Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Treck » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:59 pm

Not relevant, but amusing (read the fine print ^^
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:02 pm

Fridmarr wrote:I'm pretty certain that those expenditures would have fallen under national defense. If I remember right, Obama did authorize a troop surge at one point and we also had the egypt/libya stuff. I imagine that, along with the ongoing stuff elevated spending for a time. However, you can see that the projections have that spending drawing down as deployments end in the future.


Upon reflection, I've realized something I'd forgotten. The majority of Defense Spending is manpower costs. Towards the end of his second term, Bush authorized an expansion in the size of the military, which took place in 2007-2008. I, myself, joined during the beginning of that surge.
My branch, the Marine Corps, expanded from 175,000 Active Duty troops, to 202,000, and increase of a little over 15%. The increase in the size of the Army was comparable.

This, to me, explains the increase in Defense spending that I had been unable to reconcile with all the belt-tightening I've observed in the DoD over the past 4 years compared to the relative days of plenty pre-2008.
With that comes all the ripple effects on other mandatory spending, such as more Veterans Affairs disability claims and GI Bill payments.

So the bottom line is that Obama inherited a military which suddenly cost significantly more. I know conservatives are tired of the constant trope of everything being Bush's fault, and I know it feels like an evasion of responsibility, but I really think it is true with things like this. Authorizing a big increase in the military with no corresponding increase in revenue to pay for it, and then handing it over to a successor, is not something that Obama would ever be able to undo easily, cheaply, or quickly.

And that is proving to be the case. Opposing any reductions in Defense spending is a key plank of the conservative platform, so accomplishing it is politically difficult. And the service chiefs have been refusing to reduce in size back to the original levels, claiming they "would be unable to accomplish their missions". (So, they were unable to accomplish their missions under Bush? Questionable, at best.)
Again, using the Marine Corps as an example, the Commandant, with the support of congressional Republicans, has drawn a line in the sand at 185,000 troops; still 10,000 more than we had during the twin invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. And the service chiefs have (quite rightly, but inconveniently from a budgetary perspective) refused to implement the draw-down faster than over a 6-year timetable.

It is things like this that make me consider Bush's actions so unforgivable. Turning a 1/4 Trillion dollar per year surplus into a 1/2 Trillion dollar per year deficit was totally, absolutely, flagrantly irresponsible.
It is MUCH easier to piss away a surplus, than it is to claw back a deficit. Even completely disregarding the recession.

Fridmarr wrote:As far as budget, debt, deficit, I think you are munging terms a bit. It's true that those supplementals were not factored into the "projected" deficit, but there is no real concept of excluding them when looking at a historical deficit. An outlay is an outlay, a receipt is a receipt, the difference at the end (assuming recepits are less) is that year's deficit. What spending is considered on budget and off (debt spending) is a totally different matter.

Bush's base budget accounted for the vast majority of the spending on the wars, the supplementals were to fund (in theory) certain temporary additional expenditures. I can't get to the data from here at the moment, but if I remember correctly the supplementals were just around 10%. That's another indicator that the sorts of fiscal trickery claimed could not possibly yield the results of a massively unfair deficit account.


You are right. I think the evidence indicates that I was mistaken. Looking in detail at the itemized DoD budget for the relevant years would confirm. Thank you for challenging my misconception.


Fridmarr wrote:As far as doubling the debt, I am not able to speak to a claim that it has currently doubled, (frankly I think the whole discussion is of very limited usefulness) but I think you need to at least compare an equal time duration. If you are going to compare 8 years of Bush, then you should use projections to 2016 for Obama, and many of those suggest a debt in the low 20s, which would be more than double.


Most the the reason why claims regarding everything from debt to unemployment from both sides differ is what baseline they decide to compare to.
To me, I think the most intellectually honest baseline to compare to when talking about debt is how the the person compares to a hypothetical scenario where they did nothing at all, and just continued the policies previously in place. So, in other words, measure the IMPACT of their decisions, not the CHANGE in the overall situation.

So:
Bush inherited a budget with a $0.25 Trillion/year surplus, and $5.6 Trillion in debt.
If he had done NOTHING for 4 years, and used the surplus to pay down the debt, he would have ended with a $0.25 Trillion/year surplus, and $4.6 Trillion in debt.
IMPACT: +$1 Trillion/4 years, and preservation of the $0.25 Trillion/year surplus. This is his baseline.

So how did he do?
By 2004, the budget had swung to a deficit of $0.41 Trillion/year, and debt had increased to $7.4 Trillion. Compare that to his baseline:
IMPACT: -$2.8 Trillion, plus a -$0.66 Trillion/year impact on the budget

By 2008, the budget deficit was $0.46 Trillion/year, and debt had increased to $10 Trillion.
IMPACT: -$6.4 Trillion, plus a -$0.76 Trillion/year impact on the budget


Now let's run the numbers for Obama.
Obama inherited a $0.46 Trillion/year deficit, and $10 Trillion in debt.
If he had simply continued his predecessor's policies with no change, by 2012 the debt would be $11.84, and the deficit would remain $0.46 Trillion/year.
IMPACT: -$1.84 Trillion/4 years, and preservation of the $0.46 Trillion/year deficit. This is his baseline.

How did he do?
In 2012 the budget deficit has risen to $1.33 Trillion/year, and debt has risen to $16.3 Trillion.
IMPACT: -$4.46 Trillion in debt, and a budgetary impact of -$0.87 Trillion/year.

All of the above makes the following assumptions:
1) The new president faces no new circumstances which require additional spending, whether they like it or not
2) The economy remains equally strong throughout, and therefore revenue stays exactly the same, meaning the only impact on the budget are the president's policies.

Neither of the above are fair, to either President. So putting their fiscal impact in context is important. Obviously Bush HAD to react in some manner to 9/11, and obviously Obama's budget would be impacted by an increased deficit due to decreased revenue during the recession.
But framing things in this light serves the useful purpose of holding the President accountable only for the decisions he made, not the wider state of affairs beyond his/her control.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, a big portion of the increased deficit, and therefore by extension the increased debt, under Obama is the result of decreased government revenue due to the recession. Adding up the difference based on the spreadsheet indicates that, compared to a baseline of 4 years of average 2nd Bush-term revenue, the actual revenue for the past 4 years is approximately $1.24 Trillion less.
I think it's fair to subtract this from Obama's debt impact above, bringing his score from -$4.46 Trillion to -$3.22 Trillion. Still an extremely large contribution, by any standard.

The next step is to delve into exactly where that $3.22 Trillion went.
-About half of it is Keynesian stimulus to save the economy (the ARRA alone represents $0.8 Trillion).
-Another portion of it is increased participation in social safety net programs such as Food Stamps and Medicare, as can be expected during a period of high unemployment
-The bulge of Baby Boomers are all starting to hit retirement age, naturally increasing participation in Social Security and Medicare.
-Mandatory spending requirements went up, such as the DoD spending I mentioned before

For the most part, that is it. Libya was extremely low-impact and low-cost, and while troop presence in Afghanistan was surged by 30,000 troops (at the urging of Republicans and the military commanders), that has since been drawn back down and was compensated for by the full withdrawl from Iraq. We have had no significant presence in Egypt or any other Arab Spring country, apart from foreign aid we were mostly already providing.

After establishing where all that money was spent, the next question becomes: "Was that expenditure justifiable, and the right thing to do?"

From my perspective, Obama's fiscal decisions have been little different from what any Republican would have done. If anything, a Republican would have been more likely to get involved in additional costly foreign entanglements. And there is almost no intelligent argument to be made that stimulus to save the economy was a bad thing, though disagreement over methodology and specifics are reasonable.

This reputation for fiscal profilgacy he has been branded with seems unfounded in data, and unfair. As far as I can see, Obama has been relatively moderate when it comes to spending policy.

Fridmarr wrote:If you are going to compare 8 years of Bush, then you should use projections to 2016 for Obama, and many of those suggest a debt in the low 20s, which would be more than double.

This is reasonable, to an extent, but needs to be compared to the proper baseline context, as I described above.
I don't think it is fair, though, to project a 8-year Obama Debt increase as being a 4-year Obama Debt increase multiplied by 2, as you would have to do in order to arrive at the low-20 Trillion dollars figure. The worst of the recession is over, GPD growth is trending upward, median income is trending upwards, unemployment is trending downwards. So any kind of debt increase projection needs to calculate using those figures projected forward at their current positive trajectory.

Unless you expect there to be a SECOND recession of equal severity, which is different matter entirely.

Fridmarr wrote:The only factchecking I read of the debates last night was what the AP had put out late in the evening. In terms of fiscal numbers, it was pretty harsh on both, but particularly on Obama.

They both said some incredibly stupid and misleading statements in the debate. I walked away from it rather pissed at them both.

I didn't watch the debates at all, although the media is an absolute circus at the moment. I swear that they want this thing to be competitive (it would afterall be in their vested interest) so they are making what I guess many people believe as Romney getting the better of it, into some sort of actual chance of his victory in November. I think that's laughable, but certainly not unexpected.

Romney came out hard and swinging, because it's what his handlers told him he had to do to stay remotely relevant. He was clearly very well rehearsed, and many of his lines seemed prepared specifically to preempt the likely arguments Obama might make, and throw them in his face before he could make them. My Facebook feed will not shut up about the "Mr. President, you are entitled to your own House, and your own Airplane, but you are not entitled to your own facts!" line, as if it was even remotely original. I half expected him to parrot Ronald Reagan's "Here you go again..." from the Reagan-Carter debate.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fridmarr,

I want to thank you sincerely for participating in these conversations with me. I value your opinion quite a bit, and value the fact that you help me counterbalance my biases and ensure my positions are grounded in evidence.

Thank you.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Klaudandus » Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:10 pm

The Element of Forum Hyperbole
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:43 pm

Brekkie

Yeah that's mostly reasonable not much there I'd disagree with. I don't really hold much value in deficits/debts within the term, most of this stuff has much more long lasting affect, and very few things can generate much of a return in a short time too. I mean most of a president's first year budget is set by the previous session, and since we have all this debt each is inheriting a silly interest payment that is akin to burning our hard earned dollars. I do agree that budgets wouldn't be much different regardless of who is in office.

Those numbers are valuable in a larger sense to evaluate the state of things and projections, but as an indictment or glorification of a single president, I think they are of limited use.

Though I would say, that you have to be careful about the whole surplus coming after Clinton. When Bush took office the economy was in a downward swing that eventually hit a pseudo recession as unemployment crept up (dot com/market burst) which started (after being adjusted re: NBER) Q4 of 99. He inherited an economy that had just peaked, but even with the tax cut, receipts dropped pretty significantly over the next few years as unemployment climbed. Of course, the big war expenditures were his choice, certainly you could argue that the Iraq war would not have occurred without him, though I suspect at least to some extent Afghanistan would have. Also, one of his big domestic expenditures, Plan D almost certainly would have occurred if not more. So yeah, he does have a really really big expenditure on there that you can probably address fully to him, but we were going significantly into the red either way.

One of the difficulties many politicians have is that they want to claim support for some flavor of limited government, lower taxes, spending controls, efficiencies, etc but ultimately that causes a problem with a populace that has, at least indirectly, learned how to vote itself money even money that it doesn't have. I think that's far more responsible for the "starve the beast" sort of data than any real sort of cohesive plan. I don't see that changing any time soon.

I also value your perspective, openness, and level headedness in these discussions. As you know these sorts of discussions are notorious for bad results. But I think most of this thread people have kept themselves fairly objective when their ideas have been challenged and have learned from other opinions. I know I've gleaned quite a bit from your posts and others that challenge me.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:03 pm

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?
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Thu Oct 04, 2012 7:16 pm

That's a really great question.

I think worse. I think having a more open more tolerant government there will be much better for that part of the world in the long run.

Then I think as a whole "we" (meaning all westernized countries) have failed to step in and help when we should have (more so in other areas than the middle east, but there too). It's not an easy thing and it will never be popular but it harkens back to that saying that rings fairly true for me, all that is needed for evil to exist is for good men to do nothing.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Brekkie » Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:42 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?


Oh geez, inbound another big post of doom that I don't have time to write right this second.

Short Answer: Yes, I think Iraq was a relative success story, and our actions there improved the country and improved the stability of the Middle East as a whole.

Whether it was worth the cost in lives and resources, however, is far more dubious.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Shoju » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:32 am

I will admit that I'm not keeping up on this thread much anymore, but I just wanted to pop in, and say that my 9 year old asked me why Mitt Romney thought that taking Big Bird off the air would be a good way to save money. He's a generally inquisitive kid. I tried to explain to him the finer points of it in a way that a kid could understand, and his response was:

"I'm pretty sure he'd save more money if he just used a smaller plane, and more normal cars. Every time you see him fly, or drive somewhere it's in a HUGE plan, or with LOTS of Cars. That has to cost more money than keeping Big Bird on TV right?"

I told him I wasn't sure. He left it at that, but it was humorous to me. Sure, we all know that the limos and the jet are for security, but it was still pretty funny.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Cogglamp » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:42 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?


I think the Middle East is better off in general.

I can't comment on being pulled into Iraq at a later point but I do think our involvement in Libya via the UN was the right thing to do. Can we take credit for what happened in Tunisia? Probably not directly but the more democratic the region becomes the more I think it will put pressure on some of the more autocratic regimes.

Obviously, we are seeing a vile and terrible response from Assad/Syria. It worries me that it's beginning to spread on to Turkey's borders. I think it would be wise to quickly support Turkey, one of the few moderate and relatively stable countries in the region. (Turkey hasn't always been level headed and showing support might be a good way of assuaging the anti-US rhetoric that can creep up from time to time in Turkey.)

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.

It's going to be rocky for quite some time in the Middle East but I think in the long run, what we did in Iraq will come out as a good thing.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Cogglamp » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:01 am

lolwut?

http://www.cnbc.com/id/49356069/

I can't imagine how many attorneys that are licking their chops on this one...
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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).
If you are not the flame, you're the fuel.
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