Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:07 pm

I can see where he's coming from, but I can't say how he decided to handle things was all that great. While he may not perceive that as a threat to "vote for Romney or lose your job," a lot of his workers will be. Now, whether that actually influences their votes is something only they can decide. All in all, this will probably hurt him more than help him.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:41 pm

Well it can't really be a threat since he doesn't know how they ultimately vote.

He's basically saying, if costs go up, that he may have to cut back on compensation packages or jobs, which is logical. He's saying that he expects costs to go up under Obama which I'm sure at least some employees find that information important. You see this sort of thing from labor unions as standard procedure. However, he's basically encouraging a problematic behavior by suggesting that folks should vote to their benefit instead of the greater good (special interest voting so to speak).

All the whiny crap about his sacrifices as he built his business was dumb to include, especially for a culture that has no tolerance for the "plight" of the rich. I don't doubt that he worked harder than most people, and took much bigger risks than most people, but he doesn't need that to justify cutting costs if his taxes go up, and it won't do anything for those who think he needs to cut his profits instead.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:51 pm

Skye1013 wrote:Discussion question:
If we hadn't entered Iraq, do you think the situation in the Middle East would be better/worse than it currently is and would we have wrapped up in Afghanistan before Bush left office?

Additionally, do you think entering Iraq would have been forced at a later date, had Bush not pushed us there when he did?

Bit of a red herring, masking the fundamental question: Would the US be better off if it left well enough alone and didn't drain vast economic resources policing things it could easily have stayed out of?

Certainly the mood of the middle east impacts America, but if Hussein was left in power and to this day the UN was still trying to inspect potential weapons sites, what impact would that have made on the US, and how would it be worse off in that scenario than it is now, having spent trillions to stabilize the power vacuum it created?
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:41 pm

Cogglamp wrote:However, things have begun to change even in some of the monarchies. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing for additional rights. While they're still under a regime of some sorts, the progress shouldn't be discounted. It's a short term fix and isn't a lasting option as both countries seem to keep the majority of its populace quiet by using its vast petrodollar resources in the form of public spending.


I think you are vastly over-stating the impact the Arab Spring had in countries that are not Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:46 pm

Koatanga wrote:Bit of a red herring, masking the fundamental question: Would the US be better off if it left well enough alone and didn't drain vast economic resources policing things it could easily have stayed out of?

Certainly the mood of the middle east impacts America, but if Hussein was left in power and to this day the UN was still trying to inspect potential weapons sites, what impact would that have made on the US, and how would it be worse off in that scenario than it is now, having spent trillions to stabilize the power vacuum it created?

Geez, that's so loaded I feel like responding with "when did you stop beating your wife?"...

You're going to have to establish your premise first, that somehow economically we are worse off right now due to that spending. Ultimately, I think you're going to have a tough time on that. While not as efficient as spending directly to generate jobs, the military industrial complex isn't insignificant either. At the moment, I think we are 800 billion in Iraq war spending, not trillions.

You can argue that the increase in deficits may ultimately not have been worth it with interest factored in at some point down the road I guess. Either way, it's not some massive expenditure that is dragging on us now, nor is that likely to be the case down the road (at least not that expenditure alone).
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:32 pm

Fridmarr wrote:You're going to have to establish your premise first, that somehow economically we are worse off right now due to that spending. Ultimately, I think you're going to have a tough time on that. While not as efficient as spending directly to generate jobs, the military industrial complex isn't insignificant either.


While you may equate the war expenditure with job generation efforts in terms of money spent that employs Americans, I fail to see how you would miss that the end product is entirely different. If you spend $50,000 on a missile that you fire at a bunker in Iraq, you have no asset at the end of it. The missile was the asset, and it's blown up. If you spend $50,000 on domestic infrastructure, you retain the use of that asset for your people, the intrinsic value of which should obviously be included in the balance sheet.

If you had to spend $800 billion, I think it should be intuitively obvious that spending that money on domestic job programs resulting in assets on US soil has more value than spending it on a war effort (even if that war effort was a 100% peaceful exercise simply rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure) because the resultant assets are either destroyed or ceded to a foreign state.

Economically speaking, of course you are worse off if you fail to retain the resulting asset than you are if you do retain it. That should be fundamentally obvious.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:47 pm

I didn't miss the end product. It's a fair point that the money didn't promote domestic infrastructure (that was also one of the big knocks of the stimulus package), but it also wasn't a total zero. Not every dollar, or even a majority of the dollars were spent on stuff that blew up. We spent a ton of money employing and training people, on building products that we still own and use, and all sorts of things that provide some benefit stateside. I never said it was an efficient way to promote economic growth (I said the opposite really), but it's not a negative in the short term, which is where we are now.

You could make the case that that money was taken from elsewhere, but mostly it was borrowed so you'll have to make that claim down the road. Down the road we'll have to deal with that cost, but we aren't there yet, it's backloaded.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:53 pm

Fridmarr wrote:I didn't miss the end product. It's a fair point that the money didn't promote domestic infrastructure (that was also one of the big knocks of the stimulus package), but it also wasn't a total zero. Not every dollar, or even a majority of the dollars were spent on stuff that blew up. We spent a ton of money employing and training people, on building products that we still own and use, and all sorts of things that provide some benefit stateside. I never said it was an efficient way to promote economic growth (I said the opposite really), but it's not a negative in the short term, which is where we are now.

You could make the case that that money was taken from elsewhere, but mostly it was borrowed so you'll have to make that claim down the road. Down the road we'll have to deal with that cost, but we aren't there yet, it's backloaded.

We spent money employing and training people for what? Aren't people talking about what to do with the soldiers when they come back and how they need to be retrained to do civilian jobs? What good is the training if they need to be retrained to be employable?

Building products we still own and use? The leftover munitions and military assets will sit around until the next conflict (blown up) or (more likely) be scrapped, just like all the cold war crap that never got used before being decommissioned. It's rubbish as soon as the Iraq conflict is over.

I also don't particularly care for the cavalier attitude towards US debt, but I guess the debt is beyond payable now, so Nero might as well fiddle while the fiddling's good.

That 800 billion might have been better spent teaching Chinese in grade schools.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:53 am

The bulk of those problems are with front line troops, but there are plenty of other positions that have marketable skills.

You don't build infrastructure with tanks and guns, you need standard equipment for that. We employed many civilians for those ends as well.

I don't have a cavalier attitude toward the US debt, but your question was suggesting that we are currently feeling some pain from "draining our vast economic resources".

Despite all the conjecture about oil, we didn't go to Iraq to turn a profit making the focus of your question specious in the first place. We'll have to wait and see how the security aspect turns out, certainly the potential is far better than it once was.

I think suggesting that at the end of the day we probably won't be better off especially when you factor in the human cost (which makes the financial discussion seem childish) is a fair argument. It's also difficult because there are certainly scenarios that could have been costly had we done nothing just from the lack of stability that was there and the political turmoil that was on the horizon, much less ill intent.

But I think Sky's question was pretty fair because this wasn't all about us either. The people suffering under the previous regime and their plight going forward do count and it's really the only thing that can compare to the human cost on our side.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Cogglamp » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:36 am

Brekkie wrote:
Cogglamp wrote:However, things have begun to change even in some of the monarchies. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing for additional rights. While they're still under a regime of some sorts, the progress shouldn't be discounted. It's a short term fix and isn't a lasting option as both countries seem to keep the majority of its populace quiet by using its vast petrodollar resources in the form of public spending.


I think you are vastly over-stating the impact the Arab Spring had in countries that are not Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.


I'm not sure how I "vastly over-stated" the impact as I said it's not a long term solution and recognized that they're still under a regime. However, discounting the fact that some rights are being granted, you're ignoring some intrinsic desires of the common people that once you taste a little bit of freedom, you crave for it more and more.

It will probably take decades to see the real extent of the change in that region but I think that even the slightest bit of reform/change is good. That's all I was getting at.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:16 pm

Fridmarr wrote:But I think Sky's question was pretty fair because this wasn't all about us either. The people suffering under the previous regime and their plight going forward do count and it's really the only thing that can compare to the human cost on our side.

The world abounds with plight. You can find plight wherever you want to look for it. The US doesn't have the resources to make their own plight go away and shouldn't be prioritising the plight of people in other countries before the people in their own country.

Sucks to be a a person living in a dictatorship. Also sucks to lose everything you have in a hurricane, or tornado, or bank foreclosure.

Sucks to live in Rwanda even more than it sucks to be in Iraq, but the US does nothing. Sucks to be in the Congo, too.

The US has an obligation to its own people. If it is unable to meet the needs of its own people because it is busy providing infrastructure to a foreign nation, then the US is doing it wrong.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Amirya » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:24 pm

Did I miss the memo about Roger Rivard?

What the hell is with these guys these days?
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:06 pm

A large part of that post is, frankly, disturbing to me, but I'll reign myself in just to the topic at hand.

I think the part where you suggest that our spending in Iraq has made us unable to meet the needs of our people is where I have the disconnect. You seem to think we never have met those needs, and that's a fair opinion, but I don't think there is much evidence to suggest that the cost of the Iraq war altered our spending on our needs much at all. I mean that war averages to like 80billion a year, and we already were spending ~25billion* a year in foreign aid. We have a massive amount of discretionary spending that one could argue isn't entirely aimed at the needs of our citizens, but of course that's a rather subjective topic subject to lots of debate all around.

*2008 data
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Cogglamp » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:23 pm

Koatanga wrote:The world abounds with plight. You can find plight wherever you want to look for it. The US doesn't have the resources to make their own plight go away and shouldn't be prioritising the plight of people in other countries before the people in their own country.

Sucks to be a a person living in a dictatorship. Also sucks to lose everything you have in a hurricane, or tornado, or bank foreclosure.

Sucks to live in Rwanda even more than it sucks to be in Iraq, but the US does nothing. Sucks to be in the Congo, too.

The US has an obligation to its own people. If it is unable to meet the needs of its own people because it is busy providing infrastructure to a foreign nation, then the US is doing it wrong.


It's a slippery slope when you start shutting out the rest of the world and only focusing on your own nation. Turning a blind eye to the world's problems is myopic at best. Self-destructive at worst.

The US can't be the savior of every conflict and many times it appears we have certain agendas when we decide to interject our country into a situation, but arguing that we shouldn't get involved because we haven't taken care of every last soul here in the US is bad reasoning. Humanitarian intervention is an ideal that I hope we don't lose sight of here. Non-interventionism or even worse, isolationism, can lead to ruin.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Passionario » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:48 pm

Fridmarr wrote:Well it can't really be a threat since he doesn't know how they ultimately vote.


Unless he follows the example of certain Russian directors, who ordered their employees to take photos of themselves with a ballot marked with the vote for United Russia (on the threat of being fired).
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:32 pm

Cogglamp wrote:
Brekkie wrote:
Cogglamp wrote:However, things have begun to change even in some of the monarchies. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing for additional rights. While they're still under a regime of some sorts, the progress shouldn't be discounted. It's a short term fix and isn't a lasting option as both countries seem to keep the majority of its populace quiet by using its vast petrodollar resources in the form of public spending.


I think you are vastly over-stating the impact the Arab Spring had in countries that are not Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.


I'm not sure how I "vastly over-stated" the impact as I said it's not a long term solution and recognized that they're still under a regime. However, discounting the fact that some rights are being granted, you're ignoring some intrinsic desires of the common people that once you taste a little bit of freedom, you crave for it more and more.

It will probably take decades to see the real extent of the change in that region but I think that even the slightest bit of reform/change is good. That's all I was getting at.


You claim there has been "progress" in nations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
There has been no real progress in those nations.

Name me one right that a Saudi has that they didn't have before the Arab Spring?
I worked in the US Embassy to Saudi Arabia during the Arab Spring. I assure you that, if anything, the Sunni Monarchies got even MORE totalitarian, not less. That is unlikely to change any time in the foreseeable future.

The thing a lot of people don't understand is that few people in the Middle East (note: not Northeast Africa) actually WANT democracy, in the sense we think of it. They want tribal/sectarian power balance.
This can be easily confused with wanting democracy, in situations where a minority tribe is oppressing a majority tribe.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Thu Oct 11, 2012 3:39 pm

Fridmarr wrote:The bulk of those problems are with front line troops, but there are plenty of other positions that have marketable skills.

You don't build infrastructure with tanks and guns, you need standard equipment for that. We employed many civilians for those ends as well.

I don't have a cavalier attitude toward the US debt, but your question was suggesting that we are currently feeling some pain from "draining our vast economic resources".

Despite all the conjecture about oil, we didn't go to Iraq to turn a profit making the focus of your question specious in the first place. We'll have to wait and see how the security aspect turns out, certainly the potential is far better than it once was.

I think suggesting that at the end of the day we probably won't be better off especially when you factor in the human cost (which makes the financial discussion seem childish) is a fair argument. It's also difficult because there are certainly scenarios that could have been costly had we done nothing just from the lack of stability that was there and the political turmoil that was on the horizon, much less ill intent.

But I think Sky's question was pretty fair because this wasn't all about us either. The people suffering under the previous regime and their plight going forward do count and it's really the only thing that can compare to the human cost on our side.


In terms of generating economic stimulus, what is the difference between defense-related government spending, and other government spending?

I often hear Conservatives making the case that government spending cannot create jobs or stimulate the economy (this being the primary attack against the "failure" of the way Obama combated the recession), but then turn around and use "but it would destroy jobs" as an argument against cutting defense spending.
This seems like cognitive dissonance to me. So which is it; can government deficit spending stimulate the economy, or can't it?


edit: I'd also point to the massive veteran unemployment rate despite getting free college via the GI Bill as evidence that participation in the military is somewhat less-than-ideal for launching people into the productive work force.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:07 pm

Government spending certainly can stimulate the economy. I'm not sure conservatives say that it doesn't in the plain sense.

I think their point is that it's ultimately inefficient. Generally to create jobs with government spending you had to take money from people and then invest it in the jobs creating program. That's an inefficient process when done properly as it is, but then you add the federal government behind it and all that bureaucracy and it's even worse.

Now you can borrow that money too (which is what we usually do), but eventually you'll pay that money back plus interest, so at some point that cost will catch up with you. Because of that, each year we literally burn money on absolutely nothing of value to us, it's just an interest payment. When liberals say that the best stimulus we have is unemployment, and all that that is, is literally giving money to people, then the logical thought is, why not keep taxes low and the money in the job creators hands in the first place. So raising taxes to fund a jobs program, or to fund an interest payment on a previously unfunded jobs program, can result in a net loss of jobs over the long term.

Defense spending isn't a good way to stimulate the economy, you guys have pointed out some of the issues with it and those are valid points. But it's not a zero either, in the short term. Long term for an economy like we have now, it's terrible. Unlike the 40s were defense spending created a massive bubble that kind of had to be restrained.

If you want to talk specifically to the stimulus and the problems with it, I can. But conservatives weren't saying that it wouldn't create jobs, but that it was too expensive for its short term nature.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:36 pm

"I don't believe that unelected judges should be making these decisions." -Paul Ryan

Republican ticket officially is against the Supreme Court, and the process of judicial review established by the Founding Fathers.

Holy cow.

Why aren't more people talking about this?
Are we really so off the deep end that no one even bats an eye when a candidate for the presidential ticket advocates overturning the entire system of checks and balances and three-branch system of government?
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:35 am

Fridmarr wrote:Government spending certainly can stimulate the economy. I'm not sure conservatives say that it doesn't in the plain sense.

I think their point is that it's ultimately inefficient. Generally to create jobs with government spending you had to take money from people and then invest it in the jobs creating program. That's an inefficient process when done properly as it is, but then you add the federal government behind it and all that bureaucracy and it's even worse.

Now you can borrow that money too (which is what we usually do), but eventually you'll pay that money back plus interest, so at some point that cost will catch up with you. Because of that, each year we literally burn money on absolutely nothing of value to us, it's just an interest payment. When liberals say that the best stimulus we have is unemployment, and all that that is, is literally giving money to people, then the logical thought is, why not keep taxes low and the money in the job creators hands in the first place. So raising taxes to fund a jobs program, or to fund an interest payment on a previously unfunded jobs program, can result in a net loss of jobs over the long term.

Defense spending isn't a good way to stimulate the economy, you guys have pointed out some of the issues with it and those are valid points. But it's not a zero either, in the short term. Long term for an economy like we have now, it's terrible. Unlike the 40s were defense spending created a massive bubble that kind of had to be restrained.

If you want to talk specifically to the stimulus and the problems with it, I can. But conservatives weren't saying that it wouldn't create jobs, but that it was too expensive for its short term nature.


I'd like to have a conversation about this.

Preliminary questions for you:

1) Was conducting stimulus spending to combat the recession justified? If you answer with "no", then what would you have done instead and why?

2) What specific elements of the stimulus spending do you have problems with, out of the greater whole? Do you dislike them because you consider them to be A)ineffective as stimulus, or B)not worth doing for some other reason?
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:10 am

This is what irks me, before we go aboard and tell everyone else how to run their country, we should fix most of the problems we have here inside our borders.

It's insane that a single F-22 raptor accounts for thrice the yearly budget for the school district I work for.

Not to mention, as Brekkie has pointed out already, all the problem VAs have when they are discharged.

So forgive me if I'd rather have the US buy one less F-22 and use that money on helping our VAs or someone else that really needs it.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby aureon » Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:36 am

I think their point is that it's ultimately inefficient. Generally to create jobs with government spending you had to take money from people and then invest it in the jobs creating program. That's an inefficient process when done properly as it is, but then you add the federal government behind it and all that bureaucracy and it's even worse.

The fact is that this goes against historical facts. We've now got a pretty good understanding of fiscal multipliers, and targeted stimulus is about four times as efficient as tax cuts.
So, yeah.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:45 am

Aueron
I'm not sure we are talking exactly the same thing. I mean, I'd agree that government spending is going to cause more "stimulus" than a tax cut. I did not mean to suggest otherwise, though I think I can see how my comments came off that way. In a silly hypothetical if you took 1 million dollars and gave it out in 10 dollar chunks to 100,000 folks, very little would come of that in the short term. Its stimulating effect would be small. Long term that recurring money starts to yield some power across the board, but as I stimulus, it's rather unimpressive.

On the flip side 1 million dollars specifically "targetted" and concentrated towards jobs is going to see some returns, much more than a spread out tax cut. Long term though, as interest is applied, that 1 million becomes...a lot more and each year an opportunity cost is lost with money having to be spent on interest instead of a jobs program or left in the tax payers hands.

You end up with a lot of variables when you want to look at the long term that can drastically affect the final tally. In the short term though I don't think there is much debate.

Brekkie
Ryan's comments: At first glance that doesn't strike me as troublesome. I know you and I had the conversation about Obama's comments earlier this year, I don't think that left a sort of lasting impression either. One could argue that the chief justice was somewhat saying the same thing with his decision on Obamacare, and the justices do at times comments on things that are questions for the people (legislature) not for them to decide on. So without context, it's really hard to have much of an opinion on that comment.

The answer to your first question is yes, I'm ok with government stimulus. The short answer to your second question is that my biggest complaint was the lack of infrastructure spending. I think it was a very very rushed plan with almost no reason to hurry in such a way, and the result was a significant missed opportunity. WIthout the infrastructure spending, we are kind of left with a big bill for a bit of a one time bump, not something that provides as much returns long term as we could have had.

Klaud
I think most of us would agree that military spending should be significantly reduced going forward, and certainly some of that spending could go towards domestic policy. Though specifically to your example, you are somewhat talking apples and oranges. Schools are typically primarily funded at the state and local levels, and of course the military is at the federal level.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:03 am

Fridmarr wrote:Klaud
I think most of us would agree that military spending should be significantly reduced going forward, and certainly some of that spending could go towards domestic policy. Though specifically to your example, you are somewhat talking apples and oranges. Schools are typically primarily funded at the state and local levels, and of course the military is at the federal level.


I never said that the money should go to schools first (although I'd not mind it thru federal grants) -- in fact, the first thing I said was that the money could go to helping VAs.
So forgive me if I'd rather have the US buy one less F-22 and use that money on helping our VAs or someone else that really needs it.


Just saying.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:01 am

My mistake I misread your post.
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