Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:03 pm

aureon wrote:ps: QE3 and stimulus is the difference that happened between UK and US.
UK did some in 2009, and stopped.
US continued. Go see which one is doing better.
It's still anemic keynesian policies, if only the USA Jobs act passed...
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/opini ... .html?_r=0
To strenghten the point, inflation did not falter on QE1 or QE2.


I'm not an economist, so this is a genuine question, rather than a baiting post.

The US manipulates the economy by buying debt from banks. When the bailout occurred, the US gave money to the banks to prop them up.

Why not channel this money through the people? Rather than Person A defaulting on his mortgage and losing his worthless home, and having the government cover the mortgage, who not pay off, or pay down, Person A's mortgage so that the bank still gets the same amount of money, but instead of adding another vacant property to the depressed housing market, Person A retains his home and potentially has more discretionary income to circulate through the economy.

Similarly, the government could incentivise people to buy these vacant homes by offering to co-pay mortgage payments. The additional demand for housing would increase interest rates and make it worthwhile for banks to lend again.

Simply buying debt from banks has the same net effect - the government gives banks money. However, rather than giving the money directly, if it was channelled through people, those people would have more to spend at local shops, for christmas presents, on new iphones, etc., which would then stimulate the economy from the ground up a well as helping property values, and therefore overall wealth, to increase.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Melathys » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:43 pm

You would think the first two of the criteria to take part in the debates should be enough. If there were dozens of parties doing so, I could then understand the last one requiring 15% polling, but there isn't. So far as I can tell, there's only one other party with the organization to get a presidential candidate on enough ballots to theoretically win.

http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/Ken-Wa ... al-debates
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:55 pm

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Melathys » Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:17 pm

I would post a facepalm pic, but there isn't one big enough...
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Malthrax » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:10 pm

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Cogglamp » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:55 pm

Koatanga wrote:
I'm not an economist, so this is a genuine question, rather than a baiting post.

The US manipulates the economy by buying debt from banks. When the bailout occurred, the US gave money to the banks to prop them up.

Why not channel this money through the people? Rather than Person A defaulting on his mortgage and losing his worthless home, and having the government cover the mortgage, who not pay off, or pay down, Person A's mortgage so that the bank still gets the same amount of money, but instead of adding another vacant property to the depressed housing market, Person A retains his home and potentially has more discretionary income to circulate through the economy.

Similarly, the government could incentivise people to buy these vacant homes by offering to co-pay mortgage payments. The additional demand for housing would increase interest rates and make it worthwhile for banks to lend again.

Simply buying debt from banks has the same net effect - the government gives banks money. However, rather than giving the money directly, if it was channelled through people, those people would have more to spend at local shops, for christmas presents, on new iphones, etc., which would then stimulate the economy from the ground up a well as helping property values, and therefore overall wealth, to increase.


First, I think the logistics of that would be a complete disaster and fraud run rampant through a cash drop like that, either on the receiving end or predatory tactics once you've been sent your big fat check.

But let's say we could get around that. At the end of the day, you're describing a short term consumer based increase in the economy. It's not a long term solution. Short term prices would rise but ultimately the sugar high would wear off. Would it possibly help? No one really knows but, I think very little of that money you're referencing would go to durable goods orders, business start ups, long term investments that would actually increase GDP or job growth.

The jobs we lost haven't come back and most likely won't come back as they were primarily financial/professional service related. They've been replaced with lower paying jobs. You can see this when looking at wage growth pre 2007 (3.3% or so) versus what we've seen the past couple of years (1.8% or so, actually turns negative when you account for inflation).

We're still in a de-leveraging economy. We never really got out of it. The baby boomer generation is beginning to ride off to the sunset. By taking their money out of growth/higher risk investments and putting it towards wealth preservation investments all while interest rates are low creates a double whammy. Lower interest rates create larger liabilities for pension funds and the lack of capital available in growth sectors inhibits growth.

Now, most investment firms are calling for people to stay in stocks but I really think that party has to come to a stop at some point. The economic fundamentals don't support the sky high prices of equities. It's being artificially inflated by "flight to safety" money as Europe/Asia looks around and can't find anything worth investing in so they dump it over here creating a frothy market. The short term bonus check you're referring too would really only exacerbate the problem. Way too many dark clouds on the horizon (fiscal cliff, Europe, China's flagging "growth", BRIC countries in general hitting a wall, etc). They may not be coming our way at the moment but when it does, it could get even uglier than it was in 2009 because we are essentially out of lives in this video game.

I would have rather seen the monetary policy gurus find a way to divert that money towards R&D instead of supporting asset prices.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:10 pm


What celebs do/don't do based on who wins isn't really a basis for choosing who to vote for is it? I'd rank that up there with voting for the better looking one. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure people do it, but to me, it doesn't really seem like a smart way to pick.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:33 pm

Cogglamp wrote:I would have rather seen the monetary policy gurus find a way to divert that money towards R&D instead of supporting asset prices.


I'd agree. There's that trade-off though. With stimulus, you can have speed of impact, or you can have a high multiplier, but it is difficult to get both at the same time.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Cogglamp » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:31 am

Brekkie wrote:
Cogglamp wrote:I would have rather seen the monetary policy gurus find a way to divert that money towards R&D instead of supporting asset prices.


I'd agree. There's that trade-off though. With stimulus, you can have speed of impact, or you can have a high multiplier, but it is difficult to get both at the same time.


I don't disagree with the tradeoff. However, this is the bed we made and we've had entirely too much focus on financial/professional services over the past 20 years. R&D has become an afterthought for many companies. I really feel our short sightedness has caused this now long term problem.

It's cache, but we need a breakout "lunar event" to kick start it again because we're funding R&D in drips and drabs and it's not working.

http://www.economist.com/node/21560863

It's a short article and highlights some of the R&D issues we've had over the years.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:05 am

I think I'll start posting my political amusements here instead...

Corporations are people; Teachers, not so much.
This is coming from someone who had a dinner where he raked in 6 million dollars from a Beverly Hills dinner.
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la ... 7962.story
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fivelives » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:25 pm

It disgusts me that people who are that stupid are allowed to be presidential candidates. I know 6 year olds that understand why airplane windows don't open.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:09 pm

Cogglamp wrote:I would have rather seen the monetary policy gurus find a way to divert that money towards R&D instead of supporting asset prices.

R&D toward what? US labour is way too expensive to produce anything domestically for sale on the world market, and things produced for the domestic market represent a net loss in trade balance as you pay foreign suppliers for some or all of the raw materials, but don't recoup any money in off-shore sales. See: auto manufacturing. If there was a global market for poorly-made, inefficient, expensive behemoths, Detroit wouldn't be dead.

R&D generally ends in a licensed product that is then produced in the East for worldwide distribution, but that opens the door to the knock-offs market, and shifts the profit to foreign manufacturing companies, with the US companies only getting royalties, not jobs.

The challenge the US faces is how to shift out of a service economy when the rest of the world is paring back on service spending in the name of cost-cutting and efficiency, and when the financial service industry basically collapsed.

I reckon the US expectation for standard of living is artificially inflated during a time of heavy spending (multiple wars) and economic downturn, and that the American people are going to have to get used to the idea of making a lot less money in order to compete on the world stage before R&D will reap any dividends in the creation of new jobs.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:10 pm

Cogglamp wrote:I would have rather seen the monetary policy gurus find a way to divert that money towards R&D instead of supporting asset prices.

R&D toward what? US labour is way too expensive to produce anything domestically for sale on the world market, and things produced for the domestic market represent a net loss in trade balance as you pay foreign suppliers for some or all of the raw materials, but don't recoup any money in off-shore sales. See: auto manufacturing. If there was a global market for poorly-made, inefficient, expensive behemoths, Detroit wouldn't be dead.

R&D generally ends in a licensed product that is then produced in the East for worldwide distribution, but that opens the door to the knock-offs market, and shifts the profit to foreign manufacturing companies, with the US companies only getting royalties, not jobs.

The challenge the US faces is how to shift out of a service economy when the rest of the world is paring back on service spending in the name of cost-cutting and efficiency, and when the financial service industry basically collapsed.

I reckon the US expectation for standard of living is artificially inflated during a time of heavy spending (multiple wars) and economic downturn, and that the American people are going to have to get used to the idea of making a lot less money in order to compete on the world stage before R&D will reap any dividends in the creation of new jobs.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Aubade » Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:50 pm

Fivelives wrote:It disgusts me that people who are that stupid are allowed to be presidential candidates. I know 6 year olds that understand why airplane windows don't open.



I've never seen ANYONE That stupid try to run for any elected office. Completely baffles my ind that people are voting for him.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:47 pm

Klaudandus wrote:I think I'll start posting my political amusements here instead...

Corporations are people; Teachers, not so much.
Meh, lets have a little semblance of fair play here. I get that you're mostly echoing the headline of that article, but it's main stream media, so some critical thought is generally required.

First, I'd start with the notion that corporations and unions are largely considered similar entities in the political sphere. Both tend to have large amounts of resources and often lobby for short-sighted legislation which supports their interest and only their interest. So it then becomes a bit dishonest to equate a corporation with itself, while equating the teachers union with teachers. Further taking that to the next level and suggesting that Romney believes a public institution is a person, but that a private entity (the teacher) is not a person is just too much spin even for this thread.

I think it's hard not to recognize Romney's point which is pretty valid. That public employee unions do often create a conflict of interest, and it's one that has played out to the detriment of many state budgets around the country. These are an ever growing group of people that are very active in the democratic process, contributing significant sums of money to the people who are then supposed to negotiate with them on behalf of the public. I don't think any of that can reasonably refuted.

Now, I don't really agree with his solution (as generally vague as it is), if you are going to allow private funding of campaigns, then you don't get to cherry pick who it comes from, but that's a far cry from suggesting that he's saying that teachers should be personally limited in their contributions beyond the normal limits.

Edit: As for the airplane comment, I'm a bit surprised by the reaction (and the equally dumb comments people are making), but while it's certainly boneheaded I think I understand what he was getting at. Besides, it could be much worse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNZczIgVXjg
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:51 pm

Koatanga wrote:
Cogglamp wrote:I would have rather seen the monetary policy gurus find a way to divert that money towards R&D instead of supporting asset prices.

R&D toward what? US labour is way too expensive to produce anything domestically for sale on the world market, and things produced for the domestic market represent a net loss in trade balance as you pay foreign suppliers for some or all of the raw materials, but don't recoup any money in off-shore sales. See: auto manufacturing. If there was a global market for poorly-made, inefficient, expensive behemoths, Detroit wouldn't be dead.

R&D generally ends in a licensed product that is then produced in the East for worldwide distribution, but that opens the door to the knock-offs market, and shifts the profit to foreign manufacturing companies, with the US companies only getting royalties, not jobs.

The challenge the US faces is how to shift out of a service economy when the rest of the world is paring back on service spending in the name of cost-cutting and efficiency, and when the financial service industry basically collapsed.

I reckon the US expectation for standard of living is artificially inflated during a time of heavy spending (multiple wars) and economic downturn, and that the American people are going to have to get used to the idea of making a lot less money in order to compete on the world stage before R&D will reap any dividends in the creation of new jobs.


Just out of curiosity, have you ever actually had any formal training in macroeconomics, are is your understanding gleaned entirely from the internet?
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:01 pm

Fridmarr wrote:
Klaudandus wrote:I think I'll start posting my political amusements here instead...

Corporations are people; Teachers, not so much.
Meh, lets have a little semblance of fair play here. I get that you're mostly echoing the headline of that article, but it's main stream media, so some critical thought is generally required.

First, I'd start with the notion that corporations and unions are largely considered similar entities in the political sphere. Both tend to have large amounts of resources and often lobby for short-sighted legislation which supports their interest and only their interest. So it then becomes a bit dishonest to equate a corporation with itself, while equating the teachers union with teachers. Further taking that to the next level and suggesting that Romney believes a public institution is a person, but that a private entity (the teacher) is not a person is just too much spin even for this thread.

I think it's hard not to recognize Romney's point which is pretty valid. That public employee unions do often create a conflict of interest, and it's one that has played out to the detriment of many state budgets around the country. These are an ever growing group of people that are very active in the democratic process, contributing significant sums of money to the people who are then supposed to negotiate with them on behalf of the public. I don't think any of that can reasonably refuted.

Now, I don't really agree with his solution (as generally vague as it is), if you are going to allow private funding of campaigns, then you don't get to cherry pick who it comes from, but that's a far cry from suggesting that he's saying that teachers should be personally limited in their contributions beyond the normal limits.

Edit: As for the airplane comment, I'm a bit surprised by the reaction (and the equally dumb comments people are making), but while it's certainly boneheaded I think I understand what he was getting at. Besides, it could be much worse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNZczIgVXjg


-It was indeed a silly article.

-I'd rather not have ANY organizations able to directly influence the political process, but since the Supreme Court ruled that they can, it's only fair that ALL such organizations get that opportunity. It's not very honest to attack Unions for political contributions while being fine with Corporations doing so (because the Corporations happen to be the side supporting you), any more than the reverse claim is from the Democrat side (because some of them DO make it). As you said, you don't get to cherry-pick.

-While Unions are overall a positive force for protecting workers in the private sector, I really dislike the idea of public sector unions. The problem with government workers unionizing is that there is no restraining factor. In a normal business, Unions can only demand so many concessions before the company becomes unprofitable and goes out of business, resulting in them all losing their jobs, so there is some restraint due to self-interest. The Union workers no more want their plant to go out of business than the owners of the plant do. Obviously, this can't happen when the employer is the government, because the government isn't affected by market forces. Overall, I think public sector unions are a bad idea. As a government employee, I know that the government can quite frequently cut corners on the backs of its employees benefits, and totally violate their commitments to you with no recourse, which sucks, but the ills of public sector unions outweigh this.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:35 pm

Brekkie wrote:Just out of curiosity, have you ever actually had any formal training in macroeconomics, are is your understanding gleaned entirely from the internet?

Just what I took at university, which admittedly was some time ago.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Passionario » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:55 am

Koatanga wrote:R&D toward what?


Towards ways and methods of increasing the intelligence and empathy of human beings.

After all, there is not a single problem confronting humanity that is not either caused or considerably worsened by the prevailing stupidity (insensitivity) of the species: badly wired robots bumping into and maiming and killing each other.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:52 am

Brekkie wrote:-While Unions are overall a positive force for protecting workers in the private sector, I really dislike the idea of public sector unions. The problem with government workers unionizing is that there is no restraining factor. In a normal business, Unions can only demand so many concessions before the company becomes unprofitable and goes out of business, resulting in them all losing their jobs, so there is some restraint due to self-interest. The Union workers no more want their plant to go out of business than the owners of the plant do. Obviously, this can't happen when the employer is the government, because the government isn't affected by market forces. Overall, I think public sector unions are a bad idea. As a government employee, I know that the government can quite frequently cut corners on the backs of its employees benefits, and totally violate their commitments to you with no recourse, which sucks, but the ills of public sector unions outweigh this.

That's exactly right. I'd add though that I think allowing government workers to collectively bargain is fair, but then that's what creates the union and the difficulties that you point out. Some places do have additional legislation to act as a safeguard, in many places it's illegal for them to strike. However, that's rarely enforced unless the strike goes on for a very long time.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Cogglamp » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:07 am

Koatanga wrote:
Cogglamp wrote:I would have rather seen the monetary policy gurus find a way to divert that money towards R&D instead of supporting asset prices.

R&D toward what? US labour is way too expensive to produce anything domestically for sale on the world market, and things produced for the domestic market represent a net loss in trade balance as you pay foreign suppliers for some or all of the raw materials, but don't recoup any money in off-shore sales. See: auto manufacturing. If there was a global market for poorly-made, inefficient, expensive behemoths, Detroit wouldn't be dead.

R&D generally ends in a licensed product that is then produced in the East for worldwide distribution, but that opens the door to the knock-offs market, and shifts the profit to foreign manufacturing companies, with the US companies only getting royalties, not jobs.

The challenge the US faces is how to shift out of a service economy when the rest of the world is paring back on service spending in the name of cost-cutting and efficiency, and when the financial service industry basically collapsed.

I reckon the US expectation for standard of living is artificially inflated during a time of heavy spending (multiple wars) and economic downturn, and that the American people are going to have to get used to the idea of making a lot less money in order to compete on the world stage before R&D will reap any dividends in the creation of new jobs.


That's a pretty myopic point of view. You're only looking at from the production standpoint. Jobs would be created in sales, supply chain management, upper management, third party vendor services, logistics, warehousing, patent law, services supporting the where the headquarters might be (cafes, grocery stores, dry cleaners, auto shops) etc. The list goes on and on.

R&D benefits are felt for years. Look at GPS, the internet, new pharmacy drugs and oncology treatments, 3D printing, improvements in extracting resources. You're already the benefactor of R&D given that you even replied to my post.

R&D not only creates jobs but creates social wealth through diffusion of knowledge/ideas and bringing people together who might not have otherwise had a chance to meet. Do you use Skype? Use a cell phone? Use the internet? Look at this forum for goodness sake. Here we are, in a world of 6+ billion and I'm able to share ideas and thoughts with people in Korea, Australia, Europe, Russia, and North America.

Does every R&D investment work? No, but not funding it is basically saying we've solved every problem. We have a moral obligation to keep funding R&D because new ideas/productivity gains are worth passing along to the next generation.

(Let's not forget that population growth has slowed down tremendously and we are already having to do more with less but thanks to things like cloud servers, LiveMeeting, and fiber optics, I no longer have to jump on a plane, fly to San Francsico, and sit down in front of people to lay out business plans. I can just send them an invite and do it over the internet.)

The benefits of R&D are massive. It's a long term growth play, it always has been. That's the whole point of R&D. We have moved away from it and we are now reaping that harvest.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fivelives » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:18 am

Fridmarr wrote:Edit: As for the airplane comment, I'm a bit surprised by the reaction (and the equally dumb comments people are making), but while it's certainly boneheaded I think I understand what he was getting at.


It shows a distinct lack of education. He was getting at "geeze, why don't they just open the windows to let the smoke out" which is a ridiculously stupid comment. I don't mean stupid in the "47% of America isn't going to vote for me so I don't care about them" campaign-tanking kind of way, but stupid in the "hey, I see a window. Pardon me while I go lick it" kind of way.

The leader of our country should have at least a basic grasp of science. I thought that a college education was pretty much a prerequisite for the job, after all. I'm not asking for them to be up to speed on cutting edge drug research, or pushing the field of theoretical physics here. I'm asking for a basic understanding of how the world works on a third grade level.

That's all. I don't think I'm asking too much of a candidate here - especially since these are people who will have some direct influence on the future of research. It's stupidity like this that runs rampant in government and fosters an I-don't-care attitude toward actual important things like NASA. Shutting down our space program was a truly boneheaded move, and Obama's actually fairly intelligent, with a good grasp on How Shit Works™. Now imagine Romney in office - a guy who doesn't even understand that "there's no air up there" is Actually A Thing™.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:27 am

But see, you have to make assumptions to reach that point.  Admittedly, since he's a reasonably intelligent adult, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt on some of the specifics, maybe I shouldn't but I would with anybody.

For instance, I'm just assuming he's not asking why they don't just throw open a window at 35k thousand feet, I'm assuming he's asking why that's not an option at any altitude or speed.  Why it's not possible at all.  It would certainly be safe to do so at lower altitudes while the smoke in the plane could cause problems.

It's also not immediately fatal to open a window at such altitudes when you have Oxygen masks.   I mean we have had planes with significant breeches of their cabin at high altitude before.  The pilots (who by regulation are already wearing masks) will bring the plane down quickly to restore pressure.  People who don't quickly get their masks on passout, but once at a lower altitude they generally can breathe again and wake back up.  Anyhow it's all part of a comprehensive plan.  It's actually not all that stupid, though it would almost never be of use.  I actually don't know that it isn't possible to vent the cabin on all such planes.

On the flip side, the number of articles I read citing how stupid his comment was, only to follow that up with "people would be sucked out the window" just made me want to facepalm.
 
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:51 am

Fridmarr wrote:But see, you have to make assumptions to reach that point. Admittedly, since he's a reasonably intelligent adult, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt on some of the specifics, maybe I shouldn't but I would with anybody.

For instance, I'm just assuming he's not asking why they don't just throw open a window at 35k thousand feet, I'm assuming he's asking why that's not an option at any altitude or speed. Why it's not possible at all. It would certainly be safe to do so at lower altitudes while the smoke in the plane could cause problems.

It's also not immediately fatal to open a window at such altitudes when you have Oxygen masks. I mean we have had planes with significant breeches of their cabin at high altitude before. The pilots (who by regulation are already wearing masks) will bring the plane down quickly to restore pressure. People who don't quickly get their masks on passout, but once at a lower altitude they generally can breathe again and wake back up. Anyhow it's all part of a comprehensive plan. It's actually not all that stupid, though it would almost never be of use. I actually don't know that it isn't possible to vent the cabin on all such planes.

On the flip side, the number of articles I read citing how stupid his comment was, only to follow that up with "people would be sucked out the window" just made me want to facepalm.


The more complex something is, the more likely it is to fail. Therefore, its just simpler and safer to make windows fixed at all tmes.

Also, the captain of british airways flight 5390 actually proved its possible to be sucked out of a missing window in a plane....
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_5390
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:05 am

Well I'm not suggesting that they make the windows able to be opened. And as it turns out, some planes do provide the pilot a controlled ability to vent the cabin in such situations. Especially if they don't want to drop the oxygen masks because of the potential fire hazzard.

Look, I think it was a boneheaded thing to say, but not nearly as stupid as some of the comments suggest. Of course, I also heard that the reporter who reported it is saying that Romney was clearly joking, but who knows they always recant that sort of thing.

As to that flight, that was the big windscreen on the front of the plane and even then he wasn't actually blown all the way out, he did survive. I'm talking about the windows on the side of the plane which would require squishing your average adult with forces that I don't think are possible from a pressurized plane. I think the bigger threat is temperature and pressure.
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