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Old 02-28-2009, 09:49 AM   #61
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Maybe. But perhaps "this time it's different" because in those prior national emergencies we didn't have CNBC, 24-hour cable news or the blogosphere to remind everyone 24/7/365 about how we're all doomed.
No, we just had crappy journalists who never went to journalism school and therefore had no ethics and would print anything that suited their purpose. Instead of blogs, we had pamphlets in which no holds were barred. At least now, crap get called on as soon as they are printed. In the old days, you'd need to be able to 1) read, 2) write, and 3) have enough money to fund a printing run.
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:52 AM   #62
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Do people really think this is worse than 1979-82? Gas lines and crazy inflation and deep recession etc.? I keep hearing from the news whores, "WORST DOWNTURN IN OVER A QUARTER CENTURY!" where they could say, "not as bad as '81. I've been hearing the "country in decline" talk, comparing us to the Roman Empire (which is totally invalid since if you combine the republic years and take the traditional end of ~450 AD it was around 3 times longer than us) and it just doesn't seem legit to me. It's like my coworkers who are convinced it's the end times next month, the rapture if you will. I think it must be tempting in some way (vanity) to imagine oneself living in interesting times, to be a witness to something, even a global car wreck. What is an ending even mean, anyway? Japan had two cities nuked, it's cities ravaged, millions of servicemen killed and ultimately occupied by a foriegn army at the end of WWII. 35 years later they were the scary economic powerhouse of the globe. What is decline mean? The British Empire has certainly declined over the last 100-200 years, but it's still a lot nicer living in England than most other places in the world. If it means I have to put away my big foam "#1" hand for a while, I think I can live with that.

I don't have a big foam #1 hand & could really give a hoot whether you or the USofA has one or not - as long as we actually are #1 - I don't have to crow about it - but, if Pres. Obama's agenda of "sharing the wealth" results in my having to put away my big foam Early Retirement hand for a while - that's getting a little too personal!

(BTW - which country in the world should we hand that "big foam #1 hand" over to? And shall we just hand it over willingly or insist it be taken?)
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:53 AM   #63
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No, we just had crappy journalists who never went to journalism school and therefore had no ethics and would print anything that suited their purpose. Instead of blogs, we had pamphlets in which no holds were barred. At least now, crap get called on as soon as they are printed. In the old days, you'd need to be able to 1) read, 2) write, and 3) have enough money to fund a printing run.
True, but my point wasn't that these types of inputs didn't exist before -- it was that now we're saturated with it and it spreads instantly.
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:54 AM   #64
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I don't have a big foam #1 hand & could give a hoot whether you or the USofA has one or not - but, if Pres. Obama's agenda of "sharing the wealth" results in my having to put away my big foam Early Retirement hand for a while - that's getting a little too personal!
The stock market has already taken care of that for me.
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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 02-28-2009, 10:05 AM   #65
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RAE, maybe I'm missing something in the address that you see. Where is the President addressing the issues of the nation getting too far out on credit? I see that he wants to get credit flowing (probably needed in the short term), but....then what?

Sorry, I just can't be that cavalier with so much at stake. The plan needs to be something that stands up to critique as having a reasonable chance of success. I don't think a spending and tax the top 2% plan does it. Neither does the market. So no, I don't think we should just "give it a chance" until it meets some acceptance.

No question that he inherited the mess, that's obvious. But we are looking forward, so whether he inherited it, or somehow he was magically 100% responsible for it, the action moving forward would be the same. This is Friday, Feb 27th, 2009. I'm looking forward, not backward (other than to learn from history).

-ERD50
Obama talked about some of this just the other day, actually. If you recall, he mentioned in his 2010 budget address that some of the housing mess was the result of some homeowners buying more house than they could afford. He has also talked about the sacrifices we are all going to have to make in the coming years to reduce the deficit to a level that our kids and grandkids won't be forever burdened with. The first course of action, though, is to get the economy back on track by creating jobs. You may feel that there is too much pork in the stimulus bill, but without some kind of govt. spending right now, how is this economy going to turn around? I'm sorry, but cutting taxes is not going to do it....that's been tried and it didn't work. I think you will see much more emphasis from Obama on the need for people to get off credit and live within their means as time goes on - but the immediate problem is to stabilize the dying patient, and get the economy moving again. Let's give him a chance, folks, he has been in office for less than 2 months!
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:10 AM   #66
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...... I'm sorry, but cutting taxes is not going to do it....that's been tried and it didn't work. ......
Examples please?
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:42 AM   #67
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You may feel that there is too much pork in the stimulus bill, but without some kind of govt. spending right now, how is this economy going to turn around? I'm sorry, but cutting taxes is not going to do it....
I'm with Andy, could you elaborate on when it failed?

There's no poster of John Maynard on my bedroom wall, but if we're (the government) going all Keynesian, aren't tax cuts part of the formula at this stage?

I'll admit I haven't read the 1,000 odd pages of the bill, so I don't know that there are nearly 9,000 earmarks in it - despite the President's promise that he would not allow earmarks. Taxpayers for Common Sense

But I do object to the process that created the bill and rammed it down our throats. Not only was there no time for the public to read the bill and comment on it, nor the news media, but the people who voted for it could not have read it before the vote. I don't care if it's the next best thing to the second coming of our Lord, that is wrong.

Party politics is leading this country to ruin. And, yet again, as I did during the last administration, I volunteer the use of all that rope I have in my garage to help fix the problem. Somebody else will have to supply tar & feathers, pitchforks, etc.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:56 AM   #68
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I am hopeful that the good news is that we are experiencing a buyers' remorse backlash of monsterous proportions. Even the wall street managers and bankers that voted for the BHO experiment are distraught about what is occurring. The suburbanites with the Obama/Biden bumper stickers on their $75K cars are now in shell-shock over the loss of their beloved morgage interest deduction ("I really thought he would govern from the center" is the current refrain).

The outcome will be a bloodbath for the Dems in the midterm elections, particularly in the blue-red suburbs. This country is, and will always be, a center-right nation.
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:27 AM   #69
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I am hopeful that the good news is that we are experiencing a buyers' remorse backlash of monsterous proportions. Even the wall street managers and bankers that voted for the BHO experiment are distraught about what is occurring. The suburbanites with the Obama/Biden bumper stickers on their $75K cars are now in shell-shock over the loss of their beloved morgage interest deduction ("I really thought he would govern from the center" is the current refrain).

The outcome will be a bloodbath for the Dems in the midterm elections, particularly in the blue-red suburbs. This country is, and will always be, a center-right nation.
You guys keep saying how shocked all the Obama voters are about what he has proposed to do since taking office. On the contrary, I know a lot of folks who voted for the guy, and I've yet to talk to any one of them who is shocked. He's actually doing just about what he said he would do, which is quite refreshing (for a politician).

As for the mortgage interest deduction, my personal opinion is that it is one of the things that got us into the mess we're in, by encouraging some people to buy more house than they could afford. Others have stated in this thread that people getting too far out on credit is a major cause of this mess we are now in, and I agree. I know I won't be shedding any tears if the mortgage interest deduction away.
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:31 AM   #70
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You guys keep saying how shocked all the Obama voters are about what he has proposed to do since taking office. On the contrary, I know a lot of folks who voted for the guy, and I've yet to talk to any one of them who is shocked. He's actually doing just about what he said he would do, which is quite refreshing (for a politician).

As for the mortgage interest deduction, my personal opinion is that it is one of the things that got us into the mess we're in, by encouraging some people to buy more house than they could afford. Others have stated in this thread that people getting too far out on credit is a major cause of this mess we are now in, and I agree. I know I won't be shedding any tears if the mortgage interest deduction away.
I am speaking more for the former Reagan Democrats that traditionally have voted Republican. These tend to be people that also have more skin in the game.
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:32 AM   #71
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I know I won't be shedding any tears if the mortgage interest deduction away.
Great idea. But let's take away yours as well as those of people who make more money than you.

Lots of unattractive sentiment here about how "I don't care what they do to those rich people (since I am not now and never will be rich)."

Ha
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:54 AM   #72
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Great idea. But let's take away yours as well as those of people who make more money than you.

Lots of unattractive sentiment here about how "I don't care what they do to those rich people (since I am not now and never will be rich)."
Helping the less fortunate is a noble thing. And even aside from my belief that this should be accomplished through private charity to the extent reasonably possible, I'd also say that it's not the poor who generally start businesses and hire people.

Something to think about before going all-out with redistribution.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:01 PM   #73
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Great idea. But let's take away yours as well as those of people who make more money than you.

Lots of unattractive sentiment here about how "I don't care what they do to those rich people (since I am not now and never will be rich)."

Ha
If you re-read my post, you'll see that my concern was that the mortgage interest deduction is one contributing factor in leading to the mess we are in (as a country), by encouraging too much credit when deciding how much house one can afford. Not the major factor, I realize, but a contributing factor. Nothing about my personal situation, and how that may or may not be affected (although I would be glad to give up the deduction, if I had a mortgage, to respond to your suggestion). You may disagree with the opinion I stated, but please don't change the meaning of what I said, or put words in my mouth. By the way, I have absolutely nothing against people that have worked hard and taken risks to get where they are economically. The country needs people like that, of course. I think there is room here, though, to disagree about the policies that should be implemented from this point forward, to help get us out of this mess. Encouraging people to live within their means, and get off of credit, is definitely one thing that is needed in the long run.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:05 PM   #74
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If you re-read my post, you'll see that my concern was that the mortgage interest deduction is one contributing factor in leading to the mess we are in (as a country), by encouraging too much credit when deciding how much house one can afford. Not the major factor, I realize, but a contributing factor. Nothing about my personal situation, and how that may or may not be affected (although I would be glad to give up the deduction, if I had a mortgage, to respond to your suggestion). You may disagree with the opinion I stated, but please don't change the meaning of what I said, or put words in my mouth. By the way, I have absolutely nothing against people that have worked hard and taken risks to get where they are economically. The country needs people like that, of course. I think there is room here, though, to disagree about the policies that should be implemented from this point forward, to help get us out of this mess. Encouraging people to live within their means, and get off of credit, is definitely one thing that is needed in the long run.
Well you are preaching a good sermon here, but let me ask directly. Would you personally pay more taxes as result of the proposed plan to phase out mortgage interest deductions?

Ha
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:19 PM   #75
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Well you are preaching a good sermon here, but let me ask directly. Would you personally pay more taxes as result of the proposed plan to phase out mortgage interest deductions?

Ha
I assume your point is that people will ONLY support policies that they perceive to be in their self-interest? I respectfully disagree that we, as a people, are not capable of looking at the bigger picture and making decisions based on what is good for the country as a whole, not just for us individually. And by the way, who is to say that what you perceive as good for you now (at this moment) is not going to be bad for you in the long run? Is it still a bad thing (for you personally) if the removal of the mortgage interest deduction results in general improvement of the economic health of the nation over the longer term? Don't you think you might benefit in some way from that?
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:23 PM   #76
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Helping the less fortunate is a noble thing. And even aside from my belief that this should be accomplished through private charity to the extent reasonably possible...
Giving to help the less fortunate is a noble thing. There is nothing noble about writing a law that takes money from other people and gives it to the less fortunate.
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I'd also say that it's not the poor who generally start businesses and hire people.
I heard a number yesterday that indicated 68% of the people who will be negatively impacted by the tax law changes are small-business owners. That being defined as a business that employees up to 250 workers.

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, small business:
  • Small business produces roughly half of the private Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and creates, on average, about two-thirds of net new jobs annually.
  • Small businesses are the greatest source of new employment in inner cities, comprising more than 99 percent of establishments and 80 percent of total employment.
  • Small businesses employ more than half of private sector employees.
I don't own a small business, and have no intention of ever doing so - but given their importance to the employment picture in this country I have to wonder why the government is doing anything to make it harder for them to succeed and thrive.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:25 PM   #77
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I assume your point is that people will ONLY support policies that they perceive to be in their self-interest? I respectfully disagree that we, as a people, are not capable of looking at the bigger picture and making decisions based on what is good for the country as a whole, not just for us individually. And by the way, who is to say that what you perceive as good for you now (at this moment) is not going to be bad for you in the long run? Is it still a bad thing (for you personally) if the removal of the mortgage interest deduction results in general improvement of the economic health of the nation over the longer term? Don't you think you might benefit in some way from that?
The entire basis of macroeconomics and, by extension, the financial markets, is that rational people do behave in a way that futhers their own interests. You should therefore be fully in favor of sacrificing your own wealth for those who are not as well off.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:47 PM   #78
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I assume your point is that people will ONLY support policies that they perceive to be in their self-interest? I respectfully disagree that we, as a people, are not capable of looking at the bigger picture and making decisions based on what is good for the country as a whole, not just for us individually. And by the way, who is to say that what you perceive as good for you now (at this moment) is not going to be bad for you in the long run? Is it still a bad thing (for you personally) if the removal of the mortgage interest deduction results in general improvement of the economic health of the nation over the longer term? Don't you think you might benefit in some way from that?
Instead of guessing at my point, why not just answer the simple straightforward question that I asked? Of course you have answered it; we knew the answer all along.

And by the way, I pay no mortgage interest. To me it is simple fairness- either everybody gets the deduction, or nobody does.

Ha
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:54 PM   #79
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People who think that increasing taxes on the rich will only hurt the rich don't understand a thing about economics anyways. The pain will be spread around, it's inevitable. There are plenty of ways the "rich" can offset a tax hike.

Take the mortgage interest deduction away? Fine, if you are rich, you can pay off the mortgage and save thousands of dollars in mortgage interests a year to offset the higher taxes. In the mean time, your bank is making less money on a mortgage with a virtually zero default risk (at a time when they already are in trouble) and the government is collecting fewer taxes on money that would otherwise be sitting in cash, CDs or equities earning interests and dividends. So you save on taxes there too.
Take the charitable contribution deduction away. Fine, you'll contribute less and keep more of your money to offset the higher taxes. That's bad news for the needy.
Increase income taxes? Fine, you'll have less money to invest in bonds, money that helps pay to build schools, libraries, bridges, power plants, sewers, and helps create much needed jobs. Of course you'll also cut your spending to reflect a lower net income. You'll save a bunch on sales taxes. But that's not good news for the state and city or anyone counting on you to spend your money on their products or in their establishment. They may have to lay off more workers.
Increase taxes on dividends and capital gains to 20%? Fine, you will make sure that your portfolio is much more tax-efficient than it is now so that you'll probably end up paying even fewer taxes than before.

So call it trickle-down economics if you want, but there is no doubt that the rich won't be the only ones affected by this.
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Old 02-28-2009, 01:09 PM   #80
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And, for retirees, this economic plan has got to work. We cannot fall into a deep depression. If that happens, then retirees of modest means will be in severe jeopardy. I don't want to see that happen. And if that means that we need to impose higher taxes on those making over 250K then so be it.
You would tax the rainmakers into the ground just so retirees aren't in jeopardy? I'll never make $250K, but I can see that's a very narrow point of view. You know I've had my shot, and I wasn't bright enough or talented enough or whatever enough to make that kind of money, but the folks that took the risks and invested/studied/got lucky/whatever damn sure don't owe me a thing.
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