go.

kctim
I could not agree with you more.

Posted by: Silima at October 25, 2006 10:19 PM
Comment #190340

Jack,

Fun and games with Alex’s article aside, what worries me now is the ever-increasing size of the national debt — approaching $9 trillion now. Something like 20 percent of the federal budget goes to service this debt; servicing alone is something like $1 billion or so a day. I know that compared to WWII years, the debt as a percentage of GDP doesn’t look so bad, but it’s been steadily increasing since the big Reagan deficits. Some think, of course, that paying it off isn’t as important as increasing the GDP in order to keep the debt percentage down, but someday, you’d think, the piper has to be paid. The fact that close to half of the debt is to foreign interests — I dunno, Jack. I think it’s just too easy for politicians to spend money they don’t have and to let future generations worry about the tab. At any rate, I agree blame must be shared by both parties.

Posted by: Trent at October 25, 2006 10:34 PM
Comment #190344

Massive debt, borrowing, spending, and money-printing is being used to prolong this illusion of a good economy. It’s a con job, and there will eventually be consequences for so much fiscal irresponsibility.

Other than that, every thing is rosy, as usual, especially in the rose-colored column, where they give away rose-colored glasses to all gullable enough to buy the rosy spin.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 25, 2006 10:43 PM
Comment #190345

So the economy is doing good. I lost in the market the last quarter and over $10000 for the year so far. Gas has gone down some, but nowhere near the level it was 6yrs ago. Pay raise at work is 2 to 3% under inflation. Yes the economy is doing great….STAY THE COURSE….NOT.

Posted by: KT at October 25, 2006 10:45 PM
Comment #190348

Jack,
I dont have air conditioning in my house and I haven’t went to Vegas on vacation or anywhere else for that matter. Its not me I really worry about its my kids and grandkids that will suffer the effects of the decisions being made today. To think the middle class is not downsizing is wrong. The race to the bottom the transnationals are engaged in does none of us any good, unless of course you are the very upper management of said corporation.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 25, 2006 10:51 PM
Comment #190349

As usual, there is no good news that relates to a conservative agenda, right libs? A conservative President could single-handledly cure cancer, and you’d come up with a reason why the cure is doing nothing but causing the social security system to fail even faster than when the Dems were in power. Or maybe Halliburton had the cure all along, but was waiting for a conservative President to come along.

I stopped posting on here months ago because there is simply no way to win an argument in here. It’s nothing but blind partisanship, and I will be glad to (again) give myself a long break from readin the whining, crying and statistical gamesmanship that is exhibited every three minutes in this place.

You should all just stand back and read how most of this unthinking drivel ends up being nothing but partisanship.

Posted by: Bruce P at October 25, 2006 10:54 PM
Comment #190351

Trent

I too worry about the debt, but we need to address the causes - spending. We are taking in record revenues, but we are spending too fast. If we had just kept spending in line with inflation, we would have no trouble.

Dems want to raise taxes. I think we should tax some things, such as gas, but generally when our kids throw away money we don’t just raise their allowances. We have to make cuts in spending. The biggest - by far - component of spending is entitlements. They now make up about 2/3 of the budget and they are growing fast. We need politicians with the courage to address that.

KT

You may have lost money in the last quarter, but if you are down for the year, you probably should be a little more careful and if your investments are down overall since 2003 you should give up investing entirely.

A reasonably diversified stock portfolio yielded you over 10% last year. Throw in some international stocks and you do a little better. If your portfolio is not doing that well, consider an index fund and keep your hands off, recalling that old adage about money.

Posted by: Jack at October 25, 2006 10:58 PM
Comment #190352

j2t2

Sorry about your plight. There are not many like you anymore.

Posted by: Jack at October 25, 2006 11:01 PM
Comment #190353

Nevermind the $12.8 trillion of Social Security debt.
Nevermind the $450 billion (or more) of Pension Benefit Guaranty debt.
Nevermind the hundreds of billions of unfunded Medicare liabilities.
Nevermind the hundreds of billions of unfunded liabilities for hurricane Katrina and Rita.
Nevermind the hundreds of billions of unfunded liabilities for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just take the $8.6 trillion National Debt.
If we even had the discipline to stop borrowing $1.63 billion per day, and start paying back 1.03 billion per day, guess how long it would take to pay down the debt? 143 years (see schedule), and that is only if interest rates don’t exceed 4.5%.

Now, take the total $22 trillion of federal debt.
Let say we got really agressive and disciplined, and started to pay down that debt. How long would it take? Over 200 years (see schedule)

Now, consider the total $20 trillion of nation-wide personal debt.

Combined, total nation-wide debt is very conservatively estimated to be $42 trillion.

Median wages have been falling since 1999.

The wealthiest 1% of the U.S. population now has over 40% of all wealth (up by 20% in 1980), which has never been worse since the Great Depression of 1929.

And, what ever networth people had is being evaporated by the real-estate bubble … just like it did in the stock-market bubble in 1999, and other bubbles created economic instability cerated by irresponsible government.

Now that things are so hot, you are supposed to be happy about it because it’s still better than some other countries. Gee … with that logic, we can get a lot, lot worse, and still be better than some other countries.

This illusion of a good economy is just that; an illusion that is being funded with massive ponzi schemes. Social Security surpluses are being plundered. Massive borrowing has grown the National Debt by $3 trillion since 2000, and massive money-printing is a ponzi-scheme to reduce debt with an ever present, destabilizing inflation.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 25, 2006 11:02 PM
Comment #190355

Alex-
Technology, more than greater earnings, has improved what people can get in terms of electronics and appliances. The Digital transition and the revolution in Semiconductor processor and laser technology has been crucial in bringing things like home theatre and surround sound to people.

People, though, struggle under greater debt, with newly added infrastructural costs and wages that having changed more than about 70 percent in the last thirty years. Health Care, utilities, and other costs take even more out of people’s pockets.

The Republicans want to claim they are good for the economy, but they neglect the mostly apolitical nature of it, and the cold hard fact that they’re still playing catch up on important fronts.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 25, 2006 11:11 PM
Comment #190357

Here is an interesting article from a liberal magazine by a liberal economist about just these issues.

Posted by: Neo-Con Pilsner at October 25, 2006 11:29 PM
Comment #190360

Bruce,
“I stopped posting on here months ago because there is simply no way to win an argument in here.”

Given your president curing cancer analogy, I completely understand how you must feel.

Alex,
Pardon, but I am not going to do a cut and paste exercise from your link. If anyone cares, scan the linked Heritage article for dates.

Greenstuff,
You make an interesting point about how correlation does not necessarily mean causation, but naive. The party in power exerts tremendous influence over the economy. This includes government spending, allocation of that spending, taxation, trade policy, choice of the appointment to the Federal Reserve, and more. Pursuit of war impacts the economy in nearly every respect. Even something as seemingly intangible as a “War on Terror” creates a climate of fear & depresses investor confidence.

Jack,
You are right, over the past few decades the standard of living has generally improved. The Heritage article mentions that “In 1984, only 340,000 Americans had cell phones. By the end of 2003, that number had risen to 159 million, all of them using far better cell phones than existed in 1984.” (Good luck convincing to the Heritage Foundation & Alex in convincing Americans to vote Republican based on that!) But as far as economic trends are concerned, since the Bush administration has taken office, many areas are staying the same or declining.

There is a good reason Republicans are not mentioning the economy this midterm election: with few Americans benefiting from Bush administration tax policies, there are simply no votes to be garnered by bringing the matter up.

Job creation has been terrible. It is so woeful, Republican policies will not create as many non-farm payroll jobs in eight years as Jimmy Carter created in just four.


Posted by: phx8 at October 25, 2006 11:33 PM
Comment #190363

Jack:

Actually, I do. I know many of them. I live in a rural county in North Carolina. I have no need to go into detail to satisfy your “prove me wrong” mentality. You don’t know everything, in spite of what you think.

And in spite of what else you may think, these are decent, hardworking people. What jobs there are are agricultural, and otherwise are few and far between.

You need to take a vacation yourself and visit some of the places you apparently know nothing about.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 25, 2006 11:38 PM
Comment #190367

And there are now more workers per household, which makes income per person lower.

If Republicans got a trump card, they’d better play it soon, and it ain’t the “economy” or the “war on terror”. This supposedly rosy economy is an illusion funded with massive borrowing, debt, spending, and money-printing.

True, Democrat incumbent politicians won’t improve anything, no more than Republican incubment politicians will, because it’s not just a Democrat or Republican problem. It’s both and voters keep re-electing, rewarding, and empowering them. A successful voting nation requires an educated electorate; otherwise, that electorate will get what they deserve; they will continue to be used, abused, and ignored.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 25, 2006 11:55 PM
Comment #190370

D.A.N. wrote: “Nevermind the $12.8 trillion of Social Security debt.” I just read on an earlier thread, from a liberal, that Social Security isn’t broken. I’m now confused. No. I think the libs (of course, D.A.N. claims he isn’t a liberal) are confused.

“The wealthiest 1% of the U.S. population now has over 40% of all wealth (up by 20% in 1980), which has never been worse since the Great Depression of 1929.” This is good news, not bad. Since our poor have more than the average bloke during the Great Depression, our society is much better off now than ever before.

Why this worry about what the rich have? You are better off than 5 years ago (or should be if you hadn’t blown your money at the casino). The lottery in our state took in more money last year than EVER before (and our state has the biggest jobless rate in the country). The lottery was brought in by Democrats (so they wouldn’t hurt the poor with it, would they?) That money had to be extra money in someone’s pocket.

Posted by: Don at October 26, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #190371

The American economy is not doing so great independent on itself. Communist China is the glue that is currently holding the American economy together. If China shifts it’s investments away from America and into other markets, our standard of living will drop dramatically.

Posted by: JayJay at October 26, 2006 12:13 AM
Comment #190375
Poor just is not what we used to think it was. I do not see many people who look like they are starving.

Jack,

I am not sure where you live, but count yourself lucky. Maybe you need to get out more. I work for a community hospital and I can tell you first hand, the truly poor do exist in large numbers. Sure, many communities have done a good job of sweeping them under the rug, but they are still there.

Posted by: JayJay at October 26, 2006 12:23 AM
Comment #190376

Stephen D -

“People, though, struggle under greater debt…”

People make stupid decisions, but why blame the government (Rep or Dem)? Truth is, most people don’t need to have greater debt. I see it all around me…people making stupid financial choices. They buy houses that are beyond their means, new cars (instead of newer used), all the techo-crap they can find, cell phone contracts, cable TV, high-speed internet, and they eat meals out more than ever before. Debt is not a sign of poverty, but of financial stupidity.

Posted by: Don at October 26, 2006 12:26 AM
Comment #190377

Bruce P,

You are correct. The boards just as the nation is torn into blind hyper political partisan ship.

You should be more careful of the term debate, vs discus, vs arguement. And it’s painful that many who are debating instead of discussing have a very very painful lack of understanding of the facts or of history.

I had one person on this board laugh at me for not knowing that Bill Clinton and the Democratic congress balanced the budget. He had no clue that it was the Newt Grigrich bill and the Republicans who controlled congress and passed the Bill. Clinton in the end agreed to sign after fighting the balanced budget. If I recall correctly, it was clear if he rejected his veto would have been overridden by congress.

I think it’s important to put the truth out there from time to time even though the left will denounce the truth as lies or spin. But you aren’t going to “win” an arguement when your opponents have license to be dishonest and have no real clue as to what is often being discussed.

Posted by: Stephen at October 26, 2006 12:28 AM
Comment #190380
Don wrote: of course, D.A.N. claims he isn’t a liberal
I’m independent. I used to be a Republican, but the last six years fixed that.
Don wrote: I just read on an earlier thread, from a liberal, that Social Security isn’t broken
Social Security is $12.8 trillion in debt (Source: CATO institute; see 4th sentence of the 1st paragraph). I have never said Social Security wasn’t broken. It’s getting by now, but there will be shortfalls, because the federal government plundered (and still is) the surpluses. There are NO surpluses. It’s pay as you go. It’s a huge ponzi-scheme. Those that talk about a surplus are talking about worthless bonds (I.O.U.s). Where do they think the money for those I.O.U.s will come from?
Don wrote: Why this worry about what the rich have?
Don, I don’t envy the wealthy. I don’t make claims for equality to disguise jealousy or envy. Some do, but not me.

What I don’t like are the wealthy that abuse their wealth to control government, and they do that, as evidenced by the fact that 83% of all federal donations (of $200 or more; $2.0 billion of $2.4 billion in 2004) came from only 0.15% (300,000) of all 200 million eligible voters.
Government shouldn’t be FOR SALE.
That’s my major beef with the wealthy.
That’s why donations should be limited to 1% of the median income. Otherwise, the wealthy have an unfair advantage, which is the case now.

Don,
Median wages have been falling since 1999.

There are more workers per household.
Foreclosures have been rising for 18 months.

2007 isn’t looking good either.
Many corporations are already planning layoffs in the tens of thousands.

A mathematical model of the economy developed by a Federal Reserve economist (Jonathan Wright) estimates a 40% chance of a recession in 2007. That’s not very comforting at all to the Federal Reserve, but they helped create this monster. They fear higher inflation, and see limitations on growth. Several large companies are starting to report planned layoffs (10% at GM, 13% at Borg/Warner, 16% at Ford, 17% at Daimler/Chrysler, 10% at Hewlet Packard, 16,000 workers at Intel, recent layoffs at Sun, Microsoft, Borland, Oracle, Novell, Lenovo, SGI, etc.).

+ $12.8 trillion Social Security Debt
+ $450 billion PBGC debt
+ $8.6 trillion National Debt
+ hundreds of billions of unfunded Medicare liabilities
+ hundreds of billions of unfunded Katrine liabilities
hundreds of billions of unfunded Afghanistan liabilities
hundreds of billions of unfunded Iraq liabilities

  • _______________________________________

  • TOTAL = about $22 trillion

    Yep, things are just ROSY as can be.
    What am I thinkin’ ?
    And total personal nation-wide debt is $20 trillion.
    Why don’t we just run up a few hundred more trillion in debt.
    Or, better yet, lets just print some more money, eh?

    You’re right.
    You’re all right.
    We’ve got nothing at all to worry about.
    The economy is “just fine”.
    The economy is “good”.
    The economy is “very good”.

    Sorry, but the math doesn’t work out.
    Debt is growing faster than GDP, and anyone who down plays the seriousness of $22 trillion of total federal debt needs to take off their rose colored glasses.

    Don wrote: You are better off than 5 years ago
    I am. But I’m an engineer and so is my wife. We have no debt, and already put our son through college. That’s because we live within our means. But most people are not better off.

    Healthcare costs are way too high. Healthcare is not only increasingly unaffordable, but dangerous. Pharmaceutical corporations and the FDA are becoming pill pushers that are killing hundreds of thousands in the U.S. annually. That does not even include the huge number of patients that are irreversibly damaged and maimed. JAMA reported that over 2.2 million hospitalized patients in 1994 had serious Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) and 106,000 were fatal, making these drug reactions the 5th or 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.! JAMA’s conclusion was that “the incidence of serious and fatal ADRs in U.S. hospitals was found to be extremely high”. On 27-July-2004, HealthGrades.com reported that “An average of 195,000 people in the U.S. died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a new study of 37 million patient records”. Part of the problem is the growing corpocrisy, corporatism, and influence of government by corporations.

    Education is increasing in cost and declining in quality. Property taxes have skyrocketed. There are 6 cases of eminent domain abuses per day. Median incomes have fallen since 1999. To assert that the middle class is better off now than 5 years ago is simply refusing the facts.

    Foreign competition has never been higher (and becoming better educated too).

    Poverty is growing. All wealth belonging to 1% of the U.S. population has never been higher since the Great Depression of 1929.

    Global corpocrisy and corporatism, in-league with bought-and-paid-for government has never been worse.

    Interest rates are rising and inflation is rising now, because the government and Federal Reserve are printing too much money. We have a bad monetary system.

    We have energy vulnerabilities, rising fuel, oil and energy costs. Also, foreign competitors (e.g. China, India, Asia, etc.) are also competing for more oil, and other fuels, as their economies continue to grow at a very fast pace.

    The massive debt, borrowing, spending, and money-printing, and all of the above reduces our options when we may need it most, destroys future opportunities, will make the next recovery from a recession more difficult, increases the risk of a depression, and places a huge debt burden on future generations.

    But, other than that, things are very good !

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 26, 2006 1:05 AM
    Comment #190381

    Stephen,
    Allow me to be the first to laugh. Here is a link to a wikipedia summary of the economy under Clinton. Here is a description of the crucial bill:

    “In August of 1993, Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 which passed Congress without a single Republican vote. It raised taxes on the wealthiest 1.2% of taxpayers, while cutting taxes on 15 million low-income families and making tax cuts available to 90 percent of small businesses.[7] Additionally, it mandated that the budget be balanced over a number of years, and the implementation of spending restraints.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton#The_economy

    Dislike Wikipedia? Then prove your point with a specific source. But save yourself some time. You are wrong.

    Later, Clinton and the Republican Congress fought over the budget and reached compromises, to both of their credits. However, the boom started with the 1993 bill. Your statements are inaccurate, and that is putting it kindly. Please read up on this.

    Posted by: phx8 at October 26, 2006 1:06 AM
    Comment #190383

    Statistics are fun to play with especially when you select the period to view and the stats to quote. The truth that most Americans are more than aware of, however are: Real wages and benefits have dropped for the vast majority of Americans since the 1960’s. Not to mention job security.

    Yes, college grads continue to rise in wealth and the number of college grads has risen since the sixties.

    Yes, the economy is robust at the moment. I wonder what effect the massive war spending will do to it? Can anyone remember the stagflation after Vietnam? I wonder why we have such a huge trade deficit since all those college grads and enriched Americans are swimming in wealth? I mean, where is that money going? Hmmmm, such a conundrum.

    Nice spin, Alex.

    Posted by: gergle at October 26, 2006 1:07 AM
    Comment #190384
    Don wrote: People make stupid decisions … Truth is, most people don’t need to have greater debt. I see it all around me … oeople making stupid financial choices. They buy houses that are beyond their means, new cars (instead of newer used), all the techo-crap they can find, cell phone contracts, cable TV, high-speed internet, and they eat meals out more than ever before. Debt is not a sign of poverty, but of financial stupidity.

    I do have to agree with that, for the most part.
    The fact is, the problem with government is due to a problem with the electorate.

    In a voting nation, the nation suffers, as we are now, when the electorate is so uneducated (or outright ignorant).

    BAD_Voters = BAD_Politicians = BAD_Government

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 26, 2006 1:08 AM
    Comment #190388

    Jack, Dont feel sorry for me, its by choice I dont have air conditioning. But do realize that just because technology has caused the electronics, that we seem to think defines us as better off, to have come down in price to the point most can afford to have a TV and VCR/DVD that we are better off than we were in the 1960’s and 70’s. Most other items we need to live in this day have went up in price relative to income for those hourly workers amongst us, things like housing, energy,transportation, health care and food.

    Posted by: j2t2 at October 26, 2006 1:28 AM
    Comment #190391
    Alex Fitzsimmons wrote: Despite the deceitful vitriol emphatically enunciated by the double-talking leftist blogosphere, who downplays the world’s most prolific economy and blames capitalism for all of America’s ills, credible evidence avows that America’s economy is thriving and that the capitalistic ideology advocated by Republicans is fostering innumerable wealth and prosperity not just for the affluent, but for all Americans.

    HHMmmmmm … Why didn’t you show this graph ?
    That’s all interesting, but it all over-looks a few things:

    • this illusion of a “good” economy is being funded by massive debt, borrowing, spending, and money-printing; something the Heritage foundation did not mention at all. There will eventually be a cost for that. It’s easy to look prosperous while you’re maxing out all your credit cards.

    • the federal government is still plundering Social Security surpluses to help prolong this illusion of a good economy.

    • there is an increasing number of workers per household.

    • median incomes have fallen since 1999

    • high healthcare costs and health insurance costs

    • increasing number of people without health insurance

    • healthcare is not only increasingly unaffordable, but dangerous. Pharmaceutical corporations and the FDA are becoming pill pushers that are killing hundreds of thousands in the U.S. annually. That does not even include the huge number of patients that are irreversibly damaged and maimed. JAMA reported that over 2.2 million hospitalized patients in 1994 had serious Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) and 106,000 were fatal, making these drug reactions the 5th or 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.! JAMA’s conclusion was that “the incidence of serious and fatal ADRs in U.S. hospitals was found to be extremely high”. On 27-July-2004, HealthGrades.com reported that “An average of 195,000 people in the U.S. died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a new study of 37 million patient records”. Part of the problem is the growing corpocrisy, corporatism, and influence of government by corporations. Healthcare solutions are needed.

    • many of the graphs and statistics only go to year 2004.

    • fuel prices; while they’ve fallen some lately, electricity costs are still sky high.

    • the net losses of $70 billion per year due to illegal immigration and burdens on schools, hospitals (many closing), law enforcement, prisons (29% of all incarcerated are illegal aliens), Medicaid (32% to 46% of illegal aliens receive welfare), voter fraud, crime, disease, and 2.3 million displaced American workers.

    • increasingly unaffordable college education; steadily falling numbers of graduates in science and engineering.

    • decreasing quailty and increasing cost of public education

    • the so-called networth in home equity is now disappearing as that bubble bursts, driving up foreclosures and bankruptcies.

    • Corporations are outsourcing and moving overseas (part of the reason for their profits)

    • Growing corpocrisy, corporatism, corporate welfare, in-league with FOR-SALE government, and corrupt, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians; 83% of federal campaign donations ($200 or more; $2.0 billion of $2.4 billion in 2004) come from only 0.15% of all eligible voters, proving that government is FOR SALE.

    • the unfunded costs of Katrina, Iraq, Afghanistan, Medicare, and Social Security liabilities.

    • a bad fiat money system that prints too much money, perpetuating the ever present, destabilizing inflation

    • $20 trillion of personal debt (nation-wide).

    The Heritage Report says people have more things, but fails to note the $20 trillion of personal debt. It also fails to recognize many of the other costs that have been temporarily delayed, such as the massive $22 trillion of federal debt. The Heritage Report says people’s net worth has increased, but it stops at 2004, and fails to factor in the current declining real-estate market. Seems to be, they overlooked quite a few things. If you look at the bigger picture, we are not getting ahead. We are digging a deep hole, and time will prove it.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 26, 2006 2:51 AM
    Comment #190395

    My Name Is Roger:

    JACK:

    Your 6:01 Comments were great, and I could not agree more.

    QUESTION FOR ANYBODY WHO MAY KNOW?

    Hispanics —> Do they usely vote Rupublican or Democrat?

    Muslims —> Do they vote… and if they do… do they usely vote Rupublican or Democrate?

    Roger A Conservative Christian Rupublican

    Posted by: ROGER at October 26, 2006 5:11 AM
    Comment #190396

    My Name Is Roger:

    DON AT OCTOBER:

    I agree with you.

    Years and years ago, when my wife and I got married…. we bought into the idea of having every type of credit card you could get your hands on, and use them for almost everything, instead of paying with cash or checks.

    Within a year… I hade to take out a lone on my new house… to pay off the credit cards.

    We cut them up and now we pay cash for everything.

    We save up to by things that most people make monthly payments for [except for or house] , which means that sometime we have to wate a little to get it, but we do get it, and without being debt.

    It has worked good for us so far, and I am not in debt.

    Roger A Conservative Christian Rupublican

    Posted by: ROGER at October 26, 2006 5:31 AM
    Comment #190399

    Roger,

    Good advice. That’s how I do it too. I do carry a home equity line of credit for emergencies, but I don’t have any credit cards. Check cards work fine in most situations.

    Posted by: Trent at October 26, 2006 7:12 AM
    Comment #190400

    Ladies and gentlmen, I find it amussing that there is really no discussion here it is one or two individuls who post factual data and then there are the extremist that see everything completely different. Facts are really not Facts to some here. Standard of living is really not standard for everyone and thus illousional. To loss $10,000.00 of ones investment is not poor investment on ones part rather just a FACT the the economy is going to hell in a hand basket. Blame from the left will always be the same rethrotic. Where is their own personal solution to the problem, “IT’s Time For A Change” mantra. I agree it is time for a change, it is time for those nay sayers to pull their head out of their fourt point of Contact, and do some serious research. Not trying to sway anyone here but the day I find that things are as bad as the left say, is the day I leave this country that I have served so long and try to find a deserted island where I dont have to worry about anyting from the left or right only the essential things for life. Really don’t see that happening but that is always an option. For all those who believe they are right, you probably are from your own perspective. So if you blame the economy, what have you done to improve it, do you buy US products, or do you buy the foriegn made things. I buy US products when ever possible and I have never owned a foreign made Auto. So once again, if the economy is so bad, are you helping retain manufacutering jobs here in America or are you helping those overseas. My take, buy American, Improve the Economy, Save an American Job.

    Posted by: Lacy at October 26, 2006 7:33 AM
    Comment #190405

    Trent:

    I take a slightly different approach, but with the same philosophy. I use credit cards for everything I possibly can, but I only buy what I can afford to pay off at the end of the month. The upshot is that I get a free loan of money for a short period of time, I get the convenience of not carrying cash, and I get free airline miles that allow me to go on vacation on the cheap.

    I never pay interest to the credit card companies, and I use their service. If everyone did as I do, the credit card companies would be out of business. It takes some discipline but its well worth it.

    And I never seem to be out of options with credit card companies plying me with offers to use their particular card.

    Posted by: joebagodonuts at October 26, 2006 9:24 AM
    Comment #190408

    After reading all this troubbling news produced by LIBERALS in th last 7 years my income has doubbled from 20,000 to over 40,000. I am not rich,
    in 1999 My portfolio was 0 now it is nearing 10,000 and climbing i might add. I feel safer and more secure now than i did under slick Willy.

    Posted by: Jeffrey at October 26, 2006 9:31 AM
    Comment #190410

    Woman

    I spend time in depressed rural areas. I know there are poor people, but there are not the kind of poor people you used to find a generation ago. Poverty has moved up scale. That grapes of wrath thing is no longer the case.

    Lacy

    If you lost 10,000 last year on investment, you did something wrong or were very unlucky because an investor who did nothing but buy an index fund made 10%.

    Some people cannot handle money. I do not mean that as an insult. I know lots of educated people who just make stupid moves all the time. But there is not much we can do about that. If you insist on buying a time share as in investment, you will soon be parted with your money. If you chase the big payoff you will soon be poor.

    Posted by: Jack at October 26, 2006 9:52 AM
    Comment #190411

    Jack, you missed the point I was making, I was refering to an earlier post about someone who stated they lost 10,000 last quarter and used this as justification for stating we have a bad economy. As a matter of fact, I saw my investment drop from 118,000 in 2000 to 67,000, before the market started to recover. Since the start of the recovery, the 67,000 has recovered and now the 118,000 is over 170,000.

    Posted by: Lacy at October 26, 2006 9:58 AM
    Comment #190413

    Well Jack, again you have proved my point. I responded to your post and you can still deny what I and others have posted and claim you have seen what you need to see and you know better.

    I’m not surprised.

    Is there anything like you used to find a generation ago? And to what specifically are you referring when you spout that? I’m interested. You asked specific questions about who I know, and I told you. There is apparently no one or nothing you believe except what is in your own little realm of experience. Everyone else must be wrong or misinterpreting your point.

    Too bad. And I was one of those poor people a generation ago so I recognize immediately what you supposedly are referring to, from personal experience.

    Posted by: womanmarine at October 26, 2006 10:05 AM
    Comment #190414

    Neo-Con Pilsner-
    One Economist a consensus does not make. Median income is down from 1999.

    Don-
    Sometimes that stupid decision is getting sick. I’m not going to go into details, but the last year for me has been a painful one. People are not perfect, and don’t have perfect foresight, and terrible things can happen to them just because they’re unlucky, or distracted trying to juggle all the other things life throws at them. If we start taking this unforgiving, moralist, elitist position about those who have experienced misfortune, the end result will be America hamstringing itself, as people waste their potential trying to fight back from their misfortunes rather than getting the helping hand they need to get back on their feet.

    On the subject of credit cards, the thing to understand is that the industry is an economic minefield. They charge usurious rates, pile on arbitrary fees, charge more to people simply because they’re having trouble elsewhere. People can usually keep up with it. The problem comes if as above, there’s a health crisis, or you get laid off, or something else happens. My family, fortunately, have not been big on credit cards.

    Most people keep things together, but they do so assuming that certain good conditions will remain. I can testify as to what can happen when that ceases to be true. And I can say that folks who moralize about these things should spend a weak in the shoes of folks like us.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 26, 2006 10:07 AM
    Comment #190415

    What would this “very good” economy be like if it were not for the $3 trillion of additional debt since 2000 ?
    You’d think we’d be doin’ much better for $3 trillion.

    FISCAL Year End Interest on National Debt
    2006 $405,872,109,315.83
    2005 $352,350,252,507.90
    2004 $321,566,323,971.29
    2003 $318,148,529,151.51
    2002 $332,536,958,599.42
    2001 $359,507,635,242.41
    2000 $361,997,734,302.36
    1999 $353,511,471,722.87
    1998 $363,823,722,920.26
    1997 $355,795,834,214.66
    1996 $343,955,076,695.15
    1995 $332,413,555,030.62

    For fiscal year 2006, interest on the National Debt is $405,872,109,315 .

    That’s 2.45 trillion in interest since 2000.

    Total $22 trillion of federal debt is 176% of $12.5 trillion GDP (that’s 176% of GDP; higher than 116% after WWII).

    And, some think that’s not a problem?
    Some say that is within “historical norms”, despite the fact that it’s much higher than after WWII ?

    All those that offer their OWN rosy anecdotal evidence do a disservice to those that aren’t doing as well, and ignores the facts, and ignores the massive debt, borrowing, spending, and money-printing being used to fund this illusion of a “very good” economy. Anyone can look prosperous while maxing out their credit cards. It’s a ponzi-scheme. There will be a high price for the massive $22 trillion in federal debt and $20 trillion of personal debt, which the Rose-colored glasses party wants to overlook.

    There’s no mystery as to why Republicans want to spin things Rosy. That’s what the “IN PARTY” always does, despite reality.

    This nation seems to have a debt problem.
    Not just the debt itself.
    Americans seem to think massive debt is OK.
    Some like to point to assets, but refuse to acknowledge that much of it is in over-priced real-estate (now falling in value).

    They’ll learn, but it’s most likely going to be the hard way. This $22 trillion of federal debt and $20 trillion of personal debt is (combined) almost double GDP. It has NEVER been worse. A number of important economic factors have never been worse than now. Anyone who thinks that this is all “very good”, or even “just fine” is delusional. We are reaching the point where we can not grow GDP, tax, immigrate, or print enough money to avoid the painful consequences of that much debt. And what is the real cost current and potential cost of the massive interest on that much debt? Americans are addicted to debt, and it’s very likely to end badly. Look for inflation to start climbing. Look for China and others investing in the U.S. National debt to slow buying our debt. Look for median wages to keep falling, and foreclosures to keep rising. And, in 2007, look for increased unemployment as more corporations move operations out of the U.S. One Federal Reserve economist (Jonathan Wright) estimates a 40% chance of a recession in 2007 with several planned layoffs already (10% at GM, 13% at Borg/Warner, 16% at Ford, 17% at Daimler/Chrysler, 10% at Hewlet Packard, 16,000 workers at Intel, recent layoffs at Sun, Microsoft, Borland, Oracle, Novell, Lenovo, SGI, etc.

    It’s not that complicated.

    Go get yourself 40 credit cards and run up debt that is 10 times your annual income (e.g. 10 = $22 trillion federal debt / $2.2. trillion annual revenues).
    That’s like a person with $100K annual income being in debt for $1 million. Does that sound reasonable to you?
    Do the math.
    That much debt is economic suicide.
    Can a nation commit suicide?
    That’s what we’re doing.
    This much fiscal and moral irresponsibility will have consequences. Just because they are here yet does not mean they never will. In an economy this size, things take a long time, fooling people to think they can keep being irresponsible forever. They’ll learn. Their education is on the way.

    An economic melt-down is not far fetched. Not at all. That is why my home is paid for and have no debt, and have diversified assets. Take those middle-income-class people with hundreds of thousands in debt, little (or no) equity, one or more children, and then lose their job. It seems like an American disease. Americans are addicted to debt, and there eventually will be a high price for that addiction. It leaves this nation very poorly prepared for the next economic meltdown (which occur every 2 to 11 years for the last 46 years).

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 26, 2006 10:24 AM
    Comment #190416

    phx8

    Actual praise fot Jimmy Carter! Unbelievable.. What happened to all of your doom and gloom stats from the last several years? On and on about how bad the economy is. What happened? We keep rolling on. Someday you may be right with your dire predictions. This year is not your year. Maybe next year. Hang in there. Someday you will be right. Most likely when taxes are raised by your fellow travelers.


    d.a.n.
    Your wealth envy is evident by your posts. You say you are okay, but things are bad for almost everyone else because of the “evil” corporations. Typical.

    Who forces ANYONE to take ANY drug? Maybe your education platform should include medications and their effects.

    d.a.n. said:
    In a voting nation, the nation suffers, as we are now, when the electorate is so uneducated (or outright ignorant).

    Agreed. More voter education is needed. When someone is informed on issues they usually vote for the best candidate. When they use emotion and wealth envy,or get their news from Entertainment Tonight, they vote another way. Libertarians throw away their vote, I wish that were not the case, but it’s true. I will not give up on the Libertarians, but to waste my vote now would do as much good as staying home.

    As far as healthcare goes, it isn’t difficult to figure out why it’s overpriced.

    http://www.townhall.com/columnists/JohnStossel/2006/10/25/getting_medical_insurance_from_your_boss_is_a_bad_idea

    Posted by: Spot on at October 26, 2006 10:26 AM
    Comment #190429
    Spot wrote: d.a.n. Your wealth envy is evident by your posts. You say you are okay, but things are bad for almost everyone else because of the “evil” corporations. Typical.

    Spot, your comment is completely unsubstantiated by any facts whatsoever. There is nothing I have ever written to substantiate your flawed conclusion. I do not envy anyone for merely being wealthy. Not at all. I do not ever try to disguise envy as claims for equality, like many that do.

    But, I do despise the unfair influence on government by some weatlthy (not all) that abuse their vast wealth, as evidenced by
    83% of all federal campaign donations (of $200 or more) that come from only a mere 0.15% of all eligible voters.

    That’s an unfair advantage.
    Government is NOT supposed to be FOR SALE.
    Also, it is some (not all) greedy owners of corporations that are controlling those in government that peddle influence,

    So, I despise greedy owners of some (not all) corporations that exploit people, cook the books, hire illegal aliens, pay obscene compensation to crooked CEOs, and pharmaceuticals that kill 195,000 people per year (in-league with the FDA).

    But, if you, Spot, condone and like that sort of thing, I can see why you draw such flawed conclusions.

    As for the high cost of healthcare and insurance, that’s a no-brainer. The article you provide a link to alludes to the situation. For years, I’ve been saying the problem with healthcare is the middlemen (government and insurance companies).
    An obvious solution is to stop paying all that money to do-nothing middlemen taking a huge cut of everything.

    Also, any vote for anyone other than an irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, do-nothing, look-the-other-way incumbent politician is NEVER a wasted vote. But, it is that mentality that helps perpetuate the ignorance of voters.

    Spot wrote: Who forces ANYONE to take ANY drug? Maybe your education platform should include medications and their effects.
    I do. See item (9).
  • Posted by: d.a.n at October 26, 2006 11:04 AM
    Comment #190432

    Spot,
    You cannot deal with the fact that Carter created over 10 million non-farm payroll jobs in just four years, while Bush has created about 3 million in six years, can you? Instead, you invoke the name of Jimmy Carter as if that were enough to justify that, somehow, everything is “rolling along.” It is rolling, though. We are on the back side of the recovery, and entering the next recession. Did you see that .6 core CPI number? 7% annualized inflation will not cut it. Another core CPI number like that, and interest rates will resume their climb.

    Some people focus on the debt as a reason for concern.

    I focus on job creation.

    Those are obvious factors in what is driving this next phase. The primary factor will be the decline in real estate, and frankly, it is not a field I understand very well. I refinanced the house and cashed out quite a bit.

    Will inflation keep real estate prices climbing? Will interest rates & foreclosures make prices fall?

    A very interesting number is the home ownership percentage. For the past few decades, the number climbed from @60% to 64%. Under Bush, it has increased three or four additional percent. Yet incomes are stagnant, and the savings rate actually has declined for the past two quarters, the first time since the Great Depression.

    I suspect a lot of new homeowners are relying upon creative forms of finance. Increasing interest rates will force foreclosures. What percentage of foreclosures is too much for the economy?

    Posted by: phx8 at October 26, 2006 11:15 AM
    Comment #190439

    Woman

    I know there are poor people. I say they are not poor as people used to be. I base that on my extensive travel. BUT I suppose there are people living in really poor conditions. I don’t care very much about that. I want to give people opporunities, but I know that not all can or will take them. I am not willing to throw out a good system because not everyone makes it.

    And the idea that this is somehow the creation of Bush is just silly. If a person does not have internal plumbing today, it is unlikely he had it in 2000.

    In the last generations, we have enjoyed fantastic economic and technical growth. Luxuries such as cars, tvs, airconditioning have become common. A generation ago, outdoor plumbing was the rule in many rural areas. No longer. You used to see actual hunger (i.e. skinny people w/o enough to eat)

    As you know, I lived overseas for about 15 years and I still travel a lot. There you see real widespread poverty. By U.S. physical standards (what people really can buy) many relatively well off countries are mostly in poverty. Most of E. Europe the buying power of a middle class family is below our poverty line. They do not have the pathologies of poverty and that is why it is not so bad, but if you are talking phyisical standards, it is poverty.

    Addressing the pathologies of poverty is another discussion. Welfare reform was a step in the right direction.

    I do not deny the fact that you may still find such people, but now you have to go looking for them. In the not too distant past, they were much more common.

    Phx8

    The unemployment rate today is 4.6%. What was it at the end of Carter? You also need to deal with lag times. Carter policies were operative until around 1982, just like we were living with Clinton priorities until about 2002.

    Posted by: Jack at October 26, 2006 11:33 AM
    Comment #190457

    Lacy-

    Did you know that my new Toyota is made in America and has over 80% of its parts made in America? Now compare that to any Ford or Chevy where you are lucky if 50% of the parts are made in America. It shows American corperate greed. They have outsourced so much of their manufacturing overseas that their quality and reliability suck. They could offer me 50% off and $5000 cash back on a $10K chevy and I still wouldn’t buy one for fear of losing my shirt in future maintenance costs.

    Want to support the economy? Buy Foreign cars! Toyota is building new factories in the states all the time while the big three export or close them.

    D.A.N.-

    Great posts…when did you turn into a communist? Since you said things were not rosy, you must be a communist, right? I mean, there is absolutely no middle ground.

    I’m obviously being sarcastic.

    Jack-

    The economy is doing pretty well, but it is being driven by productivity. This productivity is not being fairly rewarded as evidenced by the growing disparity between corperate profits and actual pay.

    It was no secret that after companies dropped all perks and benefits above the bare minimum that they would have more capital to play with. It was also never a secret that interest rates being low meant people had less incentive to invest. Blame it on people if you like, they are responsible for their own messes. But the government knew what it was doing when the rates were almost nothing. Then within a year the rates shot up, securities laws were changed so that institutional investors could invest in futures and commodities (artificially inflating prices across the board…screwing the little guy the whole way simply because they had to drive and eat), numerous large banks merged (making flipping balances impossible between the two), the bankruptcy laws changed, laws changed making REIT’s extremely attractive investments and even institutional investors could now help to overinflate real estate prices (effectively taking money out of the hands of normal buyers as prices inflated due to “flipping”), scores of people were sold on creative financing by irresponsible mortgage brokers, people have less medical coverage than ever before with higher deductables, etc.

    Don’t tell me that our government did not know what was going on. They didn’t give a shit about real people trying to make it (and no, people simply do not know everything about everything…they can be decieved). They listened to the banks, credit card companies, brokers and fund managers. And if you are honestly trying to BS me into believing that Gordon Gekko has my best interests at heart, then I refer you to the real world. I’m all for the free market when the government isn’t actively un-leveling the playing field.

    In the last 5-10 years, the middle class has been increasingly told to hire financial advisors and accountants, buy investment products, buy a house for a tax write-off, send every child to college, etc. Now these ARE positive things. But at every chance, the government changes the rules and pulls the carpet from underneath the little guy. Could planning have avoided the individual messes that people found themselves in? Yes. Are there only so many hours in a day? Yes. Were people putting their trust in professional advice? Yes. Was that professional advice endorsed by our government? Of course. Did that advice end up hurting people more than it helped? Yes, if you have less than vast amounts of liquid assets, you probably got taken for a ride, whereas if you had simply put your money in CD’s and avoided being nickle and dimed and having your accounts churned, you’d be better off.

    I still have my series 7 and series 66 licenses, and I had over 100 clients when I quit the industry solely because I could not stand having to give people bad advice in order to make money for myself. The advice was designed for rich people, and it is now mass marketed to people who do not need it. The government’s reaction to this? Make it even easier for the big players to manipulate the market and screw the small investors as well as the consumers. Name for me ONE piece of legislation in the last 6 years that has served to protect small investors from large ones? And let us not forget that the future retirement funds for almost every American is stuck in 401(K) plans or some other type of equity investment. So long as the big players are allowed to run the market, and so long as people like Jack look solely to the market numbers for answers about how real people are doing and then lie to people to keep their confidence up, chances are very good that a lot of people will get screwed. The government knows this, and they do nothing to close the loopholes. They even create more.

    But the stock market is up, and so everything is rosy, right? Jack?

    Posted by: Kevin23 at October 26, 2006 12:15 PM
    Comment #190463

    D.A.N.

    It almost sounds as though you can’t stand yourself for making a good living, and having the mental capacity to make financially sound decisions with your money. I’ve said it before, and I will keep saying it; What’s wrong with the wealthy getting tax breaks? Do they not pay taxes also? In fact, they pay the majority of taxes. If you and I get a refund, they should get one also. The refund size is directly proportional to your tax burden, and the amout paid in. People would have a much better quality of life if they stopped being obsessed with “Keeping up with the Joneses.” A lot of people say they have to have 2 incomes to survive, but that’s untrue. They have to have 2 incomes because they must have all of the newest toys, and “Keep up with the Jones”. I am 27 years old with 2 children, ages 4 and 2. My wife and I aren’t getting rich, but we make a ggod living one 1 income. I am an R.N., and my wife stays home with the kids. The only things we buy on credit is our car, and our house. We own 2 cars, but I drive the second car, which I paid cash for. We qualified for a much more expensive house than the one we are living in, but we diligently searched for a house that perfectly fit our needs. Like I said, we aren’t getting rich, but we are comfortable. I am getting ready to finish my Bacheor’s degree in Nursing, and after that, I will be pursuing my Master’s degree, to become a nurse anethesiologist. I DO NOT receive financial aide of any kind. I pay for these things my self, becuase I have learned how to live within my means. We have never taken a lavish vacation out of country, or anything like that. We shop clearance racks, and use coupons. Our closets are full of good clothes, and we never go hungry. We own 3 computers, 2 TV’s, 2 Xbox’s, 2 DVD players, approximately 75 DVDs, and about 30 XBOX games. I say all of this because if I could do it, so can other “dis-enfranchised” individuals. Opportunities are out there for people to make their lives better. The problem with society is that people are to lazy to put the work into it. They want someone to habd it to them, because Liberals have told them for years that it’s not their fault their life is so crappy, and that they lack the faculties to take care of themselves. Most Liberals treat people as if they are too dumb to know what to do with their own $$$, so it would be better to give all of our $$$ to the Libs, and let them spend it for us. When I was first in college, I was on public assistance. It was MY fault that my children were born during a time when we could ill-afford them. I busted my butt to get to where I am now. I am amazed at the people who get put on probation by the public assistance system because they simply won’t put the work into showing up for class, or doing homework, or whatever. They take no personal pride in themselves, because for many years, Libs have told them they are better off if the system takes care of them, rather than taking care of themselves. Cradle to the grave healthcare for everyone. What a ridiculous idea. I am thankful for the opprotunities that were afforded me. I have worked with a cardiologist from India that told me, “Only in America will this patient recieve an extensive cardiac work-up and treatment, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, paid for by the government. In India, this man would’ve already died.” Not only did the man receive the treatment, bu he received it for the 3rd time! He continually exacerbated his already diagnosed condition, and thanks to good ‘ole Uncle Sam, he didn’t have to worry about killing himself, because you and I, Joe Schmo Taxpayer, would pick up the tab to keep his lazy indolent ass alive. What I’m saying really all boils down to this: A good many of the “poor” people in this country are “poor”, (which is a relative term, by the way) because they refuse to seize the opportunities that are there for the taking. Public assistance in most places will reimburse your gas mileage for going to and from school and work, buy you a couple pairs of clothes to wear, buy you shoes, pay for books or tools or whatever you need, as well as other school supplies. It’s a travest that people can’t be motivated to take a more active interest in bettering their own lives, rather than waiting for the Federal/State government to do it for them. Like the Bible says, “God helps them that help themselves.”

    Posted by: Ryan D. at October 26, 2006 12:36 PM
    Comment #190468
    Jack wrote: I do not deny the fact that you may still find such people, but now you have to go looking for them.

    It’s going to get easier, as this nation, addicted to debt and crooked government, continues to foolishly threaten its own future. This nation no longer consists of your depression years generation. This nation is on a path of growing fiscal and moral bankruptcy.

    You’re right. Some of the supposedly poor are not as poor as some say. But, that is not the real problem, but only another symptom of a much larger problem. Not just government, but those that elect it too (and keep foolishly re-electing it). The problem is truly ALL of us (or most; some get it; but often, not enough; not until they (usually) have to learn the hard way).

    Always trying to put a Rosy spin on the economy and stuff is suspiciously partisan motivated. The “IN PARTY” always does this, and the “OUT PARTY” always tries to make it look worse than it is.

    But, it’s funny how the discussion, of late, even in the Rose-colored column, has gone from things are “good”, “very good”, and “just fine” to “the poor really aren’t that poor”.

    You are supposed to be happy that things are not worse. You should be happy that things are worse elsewhere. You should be content with mediocrity. Maybe so, since its all of our own making? But, that’s not the message. The message is spun to make the positive a result of the magnificent management of the economy by the current “IN PARTY”.

    Despite all the spin about this supposedly Rosy economy, there’s definitely a lack of acknowledgement about the $3 trillion of debt since 2000 to maintain the illusion of a “very good” economy, and the future consequences of all that massive debt, borrowing, spending, and money-printing. If you bring that up, they say, it is within historical norms. That’s only if you exclude all federal debt. And, even if you look at ONLY the $8.6 trillion National Debt alone, now at 69% of GDP, it has never been worse EVER except after WWII. If you include the total $22 trillion of federal debt, the debt is 176% of GDP, which has NEVER been worse, ever.

    There are a number of things that can’t be ignored.
    There are a number of things that have never been worse than now, EVER.
    Some have never been worse than the Great Depresssion.
    Some have never been worse than WWII.

    The BIG picture is NOT Rosy, even if it appears that way at the moment. Three or more decades of massive debt will eventually catch up with us.

    It would be nice if we had some real leadership, but that has to come from within, and it is unlikely with voters that are addicted to corrupt government and massive debt, and lack the education and foresight to see the growing potential for a hard lesson; the consequences of their own making.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 26, 2006 12:46 PM
    Comment #190472
    Like the Bible says, “God helps them that help themselves.”

    Uhhh… no. Try George Herbert or Algernon Sidney

    Posted by: LawnBoy at October 26, 2006 12:56 PM
    Comment #190474

    “The figure also shows that U.S. policies were relatively ineffective in supplementing poverty-level incomes to keep children out of poverty. After taking into account the taxes (including refundable taxes) and transfers, the U.S. still led the 16 developed countries in child poverty. On average, government taxes and transfers in the other 15 countries reduced child poverty significantly—by about half—dropping 10.4 percentage points to 10.7%. France had the largest redistributive decline of 20.2 percentage points to a child poverty rate of 7.5%. By contrast, the U.S. rate was reduced by just 4.7 percentage points to 21.9%—by far the highest child poverty rate of all 16 developed countries, even after government assistance.

    The contrast between the great wealth in the United States and such appallingly high child poverty rates is quite stark. The United States needs to make a strong commitment to reduce child poverty.”

    CHILD POVERTY IN THE U.S.

    Posted by: Lynne at October 26, 2006 12:57 PM
    Comment #190481

    Ryan D.

    “A lot of people say they have to have 2 incomes to survive, but that’s untrue. They have to have 2 incomes because they must have all of the newest toys, and “Keep up with the Jones””

    Well whoopedy doo for you. I guess now you speak for everyone in every situation. Well you know what? My wife has to work, we do not own our home, we NEVER eat out (or well for that matter), we both drive small cars, we have had the same clothes for as long as I can remember, and we live on a shoestring budget. Where does all the money go? Rent, Student Loans, monthly bills, gas, and babysitting.

    Get down off that high horse. You obviously don’t understand a damn thing about the problems people face as they try to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I never got any support at all from the bank of mom and dad, and I had to borrow to survive during my 7 years of school. Then the trade center fell and I lost any hope of finding a good job for a few years. Now we’re barely getting back on our feet. And now I have to read your ignorant ass comments about how I’m just too busy buying expensive sneakers to notice how easy it would be to keep my wife at home.

    Boy that kind of arrogance really irks me. And the fact that it is becoming the prevailing voice of my own party is the most disturbing part. Talk about out of touch…people like Ryan could care less about understanding reality…they just assume everyone has the same situation as them. The solution (and one I’ve heard increasingly being expressed by moderates lately), vote opposite of anyone arrogant enough to make a mockery of real problems.

    Posted by: Kevin23 at October 26, 2006 1:13 PM
    Comment #190491
    Ryan D. wrote: D.A.N. It almost sounds as though you can’t stand yourself for making a good living, and having the mental capacity to make financially sound decisions with your money.
    Pure nonsense. The only thing I feel guilty about is ever falling for and wallowing in the petty partisan warfare. It’s now all too clear that BOTH parties are irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other way, and voters keep foolishly re-electing them. Before you try to label me and stick me in one of your simpleton cubby-holes, look at my site and hundreds of posts. I’m no liberal or neo-con, but actually quite centrist with a slight libertarian leaning.
    Ryan D. wrote: I’ve said it before, and I will keep saying it; What’s wrong with the wealthy getting tax breaks? Do they not pay taxes also? In fact, they pay the majority of taxes.
    Ryan D., Nice spin, but that’s a lame ploy. The wealthy are not paying the same flat rate percentage, because the tax system is ridiculously perverted and full of loop holes. Captical gain taxes are only 10 to 15% which is below the average 21% tax rate.
    Ryan D. wrote: If you and I get a refund, they should get one also. The refund size is directly proportional to your tax burden, and the amout paid in.
    Wrong. The wealthy are not paying the same percentage. We need a fair tax system where everyone pays the same flat rate 17% income tax and only on income above the poverty level)
    Ryan D. wrote: People would have a much better quality of life if they stopped being obsessed with “Keeping up with the Joneses.”
    Agreed.
    Ryan D. wrote: A lot of people say they have to have 2 incomes to survive, but that’s untrue.
    False. It is increasingly necessary for the poor, as the ranks of the poor grow larger. However, they are mostly financially irresponsible. It’s an American disease.
    Ryan D. wrote: They have to have 2 incomes because they must have all of the newest toys, and “Keep up with the Jones”. I am 27 years old with 2 children, ages 4 and 2. My wife and I aren’t getting rich, but we make a ggod living one 1 income. I am an R.N., and my wife stays home with the kids. The only things we buy on credit is our car, and our house. We own 2 cars, but I drive the second car, which I paid cash for. We qualified for a much more expensive house than the one we are living in, but we diligently searched for a house that perfectly fit our needs. Like I said, we aren’t getting rich, but we are comfortable. I am getting ready to finish my Bacheor’s degree in Nursing, and after that, I will be pursuing my Master’s degree, to become a nurse anethesiologist. I DO NOT receive financial aide of any kind. I pay for these things my self, becuase I have learned how to live within my means. We have never taken a lavish vacation out of country, or anything like that. We shop clearance racks, and use coupons. Our closets are full of good clothes, and we never go hungry.
    Good. But, anecdotal evidence is not convincing.
    Ryan D. wrote: Opportunities are out there for people to make their lives better.
    True, but they are shrinking. My goal here is not to just blame Republicans or Democrats. It’s all of us. Those trying to label me liberal are missing the point because they are more interested in deflecting responsibility.
    Ryan D. wrote: The problem with society is that people are to lazy to put the work into it.
    True. I write about that very thing all the time. Education is needed, and it will come the smart way, or the hard way.
    Ryan D. wrote: They want someone to habd it to them, because Liberals have told them for years that it’s not their fault their life is so crappy, and that they lack the faculties to take care of themselves.
    True. That’s not me.
    Ryan D. wrote: They take no personal pride in themselves, because for many years, Libs have told them they are better off if the system takes care of them, rather than taking care of themselves. Cradle to the grave healthcare for everyone. What a ridiculous idea.
    True, that is ridiculous. I want government and the middlemen out of healthcare.
    Ryan D. wrote: I am thankful for the opprotunities that were afforded me… . What I’m saying really all boils down to this: A good many of the “poor” people in this country are “poor”, (which is a relative term, by the way) because they refuse to seize the opportunities that are there for the taking.”
    I’m not really concerned about the supposedly poor that really aren’t. The real issue is the nation as a whole. This stuff about the poor is a typical distracting tactic to cloud the issues and obscure the facts.

    The real concern is the real potential for an economic melt-down that will painfully affect YOU, your family, and the poor that really aren’t poor, and the real poor, and most middle-income-class people (i.e. all of us, except for maybe the very wealthy).

    Keep on this path of massive debt, borrowing, spending, and money-printing, and that will quite likely be the end result.

    D.A.N., Great posts…when did you turn into a communist? Since you said things were not rosy, you must be a communist, right? I mean, there is absolutely no middle ground. I’m obviously being sarcastic.
    : ) Thanks! Well, I didn’t know I was a communist. That only seems to happen in the Rose-colored column where the blind loyalists of the Rose-colored “IN PARTY” resides with their Rose-colored glasses, forever trying to spin a Rosy picture all attributable to their vastly superior Rose-colored Republican party. Still, none of them want to touch the $22 trillion of federal debt with a 10 foot pole. If they do, they’ll try to tell you GDP growth will absorb it. Or, that it is still within historical norms (which it isn’t), or that we don’t need to ever reduce the debt (just keep paying over $1 billion per day in interest; what a waste), etc. All nonsense. The $22 trillion of federal debt is a ticking time bomb, so all the talk about this supposedly rosy economy is pointless, since it is really an illusion being funded with massive, irresponsible borrowing, spending, debt, and money-printing.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at October 26, 2006 1:29 PM
    Comment #190496

    One doesn’t go to the American Heritage Foundation for the simple, unadulterated truth, as they have a definite political bent and work very hard to promote it. You would be better off citing government statistics, but I guess your handlers don’t spoonfeed you those data.

    In any event, try to focus on what really affects people. You do realize that wealth and household income has only been increasing for the very wealthiest, don’t you? If not, you need to question why you are not being spoonfed those data by your favorite “fair and balanced” sources. Do a little research on your own, don’t just cherrypick the already cherrypicked factoids from right-wing think tanks. Doesn’t speak well of you.

    Posted by: m at October 26, 2006 1:36 PM
    Comment #190497

    D.A.N.

    If what you say is accurate, and I will say here that I have not done the research to know whether it is or not, How do you propose to shrink the deficit? My gut tells me your #1 priority would be to defund the Iraq war and bring them all home, but I would classify that as an unacceptable choice, in my opinion. What programs should we cut? Just asking, don’t mean to be hostile. It just seems as though I’m hearing a lot of criticism, without any suggestions. That’s just criticism, but not constructive criticism.

    Posted by: Ryan D. at October 26, 2006 1:37 PM
    Comment #190498

    One doesn’t go to the American Heritage Foundation for the simple, unadulterated truth, as they have a definite political bent and work very hard to promote it. You would be better off citing government statistics, but I guess your handlers don’t spoonfeed you those data.

    In any event, try to focus on what really affects people. You do realize that wealth and household income has only been increasing for the very wealthiest, don’t you? If not, you need to question why you are not being spoonfed those data by your favorite “fair and balanced” sources. Do a little research on your own, don’t just cherrypick the already cherrypicked factoids from right-wing think tanks. Doesn’t speak well of you.

    Posted by: mental wimp at October 26, 2006 1:38 PM
    Comment #190499

    My Name Is Roger

    LAWNBOY:

    I know you are about to say [ Roger is a real pain in the butt], but nowhere… does the Bible say………………………………………..

    GOD HELPES THEM WHO HELP THEMSELVES

    It is probably the most quoted verse that IS NOT in the Bible.

    If perhaps I am wrong, could you tell me were the verse is?

    If you fine it [ oopps ]

    Roger A Conservative Christian Rupublican

    P.S.

    Would you like to know what the second most Quoted verse is…. that is not in the Bible ?

    Posted by: ROGER at October 26, 2006 1:39 PM
    Comment #190504

    Roger,

    I’m confused. I pointed out the source of the quote (originally the idea was from George Herbert, but the exact phrase is from Algernon Sidney), and it’s not in the Bible. Are you agreeing with me or disagreeing with me?

    Posted by: LawnBoy at October 26, 2006 1:50 PM
    Comment #190505

    m,
    Thank you! Yes, look at the big picture, and don’t forget to notice how some avoid the discussion of the masssive debt, borrowing, spending, and money-printing. Ask ‘em about that and then observe the spin about it not being a problem, it was larger in WWII with respect to GDP (which is false unless you ONLY include the $8.6 trillion National Debt). Or, they might say, “your right, it’s a problem”, and then drop it like a hot potato. Nevermind that this one thing has the real potential to cause problems for many decades to come. It’s certainly not helping make the nation more secure. Of course, BOTH parties ran up that debt, but this administration has set some new records, and there’s still two years left. Yikes!
    And they call the economy their trump card?

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 26, 2006 1:51 PM
    Comment #190509

    Jack:

    I know there are poor people. I say they are not poor as people used to be. I base that on my extensive travel. BUT I suppose there are people living in really poor conditions.

    Your uncanny ability to gloss over and belittle the realities of others is amazing. You asked an outright specific question and I answered it very plainly.

    And the idea that this is somehow the creation of Bush is just silly.

    There you go, putting words in my mouth again. I sometimes think you only listen to points of view that agree with your own. You ignore completely what other folks tell as their experiences.

    I don’t care very much about that.

    This is the only thing you posted that I agree with.

    I grew up in the poverty of a generation ago that you refer to, including outdoor plumbing and no running water, and all the other things I suspect you are referring to. So I certainly recognize it when I see it. You really need to give others credit for their experiences also if you honestly want an overall picture.

    Posted by: womanmarine at October 26, 2006 2:04 PM
    Comment #190511
    Ryan D., D.A.N. If what you say is accurate, and I will say here that I have not done the research to know whether it is or not, How do you propose to shrink the deficit? My gut tells me your #1 priority would be to defund the Iraq war and bring them all home, but I would classify that as an unacceptable choice, in my opinion.
    Ryan D., The $350 billion spent thus far on Iraq (since 2003) is only a part of the problem. Interest only the $8.6 trillion National Debt is more than that per year. If you think Iraq is the only problem, your mistaken. However, I think we need to start pulling out of Iraq. The war was a mistake; started on flawed (or trumped up) intelligence. The U.S. has made so many blunders, many of the same blunders as in Vietnam and Korea. Are you so sure this problem is fixable? If so, are you so sure the U.S. can fix it? In my opinion, Iraqis will have their civil war with or without us. Nation building is not worth the lives of any more Americans. Most of the violence in Iraq is sectarian violence and/or civil war. Even 200,000 more U.S. troops may not stop that, and nation building is wrong to use our U.S. troops that way. Let the U.N. get involved (yeah, they U.N. is a joke), but many Iraqis see things getting worse and want the U.S. to leave. It’s a quagmire, Bush and Congress started it based on flawed (or trumped up) intelligence, and it was a mistake. Things could have gone much better in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not when politicians started sabotaging everything (just like in Vietnam), and essentially guaranteeing no chance for success in either place.

    Besides, the Iraqi people are also responsible for their predicament too. They choose to fight among themselves, regardless of the 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. We’ve been there long enough, there are few terrorists left, there are 26 million Iraqis, and it is time for the U.S. to pull out.

    The U.S. needs to mend its ways now. Otherwise, how can the U.S. ever be trusted in a world that has already witnessed our lies and horrific blunders; not just within Iraq, but in Vietnam , Afghanistan , Kosovo, in Rwanda , Bosnia , Iran , Korea, and Iraq in the 1980s and 1990s? We are partly if not completely responsible for some of these messes. This U.S. history does not bode well. Too often, we have ignored the covert and overt actions of our government; the overthrowing of democratically-elected leaders to orchestrate the control of corrupt puppet governments.

    We Americans have, for much too long, turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to our leaders, who have betrayed our innocence, our gullibility, our willingness to accept what we’re told. We can no longer claim ignorance. We need to be true liberators; not oppressors.

    Every American citizen must help to energize and educate their fellow man, woman, and child. Ignorance, dear friends, is not an excuse.

    “If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1967).

    Ryan D. wrote: What programs should we cut? Just asking, don’t mean to be hostile. It just seems as though I’m hearing a lot of criticism, without any suggestions. That’s just criticism, but not constructive criticism.
    Ryan D., Funny … since I probably offer more solutions than most. I’m not all about problems, but solutions too. You have prematurely drawn that conclusion without looking at my hundreds of comments, nor my site. Unfortunately, I know those solutions will never happen as long as government is irresponsible, and voters keep re-electing, rewarding, and empoowering irresponsible, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way incumbent politicians. Cut pork-barrel, waste, and end the war in Iraq. Fix the tax system. Stop the massive borrowing, spending, and money-printing. … more solutions … Posted by: d.a.n at October 26, 2006 2:06 PM
    Comment #190522

    Alex and others,


    Uh…Who is holding the creditor paper on America right now? Who is that Bush and the republicans have sold our economic souls to?

    Give you a hint: Starts with a C and ends with an A and they tolerate us more than like us. Their Human Rights record is even worse than what we did to central and South America during the cold-war and they are eventually going to step on Taiwan like a bug and we won’t be able to stop them because of how much direct pull these republicans are giving them in the form of our debt!!!!

    The Democrats wanted to use the surplus in the budget in the late ninties on paying DOWN the debt. That single action would have contributed more to our safety and welfare than anything that has been done since. Now we have a lunatic adminisration supported by an assylum of nasties who are running up more deficeit and more debt than has ever been run up before in all of the history of our great nation COMBINED!!!!

    …Feel safer, do ya?

    Posted by: RGF at October 26, 2006 2:35 PM
    Comment #190533

    Yes, we have this “expansion” based on the money we borrow from overseas. The reason our economy stays afloat is that our wages have stagnated and our borrowing, both by the government and by individuals is at all time highs. The expansion is false by almost any measure.

    Wages down. Individual equity down. Individual debt at all time highs. Some expansion Alex.

    Yes, we do enjoy things past generations never dreamed of. They also never dreamed of mortgaging their futures for disposable consumer goods as this generation does. They saved.

    The reason we cannot pressure China to do anything about North Korea is that THEY OWN US NOW. The Republican’s inability to actually govern this country has lead to unprecedented borrowing from overseas. This has crippled our nation, and will continue to do so.

    Presidents always get too much credit and blame for the economy. If you think the half wits in congress from both parties are in any way responsible for our economy, you are delusional.

    Our economic policies are set by, and for the benefit of, corporations. They are transnational and hold no allegiance to our nation. That is why economic indicators that look good to them have no bearing on the everyday lives of most Americans.

    Enjoy your dream world Alex. Your blatant partisanship, and those from both sides of “the aisle” that parrot talking points from both parties is what is wrong with this country.


    Posted by: Frank at October 26, 2006 3:10 PM
    Comment #190547

    To the person who scorchingly and angrily told me to get down off of my high horse:

    I was never given any assistance from the bank of mom and dad. I am sorry for your predicament of not being able to find a good job. I truly am. And I hope that you find not just a good job, but a job that you really like as well, sooner rather than later. All I was trying to say is that in MOST cases, a 2 income household is not necessary, if people would learn to live within their means. Government included. I’m pissed as hell that our representatives continue to get paid, even when the budget is unbalanced. Yes, Bush is exacerbating the problem with the war in Iraq, but there are other nonsensical items that could be stricken from the budget to help offset this expenditure. I really don’t appreciate the fact that decided to call me names and try to insult me personally. You will notice that I have not done the same to you. I have not lived at home since I was 17. I have lived out of my car for a time. So please don’t tell me I know nothing about pulling myself up by the bootstraps. I know nothing BUT pulling myself up by the bootstraps. I was not trying to attack you personally. All I was trying to say was that the vast majority of the poor in America STAY poor because they choose to. There are opportunities for advancement, which a lot of people shy away from because it might mean they might have to get up off the couch and actually DO something. They refuse to take personal responsibility for their situation. I’m not saying that this applies to you. I understand that life happens, and times get tough. I thank God that my family has been blessed enough that we are past our hardest times. there were times when all we had in our house was a large bag of pinto beans. I realize that not everyone’s situation is the same. I also realize that you’re not ever going go anywhere if you first don’t decide to get up and start walking. I don’t mean that toward you personally, I just mean in general.

    Posted by: Ryan D. at October 26, 2006 4:23 PM
    Comment #190549
    All I was trying to say was that the vast majority of the poor in America STAY poor because they choose to.

    You blow it right there.

    Posted by: womanmarine at October 26, 2006 4:50 PM
    Comment #190552

    Here is a choice stat from the Tax Policy Institute:

    56.3% of the benefits from the tax reduction in dividends and capital gains went to .59%, or 877,000, of the population with incomes of over $1 million.

    Of course, an enormous amount of wealth is concentrated in forms which do not generate taxable income. But for the other 299,123,000 Americans, you know, the ones who do not belong to the 877,000 receiving $1 million in taxable revenue, your children will pay INTEREST for the money borrowed to finance these deficits, caused in part by these tax cuts. And a large portion of that interest will be paid to foreign governments, notably China.

    Posted by: phx8 at October 26, 2006 5:02 PM
    Comment #190556

    Lynne,

    I’m sorry. Just an observation. If you can travel this country and tell me that 20% ( 1 in 5 ) children live in poverty, you need to get new glasses.

    Posted by: Keith at October 26, 2006 5:06 PM
    Comment #190566

    Keith,

    You don’t get out much, do you?

    You may be blind to it, but there is a huge minority living hand-to-mouth in this country, both in urban and in rural areas. They are largely under-educated folks of all races, and they are trying to feed a family with minimum wage jobs.
    I have traveled this country, and I have seen the “shacks” they call home.

    And it doesn’t take 20-20 vision to see them.

    Posted by: Rocky at October 26, 2006 5:38 PM
    Comment #190573

    Ryan D.-
    While its true that people need to watch their finances, not everybody can keep things together, even with their best efforts. It’s easier to live the way you describe when you’re young, healthy, and haven’t got use to better. A person with a home might not be able to make the unsentimental decision to just let go of it, for example.

    It’s good to preserve individualism in this country, but that individualism, paradoxically enough, needs good communities to thrive. If we can’t count on help from others when misfortune strikes, then we as a culture become less able to take the risks that truly mark individualism.

    There’s no good cause to be unforgiving with those in bad economic straits, because time and fortune may conspire to land us in that same spot eventually. We can only hope then that we’ll have some help from others to aid our own efforts.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 26, 2006 6:32 PM
    Comment #190574

    Stephen Daugherty

    At what point was I unforgiving? I got where I am today because I got tired of being sick and tired. All i am trying to say is that the opportunities are there to try and better yourself, and that a lot of people aren’t taking advantage of them, because they are lazy. I understand that there are cases where there are extreme extenuating circumstances, and I don’t begrudge people those circumstances. It’s laughable to think we need to help these people who refuse to stand up and help themselves. when someone asks me for money, I give them an ink pen to go fill out a job application. It’s not a difficult concept. If more people took responsibility for themselves, and quit blaming everyone but the problem for the predicament that they are in, their life situations would turn around in a hurry. Why do some of you try and make it sound like America is the most repressed economically defunct nation on the face of the earth?

    Posted by: Ryan D. at October 26, 2006 6:49 PM
    Comment #190577

    Misfortunes often enter through the door left open for them.

    Posted by: Jack at October 26, 2006 7:10 PM
    Comment #190578

    Well,I have been reading all of this and continue to be amazed at how people can look at the same data or situation and see it in an entirely different light. It is frustrating as both can’t be right and both most likely aren’t entirely wrong….it is most likely somewhere in the middle but no one can argue from other than a partisan viewpoint.

    One fact that I find interesting is the increase in federal revenues since the Bush backed tax cuts. I think it is somewhere around 12-14% increase in revenues. Imagine that. You cut the tax rate and you increase the tax revenue. Kind of counter intuitive isn’t it. It works every time it is tried. The people screaming for higher taxes on the rich don’t ever say that something like 50% of the tax reveune comes from the top 5% of wage earners. (I may be off there a bit but it is something like that)

    The argument seems to be rather than come up with tax policy that provides the revenues needed, it is to tax the rich (whatever the definition of rich is) and the dead and make sure the rich are soaked even more more to help support the needs of the country. Tax cuts increase revenues!! Everyone write it down, because it works every time.

    Job creation….please. The unemployment is 4.6% which by most definitions I have read, is full employment, certainly by any historical standards.
    If a person wants a job, is willing to work and be trained to do what is required, he can’t get job. It is ridiculous to argue that Bush’s adminstration has only created 3 million jobs versus 6 million under Carter. What are you smoking. We had and extremely high inflation rate under Carter that ate away at real earnings. Jimmy Carter was a disaster as President and continues that way. Quite likely no one worse in our country’s history. He was in way over his head and most that look at that period with any objectivity can see that.

    The best you can say about Clinton is he didn’t screw up (bad terminology) what Reagan started.

    Finally, you Lefties just don’t get what we are faced with in the war we are engaged in. All the above stuff and health care, child poverty, etc is meaningless if we are dead or can’t live in freedom and security. Mistakes have been made…who can say not. I’m often reminded of the 5,000 men lost at Normandy and what a horror that was….and yet today the Left would have had Eisenhower’s head if that had happened. We have to defeat (I truly don’t know how we will do it when we are so divided) these terrorists. Just imagine if the world could all unite behind an effort to eradicate people that want to kill us because we believe differently. The Russkies, the French, the Germans, the Spaniards, Brazilians etc. We could defeat these people in a matter of months. But no, the left has such hold on the thinking of so many, it won’t happen and we will one day face another disaster like 9/11. Wake up you guys….we are in a life or death situation in the world and you are fighting over deck chairs on the Titantic!!

    Posted by: Charger at October 26, 2006 7:17 PM
    Comment #190579

    JACK

    Well said, my friend. Don’t blame others for being hungry if you won’t walk to the refrigerator. i find it interesting that a couple of people really wanted to scathingly take me to task for voicing my opinion, and relating a little bit of my unfortunate background.

    Posted by: Ryan D. at October 26, 2006 7:18 PM
    Comment #190580

    Ryan,
    We are not an economically defunct nation. In fact, just the opposite is true; we are a strong nation, with the capacity to do a great deal to help each other.

    More often than not, extremely wealthy people do not need a helping hand. They have reaped the benefits of being an American to the fullest extent, often because of the opportunity which the infrastructure of our society provides.

    It is just and fair to ask the very wealthiest among us to contribute to that society, to contribute in proportion to the benefits which those very wealthiest have reaped.

    That is what happens in a strong nation. The economically strongest pay it back by helping others. This is what happens with progressive taxation.

    Posted by: phx8 at October 26, 2006 7:19 PM
    Comment #190584
    One fact that I find interesting is the increase in federal revenues since the Bush backed tax cuts. I think it is somewhere around 12-14% increase in revenues. Imagine that. You cut the tax rate and you increase the tax revenue.

    Do you have a reference for this? I believe that corporate taxes are higher than they were before, but I’ve seen nothing for individual taxes or (importantly) for overall revenue that supports this claim.

    The people screaming for higher taxes on the rich don’t ever say that something like 50% of the tax reveune comes from the top 5% of wage earners.

    And the people that complain that 5% of the people pay 50% of the taxes don’t ever note that they pay that much because they earn 45% of the total income (not the actual numbers).

    Tax cuts increase revenues!! Everyone write it down, because it works every time.

    It’s oft repeated, but it’s just not true.

    Posted by: LawnBoy at October 26, 2006 7:25 PM
    Comment #190587

    Jack,

    What? The best you can do is come up with some blurb from a fortune cookie? Have you been eating at Chinese restaurants lately?

    Posted by: Dave1-20-09 at October 26, 2006 7:37 PM
    Comment #190588

    Ryan D-

    “All i am trying to say is that the opportunities are there to try and better yourself, and that a lot of people aren’t taking advantage of them, because they are lazy.”

    OK. You know what? You’re right about that. I shouldn’t have got quite so testy because I admit I half agree with most of what you are saying. It also offends me when people take public assistance for granted, or do nothing to actively better themselves despite obvious benefits and a plethora of opportunities. Making ends meat in this country is not nearly as difficult as it is in most of the world. But the minimum standards in this nation are rising faster than income. This is, of course, unquantifiable. But a quick look at the rise in credit shows that people really feel a need to spend more than they earn, and it is getting worst. So you can either blame them and be done. Or you can try and see why a prosperous economy is not translating to an equally prosperous working class. Has government intervention played a role? In this case, definately, yes!

    In regards to your post, I do take issue with the idea that the average family can survive with one income. I think those days are long since gone in most American cities and suburbs. Point is, to blame everything on people and accuse people of promoting some kind of socialist entitlement regime every time they get upset about legislation that adversely effects them, which some have done in this thread, is non-sense.

    The government is pro-actively working for the benefit of the privileged. Every change in law that has been touted as a stimulus for the economy has served to make it easier for the average person to be decieved, and made it harder for them to get out of trouble. And changing the rules on people who make decisions in reliance on them does, in fact, screw real people every day.

    I’m not big on excuses, but I am big on a government working for the people and certainly not against them. My post to Jack above outlines the government actions I take issue with. And the fact that they all happened in a short time span tells me that something stinks in Washington. I ask this. Is there one thing this congress or this president has done that has actually helped middle class people more than it has helped rich people? If not, then the problem is being exacerbated rather than helped.

    Basically, Ryan, I’m upset that the economy is being used by some republicans in such an irresponsible way. This cherry picking of already tainted data doesn’t amount to much in my book. The economy is doing well on the backs of people who are not sharing the benefits. What’s more? Our leaders keep actively finding more ways to squeeze people so that companies can continue to leverage their unregulated buyouts and mergers. The stock market is now almost completely unrelated to reality. Corperate America is becoming less about America and more about rich investors…and the government is promoting this behavoir with incentives and a sweeping non-enforcement of the law. That is wrong.

    “Why do some of you try and make it sound like America is the most repressed economically defunct nation on the face of the earth?”

    It is the pride talking. We all take pride, we just respond differently to adversity. Some cry “doom and gloom” and some pretend everything is ok. I try to stay in the middle, because that is reality. But I do get personally offended at times, and in this case I lashed out at your words for their inapplicability to my own struggles at the moment. I do concede that had I have read them in the context of some other people I have known, I would completely agree with your sentiments. But blaming people, even rightfully so, usually leads to nothing of benefit to anyone.

    Posted by: Kevin23 at October 26, 2006 7:38 PM
    Comment #190591

    RGF-

    A great point about US debt ownership.

    Posted by: Kevin23 at October 26, 2006 7:53 PM
    Comment #190599

    Ryan D.-
    Look, I’m not for people becoming dependent on Welfare, or anything like that. It should be temporary at the very least. I agree with Welfare reform to that extent.

    But let me put this plainly: There seems to be an assumption on your part that what a lot of people, a lot of liberals want is to give people with no initiative money to loaf off.

    Truth is, no. But if the alternative is a job that pays any less, then getting off of welfare doesn’t make sense. There are actually people who are forced to live on public assistance because the cost of living exceeds the salary they are given. We are literally subsidizing some companies for underpaying their workers. That’s got to stop. People should be able to live on a days minimum wage.

    I think our economy’s dysfunctional, but in no way defunct. I think its out of balance, but once we address such inequalities, we’ll have a fantastic time of it. The greatest economic booms of our time have been those that bring the most people the greatest prosperity. When wealth and power concentrates at the top, it’s like hardening of the arteries for the economy.

    Fairness is what we’re after, not decadence.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 26, 2006 8:18 PM
    Comment #190604

    Stephen

    Maybe it’s not the wages of the job that are not enough, maybe it is that we are giving them too much in the way of free benefits.

    What is your definition of fair?

    Posted by: Keith at October 26, 2006 8:59 PM
    Comment #190607

    Dave 1

    Actually it is a Polish saying, one my father used to tell me. It is generally true.

    If you have “bad luck” your whole life, maybe you should examine what you are doing wrong.

    Posted by: Jack at October 26, 2006 9:09 PM
    Comment #190609
    I think our economy’s dysfunctional, but in no way defunct. I think its out of balance, but once we address such inequalities, we’ll have a fantastic time of it. The greatest economic booms of our time have been those that bring the most people the greatest prosperity. When wealth and power concentrates at the top, it’s like hardening of the arteries for the economy. Fairness is what we’re after, not decadence.

    I don’t mean to rain on your parade. I like your optimism, but the debt, borrowing, spending, and money-printing situation is more serious than most Americans realize. They do NOT understand the long term consequences being heaped upon them by an administration that is doing so just to make things appear rosy.

    If you understand the math, the economics, and the massive accumulative interest, and limited GDP growth, you need to speak out now, and help educate those around you. Otherwise, YOU will suffer the consequences of your own negligence. Do the math. $22 trillion of federal debt is no laughing matter. $20 trillion of nation-wide personal debt is not laughing matter. It can NOT last much longer. This illusion of a “very good” economy can not last much longer.

    Ask yourself this.
    Why would responsible politicians and their hacks work so hard to down-play the massive debt?

    It is NOT because it’s nothing to worry about. It’s because they don’t want YOU to know how bad it is. All politicians care about is another 2, 4, or 6 years. That’s all. That’s why they report the National Debt as only $8.6 trillion, but conveniently fail to recognize the total $22 trillion of federal debt.

    Look at the nation’s pressing problems, and then look at your do-nothing, FOR-SALE, bought-and-paid-for, look-the-other-way Congress, and ask yourself: Does this incumbent politian deserve my vote (again)? Does this incumbent politician deserve to be re-elected again ? What’s more important? Experience (most at screwing us), or the understanding that their career will be short if they are irresponsible too?

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 26, 2006 9:15 PM
    Comment #190613

    Jack,

    “If you have “bad luck” your whole life, maybe you should examine what you are doing wrong.”


    While I agree with your concept, there are folks out there that will never have your capacity for introspection.

    There will always be poor (I think that’s in the Bible somewhere).
    Some by choice, others by circumstance. Many will only need a leg up, some will need constant support.

    How we treat others of lesser luck is how we can judge ourselves.

    Posted by: Rocky at October 26, 2006 9:27 PM
    Comment #190619

    Actually, how to treat the poor is one of the great lessons of both the OT and NT. Remember that Jesus and his followers walked through fields eating what remained of a harvest because OT law permitted the poor to glean the fields. (And I know the “lesson” of that passage has to do with “working” on the Sabbath.”

    Posted by: Trent at October 26, 2006 9:40 PM
    Comment #190627

    Rocky and Trent

    It still begs the question re what to do about it.

    Some people just cannot handle money. They throw it away and/or cannot figure out how to make it in the first place. What do you do about them? Do you give them more? It is like running water down a rat hole.

    Let me personalize again (sorry womanmarine).

    I have a colleague and friend who came into my profession with me. He has been a little more successful than I have been in the job. He earns a couple thousand more a year. But he has zero money sense. He keeps on investing in truly stupid schemes and swings between the twin errors of being too cautious and throwing caution to the winds. He also lives high on the hog, taking expensive vacations and driving nice cars. I have enough savings to retire comfortably and can afford to invest in forest land etc. He has nothing much to show for 22 years of professional life. His lack of fortune is behavior based.

    It is kind of a management issue. We can help the habitually poor, but we really should not let them make decisions until they learn how to do it right. What is right? That is up to the individual involved, unless they ask others to pay for it.

    Posted by: Jack at October 26, 2006 10:12 PM
    Comment #190628

    Jack,

    “It still begs the question re what to do about it.”

    My point isn’t just to give money away.

    Those that truly need it will have to accept a money card that is only good for food and the other necessities (utilities, rent, etc.). This card can be linked to the cost of living in the area they reside.

    Time and again we are told that minimum wage jobs are merely “entry” level jobs, yet there are still people that are incapable (for whatever reason) of stepping up from that minimum wage to something better, and are still trying to support their families an two or three jobs.

    Posted by: Rocky at October 26, 2006 10:25 PM
    Comment #190630

    Jack,

    Maybe because I’m able-bodied and have always survived by working (I also had to work my way through college — no free lunch for me), I don’t have much sympathy for able-bodied individuals who don’t want to work. But the classic case of the working poor is the single mother with children who, despite her best efforts, can’t afford what she needs to take care of her kids. We can say she should never have had kids, but the fact is, she did, and, classically, the father has cut out on her. I don’t want them kids to starve. Right now welfare is designed to help people like her learn a marketable skill within a certain number of years and then the help is cut off. I don’t have a problem with that, on principle. Cheats and such — throw the book at ‘em. We can debate specifics and such, but that’s kind of where I am.

    There are also those people who are retarded or mentally ill — I think it is a measure of our society how we treat them, etc. I suspect we don’t really disagree that much.

    Posted by: Trent at October 26, 2006 10:26 PM
    Comment #190632
    Jack wrote: It still begs the question re what to do about it. Some people just cannot handle money. They throw it away and/or cannot figure out how to make it in the first place.

    Well, one thing NOT to do is follow the example of irresponsible, massive borrowing, debt, and spending like the federal government that has run up $22 trillion in debt ($8.6 trillion National Debt, $12.8 Social Security Debt, $450 billion PBGC debt, hundreds of billions of unfunded Medicare and Medicaid debt, hundreds of billions of unfunded Afghanistan and Iraq debt, and hundreds of billions of unfunded Katrina/Rita debt, etc.).

    $42 trillion (or more) is not the solution.
    But government growing debt and the size of government to nightmare proportions.

    Weren’t Republicans were supposed to be for smaller government? ? ?
    Weren’t Republicans were supposed to be for less government? ? ?
    Weren’t Republicans were supposed to be for less intrusive government? ? ?
    Weren’t Republicans were supposed to be for fair taxation ? ? ?
    Weren’t Republicans were supposed to be against nation building ? ? ?
    Weren’t Republicans were supposed to be for less debt, spending, borrowing, and money-printing ? ? ?
    Weren’t Republicans were supposed to be for a strong defense (but fail to secure borders and ports) ? ? ?
    Weren’t Republicans were supposed to be for fair trade, business, and free markets (but have fueled more corpocrisy, corpoartism, corporate welfare, and an elitist government) ? ? ?

    Now, perhaps you can understand why this 30 year Republican is no longer a Republican. I don’t just disagree with this Republican administration, but I am enraged with the extreme irresponsibility of this administration. They no longer stand for the things they claim to stand for. The only consolation for Republicrooks is that Democraps are equally bad. Both are crooked, irresponsible, and only care about their own cu$hy, coveted seats of power … not America. As far as I’m concerned, they are traitors. But, so are the voters that keep re-electing them.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 26, 2006 10:34 PM
    Comment #190635

    Trent and Rocky

    I do not think we disagree that much.

    I feel uncomfortable with the free choice problem. If people are habitually poor, they probably are making bad choices. You do not want to throw good money after bad. But if we make the choices for them, they never learn to make choices.

    There is a conflict between freedom and caring for people. If we are not going to be responsible for someone, we do not have to care what they do. If we are going to get stuck for their mistakes, we want to constrain their choices.

    A classic case is parents and children. Parents really care what happens to their kids, so they try to control all the risks. If you want to hitchhike to Patagonia, I think that might be a good and interesting thing for you to do. I would be less enthusiastic if my daugher wanted to do the same.

    I am very “liberal” in the traditional sense, in that I do not care what choices people make. I can be that way only because I also do not feel responsible for their mistakes.

    Remember Kris Kristoferson song, “Freedoms just another word for nothing less to lose”

    Posted by: Jack at October 26, 2006 10:44 PM
    Comment #190638

    In all level of politics, I have observed the liberal side demanding more money “for the children” or “for the poor”. It is an emotional apeal, but you have to think logically if you want your thoughts to be worth anything. What if the liberals government wanted to set a 95% tax on everyone’s income because our schools and the poor need the money? The fact is that when Reagan and Bush lowered tazes, the revenue to teh US treasury increased. Why/ Because teh resulting economic growth meant everyone was richer and could a lower percentage of their income was still a higher overall amount. A win-win. What this means is that taxes set my democrat presidents were too high. Obviously there is a “too low” point, but we have not hit that in the last century if the revenue always increases when we lower the rate. The other point to consider is the tremendous amount of money the government collects. It is in the order of trillions of dollars every year! The govt needs to spend more efficiently not rob the taxpayers.

    When Kitzrobber was governor of Oregon, he threated to shut down the prisons, releasing teh prisoners, and shut down the schools if we didn’t approve his tax increases. At the same time his gpverning board, was spending lotsa money on paid vacations and perks for themselves. Also, there’s a lot of useless programs being funded. Like $50K research projects to find out something that everyone already knows. Yet these are not what the liberals are willing to cut when we don’t approve the increases they demand. They just threaten to cut the “important” stuff. It is extortion. However, welfare reform seems to have helped. Can’t believe teh gv’t won’t reform soc secuirty into private IRA like accounts. Right now it is just a Ponzi scheme.

    -Dan8080

    Posted by: Dan8080 at October 26, 2006 10:49 PM
    Comment #190641

    Jack,

    We are a society that already has given much of our decision making away.

    Countless laws are on the books that protect us from ourselves.
    For instance, I am ambivalent about helmet laws. That said, I think that anyone that would go out on a motorcycle in less than a suit of armor deserves whatever happens, and it shouldn’t affect how much I pay for insurance.

    Many people don’t choose to be poor, they just don’t know anything else.

    Posted by: Rocky at October 26, 2006 10:56 PM
    Comment #190645

    Oh, one more point. Vote Republican for this election all you conservatives, moderates and wackos (liberals)! I am a “Rush-Conservative”, and am disappointed by the dearth of conservatism on the REpublican party. But, the Republicans are hundereds of times better than the democrats. How many currect democrat politicans are good, I can count them on one hand, no wait, one finger, Zell Miller, that’s it. Lieberman is good on foreign policy, but a total lib on domestic.

    Anyways, teh House of Represntatives is actually the most conservative branch of gov’t right now, much more conservative than the white house. The Replicans in the house blocked the illegal immigrant amnesty! Yes, they are somewhat stymied by having a moderate Repluican president leader, but if we can keep the house of reps and the senate, and then get a more conservative pres than Bush in 2008, that is our BEST chance of some great conservative legislation. Right now we have too many democrats and liberal republics. Fine, vote out teh demos, and make sure to vote out the liberal democrats in teh primaries if you can. It may take a while to pull those weeds them out, but we can get there eventually. What’s the alternative? Vote for Pelosi to run the house, and she will immediately raise taxes! Is that what you deserve and want? The ywill also underfund our troops and vote for anti-american bills, and against important legislation like the patriot act. The supreme ct can turn the war on terrorism into a silly lawyer game where we indict dead terrorists after they nuke us. Is that what you want? We need a republican congress to fight that.
    Consider this, do you really think that we wouldn’t have social security reform if we got rid of half the democrats in teh congress, by all showing up to vote. The liberal wishy washy republicans wouldn’t be so inclined to vote with teh democrats if they can see that they will lose all their power that way. You want conservatisim? Get rid of the democrat impediments by voting for their replican opponent, and vote in every republican primary you can for the candidate that would do the best job (don’t be like libs and vote for the prettiest man).

    -Dan8080

    Posted by: Dan8080 at October 26, 2006 11:04 PM
    Comment #190648

    d.a.n.,

    When I was an undergraduate in the early 80s, I had a professor who claimed that the Democrats and the Republicans needed each other. According to him, Democrats had the ideas and the compassion to propose necessary things, but Republicans had the pragamatic savvy and fiscal restraint to either hold the line or to make the Democractic ideas work. Now, I’m not saying I ever fully bought into that, but I did find it very appealing. But nowadays, that paradigm has been shattered all to hell.

    Posted by: Trent at October 26, 2006 11:08 PM
    Comment #190650

    Dan8080,

    “Yes, they are somewhat stymied by having a moderate Repluican president leader, but if we can keep the house of reps and the senate, and then get a more conservative pres than Bush in 2008, that is our BEST chance of some great conservative legislation.”

    So if what you’re saying is the truth, these last 12 years were just some sort of time warp and with the “real” conservatives in control everything will be all right.

    Sorry Bunky, you guys screwed the pooch, and we’ll see if your “Rush Truths” are just crap, because they haven’t turned out so well so far.

    Posted by: Rocky at October 26, 2006 11:16 PM
    Comment #190652

    rocky,

    if i’m not mistaken, the insurance companies are against the helmet laws. a dead man costs much less for these companies than caring for a quadriplegic or someone in a vegetative state for the rest of their lives. the helmet laws actually drive up the cost of your insurance, if anything.

    dan8080

    “they are somewhat stymied by having a moderate Repluican president leader”

    somewhat republican? perhaps. not even close to conservative though. i wouldn’t expect you to recognize the difference…

    “The ywill also…vote…against important legislation like the patriot act.”

    important? how about intrusive, unpatriotic, unconstitutional, and expansive in terms of governmental power? …and you call yourself a conservative.

    Posted by: Diogenes at October 26, 2006 11:24 PM
    Comment #190658

    Diogenes,

    “a dead man costs much less for these companies than caring for a quadriplegic or someone in a vegetative state for the rest of their lives. the helmet laws actually drive up the cost of your insurance, if anything.”

    http://www.npri.org/issues/issues98/i_b070498.htm

    “There is little evidence to support the oft-cited critique that motorcyclists drain public and private insurance coffers. Motorcycle accidents account for less than 1 percent of all U.S. health care costs, and one analysis (by the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center) found that 49.5 percent of injured motorcyclists had insurance, whereas 50.4 percent of those injured in all other vehicles were insured.”

    Posted by: Rocky at October 26, 2006 11:58 PM
    Comment #190665

    forgive me, i did not read your link in its entirety, but i think i got the gist of it. not sure whether you’re agreeing or disagreeing with me, but this link actually supports my point…

    “helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries ‘at the expense of increasing the severity of neck injuries.’”

    …landing more people in long-term debilitative states, thus costing insurance companies more, thereby costing you more for your own insurance.

    either way, i had not intended to dwell on this topic.

    Posted by: Diogenes at October 27, 2006 12:30 AM
    Comment #190666

    Diogenes,

    Truth is truth, it has no position.

    Posted by: Rocky at October 27, 2006 12:39 AM
    Comment #190668

    Those that were expressing their concerns for persons deep in the rut of poverty. Have you ever tried to set up sessions dealing with people and their money? Have you ever tried to set up in your gergraphical areas any type of assistance in helping people using their money responsibly? These things are not hard to do. When you get on a roll, you will find that you can really have an influence in your areas in helping people financially. There will be some areas that are harder to deal with than others. Such as getting people to stop buying alcholic beverages and start buying cranberry juice. Stop smoking. One suggestion to help in this area is that every time a beer is bought put twice the price of the beer in the cookie jar. Everytine you buy that $5.00 pack of cigarettes, put an equal amout in the cookie jar. And the cookie jar shoul not be in the poverty stricken persons control. That is only a suggestion but I have seen it work successfully. There are better ways to buy groceries that some people employ; they need help in wisely spending their money. This is also a good beginning for many people and they have to stick with it. Pretty soon their confidence in making good financial choices will rub off on their friends and family. Wealth is only a six letter word. My grandfather never saw $100,000, yet he lived in a house that was paid for on a 12 acre plot in Indiana. He was a wise man and knew how to do what was necessary to live comfortably. He was only one, but it certainly has been repeated many times over and can still be replicated.

    Posted by: tomh at October 27, 2006 12:40 AM
    Comment #190674

    Dan 0880-
    Three Republican presidents since 1980. Two of the three, faced with deficits, raised taxes again. Why? Because they were evil? because they wanted to go 85% on the taxes?

    No. Because they believed that it as more important to keep America solvent than to fixate on a political obsession. The problem with the Bush Administration is that they are out of touch with the consequences of their actions. They ignore the foresight of the experts who tell them not to do things, then ignore the complaints of people telling them to change the policy.

    Ultimately, its a question of who wins first: the real world, or Bush. So far, I think the real world’s got the better track record.

    What people think doesn’t count for anything when they don’t get the reality of the situation they’re in. You can start out deluded and work your way back. That’s understandable. What really scares people are the folks who just keep on clinging to bad ideas, even when the results have been continually bad.

    Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 27, 2006 1:24 AM
    Comment #190694

    The problem with the roaring economy is that it’s the result of this Republic Administrations selling of America. Of course the economy is going to look good for now. Trade laws permit moving whole companies overseas where they take advantage of low wage earners. Americans only have recourse in the low wage service sector. The economy will look good until the impact of the selling of America by the right wing corporate and Republic Party really takes effect and when it does there will be nothing left to make a profit; it’ll all be overseas.
    Then of course the Right Wing Republic will blame the Democrats.
    John

    Posted by: John at October 27, 2006 7:44 AM
    Comment #190733

    Jack:

    That’s Freedom’s just another word for nothing LEFT to lose, from Me and Bobby McGee. He has other, more appropriate lyrics.

    Cos everybody’s got to have somebody to look down on.

    Who they can feel better than at anytime they please.

    Someone doin’ somethin’ dirty, decent folks can frown on.

    If you can’t find nobody else, then help yourself to me.


    Posted by: womanmarine at October 27, 2006 10:27 AM
    Comment #190774

    22 million dollars in debt seems to be the number of the day. It is a staggering number that no one truly appreciates, that is for sure.

    Eventually we will collapse under its weight, but what bugs me is that the things we need to do will not even be considered by the left.

    You have to fix social security and by fixing it I mean no continue to do the same thing we have been doing for decades of hiding that liablity and using SS receipts to fund the budget. It is the biggest Ponzi scheme ever devised by a government and willingly accepted by the general population. Anytime somone even talks about a way to fix it, the left and right to for that matter (in general) simply denies the problem
    and defers it to the future generations. We need to cut the benefits or at least not increase them or index them adn we need to expose the real liablity we have. We need to let people use that money in their own accounts and get government out of the picture. Bush tried and got shut down big time by both sides. I don’t know the answer in total but I know continuing down the same path is suicide.

    If you want a fair tax policy go to a consumption tax of some type or even a flat tax. The left is not worried about solving the problem…they are only worried about equalizing the wealth in this country and take more and more from those who already pay the lion’s share of our tax burden and give it to the most non productive of our population. No one can be honest about this, but that is what it seems to me is the goal of the left’s tax policy.

    When Ronald Reagan cut taxes in the early 80’s the tax revenues double over a period of 8 years or so. The deficit increased with a doubling of revenues. All the rhetoric and ranting and throwing charts out and all doesn’t even come close to someone understanding that the problem is not on the revenue side….it is on the spending side. Until our politicians on both sides do something about that, we are doomed to continue to incur debt at a staggering rate that will destroy this country.

    Bush has been horrible in the spending side. The only solace I take in that is that the Dems would have made it a whole lot worse if that is even possible. One veto in 6 years. Unbelievable. He is spending money like there is no problem and the Dems only want to outdo him

    throw all the bums out and get someone who will address the issue and be honest with us all.

    Posted by: Charger at October 27, 2006 12:29 PM
    Comment #190779

    Charger-

    First, I completely agree that a consumption tax is a more fair policy. I have, in other threads, been a big advocate because it allows a person to live with minimum governmental interference if they like, and penalizes those who actually consume more. It allows the government to better regulate goods without having to physically control them. Don’t like cigarets? Tax them more. Simple, reflective of reality, and easy to administer. It will also provide a much clearer picture of our economy and its direction. The current system is just faulty and unreliable when it comes to predicting what will happen next.

    And yes, spending is the more important side of the equation. I can remember when Reagan became governor of CA he cut the budget by 10% across the board. Guess what? Despite all the doom and gloom warnings, it worked very well.

    But the current crop of “neo-conservative” scares me more than a Pelosi type democrat. They have no consideration for fundementals, the ends always justify the means, and accountability is treason. Only voting them out of office will give them the reality check they so desperately need.

    Posted by: Kevin23 at October 27, 2006 12:41 PM
    Comment #190786
    When Ronald Reagan cut taxes in the early 80’s the tax revenues double over a period of 8 years or so.

    You conveniently ignore that he had to drastically raise taxes after having cut them because the cuts went too far.

    Posted by: LawnBoy at October 27, 2006 12:51 PM
    Comment #190801

    Lawnboy,
    That’s bologna and you conviently ignore the fact that we had twice as much money and the deficit still went up. I wish I could double my income and if I still went more into debt I would have noone to blame but myself as I spend myself into oblivion.

    The old axiom is true that our spending will expand to our income…almost every single time and that is true of government in spades.

    Posted by: Charger at October 27, 2006 1:35 PM
    Comment #190804

    Charger,

    Agreed, but the spending is far worse with gov’t than with individuals becasue they are spending someone else’s money — ours.

    -Dan8080

    Posted by: Dan8080 at October 27, 2006 1:42 PM
    Comment #190807

    But the current crop of “neo-conservative” scares me more than a Pelosi type democrat. They have no consideration for fundementals, the ends always justify the means, and accountability is treason. Only voting them out of office will give them the reality check they so desperately need.

    This is a typical response to anyone who has conviction and will not waiver when the polls go the other way. I have often wondered why Bush is hated so much. Clinton was not liked by many, but I don’t think I ever felt hate for him….more disgust than anything. People hate Bush in an irrational way that is hard to understand. I have come to the conclusion that most people that feel that way toward him or those around him like Cheney, Rove, Rice etc. feel hate because he is uncompromising in what he does. He is a decent man and one can argue his tactics till the cows come home but you are just a fool if you don’t understand that his vision of the world is spot on and freedom liberty are God ordained and facing up to evil is essential to our survival as a nation. People hate him for that. Much like Lincoln was hated because he had the foolish idea of holding this union together at all costs…..yes the most military lives lost in a conflict in American history. thank God he stuck to his guns. Today, he would have be crushed by the left and the media and we would now all be either USA or the Southern States of America. Bush has undoubtedly made many mistakes that can be criticized and picked apart….what President hasn’t. In the reflection of history 100 yrs from now when we are all gone, he will be recognized as a leader who saw the danger but was thwarted by those who are blinded by hate.

    No matter what you think of him or his “neo-con” friends., we would be oh some much worse with Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry in charge. It gags me to think about it.

    What is wrong with you people?


    Posted by: Charger at October 27, 2006 1:46 PM
    Comment #190810

    Charger,

    You’re right. From what I can find, Reagan didn’t sign in later tax increases. I was misinformed.

    However, you’re wrong, too. Despite Hannity’s claims, tax revenues did not double in Reagan’s term. In current dollars, they increased from about $600 bln to about $900 bln. More importantly, when using FY2000 dollars adjusted for inflation, the revenues increased only from $1,077.4 bln to $1,235.6. That’s a much, much smaller increase than is claimed, and it’s an increase that can be explained by factors other than supply-side economics. For example, business cycles, oil prices, and interest rate drops need to be considered as factors.

    That’s the real problem with your analysis. Ignoring the other problem of not having a control, you have the huge problem that you’re giving all the credit for a result to one of many inputs.

    Posted by: LawnBoy at October 27, 2006 1:54 PM
    Comment #190812
    you are just a fool if you don’t understand that his vision of the world is spot on and freedom liberty are God ordained and facing up to evil is essential to our survival as a nation

    Wow, so everyone who doesn’t follow your religion and doesn’t agree with your politics is a fool!

    Why do you even bother coming to a debate forum if you think we’re all just fools for you to look down on and to insult?

    What is wrong with you people?

    We disagree with you. That’s not wrong, it’s different. We want the best for America, like you do, but we have different ideas about what that means.

    Why are you so wrapped up in your own view of the world and the situation that anyone that disagrees with you is a fool with something wrong about them?

    Doesn’t that level of hatred and disdain for your fellow Americans just rot at you?

    Posted by: LawnBoy at October 27, 2006 1:58 PM
    Comment #190814

    Charger,

    Hate is such a strong word. I’m certain some people will say they hate Bush, but I just think he is not large enough for the job, and what’s more, I think that was apparent before he was elected. It’s a shame because there are intelligent and talented Republicans; you guys just don’t nominate them for president.

    Since you believe it is obvious Bush’s invasion of Iraq, which was as relevant in the “War on Terror” as invading, say, Cuba, was the correct policy, kindly explain why U.S. intelligence agencies are wrong in saying the occupation is creating new generations of terrorists and making the world more dangerous. Kindly explain how alienating our allies and potential allies has helped us wipe out terrorism. Kindly explain how this administration’s attack on the Constitution secures our liberties.

    I am susceptible to good argumentation, so give it your best shot. But be accurate, don’t distort, and don’t commit fallacies — we’ve heard all the standard arguments before, and they tend to collapse all by themselves.

    To paraphrase your last sentence: What is right about your argument?

    Posted by: Trent at October 27, 2006 2:05 PM
    Comment #190818

    I meant fools in a positive way!! My definition of fool is “one who shows himself by words or actions to be deficient in judgment, sense or understanding” Doesn’t mean anything more than that. Yeh, people who can’t accept certain tenets as some kind of absolute truth bug me. There are still people that think the world is flat, that we didn’t land on the moon and something like 5% of people still think Elvis is alive. Those people are fools by my definition. Perfectly nice people, but fools none the less. Non-thinking fools I might add.

    People who don’t recognize what we are facing as a human race, who don’t recognize evil for what it is and are willing something about it are fools by my definition.

    People hate people like Bush because he sees evil for what it is. He doesn’t waiver and people can’t stand that. He isn’t perfect by far, but he sees think in black and white and acts accordingly and the left just can’t handle it. People on the left hide behind calling people intolerant, racist, hateful etc just as you have called me, because they can’t see the world in absolutes and thus we should all just get along and we can negotiate and talk our way to happiness. Unfortunately there are absolutes in life and the left will not, and I don’t think they are capable of seeing things in that kind of clarity. As Prager says they feel….they don’t think.

    One of those absolutes is liberty and freedom and it is God given and every man or woman will vote for freedom if they understand what it means and have any choice in the matter. No one would be a slave to others unless they don’t understand the alternative. You may not believe in God and it doesn’t matter at all to this discussion.

    Secularlism has been around as long as man has been on the earth and will be forever. It doesn’t change the equation as to what people strive for in their lives. Freedom and liberty is an absolute and while the left talks about believing that they don’t understand and in fact demean those who have sacrificed so much to give you and I the right to be talking like this. If the left were around during the Reveloutionary War we would still British because of how hard that was.

    I don’t hate anyone, I just don’t want people who can’t see truth (which is not relative) leading this nation. Bush may be wrong in some of his tactics but he is spot on in his strategy.

    I still say throw all the bums out and let’s start over with someone telling the truth for a change.

    Posted by: Charger at October 27, 2006 2:28 PM
    Comment #190822

    Lawnboy,

    “From what I can find, Reagan didn’t sign in later tax increases. I was misinformed.”

    Bush Sr, re-raised taxes. That, along with Ross Perot, and Bush Jr as a campaign advisor and speechwriter, cost him the ‘92 election.

    Posted by: Rocky at October 27, 2006 2:42 PM
    Comment #190823
    I meant fools in a positive way!

    ????

    People hate people like Bush because he sees evil for what it is.

    Really? Who told you that? Did anyone who actually dislikes Bush say this? Or is this just the pro-Bush spin put on the fact that he is deeply unpopular?

    I know which I think it is.

    Bush is disliked not because he doesn’t waver but because the positions he holds are incorrect (in our opinions). It’s really nice for you to say that disagreement is hate, and that the hate is for his positive characteristics, but that just isn’t true. It’s great for you, I’m sure, to invent our motivations for us and to defeat those strawmen, but it doesn’t address reality.

    As Prager says they feel…they don’t think.
    Great, so now people who disagree with you are unthinking, as well. Funny, in another recent thread on WB, liberals are attacked for being too smart and thinking too much.
    You may not believe in God and it doesn’t matter at all to this discussion.

    Huh? You’re saying that believing in God is not a pre-requisite for believing that God gives us things? How on earth does that work?

    If the left were around during the Reveloutionary War we would still British because of how hard that was.

    Wow. You pull out all the baseless insults, don’t you? This is a new one, but hey, I guess it comes from thinking instead of just feeling, right? Right?

    Posted by: LawnBoy at October 27, 2006 2:43 PM
    Comment #190828

    Lawnboy,

    Depending upon which Republican writes, a liberal is either Hamlet or Polonius.

    But I think Bush is Claudius, and a Bush supporter is Gertrude.

    The Republic is poor Ophelia, I’m afraid.

    Posted by: Trent at October 27, 2006 2:53 PM
    Comment #190833

    Lawnboy,

    “Bush is disliked not because he doesn’t waver but because the positions he holds are incorrect (in our opinions).”

    You have to admit that Mr. Bush doesn’t waver from those incorrect positions.

    Posted by: Rocky at October 27, 2006 3:01 PM
    Comment #190835

    Rocky,

    Absolutely. He doesn’t waver at all, until he does.

    Posted by: LawnBoy at October 27, 2006 3:04 PM
    Comment #190841

    Trent,

    You guys on the left are clever, I will tell you that. You always change the argument so as to act like you are above the fray. Unfortunately, it works many times. On the surface your points are compelling, but in fact they don’t hold water.

    “Hate is such a strong word. I’m certain some people will say they hate Bush, but I just think he is not large enough for the job, and what’s more, I think that was apparent before he was elected.”

    The Left can’t stand Bush. I have no idea how intelligent he is but I will tell you this he is dumb like a fox and the left can’t handle that. Use any word you want if hate is too strong, obnoxious,detestable odious….you just don’t like the guy because he won’t back down and doesn’t buy into your superiour intellect.

    It’s a shame because there are intelligent and talented Republicans; you guys just don’t nominate them for president.

    Please!! The condecension is unbearable. Yeh, they are talented and intelligent until they run and then they become buffoons.

    “Since you believe it is obvious Bush’s invasion of Iraq, which was as relevant in the “War on Terror” as invading, say, Cuba, was the correct policy, kindly explain why U.S. intelligence agencies are wrong in saying the occupation is creating new generations of terrorists and making the world more dangerous.”

    One paragraph out of the report is what you guys hang your hat on. Exactly my point. Take it out of context and only read that and that becomes truth. The fact is the the terrorists have been hurt big time and we have disrupted their operations. You are one of those that thinks Iraq is unrelated to the bigger war we are engaged in. Irag is one battle front in a much bigger war on terror. There are many more battle fronts that need to be addressed. Iran, Syria and Saudia Arabia. You guys thing because we can’t do everything we should do nothing. Really solid strategy there. We are going this alone and when we give up as you would have us do, we lose a battle and maybe the war. You guys think Iraq is it, catching Bin Laden is it, Afghanstan is it and it is over. We are fighting a ideology, not a people. You just can’t come to grips with that. Al Qaeda and Iraq had no connection….yeh and the moon is made out of blue cheese.

    “Kindly explain how alienating our allies and potential allies has helped us wipe out terrorism.”

    Allies? Allies don’t put financial gain and contracts with a Despot above freedom and liberty and principal. The French and Russkies as are about as much of Allies as the Germans were during World War II. America is hated because we stand for something and and the great American experience works…..freedom, liberty, capatilism etc. The left, not only in this country but throughout the world with their “superior intelligence and way of thinking” believe we American are a bunch of cowboys with six shooters on our hips. It is always America’s fault with your guys. Poppycock!!


    “Kindly explain how this administration’s attack on the Constitution secures our liberties.”

    Tell me one liberty you have lost. Just one. I dare you. If you aren’t a terrorist that wants to kill us, I don’t think you will have an issue.
    What joke the left is when they make assertions like this.

    “I am susceptible to good argumentation, so give it your best shot. But be accurate, don’t distort, and don’t commit fallacies — we’ve heard all the standard arguments before, and they tend to collapse all by”

    I’m not up to your superior debating ability with all your facts and my own propensity to distort, committ fallacies and the like. I guess I can just look at an apple and see it is an apple and not say it is an orange when I know it is an apple in my heart. I am blessed with common sense an ability to not fool myself because it makes me feel superior or better as a human.


    Posted by: Charger at October 27, 2006 3:25 PM
    Comment #190844

    Lawn Boy, Rocky,

    Just being funny with you guys. Pulling your chains so to speak. Bush is idiot and what he has done has put us in a no win situation which is hopeless.

    I sure hope the Dems win back the Senate and House and then in ‘08 someone like Clinton or maybe Obama gets in there. Then we will be on the road back to our place in the world.

    Posted by: Charger at October 27, 2006 3:33 PM
    Comment #190845
    You guys on the left are clever, I will tell you that.

    We’re clever, but we don’t think. Apparently, we liberals survive based on some sort of cleverness instinct that wasn’t passed on to the homo conservativus sub-species.

    Posted by: LawnBoy at October 27, 2006 3:33 PM
    Comment #190849

    I just never get over the people who make good money, but it is never enough.

    I am doing quite well, thank you, working for a non-profit at 50% of the median salary for my job in my city per CNN Money. And I was doing well when I made 1/2 my current salary 10 years ago.

    I was blessed with a unique opportunity to opt out of my employer’s group insurance and qualify for individual insurance paid by my employer which is 1/2 the group insurance cost for them, and a much better deal for me then Cobra, if I should lose my job anytime in the future.

    My wife and I live frugally. We paid off 2 mortgages, and now she is remodeling the house with savings- no debt.

    We don’t have pensions, but saved in IRA’s, 401k’s, and 403b’s for our retirement. I did not own any stock on 1/1/2000, but now have a large portfolio of solid good performing mutual funds, both in and out of retirement funds.

    Most people don’t know how to handle their finances, so they spend (and waste) a lot. Then, they blame the government for their problems, because they do not want to admit it is their own fault- better to blame someone else.

    All my finacial mistakes were my fault. I blame the government for high taxes. Even with the Bush tax cuts, the local and state politicians never stop trying to take more of my money to deliver less and less in services.

    I have already voted absentee: 3X: for myself, my wife, my mother. All 100% Republican votes. There is no other choice, if you are a Christian. I voted against most of the state’s propositions and against confirming every judge (unless I know they are good), as it never hurts to fire a judge.

    Posted by: Jimmy at October 27, 2006 3:42 PM
    Comment #190851

    You voted for your wife and mother???????????

    Posted by: womanmarine at October 27, 2006 3:44 PM
    Comment #190852

    Charger,

    “We are fighting a ideology, not a people. You just can’t come to grips with that. Al Qaeda and Iraq had no connection….yeh and the moon is made out of blue cheese.”

    You can’t fight ideas with bullets, unless of course, you intend on wiping all Muslims from the face of the earth.
    America is fighting the “war on terror” the same half-assed way we fought the war on drugs. This is a huge waste of time/money/lives unless we want to be serious, and Bush doesn’t seem to be serious. He seems to prefer giving this whole war thing lip service, to make it a political tool he can trot out at election time.

    Posted by: Rocky at October 27, 2006 3:47 PM
    Comment #190863


    You can’t fight ideas with bullets? Hitler’s ideas weren’t beaten with discussions and negotiations. Bullets did the job. Japan was beaten with bullets. Sometimes, Rocky, bullets are the only way to fight certain ideas.

    I’m not a war monger. I hate war. I hate seeing our young men and women give the ultimte sacrifice and then have some many of you lefties demean that sacrifice by saying you can’t fight ideas with bullets.

    I wish war would go away. I wish that despots and dictators and evil people did not exist. But they do. As long as the earth has been in existence it has been the case. It won’t change. America is unique in the history of the world as far as what we have established in the way of a government and way of life. Bush sees that model as the way the world should be. Unless you hate America, it is that with all our flaws (and we have many) there never has been anything like America on the planet. While I wish others didn’t wish us harm and we could live in peace, I will not concede that by withdrawing from our leadership role, the world will be better. It will not. We are the greatest hope of the world and I just wish the Left both in this It would change your perspective everything that is going on.

    Posted by: Charger at October 27, 2006 4:14 PM
    Comment #190869

    Charger,

    When you voted for Bush in 2000, you were voting for giving up our leadership role in foreign affairs. Go look up Bush’s statements concerning foreign policy.

    Anyway, I think it’s pointless to debate someone so angry. When you calm down, maybe we can return to this.

    Posted by: Trent at October 27, 2006 4:33 PM
    Comment #190878

    Charger-

    “This is a typical response to anyone who has conviction and will not waiver when the polls go the other way.”

    No, you are just reading it that way. Let me break it down for you, since you refused to do it yourself.

    “But the current crop of “neo-conservative” scares me more than a Pelosi type democrat.”

    What has Nancy Pelosi specifically done that realistically makes you believe she is so bad? I’m not, mind you, passing any judgment on her myself. You just fail to mention where all this hatred comes from.

    “They have no consideration for fundementals…”

    Midnight votes on legislation most members of congress had never read, almost 3 times more signing statements than any other president the vast majority of which referenced the unitary executive theory (i.e. the president has the ultimate authority to interpret the constitution),
    bypassing official procedures, relaxing enforcement of corperate crime, etc. etc. etc. It is all public record, and most of it unprecedented.

    “…the ends always justify the means…”

    This one should be obvious. I could go on and on for days about the things Ashcroft and Gonzales have been doing in the court systems. Very little of it makes sense, there is always an official way to achieve the same result, and the justification is always the same: to protect America. Sounds great, but the devil is in the details. Making up rules as you go along when there are perfectly adequate ones already in place that go unused is not the mark of anything but arrogance or manipulation. Either way, it is obvious that my statement applies.

    “…and accountability is treason.”

    Publicly branding those who take issues with your specific methods as cut and run appeasers is just childish and obnoxious. Yet there it was, on the news channels for months, every day. Makes true conservatives like me sick.

    “Only voting them out of office will give them the reality check they so desperately need.”

    If this is not exactly what the framers intended, then you tell me what was. This is THE American solution.

    You said it yourself: “throw all the bums out and get someone who will address the issue and be honest with us all.”

    I think you knew there were only two choices on the ballot when you made that comment. Why back off now? Talk about knee jerk. Look, conviction is great, but substance is better. I think you know that too.

    Posted by: Kevin23 at October 27, 2006 4:55 PM
    Comment #190880

    Interesting from that one graph that shows employee income going up about 23%, yet corporate cost of providing that has only gone up less than 15% ($23 up to $26). And you have to figure a large portion of that employee income is going to the fat cats at the top. So it really doesn’t cost that much for companies to provide benefits, especially if they cut back on the golden parachutes at the top. But that is not the story we are hearing, to justify requiring workers to pay more of the cost of their health benefits and retirement costs.

    Posted by: Hotshot at October 27, 2006 4:59 PM
    Comment #190883

    Jimmy-

    Ever read the rules and penalties for voter fraud? I realize that bragging about voting straight-ticket for a political party with no official religious affiliation (because we live under a system with seperation of church and state) for strictly religious reasons may sound like a good “spur of the moment” idea, but the internet is far from anonymous, and in a time when people are dying overseas to install our style democracy, it may not be such a good thing to publicly flout one of its most fundemental principles (i.e. one man ONE vote).

    Just a thought. Since us republicans are supposed to be the party of “morals” and all.

    Posted by: Kevin23 at October 27, 2006 5:04 PM
    Comment #190887


    I’m not angry, more sad and really worried about our country. The fact that John Kerry got 49% of the vote means that 49 out of every 100 Americans thought he was the better choice. That is troubling and with the kind of thinking that comes from your side, it won’t be long until the majority thinks like most of you have expressed.

    Nancy Pelosi will be 3rd in line to the Commander in Chief if the Dems win control. Now that is something that will keep you awake at night.

    When she calls Bush and evil person and says thing like the War on Terror is going on in Iraq, it is in Afghanistan, that automatically disqualifies her from being in our Congress. The war is world wide. The battle at present is in Iraq and Afghanistan. The left refuses to see what we are faced with and I know you won’t change your mind, but it is scary to me to think there are so many that blinded by their hatred of Bush into thinking this is all going to go away with sanctions and negotiations. Maybe I should have said you weren’t a fool, but your ideas are foolish.

    By the way, the way you handle methods is at the ballot box, not undermining the troops and the efforts they are making. You are no “true conservative” if you “support the troops” but undermine their mission by attacking everything our leaders do. Mistakes? Of course,there have been mistakes. There will be more. There have been in every war or effort ever made to defeat an enemy. Our system allows all kinds of debate and discussion and arguments about those mistakes. But we can do that without calling our Commander in Chief Hitler and the worlds greatest terrorist. I know that is a small percentage of the left, but still, the media and leaders on the left, former presidents all say it in various ways and through various channels. That is wrong and detrimental to our country. I don question your freedom to say it or you love of our country….I just question your judgment and common sense as I see it undermine our efforts. There are legitimate arguments about how things should or could be done better. But such nonsensical talk of undermining our liberties and the Constitution….you lose all credibility as a “true conservative” when you say things like that. It is hysterical nonsense. I still ask you to name some liberites that you personally have lost due to Bush or any of his policies.

    Posted by: Charger at October 27, 2006 5:15 PM
    Comment #190893

    Charger-

    “But such nonsensical talk of undermining our liberties and the Constitution….you lose all credibility as a “true conservative” when you say things like that. It is hysterical nonsense. I still ask you to name some liberites that you personally have lost due to Bush or any of his policies.”

    You are getting more emotional and more irrational. I could take the time to explain my ideas and beliefs, but then again you could actually take some time to read the numerous posts I’ve written over several months. You’d realize that I am a true conservative. But I get the distinct impression you are just out to use anything I might say to bash the left. Fine. Good luck to you, but I’m telling you now that you are turning people like me off, and we should be on the same side if you hope to win on 11/7. This exemplifies larger politics right now.

    And you had better respect the constitution if you are from either party. That oath that they all take after being elected…guess what they promise to uphold? Talking about liberty, justice and the other rights guaranteed by the constitution is fundemental to America, not a “liberal” concept. You’d better respect that too before you ever advocate that someone else should die for it in Iraq. They do not die for Bush, they die for America and everything it stands for. Don’t ever devalue or deface that by calling it partisan!

    I believe you are so full of pride that even the thought of losing this war haunts you. Guess what? There is no official way to define victory anyway! So relax this crap about true conservatives not attacking their leaders. Bull. Monica Lewinsky WHILE he was bombing OBL. And some republicans even called his bombing of Al Quaida a “ploitical stunt”. Doesn’t that make you equally sick? So no party is immune, right?

    I lose interest fast when debating the same generic talking points. So I’ll leave it at this: There is mass discontent with the current administration and congress. This will either manifest itself into change, which is good for America (and by default, democrat). Or it will be more discontent until something happens in 2008.

    Posted by: Kevin23 at October 27, 2006 5:48 PM
    Comment #190901

    And Nancy Pelosi was right on that point. America brought Al Quiada to Iraq. Not the other way around. The tail does not wag the dog. Bush has admitted there was no connection. That should be the end of that. And to think something so trivial as a true comment was enough to “automatically disqualify her from congress” simply because it was mentioned in an adversarial way (as opposed to Rumsfeld or Bush basically saying the same thing when they finally admitted mistakes had been and were being made). That is petty nonsense. She was doing her job as a congressional representative in asking questions about a VERY important topic. And she was right.

    Show me what really scares you about her without launching a pointless partisan attack on the “dems” or “libs” or anyone else. With all that resentment towards her and others you named, it leads one to believe you’d have more than enough good ammo that you wouldn’t have to resort to what you did.

    Posted by: Kevin23 at October 27, 2006 6:07 PM
    Comment #190902

    Charger,

    “You can’t fight ideas with bullets? Hitler’s ideas weren’t beaten with discussions and negotiations. Bullets did the job. Japan was beaten with bullets. Sometimes, Rocky, bullets are the only way to fight certain ideas.”

    We may have defeated Hitler, but we didn’t defeat his ideals, as they have now spread around the world.
    Chamberlain may have had his head up his a**, but diplomacy has it’s place, and Mr. Bush can’t even spell diplomacy.

    Posted by: Rocky at October 27, 2006 6:14 PM
    Comment #190937

    Kevin23 & womanmarine:

    “Voter fraud?”
    Thanks for jumping to stupid conclusions.

    I marked the absentee ballots for my wife and mom, as a convenience for them at their request, since we all think alike and live in the same household.

    They signed the absentee ballots.

    Try and make something out of it. Please!!!

    Some how I knew I would sucker some libs.

    Posted by: Jimmy at October 27, 2006 9:02 PM
    Comment #190944
    Some how I knew I would sucker some libs.

    If I just use misleading language, I know I’ll trap someone! Mwahuahuahuahua.

    I’m sure you feel really special now.

    Posted by: LawnBoy at October 27, 2006 9:38 PM
    Comment #190950

    Jimmy,

    “I marked the absentee ballots for my wife and mom, as a convenience for them at their request, since we all think alike and live in the same household.”

    One can only hope they voted the way you wanted them to.

    Posted by: Rocky at October 27, 2006 10:08 PM
    Comment #190957

    Kevin23

    It wasn’t so much her comment about bringing AlQaeda to Iraq that got me. It was the next line about them staying there as long as we are there. As if, when we leave they will go back to work at the falafal factory or something.

    Posted by: Keith at October 27, 2006 10:29 PM
    Comment #190968

    I hope it doesn’t occur to the terrorists that if they just stop attacking, we’ll leave. Or maybe it has.

    Posted by: Trent at October 27, 2006 10:53 PM
    Comment #190977

    Trent

    I think this is the first time I agree with you.

    they don’t want us to leave because if we did there brutality would be on there own head without us as their excuse.

    Posted by: Keith at October 27, 2006 11:05 PM
    Comment #190989

    Lawnboy-

    My sentiments exactly. Thanks for the laugh.

    Posted by: Kevin23 at October 27, 2006 11:42 PM
    Comment #191130

    phx8

    The blanced budget was authored by Newt Gingrich.

    Your point is apparently that Bill Clintons dificet budget that congress rejected was ok. But Congress did in fACT reject Bills deficit budget and pass Newt’s blanced budget. Clinton fought the blanced budget for about 6 months screaming and whining that Newt war trying to defeat his campaign spending promises.

    Yes, I’m well aware of the democratic partys attempt to wipe those stains off the blue dress by giving Clinton Credit for Newt and the Republicans balanced budget…but it’s not working.
    There has Never been a democratic congress IN HISTORY that has passed a balanced budget. Not one? At least not in recent memory. Newt Gingrich and the Republicans did it. Why not go find us a link to a democratic congress that passed a balanced budget? Its not happened.

    That’s why no one beleives the democrats could balance the budget if they take power…they have never done it, and have never tried.

    Posted by: stephen L at October 28, 2006 1:33 PM
    Comment #191142

    stephen l,

    “That’s why no one beleives the democrats could balance the budget if they take power…they have never done it, and have never tried.”

    Ok, other than Newt, how many times have the Republicans balanced the budget?

    This congress hasn’t even tried.

    Our system of government works best when both parties share power. When both work toward a common goal.
    Our country’s downfall started when both parties began to demonize each other.

    The Republicans have been very successful at making the word liberal an insult.

    How long will it take to do the same to the word conservative, once the shoe is on the other foot?

    Posted by: Rocky at October 28, 2006 2:20 PM
    Comment #191185

    Rocky:

    100% certain that I marked their ballots as they wanted, just as I am 100% certain that we voted against what libs wanted. 3 votes against libs.

    Lawnboy:

    Nothing I said was misleading. But you can always count on twisted minds to jump to erroneous conclusions and make false accusations.

    Posted by: Jimmy at October 28, 2006 5:17 PM
    Comment #191189

    Jimmy,

    Your statement that “I have already voted absentee: 3X: for myself, my wife, my mother.” was either an admission that you illegally voted for someone else, or it was a set of poorly-chosen words that gave that impression (intentionally or not).

    Bragging that you “suckered” someone in is a dead giveaway that you were trying to use misleading language. There’s nothing erroneous or false about it, unless all of it is a lie and we were mistaken for trying to take you seriously.

    100% certain that I marked their ballots as they wanted

    So, now you say that Kevin23 was right in the first place. Who on earth did you sucker (except possibly me for continuing to try to explain this to you)? I don’t know what state you are in or what its laws are, but you very likely broke election law.

    Posted by: LawnBoy at October 28, 2006 5:48 PM
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