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Old 03-27-2011, 09:37 AM   #201
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Interesting and civil posts. Nothing to add, you have touched on the important issues. Thanks
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Old 03-27-2011, 09:53 AM   #202
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Can I assume that you do not like veggies either?
You would be wrong. I love veggies (any kind). The problem I have with fruit is "texture" (since my late mother told me I spit them out, even as a baby).

An example? I hate apples, but I'll devour apple pie. Again, it's the texture, not necessarily the spices of the pie that turn me off.

I must admit, the only "veg" I won't eat is peas. Too mushy for my palate.

Of course, when traveling in Europe, I always look for "steak tartar" on the menu (which most folks would say is nothing more than raw meat, combined with spices and topped with a raw egg). I love it - it's a texture thing.

BTW, I hate grapes, but I devour wine (OK, that's reaching, but what the heck; again it's a texture thing...)

Two colonoscopies after the age of 50 showed that those "bushel baskets of Brussels sprouts" did take care of me over time (no problems found).

Yeah, I'm strange (but I can live with it) ...
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Old 03-27-2011, 05:57 PM   #203
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You would be wrong. I love veggies (any kind)...

Yeah, I'm strange (but I can live with it)
...
Surely, you are strange, I must admit. But if a guy cannot live with himself, who else would?

Still, a guy who loves brussel sprouts has enough going for him to have a long healthy life, I would say. And I am sure you have tried the "brussel sprouts with bacon", as shown below.





But again, I digress...

Getting back to the also tangential talk of encouraging health care providers to provide service to indigent groups, I just recall this story. A long-time friend of mine had his daughter graduated with a degree in pharmacy. As her student loan debt was in the 6-figure, she signed up in a program that would pay her student loans, in exchange for her working for so many years for the government, as part of a program to provide care to an Indian tribe. This is in a remote boondock area, and obviously, they had problems recruiting.

What was really curious was that the agency was the US Navy. Yes, the US Navy! I know of no other details.
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:59 PM   #204
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NW, You kind of touch on something that was intended to help create individual wealth, but it is actually destroying it, I believe. That being the massive student loan debt that kids are taking on to get a college degree. Many get in way over there heads before they even begin their careers due to the amount of debt they incur, and it will never leave . Also, many go to college to get a degree that will not pay off that amount of debt. I know we all complain about healthcare costs exploding but college tuition is just as bad for these kids. When I went in the early 80's, tuition was about 30 an hour, And I had a $5.50 an hour job. Now the same college is over $200 an hour (plus all sorts of BS fees) and you can get maybe a $7.50 hour part time job if your lucky. Glad I'm not a college student now!
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:38 AM   #205
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The tuition explosion could have been caused by the easy access to the money to pay for it. It becomes a self feeding cycle.
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:34 AM   #206
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It looks as thought statistics show that there is a larger than historically usual gap between the rich and the poor in the US. That said, can anybody cite any real statistics that show across whatever "class" of people you like a marked decline in standard of living now v. 20, 30, 50, 100 years ago, etc.?

I saw an interview with Milton Friedman in a documentary recently, he is a famous free market economist, who cited the inequality gap, but also the fact that over time and while the gap was growing so was the overall standard of living for the poor. His economic analysis would suggest that while the "rich" people were getting richer, they were also creating jobs and opportunities that "poor" people were able to take advantage of and that true increases in standard of living cannot come from redistribution but only from wealth creation by entrepreneurs and business.

From my perspective, so long as the overall standard of living is maintained or growing from a long term trend perspective, I don't think I care how much more than me Warren Buffet has or makes. I am beginning to think this whole argument isn't so much about what the best system is (as I think history has proven from an objective economic perspective that free markets & capitalism work best); but, about envy, laziness, and some convoluted concept of fairness.

I don't want anybody to give me, either voluntarily or via the government apparatus, anything that I haven't earned. I wonder how many others in our society can say this?
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:55 AM   #207
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I am beginning to think this whole argument isn't so much about what the best system is (as I think history has proven from an objective economic perspective that free markets & capitalism work best); but, about envy, laziness, and some convoluted concept of fairness.

I don't want anybody to give me, either voluntarily or via the government apparatus, anything that I haven't earned. I wonder how many others in our society can say this?
Excellent point and supported based on the fact that anyone that can substantiate a need...gets the support ..as mentioned earlier in the thread.

Anyone read the article in the WSJ over the week-end..titled "The Price of Taxing the Rich" Interesting points made with California as the example... about the volatility of state budgets created when states rely on the income from the rich and it is those incomes that make up large percentages of the tax revenue.

After reading I was left with..".O.K....if our government increases taxes on what they call "the now rich (250K per couple- top 5%))...what happens when their incomes decrease? At that point, will our government increase taxes on the middle class? Conceptually one can almost visualize the "drilling down" into the tax classes to solve all the problems. They've drilled thru the top1%, getting ready to drill thru the top 5% and there is little safety net below that.

The only way to counter act this "drilling down" is to reduce government spending....reduce the level of revenue needed. IMHO.

The Price of Taxing the Rich - WSJ.com

If you can't get the link up ..a search by the title on wall street journal online will bring it up.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:55 AM   #208
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It's not like there is no volatility in the lower income folks.

During a recession, the revenues a state brings in go down, and the spending goes up. That's the nature of a recession. People of all incomes are making less, and the need for government programs like unemployment insurance and Medicaid go up. It's more extreme when you rely heavily on a progressive income tax, but the fundamental issue is not going to go away if we had a flat tax.

Ultimately, we need to be running budget surpluses during the good times and budget deficits during the bad times. What actually happens though, is we cut taxes anytime we have a budget surplus (or start new government programs with the "extra" money), and then expect that we should be able to finance the same services without a problem during the bad times.

The revenue a state brings in is always going to fluctuate, sometimes dramatically. This requires foresight, planning, and discipline from the citizens and their elected leaders to deal with intelligently.


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Excellent point and supported based on the fact that anyone that can substantiate a need...gets the support ..as mentioned earlier in the thread.

Anyone read the article in the WSJ over the week-end..titled "The Price of Taxing the Rich" Interesting points made with California as the example... about the volatility of state budgets created when states rely on the income from the rich and it is those incomes that make up large percentages of the tax revenue.

After reading I was left with..".O.K....if our government increases taxes on what they call "the now rich (250K per couple- top 5%))...what happens when their incomes decrease? At that point, will our government increase taxes on the middle class? Conceptually one can almost visualize the "drilling down" into the tax classes to solve all the problems. They've drilled thru the top1%, getting ready to drill thru the top 5% and there is little safety net below that.

The only way to counter act this "drilling down" is to reduce government spending....reduce the level of revenue needed. IMHO.

The Price of Taxing the Rich - WSJ.com

If you can't get the link up ..a search by the title on wall street journal online will bring it up.
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:13 AM   #209
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This requires foresight, planning, and discipline from the citizens and their elected leaders to deal with intelligently.
I think we've found the problem...
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:13 AM   #210
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It's not like there is no volatility in the lower income folks.

During a recession, the revenues a state brings in go down, and the spending goes up. That's the nature of a recession. People of all incomes are making less, and the need for government programs like unemployment insurance and Medicaid go up. It's more extreme when you rely heavily on a progressive income tax, but the fundamental issue is not going to go away if we had a flat tax.

Ultimately, we need to be running budget surpluses during the good times and budget deficits during the bad times. What actually happens though, is we cut taxes anytime we have a budget surplus (or start new government programs with the "extra" money), and then expect that we should be able to finance the same services without a problem during the bad times.

The revenue a state brings in is always going to fluctuate, sometimes dramatically. This requires foresight, planning, and discipline from the citizens and their elected leaders to deal with intelligently.
The volatility..they were talking about was in regards to tax revenues...and while I agree there is "income volatility" with the lower income folks as it pertains to the income they bring into their households......I doubt it affects "the volatility" of the tax revenue going to the state...as they probably pay little tax or as discussed in the article.

Regarding state budget surpluses...I agree. Also..it wasn't the tax revenues that got the states and the federal government into trouble....it was...spending (over spending) what they received and expecting those levels to continue.
What was interesting for me in the article..was that states had been warned...for years.....
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Old 03-28-2011, 10:14 AM   #211
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The revenue a state brings in is always going to fluctuate, sometimes dramatically. This requires foresight, planning, and discipline from the citizens and their elected leaders to deal with intelligently.
Therein lies the problem. Some citizens, not all, know how to manage their finances to even out the rough spots. We have yet to see the political leadership showing any hint that it can do this.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:51 AM   #212
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The revenue a state brings in is always going to fluctuate, sometimes dramatically. This requires foresight, planning, and discipline from the citizens and their elected leaders to deal with intelligently.
"Hamlet" for State Government or Congress!
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:22 PM   #213
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In Minnesota, the current income tax rates are pretty flat already (5% in the lowest bracket, 7.85% in the highest, and the highest rate kicks in pretty low at ~130k for a couple).

That still didn't prevent our budget from getting destroyed when the recession kicked in. Contrary to what the WSJ seems to think, the middle class is paying plenty of income tax in most states, and when middle class people start losing their jobs it also affects revenue.

When people lose their jobs, the spend less (less sales tax revenue), drive less (less gas tax revenue).

Minnesota has a budget problem even though we actually have a regressive tax system overall. The middle class here pays a larger percent of their income to state taxes than the wealthy.

I disagree that the revenue side of things is not part of the issue. You can't continually cut taxes and expect that to not have an effect on your ability to provide government services. The Bush tax cuts play a part in why we are having trouble making sense of the Federal budget.

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The volatility..they were talking about was in regards to tax revenues...and while I agree there is "income volatility" with the lower income folks as it pertains to the income they bring into their households......I doubt it affects "the volatility" of the tax revenue going to the state...as they probably pay little tax or as discussed in the article.

Regarding state budget surpluses...I agree. Also..it wasn't the tax revenues that got the states and the federal government into trouble....it was...spending (over spending) what they received and expecting those levels to continue.
What was interesting for me in the article..was that states had been warned...for years.....
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:02 PM   #214
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In Minnesota, the current income tax rates are pretty flat already (5% in the lowest bracket, 7.85% in the highest, and the highest rate kicks in pretty low at ~130k for a couple).

That still didn't prevent our budget from getting destroyed when the recession kicked in. Contrary to what the WSJ seems to think, the middle class is paying plenty of income tax in most states, and when middle class people start losing their jobs it also affects revenue.

When people lose their jobs, the spend less (less sales tax revenue), drive less (less gas tax revenue).

Minnesota has a budget problem even though we actually have a regressive tax system overall. The middle class here pays a larger percent of their income to state taxes than the wealthy.

I disagree that the revenue side of things is not part of the issue. You can't continually cut taxes and expect that to not have an effect on your ability to provide government services. The Bush tax cuts play a part in why we are having trouble making sense of the Federal budget.
We can agree to disagree. I can not rationally discount...how much spending has increased the last 10 years or more.
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:10 PM   #215
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...I must admit, the only "veg" I won't eat is peas. Too mushy for my palate....
Mushy peas? You must be cooking them too long. Between raw and serving ready there is a continuum. I am sure I can prepare them to your taste. Including serving them in the pod. Now that is too hard even for me.
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:25 PM   #216
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Hmmm - I'm thinking all this wealth inequality stuff is whining and bad news sells - publish or perish and all that rot.

We never had it so good.

I think I will get Mark Twain's - The Gilded Age from the Library and re-remember what yucky was all about.

heh heh heh - I suppose this is better than the latest on Brittany Spears.

I think we 'may' have had our last snowflake for the season - here comes spring and summer.
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:06 PM   #217
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Mushy peas? You must be cooking them too long. Between raw and serving ready there is a continuum. I am sure I can prepare them to your taste. Including serving them in the pod. Now that is too hard even for me.
I agree. Frozen peas are really good, if not overcooked. I fix them in my microwave, in a lidded ceramic container, with a pat of butter. Test them after 3 minutes or so with your fingers, and if they're hot, they're done. If you're not sure, eat one or two to see if they're hot to the center (but they should still pop in your mouth). Pour off any liquid, possibly add some butter, a grind of pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice. I like the petite kind.
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:35 PM   #218
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Nothing compares to peas fresh from a garden.

Tomatoes and peas are the main reason I have a garden.

The stuff they sell in stores isn't even close.

Frozen peas are ok, but tomatoes from a grocery store are hardly worth eating.


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I agree. Frozen peas are really good, if not overcooked. I fix them in my microwave, in a lidded ceramic container, with a pat of butter. Test them after 3 minutes or so with your fingers, and if they're hot, they're done. If you're not sure, eat one or two to see if they're hot to the center (but they should still pop in your mouth). Pour off any liquid, possibly add some butter, a grind of pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice. I like the petite kind.
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:42 PM   #219
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Frozen peas are ok, but tomatoes from a grocery store are hardly worth eating.
The quality of tomatoes and apples is one of the few downsides to living in Hawaii. They're awful.
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Old 03-28-2011, 04:44 PM   #220
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The quality of tomatoes and apples is one of the few downsides to living in Hawaii. They're awful.
After having nothing but fresh grown tomatoes these last few summers, it seems that's become a universal truth no matter what state or grocery store I've bought from.
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