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Old 06-08-2011, 06:44 AM   #61
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Some folks might remember . . .
What follows is a bunch of rationalizations for why one side is pushing policy goals who's primary objective is not deficit reduction in the name of deficit reduction while the other side is not. If folks really cared about the deficit, they'd be working toward common ground on that issue instead of pushing the most divisive portions of their platform.
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:32 AM   #62
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Southern Europe is in a mess because they over spent and didn't have enough tax revenue, mostly due to evasion and poor enforcement.
That's true of Greece, and to some extent Portugal. But Spain's problems are mostly caused by a housing bubble, and Italy's debt is in pretty good shape. Ireland isn't in Southern Europe, but you can include it in the "basket cases we heard about in 2010", and there, the main problem was that bailing out massive banks with international operations is easier with a population of 300 million (US) than 3 million (Ireland) or 300,000 (Iceland).
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:46 AM   #63
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If folks really cared about the deficit, they'd be working toward common ground on that issue instead of pushing the most divisive portions of their platform.
For example, the Bowles Simpson recommendations. It is still not clear why this has not been pursued more actively.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:25 AM   #64
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I put up that post mainly in response to the (perceived, perhaps in error) implication that I occasionally get along the lines of "Sure, I'd do that too if I had a COLA pension"...
Well, I think it's certainly true that if one has a COLA'd pension that is sufficient for their lifestyle, it's easier to take as much (or as little) market risk as you are comfortable with. Neither low returns due to being overcautious nor a market crash will cause you to hit the streets eating dog food.

It's all cyclical in a sense and the pendulum takes drastic swings over time. In the late 1990s, a pension was often seen as boring and not a necessity; a job with "stock options" was the sexy thing and not a lot of people suffered "pension envy." (Hey, if I hit it big with options, who needs a pension??) Today with the market providing 10 years of zero return, job angst leading to people w*rking longer because of fears of not enough personal savings (bad times tend to make people think they need more to retire) and other factors, suddenly a pension (and retiree health insurance, I suppose) are *the* benefits on almost everyone's "wish list". Boom times make people greedy and unafraid of risk; bad times make people yearn for security even at the expense of potential riches. But again, much of the problem today is that "buying a pension" is a terrible deal because of low rates that have the cost of "buying an income stream" at nosebleed levels. Even folks who have some personal retirement savings who would prefer to convert to a pension don't really have that option unless they want to buy at historically high prices.

Maybe in 1998, some folks who chose public sector employment envied those who got in on a dot-com startup with the potential to become a stock option multimillionaire. Today, the opposite is more likely to be true and these same people are probably thankful for the choices they made.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:27 AM   #65
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If folks really cared about the deficit, they'd be working toward common ground on that issue instead of pushing the most divisive portions of their platform.
They could all start -- both sides, *all* sides -- by putting everything on the table rather than insisting that some things be left off before they'll even negotiate. Doesn't matter whether it's tax increases or spending cuts in pet programs; it ALL needs to be on the table.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:44 AM   #66
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I've never heard that before. It sounds like something that would be true whenever unemployment is below 50% . . . 'well, most people are doing well.' I'm not convinced.
This is more like the economy has fully recovered and this is as good as it gets. Thatís good for about 85% of the population and it wonít get any better for the rest.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:50 AM   #67
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This is more like the economy has fully recovered and this is as good as it gets. Thatís good for about 85% of the population and it wonít get any better for the rest.
I am of the firm belief that most of the "recovery" (mostly in corporate profits, not individual success or security, but I digress) was due to a short period of cheap oil. Oil prices dropping by 60% was the ultimate "stimulus package". I think that boosted the economy far more than ANY government action could have ever accomplished. But that train has left the station. Next stop, IMO, Doubledipsville.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:55 AM   #68
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Good point.

I put up that post mainly in response to the (perceived, perhaps in error) implication that I occasionally get along the lines of "Sure, I'd do that too if I had a COLA pension"...

I think everyone should annuitize a portion of their ER income in order to have a safety net from which to properly assess those other investment decisions. For some, Social Security may be enough. For others, a bare-bones survival budget that's one step above Little Friskies. For a few, perhaps their entire portfolio.
A cola pension has drawbacks as well, especially for someone looking forward to 3 decades (or more) of potentially declining loss of relative standard of living that result from the use of hedonic methodology to calculate CPI. A mix of pension and/or annuity plus investment portfolio is a very good idea, and I don't recall seeing it recommended in any of the literature on investing.
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:58 AM   #69
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A cola pension has drawbacks as well, especially for someone looking forward to 3 decades (or more) of potentially declining loss of relative standard of living that result from the use of hedonic methodology to calculate CPI.
Agreed. I don't think people of modest means living on CPI-linked income streams feel like they've come close to "keeping pace" with the cost of the essentials they buy. Sure, the cost of big screen TVs and cruise vacations are falling (which help lead to a "flat" CPI), but if most of what you are buying is food, energy, health care and education, the CPI is a joke.

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A mix of pension and/or annuity plus investment portfolio is a very good idea, and I don't recall seeing it recommended in any of the literature on investing.
Actually, this is "old school" stuff -- remember the "three legged stool" approach of SS, pensions and personal savings? IMO, there's really one standout model for this, one which clearly emphasizes all three legs of the stool -- Uncle Sam's own FERS plan.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 06-08-2011, 12:03 PM   #70
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I am of the firm belief that most of the "recovery" (mostly in corporate profits, not individual success or security, but I digress) was due to a short period of cheap oil. Oil prices dropping by 60% was the ultimate "stimulus package". I think that boosted the economy far more than ANY government action could have ever accomplished. But that train has left the station. Next stop, IMO, Doubledipsville.
Interesting idea. So you don't think it "trickled down" because of low tax rates and all that interest free money loaned to the banks?

Doubledipsville? Nah. I think it's Muddlesville. But we will get to watch the emerging world grow.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:04 PM   #71
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You aren't kidding! Welcome to all news, all the time, from everywhere. Not helpful, but no putting the genie back in the bottle.
Re flipping a switch from positive news to negative, I don't think it's related to 24/7 coverage, but to the fact that middle of the road news doesn't sell commercials.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:07 PM   #72
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Re flipping a switch from positive news to negative, I don't think it's related to 24/7 coverage, but to the fact that middle of the road news doesn't sell commercials.
Nailed it. It's a pretty safe bet that the "news" media sees the success of Jerry Springer and decides it's good for ratings in covering news (particularly political news). Measured, fact-based and dispassionate coverage of politics and current events doesn't get ratings. Bombastic, no-holds-barred opinion and spin, on the other hand, does. This ain't Cronkite's news media any more, and I don't think we're better for it.
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Old 06-08-2011, 01:20 PM   #73
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For example, the Bowles Simpson recommendations. It is still not clear why this has not been pursued more actively.
Both sides are going to point fingers and yell "neener neener", because blaming the other guy, and staying or getting into power, is more important than governance...
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:58 PM   #74
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And now for something really different...

Federal Reserve Beige Book: Economy still chugging along - Jun. 8, 2011

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Despite a few signs that economic growth is slowing, the report covering the Fed's 12 districts reported the recovery is actually chugging along at a solid pace.
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Old 06-08-2011, 04:03 PM   #75
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Shhhh.... Didn't you get the memo? Its all bad news, all the time. We will let you know when we flip the switch in the other direction.
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Old 06-08-2011, 04:40 PM   #76
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Another indicator that 24/7 news coverage is not such a good thing. Who watches good news? I miss the nightly news with Conkrite. Does that age me or what
Who doesn't miss Uncle Walter. They don't have evening news like they use to. I stop watch TV news altogether since it's so bias with political agenda behind it. I remembered watching Saturday Night Lives and they always made satire out of Barbra Walter but don't recall ever about Uncle Walter.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:47 PM   #77
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It's definitely a healthy thing for you, personally,that your "expectations" of the job market are positive and let's all hope that people get back to work, especially in the higher paying jobs.

I work with engineers in Mexico that make 22k/yr for US firms such as Intel and Continental Auto. Are those jobs coming back to the US at 100k per engineer? Not sure about that.

Here is an official web site that lists average engineering salaries in Mexico. Keep in mind, the figures are monthly but in pesos which is about 10:1

Portal del Empleo :: ŅCuŠles son las carreras mejor pagadas?


Expectations have a lot to do with the problem itself in that many Americans expected their houses to continuing going up in value, took equity loans, and now wondering what hit them.
That's pretty much what happen with Japan, Korea, and now China. When I was a pup, everything in a bargain store was made in Japan. Then made in Japan slowly disappear from bargain to luxury line when made in Korea took over the bargain store...etc.

No, I don't think those high paying jobs will return to US. If Mexicans are as smart as others, they will be in same economic standard as us. That's what happens when a corporation is driven by profit from shareholders. In order to make profits, cut in the labor cost. I waiting to made in China replaced by made in Mexico. I beginning to see lot more made in Mexico. Wrangler blue jean are now made in Mexico. That might explain why my waste line keep increasing. They don't know American size.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:58 PM   #78
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That's pretty much what happen with Japan, Korea, and now China. When I was a pup, everything in a bargain store was made in Japan. Then made in Japan slowly disappear from bargain to luxury line when made in Korea took over the bargain store...etc.

No, I don't think those high paying jobs will return to US. If Mexicans are as smart as others, they will be in same economic standard as us. That's what happens when a corporation is driven by profit from shareholders. In order to make profits, cut in the labor cost. I waiting to made in China replaced by made in Mexico. I beginning to see lot more made in Mexico. Wrangler blue jean are now made in Mexico. That might explain why my waste line keep increasing. They don't know American size.
And on it goes.. ..
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:48 PM   #79
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Who doesn't miss Uncle Walter. They don't have evening news like they use to. I stop watch TV news altogether since it's so bias with political agenda behind it. I remembered watching Saturday Night Lives and they always made satire out of Barbra Walter but don't recall ever about Uncle Walter.
I guess I am just a bit too young to have ever watched Walter Cronkite. In my adult lifetime all I remember is that news anchors are a bunch of shtbirds sensationalizing horrible events and that none of them are worth listening to. The closest I come to the definition of a halfway decent news presenter is Tom Keene on Bloomberg.
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:57 PM   #80
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I guess I am just a bit too young to have ever watched Walter Cronkite. In my adult lifetime all I remember is that news anchors are a bunch of shtbirds sensationalizing horrible events and that none of them are worth listening to. The closest I come to the definition of a halfway decent news presenter is Tom Keene on Bloomberg.
Check out Colbert's take on Scott Pelley - Katie Couric's replacement....

Scott Pelley's First CBS Broadcast - The Colbert Report - 6/7/11 - Video Clip | Comedy Central
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