Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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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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Re: Election 2012

Postby Malthrax » Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:12 pm

Fivelives wrote: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[citation needed], with a good grasp on How Shit Works™[citation needed]. Now imagine Romney in office - a guy who doesn't even understand that "there's no air up there" is Actually A Thing™[citation needed].
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:25 pm

Cogglamp wrote: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.


But very little of that tech is made in the USA. Most of the time it is licensed and produced overseas, because labour is cheaper overseas. Support centres are in India. Cloud server components are made in various parts of Asia.

A guy decides to create a cloud server business. He advertises and gets businesses to sign up for his services. His company is American, and the people he markets to are also American, so those are dollars that circulate around the US. But to set up the business, he pays money to overseas companies, directly or indirectly, for his server and networking hardware.

At what point does his business get that money back into the US? It doesn't. By setting up that business to serve US companies, he has sent a small portion of the US's wealth overseas with no hope of gaining it back. He has increased the trade deficit.

I'm not complaining about R&D necessarily, but the US is so service-oriented that they are vulnerable to downturns in the economy when people cut back on their service consumption.

I think the US needs to get back into the real-goods market in any way they can, so it has something more to export than ideas and military presence.

In 2011, the GDP of the US was $15 trillion. But of that only $1.5 trillion was exported, which was offset by $2.2 trillion in imports. If the US wants a healthy economy, it needs to stop bleeding money like that.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:05 pm

But the wealth of America isn't a fixed value. It's not like this guy carved out a small piece of some established chunk of wealth, and threw a little offshore never to return. Rather, he generated wealth both locally and offshore. Locally for his company, employees, suppliers, and notably his customers who gain a usage of his product which presumably increases their capability or why else do they bother with the purchase. It's a net gain for GDP.

Almost any business in any westernized country that isn't explicitly an export business is surely increasing their trade trade deficit. I mean most westernized countries are importing all sorts of goods so it would be difficult to imagine all products that they use being domestic. That's not necessarily a big negative. I'd love to see us establish a more secure footing in the "real-goods" market but that will require some investment in R&D or a rather painful market correction process as our economy lurches to the point that we can compete straight up in that market. I don't want to really see the latter.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Aubade » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:01 pm

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Darielle » Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:03 pm

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.


WHen I first heard that, I tried to think of any possible context it could actually be humorous in. The "That was so stupid" is the only context that it's actually funny in as far as I can see.

Romney using meta-humour kgo.

It's interesting because the idea that it was made as a joke ("clearly joking") would straight out negate the possiblity of BOD that he was suggesting plane on the ground, not mid air. *shrug*
Last edited by Darielle on Thu Sep 27, 2012 5:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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