You guys have called me vapid and clueless. You've insinuated that I'm naive and don't have skin in the game. You've accused me of ignoring your most important points, as if they were kernels of truth from God, herself. ilap, you've even threatened to expose your fallacy. That's unfortunate, because, until you showed up, this has been a relatively respectful, polite and amicable board.
At great effort, I'll try to keep it that way. So, let me spell out for you, again, my most important point:
You guys believe in "free markets..." I say YOU are naive. In REALITY there is no such thing as "free markets" -- only in ideology class and on FOX.
Markets everywhere are MANAGED AND MANIPULATED -- including under democratic capitalism, in corporate boardrooms, on the NYSE, in the futures pits... everywhere. It's just a question of "to what ends". This is the central truth of human history from an economic perspective and is central to any evaluation of our current situation.
What emerges from the drivel you write is that you believe in markets managed to concentrate wealth in the hands of the few, allow the public infrastructure of our great nation to decline, encourage a massive transfer of wealth to enemy countries, deprive the majority of citizens affordable health-care and education, etc. This is what we've experienced thanks to "hands-off-the markets-look-the-other-way Republicanism" and the public infatuation with "what's good for an unfettered Wall Street must be good for us, too". This is the outcome of "free markets" in the real world of the USA in the late-20th and early 21st centuries.
You -- and the rest of us -- have been duped.
You talk of free markets "raising living standards" but you are oblivious to the fact that average incomes and "living standards" have been falling in our country. The rich get richer and everybody else takes a loan. This was NEVER healthy (as you, btdt, halfway acknowledge), and now we all know it.
You decry the "re-distribution of wealth", but how do you explain what has been going on? I say the system has been manipulated to put more money in the hands of fewer people while depriving others of a living wage, a secure job, a secure retirement, affordable health-care, sturdy bridges, universal hi-speed internet access, fuel efficient transportation, a decent education, etc.
Can our society afford to provide these things only for the few? No. You ask what society has thrived under "tax and spend"; I ask what society has thrived with declining living standards for the many, while the few eat cake?
With all due respect to you, Rush Limbaugh, FOX News, investment bankers, crooked corporate executives and the rest of those who would cloak our country's decline in the shroud of "freedom", I say you are wrong.
Strange. They seem to have deleted my response so I'll try again.
Your claims are fact-free, such as concentrate wealth in the hands of the few, massive transfer of wealth etc. It's just some summary of liberal talking points most of which are BS.
How do you know living standards have been falling for most people? Another fact-free standard liberal talking point. In any case if true, Obama's program will make that worse.
Your use of Rush Limbaugh shows how influenced you are by the latest Democrat spin. The focus on him is a diversionary tactic by the media/Obama admin. Instead of talking about whether Obama's program makes any sense, you're talking about Limbaugh.
Talk about drivel.
Yes I did accuse you of ignoring an important point. Namely that most of the stuff Obama is doing has nothing to do with fixing what's wrong. That's a very important point. Do you have anything intelligent to say about that?
What is the system you are advocating if you are against free markets? Is it in Cuba? The old Soviet Union? What's your model?
As for the "hands-off-the markets-look-the-other-way Republicanism", this is BS straight out of the Obama campaign. On balance there was no deregulation of "the markets" during the Bush years. There was no signficant deregulation passed during the Bush years of any kind I believe. I know there was none in the financial area. In fact there was increased regulation. Ever hear of Sarbanes-Oxley?
As for the banking mess, European banks are in much worse trouble overall than US banks. Libs typically point to Europe style socialism and regulations as the model for the US.
Most everything you say is wrong. It's just a fact-free regurgitation of liberal/left talking points.
I probably shouldn't respond to anyone who keeps bringing up Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. It just means you're somebody who has completely absorbed and internalized Democrat talking points. What do you do for a living? Work in government? A teacher maybe?
Limbaugh is a deliberate distraction concocted by Democrat strategists to get people with a first grade mentality as oblivious to what's going on for as long as possible. What does Limbaugh have to do with anything? Or Fox News? Where did you get the idea someone is defending crooked executives, most of whom these days are probably Democrats anyway, at least on Wall Street? Maybe something Obama, said? The fact you keep bringing up Limbaugh, Fox etc. is an indication of how brainwashed you are.
Expose my fallacy?!?!?!?! LOL
1. I perceive Obama doing much to fix the wrongs created by the previous administration and made worse by stupid ideologies and fiscal foolishness.
2. I advocatae democratic-capitalism and beleiev the system has to be managed for better social good, or we end up where we are now.
3. The Bush yeaers will forever be known as an aberrant period of "hands-off-the markets-look-the-other-way Republicanism" when regulations were routinely left unenfored and the American people lost democratic freedoms to a power-mad executive branch obsessed with secrecy.
4. Europe has the problems they have. We have the problems we have.
5. You are entitled to you opinion and I am entitled to mine. It's a free internet.
6. This is hysterically funny and, I think, encapsulates your views, intellectual level and personality:
"Limbaugh is a deliberate distraction concocted by Democrat strategists to get people with a first grade mentality as oblivious to what's going on for as long as possible." By this I assume you mean "to get REPUBLICANS with a first grade mentality as oblivious to what's going on for as long as possible."
7. Your "intelligence" is a fallacy and I'm tired of you exposing it to me. Please keep it in your pants, where it belongs. IGNORE.
Bush tacitly admits the remedy for the self-dealing, the accounting frauds, and the other conflicts of interest that are now placing the entire economy in jeopardy is government regulation -- something the Republicans have vilified since Ronald Reagan.
The entire system of self-regulation has collapsed. Free markets, it turns out, don't prevent brokers from peddling junk to unsuspecting investors while they enrich themselves or auditors from conspiring with executives to cook company books.
Market discipline doesn't stop insiders from selling shares they are promoting to the public even as the company is rotting from within or senior company officials from looting the pensions of workers or CEOs from scheming to pump up stock so they can cash in options. Only regulation can change these perverse incentives.
Moreover, the career of George Bush himself epitomizes the kind of self-dealing and insider enrichment that men like Ken Lay and Bernie Ebbers raised to new heights. Bush can tactically shift his current policies, but he can't erase his own record. Just as one corporation after another now faces close scrutiny of past dealings, so does Bush.
In the Harken affair, Bush served on the board of a company that falsely inflated its earnings -- a smaller-scale version of Enron or WorldCom. Only eight days before the Harken Energy Corp. was forced to disclose large losses, Bush, who was given the stock on very favorable terms for serving on the board and for "consulting," sold his stock for $848,560. Once the losses were made public, the stock plunged. It's highly improbable that Bush, an insider, was ignorant of the company's real finances when he dumped the stock.
Bush failed to file timely documents disclosing this insider trade.
When the SEC (in the regime of the elder George Bush) investigated and excused Bush of wrongdoing, the SEC's general counsel was one James Doty, who had been George W. Bush's lawyer when young Bush, fronting for a group of businessmen, bought the Texas Rangers baseball club. Imagine the Republican indignation if the Whitewater investigation had uncovered anything like this kind of misconduct on the part of Bill Clinton.
So Bush is credible neither personally nor in terms of the remedies he proposes. His proposal of prison time for corrupt executives is a phony.
The SEC already has the power to prosecute criminal fraud. All it takes is someone tougher than former lobbyist Harvey Pitt in charge. The real need is a total restructuring of corporate governance and tight regulatory prevention of conflicts of interest at all levels. It's the barrel that's rotten.
WASHINGTON: Six months into his presidency, George W. Bush is "quietly and steadily using the federal government's far-reaching regulatory authority to stamp his imprint on the American society, easing enforcement of many government rules," says the Wall Street Journal . He is "aided by a cadre of appointees who are skeptical of government regulation, if not hostile to it," WSJ notes. Bush, the Journal says, was easing enforcement of many government rules. The effects of the changes are beginning to reverberate throughout the nation's economy, among banks and hospitals, oil companies and telecommunications giants, employers with labour problems and companies seeking tax breaks. At the department of health and human resources, the environmental protection agency has frozen a probe of more than 100 energy companies suspected of violating the clean air act, after vice president Cheney questioned whether the law had been properly applied. The department of labour, says the paper, is shifting emphasis from prosecution of workplace violations to helping employers avoid violations in the first place. And just on August 2, treasury department officials moved to ease tax shelter regulations. In each case, the Journal notes, the approach of administration officials to regulatory policy represents a philosophical shift as sharp "as any occurring in the legislative arena." The effort, says the paper, seamlessly blends the philosophic bent and political self-interest of the nation's first president to hold an MBA (degree from Harvard). "Cheering on Bush's approach," says the business paper, "are the corporate executives who financed his presidential bid, helping raise a record-smashing $104 million for his primary campaign and $166 million in unregulated soft money donations to the Republican national committee." Most of his top financial backers come from businesses with huge stakes in regulatory shifts, including banking companies, utilities and health-care providers. For Republican donors and administration officials alike, says the Journal, regulatory rollback represents a major piece of unfinished business. President Reagan set out to tame regulations in the 1980s. And even George Bush, took a more moderate approach to regulatory issues, named his vice president, Dan Quayle, to head a White House "competitiveness council" designed to curtail the reach of rules. "What is different this time," says the paper, "is that the Republican administration - from top cabinet officials to second-tier appointees - is more uniformly conservative." The upshot: just as district attorneys decide which crimes to emphasise and how aggressively to enforce them, individual agencies are setting their own priorities. And they are heeding candidate Bush's pledge to give Americans more choices and fewer orders.
re: There was no signficant deregulation passed during the Bush years of any kind I believe.
Huge Bush Deregulation Push Before Jan. 20
Posted Oct 31, 08 8:26 AM CDT in Politics
George W. Bush is president for 11 more weeks, and the White House is plotting to use that time to modify federal regulations to weaken protections for consumers and the environment. The deregulatory initiatives would be some of the most controversial of the Bush era, reports the Washington Post, lifting constraints on such things as drinking water, gas pipelines, power plant emissions, and commercial fishing.
Lobbyists representing everything from the scallop industry to kidney dialysis companies have been swarming the White House to plead for quick action, fearing a less industry-friendly administration after Jan. 20. Up to 90 new regulations are being planned, although it's unclear if the administration will finish them all in time; the Post notes that many of the Clinton administration's last-minute rules changes missed the deadline, and were overturned by incoming Bushies the day after the inauguration.
Fred and all,
How about something more uplifting than the current topic. Check out this 80 year old woman dancing Salsa, maybe it will bring a smile to someone´s face today? We all need to smile some time. This woman is amazing.
<As a doctor, you know that systemic problems demand systemic solutions, not the band-aid of punishing a few arrogant and unethical executives who greatly overstepped their bounds.>
Actually, that is exactly what is needed in health care. What you have is a pseudocapitalistic system in which some health care groups (insurers, drug companies) are allowed to charge whatever they want where others (lab companies, doctors, hospitals) are not.
The obvious answer is to make the whole system socialistic like Canada's. They have universal coverage and pay less per person than we do. THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE MONEY; IT IS THE WAY THE MONEY IS BEING DEPLOYED.
So the answer to the health care mess is simple. Extend Medicare to all Americans and allow the government to negotiate prices with drug companies.
The problem with doing this is that there will be massive job losses at health insurers and drug companies.
So what is easy logistically is difficult politically. Doing the right thing would cause some short term pain, and avoiding short term pain is exactly what Obama has been avoiding. He has not made any tough decisions. To date so far all he has done is act like Rodney King and ask, "Can't we all get along?"
It's funny that you mention putting Band-Aids on things, Musk because that is exactly what Obama is doing.
Fixing health care costs more politically than economically.
Instead of these multi-trillion bailout packages, going after corrupt execs costs next to nothing. How much does it cost to set up an exchange for buyers to buy some of these bank's toxic assets? How much does it cost to really beef up the SEC and CFTC?
There are few shareholders in favor of golden parachutes, million dollar option packages, and eight figure salaries. The fact that these things are now common place demonstrates the market is one big Ponzi scheme.
Since 1997, the only ones who have made money on the market are financial advisors and corporate managers. Even the biggest no-brainer of them all, regulating derivatives, is on the back burner.
I voted for Obama and hope he turns it around, but for now, he has avoided the difficult political decisions at a huge financial cost.
All the politicians have done with the auto companies and banks is throw money at them. They are flushing our money down the toilet. The tough political decisions have not been made.
So if Obama comes to me and says "we need to tax you more to cover health care", my answer is going to be "go to hell". If OTOH, Obama does his part and fixes the bloated bureaucratic pig of a health care system we have now and then needs more money, I will gladly say yes.
Maybe Winny is right and those in power have tied the hands of our political leaders, but I don't buy it. Clinton's AG went after Microsoft. The auto CEOs came hat in hand and painted a horrific picture if they didn't get a loan. $25 billion later they are still in bad shape.
Few corporations right are now flush enough with cash to put heat on Washington. The game has changed.