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Old 09-24-2010, 01:06 PM   #21
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This Pledge is basicaly an "I hate Obama and Democrats" platform along with the typical "reduce the deficit but keep cutting taxes" contradiction, a "cut spending but don't touch entitlements, national defense, or interest on the debt" (that's most of the spending!), and a social conservatives wishlist (against same-sex marriage, against abortion, favor religion).

How are these Republicans supposed to be any different and more fiscally responsible than the ones who got us into this mess?
What was that I was just saying about the appearance of Porky?

Discussion in the context of issues affecting retirement is fine. Partisan bashing is not.
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:15 PM   #22
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... and the GOP wants to make them all permanent to ensure the super-rich continue pulling away from the rest of us.
I think this is just classist demagoguery. The tax code is already progressive, both directly and incirectly via phaseouts. In addition, the high earners would pay way more income tax even if tax rates were completely flat, for the simple reason that they earn way more. As it is , almost 50% of households pay no income tax, or in fact get net rebates through the income tax system. This creates a strong constituency for more "take from those bad rich people, and give more to us", not really a good thing in a democracy.

The way to ensure a flatter income distribution is not to steal more from the high earners, but to reform our economic and banking system to turn America back into a productive manufacturing economy with quality physical and human infrastructure, not a credit and financial economy which is designed to enslave the typical wage earner.

Another good idea is to make H1-B visas easier to get and keep while closing the border to illegal immigration, reform public pensions, reform the entire medical system, not just squeeze Medicare, reform our over-active war-making system, and reform education from K through undergraduate university.

I agree with others that it will be amazing if any of this should occur, as we are currently in the run off phase of empire. Every stakeholder wants to maximize his take, and to hell with the anybody else or th esurvival of the nation as a successful economy and society. Likely our leadership will get worse and worse, our real standard of living get worse and worse, divers meaningless wars and domestic police programs go on unabated, crime get worse, etc.and etc.

Just today's little ray of sunshine.

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Old 09-24-2010, 01:16 PM   #23
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Another good idea is to make H1-B visas easier to get
It's obvious you don't work in the IT field.
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:29 PM   #24
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It's obvious you don't work in the IT field.
True, but my children do. IT is a very competitive field, which is a problem for the workers, but also a strength. They are not going to wake up and discover that the ony reason they have a job is a union, or a government postion. Their skills must and will stay current as they play on a world stage.

No matter what, the competition is going to be there. It can be here at home, or in China and India. Unless we erect tariffs, at least if it is here the profits and progress will acrue to corporations in our country, and our balance of payments will be strengthened, etc.

However, I think if I were going to work today I would try to get a plumbers license right out of high school, and to hell with all the rest. One would have access to a different dating pool, but that might be fine in the long run. Maybe go to Meet-Up for philosophical and literary discussions, after cleaning one's fingernails of course.

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Old 09-24-2010, 01:37 PM   #25
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However, I think if I were going to work today I would try to get a plumbers license right out of high school, and to hell with all the rest.
If I had children, I would definitely encourage them to take a look at the trades. Yes, it's a bit depressed now but the bottom line is that it's hard to outsource the fixing of leaky pipes to India, to send your car to China to have its transmission overhauled or build a local bridge in Singapore.

Not to mention that you won't enter "the real world" with $100,000 in student loan debt.
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:45 PM   #26
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If I had children, I would definitely encourage them to take a look at the trades. Yes, it's a bit depressed now but the bottom line is that it's hard to outsource the fixing of leaky pipes to India, to send your car to China to have its transmission overhauled or build a local bridge in Singapore.

Not to mention that you won't enter "the real world" with $100,000 in student loan debt.
My Dad tried to encourage me in this direction, and short of becoming a hedge fund manager it would have been a pretty good idea. Even better idea today, as you point out because of the much more expensive education and loans, coupled with a more difficult post graduation job market.

I have a niece who graduated from an acclaimed journalism program, near the top of her class. Four years later her most high paying job opportuity has been managing a dry cleaning store and struggling to keep up with her loans. I wouldn't doubt that this might be her destination career, though she is very clever and hard working and she will undoubtedly get better positions as she goes along.

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Old 09-24-2010, 02:36 PM   #27
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Looks like the Senior Citizen League is a little math challenged. Using the link:

SS retirees got a 75% increase (exactly equal to CPI-W)
House members got 80%
Senators got 77%
I don't know about math-challenged but they, certainly, did use a nonsensical argument. The House increase ($77,000) is 1,458% greater than the difference ($72,433) between it and what SS Recipients got ($4,967).

But you are correct it is a silly statistic. They would have been better served not trying to "spin" it and simply said that Congress gave themselves $72,433 more per year than went to those old farts.
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:28 PM   #28
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If I had children, I would definitely encourage them to take a look at the trades. Yes, it's a bit depressed now but the bottom line is that it's hard to outsource the fixing of leaky pipes to India, to send your car to China to have its transmission overhauled or build a local bridge in Singapore.

Not to mention that you won't enter "the real world" with $100,000 in student loan debt.
Depends, of course, on the kids. I think the top 20% academically can still do fine with college, if they want quantitative (math related) jobs. But IMO we're already sending too many kids to college.
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:34 PM   #29
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But IMO we're already sending too many kids to college.
Agreed, and the result is "education creep" -- jobs that didn't used to require a degree for entry now do. So more and more people have to jump through the hoops and go into debt. My dad left the Air Force in 1966 and joined an aerospace company as a programmer -- with no degree. Try that today.
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:13 PM   #30
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Another good idea is to make H1-B visas easier to get and keep while closing the border to illegal immigration, reform public pensions, reform the entire medical system, not just squeeze Medicare, reform our over-active war-making system, and reform education from K through undergraduate university.
Ha, you been in the medical marijuana again?

I don't see anything but bidness as usual in the "Pledge". Granted, it's a return to bidness as usual circa 2001-2008, as opposed to 2009-2010, but we were running, what, $300-500B dollar deficits then; yeah, I suppose that's better...
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:30 PM   #31
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If I had children, I would definitely encourage them to take a look at the trades.
If I had children, I would recommend that they become electricians. Decent pay, no outsourcing, and cleaner working conditions than plumbers. I would discourage them from becoming lawyers.
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:46 PM   #32
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If I had children, I would recommend that they become electricians. Decent pay, no outsourcing, and cleaner working conditions than plumbers.
I made this very recommendation to my CPA daughter regarding my three young grandsons. From her reaction you would have thought I told her I'd spent our entire nest egg buying an Equity Indexed Annuity from a Nigerian insurance company...
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:05 PM   #33
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Ok lets try affect on retirees
for this discussion the elderly are 60+

1) The country is absolutely awash in capital. Interest rates are incredibly low.
2) with interest rates already low cutting taxes will do nothing for the economy without purchasing. I.e. focusing new money on investment is a waste of stimulation
3)The drag on the economy is low consumption. The problem with all stimulation is getting people to spend the money. The rich don't spend windfalls, they save them
4) the elderly are terrific consumers from a stimulation point of view. They don.t save windfalls. They also buy lots of personal services delivered by lower income people. Those people spend money on food and shelter and other necessities.
5) the elderly buy disproportionately fewer imported goods.

So the trick is to get stimulation money to the lower income elderly and get them to spend the money in the most productive way possible.
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:20 PM   #34
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Agreed, and the result is "education creep" -- jobs that didn't used to require a degree for entry now do. So more and more people have to jump through the hoops and go into debt. My dad left the Air Force in 1966 and joined an aerospace company as a programmer -- with no degree. Try that today.
What a programmer did in 1966 and what a "programmer" does today have little in common. basically the brain job in 1966 was the systems analyst. One busy SA could keep 10 programmers going. Remember coding sheets?

Over time the jobs merged and machines and systems do more and more of what used to be programming. Current joke that programming is what you can outsource overseas.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:50 PM   #35
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So the trick is to get stimulation money to the lower income elderly and get them to spend the money in the most productive way possible.
I made an interesting proposal to our Congresscritter back in late 2008. If we need an economic stimulus, distribute it as a bunch of 'gift cards', those prepaid credit/debit cards similar to what FEMA has passed out the last couple of disasters. Add in the tweak that like the old gift cards, there is a 'maintenance fee' deducted from the card's value every month, so the value goes to zero after a year or so.

This was greeted with the expected "What an interesting idea. Now go away, kid, ya bother me."
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:31 PM   #36
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I made an interesting proposal to our Congresscritter back in late 2008. If we need an economic stimulus, distribute it as a bunch of 'gift cards', those prepaid credit/debit cards similar to what FEMA has passed out the last couple of disasters. Add in the tweak that like the old gift cards, there is a 'maintenance fee' deducted from the card's value every month, so the value goes to zero after a year or so.

This was greeted with the expected "What an interesting idea. Now go away, kid, ya bother me."
Could work, if there are people who take the cards

Expanding food stamps (which are of course also cards) is one of the easiest was to stimulate)
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Old 09-24-2010, 09:42 PM   #37
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Ok lets try affect on retirees
for this discussion the elderly are 60+

1) The country is absolutely awash in capital. Interest rates are incredibly low.
2) with interest rates already low cutting taxes will do nothing for the economy without purchasing. I.e. focusing new money on investment is a waste of stimulation
3)The drag on the economy is low consumption. The problem with all stimulation is getting people to spend the money. The rich don't spend windfalls, they save them
4) the elderly are terrific consumers from a stimulation point of view. They don.t save windfalls. They also buy lots of personal services delivered by lower income people. Those people spend money on food and shelter and other necessities.
5) the elderly buy disproportionately fewer imported goods.

So the trick is to get stimulation money to the lower income elderly and get them to spend the money in the most productive way possible.
I follow you, a reasonable progression, but I guess I just don't agree that we can 'spend our way' to prosperity. I think we need to 'earn our way' to prosperity. Create value - people will spend on things of value, and the value creation pumps money into the economy. Rinse, repeat.

It seems we tried the 'spend our way' to prosperity by pushing easy credit and easy mortgages. It just isn't sustainable. If you are talking about a short term bump, than I agree to get it into the hands that will spend it. But then what?

Similar to some comments in this thread, and some exchanges I had with ziggy recently - I don't think we can 'protect' our way into high paying jobs that can be done overseas for less. We have to provide the value to make our hours worth more $ than theirs. I just don't see anything else as sustainable.

While I'm at it, I'll add to those who mentioned trades as an option. I know some smart people who took that route and are doing very well. And they are fully aware that doing 'unglamorous' work can be financially rewarding. It's still challenging, you are providing a needed service for people, and you take the money and enjoy some glamor in your off-time. Don't discount it.

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Old 09-24-2010, 09:44 PM   #38
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This was greeted with the expected "What an interesting idea. Now go away, kid, ya bother me."
That's better than what I get - an auto-response litany of all the great things my representative is doing for me.

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Old 09-24-2010, 11:09 PM   #39
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I follow you, a reasonable progression, but I guess I just don't agree that we can 'spend our way' to prosperity. I think we need to 'earn our way' to prosperity. Create value - people will spend on things of value, and the value creation pumps money into the economy. Rinse, repeat.

It seems we tried the 'spend our way' to prosperity by pushing easy credit and easy mortgages. It just isn't sustainable. If you are talking about a short term bump, than I agree to get it into the hands that will spend it. But then what?

Similar to some comments in this thread, and some exchanges I had with ziggy recently - I don't think we can 'protect' our way into high paying jobs that can be done overseas for less. We have to provide the value to make our hours worth more $ than theirs. I just don't see anything else as sustainable.

While I'm at it, I'll add to those who mentioned trades as an option. I know some smart people who took that route and are doing very well. And they are fully aware that doing 'unglamorous' work can be financially rewarding. It's still challenging, you are providing a needed service for people, and you take the money and enjoy some glamor in your off-time. Don't discount it.

-ERD50
You are conflating long term and short term issues. The USA is a very wealthy country by any measure. We are prosperous. However the income flows to a very small portion of the population. This has produced a consumption trap. You can create any product you want, but unless people have the money to buy it IT HAS NO VALUE. You can't create value if buyers have no money.

We have a vast number of unemployed people who, if properly employed would create products. Similarly if those people had money they would buy other peoples products. You can't start a car without a battery.

The horrible mistake of the Bush tax cuts was to reward flight capital.
By concentrating cuts at the upper income level the money moves out of the country.
There is a gigantic difference between tax cuts for the rich and tax subsidies for domestic investment.

I am totally anti protectionist, but a rational society taxes and spends in such away as to encourage its economy.

As to trades, most of the high income trades rely on licensing laws or union work rules that are demonstrably anti competitive and rarely can be shown to improve safety

free market trades e.g. Watchmakers, tree cutters etc reap benefits in accordance with their education skill and the value they add.
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:35 AM   #40
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Sorry I am not sure I understand here. Are you saying too much education for future generations is a bad thing ?

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But IMO we're already sending too many kids to college.
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