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Zeno
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02 Mar 2010, 9:53 am

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... id=topnews

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This left people puzzling over Bunning's motives. Was he taking revenge on his senior colleague from Kentucky, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who helped to push Bunning into retirement? Or was he just being, well, crazy?


Retribution has already been meted out. Senator Bunning has been assassinated by the media for his patriotism and courage. The Washington Post is calling him a crazy, non-entity Senator. The false innuendos and defamatory outbursts against Senator Bunning are yet another sad sign of how broken the American system is. Why can Senator Bunning not object to further unfunded extensions of unemployment benefits? If it is so important to provide extended benefits, then surely there is a way to pay for them. And if his colleagues are unwilling to give up their cherished programs to pay for further unemployment benefits, then it tells you that the plight of the unemployed do not matter to these hypocrites. They just want to look good in the eyes of the electorate and do not care about the consequences of their irresponsible actions.



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02 Mar 2010, 1:58 pm

Sand wrote:

There will be retribution from the thousands of people suffering from his vicious ideological insanity.


Democracy in action. The unsilence of the lambs.

ruveyn



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02 Mar 2010, 10:17 pm

If you would like to know the truth about US federal fiscal responsibility instead of the bullshit from some guy in Singapore read
http://www.counterpunch.org/brown03022010.html



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03 Mar 2010, 4:10 am

Zeno wrote:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/01/AR2010030103401.html?hpid=topnews

Quote:
This left people puzzling over Bunning's motives. Was he taking revenge on his senior colleague from Kentucky, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who helped to push Bunning into retirement? Or was he just being, well, crazy?


Retribution has already been meted out. Senator Bunning has been assassinated by the media for his patriotism and courage. The Washington Post is calling him a crazy, non-entity Senator. The false innuendos and defamatory outbursts against Senator Bunning are yet another sad sign of how broken the American system is. Why can Senator Bunning not object to further unfunded extensions of unemployment benefits? If it is so important to provide extended benefits, then surely there is a way to pay for them. And if his colleagues are unwilling to give up their cherished programs to pay for further unemployment benefits, then it tells you that the plight of the unemployed do not matter to these hypocrites. They just want to look good in the eyes of the electorate and do not care about the consequences of their irresponsible actions.


The media carry out assassinations now?! 8O


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03 Mar 2010, 1:08 pm

Bunning is not courageous or patriotic, he is a hypocrite about to retire. He voted in favour of:

-The unfunded wars in iraq and Afghanistan
-Bush's tax cuts, which were not matched with spending cuts
-The unfunded Bush-era expansion of Medicare

Apart from servicing the debt, it is health care (Medicare and Medicaid), Social Security and military spending which dominate federal spending, not unemployment benefits. Actually he is typical of US politicians, grandstanding about relatively minor expenses (Mc Cain on earmarks, Obama on Presidential helicopters and discretionary non-military spending, conservatives on foreign aid and NASA, etc) while not touching the items that would actually make a difference. To some extent this reflects US voters, which tell pollsters they're for smal government while supporting the bulk of federal spending; who claim to worry about deficits but want tax cuts.


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Zeno
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04 Mar 2010, 7:01 am

Okay you got me, Bunning is quite the douche bag. Even so, I support the stance that he took on unemployment benefits. Unfortunately he did not have the backbone to see things through. Needless to say, there is a high stakes game being played here and Bunning’s one man show is part of a wider plan for November’s mid-term elections. If the ploy was to simply attract a lot of attention to the continued payout of hundreds of billions of dollars in extended unemployment benefits, the gambit worked like a charm as the media took the bait along with the hook, line and sinker.

The basic premise of unemployment benefits is that any cyclical economic decline is temporary and smoothening out the rough edges of economic downturns benefits job seekers, employees and employers alike. Since I believe that this decline is anything but cyclical – and in fact marks the beginning of a deep structural adjustment in global patterns of consumption – paying out such generous benefits to the unemployed actually benefits almost no one. The country is run aground as debt piles up and a long term absence from the work force basically means that many people who have gotten used to collecting unemployment checks are no longer marketable. Businesses may gain marginally as aggregate demand is artificially propped up but they would gain even more if the much needed adjustment in wages occurs that would allow them to be internationally competitive and thus address an even bigger market opportunity. So long as unemployment benefits are being paid, wages in America will remain stubbornly high. This means that even though the country urgently needs to regain its competitive edge, the system of artificially high wages actually prevents American companies from winning in foreign markets.

It is really too bad that Bunning lost his nerve. For a moment I thought he might just last to the end of the week.



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04 Mar 2010, 7:19 am

Zeno wrote:
Okay you got me, Bunning is quite the douche bag. Even so, I support the stance that he took on unemployment benefits. Unfortunately he did not have the backbone to see things through. Needless to say, there is a high stakes game being played here and Bunning’s one man show is part of a wider plan for November’s mid-term elections. If the ploy was to simply attract a lot of attention to the continued payout of hundreds of billions of dollars in extended unemployment benefits, the gambit worked like a charm as the media took the bait along with the hook, line and sinker.

The basic premise of unemployment benefits is that any cyclical economic decline is temporary and smoothening out the rough edges of economic downturns benefits job seekers, employees and employers alike. Since I believe that this decline is anything but cyclical – and in fact marks the beginning of a deep structural adjustment in global patterns of consumption – paying out such generous benefits to the unemployed actually benefits almost no one. The country is run aground as debt piles up and a long term absence from the work force basically means that many people who have gotten used to collecting unemployment checks are no longer marketable. Businesses may gain marginally as aggregate demand is artificially propped up but they would gain even more if the much needed adjustment in wages occurs that would allow them to be internationally competitive and thus address an even bigger market opportunity. So long as unemployment benefits are being paid, wages in America will remain stubbornly high. This means that even though the country urgently needs to regain its competitive edge, the system of artificially high wages actually prevents American companies from winning in foreign markets.

It is really too bad that Bunning lost his nerve. For a moment I thought he might just last to the end of the week.


Read http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney03032010.html
You have no idea of what you're talking about.



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04 Mar 2010, 7:41 am

Sand wrote:
You have no idea of what you're talking about.


So, you're saying he should fit right in here?



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04 Mar 2010, 7:53 am

Unorthodox wrote:
Sand wrote:
You have no idea of what you're talking about.


So, you're saying he should fit right in here?


Do you feel comfortable here?



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04 Mar 2010, 10:04 am

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The basic problem is not hard to grasp; the private sector (us) cannot save unless the public sector (the government) runs a deficit. The surpluses of the Clinton era were produced by private sector deficits. In other words, the buildup of household debt during the late 1990s and early 2000s, (remember all that debt-fueled consumption?) allowed the federal government to run a surplus. Now that the bubble has burst, the process has switched into reverse. Consumers are no longer able to spent at pre-crisis levels because the value of their main assets--their homes and their retirements funds--has dropped precipitously. Thus, households will have to cut back on their spending and either pay-down their debts or set more money aside to repair their balance sheets. The slowdown in spending, along with the reduction in bank lending and consumer credit, will push the economy back into recession unless the government steps up its spending and increases the deficits.


This is the central thrust of Mike Whitney’s convoluted arguments. I am reduced to answering him because most of you cannot come up with coherent arguments of your own. There are at least two assumptions that Whitney makes and the second follows from the first: a) on aggregate America cannot save; b) the rest of the world will lend to America. I am willing to grant Whitney the first point much as I would believe a fat man incapable of resisting a jelly donut. It is the second point that is dangerously false.

Throughout this thread I have pointed out that the America’s creditors are increasingly unwilling to lend to a country they believe to be bloated with excess. The Chinese have proposed a new global currency and the Japanese are talking about lending to America only in Yen denominated bonds. Thus far a Greek scenario has not been America’s fate because production in China and Japan is still tied to consumption in America. But the Chinese are working very hard to stoke domestic consumption and you can be certain that America’s attack on Toyota will only serve to turn a key trade and military ally sour on the unequal relationship. As we progress through this decade, consumption patterns will start to shift as Asia – principally China – starts to consume more. If you have ever been to China you would know that it would take very little to spark a consumer led boom as the Chinese now consume far too little of what they produce.

The reason to attack aggressively the foremost assumption made by people like Whitney that America cannot save is because if we look forward into the future, unless America learns now and learns quickly how to be more productive and frugal, it will be forced to save some time in the near future. Think of the heart wrenching scenes playing out in Greece today but multiply it by a factor of 50. The Greeks have allies like France and Germany to bail them out; America must rely on a country it defines as an enemy with whom two proxy wars (Korea and Vietnam) have been fought. Would it really be such a good idea to depend on Chinese kindness?



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04 Mar 2010, 10:08 am

Zeno wrote:
Quote:
The basic problem is not hard to grasp; the private sector (us) cannot save unless the public sector (the government) runs a deficit. The surpluses of the Clinton era were produced by private sector deficits. In other words, the buildup of household debt during the late 1990s and early 2000s, (remember all that debt-fueled consumption?) allowed the federal government to run a surplus. Now that the bubble has burst, the process has switched into reverse. Consumers are no longer able to spent at pre-crisis levels because the value of their main assets--their homes and their retirements funds--has dropped precipitously. Thus, households will have to cut back on their spending and either pay-down their debts or set more money aside to repair their balance sheets. The slowdown in spending, along with the reduction in bank lending and consumer credit, will push the economy back into recession unless the government steps up its spending and increases the deficits.


This is the central thrust of Mike Whitney’s convoluted arguments. I am reduced to answering him because most of you cannot come up with coherent arguments of your own. There are at least two assumptions that Whitney makes and the second follows from the first: a) on aggregate America cannot save; b) the rest of the world will lend to America. I am willing to grant Whitney the first point much as I would believe a fat man incapable of resisting a jelly donut. It is the second point that is dangerously false.

Throughout this thread I have pointed out that the America’s creditors are increasingly unwilling to lend to a country they believe to be bloated with excess. The Chinese have proposed a new global currency and the Japanese are talking about lending to America only in Yen denominated bonds. Thus far a Greek scenario has not been America’s fate because production in China and Japan is still tied to consumption in America. But the Chinese are working very hard to stoke domestic consumption and you can be certain that America’s attack on Toyota will only serve to turn a key trade and military ally sour on the unequal relationship. As we progress through this decade, consumption patterns will start to shift as Asia – principally China – starts to consume more. If you have ever been to China you would know that it would take very little to spark a consumer led boom as the Chinese now consume far too little of what they produce.

The reason to attack aggressively the foremost assumption made by people like Whitney that America cannot save is because if we look forward into the future, unless America learns now and learns quickly how to be more productive and frugal, it will be forced to save some time in the near future. Think of the heart wrenching scenes playing out in Greece today but multiply it by a factor of 50. The Greeks have allies like France and Germany to bail them out; America must rely on a country it defines as an enemy with whom two proxy wars (Korea and Vietnam) have been fought. Would it really be such a good idea to depend on Chinese kindness?


The Chinese would not be particularly happy about the demise of their best market.



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04 Mar 2010, 10:13 am

The whole point of what I have been saying this past year is that the Chinese have decided to make themselves their own best customer. This is the most radical policy shift since the decision to open up in 1978 and is perhaps almost as important as the imposition of Communism in 1949. There is no reason why a country with 1.3 billion people should not be the largest and most vibrant market in the world.



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04 Mar 2010, 10:43 am

If you read the article carefully you would realize the the US government does not need to borrow to create money.



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04 Mar 2010, 4:14 pm

Sand wrote:
Do you feel comfortable here?


Actually, I feel comfortably above the fray; though I have my own strongly held political views I try to refrain from getting too preachy about them, an endeavor in which I feel that I've been mostly successful.

Zeno's ideas might be a bit outlandish and wide of the mark, but as my remark noted, that hardly makes him unique here in PPR.



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04 Mar 2010, 6:48 pm

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/05/educa ... ts.html?hp

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At the meeting, Mr. Schwarzenegger said that the layoffs and increased class sizes at some state schools were “terrible.”

The bottom line, he said, was that “they need much more money.”

Where the money could come from is unclear. California faces a new $20 billion state deficit, and schools at almost every level have already begun cutting back spending in the expectation of cuts in state financing.


Trust these UC kids to be first. There will be more cutbacks next academic year even as tuition gets raised. Too many kids and not enough money to go around. I suppose California could just opt out of the dollar and start printing its own currency eh? These demonstrations will just get bigger and bigger. If you are a twenty something in America today, you have good reasons to be angry. Those generous unemployment benefits probably do not apply to you because you have not worked long enough or at all even though you are the one will eventually have to pay for it. Tax revenues decline so the burden of education falls more and more on your shoulders even as you graduate into an economy where the opportunities shrink by the day. Did I hear someone say riots?