Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:39 am

It was talked about quite a bit. We actually did spend bailout money on people's mortgages, it's called HAMP (and related programs). But no plan to give the people money, which of course we'd all prefer, would have actually solved the problem we were having at the time. The problem wasn't that the too big to fail banks were going bankrupt or had some long term insolvency issues, the problem was that they were running out of cash to loan, which has a massive ripple effect to businesses who rely on that capital. There was just no way to wait until a program could be implemented to give money to the people, and then wait and hope for them to make a couple of house payments so it made it back into the system. Also, once many of the larger banks weathered that particular storm with the TARP help, they did pay it back so the ultimate cost was a bit less. Not all banks have paid it back, but many did.

The "fat cat" bankers were actually doing what they were told by the government. Those loan formats had been approved by the government, they were put into an exchange (government term for someone is getting screwed but now you won't know who), and then reclassified by the government into a lower risk category. That caused the problem to spread beyond mortgages into investment banks. The gov't had incentivized home ownership enough that demand stayed high for a long time and so prices kept rising, and that was essentially the glue that kept this mess working...until it let loose and home prices began to fall and it all came crumbling down.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:08 am

Brekkie wrote:
Fridmarr wrote:That might be the first time I've heard that hyperbole used with a decision that actually restrained government.


Unelected branch of government upholds the ability of elected branch of government to make laws.
Conservatives declare the death of the Republic.

p.s. Upon re-reading your statement, how did Citizens United RESTRAIN government? It UN-restrained the powerful, and gave them totally free reign over the governing process of the entire country.

This year, the Koch family alone has spent more than all the campaign contributions by individuals during the last Presidential election combined, for both candidates. A single family with more power than the entire people of the United States. And you call that restraining government?

If the Koch's had as much power as you claim, then there would be no dems in office, it's an absurd notion. To your point, obviously when the power moves from the government to the people, where it belongs, that is called restraining government. Again, it's the process not the outcome.

For instance, you can reasonably accomplish a more equitable system with a publicly funded campaign finances, the difficulty becomes determining who is eligible to receive the money, but private money is out everyone, and that's inherently fair and reasonable. The problem comes in when the government tries to pick and choose winners and losers. Despite the attempt to make things fair, it almost always makes things worse. Some special interest groups were unfettered, but labor unions and corporations were not. Individuals (like the Koch bros) were still able to spend btw, though certain types of political speech were banned in the days before the elections.

I don't know of anyone who has suggested that the government does not have the ability to make laws. Laws that make you buy a product that you don't want or need, yeah that's too much power and the Supreme court agreed with that too. They just also left a gigantic easily used loophole for accomplishing the same thing. Moreover, you aren't going to get corporations out of government through legislation, indeed it's legislation that has caused the problem. When you concentrate that much power in one place, corporations have a gigantic stake in it. The only way to get private interests out of unduly influencing government is to scale back and spread out its power to the people.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Tue Jul 03, 2012 9:27 am

Fridmarr wrote:I don't know of anyone who has suggested that the government does not have the ability to make laws. Laws that make you buy a product that you don't want or need, yeah that's too much power and the Supreme court agreed with that too.


I don't see any reason why this same argument doesn't apply to taxes paying for the Fire Department. Or the Police. Or the Military. Or the Coast Guard. Or the Environmental Protection Agency. Or the Forestry Service. Or safety regulators on meat ("I'm a vegetarian!").

This is the thing I just do not, for the life of me, understand about the Libertarian mindset. You can't just pick and choose the shit that YOU want and need. And no rational, self-interested actor would EVER personally contribute to social functions like the Fire Department by choice, because of the Free Rider paradox. But you're sure as hell going to wish that the Fire Department exists. If war breaks out, you're sure as hell going to wish that the military is trained and equipped to a much higher standard than pure market forces would ever have a dream of allowing (dont get me started on merc companies like Xe/Blackwater).

And the irony of the whole thing is, you WILL actually use health care. At some point in your life, you will use health care. Every single person needs healthcare. But if only the ill are paying into the system, the whole thing becomes prohibitively expensive and People Die, preventably, for the crime of being poor. In America.
So mandating everyone contribute into the system is absolutely no different than mandating everyone contribute to the common defense, or to the safety of meat, or to the preservation of our environment. And the costs for EVERYONE become vastly cheaper.
Sure, you're a healthy person who DA GUBBMINT IS FORCING to pay. Cry me a river. I don't own a boat and am in no danger of drowning, but I pay for the Coast Guard. Because that's how SOCIETY WORKS.

It's funny, there are exactly ZERO Libertarians in countries with non-intrusive, low-power governments. You know what those kind of countries ARE filled with? Communists. Because anarchy is not some utopia of rational self interest. It fucking sucks and everybody, including the healthy, well off people who only have to buy what they need, suffers.

Also, funny how I have never, ever, ever met a Libertarian with a pre-existing condition.

They just also left a gigantic easily used loophole for accomplishing the same thing. Moreover, you aren't going to get corporations out of government through legislation, indeed it's legislation that has caused the problem. When you concentrate that much power in one place, corporations have a gigantic stake in it. The only way to get private interests out of unduly influencing government is to scale back and spread out its power to the people.


California is a perfect model of how terrible direct democracy is. Something like 80% of their budget is tied up in sacrosanct voter-initiatives.


As for money in politics, while money spent is not a direct indication of power, there is certainly a strong correlation, otherwise no one would bother spending money. I have no problem with the concept of spending money as speech. What I have a problem with is our leaders being solely beholden to rich backers, and nothing else mattering. My experiences working at Embassies and actually meeting these powerful VIPs, being present for their conversations, and seeing their interactions with plutocrats and CEOs at functions, has made me even more jaded in that regard.
I don't know how to solve this problem, but Citizens United was certainly, unambiguously a step backwards.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:19 am

The difference is that they are government services, not private products.  When the government can compel me to buy into a private product then there is literally nothing that they can't compel me to do.  I have no problem contributing to medicaid for instance, but I do have a problem being forced to buy a product from a private group.  Talk about amazing potential for corporate abuse, just wait until that matures a bit, you'll be screaming about how corporations have corrupted health care and demand legislation to stop it...when this legislation caused it.  You think Jabari's electric car quip was a joke, but legislation of that ilk has been brewing for some time, and it will come because the same logic applies.   My joke about the size of your soda in NY wasn't a joke either, that's actual proposed legislation.  Absolutely everything you do can in some way be correlated to a shared cost.

We'll be sin taxxed to proper behavior determined by a large central government that you admit is controlled by corporations or at least unduly influenced by the wealthy, and you wonder why I get concerned as their power grows?  It amazes me that you can think that they are unduly influenced by such powers on one hand and on other declare that they should control your healthcare access.   The idea behind checks and balances isn't just what the government is actually doing now, but what is in its ability to do.  I'd rather not give them the rope to hang us all, rather than just hope that they actually don't use it.

I also reject your shared cost notion a bit.  I will use health care, but I may not use health insurance particularly of the type now required.  Health care and health insurance are not the same thing.  I don't want to be forced to pay a premium that covers birth control pills, viagra, and basic antibiotics etc when I can more efficiently handle those costs myself with a catastophic care plan and an HSA.  Those concepts are not new, and have been used successfully for generations.

I've said it repeatedly, I'm not a Libertarian.   I want government more local, where it can actually be held responsible, and is far more accountable, not anarchy.  I'm pretty sure your characterization of it is fairly inaccurate anyhow, but I don't have a dog in that fight and I couldn't care less.

Btw, my wife does have a chronic and costly preexisting condition, lupus. 
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fivelives » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:33 pm

Ah. No, I'm not talking about giving Johnny Irresponsible the money to pay off their mortgages. I'm talking about telling banks "how much do you have in outstanding mortgage loans?" then giving them exactly that amount - not a penny more, not a penny less. It would've freed up their funds to loan to other people and had pretty much exactly the same effect as giving it to them to be used discretionally. Then they (the banks) could have applied for grants from the TARP funds left over after paying off outstanding mortgages.

So it wouldn't have been a case of your neighbor getting his debt cleared while you've still got yours, it would've been a clean slate for everybody who didn't have their homes paid off. Which is, let's face it, almost everyone that's IN a home that they "own" instead of some other situation, as a 30 year mortgage doesn't generally get paid off until people are about ready to retire.

Of course, it's easy to play Monday morning quarterback and say how shit SHOULD have been done.

Back on topic, Obama is only leading Romney in polls by 3 points. I'm not so sure anymore that Obama is a sure win for this election. I also find myself hoping that Obama wins this election - better the devil you know and all that.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:32 pm

The issue with that, as others have noted is fairness. There was some talk about plans to just have the government buy all the mortgages but not relieve people of their debt, and then allow proper restructuring. Here's an example...
http://www.correntewire.com/modest_prop ... xic_assets

The benefit is fairness and no money to the banks, but it's ultimately more expensive. Though even that is perhaps preferable.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:31 pm

Fivelives wrote:Back on topic, Obama is only leading Romney in polls by 3 points. I'm not so sure anymore that Obama is a sure win for this election. I also find myself hoping that Obama wins this election - better the devil you know and all that.


Just wait until the debates. Obama has a lot of ammunition, most of the things Romney could attack Obama on Romney undermines HIMSELF with due to his past history, and Obama is just, in general, a far better orator.


In other news, check this out!
http://healthreform.kff.org/quizzes/hea ... -quiz.aspx
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Passionario » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:32 am

Brekkie wrote:Also, funny how I have never, ever, ever met a Libertarian with a pre-existing condition.


The late Robert Anton Wilson was one (at least, when he wasn't an anarchist) despite having suffered from polio as a child.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fivelives » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:04 am

Brekkie wrote:
Fivelives wrote:Back on topic, Obama is only leading Romney in polls by 3 points. I'm not so sure anymore that Obama is a sure win for this election. I also find myself hoping that Obama wins this election - better the devil you know and all that.


Just wait until the debates. Obama has a lot of ammunition, most of the things Romney could attack Obama on Romney undermines HIMSELF with due to his past history, and Obama is just, in general, a far better orator.


In other news, check this out!
http://healthreform.kff.org/quizzes/hea ... -quiz.aspx


I'm not sure whether it would be smart for Obama to directly attack Romney. He might do better running a "clean" campaign focusing entirely on what he achieved during his first term.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:37 am

The problem there is that his crowning achievement isn't very popular, and sadly it seems like his Bain capital attacks are working. I say sadly, not because I want Romney to win, but because the attacks are stupid nonsense.

I don't see any way in which Obama loses or that it's even close.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fivelives » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:28 am

Romney does a good enough job of embarrassing himself. If Obama starts in on him, then there's a chance that the conservatives (and a lot of independents, is my guess) will vote GOP out of spite, instead of quietly avoiding the polling places because Romney's a twat waffle.

If that happens, all bets are off. Let Romney embarrass himself, there's really no need to attack him.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby aureon » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:17 pm

Fridmarr wrote:The problem there is that his crowning achievement isn't very popular, and sadly it seems like his Bain capital attacks are working. I say sadly, not because I want Romney to win, but because the attacks are stupid nonsense.

I don't see any way in which Obama loses or that it's even close.

nonsense to a point, atleast about what gets reported.
Romney is a financial man before anything else, and that means profit before common interests, let's not forget that.

(And then come in my prejudices against mormons: I mean, you HAVE to be stupid to believe that shit?)
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fivelives » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:32 pm

Believe what shit? The Mormon faith isn't any weirder than any other faiths.

Try this exercise:

On the pagan day celebrating the Egyptian god Ra, go forth and worship on your knees before an idol and participate in a ritual celebrating human sacrifice and cannibalism.

Sound bad? I just described Sunday services at the local church, where you kneel before an altar and partake in communion.

Every faith sounds weird to outsiders, and frankly it pisses me off that it's such a hot button issue during elections. For a country that believes (at least nominally) in a separation between church and state, we sure as hell put an awful lot of stock into what invisible man in the sky our politicians believe in.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Jabari » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:27 pm

Today we celebrate the ratification of the single most important political document written in human history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

Please, go read the entire thing, and compare the grievances stated therein to what the United States Government is doing today.

http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=208142
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:54 pm

The models for successful government-run healthcare systems are out there in other countries for the US to see and to mimic.

New Zealand isn't a perfect system, but we do have a pretty good one. If you get sick you can go to the doctor if you wish but you need to pay for the visit. It's around $80. If you do need medication, it's highly subsidised, so it's pretty afordable. You do have to get the generic stuff where it's available, but if you want to pay for the name brand, you can.

If you have an emergency-care situation, it's covered by the government, as are accidental injuries (sprains, breaks, cuts, etc.). If you need surgery for a chronic condition, you get put on a waiting list. If you want elective surgery you get put on a waiting list.

You can buy private insurance or make use of private hospitals. That way you can get your surgery without waiting for the list, if you can afford it.

It's not perfect by any means. I have a friend with lung cancer in the US who probably would have died had she relied on the NZ health care system because of her late diagnosis and the waiting-list thing. That would have sucked.

But no system is perfect, and waiting around for a perfect one won't fix any problems.
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