Third Party & Independents Archives

October 10, 2008

America's Future - Do we have one?

America has a future. American’s have a future. In many ways, it will not look like our past. What is happening right now is a revolution, a political, economic, and cultural revolution. There is no choice about it. When Republicans took control of Congress in 1994, certain concepts and ideas were put to the test, and in 2007 and 2008, those concepts and ideas brought our economy crashing down, driving 10’s of millions of voters to leave the two major political parties, and opening the door to dramatic cultural change going forward.

There is an order to the way societies collapse, partially or wholly, from within. Which means there are degrees of predictability to both the collapse, and the reconstruction. This period is no different. But, first things first.

The causes!

There are many, and they date back decades. The most clearly identifiable precursor to this current crisis was the oil embargo of the 1970's which demanded that America shift from fossil fuel dependency, especially foreign oil imports. Americans then had an opportunity to demand a future independent of polluting fossil fuels, but, passed it by. In the 1980's cultural issues became the focus, not economic issues.

This was followed by

  • unprecedented growth in consumer debt,
  • a protracted period of deregulation as mantra to be recited for amassing enormous wealth,
  • and the consolidation and in breeding of financial institution's lines of business, brought on by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which in turn permitted the creation of financial institutions so large as to threaten the entire nation's economy, should they fail.

There were many other contributing factors, and many hindsight books will be written in coming years to fix the blame and detail the time line of this perfect economic storm. It is nonetheless safe to say at this point, that everyone who shouldn't have turned a blind eye to the long term future of America, did. And they did so for reasons of greed, power, and immediate gratification, leaving little to no room for saving our economic future.

Our Future Landscape.
Government.

The government landscape is changing dramatically. We have seen it coming for more than a decade as the numbers of registered voters in the Democratic and Republican Party's declined, and the number of Independent registered voters climbed, almost in proportion to our national debt. Ironically however, the rise of the independent voters seemed intent on less government, less taxes, and less oversight and regulation, all of which will now grow dramatically, and with the public's majority approval.

There are very tough economic times ahead for the next 2 years, at least. And those retirees, 401K and pension plan participants who have just lost 4 out of every $10 of their life savings invested in the stock markets, will now insist on more government regulation, more government oversight, and more government spending to help make them whole again after such devastating losses. Part of this government spending growth will come in the form of a national health care system. A system which the public will soon support by a majority, and one premised on health care as a right of citizenship.

The incredible contradiction of rapid growth in health care costs and numbers of persons requiring access to it, during a protracted period of diminished savings and personal wealth underway, requires a solution which the private sector cannot provide. The profits of the private sector raise the total cost of health care. The nation, in order to answer the growing call for health care as a right, must dramatically reduce the cost of health care.

That reduction of health care costs will come in several ways but, the primary one will have to be the promotion of non-profit health care that lowers the costs by removing middle person shareholders and executives skimming profits off the flow of cash from tax payer and private insurance policy holder to health care deliverers like doctors, nurses, and and facility managers.

As we are already seeing, government will be getting into the Return On Investment business on behalf of tax payers. The recently passed Economic Stabilzation Act of 2008, (the financial sector rescue Bill), establishes the precedent that taxpayers are entitled to a return on investment for taking over the toxic debt of financial corporations.

In a few years, when the government is selling those 'toxic debt' properties for a tidy return to the U.S. treasury, and when stock shares owned by the U.S. Treasury in exchange for tax payer infusion of cash into these financial corporations turn a nice profit several years from now, tax payers will witness the pressure on increasing their taxes, diminish by those returns on investment.

Gone are the days when corporations could use the tax payers as a fail safe against default and bankruptcy, for free. Going forward, governments around the world will be taking shareholder positions in these corporations, in exchange for tax payer back stop services and insurance. This is going to prove to be the most significant revolution of social systems in the 21st century and beyond.

The concept of separation of government and private sector is dead, where tax payers are on the line, underwriting private sector failure. The ramifications of this simple fact, opens the door to new arrangements, as yet not even thought of. However, some are predictable and potentially very positive. Research and Development tax dollars given to private firms have never provided a direct return to the taxpayers, when extremely profitable patents are developed for new products and technologies. Going forward, all citizens will get a future tax cut when such innovations prove profitable, based on government funding of private sector research and development. The reason is the tax payers will be shareholders in those companies with the patents and marketing them.

This inevitability of greater government involvement in our nation's economic future will require greater voter information and oversight at the polls on election day. This election on Nov. 4 is very foretelling in this regard. This election will be the most expensive, most viewed, the most discussed, the most researched, and the most tumultuous transition of power since Reconstruction in the late 19th century. Voters are going to demand better education, more empirical information, and vastly more logical and rational explanations from their politicians than ever before.

Politics.

The majority of American voters know their politicians have duped them, betrayed them, and sold them out. Until the 2006 and this election, voters blamed other district's politicians for bad government, but not their own. While certainly the RNC and DNC are conducting polls on their incumbent's chances, they are not revealing them. There is evidence of the growing anti-incumbent sentiment, however.

As in 2006, the evidence of anti-incumbent sentiment appears biased toward Republicans. This is evidenced by the Evans Novak Political Report of yesterday. But, here's the thing. This economically dire situation, while blamed on Republicans with good reason, will be inherited by the Democrats in January. A Democratic president and Congress, while not being held responsible for the mess, will be held responsible for cleaning it up. And the clean up, if it occurs successfully, is going to be painful, and troubling for many voters. Many will whine and complain, longing for the 'good old days' that caused the meltdown.

Democrats will have to convince a majority of voters, as a doctor must a patient, that the pain of the procedure will eventually make them healthy again. Even If Democrats fail, voters can not logically, and likely will not, return to Republicans, if they have a choice. Anti-politician and anti-major political party sentiment will leave only two choices; a third party or, a general anti-incumbent vote against both parties. Third Parties are divisive along more extreme ideological lines, so it is unlikely moderate and pragmatic independent voters will turn en masse toward a third party.

The Economy

The good news for Democrats is that hitting bottom leaves no direction but up. And in 2009, with projections now being set at negative GDP growth, it is very likely that will be the bottom for voters. By the 2010 mid term elections, Americans may well see palpable improvement in jobs, productivity, lending and credit, and even the tenor in Congress may improve as Republicans take on their traditional role as bi-partisan minority party check and balancers, as opposed to their obstructionist role of the last few years.

The good news for Americans is that this Recession will not likely become a depression throwing 30% or more workers out of jobs, as long as the Chinese, and other growing low wage economies, continue to elevate 10's of millions of their people into the Middle Class. As their middle class grows and wages increase, their demand for imported technologies and conveniences exported from the Western economies will grow.

Never in the history of civilization has such a global concerted effort been undertaken by all major economies to amend a shared economic downturn, as we have seen this last week. This is likely to have a profound effect in hastening the recovery of the global economic slow down, while companies and corporations clean their books of false assets and phoney worth.

The good news for America is that this global economy of nations recognize that if one major player goes down, we all go down. That means unprecedented cooperation on a global level to restore sound economic foundations and policies going forward. We very likely have dodged the nuclear economic meltdown, this time. America still has a future. Americans still have a future for their children to maintain a decent standard of living in America. But that future is still dependent upon many other factors.

Along with dodging the short term bullet, sustaining our economic future will require political and cultural reforms as well. Nothing less than an all out war on ignorance can keep hope for a better future alive and developing. It was after all, gross ignorance, negligence, and greed that brought America to this brink. Folks making $50,000 a year buying $210,000 homes demonstrated the height of ignorance; as did the financial institution's undertaking the trade of mortgage backed securities, sight unseen, while adhering to the blatantly ignorant view that property valuations could continue rising at a breakneck rate of speed. The root of ignorance is the act of ignoring the relevant.

Education

Education, rational, empirical, numbers oriented and critical reasoning kind of education will be needed in our future if that future is to prosper. Oversight and accountability from the voter over their politician, to the politicians over the private sector, are absolutely mandatory and dependent upon such a dramatic improvement in education in America. Education is the key to weaning individuals off of self-destructive behaviors in the investment world and in the voting world. Education is the key to improving citizen's capacity to provide more for themselves and depend less on others in the future who may or may not be inclined or able to catch them if they fall.

Educational improvement is absolutely mandated by America's future economy if we are to have anything to export of value, since an incredible premium is being placed on improved education in nearly all other major economies in the world including China and India, our chief economic competitors of the future. If America is to be competitive and get her share of the global economic pie, America shall have to make sound education job number 1, going forward. And that will have to mean returning religious education back to Sunday School. Failure to take this step, will condemn America's children to uncompetitive disadvantage with children in other nations whose educations will be superior.

Culture.

There is no escaping the fact that a nation's culture changes when education quality level improves or degrades. If, as it must, America makes education one of its first and foremost priorities, our culture will change. A great minority will fight these changes tooth and nail. But, in vain. The human race is transitioning through another major evolution and revolution in its social constructs. It is comparable to the transition from the Medieval Period of feudalism to the Renaissance Period. Or from the industrial period to the technological age.

That transition is being marked by global interdependence and the awakening to it. It is marked by the magnitude of the cost of failure of such a globally interdependent economic and national circumstance. The educated in the world have been marched, in the last few weeks, right up to the brink of the abyss and forced to gaze into the black depths that lie one step further. That abyss is now real, experienced, and terrible to contemplate ignoring. Ignoring is the root of ignorance. Our species can no longer ignore global climate change, diminishing stores of fossil fuels, or corruption becoming a standard for billions of people in the world.

The marvelous thing about faith is its permission to ignore reality. Faith can empower a Buddhist monk to set his body aflame without experiencing the agony, but instead, revel in the peace of the act. Faith can drive people to call for war and death in the name of good and justice. Faith can also move mountains, and all unrealized objectives begin as an act of faith.

There is a necessity for faith mandated by the very makeup of the human species and its relationship with its universe. But, going forward, faith cannot be allowed to continue to grow as a socially destructive, ignorant, and divisive force. In a globally interdependent world of peoples, that would constitute global suicide by degrees over decades of increasing ignorance, suffering, and privation.

Faith must be relegated to the private world, and private individual choices of faith must be accepted and protected by our social institutions. Those institutions must protect the individual's right to faith, but also, protect the society from those individuals and groups who would believe that society is evil, thus justifying divisive actions in order to increase their power, and derailing national interests for personal and minority group agendas.

America has a future. Americans have a future. The international communities of humanity have a future. If they will but seize upon it, and invest in it, as if they had faith in it.

Posted by David R. Remer at October 10, 2008 02:48 PM
Comments
Comment #266473

D Remer,

Very sage, and well presented…all the way to the bottom…but, ‘faith’ will NEVER give up the inroads it has made into our politics, and it will always insert ignorance into the equation. The only thing that will circumvent that is education, and of course, independents don’t like taxation. We can’t have one without the other…

Posted by: Marysdude at October 10, 2008 06:12 PM
Comment #266476

I agree that America has a future, if Americans take the reins and begin controling their destiny. It really doesn’t matter who wins the presidential election. What matters is that we get rid of the incumbents and get in people interested in the country and not lining their pockets. Term limits, no more entitlements and strict enforcement of the laws, that will get us the congress we deserve and one that will serve the people.

Posted by: Mike at October 10, 2008 06:17 PM
Comment #266477

Yep. There’s always a future.

The question is what sort of future.

Well, unfortunately, many American generations to come will have to pay for the massive fiscal and moral bankruptcy of the generation that preceded them.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 10, 2008 06:27 PM
Comment #266478

If that ticks you off, then you might consider your voting habits.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at October 10, 2008 06:28 PM
Comment #266479

Keep blindly pulling the party-lever and see what happens.

Unfortunately, too many voters love THEIR party more than their country, as evidenced by 9% approval ratings for Congress, but 85%-to-90% re-election rates for Congress.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at October 10, 2008 06:31 PM
Comment #266480

Mike, getting rid of entitlements will put 10’s of millions of Americans in dire peril, and very likely bring violent revolution to our streets.

Think about it. My mother is 74, and with her pension, and social security she is able to maintain private health insurance and continue living. You cannot just turn off entitlements and expect sons and daughters of retired and retiring parents not to take to the streets and Congress to overturn this government’s direction.

There is a social contract between our government and the 100’s of millions of people who sacrificed to pay into those entitlement programs. If our government sticks its middle finger in the face of those Americans, there will be a 2nd American revolution.

There is no question that the entitlement programs have to be modified and reformed in some ways to insure the social contract is upheld without bankrupting the work lives of the new generation of workers.

Entitlement means entitled to, and the fact is, those who paid into the programs ARE entitled, at the very least, to the insurance against poverty kicking in should poverty befall them, or cost effective health care be required beyond their means.

We need to modify these programs. But, ending the social contract parties agreed to and paid for, is the stuff of violent revolution.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2008 06:34 PM
Comment #266481

Marysdude, thank you for the comments. There is a minority that will kick and scream, but, that kicking and screaming will not a majority make.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2008 06:36 PM
Comment #266482

d.a.n, yes, there is an enormous price to be paid for the greed and ignorance that has dominated and controlled our nation’s future for decades now. But, that price can still be paid and preserve a broad middle class of reasonable general welfare for Americans going forward. And at the end of that process of paying the price of our past, an incredibly stronger, more prosperous and better informed and educated generation can emerge.

It is worth working for, simply because there are now, no other intelligent alternatives.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2008 06:41 PM
Comment #266483

David:

I must say that this is a very well written and thought out article. I will admit that I may disagree with some of the points that you made, but all in all you are spot on on your thesis. I want to take some time to make a second and perhaps third reading before disputing any of your points, but this is one of, if not the best, articles posted on Watchblog. Surely philosophy will trump party in this discussion. Thank you.

Posted by: submarinesforever at October 10, 2008 06:42 PM
Comment #266485

submarines, thank you for the positive feedback. A pragmatic philosophy, I believe will trump political ideology going forward. We simply no longer have any other rational choice.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2008 06:48 PM
Comment #266486

David,
There will be ‘a’ future, of course. However, I doubt it will be anything like the future we used to imagine.

I’ve commented on during the past two years. This kind of economic downturn is not the same as a typical recession. It takes longer to develop, it takes longer to be recognized, it goes deeper, it lasts longer, and it will take longer to recover. So at the risk of frightening small children, I don’t think it’s anywhere near over, and I think it will get worse. The attempts to address the problems are still concentrating on liquidity, rather than the bad debts, the CDS contracts, which are owned by various financial institutions.

Almost unnoticed- the nation of Hungary held a bond auction, and it failed. They are essentially broke. But there is an important underlying point to Hungary’s situation. As many are becoming aware, the credit freeze problem is international, because the CDS contracts are owned by international corporations, and the sums lost are larger than anyone can fund.

I’ve mentioned this example before: if the US experiences a credit crunch as bad as the Japanese, the Dow Jones Industrial Average will stand at 4259… in the year 2026. Yes, it can be that bad. No, Americans aren’t smarter than the Japanese. We have the benefit of their posing as poster nation for an asset deflation disaster, we have a few models to attempt to solve the problem, but so far nothing has worked, because no one can address the CDS contract problem.

The only organizations large enough to address the situation are governments. Eventually, there will be a lot of nationalizations around the world. Socialism will be here, but not the way anyone wanted, not even socialists! It won’t be government providing social programs. It will be government deeply involved in the financial sector on an international basis.

It is not revolution. It is evolution. One world, here we come, ready or not.

Posted by: phx8 at October 10, 2008 06:53 PM
Comment #266487

At least the Euro is at a low on the dollar (1.35ish). I think this is all part of the necessary ebb of the system. I am just glad I don’t have any money to lose. I plan on buying a cheap house with no money when this is over.

If it does all go down the drain, then I am moving to south america. Quien vaya conmigo?

Posted by: horse at October 10, 2008 06:54 PM
Comment #266491

Horse, It ain’t so rosy down there, either.


David,

Thoughtful piece. I used to be a big fan of Firing Line and William F Buckley, even if I often disagreed with him. I came across this piece today. I wasn’t even aware his son had been writing for the National Review.

Somehow, this makes me hopeful we have turned a corner on the old politics.

Posted by: googlumpugus at October 10, 2008 07:42 PM
Comment #266492

It is amusing to read the magical thinking being employed by some to promote a rosy scenario.

To believe that any future profits from this huge government incursion into private business will ever be shared by taxpayers in the form of lower taxes is a real stretch. Should that day ever come, the only ones remaining paying taxes will be corporations and the wealthy should liberals control government for any extended period of time. Can anyone imagine a liberal government advocating tax breaks for them?

The usual nonsense about the cost-savings of national health care are also being trotted out for another airing. We are asked to believe that by eliminating competition and with government management we will save the costs associated with private entities such as profits and high salaries. Would anyone want our national health care administered like Fannie Mae and Mac? The top thieves in these organizations cooked the books so they could receive tens of millions in bonuses leaving behind a mess that is one of the primary causes of the fiscal crisis we now face.

We have three huge government schemes in SS, Medicare and Medicaid with two bleeding billions in red ink and the other with trillions in unfunded liability. Some say, ignore that, this time will be different.

Should our most liberal senator, Obama, become president with a like-minded congress huge new spending plans accompanied with huge tax increases on business, wealth and unearned income, any hope for working out way back to prosperity will be gone.

Government ownership of our engines of finance and production allows politicians to control and direct every aspect of our lives.

What I am reading on this thread is the complete dissolution of our founding documents and philosophy being replaced by some hybrid of “isms”. Complete government control with religious thought police is hardly a prescription for what ails this country.

Those advocating the non-violet over-throw of our constitution should first be certain they collect the weapons of those who will resist.

Posted by: Jim M at October 10, 2008 07:49 PM
Comment #266494

Jim M, thank you for the comment of usual under comprehension. First, no one said the future would hold lower taxes than we now pay. Only that returns on investment to the treasury will reduce tax increases to come. You missed the understanding, so, I hope this clarification for your benefit is of some use.

Second, non profit organization are competitive. Your comment indicates removing the shareholders will reduce competition for quality services. It will not, of course. Non-profit organizations still compete for the best personnel, the most efficient operations and the highest reputation and quality delivery for their customer base.

Social Security is still producing surplus revenues. Like I said in the article, the root of ignorance is ignoring the relevant.

Ignore away Jim M.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2008 08:00 PM
Comment #266497

Left out of your impressive thesis is a problem so serious that it has created a new society of lawlessness and destruction and growing daily by leaps and bounds.
It is the drug problem.
The drug problem is besieging poor, middle class, affluent, school dropouts, high school graduates, college graduates, and does not discriminate nation, race, religion, age, or gender.
It must be eradicated.
It has created addicts that can no longer function in today’s society, let alone tomorrow’s America.
They are a burden that is costing taxpayers a dollar figure that many conveniently ignore.
Addicts who are imprisoned have helped to create a profitable prison industry that is paid taxpayers monies to house and care for them.
It has corrupted government and the private sector, and is not being prioritized as a major problem that must be addressed aggressively.
It has created a “ruthless government of defiance and might” within our streets and communities.
They have the ill-gotten wealth to do it, and to expand it at will.
No household is immune from its tentacles, and its affects are devastating.
It is not an incurable virus, it is a self-inflicted addiction that can be prevented and eradicated.
And it must!
President Bush is meeting with G7 members to address the global financial crisis.
The drug problem requires such immediate attention.

Posted by: Steve Johnson at October 10, 2008 08:14 PM
Comment #266499

Global economy is right, I believe that we may hear rumors in the not very far off future about a global currency as well. I wonder what will be replacing the United Nations, as the league of nations was replaced by them, when the UN finally collapses in upon itself, then will begin the next true global revolution/evolution.

Very nicely written Mr. Remer I think also that you are spot on.

Posted by: NapaJohn at October 10, 2008 08:27 PM
Comment #266500

googlumpus, thanks. The problem with ideological conservatives is that they always lean to preserve what they learned in the past. The isolationist conservatives of the early 20th century were a perfect example. When changing times require adaptive behavior, conservatives always end up being on the wrong side of the fence. This is such a moment in time.

However, some fiscal conservatives are now acknowledging the old paradigms no longer fit the current circumstances. Growing government spending through debt and cutting taxes as Reagan and the two Bushes have, is now recognized by pragmatic conservatives as a failed policy.

There is no rule that prohibits fiscal conservatives from also being pragmatic and adaptive. Ideology is the enemy of adaptive behavior.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2008 08:32 PM
Comment #266501

This meltdown is immediate…the drug problem cannot be solved by forceful, immediate action (perhaps not the financial one either). Perhaps we should look seriously into legalizing, and bonding addictive drugs, and use the bond money to finance drug treatment and drug education programs?

Posted by: Marysdude at October 10, 2008 08:44 PM
Comment #266502

Steve Johnson, much of the drug problem could be eliminated by bringing the whole industry into legal and public view. As long as it remains a tax free, underground economic reality, the incentives to partake will always outstrip our ability to prosecute and imprison.

Decriminalize possession and personal use of any drugs, allow employer discrimination against hiring drug users, tax and legalize recreational drugs, and use the revenues to educate against them and provide treatment to those who succumb to the diminished capacity of their use and choose to change.

Demand will drop in time, government cost due to drugs will diminish dramatically, and interdiction and apprehension of fewer traffickers of the hard core addictive agents will become more effective. Especially, if we ever get around to securing our borders from those we don’t want to let in.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2008 08:58 PM
Comment #266503

Thank you NapaJohn. The downside of a global currency is that it drives down the cost of counterfeiting. But, there is an opportunity cost associated with any action.

Currency is not in my area of knowledge or education. Given that caveat, it seems to me that national currencies reflect national differences at a very fundamental level, cultural, microeconomic, historical, and political, not to mention monetary differences. My guess is that a global currency is just not in the cards. But, I couldn’t defend that position empirically.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2008 09:04 PM
Comment #266506

David, a couple of things confused me in your last couple of posts.

Growing government spending through debt and cutting taxes as Reagan and the two Bushes have, is now recognized by pragmatic conservatives as a failed policy.

I presume you meant growing government debt through spending and cutting taxes…..

Decriminalize possession and personal use of any drugs, allow employer discrimination against hiring drug users, tax and legalize recreational drugs, and use the revenues to educate against them and provide treatment to those who succumb to the diminished capacity of their use and choose to change.

Decriminalization, OK, I follow you….

Allow discrimination against hiring drug users…
OK, a stretch against privacy, but fairly easily avoided as law currently stands, except I assume you must mean decriminalized drugs and not anticholesterols…..

Tax and legalize recreational drugs, and use the revenues to educate against them and provide treatment to those who succumb to the diminished capacity of their use and choose to change…. ummm, which is it decriminalize or legalize? If you legalize, how can you allow discrimination?

Steve Johnson,

Sorry, but as others have posted articles on this issue, as a real problem, drug use is minor compared to the issues of prohibition, and doesn’t make the radar compared to our economic woes.
Often personal experience turns people into crusaders. MADD, is a fine example, that become a bigger problem than the thing they sought to fix.
For the record, my Grandmother was killed by a drunk driver.

Posted by: googlumpugus at October 10, 2008 09:33 PM
Comment #266522

Goo, actually there is no error in the choice of my words. The chose to increase spending in government and pay for it by deferring its payment to future generations of workers, while cutting taxes.

I guess your version and mine could be nothing but semantics. But, it appears to me that the same motive behind cutting taxes, to appeal to voters, was intrinsic in increasing spending. Hence in my choice of words, the act was increasing spending, and the national debt was a consequence as choice of how to pay for it. This offers the least discrepancy in motive, and Occam’s razor tends to be valid regarding motives, the simplest and most consistent set usually being the correct set.

goo said “I assume you must mean decriminalized drugs and not anticholesterols…..”

Haha! On this issue, I take the libertarian stand. The government has no practical nor ethical business intruding on what people choose to ingest into their bodies. If a person chooses to drink battery acid, that is none of the government’s business. If people choose to die rather than live, that too is none of the government’s business.

If what people choose to ingest and the circumstances under which they ingest, endangers others, then it becomes the business of government.

goo asked: “ummm, which is it decriminalize or legalize? “

Like I said, legalize recreational drugs, mescaline, pot, peyote, hashish. Decriminalize the personal use of addictive or potentially lethal drugs, while bolstering interdiction and prosecution of trafficking in addictive and potentially lethal drugs like amphetamines or cocaine or heroine.

It is long past time we distinguished between the two classes of currently illegal drugs.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 10, 2008 11:06 PM
Comment #266523

I’m two persons about matters like this. I’m sort of an anti-futurist and a futurist at the same time. The future, in my observation, is schizophrenic in how it works out. Many of our bright shining visions of the future fail to pan out, and our darkest fears come true.

At the same time, often our worst fears are unfounded, and the world yields us a bounty of blessings we could not even imagine were possible.

So I’ve learned to be skeptical about both my pessimism and my optimism.

I’ve also come to believe that the good and the bad in the world aren’t merely passive gifts or curses laid upon us. What we do, the things we actively engage in, can affect our destinies.

I believe America has any number of futures, not all of them good or even capable of sustaining America’s continued existence. Some of those futures, though, could be better and support more solid growth and development of this country as a world power than we can imagine.

I could sum it up like this: events ride us, and we ride them right back. I tell you what, though: the less you develop yourself as a citizen, in knowledge, in your skills, in your engagement with others, the more you will be the ridden rather than the rider.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 10, 2008 11:17 PM
Comment #266526

Stephen D. said: “I tell you what, though: the less you develop yourself as a citizen, in knowledge, in your skills, in your engagement with others, the more you will be the ridden rather than the rider.”

And therein lies the task and challenge before us all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 11, 2008 01:31 AM
Comment #266534

Stephen,
As an Anti-Authoritarian I do agree with your last sentence; however, as History has shown Americans the Flaws of their Parents and Comunity Elders Government and Society. I do believe that My Peers will be shocked to see how well their Children and their Peers are ready to stand up to the likes of me. For why I agree with David that the World built by the Youth of the 60’s and Silver Spoons of the 70’s, having spent nany hours talking to the Youth of the 20th Century and My Elders. I see why the Founding Fathers of America insisted on America being Red, White, and Blue while being governed by a Two Party Political System.

For why Americans can easily restore the funds in the Market, As a Child of the 70’s, do I have to wait until the Democratic and/or the Republican Civil, Political, and Religious Leaders are going to tell “We the People” on how they plan to repeat the same mistakes made by their Elders?

Or should My Peers and the Children of the 21st Century ask for another source of income from the Establishment until Labor and Management works out their Ignorance of Building a Better World?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at October 11, 2008 04:49 AM
Comment #266542

David:

I have a question about your article and I hope you have the time to answer them. Please do not take my questions as arguements against any of your points for I need some clarity before I argue either for or against your positions.

The two passages you have written in the “Culture” section that I have questions about are:
1. But, going forward, faith cannot be allowed to continue to grow as a socially destructive, ignorant, and divisive force.
2. Faith must be relegated to the private world, and private individual choices of faith must be accepted and protected by our social institutions. Those institutions must protect the individual’s right to faith, but also, protect the society from those individuals and groups who would believe that society is evil, thus justifying divisive actions in order to increase their power, and derailing national interests for personal and minority group agendas.

Would you please expand on the types of beliefs that you consider socially ignorant and divisive?

Posted by: submarinesforever at October 11, 2008 10:22 AM
Comment #266546

I believe America has any number of futures, not all of them good or even capable of sustaining America’s continued existence. Some of those futures, though, could be better and support more solid growth and development of this country as a world power than we can imagine

I think any of us with the ability to associate imagination with reality is capable of seeing that the future of this nation can no longer be accurately defined. The main new mitigating factor which muddles the vision is the very real intrusion of the global equation. What we are witnessing today resembles very much to me what happened in the late 60’s and early 70’s only at a global level. A sort of global revolution of cultural growth. We are watching the rapid evolution of a world no longer able to operate in the form of insulated exclusive separate entities. David, yourself and others here seem to have a broad vision and generalized insights to how things will play out. I too have conflicted notions of just where we as a country will end up when all is said and done. But I do think it will be for the better. After all as a young successful nation we have the benefit of starting from a much better position than many civilizations of the past.

Posted by: RickIL at October 11, 2008 10:56 AM
Comment #266547

Comment #266546 was meant to be directed at Stephen D.

Posted by: RickIL at October 11, 2008 10:58 AM
Comment #266552

submarines,

In reference to: “But, going forward, faith cannot be allowed to continue to grow as a socially destructive, ignorant, and divisive force.”

What is meant here is that America is a nation built upon the very fundamental concepts of Freedom of Religion and a United States. What I refer to here is that minority religious groups cannot be allowed to divide and destroy the Unity of these United States at the political, legal, and governmental levels. At the same time, their rights to practice their religion in the private sector also must be tenaciously protected regardless of the sentiments of the majority.

The Roe V. Wade issue has divided our government and our politics far too long distracting from the very much more important issues to the Unity of these States like the economy and its managment.

A restoration of the separation of church of state, such that neither is allowed to divide the other for its own passionate purposes, is a founding principle America must return to; so we can move on to political, governmental, and social issues that threaten the nation’s future as a whole, like education, economy, and national security at the most efficient cost. We have been distracted from these fundamentals for far too long.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 11, 2008 11:54 AM
Comment #266558
David R. Remer wrote:The causes! There are many, and they date back decades.
Yep. Unfortunately, too many people ignore such things (below) until it finally becomes too painful.
  • (01) Lawlessness
  • (02) Wars
  • (03) Plutocracy / Kleptocracy
  • (04) Illegal Immigration and Unfair Trade Practices
  • (05) Election Problems
  • (06) $10,283,545,239,294 National Debt , $54+ Trillion Nation-Wide Debt and
  • (07) Inflation / Usury / the Monetary-System is a Pyramid-Scheme
  • (08) Regressive Taxation
  • (09) Insufficient / Inadequate Education
  • (10) HealthCare or DangerousCare?
  • (11) … other problems (e.g. environment, energy vulnerabilities, mismanaged entitlement systems, the human factor (i.e. selfisness and greed), etc.) …

Root causes…
Consequences…
Solutions…

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at October 11, 2008 01:24 PM
Comment #266565

Remer says SS is still producing “surplus revenues” while ignoring the trillions in unfunded liability. That’s not being ignorant, as he would imply I am, but a simple attempt to hide the obvious…the Ponzi scheme will soon collapse. Perhaps that’s why he and the Obama followers must enact national health care immediately, before the collapse of SS.

Our current financial crisis has shocked otherwise smart-thinking American’s into accepting government ownership of private corporations and entities. What better time for liberals to grab another huge percent of our economy for entitlement programs designed to enslave our citizens even more by promises of low-cost universal health care.

Remer also writes; “Jim M, thank you for the comment of usual under comprehension. First, no one said the future would hold lower taxes than we now pay. Only that returns on investment to the treasury will reduce tax increases to come.”

This old ploy could be taken directly from the Bill Clinton playbook of double-talk. First, present a totally unlikely event as probable, then give it a spin and say taxes (or as obama would say…Revenue Enhancement) won’t be as extreme as we are now advocating.

The problem is, Remer knows obama’s huge proposed tax increases are unpopular with all but those who already pay no taxes so they must come up with magical thinking to lull those who are paying taxes into believing that higher taxes for them now, will just be temporary until our “investment” pays dividends.

Posted by: Jim M at October 11, 2008 01:46 PM
Comment #266566
David R. Remer wrote: What is meant here is that America is a nation built upon the very fundamental concepts of Freedom of Religion and a United States.
That’s right.

It boils down to tolerance, and a live-and-let-live philosophy.

Unfortunately, too many people don’t get it.
Some people want to force their beliefs onto others, and are intolerant of others’ beliefs.

There are those that fear others that don’t believe as they do, but there are also those that fear those seek to oppress them for not sharing their religious beliefs.

For example, consider what George Bush (41):

  • “No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.”

The founding fathers of the U.S. Constitution were wise to write the 1st Amendment:

  • Bill of Rights

    • Amendment I

      • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Obviously, George H.W. Bush doesn’t get it. Apparently, George H.W. Bush isn’t sure if atheists should be citizens of the U.S.
How despicable is that, not to mention completely ignoring the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution ?
That sort of intolerance is dangerous.
No wonder there are also those that fear those seek to oppress them for not sharing their religious beliefs.
How many people have been killed in wars over the millennia due to religious intolerance?
Why can’t people mind their own business, and stop trying to force their religion onto others, and other peoples’ children ?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at October 11, 2008 01:50 PM
Comment #266568
Jim M wrote: the Ponzi scheme will soon collapse.
Maybe. It’s not at all far fetched.

It’s really simple math.
After all, for over a year, no one has yet been able to answer this one simple question: Where will the money come from to merely pay the INTEREST on $10.2 Trillion National Debt and the $54 Trillion -to- $67 Trillion of nation-wide debt (one-simple-idea.com/DisparityTrend.htm#NationWideDebt), much less the money to reduce the current PRINCIPAL debt, when that money does not already exist? Especially when now, 80% (one-simple-idea.com/DisparityTrend.htm#WealthDistribution) of the U.S. population owns only 17% (or less) of all wealth, and the wealthiest 1% owns 40% of all wealth (i.e. doubled from 20% to 40% since year 1976); a wealth disparity gap that has never been worse since the Great Depression.

It depends on what federal government, and the federal reserve, and the voters do next.

If the federal government and Federal Reserve try to solve the current massive debt problem with more massive debt, borrowing, money-printing, spending, pork-barrel, waste, and perpetuation of the myth that we can all live at the expense of everyone else, then: YES, it will increase inflation (which is already bad), and it may crash the U.S. Dollar, which will then make the economy get much worse and last many years to recover from.

By the pre-1983 inflation measurement method, $1 in year 1999 is now only worth less than 42 cents (One-Simple-Idea.com/DebtAndMoney.htm#Measurement).

Year: __ Pre-1983 _____ Value
_______ Inflation ______ of $1.00
_______ Rate __________________
2000: ___ 10.0% _____ $1.00
2001: ___ 07.8% _____ $0.92
2002: ___ 09.0% _____ $0.84
2003: ___ 08.0% _____ $0.77
2004: ___ 09.5% _____ $0.70
2005: ___ 11.0% _____ $0.62
2006: ___ 10.0% _____ $0.56
2007: ___ 11.7% _____ $0.49
2008: ___ 15.6% _____ $0.42

And if the voters continue to repeatedly reward incumbent politicians with perpetual re-election, then why would voters expect incumbent politicians to stop doing what they are repeatedly rewarded for doing?

By the way, what is the form of those surpluses in Social Security?
Cash?
Government paper?
Worthless I.O.U.s?

$12.8 Trillion has been borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching (i.e. 13,175 new entitlement recipients per day!).

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at October 11, 2008 02:13 PM
Comment #266582

Lessons From the Bailout

“The financial collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is not a failure of the free market because lending institutions in a free market would not have taken on the high-risk loans. They were forced to by the heavy hand of government.”

Read more of the article from one of my favorite Professors of Economics.

http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2008/10/08/lessons_from_the_bailout

Posted by: Jim M at October 11, 2008 05:02 PM
Comment #266584

Destroying Liberty

Remer writes; “A pragmatic philosophy, I believe will trump political ideology going forward. We simply no longer have any other rational choice.”

Some would disagree. The “political ideology” referred to in Remer’s writing is contained in our founding documents.

“Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis warned, “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”

http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2008/10/01/destroying_liberty

Posted by: Jim M at October 11, 2008 05:24 PM
Comment #266591

David:

Thank you very much for your clarification. We do have a difference in opinion, but as I have been drinking beer and watching football games I will reread tomorrow morning and post my disagreements with your article. I would like to state again that over all you have written a great article but I do not wish to debate ideals while drinking beer, lest I use a word like “boldly” again. You have done a very good job and I thank you for indulging my question.

Posted by: submarinesforever at October 11, 2008 06:46 PM
Comment #266593

Sure thing, submarines. The first rule of debate is to define one’s terms. Where they aren’t clearly defined, inquiries are justified. I am always pleased to find other bloggers here who understand the rules of informative debate, and apply them.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 11, 2008 07:30 PM
Comment #266595

Social security just got a little boost as millions of people were going to retire early now they will have to work another ten years. and just think how bad social security would be if we went with the bush plan.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at October 11, 2008 08:20 PM
Comment #266616

David, a truly excellent article.
phx8, great post — and I absolutely agree with the points you made above. Stephen and RickIL — also some terrific points made above.

It’s late so I won’t comment further on this article now, even though I’d like to. Perhaps I’ll find the time tomorrow. But in case I don’t, I’d just like to say that this is one of the most thoughtful, concise, and well-written articles I’ve ever read in this blog. Well done.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at October 12, 2008 04:37 AM
Comment #266626

V.V., your feedback is appreciated. Thanks.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 12, 2008 10:39 AM
Comment #266683
David R. Remer wrote: While certainly the RNC and DNC are conducting polls on their incumbent’s chances, they are not revealing them. There is evidence of the growing anti-incumbent sentiment, however.
    CNN Poll:
      Do you think your congressman has done enough to win another term in D.C.?
      • Yes: 22% (14,401 votes of 65,402 votes)
      • No: 78% (51,001 votes of 65,402 votes)
Unfortunately, as evidenced by dismally low approval ratings for Congress (9%) and 85%-to-90% re-election rates for Congress, the voters’ rhetoric does not match the voters’ voting habits.

The Main-Stream Media is a joke (as usual).
The spin and lies on the extreme left and right are rampant.
The internet is a better source of information (but diligent fact-checking and verification is required, because there are more lies on the internet too).

David R. Remer wrote: The good news for Americans is that this Recession will not likely become a depression throwing 30% or more workers out of jobs, as long as the Chinese, and other growing low wage economies, continue to elevate 10’s of millions of their people into the Middle Class. As their middle class grows and wages increase, their demand for imported technologies and conveniences exported from the Western economies will grow.
I disagree.

The current economic melt-down ain’t nothin’ compared to what it will probably be like by about year 2012, when the nation-wide debt has grown by another $10 Trillion (or more), and the capacity to borrow and print-money can no longer prevent the massive debt-pyramid (currently, $54-to-$67 Trillion of nation-wide debt) from collapsing.

That is, all of these bail-outs are only delaying the inevitable.
These things take many years to unfold, which fools a lot of people.
The laws and principles of math and economics did not suddenly vanish with all of the new borrowing, money-printing, pork-barrel, and waste.
And there will be no profits from the toxic debt being bought by the government.

We may see a bit of growth by next year, but it won’t last long, because:

  • (1) the additional massive borrowing and money-printing will only delay the inevitable consequences of massive debt (currently $54-to-$66 Trillion nation-wide). High inflatinion (and possibly hyperinflation) could crash the U.S. Dollar. Inflation is already economically destabilizing, and it will most likely get worse due to the massive debt and the pressure to merely pay the INTEREST on the $10.2 Trillion National Debt.

  • (2) the federal government is already borrowing and printing the money needed to pay the $429 Billion of annual interest on the $10.2 Trillion National Debt.

  • (3) the U.S. has lost a lot of its manufacturing base. There are more jobs in government than all manufacturing jobs nation-wide.

  • (4) these 10 abuses still have not been addressed, and will continue to erode the middle-class.

  • (5) the debt problem still exists, and growing the debt larger with more borrowing and money-printing will only make it worse later.

  • (6) we still have serious energy vulnerabilities.

  • (7) while anti-incumbent sentiment is growing as their pain levels increase, Congress will probably continue to enjoy 80% re-election rates for the next election, and continue to be fiscally and morally bankrupt. Congress’ re-election rates probably won’t fall below 70% (if ever) until about year 2012 or 2014. Not enough voters are feeling enough pain yet to motivate them to re-think their bad voting habits.

  • (8) the massive borrowing and money printing will have significantly eroded the U.S. Dollar. Already, a U.S. Dollar from year 2000 is now only worth 42 cents based on the pre-1983 inflation measurment method (One-Simple-Idea.com/DebtAndMoney.htm#CurrentInflation):
    • Year: __ Pre-1983 _____ Value

    • _______ Inflation ______ of $1.00

    • _______ Rate __________________

    • 2000: ___ 10.0% _____ $1.00

    • 2001: ___ 07.8% _____ $0.92

    • 2002: ___ 09.0% _____ $0.84

    • 2003: ___ 08.0% _____ $0.77

    • 2004: ___ 09.5% _____ $0.70

    • 2005: ___ 11.0% _____ $0.62

    • 2006: ___ 10.0% _____ $0.56

    • 2007: ___ 11.7% _____ $0.49

    • 2008: ___ 15.6% _____ $0.42

A bit of simple math alone is sufficient to prove it.
After all, for over a year, no one has been able to answer one simple question:
  • Where will the money come from to merely pay the INTEREST on $54 Trillion -to- $67 Trillion of nation-wide debt , much less the money to reduce the current PRINCIPAL debt of $54 Trillion -to- $67 Trillion and prevent it from growing ever larger, when that money does not already exist, and the federal government already has to borrow and print the money to merely pay the $429 Billion in annual interest on the $10.2 Trillion National Debt? Especially now, when 80% of the U.S. population owns only 17% (or less) of all wealth, and 1% owns 40% of all wealth (double the 20% in year 1976); a wealth disparity gap that has never been worse since the Great Depression.

The point is, the massive debt problem not only still exists, but is now much bigger, and it will cause painful consequences in the next decade.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 13, 2008 09:32 AM
Comment #266701

d.a.n, as long as China and India are growing their import demand for the U.S., Americans will continue to be employed. Employment is one of the essential ingredients necessary to reduce our debt.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 13, 2008 11:55 AM
Comment #266726

But

  • (1) Unemployment in the U.S. is rising.
    • __________________ CIVILIAN UNEMPLOYMENT ________________________

    • 6.2% |———————————————————————————————

    • 6.1% |—————————————————xxxxxxxxxxx————————-

    • 6.0% |—————————————————x—————————————-

    • 5.9% |—————————————————x—————————————-

    • 5.8% |—————————————————x—————————————-

    • 5.7% |——————————————-xxxxxx—————————————-

    • 5.6% |——————————————-x————————————————

    • 5.5% |—————————-xxxxxxxxxxx————————————————

    • 5.4% |—————————-x—————————————————————

    • 5.3% |—————————-x—————————————————————

    • 5.2% |—————————-x—————————————————————

    • 5.1% |————-xxxxxx——x—————————————————————

    • 5.0% |————-x——xxxxxx—————————————————————

    • 4.9% |xxxxx——x——————————————————————————

    • 4.8% |——xxxxxx——————————————————————————

    • 4.7% |———————————————————————————————

    • _____Jan__Feb__Mar__Apr__May__Jun__Jul__Aug__Sep__Oct__Nov__Dec (2008)

  • (2) And the U.S. has more jobs in government than all manufacturing, and the U.S. imports far more from China than the U.S. exports to China as evidenced by the trade perpetual imbalances.

  • (3) And the debt is still there, and it just got a lot bigger. National Debt just jumped almost overnight from $9.7 Trillion to $10.3 Trillion. The nation-wide debt increased to about $54 Trillion ($67 Trillion if you include the $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security, leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching (13,175 new recipients per day).

  • (4) The credit crunch will get more and more difficult to stay ahead of, as the nation-wide debt grows larger and larger. The U.S. is already borrowing and printing the $429 Billion per year in interest alone on the $10.3 Trillion National Debt. Inflation will get worse, and the U.S. Dollar will continue to fall year after year as the federal government and Federal Reserve try to borrow and print more money to delay the inevitable collapse of the debt pyramid and the U.S. currency. It’s not a matter of IF. It is a matter of WHEN.

  • (5) Incomes are stagnant (and falling if including more workers per household, regressive taxation, cost burdens of rampant illegal immigration, etc.)

  • (6) The middle-class will continue to shrink, and the wealth disparity gap (increased by 20% since year 1976) will continue to worsen until the 10 abuses are stopped.

  • (7) These 17 economic conditions are still getting worse; not better.

  • (8) There are still millions of more foreclosures on the way …
      • _______________ FORECLOSURES____________________

      • 325,000 |————————————————————————

      • 300,000 |—————————————————————-x——

      • 275,000 |————————————————————-xx——-

      • 250,000 |———————————————-x———-xx———-

      • 225,000 |———————————————x-xx-xxxx————-

      • 200,000 |———————————————x—-x——————-

      • 175,000 |——————————————xxx————————-

      • 150,000 |————————————xxxx——————————

      • 125,000 |——————-x———-xxx————————————

      • 100,000 |——————x-xxxxxxx—————————————-

      • 075,000 |xxxxxxxxxxxx——————————————————

      • 050,000 |————————————————————————

      • _________2 2 2 2 2 222 2 2 2 2 222 2 2 2 2 222 2 2 2 2 22 (YEAR)

      • _________0 0 0 0 0 000 0 0 0 0 000 0 0 0 0 000 0 0 0 0 00

      • _________0 0 0 0 0 000 0 0 0 0 000 0 0 0 0 000 0 0 0 0 00

      • _________5 5 5 5 5 556 6 6 6 6 667 7 7 7 7 778 8 8 8 8 88
  • A lot of people are displaying a sign of relief today, and the stock market jumped 950 points, but all that has changed is that the debt pyramid and inflation have been increased, and the inevitable consequences have only been delayed a little longer, but they are still in the pipeline.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 13, 2008 05:23 PM
    Comment #266731

    Yes, d.a.n, unemployment is rising, we are after all in a recession.

    But, 6.1% unemployment and rising does not doom make if steps are taken to minimize the recession and recover from it sooner than later. The long term picture continues to look bleak for our economy, but, the shorter term is actually improving as evidenced by the stock markets rise by the biggest percentage since 1932 or 33.

    A significant number of jobs lost have been in the financial sector, and those losses are about to halt within weeks, instead of months. As the rescue bill is enacted, housing industry job losses will abate as well, as a floor value is reestablished under the Housing Market.

    It will be perhaps 2 years before housing jobs rebound, but, a halt to their losses is a positive short term positive, as those living in their residence homes are prevented from losing them, maintaining and investing in those homes will commence again, stimulating job growth in the sector.

    All objectives begin with an act of faith that doing something will bring those objectives closer to fulfillment. I see signs that faith is being restored.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 13, 2008 05:58 PM
    Comment #266747
    David R. Remer wrote: Yes, d.a.n, unemployment is rising, we are after all in a recession.
    What? So people are now admitting we are in a recession?

    Has there been a decline in GDP growth?
    The way growth is measured leaves a lot to be desired.
    Even if GDP remained the same, it doesn’t account for the U.S. population increasing by 5 million per year (13,699 per month = 451 per day).

    David R. Remer wrote: But, 6.1% unemployment and rising does not doom make if steps are taken to minimize the recession and recover from it sooner than later.
    That all depends on what those steps are.

    So far, I don’t see the right steps being taken.
    Instead, I see a serious of short-term band-aids that will actually make the problem worse later.

    David R. Remer wrote: The long term picture continues to look bleak for our economy, but, the shorter term is actually improving as evidenced by the stock markets rise by the biggest percentage since 1932 or 33.
    That’s right.

    This is only a short term improvement, and it was produced by more borrowing, money-printing, pork-barrel, and waste.
    It may delay a melt-down, but it will only make it worse later.

    David R. Remer wrote: … the shorter term is actually improving as evidenced by the stock markets rise by the biggest percentage since 1932 or 33.
    That sort of volatility should be a warning sign.

    It is irrational exuberance.
    The debt problem still exists, except it is now much larger, and we haven’t seen the end of foreclosures and bank failures.

    David R. Remer wrote: A significant number of jobs lost have been in the financial sector, and those losses are about to halt within weeks, instead of months. As the rescue bill bail-out BILL [a.k.a. socialization of debt] is enacted, housing industry job losses will abate as well, as a floor value is reestablished under the Housing Market. It will be perhaps 2 years before housing jobs rebound,
    Yes, it will be years before that happens.
    David R. Remer wrote: …but, a halt to their losses is a positive short term positive,
    Yes, but only short-term.

    This bail-out is mostly a tactic to get re-elected.
    Congress persons knew if they did not delay the inevitable at least until 4-NOV-2008, many of them would probably not be re-elected.

    David R. Remer wrote: … as those living in their residence homes are prevented from losing them, maintaining and investing in those homes will commence again, stimulating job growth in the sector.
    Maybe, but only slightly. Not enough to put a dent in the massive $10.3 Trillion National Debt and the massive $67 Trillion nation-wide debt.
    David R. Remer wrote: All objectives begin with an act of faith that doing something will bring those objectives closer to fulfillment.
    That depends on the “something”.

    I seriously doubt the tax-payers will make a profit on all of that toxic debt.

    David R. Remer wrote: I see signs that faith is being restored.
    Only temporarily. How long will that last, when the debt pyramid not only still exists, but it is now bigger than before?

    We will see.
    I hope I’m wrong.
    But the math just doesn’t make sense.

    A $10.4 Trillion National Debt, $67 Trillion nation-wide debt, and $12.8 Trillion borrowed and spent from Social Security (leaving it pay-as-you-go, with a 77 Million baby-boomer bubble approaching (13,175 new recipients per day!)), with only a $13.9 Trillion GDP (a mere one fifth of the $67 Trillion nation-wide debt) doesn’t work out no matter how you slice it.

    The debt pyramid is still there, but bigger now, and still growing bigger every day for the last 52 years.
    The debt pyramid is at the root of the problem.
    The federal government can barely pay the $429 Billion per year in interest alone on the $10.4 Trillion National Debt, and it is borrowing and printing the money to do that.
    The massive borrowing, money-printing, spending, pork-barrel, and waste have increased.
    It still won’t avoid millions of foreclosures.
    Stopping foreclosures will not erase the original debt.

    You know the debt problem is massive and out-of-control when no one can answer the question: Where will the money come from to merely pay the INTEREST on $10.2 Trillion National Debt and the $54 Trillion -to- $67 Trillion of nation-wide debt, much less the money to reduce the current PRINCIPAL debt, when that money does not already exist? Especially when now, 80% of the U.S. population owns only 17% (or less) of all wealth, and the wealthiest 1% owns 40% of all wealth (i.e. doubled from 20% to 40% since year 1976); a wealth disparity gap that has never been worse since the Great Depression.

    The abuses causing these deteriorating economic conditions not only still exist, but are getting worse.

    What we really need now is fiscal responsibility, and we are seeing less of it.
    Did you see how much pork-barrel was in the BILL H.R. 1424 ?
    Do you really think Congress is doing the best thing for most Americans, or the best thing to get themselves re-elected?

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 13, 2008 07:47 PM
    Comment #266759

    d.a.n said: “Instead, I see a serious of short-term band-aids that will actually make the problem worse later.”

    These steps now being taken will not make the recession we are in worse, but better. These steps will however make inflation considerably worse next year and beyond. Of that there is no doubt.

    That sort of volatility should be a warning sign.

    That sort of volatility typically presages a change in market direction up or down.

    It is irrational exuberance.
    The debt problem still exists, except it is now much larger, and we haven’t seen the end of foreclosures and bank failures.

    The national debt is not what caused this recession or liquidity crisis. The national debt issues are a separate problem with longer term consequences. The national debt becomes a problem when the interest rates and taxes are forced ever upward by the growth of debt toward unsustainable levels. We are not there yet. That will take another 5 to 15 years to become intolerable and a serious drag on economic growth.

    Its the same as an individual who can continue to live beyond their means by taking out ever more credit debt to cover previous debt. It is when credit is no longer extended at any percentage rate, that house of debt cards comes tumbling down.

    This bail-out is mostly a tactic to get re-elected.

    No doubt true. But, also true that the bail out saved the economy from floundering deeper and longer in recession than it has, or will over the next 2 years.

    You are absolutely right to rail against the debt. And there appears to be no encouraging signs from Democrats or Republicans to address the problem in a serious way. And that is truly scary, and the reason we applied for passports last week. It can take up to a year to get them approved.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 13, 2008 11:06 PM
    Comment #266785
    David R. Remer wrote: It is when credit is no longer extended at any percentage rate, that house of debt cards comes tumbling down.
    Right.

    WHEN will that debt pyramid finally collapse?

    IMPORTANT: Look at GDP in 1950 and 2005 Dollar$ on this graph (here’s a ZOOMed view of that graph ; see GDP in 1950 (green diamonds) and 2005 Dollars (blue diamonds) at the bottom and top of the graph, respectively).

    GDP in BOTH 1950 and 2005 Dollars has been falling since year 2006, and that has never occurred ever before (not even in the Great Depression)!
    Some people will try to tell you that GDP has been growing every year, but not really; GDP has been falling when you measure GDP in both 1950 and 2005 Dollars!
    That’s because inflation is worse than people think.
    Inflation is destroying wealth and GDP on a massive scale, as evidenced by the massive fall in GDP for over 3 years (measured in BOTH 1950 and 2005 Dollars)!
    Inflation is actually much worse because the federal government deceptively changed the inflation measurement method in 1983 and again in 1998 to make the inflation today look much smaller than it really is.
    We are being lied to - big time, and the Main Stream Media is totally clueless about all of it.
    How can we go from a “mere economic slowdown” and a “fundamentally sound economy” to “economic crisis” in the span of a few weeks?
    Not even the federal government and Federal Reserve can be that incompetent, can they?
    That means someone has been hiding the facts, and fudging the data.
    The federal government and Federal Reserve are out-of-control, and the fiscal situation is more dire than many think.
    That, among other numerous reasons, is why I do not believe the collapse of the debt pyramid can be delayed beyond year 2012.

    You know that point-of-no-return you talk about in which the debt is so large that it can never be reduced and simply grows ever larger?
    We are almost there now.
    The debt federal and nation-wide debt are both out-of-control.
    They are now unmanageable.
    They are now too big to deal with.
    Especially with so many other exacerbating problems (2 wars, 77 million baby boomers, abuses hammering the middle-class, dyfuncational Congress, lawlessness, etc.).

    David R. Remer wrote: The national debt is not what caused this recession or liquidity crisis.
    True, National Debt alone is not the cause of the recession, but massive nation-wide debt is a direct contributing factor, and the National Debt is part of the nation-wide debt. Also, that debt is now much larger. And there are now many millions of people whose homes have not been foreclosed, but are upside-down on their loans, and it will take many years to merely break even. While 98% of home loans are currently stable, what is it telling us when only 2% of home loans that were foreclosed had the economic impact we are seeing today?
    David R. Remer wrote: These steps now being taken will not make the recession we are in worse, but better.
    HHMMmmmmm … only temporarily, since as you also acknowledge
    David R. Remer wrote: These steps will however make inflation considerably worse next year and beyond. Of that there is no doubt.

    Definitely. It will rob most Americans of more wealth.

    Regardless of which inflation measurment method used, the U.S. Dollar is falling fast (One-Simple-Idea.com/USD_Falling.htm):

    • Year: __ Pre-1983 _____ Value

    • _______ Inflation ______ of $1.00

    • _______ Rate __________________

    • 2000: ___ 10.0% _____ $1.00

    • 2001: ___ 07.8% _____ $0.92

    • 2002: ___ 09.0% _____ $0.84

    • 2003: ___ 08.0% _____ $0.77

    • 2004: ___ 09.5% _____ $0.70

    • 2005: ___ 11.0% _____ $0.62

    • 2006: ___ 10.0% _____ $0.56

    • 2007: ___ 11.7% _____ $0.49

    • 2008: ___ 15.6% _____ $0.42

    __________________________________________________
    • Year: __ Pre-1998 _____ Value

    • _______ Inflation ______ of $1.00

    • _______ Rate __________________

    • 2000: ___ 6.20% _____ $1.00

    • 2001: ___ 3.95% _____ $0.96

    • 2002: ___ 5.80% _____ $0.90

    • 2003: ___ 4.15% _____ $0.87

    • 2004: ___ 6.00% _____ $0.82

    • 2005: ___ 6.40% _____ $0.76

    • 2006: ___ 5.90% _____ $0.72

    • 2007: ___ 7.70% _____ $0.66

    • 2008: ___ 9.80% _____ $0.60

    __________________________________________________
    • Year: __ Post 1998 _____ Value

    • _______ Inflation ______ of $1.00

    • _______ Rate __________________

    • 2000: ___ 3.38% _____ $1.00

    • 2001: ___ 2.83% _____ $0.97

    • 2002: ___ 1.59% _____ $0.96

    • 2003: ___ 2.27% _____ $0.94

    • 2004: ___ 2.68% _____ $0.91

    • 2005: ___ 2.39% _____ $0.88

    • 2006: ___ 3.24% _____ $0.85

    • 2007: ___ 2.85% _____ $0.83

    • 2008: ___ 4.28% _____ $0.79

    David R. Remer wrote: You are absolutely right to rail against the debt.
    For all the good it does. It’s growing faster than ever now.

    It’s probably so large now that it will never be possible to pay down any significant portion of it.

    David R. Remer wrote: And there appears to be no encouraging signs from Democrats or Republicans to address the problem in a serious way. And that is truly scary, and the reason we applied for passports last week. It can take up to a year to get them approved.
    True.

    That possibly is the most serious problem we face:

    • There are too few (if any) in government that are willing and/or competent enough to seriously address the nation’s problems growing dangerously in number and severity.

    That one single fact is why the potential for a more serious economic melt-down in 2-to-4 years will make recent events look mild.

    The irrational exuberance seen yesterday (13-OCT-2008), where the DOW climbed 930 points, is a warning sign.
    There has never been such volatility in the stock market since the Great Depression.
    But guess what is one of the major factors that is driving this risky behavior and bubble after bubble:

    • Inflation caused by rampant borrowing and money-printing

    Bubble after bubble, growing and bursting, with each bubble getting bigger than the one before it.

    David R. Remer wrote: The national debt becomes a problem when the interest rates and taxes are forced ever upward by the growth of debt toward unsustainable levels. We are not there yet. That will take another 5 to 15 years to become intolerable and a serious drag on economic growth.
    It will probably be closer to 5 years than 15 years.
    David R. Remer wrote: And there appears to be no encouraging signs from Democrats or Republicans to address the problem in a serious way. And that is truly scary, and the reason we applied for passports last week.
    Therefore, you see some hope for a short-term improvement, but not a long term solution?

    It’s not that our problems couldn’t be solved with minimal pain and misery.
    The problem is that there are too few (if any) in Congress that are willing or competent enough to adequately address the nation’s numerous problems that are growing dangerously in number and severity, and there are too few voters that will stop repeatedly rewarding Congress with perpetual re-eleciton, until it is too late.
    Congress, unfortunately, is where good ideas and solutions go to die.
    If only Congress could tackle tough issues as quickly and efficiently as they give themselves another raise (9 raises between years 1997 and 2007).

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 14, 2008 10:42 AM
    Comment #266864

    One thing is for sure, as long as a minority party can filibuster the majority party, making their performance appear bad to the public, there is NO hope of solving the fundamental challenges the future holds.

    Democrats may just acquire the 10 Senate seats they need to achieve a filibuster proof Senate. If, so, they will tackle some of those fundamental issues. But, if history is any guide, those gutless wonders that dominate their party will refuse to make painful choices that might impede their reelection.

    That is why the ultimate responsibility for America’s future rests with the voters. Either they can boot out these incumbents regularly and routinely and in growing numbers, until their replacements recognize the pattern and act responsibly in the hope they won’t get the boot next, or our nation fails to live up to its promise laid down in the Declaration of Independence to create a more perfect union.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 14, 2008 11:28 PM
    Comment #266891
    David R. Remer wrote: That is why the ultimate responsibility for America’s future rests with the voters.
    That’s right.

    The voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    The question is, are voters feeling enough pain yet to finally vote more responsibly?

    I don’t think so (despite some improvement and a growing anti-incumbent sentiment), because too many voters are still placing their hopes on the incumbent Democrat politicians, instead of realizing that it is necessary to oust irresponsible incumbent politicians in BOTH parties in the two-party duopoly. After all, a filibuster-proof majority by the Democrats in the Senate is not the root of all problems. Democrats in Congress have collapsed and caved-in on a multitude of issues:

    • the Iraq occupation continues; Democrats failed to use a thousand strategic, unrelenting methods and powers of the legislative branch to end the occupation of Iraq;

    • Democrats in Congress surrendered to Bush’s Mukasey appointment for Attorney General (who said (a) he couldn’t say water-boarding amounts to torture, and (b) he believes President Bush has the inherent power to overrule American laws);

    • Democrats in Congress betrayed Americans by supporting NAFTA, CAFTA, and other unfair trade deals; Pelosi stood with Bush to push through another trade-scam with Peru;

    • Democrats in Congress championed the despicable pitting of Americans and illegal aliens against each other for votes; Republicans went along for profits. Both pretend that is is compassion, when it is actually a severely misplaced compassion;

    • Democrats in Congress caved-in to regressive taxation;

    • Democrats in Congress caved-in to Bush’s budgets and massive deficit spending;

    • Democrats in Congress caved-in to war profiteering;

    • Democrats in Congress championed a huge farm subsidy BILL full of pork-barrel and welfare for the wealthy;

    • Democrats in Congress stonewalled on oversight on growing banking problems;

    • Democrats in Congress caved-in to a few hedge-fund operators who want to retain a loop-hole to dodge $12 Billion per year in taxes;

    • Democrats in Congress shamefully caved-in to Bush and handed Bush more power to spy on Americans without civil oversight, while also giving blanket, retroactive immunity to the giant telecom companies that illegally participated in massive wire-tapping;

    • Democrats in Congress

    • Democrats in Congress have actually become enablers of the White House;

    And now many voters believe that all of these incumbent Democrats in Congress, who are turning out to be weaker than Canadian hot sauce, are suddenly going to grow a spine?

    Of course, someone (a Democrat no doubt) is going to come along and say, “Yeah, but the Republicans in Congress are worse!

    Maybe, but that’s not the real point is it?
    That’s a clever distraction, but ultimately pointless.
    Does it matter which is worse when most (if not all) incumbent politicians in BOTH parties in Congress are so pathetically corrupt and incompetent?
    Both are like two rotting, gangrenous legs that must be amputated.
    Does it matter which leg is worse?

    Maybe the incumbent Democrats don’t think voters are watching.
    Maybe the incumbent Democrats are hoping the hatred for Bush and Buckshot Cheney is so awful that it will distract from the incumbent Democrats’ spinelessness.
    Maybe.
    But Congress’ approval ratings of 11% are now lower than Bush’s approval ratings (www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN1844140220070919).
    Also, the voters’ rhetoric doesn’t always translate into anti-incumbent voting … at least, not until repeatedly rewarding bad politicians with perpetual re-election finally becomes too painful.

    Even in 1933, when voters ousted 206 members of Congress, voters failed to hold incumbent politicians accountable in BOTH parties, and handed over 107 seats to the Democrat party, and the Great Depression dragged on for another decade. History appears to be repeating itself, as the voters are poised to only hold ONE party accountable (i.e. Republicans), when the voters need to oust all irresponsible incumbent politicians in BOTH parties. Unfortunately, voters continue to let the two-party duopoly take turns using and abusing the voters.

    David, What did you think about the GDP, BOTH in 1950 and 2005 Dollar$ on this graph (with GDP in 1950 Dollars (see green diamonds at bottom of graph) and in 2005 Dollars (see blue diamonds at top of graph)?

    The U.S. GDP has actually been falling sharply since year 2006 when meassuring GDP in BOTH 1950 and 2005 Dollars. Has this been reported anywhere on any news or financial channel?

    How could inflation really only be 3%-to-5% (currently reported to only be 5.37%) ?

    How could the U.S. Dollar be doing this if inflation was really only 3%-to-5% ?

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 15, 2008 08:42 AM
    Comment #266893

    Here’s another view of the falling GDP since year 2006 (in BOTH 2005 and 1950 Dollars).

    Only once since year 1900, has there been a dip (and it was much smaller) in GDP (measured in BOTH 2005 and 1950 Dollars), and that was after World War II (between 1945 and 1950; see graph).

    How could inflation really only be 3%-to-5% for the last decade (currently reported to only be 5.37%) ?

    Yet, some people tried to tell us we were not in a recession?

    Don’t you think someone else, somewhere else, has noticed GDP falling drastically when measured in previous dollars? That is, inflation is masking the true recession since year 2006.

    HHHHMMMmmmmmmm … what else are we being lied to about?

    DEBT and GDP graph

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 15, 2008 09:17 AM
    Comment #266914

    I’m voting against Barack Obama because I beliieve in my neighbors, Americans who have been priveledged to live free of the rule of government that oppresses. My neighbors don’t depend on government. They are fiercely independent, loyal and proud. They feed their families; they work to help those of us who don’t have the ability to thrive; they protect us in war and they are loyal to the United States of America..They stand for the principals of freedom, not popularity or “group think.” They have character and optimism.
    I’m voting against Barack Obama because I’m tired of being told that Americans can’t function without the federal government’s “beneficient” oversight. My neighbors and I know better..I’m tired of being told that Americans are mean spirited . My neighbors and I know better..
    I’m voting against Barack Obama because the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution mean something. They go to the core of what my neighbors and I believe.
    I’m voting against Barack Obama because I know that the government is not what makes the United States the most exceptional country in the world…It is Americans just like my neighbors.

    Posted by: Stephanie Caveness at October 15, 2008 12:09 PM
    Comment #266933
    Stephanie Caveness wrote: I’m voting against Barack Obama because the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution mean something.
    No one in Congress respects the U.S. Constitution, because everyone in Congress joined in a law suit (all represented by DOJ attorney Karen Utiger, and inappropriately advised by Judge Coughenour’s ruling in Walker v. United States) to violate Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

    Does that mean you are voting for McCain?

    Regardless of who the next president is, what will that president be able to improve if saddled and sabotaged with the same corrupt Congress?

    Stephanie Caveness wrote: I’m voting against Barack Obama because I know that the government is not what makes the United States the most exceptional country in the world…It is Americans just like my neighbors.
    The who repeatedly rewards Congress with 85%-to-90% re-election rates? Maybe it wasn’t your neighbors, but it was definitely over half of Americans.

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 15, 2008 01:47 PM
    Comment #267063

    QuotesFinance Search

    AP
    Oil down on big jumps in US crude, gas supplies
    Thursday October 16, 11:47 am ET
    By Stevenson Jacobs, AP Business Writer
    Oil prices tumble below $70 on bigger-than-expect jumps in US crude, gasoline supplies


    NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices have tumbled below $70 a barrel after the government reported bigger-than-expected jumps in U.S. crude and gasoline inventories. Investors took the news as more evidence that an economic slowdown is curbing demand for energy.
    In its weekly report, the Energy Information Administration says crude stocks rose by 5.6 million barrels last week, well above the 3.1 million barrel increase expected by analysts surveyed by energy research firm Platts.

    The EIA also says gasoline stock rose by 7 million barrels last week, more than double the build analysts had expected.

    Light, sweet crude for November delivery was down $4.61 to $69.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude’s lowest trading level in nearly 14 months.

    Oil prices have now dropped by more than 50 percent since peaking at $147.27 on July 11.


    Posted by: Rodney Brown at October 16, 2008 12:42 PM
    Comment #267132

    ””“Good News David, Also with energy prices down hell i think natural gas was 14.00 a unit last january and It’s about 6.50 a unit right now and heating fuel is down, i hope it stays that way through winter, I’ll tell you a lot of folks were cold last winter and hungry.”“”>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
    Thu Oct 16, 4:50 PM ET


    WASHINGTON - Social Security checks are going up $63 a month for the typical retiree — the largest increase in more than a quarter century but likely to seem puny to the millions who have been watching in horror as Wall Street lays waste to their retirement nest eggs.

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Every little bit helps, but the boost is coming after a year when people living on fixed incomes have been pounded by surging energy prices and higher food costs — and lately have been seen their lifetime savings shrivel along with the stock market.

    The yearly adjustment in Social Security checks is linked to government inflation figures, but advocacy groups for seniors say it’s far short of what the typical retiree needs to keep up with rising living costs.

    The Senior Citizens League said it did a study that indicated people 65 and over have lost 51 percent of their buying power since 2000, with the price of home heating oil and gasoline more than doubling since the beginning of the decade and such food staples as eggs and potatoes showing big increases as well.

    “Although the word crisis gets thrown around a lot in our national dialogue, there’s no other word to describe it. Millions of our nation’s seniors are facing an economic crisis,” says Daniel O’Connell, the league’s chairman.

    Adds Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com: “Most households will take any cash they can get in these very difficult times when seniors have been panicked watching the fall in stock prices and what is happening to banks where many of them have their CDs.”

    The 5.8 percent increase announced Thursday by the Social Security Administration will go to the 50 million Americans receiving benefits. It is the biggest jump since the 7.4 percent of 1982. The $63 typical monthly increase compares to the $24 advance that retirees saw in this year’s benefit checks, an increase of just 2.3 percent and the smallest in four years.

    The typical retiree’s monthly check will go from $1,090 to $1,153.

    The upcoming help for the retirees should help the faltering economy as well, assuming they spend much or all of the additional money.

    “It gives people a little extra spending power that they can take to the shopping mall,” said David Wyss, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com.

    Retirees will also be getting help from falling gasoline prices, which had surged earlier in the year but now are falling sharply.

    In another break for most retirees, the cost of living increase will not be eaten up by higher monthly premiums for the part of Medicare that pays for physician services. Because of gains in the Medicare Part B trust fund, that premium will hold steady at $96.40 a month, although higher-income people including couples making more than $170,000 annually will see their premiums increase.

    In some unwelcome news for millions of people who have not yet retired, the government also announced Thursday that the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax will increase next year to $106,800, from $102,000 this year.

    Of the 164 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2009, about 11 million will pay higher taxes as a result of this increase.

    The newly announced cost-of-living benefit will go to more than 55 million Americans. More than 50 million receive Social Security benefits, while the rest get Supplemental Security Income payments for the poor.

    For an average couple, with both getting Social Security benefits, monthly checks will go up by $103 a month, to $1,876.

    The average monthly Supplemental Security Income payment, which goes to the needy, will increase for an individual from $637 a month to $674. The average monthly check for a disabled worker will go from $1,006 to $1,064.

    Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain have sparred over Social Security during the presidential campaign, although neither has provided much insight into how he would fix the government’s largest entitlement program, which is facing severe strains with the upcoming retirement of 78 million baby boomers.

    If no changes are made, the Social Security trust fund is projected to deplete its reserves in 2041 and will begin paying out more than it collects in benefits even sooner, starting in 2017.

    As for people’s other arrangements, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that Americans’ retirement plans have lost as much as $2 trillion over the past 15 months — more than 20 percent of their value — because of all the market turbulence.

    The Social Security increase is based on changes in the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index in the July-September quarter compared with the same period a year earlier.

    That figure also triggers increases for retired federal workers. Federal retirees covered by the Civil Service Retirement System will see their benefits increase by 5.8 percent, while employees hired in 1984 or later will get a 4.8 percent increase.

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at October 16, 2008 09:00 PM
    Comment #267133

    Sorry it went over..

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at October 16, 2008 09:01 PM
    Comment #267138

    Edit Natural gas is 7.25 a unit.

    Posted by: Rodney Brown at October 16, 2008 10:35 PM
    Comment #267144

    Inflation.

    So, what else are we being lied to about?

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 17, 2008 12:15 AM
    Comment #267539

    Hi everyone, it is nearly election time in the US. So it’s time for you to send your message to American voters by posting a photo message in the hope of a better world.


    Time is running out, and it might be the last chance for you to raise your voice.

    Please do not hesitate to post your message or if you did so already, just send a message to your friends to view our page or site.

    Take part in making OUR world better, take action now,

    Give US a hope

    GIVE USA HOPE!

    www.giveusahope.com

    Posted by: giveusahope at October 20, 2008 10:46 AM
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