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Old 12-26-2011, 04:18 PM   #21
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I think people look at the past through rose colored glasses, then when they see the present they leap to the conclusion that it is worse than it was, when really it's worse than their selective memory.

Sure, America has problems. There will always be problems and we will always be working on them. But not so long ago we had disruptions that wiped out stock investments, destroyed the banking industry, plunged us into world war, then mutual assured destruction of a cold war, race riots, open segregation and discrimination, the rise and fall of communism, excursions into southeast asia, mccartyism and blacklists, bear markets of all shapes and sizes, the demise of many formerly mighty industries. Many of these are within my lifetime, all of them and many more within my parents' lifetimes. We are still fighting a war on poverty, it's changed, but the average lifestyle now is better than a fairly affluent lifestyle of 50 years ago.

I'm unhappy with the current win-at-any-cost politics, but I don't think that means we're broken, nor do I think current market malaise means we're broke. We've suffered worse and come through. I expect we will again.
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Old 12-26-2011, 04:29 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by growing_older View Post
I think people look at the past through rose colored glasses, then when they see the present they leap to the conclusion that it is worse than it was, when really it's worse than their selective memory.

Sure, America has problems. There will always be problems and we will always be working on them. But not so long ago we had disruptions that wiped out stock investments, destroyed the banking industry, plunged us into world war, then mutual assured destruction of a cold war, race riots, open segregation and discrimination, the rise and fall of communism, excursions into southeast asia, mccartyism and blacklists, bear markets of all shapes and sizes, the demise of many formerly mighty industries. Many of these are within my lifetime, all of them and many more within my parents' lifetimes. We are still fighting a war on poverty, it's changed, but the average lifestyle now is better than a fairly affluent lifestyle of 50 years ago.

I'm unhappy with the current win-at-any-cost politics, but I don't think that means we're broken, nor do I think current market malaise means we're broke. We've suffered worse and come through. I expect we will again.
Bravo, bravo.
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Old 12-26-2011, 05:48 PM   #23
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In the past, in hard times the question was whether people could afford food. Now the question is whether they can afford $180 shoes. Relative to the past, there's so much waste in the USA that I expect belt tightening to eliminate the excess while leaving most essentials accessible.
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:41 PM   #24
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Our very open press, free to expose and pontificate on our nation's problems often worryor exaggerate or magnify our problems specially in the eyes of those from outside our country. From somebody who has travelled in Europe, it is quite funny how some view our country. It varies from worry, fear, anger,hostility, jealousy, anti Americanism, admiration,
or Jaded Soap opera image of the USA. They watch US TV shows with foreign language dubbing and assume it's the real America.

Now let me tell you we do have some big problems in our country, and we need to solve them quickly.

But Europe, Asia, Africa, the middle east, the whole world has big problems as well. It's all relative, or perhaps the whole world is fading fast.
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:42 PM   #25
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In the past, in hard times the question was whether people could afford food. Now the question is whether they can afford $180 shoes. Relative to the past, there's so much waste in the USA that I expect belt tightening to eliminate the excess while leaving most essentials accessible.
I expect there is truth to that, but the "belt tightening" could be substantial.

I'm not sure why the average American worker should earn more than the average Chinese/Indian worker. And, I don't think we can get to equivalence by bringing them up to our level (the world runs out of natural resources long before that happens). So I think that for the average worker, most of the adjustment will be us going down toward them.

Some people will flourish - the NBA sells its products in China, so NBA stars can cash in on this. But that leads to increasing income inequality in the US, making the losses in the middle even more noticeable.

Some of our other problems come from globalization. The only way other countries can run trade surpluses is to lend money to the US. This makes us (individuals or gov't) a debtor nation. That lending helped fuel the housing bubble, which temporarily gave displaced manufacturing workers jobs. But growth based on borrowing is limited, etc.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:38 AM   #26
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I don't think America is broke to the point it can't make good on its obligations, but I would say our current gov't is broken. If we continue on the same debt path unabated it will certainly end badly, but at this point in time America is still without question the prettiest pig at the dance so to speak.

As to the 56% figure, I don't put much faith in any such stats, as they are totally misleading.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:59 AM   #27
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With homage to Frank Zappa, America isn't dead, it just smells funny...

But to the original point, my parents retired with a couple of pensions and SS checks, but I'd assume their net worth wasn't much greater than the equity in their home. Granted, they weren't world travelers, but they were happy, content, and lived a pretty good life.

As for all the punditry, I look at them as so many used car salesmen, with apologies to used car salesmen...
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