Bush comes up with a genius plan for Iraq.

Things that don't belong anywhere else. (Check first).

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Postby Hawknc » Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:16 pm UTC

High five!
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Postby Toeofdoom » Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:27 pm UTC

^For putting that at the top of the page: FUCK YOU.

I think I wont be visiting this thread too often any more.

Ah i see the picture is gone... good...
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Postby Akula » Fri Feb 02, 2007 1:52 am UTC

Bush is not dumb, but he is a very poor public speaker. Idiots don't get to fly supersonic jet fighters, no matter how well connected they are. They certainly don't graduate from Yale or get an MBA from Harvard.

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Postby fjafjan » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:07 am UTC

Akula wrote:Bush is not dumb, but he is a very poor public speaker. Idiots don't get to fly supersonic jet fighters, no matter how well connected they are. They certainly don't graduate from Yale or get an MBA from Harvard.


Thanks for present alot of evidence in this not at all subjetive post.
What about his presidency has showed that he is mediocerly intelligent, other than winning I guess, but in terms of decision and success?
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Postby Teaspoon » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:08 am UTC

I saw a video once that compared a speech he gave as governor ten years ago with a speech he made as president last year. In the video from ten years ago we saw a Bush who spoke clearly and strongly and obviously had his wits about him. In most of his more recent speeches, he mumbles and stumbles and drifts off the point and doesn't seem totally aware of what he's meant to be talking about.

The video then listed the symptoms of the early stages of dementia, with appropriate clips of Bush to demonstrate them all. It was an interesting theory, that's for sure.

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Postby fjafjan » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:10 am UTC

Teaspoon wrote:I saw a video once that compared a speech he gave as governor ten years ago with a speech he made as president last year. In the video from ten years ago we saw a Bush who spoke clearly and strongly and obviously had his wits about him. In most of his more recent speeches, he mumbles and stumbles and drifts off the point and doesn't seem totally aware of what he's meant to be talking about.

The video then listed the symptoms of the early stages of dementia, with appropriate clips of Bush to demonstrate them all. It was an interesting theory, that's for sure.


It wouldn't be the first time
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Postby Akula » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:20 am UTC

I'm fairly certain Bush has been diagnosed with Dyslexia.

And as for something good - tax cuts. Despite how much the Democrats love to flip their shit about "tax cuts for the rich," federal revenue went up after they were implemented. Gosh it's almost like what said would happen happened - increased economic activity. You take a smaller cut from a large volume for a net increase in what you get. What a concept.

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Postby Hawknc » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:21 am UTC

Alright, who's the wise-ass? :P

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Postby fjafjan » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:21 am UTC

Akula wrote:I'm fairly certain Bush has been diagnosed with Dyslexia.

And as for something good - tax cuts. Despite how much the Democrats love to flip their shit about "tax cuts for the rich," federal revenue went up after they were implemented. Gosh it's almost like what said would happen happened - increased economic activity. You take a smaller cut from a large volume for a net increase in what you get. What a concept.


I always thought the thing was that the rich save their money while the poor spend it
Oh, and the moral fact that the poor get it worse and the rich better, which is revolting, but some rich people have been known not to find this revolting as they, as said previously in this sentance, get it better.
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Postby Akula » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:24 am UTC

Even after the tax breaks, richer people still pay far higher tax rates.
If you're below the poverty line, you don't even pay taxes. I don't get what the bitching is about.

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Postby Akula » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:37 am UTC

One more thing

fjafjan wrote:I always thought the thing was that the rich save their money while the poor spend it.


Assuming they don't go and blow it on a Cigarette Boat, where do you think they save it? Stocks and bonds. To quote something that was funny, but I don't remember what it was...
"Banks are where stupid people keep their money."

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Postby Peshmerga » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:39 am UTC

I still don't understand your socialist ways, fjafjan. Crippling the rich and giving crutches to the poor; it's completely unnatural.

Aside from the point though, I think Bush has been dealt a crappy hand. While it's no excuse for some of his policies, I believe he's under huge emotional stress. It's a burden that can be compared to Atlas, his decisions will stay forever written in his legacy- his fight for Iraq is his role in this world.

I'm not sure whether I agree or disagree with our position in Iraq. On one front, I have this sort of Roman conquest mindset that tells me, fuck yeah! Carpet bomb those mother fuckers!

The logical side of me though insists on a long term plan of destroying the extremist Islamic idealism through reason and compassion. But another religion is just going to pop up after it, or another Islamic sect. Belief is the most recklessly powerful trait of a fighter; fighting it with violence only reinforces it. To truly educate the world with logic and reason is the only hope I ever see us climbing out of this eternal religious struggle.

It seems to me that the people who actually command these insurgents aren't really religious themselves. I doubt their veracity in their faith because it takes an intelligent and creative person to come into such power and desire nothing other than more power. But if you take away this idealism and instill an academic ideal of reason and compassion (which is accepted to the point of it feeling instinctual), you will be dining on the ashes of blind faith.
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Postby Vandole » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:09 am UTC

Akula wrote:Even after the tax breaks, richer people still pay far higher tax rates.
If you're below the poverty line, you don't even pay taxes. I don't get what the bitching is about.


This is what the bitching is about. The rich are ridiculously, obscenely rich - in fact studies suggest that the richest 2% of the world's population own more than 50% of the world's wealth. (Source)

So what does this mean? It means that Donald Trump, though he pays a much higher percentage of tax than you or I, has plenty of money to spare, while Jose, living in the anus of society, doesn't pay any tax because he's not even making enough to live properly. The rich live like kings, the poor like serfs, and the politicians say that anyone can live like the rich, and it's the faults of the poor that they are in the state they're in.

Edited to satisfy my own pedantic tendencies.
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Postby aldimond » Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:38 am UTC

So there is inequality. This is understood. I guess the richest 2% of the world's population will always hold more than 2% of the world's wealth, and it's hard to say exactly how much more than 2% is healthy.

The purpose of taxation, however, is to raise money for government spending. That people are taxed basically according to their ability to pay is right and fair. But taxation is not a putative measure; it's not in itself meant to solve the problem of wealth distribution.

If poor and middle-class people aren't being taxed out of house and home, and the government's fund-raising goals are met, there's no reason to tax any more.

If people that aren't paying any tax still aren't making it en masse, then the government (as well as private citizens and groups of all stripes) ought to investigate social programs to meet their needs. This is not directly a taxation issue, however. If the government is not meeting its fund-raising goals then it might want to find a way to increase revenue (since it has the ability to deficit-spend, it might choose to do that, particularly in a time of unusual strain or economic downturn).

I don't think our government's policy in this regard has been perfect; I think we too often run debts, which combined with trade deficits puts us in a tough position in the world economy. That doesn't mean that a tax cut is necessarily a bad thing. I'm no economist, I just took one econ class in college. But I do have the capacity for analytical thought, and I really wish we'd see the real economic evidence for and against specific tax-cut packages rather than at every single moment hearing the (American) political right say "it will create economic growth, because everyone loves economic growth and our base identifies with business interests regardless of its own economic status!" and the (American) political left say "we need to make taxes more progressive, because nobody likes fat cats and our base identifies with the poor regardless of its own economic status!"

I guess my point is twofold: one, fiscal policy is not as simple as looking at a chart of global wealth distribution; two, fiscal policy is not a moral issue (this was not specifically said here, but I've heard an increasing number of people on the American political left say that they want to turn its fiscal policy agenda into a moral issue just like the American political right makes its social policy agenda a moral issue, and I think that if you start using moral terms to shun people that disagree with you on any issue of governmental policy that kills any chance for a real discussion of what government should do).
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Postby fjafjan » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:03 pm UTC

aldimond wrote:So there is inequality. This is understood. I guess the richest 2% of the world's population will always hold more than 2% of the world's wealth, and it's hard to say exactly how much more than 2% is healthy..


I think somewhere below 10%

The whole argument is fucking retarded, seriously, fucking, retarded.

The purpose of tax? It's whatever you fucking want it to be, for me, it's to distribute wealth more equally, others disagree with me,

If poor and middle-class people aren't being taxed out of house and home, and the government's fund-raising goals are met, there's no reason to tax any more.

If people that aren't paying any tax still aren't making it en masse, then the government (as well as private citizens and groups of all stripes) ought to investigate social programs to meet their needs. This is not directly a taxation issue, however. If the government is not meeting its fund-raising goals then it might want to find a way to increase revenue (since it has the ability to deficit-spend, it might choose to do that, particularly in a time of unusual strain or economic downturn).


Oh right, so if the goverment cannot afford to help the poor with daily food, it should cut it's cost, costs that largely go more to the poor than the rich, maybe they should cut spending on public schools?
Great plan! why exactly is taxing the rich so fucking terrible? I never understood this, if you have a net income of ten million dollars, and you get to keep seven or eight, it really doesn't matter fucking much to your situation, however, it might make the difference between paying for collge (and btw, paying for education is rediculous, education should be free, knowledge should not be limited to the wealthy) or not for fifty kids.

Let me quote dear Star trek
"The need of the many outweighs the needs of the few"
There's all you need to know, if five hundred people want free school, while one guy want a new fifty metre yaht, too bad bitch.

I don't think our government's policy in this regard has been perfect; I think we too often run debts, which combined with trade deficits puts us in a tough position in the world economy. That doesn't mean that a tax cut is necessarily a bad thing. I'm no economist, I just took one econ class in college. But I do have the capacity for analytical thought, and I really wish we'd see the real economic evidence for and against specific tax-cut packages rather than at every single moment hearing the (American) political right say "it will create economic growth, because everyone loves economic growth and our base identifies with business interests regardless of its own economic status!" and the (American) political left say "we need to make taxes more progressive, because nobody likes fat cats and our base identifies with the poor regardless of its own economic status!"


Could you clarify what you are suggesting? You don't have to be poor to enjoy equality.

I still don't understand your socialist ways, fjafjan. Crippling the rich and giving crutches to the poor; it's completely unnatural.

Unnatural? Well I hardly think you can argue what is natural, going to school is not very natural, nor is driving a car, or having surgery, or living past fifty. Still, we do it, part because we're lazy, but also because we can.
If we can keep everyone above the poverty line, so they don't have to live in shacks and barely fucking survive, then I think we should, it's not entirely "Natural", maybe, well, actually empathy is entirely natural, but whatever.
Oh, and taxing the rich is hardly crippling them, that is rediculous, it's more like taking the cream from their cake to give to the starving, some Robin Hood shit.

Even after the tax breaks, richer people still pay far higher tax rates.
If you're below the poverty line, you don't even pay taxes. I don't get what the bitching is about.


Yeah it sure is one SWEET life under the poverty line.
...

...

OR IS IT? [shocking rethorical question]
I guess the "bitching" is about the huge class differences, where some people are born into chillaxing and do what the fuck you want, while others live in the fucking ghetto where people are shot every other day.
Still these are "created equal", even tho they are (sadly) treated differently in almost evry level of society.

Assuming they don't go and blow it on a Cigarette Boat, where do you think they save it? Stocks and bonds. To quote something that was funny, but I don't remember what it was...
"Banks are where stupid people keep their money."

Not everyone can invest, people also have to buy, infact investing is somewhat counter productive, you get payed for doing nothing, ie you leech society.
If you really want "survival of the fittest" or whatever bullshit argument people use to remove the poor from their conscience convincing themself that truly only THEY are responsible for their own success, then forbid people from inheritance, that way it doesn't matter who your parents are, if you are strong you survive, if you are weak you succomb. I guess you also should make all education free then too, can probably pay for it with all that inheritance money.
Suddenly all capitalists aren't so hot on that darwinistic concept anymore, probably because it's pretty inhumane and stupid.

The simply bottom line is - The rich that are getting rax breaks really don't need more money, the poorest who get worse social security, they need it. Tax the rich and relieve the poor, it's not that hard.
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Postby larusson » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:31 pm UTC

frezik wrote:Bush seems like a paradox to me. If you listen to people who know him personally, including those who are his staunch political opponents, they'll often say he's actually a very smart guy. But then he keeps saying things like "It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas."

I suspect he's intentially making himself appear dumb so people underestimate him.


This is certainly true. Look at the way he campaigned in his early years in politics. You see an articulate, intelligent man in debates. I think he and his people realized that there is a certain distrust of intelligent people in America, especially in politics, and he acts accordingly.

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Postby Akula » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:53 pm UTC

The big thing is that socialists are of the mistaken belief that wealth is static and can only be redistributed. The truth is that wealth can be created out of thin air.

The other point is that most of the rich people in the world earned that money. More than 3/4 of the people on the Forbes 500 list earned most of their money. Even many those that did inherit something only inherited something fairly small - Rupert Murdoch for example, only inherited a printing company in Australia, which he has grown into an international media empire worth billions.

Finally...
Not everyone can invest, people also have to buy, infact investing is somewhat counter productive, you get payed for doing nothing, ie you leech society.
Alright... that's just stupid. The money you invest helps a company gather capital to expand. Down the road, the company (if it's bonds) or the market (if it's stocks) will pay you back sometimes more than twice as much, but now it's a drop in the bucket for a company that has grown a lot in a few years.

And what the hell do you think welfare is? It's leeching from society. Some times it is justified, sometimes it is not.

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Postby fjafjan » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:10 pm UTC

Akula wrote:The big thing is that socialists are of the mistaken belief that wealth is static and can only be redistributed. The truth is that wealth can be created out of thin air.


That last statement is false, there are two kinds of wealth, that I like to call
"favours", and "stuff". It's pretty easy to create alot of new stuff, that's true, however, not everyone can have their own butler (a favour, or "service").
Rich people are of the missconception that all people can be bosses and make fifty times as much as their employees.
An amount of wealth is produced, it should be distributed somewhat fairly,

And wow, more than 3/4 quarters earned most of their money? Well that sure is impressive, except that there was a shit load of luck and chance involved in that, so I don't think they have some great reason to be praised or whatever. But that is still besides the point, as while most ares of fortunes won't end up as the 500 RICHEST, I will bet my ass most of that 2% started out as atlast the richest 10%, same for poor people apply
You don't become THE RICHEST, by inheriting.

Alright... that's just stupid. The money you invest helps a company gather capital to expand. Down the road, the company (if it's bonds) or the market (if it's stocks) will pay you back sometimes more than twice as much, but now it's a drop in the bucket for a company that has grown a lot in a few years.


Right, and what have you as an investor actually accomplished?
Nothing. You take a slice of what they have accomplished on the grounds that you had money to begin with while they did not.
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Postby Akula » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:13 pm UTC

Vandole wrote:politicians say that anyone can live like the rich, and it's the faults of the poor that they are in the state they're in.


Ant that is totally false because...

Certainly there are some people who go through a series of tough breaks, and I don't have any problem setting aside money in the government to assist them. But mostly it seems that poor people are poor because they act like idiots with their money, and life in general. There is not one goddamn reason even a high school drop out could not reach retirement with a million bucks set aside. People are just stupid with money.

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Postby Akula » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:23 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:
Akula wrote:The big thing is that socialists are of the mistaken belief that wealth is static and can only be redistributed. The truth is that wealth can be created out of thin air.


That last statement is false, there are two kinds of wealth, that I like to call
"favours", and "stuff". It's pretty easy to create alot of new stuff, that's true, however, not everyone can have their own butler (a favour, or "service").
Rich people are of the missconception that all people can be bosses and make fifty times as much as their employees.
An amount of wealth is produced, it should be distributed somewhat fairly,

And wow, more than 3/4 quarters earned most of their money? Well that sure is impressive, except that there was a shit load of luck and chance involved in that, so I don't think they have some great reason to be praised or whatever. But that is still besides the point, as while most ares of fortunes won't end up as the 500 RICHEST, I will bet my ass most of that 2% started out as atlast the richest 10%, same for poor people apply
You don't become THE RICHEST, by inheriting.
Then you would lose your ass. The way you become hugely rich is to innovate and be lucky. Those that innovate but don't get lucky still do pretty good. Also, I'm not sure how 2% can own 50% of the wealth, given that most of the wealth is owned by non-personal corporate entities. I'm sure you'll have a problem with that too.

Alright... that's just stupid. The money you invest helps a company gather capital to expand. Down the road, the company (if it's bonds) or the market (if it's stocks) will pay you back sometimes more than twice as much, but now it's a drop in the bucket for a company that has grown a lot in a few years.


Right, and what have you as an investor actually accomplished?
Nothing. You take a slice of what they have accomplished on the grounds that you had money to begin with while they did not.
Yeah... fancy that. I risk my money in a company so that they can get enough capital together to open a new factory or launch a new product or go global, and when their profits shoot through the roof, I get nice return on my investment. How is this remotely wrong? Their company grows, I make money.

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Postby aldimond » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:30 pm UTC

Fjaf, the point I'm trying to make is not that tax shouldn't be progressive, and not that we don't need to provide social programs. Not at all.

What I'm saying is that you can't just pull out a (true) statistic about wealth distribution and pull another number out of your ass as an ideal for that statistic. How do you know that the income distribution you want would be good? How do you know that it wouldn't just prevent business leaders from taking risks, leave no money for visionary research? If an economist gave me a good argument that 10% is the ideal portion of global wealth that the top 2% should hold, I'd buy it.

Furthermore, even if you're given 10% as an ideal, you can't just leap directly from the ideal to a way to get there without evidence that it's the right way. The right fiscal policy has the potential to help everyone if it helps the economy grow (economic growth often means more job opportunities), and making the economy grow without excessive inflation increases tax revenue. Sometimes government can help the economy by raising taxes and sometimes by lowering them, sometimes by making tax more progressive and sometimes less. I don't think that the President sat around thinking, "How can I make rich people love me today?" and dreamed up a tax cut. I'm sure that real economists analyzed the economy and thought that those cuts would help.

Unfortunately politicians don't give us the straight story. We didn't get to hear the real evidence for and against the tax cuts, only the political spiel, which is the same spiel we always hear. Politicians won't give us a straight story on the our economic status, they'll give us one that makes them look good. But in the rooms when they come up with these plans you can be they have the real evidence, and they're trying to make the economy grow. If you have an argument that the tax cuts weren't a good way to do that, it would be worth hearing. If you have evidence that they didn't work, or that the economy would have grown anyway and government revenues would have increased even more without the tax cuts, or with different cuts, I'd listen; I'm somewhat suspicious that that's the case. But if you're just going to give the same formulaic, morality-play argument that we hear from politicians all the time then you're not really adding anything to the discussion.

As an aside, I don't really buy into popular capitalist or socialist rhetoric. I think that to whatever extent people earn money they are indebted to their society. The way money works isn't totally intuitive; lots of people work and are productive and get little, some people get a lot without working as hard (which is not to say that their investment wasn't productive). When we do productive work we're giving to society and when we receive money, when we consume things we're taking from it. No need for value judgements about these roles, "earning" and "leeching". As long as there is wealth inequality we need to make sure that the poorest can live well; and if you look at the streets of San Francisco you can easily see that we're not doing it. We have to do something. I just think that the leap from, "We have to do something," to, "We have to do this thing," requires some evidence that this thing is the right thing.

As a further aside, I think that the ultimate test of economics is whether we can be a *truly* sustainable society. Economies seem to always want to grow. Can we have an economy that doesn't grow, a population that doesn't grow, and still live well? But that's getting way off topic.

EDIT: @akula: there's only room for so many bosses, so only so many people are going to make boss salaries, so only so many people are going to have boss wealth. Barriers to good investment don't tend to scale with the amount of money you have. When you look at how people end up in society, educational and monetary inequalities have a lot to do with where people end up. How much money a person starts with is largely a matter of luck; even intelligence is largely a matter of luck. I think it's a stretch to say that anyone really "deserves" their lot in life, be it great, poor or in between, because so many factors completely out of their control contributed to it.
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Postby Akula » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:56 pm UTC

EDIT: @akula: there's only room for so many bosses, so only so many people are going to make boss salaries, so only so many people are going to have boss wealth. Barriers to good investment don't tend to scale with the amount of money you have. When you look at how people end up in society, educational and monetary inequalities have a lot to do with where people end up. How much money a person starts with is largely a matter of luck; even intelligence is largely a matter of luck. I think it's a stretch to say that anyone really "deserves" their lot in life, be it great, poor or in between, because so many factors completely out of their control contributed to it.


Oh, I agree. But I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. Poor people stay poor because they make bad decisions. Poor people make bad decisions cause their poor and are less likely to get education to make good decisions. Education is the key really. As I said before, there isn't a reason in the world for anyone that's not one welfare not to have $1,000,000 in the bank by retirement, even with just conservative saving... but most people don't realize this because they never receive any education on the matter.

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Postby fjafjan » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:01 pm UTC

Akula wrote:
EDIT: @akula: there's only room for so many bosses, so only so many people are going to make boss salaries, so only so many people are going to have boss wealth. Barriers to good investment don't tend to scale with the amount of money you have. When you look at how people end up in society, educational and monetary inequalities have a lot to do with where people end up. How much money a person starts with is largely a matter of luck; even intelligence is largely a matter of luck. I think it's a stretch to say that anyone really "deserves" their lot in life, be it great, poor or in between, because so many factors completely out of their control contributed to it.


Oh, I agree. But I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. Poor people stay poor because they make bad decisions. Poor people make bad decisions cause their poor and are less likely to get education to make good decisions. Education is the key really. As I said before, there isn't a reason in the world for anyone that's not one welfare not to have $1,000,000 in the bank by retirement, even with just conservative saving... but most people don't realize this because they never receive any education on the matter.


Do you then atleast agree that education should be free?
Also, saying that people are poor because they make bad decisions, that is not necessarily true, infact i'd say most poor people in the world are poor because they were born poor and really had no way out of poverty. I'd like to see you explain poverty in africa middle east and south america by "poor decision making skills" alone.

*cannot be arsed to reply furhter to previous posts atm, my back is in serious pain*
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Postby Belial » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:18 pm UTC

Never mind that it's almost impossible to get a place to live without a job, and almost impossible to get a job without a residence.

It's very, very much harder to get started in life if you don't start from somewhere comfortable.
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Postby aldimond » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:44 pm UTC

Akula, I think it goes beyond education, even. It's a lot easier for a person with lots of money to make good decisions because there's a lot more room for error and the environment supports it.

I'm a single guy making a pretty good salary. How much discipline and thought does it take me to save money for retirement? Practically none. My company did a 401k seminar, and all I had to do was go on the website and click a few buttons. How much discipline and thought does it take for me to have good short-to-medium-term investments? Somewhat more; I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have parents and friends that knew what to do, but I know for a fact that it takes almost no effort for me to come up with the money to save and invest. I could splurge on all kinds of things and still haev plenty of money to save and invest. I generally don't do that, but I don't spend a lot of time fretting about my budget; I know my rent and big bills, and approximately what my other expenses are, and I know that I'm basically safe. If my running shoes or bike tires are wearing out I can just go and buy a new pair without thinking about my budget. If I was making half what I make now, I'd have to work much harder on my budget (if I didn't I might be broke and not even know it). If I was making half what I make now, would I choose to stop running or biking until I'd made my saving goal, or would I dip into the pot?

The other thing about investing is that there are up-front costs to it that don't scale up with increased wealth. Comparing a typical money-market account to the "free checking" accounts at big national banks, a money-market account pays decent interest but has a monthly fee. If you don't have enough money for the interest to cover the fee you're blocked from that investment. I'm not into stock/bond trading but as I understand it's similar: a much better deal if you do it in volume (that is, with lots of money). I don't know if or how these things can or should be changed, but they are true.

People have to be responsible for their decisions. One might say that rich people stay rich because they don't have to make any.

(Furthermore, I think if you look at the whole world and even the US, you'll find that there are people that either have no chance to save for retirement where they are, or that need a lot of help to get to a point where they could save. Hint: if you're homeless that's an exceptionally hard thing to reverse.)
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Postby Akula » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:19 pm UTC

When it comes to poverty in Africa, I'd say being poor is a relative term. You're environment will greatly effect how well you do. At the same time, you can pin a lot of their problems on decisions of the many governments.

As for free education... no such thing. The government may pay for it, at the expense of huge income tax rates as well as having to do it on their terms. I would be in favor of more heavily funding higher education publicly though. At the same time, I'd rather it be done mostly through state governments.

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Postby frezik » Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:23 pm UTC

It doesn't matter if 50% of the wealth is in 2% of the world's population (or whatever the real numbers are). It only matters that the rest at least have basic food, shelter, and health care. Everything else is a luxury.

No, you're not poor because you can't afford to pay the cable bill. You're poor when you have to eat out of a dumpster.

Let's say you evenly distribute all the world's wealth. What do you get? Runaway inflation. Cost of basic items and services goes up, because nobody would provide those services or make things unless you give them a substantial amount compared to what they have after the redistribution. People would pay it because they've got so much money now. But they wouldn't for very long, because inflation would quickly suck that money away. Inflation would stabilize as soon as the wealth is once again distributed unevenly.

1 million USD with a 5% yearly return is $50k/year (minus taxes, of course), which is enough to live comfortably in most parts of the US. You can get a 5% yearly return with nothing more complicated than taking out a CD. An investment strategy that's just slightly more complex and riskier (like mutual funds) should yield a lot more.

So how come people who win the lottery or get big lawsuit settlements often end up broke a few years later? They must have either tried investing and got unlucky, or (more likely) they blew it all. People need to be less stupid about their money. Fixing that will be far more productive than complaining about wealth distribution or taxes.

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Postby Air Gear » Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:11 pm UTC

Akula wrote:Poor people stay poor because they make bad decisions. Poor people make bad decisions cause their poor and are less likely to get education to make good decisions. Education is the key really. As I said before, there isn't a reason in the world for anyone that's not one welfare not to have $1,000,000 in the bank by retirement, even with just conservative saving... but most people don't realize this because they never receive any education on the matter.


Uh, how are you defining "good decisions" here? Seriously, last time I checked, advancement was less about education and more about connections about 99% of the time, so...unless "good decisions" means you somehow sucked up to the right people (or knew them in the first place, were related to them, something like that), that doesn't work. Overall...aldimond seems to have the right idea; if you're given an environment that supports it and lets you make an occasional mistake versus if you have zero room for error...hmmm, let's think about this one.

Oh well, with what I'm hearing with this thread, it's less a rational discourse about econ and more an occasional rational voice going up against "let's worship whatever people call modern free-market thought" (with some left-wing "usually rational, but with an occasional burp" on the side), even though that's less descriptive economics and more prescriptive economics. So many straw-men and so on go with that; thank you frezik for making a "point" about completely even wealth when nobody said anything even remotely close to that.

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Postby frezik » Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:21 pm UTC

Air Gear wrote:thank you frezik for making a "point" about completely even wealth when nobody said anything even remotely close to that.


My point is that it doesn't make a difference if 90% of the wealth is in 10% of the hands, and evening it out isn't an optimal situation. Instead:

1) Get everyone to a basic minimum standard
2) Teach people not to be retarded with their money

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Postby Akula » Sat Feb 03, 2007 12:35 am UTC

Air Gear wrote:
Akula wrote:Poor people stay poor because they make bad decisions. Poor people make bad decisions cause their poor and are less likely to get education to make good decisions. Education is the key really. As I said before, there isn't a reason in the world for anyone that's not one welfare not to have $1,000,000 in the bank by retirement, even with just conservative saving... but most people don't realize this because they never receive any education on the matter.


Uh, how are you defining "good decisions" here? Seriously, last time I checked, advancement was less about education and more about connections about 99% of the time, so...unless "good decisions" means you somehow sucked up to the right people (or knew them in the first place, were related to them, something like that), that doesn't work. Overall...aldimond seems to have the right idea; if you're given an environment that supports it and lets you make an occasional mistake versus if you have zero room for error...hmmm, let's think about this one.

Oh well, with what I'm hearing with this thread, it's less a rational discourse about econ and more an occasional rational voice going up against "let's worship whatever people call modern free-market thought" (with some left-wing "usually rational, but with an occasional burp" on the side), even though that's less descriptive economics and more prescriptive economics. So many straw-men and so on go with that; thank you frezik for making a "point" about completely even wealth when nobody said anything even remotely close to that.


Yes, that's right, the only way to get ahead is to know someone who knows someone. What a load of bull. The way to get ahead is to get a skill or come up with a product or service that people will pay you for. Pure and simple. While good connections and being a kiss ass will help, they are not necessary.

And I'm defining good decisions as doing smart things with money... putting aside 100 bucks a month for savings... more if you can. As opposed to bad decisions like buying a 60 inch television instead. Good decisions like purchasing health insurance for yourself. Opposed to bad decisions like making payments on a brand new SUV that uses $200 a month in gas. Are you satisfied that good and bad decisions do in fact exist, or are we going to continue to wade through this swamp of subjective sewage?

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Postby Air Gear » Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:07 am UTC

Akula wrote:Are you satisfied that good and bad decisions do in fact exist, or are we going to continue to wade through this swamp of subjective sewage?


I know that good and bad decisions do exist, but given that last bit about a "swamp of subjective sewage" along with a few other things in your post, it's pretty safe to assume this is going to go exactly nowhere. Arguing against prescriptive econ is just a waste of time.

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Postby Akula » Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:05 pm UTC

Air Gear wrote:
Akula wrote:Are you satisfied that good and bad decisions do in fact exist, or are we going to continue to wade through this swamp of subjective sewage?


I know that good and bad decisions do exist, but given that last bit about a "swamp of subjective sewage" along with a few other things in your post, it's pretty safe to assume this is going to go exactly nowhere. Arguing against prescriptive econ is just a waste of time.


My point is that trotting this "well what determines a good decision and a bad decision, what determines it???" argument is just stupid. If you can't distinguish between good and bad financial decisions using only a little common sense, then I'm not sure it worth it to even discussing the matter further.

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Postby william » Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:29 pm UTC

Akula wrote:
Air Gear wrote:
Akula wrote:Are you satisfied that good and bad decisions do in fact exist, or are we going to continue to wade through this swamp of subjective sewage?


I know that good and bad decisions do exist, but given that last bit about a "swamp of subjective sewage" along with a few other things in your post, it's pretty safe to assume this is going to go exactly nowhere. Arguing against prescriptive econ is just a waste of time.


My point is that trotting this "well what determines a good decision and a bad decision, what determines it???" argument is just stupid. If you can't distinguish between good and bad financial decisions using only a little common sense, then I'm not sure it worth it to even discussing the matter further.

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Postby Toeofdoom » Sun Feb 04, 2007 8:39 am UTC

Let me quote dear Star trek
"The need of the many outweighs the needs of the few"
There's all you need to know, if five hundred people want free school, while one guy want a new fifty metre yaht, too bad bitch.


And you know what they did to the people who said that? They kicked their fucking asses.

But thats not the point.

A better star trek example would be the Bell riots: (featured in an episode of DS9, where dudes get sent back to 21st century earth)

Basically, the american government introduced a bunch of new schemes to help poor people. Area were set up where poor people could get food and shelter and medicine, and stuff like that. This worked ok, but the poor people still didnt contribute much to society, and over a number of decades, the areas became more and more separated and hidden from public view, and much less happy places, until the point where all the people decided to take the place over, and rampage through the city, kill the government etc. This was in no small part leading to world war 3.



The point of that is: Abolishing poverty aint fuckin easy.
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Postby fjafjan » Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:00 pm UTC

Toeofdoom wrote:
Let me quote dear Star trek
"The need of the many outweighs the needs of the few"
There's all you need to know, if five hundred people want free school, while one guy want a new fifty metre yaht, too bad bitch.


And you know what they did to the people who said that? They kicked their fucking asses.

But thats not the point.

A better star trek example would be the Bell riots: (featured in an episode of DS9, where dudes get sent back to 21st century earth)

Basically, the american government introduced a bunch of new schemes to help poor people. Area were set up where poor people could get food and shelter and medicine, and stuff like that. This worked ok, but the poor people still didnt contribute much to society, and over a number of decades, the areas became more and more separated and hidden from public view, and much less happy places, until the point where all the people decided to take the place over, and rampage through the city, kill the government etc. This was in no small part leading to world war 3.



The point of that is: Abolishing poverty aint fuckin easy.


What actually occurs is pretty irrelevant as that is basically just what they want to happen, they could be all "if we forbid people from owning guns the goverment will become fascist!" and then set up a scenario where that occurs. I still think that quote however sums it up very nicely, it doesn't need a scenario to prove it
Abolishing poverty completely is probbaly pretty hard, but abolishing to the extent it exists today just requires some real effort, rather than just "INVISIBLE HAND LOL LOL!"
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Postby Phob0s » Sun Feb 04, 2007 12:05 pm UTC

Bush is violating the Prime Directive.

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Postby Peshmerga » Sun Feb 04, 2007 6:54 pm UTC

Everyone in the US has the right to pursue financial goals through legal means. There's not a gram in my bones that feels that the government should give people free money if it hurts the economy. Creating work and financial programs to help people get on their feet is fine by me if it's actually decreasing unemployment and improving economy.

I'm no expert, but the government in no way should hurt the GDP to help a few lazy fucks afford 50k homes. Punishing success and promoting laziness. That sounds like a sweet economic plan!
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Postby Akula » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:37 pm UTC

Bingo.

The needs of the many can suck a fat one. If they are incapable of taking care of themselves, tough shit.

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Postby Jesse » Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:16 pm UTC

I have tried to avoid this, as my own view is so personal it is obviously biased. I lived below the poverty line in Scotland. It was horrible.

The onyl reason I am out of it is because my father is dead and I moved in with my grandad. He is the reason I had a residence and thus was able to get a job. This job offers me personally no chance to improve my status, only to earn enough to just get by on.

The big thing came with trying to get a loan. Being nineteen years old and having no house made it literally impossible. No-one would lend me money. It took my grandad taking the loan out with my name tacked on at the end and his house backing it to get me the money to finance my own business.

My one and only point here is that, on my own I could have done nothing to improve my status, it took a family member with an awful lot of heart to provide me with the chances I needed.

I'm not saying anymore, as I believe I've shown my viewpoint is way too biased to be of help, just needed to throw this example out there.

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Postby aldimond » Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:22 pm UTC

Jesster: so having a difficult life makes you biased to the point that your opinions don't count? No, fuck that shit, your opinions definitely count. Should only people that have never been poor make decisions about government? They're just as biased as you are by their own background.
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