The red-state attack on abortion rights

By Alissa Quart
April 30, 2013

This has been a big month for abortion rights. In North Dakota, where there is only one abortion clinic, a District Court judge voided a two-year-old set of state restrictions on the use of medications to induce first-trimester abortions. And in Mississippi last Monday, a federal judge blocked some elements of state law intended to shut down the state’s only abortion clinic.

But make no mistake: The competition to shut down “the last clinics” in states with only one clinic is ongoing; call it The Red State Derby. In Mississippi, Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, pro-life groups such as 40 Days for Life are working to bring about “the first abortion-free state where abortion is legal but it’s simply not available.”

Forty years after Roe v. Wade made abortion a constitutional right across the nation individual states are staging subtle and not-so-subtle insurrections, aiming to be the first  clinic-less state.

This session, Arkansas passed a ban on abortions after 12 weeks with very limited exceptions. It briefly had banned any abortions after six weeks, according to Julie Rikelman, litigation director at the Center for Reproductive Rights. As Rikelman told me, North Dakota was not to be outdone by Arkansas. So North Dakota recently passed a ban on abortion at six weeks (which is when a fetal heartbeat can be detected) that hasn’t yet taken effect.

In Mississippi, the Red State Derby started to intensify in the spring of 2012. That was when the doctors at Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an abortion clinic in Mississippi’s state capital, were pressured to get admitting privileges at local hospitals. This was impossible: No local hospital would offer the clinic’s two doctors such privileges because the doctors fly in from out of state (partially for their own safety) and thus have no particular relationships with hospitals in the area. Privileges are typically only granted in-state. This pressure simply intensified other prohibitions  — that parents of a minor must provide consent; that women must come to the facility twice to get a procedure and wait 24 hours.

“The Supreme Court says over and over again that the states can’t ban abortion, but these states put up meaningless hurdles,” Rikelman says.

The hurdles are to some degree coordinated. For instance, Missionaries for the Preborn announced that it has focused on states with one clinic, calling them “states of refuge.” Pro-lifers have said they are waging an ongoing campaign in these five states. In other words, pro-choice advocates will find the greatest threats to choice, and also some of their greatest victories, locally, state by state.

The Mississippi clinic has been allowed, for now, to stay open. On a visit there last November reporting this story, during the long countdown to this ruling, I came to understand how urgent the situation was and how most of the young women there had few other options. Most of them were in serious financial straits, earning near or below the minimum wage if they were employed at all. Even if they lived in the state, they often had to take off work for long drives or bus rides to the clinic; sometimes it was a two-hour ride each way. They often had other children at home or were still teenagers themselves. Some could not even afford birth control pills.

One woman from Yazoo City worked in an auto shop. She was 22 and had two children. One baby had been born at two pounds, the other at four pounds. She openly attributed it to bad prenatal care and to imagining that she wasn’t pregnant each time.

She didn’t have enough money to provide for her kids, she said. She was unmarried and barely earned minimum wage. Although she was just out of her own adolescence, she said she hoped to get her tubes tied, permanently preventing her from having more children.

She and the other women sitting in pastel hospital gowns awaiting their procedures were far from blithe. A number told me they feared God’s wrath, and that of their religious families. A 21-year-old police trainee waiting at the clinic didn’t tell her very religious Baptist family about it, and had to come up with excuses for the two and a half hours she drove each way to get there. As it was, the existence of just one clinic made it hard for her to get what she needed and made it hard for her to hide what she was getting.

I also listened and spoke to mostly local, all-white pro-life protesters using the refrain “black genocide” to describe the clinic patients’ choices. Sometimes these activists brought their kids and on occasion, guitars. One activist had apparently left a plastic fetus, the kind  the pro-life folks distributed, lying near the clinic’s trash, a seemingly crude and wacky attempt to simulate real fetuses being “discarded.” The tension between the two groups was sometimes darkly comic and sometimes unbearable and certainly egged on by the “states of refuge” conceit.

The recent Mississippi and North Dakota rulings show that it won’t be a straightforward win for the pro-life activists. Even on the local level, which is where the action is in terms of reproductive freedom, there are still moments when the Constitution triumphs.

Yet we should remain vigilant about the threats from local activists. No matter your perspective on abortion rights, these states are flouting the Constitution, which is certainly a cause for dismay. And the state legislative assault on abortion is not ending. As Carole Joffe, a scholar at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco, told me, “North Dakota faces a host of other restrictive measures — and the state has set aside $400, 000 for expected legal battles … The larger abortion wars will drag on until voters in these red states make clear that they will not support politicians who focus obsessively on this issue.”

Even in Mississippi, the Red State Derby continues: In March the group Personhood Mississippi filed a new personhood amendment, a ballot initiative that appears to repeat a 2011 initiative that was rejected by Mississippi voters. And in the case of the clinic, it is staying open but not indefinitely: The state could decide to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Even when these last clinics stay open, the pro-life movement has succeeded in making abortion incredibly difficult in a number of states. And if abortions are made impossible, women like the two dozen I met in Mississippi – often young and poor, sitting uncomfortably in brightly colored rooms that they wished they needn’t ever have to visit ‑ would again have no choice.

Alissa Quart is the author of Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers and the forthcoming Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers and Rebels. More about the clinic can be seen and read in The Atavist’s The Last Clinic, a film by Maisie Crow with an essay by Quart. Reporting for this piece was also supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

PHOTO: A group of pro-life demonstrators hold signs outside City Hall during the Ninth Annual Walk for Life West Coast rally in San Francisco, California, January 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

31 comments

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Before one defends abortion in theory, and the actual practice, please follow and read the transcripts and reports from the Dr. Gosnell trial. This has nothing to do with “protecting women’s health” and everything to do with the outright destruction of a human being. The snipping of the spinal cord of a living and breathing child has nothing to do with “fertility rights”.

Obama’s claim to return “women’s health care to the 1950′s” is a straw man argument. And, any women who thinks that abortion is another form of birth control is not smart enough to see the obvious. Abortion, per the author, should be incredibly difficult. Pregnancies are caused by a conscious act on the part of an individual–and abortion removes any personal responsibility for their actions.

Perhaps we should embrace some of the values of the 1950′s, such as two parents in a household, a moral (often religious) framework under which most people functions, individual responsibility and the parental roles of a father and a mother.

All this “social justice” nonsense that is preached today is anything but “justice”. It’s merely a smoke screen for old feminists and emasculated males.

Posted by COindependent | Report as abusive

The “Pro-Life” movement, mostly well off white evangelicals, is NOT pro life. “Life” is what happens AFTER birth. As soon as the baby is irrevocably born (and someone else’s problem for the next several decades), these presumptious pushy busibodies, their money, and all “further options” immediately disappear.

They are “anti sin” or “anti pleasure” (sex without the intent of a child). They are “pro biological punishment”, mandating a “sentence” entirely disproportional to a single sexual act with another, whether or not consensual and whether or not pleasurable.

They essential argue for MANDATORY children, ever MORE children without end for those adverse to abstinence. Their judgmental insistence on “their way or the highway” can only be considered “cruel and unusual punishment” by anyone of open mind.

They don’t CARE what others want in terms of a life. Quantity of life MUST prevail over QUALITY of life. They reject the validity of the view that individuals might want fewer or NO children in a world already overburdened with SEVEN BILLION humans.

But God can assure “sustainable balance” with his traditional tools of starvation, “natural” disasters, plagues and war. These may not seem “loving and caring”, but choices have consequences. It’s unfortunate when those making the choice are not the ones who must pay the price. “Justice for all” is clearly not the “natural” order of things.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

I agree with you 100% COindependent. The word responsibility, which seems to be the theme of your comment, is exactly what the Democrats/Liberals are against. The Democrats/liberals also seem hell bent on destroying the norms of society. They are currently working on destroying traditional marriage.

Posted by jorge62 | Report as abusive

@OOTS Your argument is a reach on it’s best day. To categorize and demonize pro-life supporters only serves to reinforce the fact that your argument is unsupportable.

You are confusing the “choice” to (not) have children with the willful destruction of a human life. Pregnancy is not imposed on anyone–it is the result of a willful and conscious decision. Your argument is based solely on when a child is “human”. Using that logic, I could then make the argument that should you become ill (let’s say a victim of cancer, or better yet, AIDS) that I, or any bureaucratic agency (HHS) headed by Katherine Sebillius, can make a decision that because you are incapacitated and unable to take care of yourself that your life should be terminated (using Dr. Gosnell’s method of snipping your spine?) But that would be “inhumane”, so we will use lethal injection instead.

The critical issue, that you hope to minimize, is that an embryo or fetus cannot be anything other than a human life. You are supporting the killing of a child, based solely on its stage of development. Using that logic, what’s the difference between an embryo, an infant, a first grader and a third grader? It’s only different stages of development, right?

This is a slippery slope that mankind has avoided for literally centuries. It is only because of the available technology and the vocal “enlightened elite” espousing some reproductive “rights” that we further diminish the value of human life. It is only a matter of time before we will see the outspoken proponents of euthanasia because the “elderly have outlived their usefulness and are consumers of scarce resources that could be better utilized in other areas of society”. Or how about sterilizing the “less desirable” (see Hitler) in our society? Are you prepared to make that decision, too? After all, your informed opinion is all that matters here.

I would not wish that on you or anyone else. You are confusing legal theory with it’s practical application.

And to think, the federal government, with the complicity of a SINGLE federal judge, just decided that the morning after pill should be available to ANY female, age 15 or greater, over the counter–without a parental input or knowledge. Does this government, one that creates “rights” out of thin air, have any limits?

And the President has the gall to tell the supporters of Planned Parenthood “God bless you”. Indulge me, please? Just what “god” (lower case intended) is he referring to?

Posted by COindependent | Report as abusive

Expect to hear a lot about the Gosnell situation, as the jury is now deciding his fate. Rather then the norm, as opponents would try and paint it, it is what happens when abortions are driven into the shadows. Because he helped poor women, the State turned a blind eye to what was happening. It shows the desperation women will go to when options are few.

And in those States who are so intent on driving out abortions, are they now funding pre-natal care, child care, and all the other services a child needs? Or are they merely pro-fetus, and don’t care once there is a birth?

Women have always sought abortions. It will all depend on how many women will die in the future as abortions get pushed into the shadows. Those who are wealthy will be able to get it; the poor will suffer.

Posted by pavoter1946 | Report as abusive

@ COindependent –

OOTS’ argument is rational and correct, while yours is emotional, simplistic and totally incorrect, both for so many reasons that I could not possibly begin to cover them in this comment. But some of the main points can be covered, however briefly.

========================

I think the essence of OOTS argument — which is based on historical reality projected into the future, and not just irrational wishful thinking that human behavior can be magically changed somehow — is arguably summed up in this paragraph.

“But God can assure “sustainable balance” with his traditional tools of starvation, “natural” disasters, plagues and war. These may not seem “loving and caring”, but choices have consequences. It’s unfortunate when those making the choice are not the ones who must pay the price. “Justice for all” is clearly not the “natural” order of things.”

OOTS is absolutely correct that, if humans do not take responsibility for our overbreeding, we will then pay the price, as we have always been forced to do so incalculable times in the past. While the past 100 years or so have been relatively ideal in terms of agriculture and medicine, we are quickly reaching the limits of growth in terms of human population, if we have not already past them into “overreach”. As OOTS points out, those “choices (will) have consequences”.

The threat is both imminent and real, but we choose blithely to ignore it for a lot of emotional and religious reasons that we cannot deal with, mainly because we would have to admit we are nothing but a species of animal on this planet like any other, and most importantly, subject to the same natural laws as any other species.

“Stepmother Nature” is not kind to her children, and will have no compunction about wiping our ANY species that ignores or cannot comply with her rules. That she has done so many times in the past is a matter of scientific record — those who do not believe in Darwinism are wrong, and their stubborn refusal to admit scientific facts is detrimental to the survival of the human race — and will have no problem with a recalcitrant human species that is flagrantly ignoring her commands.

The whole problem, as I see it, is that humans would have to admit we are nothing special in terms of natural selection, and we cannot seem to bring ourselves to admit that fact. Thus, we doom our species to extinction for a refusal to change as our environlment is changing.

Contrary to popular religious myth, we are NOT “children of God, made in His image”.

Frankly, to make this comparison is an insult to God. Have you looked at what our species has done? Do you think God would look and act as we do? It is a “fiction”, a holdover from our prehistoric past, that is destroying us. What is clear to me is that we MUST change our fundamental beliefs or we will not survive as a species.

Which, all things considered, that may not be a bad ides, since humans appear to be an experiment gone bad, just like other “dead end” species in the past that made evolutionary changes that were not survivable for them.

=========================

Yours is arguably that the issue is one of human life, which is so precious that it must be protected at all costs; however, there are some very serious negative issues with anyone basing any argument about the “sanctity of human life”.

Some excerpts of your “argument” being:

(1) “You are confusing the “choice” to (not) have children with the willful destruction of a human life. Pregnancy is not imposed on anyone–it is the result of a willful and conscious decision.”

Actually, most reproductive acts are not based on a “willful and conscious decision”, but are deeply rooted in the human brain as a “survival of the species” trait that ALL species share in common. That is the “quantity over quality” Stepmother Nature buried in all of us, and it consumes much of our lives (whether we are willing to admit it or not). The reality facting our species is totally different and we must adapt or die.

Your argument also conspicuously omits anything but the most simplistic case of “consensual sex”, but what about the issues of rape, incest and legally non-consensual sex (i.e. the issue of statutory rape under the age of consent)?

Frankly, ALL of human sexual activity is far from consensual in the usual meaning of the term. We are “hard-wired” hormonally to reproduce our species, just like any other animal, plant or bacteria.

What you ignore is that your view of human reproduction is religious-based and simplistic, certainly not enough to justify continuation of human life just for the sake of reproduction. There are NO “reproductive rights”, only a totally unreasoning “reproducitve drive” that you are attempting to justify based on the slippery slope of the “sanctity of human life”.

Let’s take a look at just how the human race treats the “sanctity of human life”. Human history is replete with neverending warfare, including deliberate acts of genocide against those we hate — which is everyone not in our own socio/religious/ethnic “group” and thus who are not “really” human (i.e. different from us in some manner), but some sort of subspecies to be eliminated for whatever twisted logic forms the basis for these periodic purges. Do we care that people around the world today are dying of starvation or living in abject poverty? Do we? Where is your argument that would extend your rationale to beyond the womb to the sanctity of all human life? Strange, but I fail to find it in your argument.

Instead, you state “The critical issue, that you hope to minimize, is that an embryo or fetus cannot be anything other than a human life. You are supporting the killing of a child, based solely on its stage of development. Using that logic, what’s the difference between an embryo, an infant, a first grader and a third grader? It’s only different stages of development, right?”

True, enough, but why do you stop at the sanctity of life for the developmental stages of humans? What about the “cannon-fodder” of youth that is fed into the maw of war whenever our hatred of others boils over? Are these young men and women not equally precious? Or is there a time when human life decreases in its “preciousness”?

You are right, of course, “This is a slippery slope that mankind has avoided for literally centuries. It is only because of the available technology and the vocal “enlightened elite” espousing some reproductive “rights” that we further diminish the value of human life. It is only a matter of time before we will see the outspoken proponents of euthanasia because the “elderly have outlived their usefulness and are consumers of scarce resources that could be better utilized in other areas of society”. Or how about sterilizing the “less desirable” (see Hitler) in our society? Are you prepared to make that decision, too? After all, your informed opinion is all that matters here.”

These issues, and many others like them, are the ones we should be adddressing, instead of focusing solely on “life in the womb” however you care to define it.

TO FOCUS SOLEY ON LIFE IN THE WOMB — CHOOSING TO IGNORE ALL OTHER ASPECTS OF THE “SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE” IS — SIMPLISTIC AND DISINGENUOUS AT BEST, CRIMINALLY FAILING TO RECOGNIZE THE GREATER ISSUE INVOLVED OF THE QUALITY OF HUMAN LIFE.

You state “I would not wish that on you or anyone else. You are confusing legal theory with it’s practical application,” but I would argue it is you, and people like you, who confuse legal theory with practical application.

You attempt to impose your will on that of others with no regard for the indiviual circumstances, but then simply walk away from the consequences of your actions with the smug self-satisfaction of a hypocrit that makes me sick. By what moral right do you impose your ideas and ideals on someone else, who is in fact as equally human as you are, especially when you force your moral ideals on others by dint of legal repercussions for simply acting as a human being? Who gives YOU the right to judge others actions, and condemn them to whatever circumstances may occur as a result?

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@pavoter Desperation or convenience? Looking back to the past, when the family (not government) was at the core of this country, we did not have the out-of-wedlock birth rates we experience today, even when one accounts for birth control. We now see OOW birth rates of 70% among Blacks, 50% among Hispanics and 24% among Whites. That about a 75% increase over 30 years among all these groups.

As the liberals rationalize the killing of the unborn out of convenience, coupled with ever-expanding welfare programs, they refuse to acknowledge that the demise of traditional marriage, parenting, and personal responsibility is the leading cause.

They are the same people who demanded that we move away from Judeo-Christian values. So much for all the secular mortalists who rationalize all of these behaviors.

Posted by COindependent | Report as abusive

@ COindependent —

Why is it people like you, who espouse “traditional family” and “Judeo-Christion values” seem so totally ignorant of what those really mean?

Your interpretation of the Bible seems to be one of total intolerance for anyone who does not, or cannot, live in your ideal lifestyle.

That moralistic, hypocritical outlook seems to me to be totally “anti-Judeo-Christian”.

I think you need to understand Christ’s teaching much better than you appear to at the moment, or at least keep your opinions to yourself since they are negatively affecting the lives of other people, ALL of whom have every right to live and believe in their own value systems.

Your religious/social intolerance of others are attitudes that belong in the Middle Ages, when most of the European population was ignorant of any values other than religious dogma.

If you care to understand history, the Church is no saint, and never has been. Your opinions seem to reflect all the worst “qualities” of organized religion.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

Intolerance when it comes to abortion is completely rational. Condemn the sin, but forgive the sinner. Each person is responsible for their own actions, but that does not mean I am obligated to condone, nor indirectly financially support, any decision they make.

For those (such as yourself) that embrace the concept of “anything goes”, have at it. But beware of the long term consequences of your actions. But I don’t expect “consequences” are part of the decision process.

Posted by COindependent | Report as abusive

@ COindependent —

You are right, of course, this country did not have the OOW statistics you presented in the past.

You state “As the liberals rationalize the killing of the unborn out of convenience, coupled with ever-expanding welfare programs, they refuse to acknowledge that the demise of traditional marriage, parenting, and personal responsibility is the leading cause.”

From your stated position, I would surmise you are probably conservative in your outlook and politics (i.e. republican) and more than likely reasonably well off financially.

My interpretation of those OOW statistics is also that the US is indeed coming apart, but I tend to look for causes, not effects, which is all you have done.

It is demonstrably the rise in multicultualism over the past 30+ years that lies beneath those statistics.

How do you feel about free trade and immigration?

Those are the main drivers of the decline in the Euopean-based culture this country has had previously.

Have you personally profited from the present free trade and liberal immigration policies?

If the answer if “yes”, and from your expressed position, I cannot imagine it to be otherwise, then it is YOU who are responsible for the decreasing European-based values in this country.

I agree that a gross lack of “personal responsibility is the leading cause”, but that lack lies in those who would profit from the ills of free trade and loose immigration policies of the past 30+ years.

Deliberately driving people into poverty, then castigating them for a lack of personal responsibility is obscene.

When those in power take “personal responsibility” for what happens to the people in THIS country, many of those qualities your bemoan the lack of may return, but until you people “right the wrongs” you have willfully perpetrated on this nation, it will continue to get worse until this country collapses because of your greed.

Meanwhile, at least take enough “personal responsibility” to stop persecuting and crucifying the innocent victims of your greed.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@ COindependent –

You state, “Intolerance when it comes to abortion is completely rational. Condemn the sin, but forgive the sinner.”

I agree, but the two are not compatible. You are deluding yourself if you think they are. What you are doing is IRRATIONALLY condemning BOTH the sin and the sinnner.

Since when is “intolerance … completely rational”?

That is indeed a very slipper slope, since each person can decide for themselves (as you have done) which actions are tolerable and which are intolerable.

As I pointed out, we have found wars of genocide to be tolerable in the past.

And, frankly, who the hell are YOU to personally decide for this nation what is tolerable and what is not?

I find your personal attitude intolerable. Suppose, for example, I also found your race, creed, national origin, age, physical or mental condition intolerable? Does that give me the right to confiscate your property and take your life? All for the good of society, of course. That has been a “tolerable attitude” by many cultures in the past.

THAT is what your “logical intolerance” brings in the end.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@ COindependent –

You state “For those (such as yourself) that embrace the concept of “anything goes”, have at it. But beware of the long term consequences of your actions. But I don’t expect “consequences” are part of the decision process.”

it would seem the wealthy class are those who “embrace the concept of anything goes”, and are totally heedless of the long term consequences of their actions, mainly because they have convinced themselves there is no “downside” to what they are doing.

In other words, people just like you.

History is NOT on your side.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@COindependent,

There are some things you and I agree on and some that we don’t. On this subject we will just have to disagree. It is inherently devisive because neither of us believes the other’s perspective is legitimate.

If we do not mutually accept that you will never convince me and I will never convince you, you will advance an d impose your values as will inevitably and predictably limit others’ choices. I have a fundamental problem with any of such blatant and inappropriate presumption.

You are wise and skilled in debate by avoiding the quicksand of theology but certain of your concepts are clearly rooted there. The “the value of human life”, and “when a child is human”. The religious word missing is “sanctity”. Even unsaid, it is “there”.

In a world of SEVEN BILLION humans there is already an inevitable collision of priorities and values. You “choose” quantity of life, impersonal, while I “choose” quality of life. But we are both Americans, and I see my choice as more consistent with understanding and defending the American reality.

Can you honestly believe that all SEVEN BILLION humans already existing have ANY change of enjoying the standard of living that Americans enjoy today? If not, then choices are made every day as to what quality of life the most poor of these will have. They may not, however, be conscious choices. Many may be “victims” of their society, it’s realities and expectations.

If we compare a family with limited income and two children and another of the same income and four children, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that options are different when family resources are divided by four or six. Let’s say family income is low enough that the two children could manage to go to college and graduate if that is the collective goal, but there is no way four could unless they are all prodigies (highly unlikely).

In my opinion, the parents that want the “best” for their children AND for themselves would opt for the smaller family and, hopefully they can do that without abortion. Means available would include the tying of fallopian tubes, vasectomy, IUDs, various contraceptives, and the “morning after pill”. Their choice.

But for the stepchild raped by her stepfather and pregnant with no money there is little choice. For the young woman grabbed on the jogging path and rapped who becomes pregnant there is what may be an agonizing choice. But THESE living, breathing functioning humans are sentient.

A cell can be taken from my toe and sustained indefinitely in a petri dish. That cell is “human” by any reasonable measure, but it is not “a human”. In the same sense, you may believe that a “soul” exists from the moment egg and sperm combine.

I do not believe in a “soul”. I do believe in that “spark of individual uniqueness” that at some point of development sentience makes the transition mentally equivalent from a blank CD like all other blank CDs to “value added…music, data, pictures unique and useful. It would be convenient to say that this process begins at birth, but I don’t know nor do I care.

As an only child, I have a greater sense of self and individuality than those raised with siblings. I value peace, quiet and a measure of solitude from time to time. When I married, it was a process of choosing a personal and unique “life partner”. I wanted a wife, NOT a “mother”.

At 72 years of age it has been my good fortune to have a wonderful partner 49 years and ticking. It would appear she feels the same. We never had to resort to an abortion, and doing so would have subjected our union to great stress. But I always found the “option” (if not the process) of an abortion comforting, even after my vasectomy. We go this way but once.

One point seldom acknowledged in modern society is that pregnancy and birth is not without risk to the mother. There are couples who face terrible choices when a pregnancy threaten s the life of the mother. There would have been no scenario where I would have allowed the life of a developing child to genuinely threaten the continued existence of my wife.

There are also those cases when it can be known that a pregnancy will produce offspring significantly flawed which will, predictably, consume “family resources” like a financial black hole without end. It is rightfully a decision ONLY for for potential parents, and NOT for “society” to decide if the “needs of the many” outweigh the “needs of the few, or the one.”

You would deny couples the “final option” of whether or not to accept a “life of reduced options” for themselves and perhaps other children. In my opinion, you and those who think as you do have no “skin in that game”. You do not, in the legal sense, have “standing” to limit others’ options who face difficult decisions with significant consequences.

I don’t argue that everyone should have abortions. I fully agree that an abortion should always be a “decision of last resort. But I think that decision should be reserved to those directly affected by it and not by those who would impose their own personal but external, aspirational, and unappealable ideal on others.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

@ OneOfTheSheep –

What the hell is wrong with you?

Clearly, your answer to COindependent was meant to undercut my argument that exposes these people for what they really are.

You may as well have addressed your reply to me.

They believe in Social Darwinism and “survival of the fittest”. They are sick with greed and they need to be stopped before they destroy us all.

I have told you before, if you don’t understand what I am saying then don’t attack me for saying it.

Clearly, you haven’t a clue as to what I am saying, only that I attacked one of your precious little pets.

In this case, you lend support to someone with an unsupportable position.

What the wealthy want — and you have given this moron is carte blance to destroy our economy — is to “agree to disagree”.

What the wealthy class is doing is wrong in every conceivable way for them to be wrong, and it is people like you who “aid and abet the enemy”.

OOTS, these people would force you and your wife off of Social Security and make medication too expensive for you to buy by using a “free market solution”.

WHAT is there about that particular personal outcome you simply cannot seem to understand????????

There is NO SUCH THING as a free market solution when the markets are totally rigged in their favor.

What in God’s name is wrong with you and people like you who simply CANNOT seem to put two plus two together and come up with an answer that makes sense?

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@PseudoTurtle,

Good grief, Charley Brown. How did I “attack you”? I “agreed to disagree” with COindependent on the subject of abortion. Your response utterly blindsided me.

You clearly yearn for a strong or even “better America, as do I. You would eliminate the top 1% or 5% or even 20%, the most successful Americans, whose investments and companies are directly responsible for much of America’s present gross domestic production (GDP). I fail to see any prospect of a strong or better America without that productivity.

Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, none of these very rich and prosperous people has ever taken a dollar from my wallet or yours. I have no bubbling disagreement with any of them, nor do I envy them. I admire them.

I know you don’t agree, and so you and I must pretty much “agree to disagree” when it comes to these people. If I abstain from violence when I disagree, what is the realistic alternative. Hold my breath and turn blue? You and I ARE ever “at odds” on the subject of “Social Darwinism” and “survival of the fittest”. I think these are the “natural oorder” of things and wishing that were not so does not change reality.

Let’s conjure up an example to consider. Imagine two people of modest means, each with a hole in the pocket next to their dominant hand.

One finds a quarter and puts it in his pocket. He is still thinking about that quarter such that he is entirely aware when it slips through the hole and down his leg onto the ground. He picks it up again and, not wanting to lose it, he goes home and fixes the hole in the pocket. He then confidently puts his quarter back in his pocket and re-joins the world richer by twenty-five cents.

Another finds a quarter and puts it in his pocket and lets his mind wander. He is completely unaware when the quarter slips through the hole and onto the ground, soon walking away leaving the quarter for someone else to find. Later that evening, undressing, he misses the quarter. No problem, he figures…easy come, easy go.

In my opinion, the first person has demonstrated tangible survival skills. He still has the quarter because it meant something to him. When he nearly lost it he took action to prevent that happening again. He DESERVES that quarter.

The person to whom the quarter was not important lost it. He DESERVED to lose it. Voila…the first person wins in this contest of “fitness” to “survive”. In the “game of life” which would YOU bet on? Which would you prefer as your neighbor? This, to me, illustrates “Social Darwinism” and “survival of the fittest” quite well.

In my opinion it is liberal government and Congress’s unrestrained spending that are primarily responsible for the country’s purported “inability” to continue the existing Social Security program. Why? Because they plundered it’s trust fund to fritter away as only Congress can.

There is not a living person that can tell you specifically where those dollars went. No one will ever be identified or prosecuted for that crime. You and I know Congressional spending is legendary for waste. We can safely speculate it wasn’t spent on the country’s infrastructure.

Why does this matter? Because with a trust fund, the money deposited by all those who don’t live to collect SS benefits remains (their heirs didn’t get a dime). If a person’s SS taxes paid in were paid out by, say, age 78, there’s a lot more people that never collect the full amount of their deposits over their working years. The difference, “excess deposits” would also remain in the trust fund.

As more and more pass on, fewer people are then collecting benefits to age 83, even fewer to age 88 (particularly males). The number of recipients, mostly female “survivors”, still receiving benefits at 93 and 98 is less and less. The “residue of deposits” from those MANY who died earlier would have easily covered the “additional benefits” received by those FEWER living longer to eventually receive more than they deposited.

But since that trust fund was stolen in it’s entirety, the government now terms ALL SS payouts NOT as an annuity or “return of investment” (“our” money back) but as an “entitlement” (“government money”). The longer we live, the greater burden government bureaucrats perceive “retired” seniors receiving Social Security to be. This became a “shell game” for the ages because of broken promises and unaccountability.

OUR mandatory “contributions” were misappropriated and squandered by OUR GOVERNMENT. Now seniors must beg to maintain the purchasing power of dollars OUR GOVERNMENT is constantly and intentionally debasing. We are supposed to be grateful that OUR GOVERNMENT doesn’t just put us out in the street? I think not. But OUR GOVERNMENT has later generations looking at US as being “greedy”! Neat trick, that.

It is the incompetency of government bureaucrats and the influence of “Big Pharma” lobbyists that increase the cost of medical care and medication at rates in excess of inflation. Accordingly my dissatisfaction and accusations are directed towards THEM, the target I must hit to “make a difference, if I can.

Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, or Bill Gates are not responsible, even if they choose to invest as stockholders in “Big Pharma”. It is for an honest government (if that’s not an oxymoron) to restrain actual and de facto monopolies and monopolistic practices. We DEFINITELY don’t get all the government we pay for! What can we do, call 911?

When you mindlessly wail and rail without end against “the greedy wealthy” you fire a slow firing low velocity shotgun firing inaccurately in all directions without meaningful effect. Even if I only wield a BB gun, an accurate shot into the eye of a bureaucrat or a lobbyist will hurt enough to get their attention and maybe that of others. It’s a start.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

What is an “undue burden” to most of these women isn’t even a blip on the radar screen to the right wing of the Supreme Court, hence their blithe ignorance of how things really are. Perhaps on their summer breaks they should do something other than attend Koch secret meetings or “teach” in European law schools.

Posted by borisjimbo | Report as abusive

@ OneOfTheSheep –
First of all, I have never “agreed to disagree” with you. If you believe that you are wrong. This is not some debating team match where we shake hands afterwards and go out for a beer. This is a real life debate with real life consequences. I am deadly serious in what I say and typically weigh my responses to any article or person very carefully to keep my emotions out of it and present just the points I consider to be critical to the argument. It is frustrating to me that most people simply cannot understand what is going on when it is really very simple. The fact that I am forced to repeat myself — which you think is simply wealthy bashing — doesn’t help my dispostion in the long run. Frankly, I should quit this because it is becoming far too difficult to continually deal with the frustrations of getting through the preconceived notion people have about what is happening to this country.
As a side note on the seemingly innocuous statement of “agree to disagree”. Which statement would you rather here: “agree to disagree” or “my way or the highway”? They both mean exactly the same thing, which means that agreeing to disagree with a person is giving them your approval to continue doing what they are doing, even if it is damaging our economy.
========================================
You seem to make a distinction between our government and the wealthy class, which is a failing common to most people in the US. In point of fact, they are one in the same. They are the Siamese Twins that control what happens to this nation. That is a demonstrable fact which you must realize in order to understand what I am saying. This is true, not only of the US, but of any government at any time and place in history. This is the “norm” that you must accept and work with if you want to understand what is wrong.
In this country, prior to the advent of Reaganomics in the 1980s, there had been a rough balance between the two parties. Granted things were not perfect, but at least this nation was not in total gridlock between two wealthy factions in a bid for power.
There have been at least two major events affecting the economy of this nation since WWII.
(1) The growth of the Military/Industrial Complex:
Unlike any previous war, this country did not fall into a deep recession after the war ended. This is a fact virtually no economist ever talks about, but it is/was an extreme anomaly. Granted the reasons are complex, but the primary driver behind the extraordinary growth was that the US military did not “stand down” as it had after WWI (for example). That is a verifiable fact if you look at the amount we spend on “defense” versus any other nation. The amount is staggering and has been growing for decades under every single administration. Even Eisenhower in his farewell speech to the nation warned of the growth of the Military-Industrial Complex, but I doubt even he could foresee how vast it would become.
This relates to your Social Security issue where you claim “In my opinion it is liberal government and Congress’s unrestrained spending that are primarily responsible for the country’s purported “inability” to continue the existing Social Security program. Why? Because they plundered it’s trust fund to fritter away as only Congress can. There is not a living person that can tell you specifically where those dollars went. No one will ever be identified or prosecuted for that crime. You and I know Congressional spending is legendary for waste. We can safely speculate it wasn’t spent on the country’s infrastructure.”
This statement by you is totally wrong. Congress is made up of the wealthy class, both the House and the Senate. It has been controlled at various times by both liberal and conservative groups. That is how wealthy class directly controls this nation. The lobbying groups represent special interests, and it is well known that there is a revolving door between Congress and the lobbying groups. When you say the wealthy are not the problem, but that some mysterious bureaucratic government process is to blame, you obviously do not understand how any government works. It isn’t some natural phenomenon like the weather that we can’t control, but a specific group of individuals who operate within a predefined acceptable range to further the interests of their group. This is a fact.
The best description I know of as to how a free market economy really works is from Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776), which is often quoted by the wealthy class as justification for what they are doing. Adam Smith DID argue for the benefits of free trade, BUT he said this about the dangers of allowing vested interests to seize the government.
Since Reaganomics was introduced, through the neoconservative movement, THIS is what kind of government we have had. (From Wikipedia)
———————————————————-
“Smith’s belief (was) that when an individual pursues his self-interest, he indirectly promotes the good of society. Self-interested competition in the free market, he argued, would tend to benefit society as a whole by keeping prices low, while still building in an incentive for a wide variety of goods and services. Nevertheless, he was wary of businessmen and warned of their “conspiracy against the public or in some other contrivance to raise prices”.[80] Again and again, Smith warned of the collusive nature of business interests, which may form cabals or monopolies, fixing the highest price “which can be squeezed out of the buyers”.[81] Smith also warned that a business-dominated political system would allow a conspiracy of businesses and industry against consumers, with the former scheming to influence politics and legislation. Smith states that the interest of manufacturers and merchants “…in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public…The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention.”[82]”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Smith# The_Wealth_of_Nations
——————————————————-
Basically, what we have today for government is exactly what Adam Smith warned us against. In order to understand what I am saying and why, you NEED to read the link above.
The Social Security Trust Fund was commingled with the Federal Governement’s General Account (the one used to pay current expenses) during the Johnson Administration (1) to fund the growing war in Vietnam, (2) to create his “Great Society” program, which includes Medicare and Medicaid, and (3) to enable continuation of his “guns and butter” program without raising taxes on the American people. As a result, NONE of the expansions in the Social Security program was ever funded, which is why Social Security is broke today.
In other words, Social Security taxes have been used as a means of funding BOTH our ever-increasing military expenditures, AND all of the other social programs as well. Social Security has been grossly underfunded since the Johnson Administration. Any commercial fund manager who had handled the Social Security Trust Fund in such a manner would have gone to prison for fraud. Instead, the government denies any wrongdoing, and fixes the blame on the elderly who have nothing whatsoever to say in what happens to the Trust Fund.
It has now reached a critical point, mainly due to the demographics of the aging population, that it has once again become a question of either raising taxes (which the wealthy refuse to do), or reducing military spending (which the Military-Industrial Complex refuses to do).
The underlying problem, as I said above is that we have been living since WWII on a “war economy”, which has created massive amounts of government debt that cannot be repaid.
(2) The paradigm shift of computer technology:
As you know, I have an extensive education and knowledge of manufacturing accounting, which is what this is based upon, and you must realize this is a highly simplified model.
Manufacturing, prior to the advent of computer technology and the internet, was extremely constrained in terms of capital investment for plant and equipment. Thus, labor costs, which are probably the primary variable in a manufacturing process were therefore severely constrained as well. Prior to globalization, labor costs were driven by where the manufacturing facilty was located. Which meant labor costs could be influenced by the general population, mainly through union activity, and which was mostly out of the control of the wealthy who are the owners of the means of production (i.e. plants and equipment).
Thus, labor costs were fairly easily controlled during the 1930s because there was a massive surplus of labor. This is an ideal situation for the stockholders, because there is a direct relationship between labor costs and profits.
THUS IT IS NOT TRUE THAT THE WEALTHY CREATE JOBS, SINCE TO DO SO WOULD ERODE THEIR PROFITS. THEY CREATE ONLY THE MINIMAL JOBS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TO PERFORM THE WORK.
While this sounds reasonable, it has serious repercussions in terms of an economy. It is a “chicken and the egg” question as to whether jobs stimulate an economy or if an economy creates jobs. The answer is that the US is in a “liquidity trap”, which means that no matter how much money we pump into the economy, it will NOT create more jobs because the preference of the “investors” is to maximize profits, not create jobs.
If there is ANY other option, they will take that option rather than create jobs.
This is why the QE programs are not working, but the stock markets are now higher than when they crashed in 2008. Due to globalization — in other words, a total lack of regulation as to what the wealthy (bankers/investors) do with the money, they are using it to invest in things like real property (which has begun another boom in farmland), or invest it in jobs in the third world countries because the labor costs there are literally negligible compared to the US.
Going back to the US during the decades immediately following WWII, the “American Dream” began to take hold — a phenomenon which had never occurred before, mainly due to the social legislation passed during the Great Depression to give some relief to the millions of people out of work. Prior to the Great Depression, for the entire time this country had been a nation, there had been absolutely NO social legislation whatsoever. The US economy was revived by the start of WWII, and suddenly there was a shortage of labor where previously there had been a massive excess of labor during the 1930s.
After the war, there was an excess of labor that under other circumstances might have meant a recession, but the Military-Industrial Complex absorbed much of that excess labor as the US repostioned itself to fight Communism, which had been on hold during the war. Immediately after WWII, we began to ramp up our industries to fight the Cold War (1945-1987), the Korean War (early 1950s), the Vietnam War (1955-1975), which was actually begun by Kennedy, then ramped up by his successors (notably Johnson, who felt inferior to the Kennedy Clan and based many of his Vietnam decisions on that inferiority, but what he really wanted was to advance his Great Society program), most recently Iraq and Afghanistan.
As a result of the public backlash over the Vietnam War, the Military-Industrial Complex “went underground” so their activitie would not be so visible, which is why we went to an “all volunteer” army. In addition to reducing the civilian backlash, it allowed the Military-Industrial Complex to operate “off the books” by using private contractors to do what ordinary soldiers had been required to do.
What is EXTREMELY important to remember is that while capital investment was severely constrained, mostly to the US and a few locations that were not subject to being “nationalized” when a foreign country suddenly changed governments. In other words the “Cost of Capital” includes a “risk premium” that at some point makes it undesireable to invest in certain locations where capital investments cannot be protected.
THAT meant virtually ALL the profits from the rise of the Military-Industrial Complex were being fed back into the US economy to generate real growth, which is a MAJOR reason for the concept behind the “American Dream”. At that point the Military-Industrial Complex was a major source of job growth in the US, which was a good thing.
There is also an issue of information “feedback” necessary to control plants in foreign locations, which also increases the risks of investment. This was a MAJOR problem until the advent of the internet.
However, the advent of the internet allowed INSTANTANEOUS FEEDBACK INFORMATION from production facilities that could now be located anywhere in the world.
Thus the cost of capital investment dropped so low that the wealthy even began to disregard the issue risk in sovereign investments, which is the underlying cause of the Eurozone crisis.
Once China (deliberately) opened its doors, the combination of lowered cost of capital for investment began to drive US jobs overseas. It was at this point that the neocon movement under Reagan began to take shape as a driving force in our economy, and the wealthy class began to grow in power as their costs of capital suddenly dropped to virtually nothing, and their profits started to become double and triple digits.
THIS is the driving force behind the tax, trade and banking legislation that favor only the wealthy class. There was so much money being generated as a result of this paradigm shift hitting the US Military-Industrial Complex, it created a “gold rush” demand for a whole zoo of financial products, many of them quasi or totally illegal (since they were literally selling the same underlying investments over and over simply by “slicing and dicing” them).
THAT is where most of the profits generated from overseas investments went, and the underlying reason for the housing bubble — since the US economy was being decimated by industries moving offshore, VERY LITTLE of the profits previously generated by these industries was being reinvested in the US.
THIS was the basis of the massive speculative bubble that burst in 2008, but has now been reinflated for the wealthy class, all at taxpayer expense.
——————————————————
So you are totally wrong that “It is the incompetency of government bureaucrats and the influence of “Big Pharma” lobbyists that increase the cost of medical care and medication at rates in excess of inflation. Accordingly my dissatisfaction and accusations are directed towards THEM, the target I must hit to “make a difference, if I can.”
It is NOT “incompetency” but greed that is now driving this government.
Very simply (or perhaps not so simply, since this is but a thumbnail sketch of what really happened and why) 2+2 = “It’s the wealthy, stupid!”.

——————————————————————-
I think I may have forgotten to mention what the US was like prior to the the implementation of safety regulations, when the wealthy were operating their factories and sweat shops in the US. You state “You and I ARE ever “at odds” on the subject of “Social Darwinism” and “survival of the fittest”. I think these are the “natural oorder” of things and wishing that were not so does not change reality.”
It may be the natural order of things (in the animal world, for instance) but human beings shouldn’t be treated like animals, which is what the wealthy class does if given the chance.
The reality is that labor conditions in the US were basically NO different than what they are now in a third world country. We had the same problems that you read today about Bangladesh and SE Asia. These are the SAME type of people, who do not see anyone but themselves as being worth anything.
And that, my friend, includes you.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@ OOTS –

Do me a favor, since I made the effort to give you an answer as to why I am constantly “wealhty bashing”, how about letting me know that you have read what I have given you above.

Most importantly, do you understand now what I am saying and why?

Can you refute any material point have outlined above as being blatently untrue?

I would really appreciate a reply from you as to what you think.

Thanks.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@PseudoTurtle,

No favor needed here…as I have said before, as you attempt in good faith to respond and debate our differences in perspective, I seek increasing “common ground”. Maybe that’s because I see the “point” of such debates as not to “win” but to inform, understand, and occasionally bring about a change in perspective (if ever so slight).

I carefully read even your longest, most conflicted posts because, on subjects where we agree, there have been instances where you have made strong and logical argument. I will not, therefore, dismiss your words when we disagree. Few manage to project logic and consistency in diverse opinions, and it all too common that individuals hold “values” that completly and perpetually conflict

I was greatly flattered (earlier, above) when you said: “OOTS’ argument is rational and correct, while yours is emotional, simplistic and totally incorrect…” and “…OOTS argument — which is based on historical reality projected into the future, and not just irrational wishful thinking…”. Thank you very, very much.

I consistently endeavor to do these things, so it is perhaps disproportionally satisfying when others perceive and appreciate that. My goal is always for my words to “make a difference”. To shine enough light on the actual problem that others will see and agree and add their voices to a chorus of “we, the people”, past and present productives, that eventually cannot be ignored over time.

I must presume you, too, see merit in these qualities; and so the intensity of the emotion (likely frustration) that overwhelms your logic (and credibility) is always a surprise. Even when we disagree I never doubt in the slightest the strength and purity of your personal conviction(s), but I confess an inability to understand some of them. Nobody promised easy. And so I will respond in detail to your 3:51 PM UTC post…

Your first paragraph is almost pure emotion, yet I cannot dismiss it because you include the desire to be “deadly serious” and to “to keep my emotions out of it”. Your opinions are infinitely devalued until such time as you accept the legitimacy of advocacy in debate. It is not weakness to be patient and courteous in a good faith effort to understand values and perspectives one may absolutely oppose.

Success is not in the opposition, but in the understanding; and, where possible, finding and increasing “common ground”. And so yes, it is not only possible but desirable to be able to “shake hands afterwards and go out for a beer” after the most passionate and hard fought exchanges. You do not “convert” or “educate” those you SILENCE. You merely end what could otherwise be a productive exchange. And inevitably such “ending” is evidence of failure to effectively communicate and reciprocally understand between opposing “positions”.

Wars are preventable so long as each side does not lose sight of the fact that those in opposing trenches are, in the end, still thinking, feeling humans just like us. Thus I need no ones permission to “agree to disagree” to defuse or prevent needless or meaningless confrontation. It is a unilateral disengagment without “approval” of any sort. It is an effective suspension of unresolved conflict by one or both parties.

Yes, I most definitely distinguish between “our” government and the CONTROLLING class. Change the word, change the “issue”? Obviously any CONTROLLING class would, by definition, possess power AND wealth, two inseparable ends of the same rope. The number of “wealthy” in America that neither seek nor wield true power (in active support of a collective personal or political agenda) is far less that those that do, and yet you paint them all with yout big black brush. I speak here beyond “usual” support for respective parties politic.

I see the CONTROLLING class as (1) those politicians who sell to the highest bidder influence “we, the people” bestow on them to wield in OUR best interests, (2) those unelected and unaccountable bureau chiefs and underlings as owe greater alligience to the power and size of their own feifdom than any legitimate purpose they purportedly exist to serve, and (3) an American legal profession which has infiltrated every branch of government, Legislative, Judicial and Executive, to such degree as decisions great and small and our routine exercise of basic rights and freedoms requires more and more of THEM with each passing day. And yes, I agree that the CONTROLLING class operates “…within a predefined acceptable range to further…” their common interests to the detriment of everyone else. I think, in truth, we “resist” the same “forces of darkness”.

I find it impossible to relate the reality of the military-industrial complex, perhaps the most consistent component of “good middle-class American jobs” with the increasing financial instability of the Social Security program. My statement is NOT “totally” or in the slightest “wrong, although I certainly agree that every member of Congress becomes, by definition, a member of the “CONTROLLING class” once elected.

Quoting Adam Smith is a lot like “buffet Christians” quoting the Bible. Everyone, including you, take from it That which validates or does not conflict with their personal perspective and “world view”. So it’s not much good for resolving interpretative differences.

The details of the misuse of the plundered Social Security taxpayer deposits are unimportant, and I think you skim through my explanation of the result too quickly. It is the result that still crys for understanding, as it is from that understanding that any “right” and “wrong” of any equitable resolution must eventually emerge.

As to your (2), I agree with much of what you say. But American businesses of all forms and sizes exist for one reason and one reason only. That is to enable those who invest in them and start and/or run them to convert THEIR ideas, money, intelligence, competence and efficiency into a “better life” for THEM. This is not new…it has always been so. Let’s call these people the “movers and shakers” who, in making THEIR life better, increase GDP and thus make life better for many, many more.

“Movers and shakers” require others to succeed since the effect of any given individual is limited unless multiplied. The term “need” is much better than the term “job”, because it more accurately reflects normal evolution over time as to duty, responsibility, accountability, and “overall return on investment”.

OF COURSE “movers and shakers” perfer “…to maximize profits, not create jobs.” Their purpose is “profit”. If they are successful, they become YOUR despised “wealthy”. If not, they are no different than any other or the relatively “unsuccessful” that may still live in a 4,000 sq. ft. McMansion. Any “social benefit” is incidental and seldom part of a business plan unless an enterprised is owned by it’s workers.

It is but “common sense” to utilize services of others at the lowest and cheapest common denonominator. OPTIMUM profit requires appropriate balance between too few and too many “help”. The “private sector” has given us the 80-20 rule, from which the first 20% of resources (well and efficiently expended) results in 80% of what you are after. The decreasing “rate of return thereafter, however, may still be profitable (to some point).

There has never been and there will never be “regulation as to what the wealthy…do with…” THEIR money. If they can make a better “return” by buying farmland or rental properties rather than fooling with a more “labor-intensive” investment, that is for them and not you to decide. It is for “wise and responsible “ government (oxymoron?) to devise tax incentives and penalties to induce “movers and shakers” towards investments deemed more in the “public interest”.

Also understand that, today, the government regards the “public interest”. as agencies and bureaucrats and NOT those they purportedly serve! The bad faith AND “greed” of the “CONTROLLING class” is why we get none or too much in terms of safety regulations, environmental regulations, energy research and production, etc.

I agree that the “supply and demand” of labor in the U.S. is substantially the same the world over, although results may differ. Why would you expect otherwise? It remains for each of us to get the best possible price for our time, mind and skills.

When we go to school, to college, and study for advanced degrees, we seek advantage over others as instinctively as we eat and breathe. Why? Because each of us fundamentally understands that “life” on all levels is “survival of the fittest”. Get used to it because this will never change.

Look in the mirror. At the end of a process you are a product of you now vocally object to the “unfairness of it all”? Methinks you “protest a bit too much”. But when you think clearly, I like you on “my side”!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

@ OOTS –
Thanks for responding. I found your views quite interesting.
(1) However (you knew there had to be a “however”, didn’t you), I fail to understand how you can leave the wealthy class out of the “controlling” class. Remember the old saying about the “Golden Rule” — those who own the gold make the rules. I would think it is intuitively obvious that the wealthy class MUST be included in the controlling class. I fail to see how society would function otherwise.
If, for example, you took the US with its roughly 300 million people and assigned a dollar value to each person, say, beginning with one dollar each as a measure of personal power and extended out each person so that it formed a “weighted average” — note I am using the mathematical definition to proceed with this concept, so it is not just a figure of speech — it would not be a correct representation of the power distribution of this nation. I think you would have to agree with that, since it is a fact that not all people in this country have the same amount of power as though we were a pure democracy. Right?
Since an equal distribution of the “weighted average” cannot possibly represent the power structure of this country, the numbers would have to be adjusted to reflect the actual power of each person. Since we use dollars to value our economy, the more dollars you have, the larger the power you weild. Right?
There can be no other way to rationalize the power distribution we are talking about, nor can you exclude the wealthy class from that power structure since they form the most massive part of it.
You need to understand that when people talk about an unequal wealth distribution, they are really talking about a “weighted average” of power in which the wealthy class has 99% of the power and the rest only 1%. In other words, an inverse relationship.
Again, he who owns the gold makes the rules. Thus it has been throughout history and we are no exception.
(2) You state “Quoting Adam Smith is a lot like “buffet Christians” quoting the Bible. Everyone, including you, take from it That which validates or does not conflict with their personal perspective and “world view”. So it’s not much good for resolving interpretative differences”, which is not true.
I quoted Adam Smith, particularly that passage which the wealthy class never use, to demonstrate to you how far we have drifted from the “ideal” in terms of free trade. You NEED to understand that particular passage to understand why this neocon government is wrong in everything it does, and the reason is EXACTLY what Adam Smith says.
I think it is here, at the crux of my argument, that your lack of understanding of economics makes it difficult for you to understand what I am trying to tell you. EVERYTHING is based on economics for the wealthy class. NOTHING ELSE matters. If you can’t understand that, we have nothing to talk about anymore. I have worked with them for decades and they think VERY differently from the 99%. I cannot explain why, but it is nonetheless a fact. I think it is partly genetic and partly the way they are born and raised. The best example I can use is that they think of themselves as royalty does, a class apart and infinitely better than anyone else. If you are not born into their class, you will virtually never become accepted by them. I am sure you will not like that statement from me, but it is a fact nevertheless.
(3) The issue of the growth in the Military-Industrial Complex since WWII is also an indisputable fact. It is a reality that lies beneath our phenomenal growth since WWII, but most economists do not understand this dynamic. It is as I said. Without the growth of the Military-Industrial Complex we would have undoubtedly fallen into a severe recession or depression after WWII. Take a look at the US economy right after WWI to get some comparison.
(4) The details of the misuse of Social Security are in integral part of this scenario. They were used to fund a military expansion that would not otherwise have been possible, and an attempt was made to have them bear the tax burden for Johnson’s ill-conceived Great Society. Again, you must understand the economics behind this to understand how important the reason are. The results are what you see around you. The US economy in shambles because of unconstrained military spending, most of which was off the books at highly inflated costs compared to previous military expenditures. Plus, Social Security was used to fund ALL the other social programs, which it was never meant to do.
(5) Sorry, but from an economic standpoint NONE of this is correct:
You state “American businesses of all forms and sizes exist for one reason and one reason only. That is to enable those who invest in them and start and/or run them to convert THEIR ideas, money, intelligence, competence and efficiency into a “better life” for THEM. This is not new…it has always been so. Let’s call these people the “movers and shakers” who, in making THEIR life better, increase GDP and thus make life better for many, many more.
“Movers and shakers” require others to succeed since the effect of any given individual is limited unless multiplied. The term “need” is much better than the term “job”, because it more accurately reflects normal evolution over time as to duty, responsibility, accountability, and “overall return on investment”.
OF COURSE “movers and shakers” perfer “…to maximize profits, not create jobs.” Their purpose is “profit”. If they are successful, they become YOUR despised “wealthy”. If not, they are no different than any other or the relatively “unsuccessful” that may still live in a 4,000 sq. ft. McMansion. Any “social benefit” is incidental and seldom part of a business plan unless an enterprised is owned by it’s workers.
It is but “common sense” to utilize services of others at the lowest and cheapest common denonominator. OPTIMUM profit requires appropriate balance between too few and too many “help”. The “private sector” has given us the 80-20 rule, from which the first 20% of resources (well and efficiently expended) results in 80% of what you are after. The decreasing “rate of return thereafter, however, may still be profitable (to some point).
There has never been and there will never be “regulation as to what the wealthy…do with…” THEIR money. If they can make a better “return” by buying farmland or rental properties rather than fooling with a more “labor-intensive” investment, that is for them and not you to decide. It is for “wise and responsible “ government (oxymoron?) to devise tax incentives and penalties to induce “movers and shakers” towards investments deemed more in the “public interest”.
You appeal to common sense, but common sense quite frankly is nearly always wrong. In this case it is VERY wrong. Clearly, aside from a severe lack of economic knowledge, you have fallen into the trap of seeing the wealthy class through “rose colored glasses” for reasons which I cannot understand. Much of this is simply the Reaganomics “trickle down” theory which has proven to be false. The wealthy are not concerned with others, but only with their own bottom line. There HAS BEEN regulation as to what the wealthy do with (their) money. For example, the trade and banking legislation passed after they forced the global economy to crash in 1929. This above is does not make sense, but a hodge-podge of urban legend. I would give you more of a direct answer item by item but it is not possible to impart the necessary historical and economic data in this venue. It would ONLY be the wealthy’s money IF they use the 99% to generatge the profits for them. The 99% provides not only workers but a distribution system, police and military to protect them and their investments (i.e. why do you think the wealthy want to continue military spending, aside from the profits they make). A nuclear aircraft carrier makes a powerful statement when it comes to backing up demands when diplomacy fails. The British knew this and prospered for hundreds of years as an empire, until we took over from them. In other words, the wealthy do NOT live in a vacuum of their own making, which is a major reason they should pay their taxes. Failure to do so will inevitably threaten this nation.
You MUST do more research on you own in these areas, because you are not correct in these beliefs.
(6) NO, absolutely not! It is completely incorrect to state that the “supply and demand” of labor in the U.S. is substantially the same the world over, although results may differ. Why would you expect otherwise? It remains for each of us to get the best possible price for our time, mind and skills”. You have missed my point completely about the advantage of cost of capital and increased profits resulting from jobs being moved overseas.
(7) This is simplistic. “When we go to school, to college, and study for advanced degrees, we seek advantage over others as instinctively as we eat and breathe. Why? Because each of us fundamentally understands that “life” on all levels is “survival of the fittest”. Get used to it because this will never change.”
I am NOT talking about survival of the fittest on any level you are familiar with in everyday life. That is a given. I AM talking about measures taken by the wealthy class that deliberately endanger their workforce, which are two entirely different things. Check out the labor movement in the US, particularly during the early 20th century. It has horror stories to match Bangladesh.
(8) You state “Look in the mirror. At the end of a process you are a product of you now vocally object to the “unfairness of it all”? Methinks you “protest a bit too much”. But when you think clearly, I like you on “my side”!”
I don’t mean to be unkind, but I don’t see any way we can possibly communicate without you being able to understand even the rudiments of the concepts I am presenting, and I simply don’t see any way to do that. We have no common language to express critical ideas.
It is, unfortunately, you who are not thinking clearly and you certainly are not protesting enough against the injustices of the wealthy class. I think you will come to regret your naiety rather soon.
Good luck to both of us. We will need it.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@PseudoTurtle,

(1) I didn’t leave the wealthy our of the “controlling class”. I merely pointed out that those wealthy who merely accept and enjoy the advantages wealth offers are quite different from those who seek to be “controllers”. I believe the former are by far the more numerous in American society and the latter those who pose a threat to it.
Accordingly, I object to a characterization of a malevolent “wealthy class” that I do not believe to exist.

In the end, of course, it does not matter what I believe or what you believe, but what is the truth. It has always been that those of “wealth” have disproportional influence and power. Those who are particularly handsome, or beautiful, or intelligent or innovative also have “advantage”. But there is always the option to use such advantage personally, for good or bad; or collectively, for good or bad. The very manner in which you fear and loathe your “wealthy class” addresses only those who think and act in concert against American society in such manner as to replace it with something quite different.

I have no doubt that such people exist but, by their very nature trust and cooperation would, of necessity to the game they play, be on a level of gangs who require the killing of an innocent to “prove” dedication and to “bond with the organization above all else. By the very nature of such ultimately antisocial behavoir this would be but a tiny percentige of ANY group, even smaller among the American “wealthy”.

If we are not swept into conspiracy theories of the Illuminati, perhaps the best example would have been Nazi Germany. Over time, this was a society corrupt to it’s very core, increasingly inefficient for that very reason, in which everyone has to fear and watch everyone else. It takes a “special” kind of person to step onto that train and stay on it as far as it goes. So if we limit the exercise of “the power” in these United States by such people it should be obvious that far, far less than 99% is under the organized control of those we should all fear.

(2) As to Adam Smith’s wariness of businessmen and the “collusive nature of interests…monopolies, price-fixing…”, these dangers were well understood back in the time of Teddy Roosevelt and the “Trust Busters”, a time in which your 99% vs. 1% was much nearer the truth. I agree America could use another Teddy about now to counter respective dysfunctional financial, insurance, medical, pharmaceutical and educational “establishments”. If you have a name worthy of serious consideration, now would be a good time!

You say the “wealthy” think different from the “rest of us”. Well so do the homeless, as do those next up the ladder and so on right up to wherever you draw your “red line” at the bottom of “the wealthy”. Cattlemen “think different” as do subsistance farmers and factory farmers, and those who grow or smuggle drugs. American society is, in fact, a rather chunky emulsion of differences that neither blend nor separate out very well. Anyone intenting to “take control” faces a task like picking up a milk shake by the straw. So long as I can “accept” what I see in the mirror each morning, what others think, including the “wealthy” makes no difference.

(3-4) The military-industrial complex is, by it’s very nature, a muddle of gambles that have, against all odds, kept man thus far into the nuclear age from destroying all life on this planet. As a kid that remembers “duck and cover” that’s far more than I expected. The world is, truth be told, far more “at peace” in terms of open warfare and daily deaths, than it has been on most of history. And yes, it has helped to raise standards more rapidly and higher than ever before. So I’m not ready to start gambling on how much it can be starved before Russia or China begin to consider things they best not. In your mind Social Security funded “this and that”. In my mind it funded the endless welfare state that Johnson founded. It funded what it funded, and it’s gone.

(5) “The wealthy are not concerned with others, but only with their own bottom line.” I have assumed this to be the case all my life, they haven’t bothered me thus far, and so I’m OK with that. One does what they can. \

Yes, I think the government can and should do a lot of things to ensure the better “meshing” of a dynamic consumer society and “the wealthy” in a “win-win scenario, including more effective taxation. As things stand now, “they” can but anything they want. If they WERE to “take over” and create a “military-industry slave state” can’t you see that THEIR options would be less and not more?

(6) Anyone can see the cost advantage of labor rates between Ameericans and overseas labor. But when you factor in the different languages, laws, quality and consistency of materials, and time and cost of transportation the gap will continue to narrow. In the early fifties, Japan made junk. In the sixties it was TVs, transitioning into taking over the imported car market (with the Germans) from a long-established British presence. Economic “eco-systems” spring up, mature and die all the time, largely at random.

(7) What examples can you cite of “measures taken by the wealthy that deliberately endanger their work force”? With the current and predictable rate of automation the “work force” necessary will become smaller and smaller and management more and more efficient. If anything, “the wealthy” could probably hire enough disaffected youth to stage any kind of revolution wanted because “the devil finds work for idle hands”. American society, education, wants and desires of the early twentiety century is so remote from that of today as to be utterly incomparable in any meaningful way.

(8) I don’t know hom much longer Reuters is going to indulge our off-topic exchanges, but I’m pretty good at comprehending English if enough appropriate words are used well enough. If you keep trying, I’ll keep trying.

I agreed that anyone truly naive sooner or later pays a price. But from my perspective,“protesting” what I perceive as the “natural order of things” since time immemorial is what is naive. Far too many of your words make no sense, and so the logical conclusion is that you need to achieve more effective communication or less complex concepts.

There are few subjects impossible to simplify and express briefly with clarity. In every circumstance the person attempting communication is responsible for the success or failure of the effort.

And mutual understanding might improve were you open to the idea that some of the shadows which clearly horrify you are, in truth, mere shadows. Best!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

@ OOTS –

I, too, am amazed at how long Reuters has let us carry on this personal conversation, but it is not likely to be much longer. So, I assume this will be my final message to you.

—————————————

You state, “Far too many of your words make no sense, and so the logical conclusion is that you need to achieve more effective communication or less complex concepts.

There are few subjects impossible to simplify and express briefly with clarity. In every circumstance the person attempting communication is responsible for the success or failure of the effort.

And mutual understanding might improve were you open to the idea that some of the shadows which clearly horrify you are, in truth, mere shadows.”

——————————————–

Unfortunately, the subject by its very nature cannot be made less complex. Of necessity, what I have presented is nothing more than a “sound bite” of what is necessary to understand how we got here and why, strictly from an economics point of view.

The key, as I said and for many more reasons than I could possibly cover, to understanding this situation is to be able to understand what is driving the global economy economically at the present, the historical backdrop for it, and what is wrong with it.

I disagree that it is entirely my responsibility for success or failure of the effort, as you say. Communication is a two-way street, which implies half the burden is on you to understand what I am attempting to say. Sometimes I think you expect me to impart that knowledge without much effort on your part, but this is not possible. Learning is often very difficult, especially when you must discard some preconceived notions about the world.

Given the venue and time frame of this exchange what you want from me is not feasible.

The ideas that horrify me are, in truth, NOT mere shadows, but real economic events that threaten the economy with another Great Depression.

In a nutshell, that is what I see coming.

To “fast forward” your knowledge of contemporary economics — thus putting aside the issues of who is responsible and why, because clearly we will never agree on that without much further discussion at a level and time frame not possible (that does NOT imply I “agree to disagree”, but merely an acknowledgement that what we want to do is impossible given the circumstances) — I suggest you begin by reading the weekly column of a person (Doug Noland) who I believe truly understands what is happening in the global economy, which is a rarity in these times.

His commentary should give you some idea of what I think is happening and why, but without any assignation of blame. It is straight “hard core” contemporary economics.

In the end, the onus has to be on you to understand what is going on, so it is entirely up to you to read his column on a weekly basis. Some are more pertinent than others, but all deal with the global economy as I see it today.

—————————————————

Here is the link to the website containing the most current articles still available:

http://www.prudentbear.com/search/label/ Credit%20Bubble%20Bulletin#.UYPBBMqU-yw

I suggest you begin with these articles to give you some background, but you should read all of them to bring yourself up to date, then continue to read them weekly.

http://www.prudentbear.com/2012/12/2012- in-review.html#.UYPBV8qU-yw

http://www.prudentbear.com/2013/01/issue s-2013.html#.UYPDusqU-yw

http://www.prudentbear.com/2013/01/a-cre dit-theory-and-ro-ro-update_11.html#.UYP EAMqU-yw

For me, his weekly commentary is a “must read” to stay current on economic conditions in the world.

By the way, I notice that while you admitted that you didn’t understand some of my words and/or concepts, you also didn’t appear to make any attempt to look them up, or do further research. I suggest, if you don’t understand the language being used in Noland’s articles, you not skip over the words, but try to understand them in detail. It may be difficult at first, but there is no other way. As they say, you must “do the math” to understand the issues.

It is all I can reasonably do for you under the circumstances.

Best of luck.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

It comes natural to me to be an advocate of free will. I believe that there is a God of creation and his order of the universe is one of free will. This means that all people need to act according to their conscience. A woman who wants to abort a child should be allowed to make that decision.

This is a decision to kill and others must be allowed to do everything possible to protect that life. The woman who decides to abort has a right to be as evil as that decision to kill innocent life makes her. Others have a right to be as caring of that life and decent as they are moved to be and to move the powers that be to become so inclined as well.

Posted by keebo | Report as abusive

@ OOTS –

I wanted to mention that I did not get my ideas from Noland’s articles, but they were fully formed long before I happened to read his weekly commentary.

I read it every week as a “reality check” against my own opinions about where the global economy is headed.

Another real time gauge I track every day is the DOW, which gives me some idea of how large the global bubble might be.

I noticed the DOW just went over 15,000 this morning, which is yet another new historical high, courtesy of the continuing bailouts to the wealthy.

It is an indication of how unstable the economy really is on a daily basis.

The ONLY thing holding the global economy from crashing is the continuation of those bailouts. When they stop, the global economy WILL crash.

The “quick check” link is:

http://money.cnn.com/data/markets/dow/

But for any real market analysis, I use this one:

http://www.google.com/finance?q=INDEXDJX  :.DJI

If you go to this site and click on “zoom: all”, it will show you the unadjusted market trend since May, 1973. This gives you a pretty good idea of how large the bubble has grown over the past 40 years.

There are solid reasons for the growth of this bubble and the underlying housing crash in 2007-08, some of which I touched on in my comments to you.

If you click instead on “zoom: 5yr”, you can see the supposed “recovery” that is due to the Fed’s QE program.

Staying with the 5 year window for a moment, If you take the percentage change from the low in 2009 to the high reached today — that is, the CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) from March 6, 2009 (6,627) to today (15,000) is about 9.6%.

So the DOW (as a proxy of the stock market) has recovered from its low to today by roughly 9.6% (trendwise) and 56% in total.

If you take that same CAGR of 9.6% and extrapolate it for, say, for another 5 years, the DOW would be at:

16,450 in 2014,
18,000 in 2015,
19,750 in 2016,
21,650 in 2017, and
23,725 in 2018!

Considering the state of the global economy, do you really believe this market will grow by another 58% during the next 5 years?

Considering ALL of that is debt, with no real growth at all?

Considering the global economy is presently going into recession?

“Houston, I think we have a problem!”

If Main Street isn’t getting the money, then who is?

Considering the wealthy class has had 5 of best years of profitiability EVER?

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, “it’s the wealthy, stupid!”,

You can argue they are blameless until hell freezes over, but follow the money and you will have to admit it is all going to the weatlhy class.

As a matter of fact, the massive shift in incomes to the wealthy class is the primary reason for the global bubble, which is about to crash — probably later this year — and is no other reasonable solution I can think of.

Common sense says the wealthy class is to blame.

I just wanted to make one final point that no one seems to have noticed, which is the massive discrepancy between the growth in the markets (using the DOW as a proxy) versus the dismal state of the economy for everyone else.

NONE of this is real.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@ OOTS –

Evidently, Reuters has pulled the article.

Let me know if you received my last couple of messages.

I will monitor the link for a bit.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@PseudoTurtle,

I appreciate your referral to Mr. Noland’s “Prudent Bear” observations. I did not expect to read much optimism there and did not, but at this point in life and this century I consider myself more pragmatist than optimist.

His interests and insights are interesting and credible, although I admit my quest was his overall observation and perceived major trends. Since you vouch for his competency, I did not challenge his economic credentials nor drown myself in excessive detail. My search was for information as might cause me to rethink some or all of my preexisting “world view” that somewhat collides with yours. I found none.

==============

April 26th: “technology…improving efficiencies in the real economy…”.

April 19th: “The true scope of borrowings and leverage employed all along the commodities/resources chain is unknown. …the Fed is tasked with maintaining price stability and achieving full employment…it has eased policy to unprecedented levels to lower the unemployment rate, which may be highly counter-productive”

April 12th: “too much liquidity for too long having chased a limited amount of global risk assets. 
The Fed lacks an analytical framework for understanding the causes and consequences of financial instability.
I see sinking commodities prices as one more data point supporting the view of failed central bank policy doctrine…the “global leveraged speculating community” is one huge accident in the making.

4/8: There is a fear that the government, or Bernanke in particular and the Federal Reserve, is pursuing a policy that will lead to the collapse of the dollar.

4/10: “The Federal Housing Administration, a major provider of mortgages to homebuyers throughout the housing downturn, will exhaust its reserves this year, according to White House budget projections…

2012: “Despite four years of unprecedented monetary stimulus, the U.S. recovery again disappointed.  Despite ultra-loose monetary policies around the world, global growth slowed meaningfully in 2012. Social unrest became a pressing European issue. 

Issues 2013” “…as the Masters of the Universe’s assets under management swell to unimaginable dimensions, they’ll have reason to fret more about market liquidity and the tactics of fellow Masters.  I still don’t believe the euro makes it.

Credit Theory and “Ro, Ro Update”: we are in that late-stage of a multi-decade global Credit Bubble.  Treasury debt has surreptitiously further inflated incomes throughout the economy, spreading inflationary purchasing power in a more balanced…fashion…inflated real assets, especially anything providing an income stream (i.e. farm land, rental homes, commercial real estate, etc.)

Extraordinarily loose monetary policy risks sparking credit bubbles that threaten to tip the world back into financial crisis…the International Monetary Fund…global financial stability report…cautioned that policy reforms were needed urgently to restore long-term health to the financial system before the long-term dangers of monetary stimulus materialized. As much as 20% of non-bank corporate debt in the weakest euro-area economies is unsustainable…”

==============

I leave this full-immersion baptism into economic depths more than ever convinced that assets of “the wealthy” are as much, if not more, challenged and at risk today than those of “we, the people”. You will have to point me in another direction if I am to comprehend your conceptual hate of an American “wealthy class”. That ball is “in your court”.

There is clearly no cohesiveness or “common agenda” by “the wealthy” yet evident on either domestic or world stage. Frankly, even if there are smart people here and there that really DO understand the present economic chaos, picture losing control of a car into a curve too fast in “real time with the driver reacting in “slow motion”. Governmental response is similarly glacial in nature, always too little too late.

Only an idiot would dismiss the distinct possibility of another Great Depression considering all forces in play. NO ONE can predict what would happen with meaningful accuracy because so many significant economic dynamics differ. As always, wealth and/or preparation can mitigate associated challenges to varying extent.

Retirees like me are not secure like rocks but will be caught in and have to ride the current wherever it goes as best we can. I see no benefit to endless hand wringing and worry. With no 401(k) or private pension to lose, what will be, will be. Polar bears don’t worry about global warming even though greatly affected by it. Best!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

@PseudoTurtle,

“…do you really believe this market will grow by another 58% during the next 5 years?” NOPE! But I have no “skin in that game”. “Houston, I think we have a problem!” YUP!

“If Main Street isn’t getting the money, then who is? Considering the wealthy class has had 5 of best years of profitiability EVER?…follow the money and you will have to admit it is all going to the weatlhy class…no one seems to have noticed…the massive discrepancy between the growth in the markets (using the DOW as a proxy) versus the dismal state of the economy for everyone else.
NONE of this is real.”

You argue for economic “fairness”. While a noble goal in the abstract, there is no precedent in real life. Few who have “made our own way” over the years expect day to day life to be “fair”. It isn’t. The wise accept that which they cannot change.

For various reasons my primary financial “assets” are in farm land held as a “hedge” against bad money and bad times. It has risen in value over twenty plus years some 500%. The rise may or may not hold until I sell.

Should I hate someone who sells today if I get less by selling later? Their decision, their gain, I’m glad for them today. Somebody makes a boatload of money in stocks? Many also lost, as typically do those in bonds when stocks rise. To me life itself as a gamble, day by day. I “play” as best I can, conservatively; but there will always be winners and losers. If I “hate” that, I would “hate” life itself. No thanks.

Hate in any form appears to me more detrimental to a long and content existence than smoking! I hope, but do not expect, to live to 100 with full mental facility, on my own. Wish me luck!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

@ OOTS –

I recommended Doug Noland because of his excellent analysis. What he does is essentially the same thing I did for quite a few years in the high tech industry as both Plant Controller and Finance Manager, so I am in a knowledgeable position to judge the quality of the financial/economic analysis he is doing.

Financial analysis is useful mainly to understand and project currect economic trends into the future. If I say so myself, I was quite good at my job.

If you want to understand economics from my viewpoint — something which I said I could not due because of the complexity and medium we are using — you should continue to monitor his analysis each week, which is what I do in order to follow what is happening in the “real world”, not the one portrayed on Reuters which is “vegepap”.

What you are looking at from Noland’s viewpoint (and mine, because they are the same) is how the wealthy see the world.

They are not concerned with abortion rights, gay rights, gun control, or any of the other “hot button” issues people tend to get so excited about, but which really mean nothing in the grander scheme of things.

I do not argue for economic “fairness”, since it is far too late for that argument to have any meaning. That argument should have been made decades ago to the wealthy class. Instead, Greenspan and Bernanke have given in to wealthy demands to keep money cheap to increase their profits. The last 5 years Bernanke has even indulged in printing money, which is economic and fiscal insanity.

You said you don’t see much sense in studying history from the last century, since it is no longer applicable, but you are wrong because we are now repeating those same economic mistakes again, only this time adding fuel to the fire in the same manner as Wiemar Germany.

What you STILL do not seem to understand is that you as an individual cannot live in isolation from what is coming any more than they can.

You are also wrong that it is they who stand to lose the most. You state “I leave this full-immersion baptism into economic depths more than ever convinced that assets of “the wealthy” are as much, if not more, challenged and at risk today than those of “we, the people”. You will have to point me in another direction if I am to comprehend your conceptual hate of an American “wealthy class”. That ball is “in your court”.”

The coming market crash and depression to follow will make the 1929 crash and the Great Depression seem like a ripple on a pond. There is NO other way to realistically assess the global damage that will be done.

Considering the size of the global economy at this point compared to 1929 is like comparing a biplane to a Boeing 747. Considering the total integration of global supply system, there will be massive suffering around the world as populations crash from 7 billion people to a fraction of that overnight. We are likely to see resource wars begin in earnest as nations fight to survive the crash.

THAT is what I see coming quite soon, mainly because we have reached the limits of growth of the Industrial Revolution.

Do you think you can actually “sit that one out”?

You state, “There is clearly no cohesiveness or “common agenda” by “the wealthy” yet evident on either domestic or world stage”, but I would argue it is there in the market trend of the past 40 years. IF you choose to see the truth, it is quite evident.

So, if there is no surviving the next global financial crash, why should I care? I have a rather perverse personality. I would rather know the truth, and be able to deal with it as best I can, no matter how little control I may be able to actually manage. It’s simply my nature. As I have said in my comments many times, I am a “realist”. I can be nothing else.

You apparently do not choose to see the real world, but cope with it by evading the truth. So be it! Apparently, we have reached an impasse. Clearly, you will not believe what you cannot accept.

I have done my best to get you to see my point of view, but I think it is a place you cannot go, no matter how much my data presents a “convincing scenario”.

I don’t blame you. It is not easy to stare straight into the end of the world as we know it, without the mind rebelling.

On the off chance you want to take “one last shot at me”, I will continue to monitor this link for awhile yet.

Best of luck to you!

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@ OOTS —

While we are essentiall “off line” so to speak, assuming no other people will be actively reading this link, I want to tell you why I hate the wealthy class with a passion.

While it may be easy for you to have a “live and let live attitude” towards them — apparently, because you have suffered no real personal loss because of the wealthy class and their never-ending greed — I, on the other hand, have been dealt a series of serious financial blows in terms of job losses for both myself and my wife (who also worked in the high tech industry) when they began to shift manufacturing plants overseas to Asia during the dot com disaster.

While we have survived, we have also lost just about any hope of being able to retire as you have, having been wiped out financially by these evil little bastards.

THAT is why I hate them with a passion.

Having worked with these people in a management capacity for several decades, I fully understand how they operate and why they do what they do.

I literally WANT the economy to crash hard, just so I can see others taken down like I have been, especially the wealthy class who are totally responsible for my present circumstance.

You need to “walk a mile in my shoes” to understand my hatred of these bastards, before condemning me for hating them.

You simply CANNOT understand how much I hate them, or why.

Posted by PseudoTurtle | Report as abusive

@PseudoTurtle,

First two paragraphs…I believe you.

I may continue to monitor his analysis from time to time as a “reality check” on Reuters, etc. But one need not follow all the actors and the dialog of a soap opera or tragedy if one understands the “plot” of the writer(s). That’s more the level of my interest. Binoculars, not a telescope or a microscope.

Your impression of the effects of actions of Greenspan and Bernanke coincide with mine without regard to the “why”. I didn’t say history had no lessons, but that the dynamics in the world and the speed of reactions possible with computers make for many more possible “outcomes” of the same mistakes. So I do not question the very real possibility of economic catastrophe world wide, but do question it’s effects.

The elderly lady I bought our farmland from had lived on it with her family through the Great Depression. They were “subsistence farmers”. That was not a “life of luxury” in the very best of times, and yet she told me that as far as they were concerned their lives were very little affected because they grew, raised, harvested or slaughtered almost everything they ate canning extra in spring and summer and fall to see them through the winter (and then some).

Those of us with land away from the city can store away seed, fertilizer, build up gardens and a greenhouse with compost, and easily “co-op with other individuals trading our intentional surplus(es) for theirs. Rabbits and chickens are quick and easy meat and eggs if one no longer has to go to work for someone else. If you’re not familiar with it, the entire published archive of Mother Earth news is available on CD with endless information to help us “city folk” become relatively self-sufficient.

And so our little place here in relatively sparsely populated America is infinitely more secure and defensible that in crowded Europe with all it’s increasingly desperate masses. Yes, I expect “…massive suffering around the world as populations crash from 7 billion people to a fraction of that overnight [and] resource wars…in earnest…[between]…nations…” fight to survive. But by far the worst of these effects will be south of America and overseas. Not here.

Here in America, with rain-renewed ponds (with fish) out of the cities, yes, unless the army marches to confiscate private property we can and will “sit that one out”. We can purify water, generate minimal electricity. And if the army does march, things will be easier and life better here in America than in more populated countries. Canada should do just fine too. Act…don’t try to react.

Your 12:22 AM UTC post at long last allows me to understand “where you are coming from” in hating “the wealthy”. You have good personal reason to.

And yet, as I have tried again and again to explain, you can’t make unsubstantiated and hateful comments in public to people that have not themselves “suffered directly at the hands of the wealthy” and “come across” as a credible voice worthy of reading time. This is why many just dismiss what you have to say.

I think that’s a waste, because you DO have important opinions worthy of sharing and respect. You REALLY need to separating the “wheat” of your experience and knowledge from the “chaff” of your personal hatred.

I don’t condemn you for hating those individuals that have wronged you personally. I question the wisdom of repeatedly allowing your hatred to intellectually shoot yourself in the foot again and again. That does not hurt anyone but YOU.

Accept that “they” no longer affect you and move on with your considerable gifts. You can still be of worth, live reasonably well, and find contentment in excellence at a slower pace. Best!

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

It is easy for someone who would not consider abortion under any circumstances to make these comments of it’s right or wrong.The Right to Lifers will argue that with all the advances technology and science has achieved that there should be no need to terminate a fetus due to the mother’s life. However I disagree, it’s almost like putting a blanket statement on abortion as a whole; not as it truly is as the individual.

Posted by realblyss | Report as abusive