Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, January 23, 2014

The U.S. economy is in a "rut" and has been in stagnation since 1972, a Nobel Prize-winning economist told CNBC. Edmund Phelps said the U.S. government has run out of ideas about how to fix the economy. Many experts are predicting growth in the U.S. to hit levels of around 3 percent in 2014, but he said that was "a little on the optimistic side." "The reason business investment is weak is that investment has run into diminishing returns ... In the good old days we had innovation always creating new investment opportunities. So we were always countering diminishing returns," he said.

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This economist hits a few brads on the head:

1. The economy is in a rut----he understates it mildly; we're in a freaking chasm with Obama stuck in his model A.

2. The government has run out of ideas about how to fix the economy----he must be Keynesian since he thinks "government" can "fix" the problem. Our government can't; it already has put us in the fix we're in and if it keeps meddling the same old ways, we're going nowhere.

3. Many experts are predicting growth in the U.S. to hit levels of around 3 percent in 2014, but the Nobel Prize-winner said that was "a little on the optimistic side"----he's very correct about this one. These same "experts" have been predicting greater growth for the last 5 years and have been consistently wrong and they'll be wrong again this year.

It's nice to talk about innovation but when government debt is crowding out private investment, you can kiss innovation away. He should know this.
2 telling comments he made were that we have been in a "rut since 1972" and the fact that we should be "attacking vested interests". For a Nobel Prize winner he should have followed up these 2 comments to the supreme causal factor for the "rut since 1972" and what allows "vested interests" to flourish. Hey, stupid; it's the Federal Reserve and the lack of sound money principles. We went off sound money in 1971 when Nixon took us off the international gold standard and fiat money began to flourish. Also, with all this unrequited fiat money being created, the "vested interests" are the ones that flourish. Until we compromise the Federal Reserve and get back to some standard to back our currency and create sound money we are doomed as a nation. But then not to worry; the Chinese are sopping up just about all the gold being produced and will some day back their currency with it---this will end the power of the Federal Reserve and our "reserve currency". That's when the dollar depreciates into oblivion and the U.S. ends it's journey into third world status.

#1 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 07:46 AM | Reply | Flag:

but, but, but, Paul Krugman says if we only spend more we'll be OK.

#2 | Posted by paneocon at 2014-01-23 07:51 AM | Reply | Flag:

They ran out of "ammunition" when the interest rate hit zero.

It was always easy to "rally" the stock market when all the Fed had to do was drop the rate 1/4 point every Friday.

#3 | Posted by REDIAL at 2014-01-23 08:03 AM | Reply | Flag:

It was always easy to "rally" the stock market when all the Fed had to do was drop the rate 1/4 point every Friday.

#3 | Posted by REDIAL at 2014-01-23 08:03 AM | Reply

And it doesn't take a lot of grey matter to figure that one out. They trot these guys out with the aura of majesty and all they do is raise and lower interest rates and manipulate markets. The Federal Reserve is nothing but a cartel that print ever increasing dollars resulting in theft from hard working Americans with the rich getting all the richer. Then the well heeled bankers that are the indirect owners of the Fed get paid out every year on the money printed---now, that's one tough job.

#4 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 09:23 AM | Reply | Flag:

They're in a corner right now. They've lowered the interest rate as far as it can go, which has done only one thing: allowed the stock market to boom and the wealth of the wealthiest to boom accordingly. They can't raise it, or ease off on purchasing of bonds, because if they do that, the market will tank and there will be NO positive economic indicators.

#5 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2014-01-23 10:18 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

The USSA has only one tool - force. The more it tries to force matters, the worse it makes them. This is fundamental to why fascism and socialism don't work.

#6 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 11:02 AM | Reply | Flag:

Capitalism doesn't work either, as this is always the end result, Ray. Eventually those making the most money have enough to buy influence. They then apply that towards crafting regulations that make new companies and innovation less profitable, allowing them to keep their near-monopoly status.

The only way to combat that would, of course, be a government that uses force in a trust-busting manner.

The only way to profit off of that example is a government strong enough to enforce regulations.

In either example, you end up with government having the power to enforce something. It's inevitable. Capitalism gives money (power) to special interests, who then use that to buy influence. Ultimately you will end up with an oligarchy, as we are now realistically under.

The only way I see to combat that is social democracy. Socialism, where the people - all the people, not just the moneyed interests at the top - get to vote on how society will use their businesses and resources. But also, freedom. Not a totalitarian socialist state, a democratic one. Currently, the only ones fitting that model are ones such as Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands. NOT the whole of the EU, which is also too controlled by special interests, too much of a Republic/Parliamentary style government, not enough of a democracy. Just those little ones, which you'll notice are the only ones weathering through all our global economic downturns just fine.

#7 | Posted by zeropointnrg at 2014-01-23 01:25 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 2

There was a time when Wall Street was the vehicle used for capital formation and creation of productive industries that expanded the USA economy by hiring and producing. That's become so old school capitalism.

For 30+ years WS has been used, not to for capital formation, but as a vehicle for bankers and insiders and CEO managers to get get rich via the art of the deal, manipulating numbers, mechanics of trading, and the process itself, but not through productive use of capital. A huge portion of the capital now goes to the "insider club".

It has become a rigged system for insiders. They once had the audacity to claim that financial products are the new GDP and represent the new economy. Society has been burned on that smokescreen more than once, and yet we were still forced to bail them out.

#8 | Posted by Robson at 2014-01-23 01:36 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 3

I'm cashing out and buying tulip bulb futures.

#9 | Posted by visitor_ at 2014-01-23 03:42 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

1972..... See!

I knew we should have elected George McGovern.

#10 | Posted by Corky at 2014-01-23 03:57 PM | Reply | Flag:

Nice drop in the Dow. The manufacturing data was not good. Job claims for unemployment edged up. So much for the talk of tapering by the Fed. When the data really starts to go south wait for talk about another round of QE. They may give a different name to it but it'll be an admission that we're toast.

#11 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 03:59 PM | Reply | Flag:

Wait a second? 1972?! I thought everything was awesome until obama arrived in 2009 and somehow caused the 2008 crash...

Remember when obama made bush and reagan run up the debt and say deficits don't matter?

Damn obama!!!

#12 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2014-01-23 04:03 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 2

#6 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 11:02 AM | Reply |

Ray, just a word of advice----maybe 2 words----buy gold.

#13 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 04:05 PM | Reply | Flag:

#12

Here's how the rut really deepened 10 years after....

www.rollingstone.com

#14 | Posted by Corky at 2014-01-23 04:06 PM | Reply | Flag:

#12 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2014-01-23 04:03 PM | Reply

No, little o just doubled our debt, that's all----plus he signed the worse bill in history at a time when the economy couldn't justify it and/ or support it.

#15 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 04:07 PM | Reply | Flag:

#12 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2014-01-23 04:03 PM | Reply |

Also, SS; the 1%ers have done majestically well under Obama while the middle class has headed south.

#16 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 04:09 PM | Reply | Flag:

Ray, just a word of advice----maybe 2 words----buy gold.
#13 | Posted by matsop

On that, we agree. It amazes me how these people trust Washington to manage the economy. I would not believe it if I didn't see it.

#17 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 04:16 PM | Reply | Flag:

Capitalism doesn't work either, as this is always the end result, Ray. Eventually those making the most money have enough to buy influence. They then apply that towards crafting regulations that make new companies and innovation less profitable, allowing them to keep their near-monopoly status.
#7 | Posted by zeropointnrg

You make the error of conflating capitalism with fascism or corporatism. In capitalism, corporations serve their customers, and the state serves its citizens. In fascism, customers serve the corporations and citizens serve the state.

Capitalism is not taught in mainstream schools and colleges. Nor can you learn it from reading mainstream sources. Those sources serve the state.

#18 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 04:23 PM | Reply | Flag:

"The only way I see to combat that is social democracy. Socialism, where the people - all the people, not just the moneyed interests at the top - get to vote on how society will use their businesses and resources. But also, freedom. Not a totalitarian socialist state, a democratic one."

Socialism is dependant on authoritarianism. Specifically because it requires absolte control over all facets of wealth and wealth production. Which at the end of the day is going to boil down to having control of the people. In particular, those high value people who are essential to a functioning government.

For socialism to work, you need to be able to capture the wealth of those who are its biggest producers. more importantly, you need to keep them producing in the absence of any sort of tanglible incentive. This is hard to do, leaving the only option providing a disincentive to not producing. Slave owners used whippings to accomplish that. I'm sure there are other means as well.

"Currently, the only ones fitting that model are ones such as Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands."

First, these countries are not socialist. At least not in the traditional sense. Second, the are moving further and further away from their traditional welfare state posture in response to changing economic conditions. In Sweden, there have been riots for the past couple years as social benefits were dismantled. The result has been economic growth outpacing the rest of the EU and iincreased prosperity. For those who work. For the largely uneducated and unassimilated immigrant populations, it's meant a decrease in transfer payments and welfare benefits, leading to riots in the streets over the past few years.

The same thing is happening in Denmark, where generous benefits have served as a disincetive to work. In only 3/98 of Denmark's municipalities are there more people working than not. In 2009 it was 59/98. In response, the government has reduced unemplyment payouts from four years to two. It is cutting student stipends and revamping the welfare system to reduce long term participation.

IOW, the states you referenced are actually striving towards a more pragmatic, neoliberal economic model.

#19 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 04:29 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

But the author is right. The problem is with the american people not adapting to a changing global dynamic. Sort of surprising that the citizens of country that once adapted under extremely adverse conditions to win WW II on behalf of others, now don't even seem to have any interest in taking care of themselves. At least not in numbers that would have previously been seen.

#20 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 04:36 PM | Reply | Flag:

QE only helps criminal Bankers. Everyone in charge knows this. But they will never admit it to the public.

#21 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-23 04:37 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

It's nice to talk about innovation but when government debt is crowding out private investment, you can kiss innovation away

There are literally trillions in private money sitting in banks, gathering dust. And since taxes are at their lowest in decades, exactly how is the debt crowding out the private sector?

#22 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-01-23 04:41 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Good retort, Mad. The question though, is could those countries have done that without the impressive amount they contribute towards higher education and retraining, though? I no longer remember which news piece it was to site, but around 2010 I remember a piece talking about Sweden paying 75% unemployment as long as someone was back in school. The kind of "socialist" reinvestment I would love to see out of our nation.

Neither does your post or Ray's refute my point that unfettered capitalism is doomed to end in fascism. Perhaps the natural progression is more of a pendulum. I just don't know at this point. I know our system is failing though.

#23 | Posted by zeropointnrg at 2014-01-23 04:46 PM | Reply | Flag:

In capitalism, corporations serve their customers,
Sure they do Ray. And unicorns really do exist.

Corporations serve their shareholders. Period.

I'm not sure you've ever run a business, but few businesses survive selling to consumers for as little as they can. Oil companies seem to do all right selling for as much as they can, regardless of input costs. That should tell you something there.

History has shown, time and time again, that unregulated capitalism leads to monopolies, degraded quality of products and price fixing.

From medieval times with adulterated grain to the 19th century slaughterhouse garbage stuffed sausages and the Standard Oil price-fixing trust scams to ENRON, capitalism has again and again proven it is destructive without government oversight. The free-market doesn't thrive on competition, it eliminates competition

A recent example of corporations "serving" their customers is, of course the Ford Pinto. A simple cost/benefit analysis showed Ford it was cheaper to keep building the exploding Pintos and paying off lawsuits over customers were were "served" bbq style than fix the problem. Shareholders 1, customers 0.

ENRON in California's "screw you Granny" price gouging/ supply manipulation same deal.

But Ray, keep buying gold. Because we all trust that when the world collapses, everybody will want gold and it will be worth so much more. Probably should invest in tulip bulbs, too.

#24 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-01-23 04:57 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 3

Don't waste your money on gold. Buy land containing fresh water sources.

#25 | Posted by mOntecOre at 2014-01-23 05:01 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 3

"Good retort, Mad. The question though, is could those countries have done that without the impressive amount they contribute towards higher education and retraining, though?

It depends. In Denmark, students get monthly stipend of $990 a month for six years while working towards a five year degree, which of course is free. What they found was that students often will take advantage of all six years, even if it is really not necessary.

In Sweden they have different problems. About 15% of the population is comprised of immigrants who have failed to assimiate on any level. Even though they have the same education opportunities as every other Swede, few get a degree. Or even a high school equivalency. the state provides them with everything they need, so there has never really been a need to get an education or a good job. They're still far better off than they were in Iran or Somalia or Syria, where most of the immigrant populations come from.

"The kind of "socialist" reinvestment I would love to see out of our nation."

Agreed. I think that "welfare," as we know it, should be abandoned in favor of a comprehensive program intended to remove people from the welfare roles. After all, paying for an education and four years of stipends is far, far less than a lifetime of food stamps and housing subsidies. But the biggest problem is what to do with those who don't want to work? Should society really be responsible for ensuring they enjoy a high standard of living?

#26 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 05:02 PM | Reply | Flag:

Socialism is dependant on authoritarianism. Specifically because it requires absolte control over all facets of wealth and wealth production.

And once again, some righty uses a word he really doesn't understand. The developed world is basically "socialist". All those crazy socialist ideas like free education, public utilities, healthcare, paved roads! When you study, and figure out, the difference between socialism and Stalinism, get back to us.

#27 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-01-23 05:04 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 3

"Neither does your post or Ray's refute my point that unfettered capitalism is doomed to end in fascism. Perhaps the natural progression is more of a pendulum. I just don't know at this point. I know our system is failing though."

Big Business colludes with big government in something that is far closer to the traditional corporatism we saw in the fascist governments of europe. Where americans still have a lot of economic freedom is in the small marketplace. Mostly because it's diverse enough to avoid being targeted by special interest groups.

#28 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 05:05 PM | Reply | Flag:

Yeah, I remember Obama explaining that the $250B annual deficit spending represented a failure in leadership.

L-O-L!

#29 | Posted by DixvilleNotch at 2014-01-23 05:05 PM | Reply | Flag:

Wait a second? 1972?! I thought everything was awesome until obama arrived in 2009 and somehow caused the 2008 crash...
Remember when obama made bush and reagan run up the debt and say deficits don't matter?
Damn obama!!!

#12 | POSTED BY SPEAKSOFTLY

Within 12 posts the sycophants grasp the purpose of the article......

Think about why 1972 is interesting? Why is that when the rut started, our moving off the gold standard? The article is nothing but an anti-capitalistic diatribe full of old ideas.

This is nothing but a deflection to absolve Obama from any culpability in helping us out of our current situation. He is helpless...... right???

Regarding #7 | POSTED BY ZEROPOINTNRG, thinking he brings up the flaws of Capitalism, actually brings up why its better than Socialism or the like. That the rich become powerful, and not the powerful become rich, which is what we are becoming today.

#7 also goes in and some how thinks with all the influence of the "Capitalist" that the answer is more government. Somehow this convoluted thinking should right the boat.

The more the state plans, the more difficult planning becomes for the individual. The less "democracy" you can have....

#30 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-01-23 05:10 PM | Reply | Flag:

But Ray, keep buying gold. Because we all trust that when the world collapses, everybody will want gold and it will be worth so much more. Probably should invest in tulip bulbs, too.
#24 | Posted by northguy3
Don't waste your money on gold. Buy land containing fresh water sources.
#25 | Posted by mOntecOre

There is nothing more amusing than socialists giving me advice.

#31 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 05:11 PM | Reply | Flag:

"All those crazy socialist ideas like free education, public utilities, healthcare, paved roads! When you study, and figure out, the difference between socialism and Stalinism, get back to us."

And what do you do when the voters don't want these things?

I'll answer for you. You force them to.

It's clear you haven't thought this through, so I'll throw you a bone. Let's assume that a government promises free healthcare to all it's citizens, regardless of ability to pay. So how does the government do this? Does it pay for existing doctors to provide those services? What if they don't agree to the amount the government wants to pay? What if the government can't afford to pay what the doctors want? Does it train it's own doctors? What if there is a lack of interested students? Does it force people to become doctors?

Most likely, what happens is that the government fails to live up to it's promises. Because actually meeting those goals would very likely entail forcing someone to do something that they otherwise wouldn't do.

There is no distinct difference between Stalinism and Socialism. Stalin simply understood what it took to make socialism work. He had promised food and rations to the industrial workers in the urban areas. To do that he needed the food the peasants produced. As they proved unwilling to give up their wealth, Stalin simply created an incentive for compliance. Work your farm, give us your food, and live. Otherwise, we'll send a firing squad out and have the army farm your plot.

#32 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 05:13 PM | Reply | Flag:

In capitalism, corporations serve their customers,
Sure they do Ray. And unicorns really do exist.
#24 | Posted by northguy3

You ignored the part about conflating capitalism with fascism.

#33 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 05:13 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Agreed. I think that "welfare," as we know it, should be abandoned in favor of a comprehensive program intended to remove people from the welfare roles."

Riiight...but LBJ said when he established the "War on Poverty" in 1964...

"Our American answer to poverty is not to make the poor more secure in their poverty but to reach down and to help them lift themselves out of the ruts of poverty and move with the large majority along the high road of hope and prosperity."

And...

"Bill Clinton signed PRWORA into law on August 22, 1996, fulfilling his 1992 campaign promise to "end welfare as we have come to know it".[1]

Welfare is alive and well...and BIGGER and longer lasting than ever.

#34 | Posted by jestgettinalong at 2014-01-23 05:16 PM | Reply | Flag:

plus he signed the worse bill in history at a time when the economy couldn't justify it and/ or support it.

Yeah, the Defense budget is pretty insane isn't it? Makes the ACA look like chump change.

Why is it that NOBODY on the Right is willing to admit that the biggest drain on the US economy is, and has been since 1945, the military? They all cheered when Dubya borrowed a trillion bucks from China so Dick Cheney and those oil company executives could sit down and plan on how to divvy up nasty old Iraq's oil fields. They sure didn't mind when Herbie sent Americans to die to keep the American companies in saudi arabia supplies "safe" (not that there was ever the slightest threat to them from Saddam). And let's not forget all those who died in VN to keep those resources out of evil commie hands and in the private sector, like God intended.

And they seem mightily grateful for the opportunity for the US Navy to donate their time escorting oil company tankers through the Gulf. And Lord help us if ANYBODY suggests that maybe Japan and Korea and Europe (not sure who the big bad wolf threatening the euro-weenies is, but seems to require a lot of watching)pick up their share of protecting themselves from whoever is supposed to be so scary we have to pay double a % of our GDP than they do to defend them.

The US military is, like the 19th Century British Redcoats and the Roman Legions, a subsidized tool for American economic control. From creating Panama, to creating and defending banana republics to liberating Iraq's oil,it's all part and parcel of being an Empire.

It's just too damn bad America is so inept at it. Queen Victoria knew how to make a shilling or two from it. Until the 2950s, even the French made out okay. America? Not so much anymore...

#35 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-01-23 05:19 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 3

You ignored the part about conflating capitalism with fascism.

And you ignored the part about living in reality.

Geez Ray, I could say communism was great because, in theory, everybody works with each other for their mutual benefit and gets to do what they do best and all goods and services are available to all people. Nice theory, but it never seems to have worked out. Like capitalism.

#36 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-01-23 05:22 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

The "Middle Class" has been in a downward spiral since we went off the Gold Standard and starting printing paper money with abandon causing inflation and decreased wages.

#37 | Posted by JROD at 2014-01-23 05:23 PM | Reply | Flag:

Welfare is alive and well...and BIGGER and longer lasting than ever.

and it still is dwarfed by corporate welfare, something righties don't dare mention. You can fantasize all you want about welfare queens in Cadillacs,but they pale in comparison to corporate welfare queens in their Learjets.

#38 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-01-23 05:24 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 4

There is nothing more amusing than socialists giving me advice.

Sure there is. We imagine you like Scrooge McDuck, diving into a pile of gold coins.

#39 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-01-23 05:27 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

And you ignored the part about living in reality.

Socialists have no concept of reality.

Geez Ray, I could say communism was great because, in theory, everybody works with each other for their mutual benefit and gets to do what they do best and all goods and services are available to all people. Nice theory, but it never seems to have worked out. Like capitalism.
#36 | Posted by northguy3

Silly talk. But there is a take-away lesson from communism. The more governments try to control the market, the worse they make it. That's a pattern that repeats throughout history. This country is following the same pattern.

#40 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 05:34 PM | Reply | Flag:

Sure there is. We imagine you like Scrooge McDuck, diving into a pile of gold coins.
#39 | Posted by northguy3

More silly talk.

#41 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 05:35 PM | Reply | Flag:

"All those crazy socialist ideas like free education, public utilities, healthcare, paved roads! When you study, and figure out, the difference between socialism and Stalinism, get back to us."

And what do you do when the voters don't want these things?

Yeah Mad. I just saw armored vehicles rounding up the kids at the Cranbrook Institute and forcing them to ride a bus to public school.

And forcing people to live in a developed world?

That's so cruel. Somolia must seem like a magical land of freedom.

Nobody forces you to drive on public roads, drink tap water or call 9-1-1 when your house is on fire.

Most likely, what happens is that the government fails to live up to it's promises. Because actually meeting those goals would very likely entail forcing someone to do something that they otherwise wouldn't do.

Umm Mad, while you study the difference between socialism and Stalinism, which you clearly haven't done yet, you just might want to study socialized healthcare in the rest of the world. Doesn't seem like there are too many countries with empty medical schools, nobody is being dragged off the street and handed scalpels. Heck, the country with the highest doctor/patient ratio is Cuba!

Just because Rush pretends they don't exist, doesn't make it true.

For all the wonders of the US medical system, outcomes aren't any better, costs are about double and, as you gunnies love to point out, private sector doctors kill thousands of patients every month.

#42 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-01-23 05:38 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 3

The more governments try to control the market, the worse they make it.

Yeah, curse that FDR for 1929. And all these:

There have been as many as 47 recessions in the United States since 1790 (although economists and historians dispute certain 19th-century recessions[3]). Cycles in agriculture, consumption, and business investment, and the health of the banking industry also contribute to these declines. U.S. recessions have increasingly affected economies on a worldwide scale, especially as countries' economies become more intertwined.

The National Bureau of Economic Research dates recessions on a monthly basis back to 1854; according to their chronology, from 1854 to 1919, there were 16 cycles. The average recession lasted 22 months, and the average expansion 27. From 1919 to 1945, there were six cycles; recessions lasted an average 18 months and expansions for 35. From 1945 to 2001, and 10 cycles, recessions lasted an average 10 months and expansions an average of 57 months.[5] This has prompted some economists to declare that the business cycle has become less severe.[7] Factors that may have contributed to this moderation include the creation of a central bank and lender of last resort, like the Federal Reserve System in 1913, the establishment of deposit insurance in the form of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933, increased regulation of the banking sector, the adoption of interventionist Keynesian economics, and the increase in automatic stabilizers in the form of government programs (unemployment insurance, social security, and later Medicare and Medicaid)
en.wikipedia.org

Oh......

btw, you notice that the economy has been going downhill since the Nixonian small government folk took over. Guys like Reagan, the Bushies.....

#43 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-01-23 05:45 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Socialists have no concept of reality.

Goldbugs have no concept of reality.

#44 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-01-23 05:46 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

dieoff.org

The oil is running out, and the usa has been in a disguised depression since around 1970.

#45 | Posted by Shawn at 2014-01-23 06:38 PM | Reply | Flag:

There is no distinct difference between Stalinism and Socialism.
#32 | Posted by madbomber

You're insane. You just re-define things as needed for your mythology to seem coherent.

#46 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-23 06:39 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

"The oil is running out, and the usa has been in a disguised depression since around 1970."

Except that the oil is not running out, nor the natural gas, nor the sun light, nor the wind, nor hydrogen. I think the whole premise of this guy's opinion is nonsense. To say there has been no innovation since the 1970's is absolutely ridiculous, probably there has been more innovation during those forty years than any other thirty years in history. Whole industries never imagined are now creating huge profits, millions of jobs and possibilities for more innovations to happen at an ever increasing rate. The changes in our economy that dictate where and to whom the profits from innovation flow do create the impression that our economies aren't growing but, in reality, they are growing though far too much of the profit is flowing to a very few individuals.
I realize that Edmund Phelps is a NObel prize winning economist, as is Paul Krugman btw, but I was working for a living in 1970, I remember how we did things back then. I seems incredibly primitive to me today.

#47 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-23 06:46 PM | Reply | Flag:

The more governments try to control the market, the worse they make it.
Yeah, curse that FDR for 1929. And all these:
There have been as many as 47 recessions in the United States since 1790 (although economists and historians dispute certain 19th-century recessions[3])..
#43 | POSTED BY NORTHGUY3

Cycles are natural in a market economy. Governments make them bigger, deeper and longer as Roosevelt's did. Given how much government has grown since Roosevelt, this one promises to be a whole lot worse.

btw, you notice that the economy has been going downhill since the Nixonian small government folk took over. Guys like Reagan, the Bushies..

Once the Feds were off the gold standard, they were free to borrow and print at will. Now debts are at levels impossible to pay off. All they can do is keep on borrowing and printing until something breaks. It doesn't mater which party.

#48 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 06:48 PM | Reply | Flag:

You're insane. You just re-define things as needed for your mythology to seem coherent.
#46 | POSTED BY SNOOFY

Since you insist, there is a difference between Stalinism and Socialism. Stalinism is socialism gone to its logical conclusion.

#49 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 06:51 PM | Reply | Flag:

There is no distinct difference between Stalinism and Socialism.
#32 | Posted by madbomber

There is no difference between capitalism and fascism because capitalism doesn't exist.

National socialism is fascism the government version, as opposed to the corporate version.

#50 | Posted by Shawn at 2014-01-23 06:51 PM | Reply | Flag:

Goldbugs have no concept of reality.

#44 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-01-23 05:46 PM | Reply

Enough reality to know that the price of an ounce of gold has out-perfomed any stock exchange. Let's see the DJIA was about 839 in 1970 while an ounce of gold was about $35.00. The Dow is now about 16,200. That's approximately a 19 times increase. Gold is now about $1260.00. That's about a 36 times increase. And the gap will widen with the next downturn in the stockmarkets and the next big move in gold. I would say based on the comparison, NG3 doesn't know what the heck he's talking about and has no concept of reality.

#51 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 06:54 PM | Reply | Flag:

#43 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-01-23 05:45 PM | Reply

And if you knew any economic history, the swings in the economy in the last 100 years with government/Fed interference have been much greater then before when we had some semblance of sound money backed by gold. And the swings are worsening and the next downturn will be worse then the last.

#52 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 06:58 PM | Reply | Flag:

Gold is a red herring. The dollar is based on oil, and has been for over 100 years. The means of transmission is irrelevant.

dieoff.org. Learn something.

#53 | Posted by Shawn at 2014-01-23 07:03 PM | Reply | Flag:

Gold is a red herring. The dollar is based on oil, and has been for over 100 years. The means of transmission is irrelevant.

dieoff.org. Learn something.

#53 | Posted by Shawn at 2014-01-23 07:03 PM | Reply

The petro-dollar is on its' last legs. Before this is over, gold will once again be a red herring that the propagandized American public will wish they had. You should really understand history.

#54 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 07:22 PM | Reply | Flag:

dieoff.org. Learn something.

Went there. Not impressed. Yes, the future looks ugly. You can't stop it. You can't change it. Just adapt.

#55 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 07:26 PM | Reply | Flag:

The petro-dollar is on its' last legs. Before this is over, gold will once again be a red herring that the propagandized American public will wish they had. You should really understand history.

If you believe that then you simply have no clear understanding of socioeconomics. As I said, the means of transmission is irrelevant. Industrial society depends on oil. Gold is not a substitute anymore than bottled farts.

#56 | Posted by Shawn at 2014-01-23 07:30 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

Gold is not a substitute anymore than bottled farts.

Agree. Don't expect to see a gold standard again.
It's value is in direct ownership which eliminates the risk of owning dollar assets.

#57 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 07:40 PM | Reply | Flag:

But the author is right. The problem is with the american people not adapting to a changing global dynamic. Sort of surprising that the citizens of country that once adapted under extremely adverse conditions to win WW II on behalf of others, now don't even seem to have any interest in taking care of themselves. At least not in numbers that would have previously been seen.
#20 | Posted by madbomber

I beg your pardon. It's not the American people who are to blame. It's the "traitorous incompetent corrupt scumbag leeches" (my opinion only) that average Americans have been forced to select and elect as option "D or R" on their ballot. All other options intentionally excluded.

Both sides have been vetted and approved for decades by the same self serving cabal, and ordered to promote the same ultimate agenda of "screw America and greatly enrich the few". George Carlin still explains elegantly in plain English before he prematurely passed away from a supposed heart attack. www.youtube.com

Yes we average people might be the fools but because we elected them to represent us, and defend our economic interests and our borders too, and based upon their promises. But we Americans had no other options. Obviously they failed us on both counts, while they and the Dept of Propaganda (media) work to keep us arguing about BS stuff.

In summation ……. 535 political elites have continuously and willingly sacrificed America so that a cabal of thousands that predominantly inhabit CNBC, Wall Street and the corner offices of international corporations would get much richer always at our expense.

The owned and managed media spends 75% of their time dividing America and convincing both liberals and conservatives that all the problems in America are due to average income working class liberals and conservatives. Now they are working to divide the USA military too based upon religion.

The dividers use gay marriage, abortion, gun control, Christian evangelicals as societal levers in their process of divide and conquer the masses.

#58 | Posted by Robson at 2014-01-23 07:47 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Stalinism is socialism gone to its logical conclusion."

No, Sweden is. Stalinism is just one more form of dictatorship, had little or nothing to do with real socialism.

#59 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-23 07:54 PM | Reply | Flag:

Hey Danni. Just for your edification: USSR means "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics"

The Soviets tried to make Marx's ideas work. Problem was, it required extreme amounts of force and all it produced was Sputnik and poverty.

#60 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 08:00 PM | Reply | Flag:

Agree. Don't expect to see a gold standard again.

#57 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 07:40 PM | Reply

In America, that may be true but we'll see what China does with the massive amount of gold they're purchasing. It will once again play a major role globally in one way or another.

#61 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 08:01 PM | Reply | Flag:

Stalinism is just one more form of dictatorship, had little or nothing to do with real socialism.

#59 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-23 07:54 PM | Reply

Most of the prominent dictators of the 20th century started out as fine little socialists.

#62 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 08:03 PM | Reply | Flag:

Too funny as I started investing in stocks in the late 70s and by '90 had 124.5k. Not bad for an NCO who never made what you call 'real' money. A 'Rut' is what you make if to I guess…..

There are winners and losers in life no matter what 'economy'.

#63 | Posted by MSgt at 2014-01-23 08:07 PM | Reply | Flag:

Stalinism is just one more form of dictatorship, had little or nothing to do with real socialism.

#59 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-23 07:54 PM |

Sorry, Danni.

"Under Joseph Stalin's rule, the concept of "socialism in one country" became a central tenet of Soviet society. He replaced the New Economic Policy introduced by Lenin in the early 1920s with a highly centralised command economy, launching a period of industrialization and collectivization that resulted in the rapid transformation of the USSR from an agrarian society into an industrial power."

"Socialism in One Country was a theory put forth by Joseph Stalin in 1924, elaborated by Nikolai Bukharin in 1925 and finally adopted by Stalin as state policy. The theory held that given the defeat of all the communist revolutions in Europe in 1917–1921 except Russia's, the Soviet Union should begin to strengthen itself internally. That was a shift from the previously held Marxist position that socialism must be established globally, and was in opposition to Leon Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution."

I might add that Stalin's brand of socialism was despotic and not democratic. As such, you're correct that he was a dictator but he still believed and through his policies enacted socialistic tenets.

#64 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 08:11 PM | Reply | Flag:

In America, that may be true but we'll see what China does with the massive amount of gold they're purchasing. It will once again play a major role globally in one way or another.
#61 | POSTED BY MATSOP

That's about the way I see it. But I can't see them backing up the yuan with gold. I'm thinking they are taking advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime bargain. And by sucking up all the gold in the west, they'll drive up prices to phenomenal levels and weaken confidence in the dollar. They can't beat us militarily, but they can economically. It's just a guess.

#65 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 08:27 PM | Reply | Flag:

It's worthless drivel waived publicly just in time for Obama to campaign against the 1% at the sotu.

Funny Reagan and Clinton years are being dragged thru the mud. Then again, the left has denounced the American experience repeatedly.

#66 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-23 08:55 PM | Reply | Flag:

Obama will offer no viable solutions. And he doesn't have any. His goal is to campaign against what he himself has perpetuated.

I challenge the Dr left to explain and defend QE. Which has done nothing more then to inflate asset values, mostly for the super rich.

#67 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-23 08:58 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Welfare is alive and well...and BIGGER and longer lasting than ever."

I don't think that LBJ ever intended for the war on poverty to actually combat poverty. It was a means of gaining easy control over the population. The current welfare system is little more than a means to purchase voters. You can by the fact that the system does not ask anything in return for the provision of benefits. You can be on them cradle-to-grave, without ever giving a thing back to society. In fact, it's become more generous. And given their way, progressives would make it even more generous. Because it would buy more voters.

"Yeah, the Defense budget is pretty insane isn't it? Makes the ACA look like chump change."

Insane?

If you want to see insane, you have to first look at entitlements. First, because they are non-discretionary. Second, because they eat up vast amounts of public resources.

Ever look at what Medicare is projected to cost in the long run? What about disability? The government has made it a point to reduce what it means to be "disabled," almost to the point where it's another welfare program. In some places, such as Hale county, AL, that's exactly what it is.

"Why is it that NOBODY on the Right is willing to admit that the biggest drain on the US economy is, and has been since 1945, the military?"

Are they not?

Are you asserting that conservatives are against cutting military spending? I'm in the military and I'm in favor of it.

But since we're on the topic of "drains," how about the $1.4T the government is going to kollektively spend on welfare and health care in 2014. About $440B more than defense. And keep in mind, that healthcare cost is the fedgov burden. It doesn't include private sector spending.

So, where should we start whittling away at that overexpenditure?

#68 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 09:01 PM | Reply | Flag:

It's really funny, the left demands the rich hire more people, then they attack them as evil.

So what's it going to be ng3. I challenge you, or have you gone deaf and mute???

#69 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-23 09:01 PM | Reply | Flag:

Silence will be deafening!!!!!

#70 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-23 09:08 PM | Reply | Flag:

#65 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 08:27 PM | Reply

They'll force a change in the global currency with the dollar no longer the reserve currency. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if they attempt to affect trade away from the banking industry and embark on trade notes backed by gold.

#71 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 09:11 PM | Reply | Flag:

So what's it going to be ng3. I challenge you, or have you gone deaf and mute???

#69 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-23 09:01 PM | Reply

Yes, NG3; it's door 1 or door 2. Not a difficult question.

#72 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-23 09:12 PM | Reply | Flag:

68....you won't get an answer mb...that's there style. They ignore tough questions. Then rcade slams you for 'trolling'. He's rarely pinned down exactly what that means...but the other day he had some such explanation..."question too stupid to answer".

More like uncomfortable and embarrassing!!

My challenge stands Dr left, you are coming up SMALL

#73 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-23 09:13 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Hey Danni. Just for your edification: USSR means "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics""

And thus you believe that was what it really was? Had it been true socialism more resources would have been dedicated to feeding the people, housing the people, etc. and far less on the military, the police, etc. USSR was just a garden variety police state dictatorship which murdered millions of their own people, invaded other countries and basically just extended the Russian empire under a new name.

#74 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-23 09:19 PM | Reply | Flag:

"and it still is dwarfed by corporate welfare, something righties don't dare mention. You can fantasize all you want about welfare queens in Cadillacs,but they pale in comparison to corporate welfare queens in their Learjets."

What is a rightie? Because I can tell you right now that fiscal conservatives generally don't regard corporate welfare as being different from any other kind of welfare. Progressives, at least many in the current crop, tend to place the welfare poor on the altar of victimhood, while supporting corporate welfare as a means of gaining control of industry and finance. After all, corporatism is a progressive system. It was designed as such.

"Yeah Mad. I just saw armored vehicles rounding up the kids at the Cranbrook Institute and forcing them to ride a bus to public school."

Nope. But there parents are forced to pay for a public school that their kids will never use. But it's OK, right? For the good of the kollektiv?

"And forcing people to live in a developed world?"

Yeah. No one actually forces Cubans to brave the open seas in innertubes to reach the US. That and the fact that Americans aren't fleeing south to Cuba speaks volumes about socialism.

Umm Mad, while you study the difference between socialism and Stalinism, which you clearly haven't done yet, you just might want to study socialized healthcare in the rest of the world.

Such as?

The biggest difference between the US and the rest of the world is the immediate availability and quality of healthcare. We don't have wait lines here. Pretty much everywhere else they do. Mostly because we spend more. Canada has 4.6 MRIs per million people. The US has 19.5 per million. Meaning little to no wait for an MRI. Basically you get it once the doctor determines you need an MRI. In Canada the wait times can be up to 26 weeks. For emergency patients, it can take as long as 245 hours.

Furthermore, doctors in Canada make about half as much in income as hey do in the US. Lots of Canadian doctors actually move to the US for the higher incomes. This can be attributed to the fact that under a single payer system, the government forces doctors to take a government determined wage. You can do private practice, but that's it. Even in your free time you're not allowed to see patients.

And this is forcing doctors to do something they otherwise wouldn't? This was my whole point.

"Heck, the country with the highest doctor/patient ratio is Cuba!"

Shall I buy you an innertube?


#75 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 09:24 PM | Reply | Flag:

#74 | POSTED BY DANNI

You don't even know what socialism means?

#76 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-23 09:28 PM | Reply | Flag:

"The dividers use gay marriage, abortion, gun control, Christian evangelicals as societal levers in their process of divide and conquer the masses."

You forgot class warfare. intentionally, perhaps?

"The more governments try to control the market, the worse they make it."

You are aware that there are quite a few economists out there who believe that New Deal policies either extended the depression, or did nothing at all to help it, correct?

"Had it been true socialism more resources would have been dedicated to feeding the people, housing the people, etc. and far less on the military, the police, etc. USSR was just a garden variety police state dictatorship which murdered millions of their own people, invaded other countries and basically just extended the Russian empire under a new name."

Maybe a better question would be to ask how Stalin would have maintained socialism without the use of force. The promises of socialism didn't come free. He needed food to provide to the urban industrial masses. The food producers were simply not going to give it up, and he had nothing to offer in return. In the absence of force, Stalin would have never been able to keep the USSR together. Just like the Kim dynasty wouldn't be able to control North Korea. Or Castro in Cuba. Even on a smaller scale, Canada would never be able to maintain it's single payer system if it offered market rate wages to doctors. If you are going to earn a living in Canada, you'll do it how they want you to do it. It's not nearly as brutal as Stalin, but it's still highly coercive. In fact there was case in Canada a few years back where a doctor was going to do some weekend work for extra income. he was employed as part of the Canadian healthcare system, and they said he couldn't do it. The reason was that allowing him to perform those duties for someone who paid effectively allowed the patient to jump in front of those who were unwilling to pay. It went to the courts. I think the courts may have determined that it was unconstitutional. Of course if it were, then all doctors would want to do it. Why make $40 an hour when you can make $60?

#77 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 09:42 PM | Reply | Flag:

"If you want to see insane, you have to first look at entitlements. First, because they are non-discretionary. Second, because they eat up vast amounts of public resources."

They also flow directly right back into the American economy. Not so with defense spending. Entitlements can be accurately described as stimulus while a large part of defense spending could not be described that way. Building a tank and then parking it in the dessert returns only a small amount of the cost to the economy while a dollar spent on food stamps actually returns at least a dollar back to the economy.

#78 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-23 09:44 PM | Reply | Flag:

"68....you won't get an answer mb...that's there style. They ignore tough questions."

I'd settle for an honest opinion. Such as one feeling that it is ok to take another's money, or force a person to so something in support of a particular cause. Why put lipstick on a pig by trying to justify it through rational means? Yeah, I'm going to screw someone over. But it's for a cause that I really believe in...

#79 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 09:45 PM | Reply | Flag:

"In the absence of force, Stalin would have never been able to keep the USSR together."

Of course not, the USSR was an empire not a country, Russia today, is still an empire, not a country. They should probably consider allowing the Muslim nations like Chechnya to have independence, they would see their concerns about terrorism diminish dramatically. REalize, the Czar was an imperialist, when the Soviet Union took over from him they retained his empire, which they still do to this day and that explains why they have so many problems from terrorists.

#80 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-23 09:47 PM | Reply | Flag:

Building a tank and then parking it in the dessert returns only a small amount of the cost to the economy while a dollar spent on food stamps actually returns at least a dollar back to the economy.

Posted by danni at 2014-01-23 09:44 PM | Reply

Sure- everyone knows tanks are made cost-free - no material suppliers or labor costs... no contractor fees returned to workers and the economy...

#81 | Posted by Greatamerican at 2014-01-23 09:48 PM | Reply | Flag:

"They also flow directly right back into the American economy. Not so with defense spending. Entitlements can be accurately described as stimulus while a large part of defense spending could not be described that way. Building a tank and then parking it in the dessert returns only a small amount of the cost to the economy while a dollar spent on food stamps actually returns at least a dollar back to the economy."

???

The defense sector employs million of people with high paying jobs. Many of them union jobs. Which is why many democrats really do support the defense industry. Because it's a reliable source of union employment.

Second, I don't think you understand entitlements. I completely agree with you on food stamps. Farmers, food producers, grocery stores-they all love the programs. It's more money for them. It also provides an opportunity for cost conscious consumers as well. By purchasing food stamps at less than market value, they can effectively increase their spending power. And it allows those on food stamps access to cash in order to buy the things they really want.

But I digress. The biggest part of entitlements is Medicare and Social Security. Now, in theory, these should pay for themselves. But they don't. And since they are non-discretionary, they must be paid for. Which generally means running a deficit. And no matter how you slice it, borrowing money means that you pay more for a product than market value. Which is most definitely NOT good for the economy.

#82 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 09:51 PM | Reply | Flag:

"So, where should we start whittling away at that overexpenditure?"

We should start by raising the minimum wage. That would significantly reduce the amount of food stamps etc. paid out by the federal government because the "burden" of supporting their employees would begin to be shifted back onto the shoulders of the employers...where it belongs.
Record corporate profits underscore this belief. While they earn record profits taxpayers pay record amounts to keep other Americans fed.

#83 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-23 09:51 PM | Reply | Flag:

"But I digress. The biggest part of entitlements is Medicare and Social Security. Now, in theory, these should pay for themselves. But they don't. "

SS is still 2.5 trillion dollars in surplus. Minor adjustments could make it completely self-sustaining for the next century.

#84 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-23 09:53 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Of course not, the USSR was an empire not a country, Russia today, is still an empire, not a country. They should probably consider allowing the Muslim nations like Chechnya to have independence, they would see their concerns about terrorism diminish dramatically. REalize, the Czar was an imperialist, when the Soviet Union took over from him they retained his empire, which they still do to this day and that explains why they have so many problems from terrorists."

Organizationally, the USSR wasn't that different from the US. Instead of states they had republics. But it was more or less the same principle. But you failed to answer the question. Especially considering that the conquest of the Kulaks (Russian peasants) began almost immediately after the Bolshevik conquest, under Lenin's orders. And it was necessary. Lenin had to feed his armies of troops and workers. And to do that he needed the farms and the food belonging to the peasants. Had he not destroyed the Kulaks, it would have been a very short revolution.

#85 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 09:56 PM | Reply | Flag:

"We should start by raising the minimum wage."

Half of minimum wage earners are 25 or under. How much does a teenager need to earn?

Furthermore, if you increase the minimum wage, it's going to decrease the demand for labor. So unemployment will increase as a function of an increased mandatory wage.

It would be far better for the government to simply cut a check to those who needed it. Unless you're arguing that high school and college kids should be entitled to a living wage.

#86 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 10:01 PM | Reply | Flag:

"SS is still 2.5 trillion dollars in surplus. Minor adjustments could make it completely self-sustaining for the next century."

I agree. SS can be fixed. The question is should it? Medicare is a tougher nut to crack, by far. By any measure, recipient benefits are going to need to be cut, or contributions increased. Neither option will prove to be politically palatable.

#87 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 10:04 PM | Reply | Flag:

It would be far better for the government to simply cut a check to those who needed it.
#86 | Posted by madbomber

But do you support such a program?

#88 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-23 10:50 PM | Reply | Flag:

Medicare is a tougher nut to crack, by far. By any measure, recipient benefits are going to need to be cut, or contributions increased.
#87 | Posted by madbomber

Or... reduce costs by nationalizing it reaping the benefits of the economy of scale that comes from one Medicaid program replacing fifty Medicaid programs.

I find it quite telling that doing the obvious fiscally conservative thing is so foreign to American right-wingers, they don't even consider it.

#89 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-23 11:00 PM | Reply | Flag:

As manufacturing capacity increases profits erode. As offshoring grows jobs decline. To increase profits today lay people off, make your numbers, get a fat bonus, compromise future profits but you'll be gone. Repeat as the economy continues to decline. The outcome is deliberate.

#90 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-23 11:05 PM | Reply | Flag:

#82 "SS and Medicare should pay for themselves".

They don't because government uses the trust funds to pay for general expenditures and war. It's like IBM using their employee pension fund to pay executive compensation, and wondering why it would run out of funds prematurely. The system is rigged to reward and pay for the connected and elites first with tax cuts etc, and when the money is all gone it's time to cut "entitlements" for the those who paid.

#91 | Posted by Robson at 2014-01-23 11:16 PM | Reply | Flag:

"But do you support such a program?"

Moreso than an increase in minimum wage, yes. If it came down to compromise. Simply because it is only a welfare program via different means. A means that would increase unemployment.

"Or... reduce costs by nationalizing it reaping the benefits of the economy of scale that comes from one Medicaid program replacing fifty Medicaid programs."

It's a government program. It's already been nationalized. Oh! or do you mean nationalizing doctors and the equipment they have? Sort of like when the Soviets "nationalized" Kulak holdings. And by killing off the Kulaks or enslaving them, they were able to take advantage of some serious economies of scale.

"They don't because government uses the trust funds to pay for general expenditures and war."

Yup. You seem to understand that government is at the heart of the problem, yet appear to also be positioning government as the solution. Am I incorrect on this?

#92 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-23 11:37 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Or... reduce costs by nationalizing it reaping the benefits of the economy of scale that comes from one Medicaid program replacing fifty Medicaid programs."

It's a government program. It's already been nationalized. Oh! or do you mean nationalizing doctors and the equipment they have?

I said what I meant. Economies of scale.

As Medicaid works now, the money is block grants to the states who spend it how they please. So we have fifty different Medicaid programs.

If you can't figure out why that's inefficient, you might be a "fiscal conservative."

#93 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-23 11:49 PM | Reply | Flag:

You seem to understand that government is at the heart of the problem, yet appear to also be positioning government as the solution. Am I incorrect on this?

#92 | Posted by madbomber

Mind blown! Did your mind also explode when you realized guns can be used for crime, and can also be used to defend yourself from criminals.

Guns, like government, are a tool. It's what you do with it that matters.

#94 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-23 11:52 PM | Reply | Flag:

The old con is the idea that the rich pay for anything.

The labors of the poor pay for EVERYTHING, and they always have.

The rich steal everything and then blame the rest for not working hard enough.

Old old old old scam.

#95 | Posted by Shawn at 2014-01-24 01:32 AM | Reply | Flag:

"I said what I meant. Economies of scale."

Which would be unavailable to private healthcare providers?

Medicaid and medicare both suffer from the same problems, mostly due to the fact that these programs pay less than private plans. In a lot of areas doctors are refusing to take medicare and Medicaid patients. Why would they when it costs them money to do so?

#96 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-24 08:19 AM | Reply | Flag:

"Guns, like government, are a tool. It's what you do with it that matters."

Two problems with your argument.

First, guns have no personal bias or agenda other than that of the user. Government, on the other hand, is comprised of people. Who will likely have both a bias and an agenda.

Second, directly related to the first, is that if you prescribe government the authority to manipulate behavior in order to acheive a desired political end-state, you'd better be willing to accept that power being used to support activities you despise as much as you would activities you agree with. So if you want a government with power to sieze private property and wealth for the good of the kollektiv, don't be surprised when at the same time they place limits on other aspects of individual freedom. Such as the freedom of speech. or the freedom to worship as one chooses. The freedom to marry whom you want. And so on.

#97 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-24 09:17 AM | Reply | Flag:

"The rich steal everything and then blame the rest for not working hard enough."

Interesting, given that 47% don't pay federal income tax?

And they're being overburdened by the rich?

Hmmm.

#98 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-24 09:18 AM | Reply | Flag:

The reason 47% don't pay Federal income tax, is their services are undervalued and insufficient to live on. The 1% exploit cheap labor and transfer costs onto the tax paying 53%. In English Restaurants, credit card slips have no place for a tip because waiters and cooks earn a living wage. The US system is designed to force the middle class to pay for everything, war, Corporate subsidies, Corporate pollution, Health Care, Roads, schools.... In the prosperous fifties the rich paid five times more than they do today. In some cases infinitely more, since Capital flight and international tax fraud is openly tolerated, but only for the superrich.

#99 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 09:38 AM | Reply | Flag:

There is plenty of money to be had,
the problem is that wealth is owned by a tiny fraction of the population.
it is criminally inhumane that so few should have so much. That money needs to be removed and put into the hands of those who need it for the good of all mankind.

#100 | Posted by drewl at 2014-01-24 10:35 AM | Reply | Flag:

"The reason 47% don't pay Federal income tax, is their services are undervalued and insufficient to live on."

Sort of contradicts Shawn's earlier statement regarding who is paying for who. Especially since a sizebale part of that 47% are actually, across the board, consuming far more wealth than they produce.

"The US system is designed to force the middle class to pay for everything, war, Corporate subsidies, Corporate pollution, Health Care, Roads, schools.... In the prosperous fifties the rich paid five times more than they do today."

???

You know who pays the bulk of the federal income tax burden. Which pays for pretty much everything you listed above. And during the "properous fifties," income taxes weren't directed against the war on poverty. That came later. Taxes went to fund a huge military that was intended to stand up to the USSR. Since there is no longer a USSR, there is no reason to maintain those rates. And while high value taxpayers may be willing to pay those rates when it directly benefits them, they're going to be far less willing to pay high rates so that a non-working or low skilled worker can enjoy a lavish standard of living.

"the problem is that wealth is owned by a tiny fraction of the population."

That's because most wealth is created by a small fraction of the population. Bill Gates didn't get rich in a vacuum. It's because almost every last one of us bought a computer containing a $200 copy of Windows, and a $200 copy of Office. We gave him and his company that money. Voluntarily.

Don't like it? Then don't use a computer. Or go with shareware.

#101 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-24 11:28 AM | Reply | Flag:

BS Madbum,

All new wealth is created one penny at a time by laborers, in farming, manufacturing (including construction) and mining. Everyone else is an overhead expense.

#102 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 01:24 PM | Reply | Flag:

it doesn't matter how this situation came to be.

It is unethical, immoral and destroying the lives of most of the population.

It cannot, and will not continue in this fashion.

#103 | Posted by drewl at 2014-01-24 01:40 PM | Reply | Flag:

All new wealth is created one penny at a time by laborers, in farming, manufacturing (including construction) and mining. Everyone else is an overhead expense.
#102 | Posted by nutcase

Marx would have agreed.

What you are saying is, in effect, all new wealth is created by trained monkeys. The trainers are an overhead expense.

#104 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 01:59 PM | Reply | Flag:

Not at all. Managers are a necessary part of any large productive labor team. Doctors, Lawyers, Politicians and passive investors are an overhead expense, but also necessary. I am merely pointing out that those with their nose to the grindstone are being cheated out of their fair share.

#105 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 02:25 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

When you grow a bushel of wheat, manufacture a car or I-pod, build a house, extract a pound of copper from the ground you have created real new wealth, for yourself and the nation. When you shuffle paper to flip property, commodities or companies you have entered a zero sum game, wherein one person's gain is another person's loss. As far as Libertarian Greenspan is concerned all these incomes contribute equally to our GDP (supposedly national wealth). But that is wrong. Neoclassical Economics, by far the predominant system guiding Government Policy, is wrong in far more ways than it is correct.

#106 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 02:33 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

"All new wealth is created one penny at a time by laborers, in farming, manufacturing (including construction) and mining. Everyone else is an overhead expense."

That's sort of funny. You haven't put a lot of thought into this argument, have you?

All of that manufacturing, mining, pretty much anything beyond basci survivial. Where do you think it comes from. Industry produces goods that are thought up by entrepreneurs. Designed by engineers. Marketed by brand managers. Distributed by logisticians. Each one of these is irreplaceable in the wealth creation process. The act of actually producing a good is the easy part, and can be done by almost anyone.

Think about it this way. Oil may be the most valuable commodity in the world. But 150 years ago it was worthless. It was only through the efforts of a lot of thinkers and tinkerers that oil becamse valuable. And the same can be said for virtually every other non-food commodity.

And we won't even get into highly differentiated products and product value. Which would render your argument null and void.

"What you are saying is, in effect, all new wealth is created by trained monkeys. The trainers are an overhead expense."

Excellent analogy.

"I am merely pointing out that those with their nose to the grindstone are being cheated out of their fair share."

Which is what? Are you going to stick with a Marxian position that all "surplus value" costs rightly belong solely to labor? Or do you have some other idea about what constitutes a "fair share."

And doesn't the fact that the terms of remuneration are agreed upon by both employer and employee suggest that they are "fair?" I don't generally engage in activities that I deem to be unfair. Is your theoretical worker somehow different from me?

#107 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-24 02:45 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

I am merely pointing out that those with their nose to the grindstone are being cheated out of their fair share.
#105 | Posted by nutcase

Again, that's right out of the pages of Das Kapital.

At the time of hire, workers agree to sell their time and skills for a a mutually agreed upon price, not the value of what they produce. That's what both parties agreed to. Nobody is cheating anybody.

As far as Libertarian Greenspan

Greenspan is no more of a libertarian than I am a socialist.

Neoclassical Economics, by far the predominant system guiding Government Policy, is wrong in far more ways than it is correct.

You're all confused. Government policy follows Keynesian doctrine. Keynes broke off from neoclassical economics, practically turned it on its head with ideas that had already been refuted by neoclassical economics.

It looks to me like the worse the economy gets, the more the scapegoating.

#108 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 02:51 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Does this mean Nixon is to blame?

#109 | Posted by Tor at 2014-01-24 02:58 PM | Reply | Flag:

"At the time of hire, workers agree to sell their time and skills for a a mutually agreed upon price, not the value of what they produce. That's what both parties agreed to. Nobody is cheating anybody."

Except that ownership gets together at the Chamber of Commerce, etc. and discuss wages and decide to hold the line a certain amounts.
When workers in right to work states do that they get fired if management finds out about it, workers are forbidden from even discussing the amount they make with other workers. It is hardly a fair negotiation between workers and employers, especially in an environment with too many workers due to outsourcing, illegal immigration, HS1B visas, etc.

#110 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-24 03:00 PM | Reply | Flag:

What a worker agrees to work for after 10 million jobs have been moved overseas is really labor arbitrage, aka cheating.

#111 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 03:08 PM | Reply | Flag:

Finance and information technology is capitalism reconstituted in its purest form and function, facilitation of the ‘rational' interaction of ‘economic man' with ‘the world' of capitalist theory. Finance is the ‘fluid' of capitalism, that facilitates the aggregation of claims on ‘the world.'

The so-called ‘knowledge' economy brought into being in the ‘developed' West in the 1990s is composed of several industries that are related but also specific unto themselves– artificial intelligence, telecommunications, finance, information technology and digital commerce- the Internet. These can be divided into ‘finance', Wall Street, insurance and real estate; and ‘technology,' modes and methods of operational interaction with the world. One branch of these technologies, algorithmic ‘intelligence' combined with global telecommunications, is widely considered by Western economists to be a second ‘industrial age'. The development and growth of these industries was coincident with the revival of the political economy of neo-liberalism and the return of finance capitalism in its most intrusive and destructive forms. And finance, Wall Street, played a prominent role in inserting these new technologies into global political economy.

The efficiency of firing ten million workers employed in manufacturing in the West and hiring ten million workers to do the same work at lower wages in other countries is measured by the profit ‘earned' from doing so. The ‘efficiency' of technology depends on counting only ‘its' ‘intended' consequences. This is in part why the fluid of ‘profit' is put forward as ‘its' own proof of economic ‘efficiency', any look at the broader results of capitalist production quickly renders narrow ‘proofs' implausible. The technologies of the ‘tech revolution' were by and large developed with public resources in government laboratories or with government funds and then sold to ‘private' interests. The great ‘tech' fortunes were built with the stolen labor.

The implied ‘goal' of technology as capitalist enterprise is to get all of us ‘messy' people out of the way, to either make us ‘like' machines or to just go away. ‘Intelligent' machines are the objectification of this objectification, the automation of the technologies of exploitation from the perspective of radical alienation. They are ‘useful' by forcing a particular conformity. The only ‘logical' conclusion of knowledge work is to either cut ‘its' own pay or to fire itself.

‘Money' is claimed by Western economists to be ideologically ‘neutral' and a near fact-of-nature in capitalist political economy. Yet, Banks create most of the money in existence by making loans. These loans in turn create the contrived economic ‘imperative' that ‘technology' responds to. Beginning in the 1980s ‘leveraged buyouts' were used to loot companies through the incurring of debt against company assets that ‘forced' them to be reconfigured so that the financiers and executives doing the reconfiguring could award themselves extravagant payouts and stock options.

Finance is the ‘technology' that diverts ‘profits' into one pile and their social consequences into another. It is hardly an accident that the single largest use the Internet has been put to is the distribution of pornography. (Rob Urie)

#112 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 03:11 PM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

Ray,

Since when is austerity following Keynesian Doctrine?

#113 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 03:12 PM | Reply | Flag:

Except that ownership gets together at the Chamber of Commerce, etc. and discuss wages and decide to hold the line a certain amounts.

They can try. But businesses have to compete for labor the same way they compete for customers. No worker is forced to work at a job she doesn't want. Workers want the highest wages they can get and employers the most value for the lowest cost. It's the same mentality throughout the marketplace. Buyers want low prices; sellers want high prices.

It is hardly a fair negotiation between workers and employers, especially in an environment with too many workers due to outsourcing, illegal immigration, HS1B visas, etc.

I think far more insidious are excessive regulations and taxes. They put more pressure on business to cut costs.

#114 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 03:15 PM | Reply | Flag:

Since when is austerity following Keynesian Doctrine?
#113 | Posted by nutcase

It's a failure of Keynesian doctrine. The era of borrowing and printing is coming to an end as it had to.

#115 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 03:17 PM | Reply | Flag:

The principle negative effect of regulation is increase the cost of entrance and limit competition. The principle positive effect is to improve human health and safety, whenever we breath, drink water, eat food or live through an earthquake in our homes. I for one appreciate our building codes, they have saved millions of lives. But the damn things do cut into profits, that's for sure.

#116 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 03:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

"They can try. But businesses have to compete for labor the same way they compete for customers."

Not with high unemployment and 3 people showing up to fill every single job opening.

"Workers want the highest wages they can get and employers the most value for the lowest cost."

But employers can virtually collectively bargain by colluding with each other and agreeing to certain levels of pay whilel they can prevent workers from doing the exact same thing.

"I think far more insidious are excessive regulations and taxes."

Key word..."excessive." I work for a company and had my own company, no regulations I ever encountered seemed excessive nor were the taxes we paid. American business is neither excessively regulated nor excessively taxed.

#117 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-24 03:19 PM | Reply | Flag:

What a worker agrees to work for after 10 million jobs have been moved overseas is really labor arbitrage, aka cheating.
#111 | Posted by nutcase

So you are telling me employers have no rights? Somehow, in your mind, once hired, a worker is entitled to a job, no matter how circumstances change.
See #14.

#118 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 03:22 PM | Reply | Flag:

Not with high unemployment and 3 people showing up to fill every single job opening.

I've been batting about zero in trying to convince you socialists that government meddling in the economy is destroying jobs.

Key word..."excessive." I work for a company and had my own company, no regulations I ever encountered seemed excessive nor were the taxes we paid. American business is neither excessively regulated nor excessively taxed.

The declining job market suggests otherwise.

But employers can virtually collectively bargain by colluding with each other and agreeing to certain levels of pay whilel they can prevent workers from doing the exact same thing.

In this job market, it hardly seem necessary.

#119 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 03:29 PM | Reply | Flag:

Not at all, but I would say that employers should not have the right to undermine their own economy on a path to short term gain. Free Trade Agreements are undermining our economy. Lets not confuse the different economic powers of Goldman-Sachs and General Electric with small businesses where your examples have some credence.

#120 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 03:38 PM | Reply | Flag:

#112 | Posted by nutcase

I've been saying from the time I joined this site that politics and economics work at opposite ends and means. Deteriorating market trends told me that political forces are overwhelming economic forces.

When politics is the problem, it certainly is not the solution. Politicians are even denying there is a problem. That should tell you how much they care.

#121 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 03:38 PM | Reply | Flag:

The decision by the Federal Reserve, Treasury and White House, with hardly a whimper from Congress, to divert $17 trillion into the pockets of Banking criminals instead of 300 million citizens is economically and politically corrupt. Had it been delivered to citizens it would have been consistent with Keynes and fueled enormous growth and prosperity. It is the largest crime in the history of mankind. No Tyrant, Preacher, Capitalist or Communist has done anything even close in scale.

#122 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 03:39 PM | Reply | Flag:

Not at all, but I would say that employers should not have the right to undermine their own economy on a path to short term gain. Free Trade Agreements are undermining our economy. Lets not confuse the different economic powers of Goldman-Sachs and General Electric with small businesses where your examples have some credence.

Again, that's politics, not economics.

#123 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 03:40 PM | Reply | Flag:

#122 | Posted by nutcase

Politics again.

The decision by the Federal Reserve, Treasury and White House, with hardly a whimper from Congress, to divert $17 trillion into the pockets of Banking criminals instead of 300 million citizens is economically and politically corrupt.

That was the intent one hundred years ago.

Had it been delivered to citizens it would have been consistent with Keynes and fueled enormous growth and prosperity.

Keynes was a fraud. It is impossible to spend and borrow your way to prosperity. You're so steeped in socialist theory, you can't see it.

#124 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 03:46 PM | Reply | Flag:

"So you are telling me employers have no rights? Somehow, in your mind, once hired, a worker is entitled to a job, no matter how circumstances change."

Only from within a union does a worker have any real rights and with right to work laws we lose the possibility of having those rights. An individual worker, especially in today's labor market, if at the mercy of his/her employer.

#125 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-24 03:49 PM | Reply | Flag:

Second, directly related to the first, is that if you prescribe government the authority to manipulate behavior in order to acheive a desired political end-state, you'd better be willing to accept that power being used to support activities you despise as much as you would activities you agree with.
#97 | Posted by madbomber

You say this a lot, as though you're under the impression you're telling me something I haven't thought of before.

But this is one of the main arguments I make against the death penalty (and it applies to drone strikes too) -- that a government empowered to kill its captives (or kill names on a secret enemies list) might kill the wrong ones.

#126 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-24 03:52 PM | Reply | Flag:

It is impossible to spend and borrow your way to prosperity..
#124 | Posted by Ray

Really? Then explain what small business loans are.

#127 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-24 03:53 PM | Reply | Flag:

"I said what I meant. Economies of scale."

Which would be unavailable to private healthcare providers?

I'm beginning to think you don't understand what economies of scale are. Economies of scale aren't something you go and buy. They're "available" to any organization, in degrees, relative to the scale of that organization.

Now I would have thought this was obvious but apparently it's not, so I'll just spell it out, for what feels like a second time: One Medicaid regimen administering the program for the entire nation is bound to be more efficient than fifty Medicaid regimens administering the program for each state.

#128 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-24 03:59 PM | Reply | Flag:

Really? Then explain what small business loans are.
#127 | Posted by snoofy

Borrowing is fine as long as you can pay it off. But an economy built on debt is destined to collapse as this one is in the process of doing.

#129 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 04:04 PM | Reply | Flag:

Had it been true socialism more resources would have been dedicated to feeding the people, housing the people, etc. and far less on the military, the police, etc.

#74 Posted by Danni

You cant change the meaning of a term just because it doesn't fit your world view. Socialism is socialism. More people know what it is than you think. You are just trying to change the meaning to make it sound more palatable.

#130 | Posted by boaz at 2014-01-24 04:05 PM | Reply | Flag:

Only from within a union does a worker have any real rights and with right to work laws we lose the possibility of having those rights. An individual worker, especially in today's labor market, if at the mercy of his/her employer.
#125 | Posted by danni

Look at this way. I'm sure you recognize the legitimacy of government sovereignity. The same goes for property and business owners. The very fact of ownership implies sovereignity over one's propery. They are going to act in their interests as you do yours. That's just human nature.

#131 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 04:10 PM | Reply | Flag:

Finance is the ‘technology' that diverts ‘profits' into one pile and their social consequences into another.
#112 | Posted by nutcase

An earlier technology called "incorporation" did just the same. With the idea being that, if an entrepreneur's personal assets are shielded from his creditors, he will be more willing to take risks.

Socialism is at the core of capitalism. It provides a backstop which ensures the entrepreneur won't lose the shirt on his back in his chase of profit. He is rewarded by privatizing those profits, or when things don't work out we let him off the hook personally, and his investors "socialize" their creditor's losses. It's not at all new idea, and not even a bad one. But the obvious loopholes in this arrangement are being heavily exploited by the profiteering class for decades now, aided by further advances in technology such as unregulated financial markets and globalization.

#132 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-24 04:13 PM | Reply | Flag:

"Except that ownership gets together at the Chamber of Commerce, etc. and discuss wages and decide to hold the line a certain amounts."

If that were true, then doctors, accountants, engineers, and ditch diggers would all make comperable wages. They don't. Because wages are a function of relative value. Anyone, including doctors, accountants, and engineers can dig ditches. But ditch diggers can't perform surgery, or manage accounts, or develop technical processes.

Markets determine wage rates. Which is why those with rarer skills make more money.

"Only from within a union does a worker have any real rights and with right to work laws we lose the possibility of having those rights. An individual worker, especially in today's labor market, if at the mercy of his/her employer."

Really?

So you are asserting that doctors are in an exposed position, employment-wise? What about accountants? Engineers? people with college degrees?

I only ask because wages for skilled workers CONTINUE to increase. So you'll have to explain to me why on earth oppressive employers are paying people more, when they could be paying them less?

"But this is one of the main arguments I make against the death penalty (and it applies to drone strikes too) -- that a government empowered to kill its captives (or kill names on a secret enemies list) might kill the wrong ones."

The wrong ones?

Did you ever consider that, from the prospective of an authoritarian government, those who you consider the "wrong ones" might be thier "right ones?"

#133 | Posted by madbomber at 2014-01-24 04:14 PM | Reply | Flag:

Borrowing is fine as long as you can pay it off. But an economy built on debt is destined to collapse as this one is in the process of doing.

#129 | Posted by Ray

Well then it will collapse unless the rich people pay up, as they are the only group whose wealth vastly outsizes our puny national debt.

And that's fine with me. They have much farther to fall than I do.

#134 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-24 04:15 PM | Reply | Flag:

#107 Post of the month, madbomber.

#135 | Posted by DixvilleNotch at 2014-01-24 04:15 PM | Reply | Flag:

Did you ever consider that, from the prospective of an authoritarian government, those who you consider the "wrong ones" might be thier "right ones?"
#133 | Posted by madbomber

I did, and that's why I say keep the government out of the killing business altogether.

Now, explain to me if you please, who are the "wrong ones" for the government to give health care to?

#136 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-24 04:16 PM | Reply | Flag:

Well then it will collapse unless the rich people pay up, as they are the only group whose wealth vastly outsizes our puny national debt.
#134 | Posted by snoofy

They'll drain the economy of every last drop before they do that. THEN, they'll pay.

One the reasons for NSA spying is to look for hidden revenue. These are very determined and ruthless people.

#137 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 04:22 PM | Reply | Flag:

I don't generally engage in activities that I deem to be unfair. Is your theoretical worker somehow different from me?
#107 | Posted by madbomber

You sure? Aren't you one of the "taxation is theft" crowd, yet you still pay taxes? Beyond that, there's the little matter where you work for the government, which is notoriously generous when it comes to lavishing benefits on their workers, especially soldiers.

You have skills, so you have options; ironically you got your skills at taxpayer expense, but I digress. Let's say you didn't or couldn't join the military, and your choices are Wendy's, Dairy Queen, and Sonic. Which do you choose? What would you do when nobody's offering you a fair deal?

#138 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-24 04:23 PM | Reply | Flag:

"You cant change the meaning of a term just because it doesn't fit your world view. Socialism is socialism."

Socialism is an economic system but a nation is not driven strictly by economic policies. If the leaders are overly nationalistic, overly militaristic they can wreck any kind of economy. In countries where they aren't, Sweden, Finland, etc. a certain level of socialism is working out quite well. You shouldn't blame an economic collapse necessarily on the economic system, it is usually other factors such as wars, famine, drought, etc. No one knows how the USSR would have turned out had it not been run by megolomaniac dectators determined to expand their empire and sphere of influence way beyond what their nation could afford.

#139 | Posted by danni at 2014-01-24 04:25 PM | Reply | Flag:

No one knows how the USSR would have turned out had it not been run by megolomaniac dectators determined to expand their empire and sphere of influence way beyond what their nation could afford.
#139 | Posted by danni

It's also worth noting that capitalists were intent on making sure the world would never find out. At the cost of 178,426 dead and 32,925 missing in Korea and 480,538 to 807,564 dead and missing in Vietnam.

Those is only the losses among Capitalist fighting forces; the Communist fighting forces incurred greater losses, and the civilians greater still.

#140 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-24 04:38 PM | Reply | Flag:

Socialism is an economic system but a nation is not driven strictly by economic policies.

Socialism is an economic system where the States owns the means of production. That's the classic definition.

In a fascist economy, the state controls the owners of the means of production.

The USSA and the Scandinavian countries are mixtures of the two.

No government in history has ever found a way to control a market economy without eventually destroying it. The USSA and the Scandinavian countries are no exception. They always go poor from consuming more than they produce.

#141 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 04:39 PM | Reply | Flag:

No government in history has ever found a way to control a market economy without eventually destroying it.

Even if that's so, there's still the pesky reality that not all economies are market economies.

Government run health care systems, for example, far outperform the American "market" alternative, when judged by both sheer cost and every health-centric metric. (And, though it shouldn't need to be explained, number of MRIs per capita is not such a measure.)

#142 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-24 04:43 PM | Reply | Flag:

139 OMG, another priceless post. Keep em coming Danni. I thought no one could top the all rights come from a union post, but you've outdone yourself!!!!

#143 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-24 04:45 PM | Reply | Flag:

Even if that's so, there's still the pesky reality that not all economies are market economies.

You mean like North Korea. That's why they're poor.

Government run health care systems, for example, far outperform the American "market" alternative, when judged by both sheer cost and every health-centric metric. (And, though it shouldn't need to be explained, number of MRIs per capita is not such a measure.)
#142 | Posted by snoofy

You're not very perceptive. I've been watching it get progressively worse since Medicare.

#144 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 04:57 PM | Reply | Flag:

You mean like North Korea.

No, I mean like health care.
We have substandard, overpriced health care compared to the rest of the modern world. We tried a "market" approach and they didn't.

I've been watching it get progressively worse since Medicare.
#144 | Posted by Ray
?

Progressively worse... compared to what? Compared to other modern countries with socialized medicine?

#145 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-24 05:06 PM | Reply | Flag:

. You shouldn't blame an economic collapse necessarily on the economic system, it is usually other factors such as wars, famine, drought, etc

Economic crises are economical including wars, famines, and droughts.

#146 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-24 05:12 PM | Reply | Flag:

By definition!

#147 | Posted by DavetheWave at 2014-01-24 05:13 PM | Reply | Flag:

Progressively worse... compared to what? Compared to other modern countries with socialized medicine?
#145 | Posted by snoofy

In the 60s, it was affordable. Since then, costs have risen faster than GDP and the quality of personal health is deteriorating with chronic diseases increasing faster than popoulation growth.

The reason has to do with third party insurance. Neither patient nor the medical establishment have interest in holding down prices because the bills are being paid for by employers or government.

This is another bubble that can't be sustained much longer. To contain patient costs, they'll have to resort to price controls and rationing. That'll only make matters worse.

#148 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 05:24 PM | Reply | Flag:

The reason has to do with third party insurance.

That's why I say eliminate it.

Or at least don't make us beholden to it, by providing a single payer alternative.

#149 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-24 05:30 PM | Reply | Flag:

Or at least don't make us beholden to it, by providing a single payer alternative.
#149 | POSTED BY SNOOFY

You really haven't thought this through. All that does is transfer the third party insurer problem from private to public. Without market pricing, the system operates by subsidies, rationing and price controls. They all have the same problems. Deteriorating quality. Too much of this. Too little of that.

You can dream about single payer improving on a competitive market pricing system, but it ain't going to happen. It was because government of interventions that it got this bad. More of the same ain't going to make it better.

The more government controls affect market pricing, the more it impoverishes its citizens. That's the golden rule that can be applied anytime anywhere.

#150 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 07:37 PM | Reply | Flag:

Ray is correct that another bubble is in progress. The Federal Reserve only cares about the Banks and their key role in international economic warfare. They couldn't care less if everyone but themselves starves to death or dies from radiation poisoning.......

But money is just a convenient medium of exchange which makes trade more convenient. It matters not whether it has intrinsic value or is tied to gold. There must be enough of it so that everyone has some to use, which is already a problem for gold. It also matters whether people have enough faith in it to accept it. Ray believes that unless it is tied to gold, people will always lose faith. But for how many centuries did American Indians and Pacific Islanders live with beads and sea shells as a medium of exchange?

Even more ridiculous is Ray's belief that markets are an irrevocable force of nature, like gravity or the electro-magnetic force. Most economic theory and any model of economics as a inherently stable free market is man-made nonsense. All experimental evidence clearly shows that markets are unstable, price and demand curves have multiple overlapping solutions.

For the most part economics is just class warfare in which the 1% pocket most profits using the miracle of compound interest to drive the productive sector of society into debt. This is another way in which Ray is correct. Debts which cannot be paid will not be paid. We have seen this play out with third world countries which are run into the ground and then provided debt forgiveness again and again, always at US taxpayer expense, never the criminals in charge (ie Banks). But at some point with falling US wages that source will dry up. So that debt too will have to be forgiven. When will that point arrive? Only when people take to the streets again, mad as hell. This has happened historically over and over again. There is no law of nature which requires that interest be paid on capital. That is a human construct designed to advance the interests of inherited wealth. All right wing propaganda is designed to maximize this result for the 1% and screw the 99%.

This mess is a result of the narrow minded nonsense that all that matters is profits for the 1%, rather than the common good. It is deliberate class warfare based on lies.

#151 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 08:15 PM | Reply | Flag:

There must be enough of it so that everyone has some to use, which is already a problem for gold. It also matters whether people have enough faith in it to accept it. Ray believes that unless it is tied to gold, people will always lose faith.

#151 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 08:15 PM | Reply

Having enough money so that everyone has some to use is not a problem for gold at all----I would wonder what's your reasoning for that statement. Also people lose faith in money/currency only when structural economic conditions exist that people lose confidence in said currency----it's not whether it's tied to gold or not. But you can bet that when they do lose confidence, they almost always turn back to the barbarous relic.

#152 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-24 08:33 PM | Reply | Flag:

Even more ridiculous is Ray's belief that markets are an irrevocable force of nature, like gravity or the electro-magnetic force.

You never get it right. HUMAN NATURE is an irrevocable force of nature. Markets reflect the actions of every individual acting in their self interest. Until you understand how and why individuals act, you'll never understand how markets work.

Most economic theory and any model of economics as a inherently stable free market is man-made nonsense. All experimental evidence clearly shows that markets are unstable, price and demand curves have multiple overlapping solutions.

That is true. But it doesn't answer the question of what makes them less stable or more stable.

Ray believes that unless it is tied to gold, people will always lose faith.

No. No. No. Wrong again. People will lose faith in the dollar when they lose faith in their government. Argentina is having a problem like that now.

For the most part economics is just class warfare in which the 1% pocket most profits using the miracle of compound interest to drive the productive sector of society into debt.

That's not economics; that's politics.

Here's your problem. There are two social forces working at opposite ends - economic forces and political forces. One reflects the sum total of voluntary behavior, the other reflects coerced behavior.
If you don't understand how they behave independently, you can't know the affect each other.

Because you can't change human nature, you can't improve on a market economy by forcing people to act against their economic self interests. Markets don't fail. It is government management that fails. That's about as simple as I can explain it to you.

#153 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-24 08:47 PM | Reply | Flag:

"HUMAN NATURE is an irrevocable force of nature"

Human nature is highly variable and malleable. You confuse observed human behavior under capitalism with human nature in general.

"Markets reflect the actions of every individual acting in their self interest. "

No, that's not true either. If you studied economic anthropology you would know that there are an infinite varieties of markets and virtually none of them are solely or even marginally devoted to capital accumulation.

You need to read people like Marshall Sahlins and Karl Polanyi instead of re-reading Atlas Shrugged ad nauseum.

#154 | Posted by nullifidian at 2014-01-24 10:18 PM | Reply | Flag:

The more government controls affect market pricing, the more it impoverishes its citizens. That's the golden rule that can be applied anytime anywhere.
#150 | Posted by Ray

Do you feel that the existence of enforceable contracts is (because of) a government control that affects market pricing?

I do.

#155 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-24 10:30 PM | Reply | Flag:

OK Ray,

Which is why Salk refused to patent the polio vaccine and why Einstein invented the Theory of Relativity and why a GI jumps on a hand grenade, and why Government intervention in the workplace has reduced accidents and why we have seat belts and emission limits on automobiles and why Love Canal is a Superfund Site and why there are warnings on cigarette packages, and why there remains a vestige of a minimum wage and why there is Social Security and Schools and Beer, because everyone acts only in their own self interest. Just because criminals are in charge doesn't mean everyone is a criminal.

Here's another simplified explanation. In any business after all unavoidable expenses are paid: rent, materials, energy, communication, debt, only two things remain wages and profits. Economics and politics are both about how those last two things are divided in a sea of propaganda, police and military actions. In our country rent, not regulation, is usually the largest expense, though location and business type will vary those expense ratios.

#156 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-24 11:29 PM | Reply | Flag:

Human nature is highly variable and malleable. You confuse observed human behavior under capitalism with human nature in general.

Capitalism and human behavior are inseparable; the human race could not survive without free exchange. There is one invariable trait you ignore. People act according to their personal values, always to achieve a better result. That doesn't mean they are always rational. Capitalism, socialism, fascism and all the other isms reflect competing values.

No, that's not true either. If you studied economic anthropology you would know that there are an infinite varieties of markets and virtually none of them are solely or even marginally devoted to capital accumulation.

That has nothing to do with the fact that people act according to values that reflect their self interest. This is an extension of the survival extinct.

You need to read people like Marshall Sahlins and Karl Polanyi instead of re-reading Atlas Shrugged ad nauseum.

From what I've been learning from Marx, your advice is worthless. You should have studied Mises.

#157 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-25 05:11 AM | Reply | Flag:

On second thought, Nulli. I put them both on my Amazon wish list. The only reason to read them is out of intellectual curiosity, the same reason I studied the Bible. I'm not done with Harvey yet.

#158 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-25 05:23 AM | Reply | Flag:

Do you feel that the existence of enforceable contracts is (because of) a government control that affects market pricing?
I do.
#155 | POSTED BY SNOOFY

All contracts affect market pricing. The question is whether they were made voluntarily or whether they were imposed by government. Government imposed contracts (laws & regulations) do not reflect the values of whomever they are imposed on. We would all be better off if government stayed out of economic affairs.

#159 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-25 05:47 AM | Reply | Flag:

Just because criminals are in charge doesn't mean everyone is a criminal.

Oh yes it does. The general population tends to submit to political authority. Politics attracts sociopaths who are very good at manipulating public opinion.

To take one example you wholeheartedly believe in, SS. It's been sold as insurance, but it's funded as a Ponzi scheme. It's a way to get extra tax money without having to borrow and pay interest. It's a scam.

Politics turns neighbor against neighbor, each trying to live at the expense of the other. Politics makes murder, plunder and oppression seem honorable and moral.

#160 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-25 06:12 AM | Reply | Flag:

From Ray's text we can infer:

People who are being manipulated are also criminals?

Micro and macro economics are indistinguishable?

There is no benefit to any regulation or law?

All our needs will be fulfilled if we just let Free Markets (Jungle Law) prevail?

Who is nuts here?

Every criminal needs a victim.

Paying interest on borrowed money is not a natural Law, it is a Law put in place for the benefit of inherited wealth.

We can manage our economy by just following the rules individuals need to follow to improve their odds of remaining solvent.

Forcing mining companies to protect our water sources and power companies to protect the air we breath and manufacturers to build finger guards on power equipment and auto manufacturers to add seat belts to cars is just good policy. An outcome which will never be realized under Jungle Law (Free Markets). Without Government intervention there would still be child labor abuse and larger bodies of illiterate people running around. That Rethugs are able to get away with impoverishing certain races and classes of people is a tragic violation of our founding principles. But give them credit for not being two faced about it.

#161 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-25 09:00 AM | Reply | Flag:

Nutcase

There you go again, inferring more nonsense.
Have a nice day.

#162 | Posted by Ray at 2014-01-25 09:50 AM | Reply | Flag:

That Rethugs are able to get away with impoverishing certain races and classes of people is a tragic violation of our founding principles.

#161 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-01-25 09:00 AM | Reply

I would take issue with that statement. The rethugs were not the ones that pushed the welfare state that was one of the greatest "impoverishment" programs ever devised.

#163 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-25 10:04 AM | Reply | Flag:

Concerning some previous posts comparing American healthcare with other countries. Healthcare in America is prompt and effective for those with insurance or the wealth to afford it.. For others it moves in slow motion if at all.

Pricing pressure could be put on physicians, hospitals and dentists just by requiring them to post the menu and cost of most procedures in their lobbies and the internet just as do restaurants.. Those profiting from it don't want a free market. They want a smokescreen to exist that keeps pricing hidden.

#164 | Posted by Robson at 2014-01-25 10:32 AM | Reply | Flag:

Pricing pressure could be put on physicians, hospitals and dentists just by requiring them to post the menu and cost of most procedures in their lobbies and the internet just as do restaurants.. Those profiting from it don't want a free market. They want a smokescreen to exist that keeps pricing hidden.

#164 | Posted by Robson at 2014-01-25 10:32 AM | Reply

Like any other competitive consumer product, price listing is one of the answers---there have to be others as well. Another way they avoid the free market is not allowing insurers to compete across state lines. Another method is to limit the numbers graduating from our medical schools. I could go on and on but I won't bore you.

#165 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-25 10:51 AM | Reply | Flag:

"Another way they avoid the free market is not allowing insurers to compete across state lines."

But, but...but that would mean giving up some control and you know how much our big-gov, little "progressive" pals love to control everything, don't you?

#166 | Posted by jestgettinalong at 2014-01-25 11:00 AM | Reply | Flag:

But, but...but that would mean giving up some control and you know how much our big-gov, little "progressive" pals love to control everything, don't you?

#166 | Posted by jestgettinalong at 2014-01-25 11:00 AM | Reply

Yes, and at the same time they rale about the evil industry and all the illicit money that industries and executives rake in.

#167 | Posted by matsop at 2014-01-25 11:04 AM | Reply | Flag:

"The rethugs were not the ones that pushed the welfare state that was one of the greatest "impoverishment" programs ever devised."

Whattaya mean!? The "welfare state" has worked well for Detroit hasn't it? AND...no "Rethugs" were involved. "Rethugs" are an extinct species in Detroit. "Progressive" programs work soooo well, like Obamacare, another program not a single "Rethug" helped to pass. All the "Rethugs" can do is end up in situations like THIS:

"January 24, 2014 (MADISON, Wis.) -- The state's unemployment rate improved slightly last month, nudging down a tenth of a percentage point to 6.2 percent.

The state Department of Workforce Development released its latest figures Thursday. They show the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December was half a percentage point better than the national rate of 6.7 percent.

The state gained a net of 6,200 nonfarm jobs during the month. About 3,200 were in professional and business services, 1,600 were in manufacturing and 1,300 were in leisure and hospitality."

abclocal.go.com

First off, if you believe that national unemployment rate of 6.7%, I have some land five miles east of Miami I'd like to sell you. I understand WI ended the year with a $900 million budget surplus too. Those damn "Rethugs" can't do anything right!

#168 | Posted by jestgettinalong at 2014-01-25 11:14 AM | Reply | Flag:

All contracts affect market pricing. The question is whether they were made voluntarily or whether they were imposed by government.
#159 | Posted by Ray

Ray,
Contracts have no meaning without an enforcement mechanism.
That mechanism is the government.

#169 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-25 05:25 PM | Reply | Flag:

Pricing pressure could be put on physicians, hospitals and dentists just by requiring them to post the menu and cost of most procedures in their lobbies and the internet just as do restaurants.. Those profiting from it don't want a free market. They want a smokescreen to exist that keeps pricing hidden.
#164 | Posted by Robson

I agree. The doctor doesn't even know the price. But then neither does the prep cook need to know the prices of all the salads he'll make that evening.

From what I heard on NPR a while back, they have the "menu" of the 100 most common procedures and their prices posted on the wall in every clinic in France. Why can't we have that? Apparently it's an affront to freedom, according to right-wingers.

#170 | Posted by snoofy at 2014-01-25 05:29 PM | Reply | Flag:

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