Comments on: Austerity is a moral issue Wed, 26 Nov 2014 19:47:54 +0000 hourly 1 By: Sertorius Mon, 06 Oct 2014 16:21:27 +0000 A financial crisis engineered by the super-rich to fleece the markets is being used by the super-rich to get rid of social programs they’ve long sought to destroy.

They are so greedy in the short-term that they will destroy their own and everybody else’s long-term prosperity.

It’s too bad that so many well to do people have bought the argument that getting rid of social programs will lead to greater prosperity, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Bringing us back to the gilded age will not be beneficial to anyone, especially since with today’s technology a lack of regulation could more easily lead to pollution that could cause the premature deaths of untold numbers of people.

By: roger_erickson Sun, 02 Jun 2013 03:04:56 +0000 “businesses have slowly and quietly eliminated millions of” jobs doing things we already know how – an why – to do. No surprise there.

Seems the only thing missing is new goals appropriate for all the manpower being made available?

What are we doing instead of exploring new options … watching the 1% wallow in depravity?

You’re saying that humanity is bored? And that the 1% most sociopathic are sequestering static assets from their communities? For what purpose? Just the hoarders acting without restraint or community regulation?

Who lobbied for this? NeoCons?

By: OneOfTheSheep Wed, 22 May 2013 22:52:34 +0000 @flashrooster,

“OOTS: Let me start…”. No. I choose to ignore where you only repeat yourself.

I asked the legitimate question “What was America doing that it quit doing? As usual you ignore the question YOU cannot answer, substitute your own topic as to randomness in economics, and proceed to address that instead. You have not the foggiest concept of legitimate debate. Worse, you then utterly fail to establish your new “point” as credible.

You argue that there is certainty in economic theory and economic outcomes. How, then, would you explain the continuing cycles of “good times” and “bad times” that economists do not predict or perceive until “after the fact”, and can not timely and effectively manage?

“…there are people…”. Who? How is such a vague enemy identified and confronted? “Corporate America”? Last time I looked American corporations remain THE major source of “middle class” jobs (i.e. people working for others). So if you would take “corporate America” down, you tank the economy permanently…kind of like applying a tourniquet around the neck. Such a “cure” has worse effect than the worse than the disease.

“…the demise of labor unions…” is the direct result of a majority of Americans rejecting the right of a privileged minority to “live better” than they do at THEIR expense. Primarily in the East they control the building trades, but traditionally their presence has added unnecessary costs into the cost of American made cars, the costs of government and government contracts…wherever this expiring malignancy still clings to life.

When the “…the deficit and the debt…” originate with bloated “…government programs that help everyone…” INCLUDING “the wealthy”, that’s what you target for reduction. The doctor doesn’t look at your head when you break a toe.

Every “culture” looks first to their own interests, including corporate management. Profit is their sole reason to exist.

The legal profession has all but taken over American politics, and so complexity and “playing one side against the other” skew perceptions and obscure remedies, , the public interest be damned.. The primary agenda of unionized government employees is to enlarge and perpetuate their little feifdoms at the expense of everyone else, the public interest be damned.

You seem unaware that liberals and conservatives must find common cause if there is to be a way forward. I would fully support the passing of legislation that would give “…tax breaks to companies bringing jobs back to America.,..” and end “…tax breaks for companies that…[take]…jobs overseas.

I agree with you that Americans should have access to cheaper drugs from Canada. Actually, they do, but “our” IRS won’t let you deduct such legitimate medical expenses from your taxes.

I agree that Medicare SHOULD negotiate “…lower drug prices from pharmaceutical companies.” America’s Supreme Court has long been a “loose cannon” as evidenced in ways far too numerous to go into here. Both conservatives and liberals have “blood on their hands”. I see no cure.

I agree that “…our healthcare system is broken and grossly illogical.” But unlike you I do not rush to replace it with an even more complex and expensive unproven alternate. While I do not favor change for the sake of change, I very strongly favor intelligent change.

Your “life view” and thinking, as I have said before, are distinctly juvenile. Your mind seems arrested at the point just before graduation when youth is convinced they know everything there is to know…the sword fresh from the fire not yet tempered and seasoned by experience. A world of blacks and whites with no grey.

You bristle when I point out that your views are fundamentally socialist. You seem ignorant that the sole reason there is no longer a Socialist Party in these United States is because, beginning with the terms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, every single plank in the Socialist party platform of the early nineteen hundred is today long-established government policy.

The fundamental difference in our respective perspectives is that I see our present government as “the problem”, whereas you see ALL government as “the solution”. I have always appreciated the saying of the French: “If you’re young and not a Socialist you have no heart. As you get older, if you remain a Socialist, you have no brains.” Today the French themselves are mostly Socialist. That speaks volumes of their society and it’s values.

By: flashrooster Wed, 22 May 2013 19:57:34 +0000 OOTS: Let me start by stating that you can’t expect people to take you too seriously when you refuse to even agree on the accepted definition of extreme. That’s just denial. You just avoided that entirely, that and the simple challenge I proposed that no one with any conviction in their positions should be afraid of.

That said, you wrote: “Well you said “America was focusing on strengthening the middle class.” How? What was America doing that it quit doing? Looks to me like one thing followed the other rather randomly.

Randomly? When it comes to economics, very little, if anything, is random. However, there are people who would like you to believe that. The Goebbels effect. There are many factors that have hurt the American Middle Class. To name just a few: 1.) allowing corporate America to take over our government (that is probably the biggest single blow to we, the people. And this is well documented. See Hedrick Smith’s Who Stole the American Dream) 2.) the demise of labor unions; 3.) cutting taxes to historical lows for the rich. (This has put us in the unfortunate situation we’re in now, where conserfs argue that the deficit and the debt must come down at the expense of government programs that help everyone except the wealthy. The wealthy don’t need the government. The rest of us do, whether you choose to admit that or not.) 4.) the cultivation of a corporate culture that shows no allegiance to our country and will do just about anything to increase their profits. 5.) The GOP’s legislative bias against the Middle Class. (For example, they blocked a bill that would have given tax breaks to companies bringing jobs back to America and ended tax breaks for companies that took jobs overseas; or preventing Americans from buying cheaper drugs from Canada; or passing a law banning Medicare executives from negotiating for lower drug prices from pharmaceutical companies; or their Supreme Court nominations that put corporate interests above national interests, and declare that corporations are people. They most certainly are not. A corporation is a business structure, just like a union, or the Chamber of Commerce.

There are other issues hurting the US Middle Class and some were unavoidable due to expanding international markets. A lot of our problems are a result of #1. Take our healthcare system. Healthcare lobbyists pay our elected officials not to change healthcare. But our healthcare system is broken and grossly illogical. The only thing it does well is make lots of money for the top execs in the healthcare industry. It’s a serious burden to the American Middle Class. You call it the free market. The truth is, it’s plutocratic meddling, sacrificing America’s best interests for their own profits. We could do much better for the American people but the healthcare industry won’t let our government.

None of these things are random.

By: satori23 Wed, 22 May 2013 19:51:20 +0000 What? In times when we’re creating matter in vitro? At times when we lack room to store oil that keeps pouring out of the ground? People are not deprived because we lack resources; they’re deprived because malice found its way to root at the top. Universally speaking, there are far better things pretending… or better, ascending to the throne. Beliefs and consequences and all that…

Sure, parts of the globe will have remarkably sad evolution, which, in context of this thread could be remembered as policymaker’s choice… but as a whole, we’ll be much better off once turmoil is over.

There’s no lack of water on water world, it’s quite silly to read such stuff…


By: OneOfTheSheep Wed, 22 May 2013 18:38:31 +0000 @satori23:

“Would you engage in control of population or something?”

Were it up to me, in a heartbeat.

“You’re aware that even the worst case scenario isn’t bad at all?”

Maybe not to YOU. Dissatisfaction among those billions on the bottom of the world economic pie will only get worse.

What can those look forward to with no land, no money, no education, no skills, no job and little hope of any of these things? Yet they pop out more and more of themselves.

They and their children and their children’s children have no productive place in any society. They are simply surplus protoplasm, a mounting problem without solution, a blight upon the land.

They huddle together before the communal Television set and see the “good life” that even the “poor”, who drive in western countries, have; and they envy and hate. From them will come suicide bombers without end.

Only a fool would believe this real and increasing threat and suggest “…it isn’t so bad”. You have no clue as to the actual “worse case scenario”.

For much of the world there looms an ever increasing prospect of a Mad Max stone age world of depleted and inaccessible natural resources with a pitiful tiny population forever limited by available food, potable water, sickness, starvation and ever present war.

For Europe, the future may well be much like the world of Charles Dickens. No thanks.

By: VirtualThumb Wed, 22 May 2013 15:00:53 +0000 @OneOfTheSheep, Mr. Wapshott is suggesting in this editorial that Austerity is a moral issue. I’m suggesting otherwise … that Austerity is an economic theory, and economic theories have no way to consider morals in their equations. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how we get the masses to accept / buy into / live with any specific economic theory (that may or may not be any more correct than the next economic theory), becuase that theory will be no more capable of advancing any “moral aspirations” than the next.

Austerity is no more “morally wrong” for Europe than Quantitative Easing is “morally right” for the United States … both of these concepts are hogwash used by members of society that don’t want to accept any level of accountability for the state of that society. We all should have a moral drive to improve the state of our society to the best of our abilities. In my opinion, blaming another person’s situation in society on (insert reason here) is taking the easy way out … it’s much easier to assign blame than to personally attempt to do something to incite change. I don’t understand how, morally-speaking (mentally-speaking / emotionally-speaking) an advanced society can be OK with social Darwin-ism. There is a moral problem in Europe (and in the United States, for that matter), but it isn’t Austerity … it’s much more basic than some rogue economic theory.

By: satori23 Wed, 22 May 2013 08:44:22 +0000 You keep yelling about seven billions OneOfTheSheep, what’s up with that? Would you engage in control of population or something? You’re aware that even the worst case scenario isn’t bad at all? In hundred years, we’ll probably be where we’re now, that is with the same number of people in the world. There’s some decent research on the issue, check it out.

I’m pointing it out to calm you a bit, if you’d allow, some facts for your unfounded fears, so to say. There’s really no scarcity in the world of abundance brother. We’re throwing away half of the food we produce, every year. It’s sad and crazy and comforting at same time, look it up.

Come to think of it, in a very basic, some will look at it and say, that’s one faraway sense…, austerity is based on same logical fallacy that tries and fails to establish syllogism which supports conclusion about finite resources in infinite universe.


By: OneOfTheSheep Wed, 22 May 2013 07:53:01 +0000 @flashrooster,

“The United States spent several decades proving that by focusing on strengthening the Middle Class that the entire country prospers.” Gee, could you explain that a bit more? Flesh it out with a few facts?

As I understand it during the Great Depression, all the WPA and other “make work” programs did was keep people from starving. Worthwhile, but hardly an “economic miracle”.

It was WW II that brought about full employment plus employing many minorities and wives that had never seen a pay check. With Lend Lease, America produced arms and supplies for all Allies. Very, very profitable.

No consumer goods to spend that money on, so everyone bought War Bonds. End the war, cash the bonds, economic boom time.

One-time shot of a LOT of money into the American economy. Everyone building and buying houses, cars, making babies, going to college on the G.I. Bill, all those taxes rolling in allowed the building of the Interstate Highway System.

American money rebuilt Japan, but the money had to be spent on American goods. The Marshall Plan rebuilt Europe, but the money had to be spent here. The Korean War and the Cold War kept military spending very high. Sputnik was the challenge that sent America to the moon.

What’s missing? Well you said “America was focusing on strengthening the middle class.” How? What was America doing that it quit doing? Looks to me like one thing followed the other rather randomly.

Looks to me like you are a stranger to knowledge and facts, looking only at your perception of life and then creating a story consistent with it. I’ll tell you what happened. American businesses concentrated on increasing efficiency…produce more stuff to sell with fewer people.

Just like farmers quit farming the land and started farming the government programs. Business “follows the money”. Duh.

“We have to give the power back to the people. Or should I say, the people are going to have to take it back.”

I see. Another complainer anarchist, like Benny27! Pathetic.

By: OneOfTheSheep Wed, 22 May 2013 07:17:27 +0000 @Benny27,

I am not a facist. I am an “investor” of sort, owning outright some 90 acres of farm land I lease out to maintain a low tax rate while it appreciates. At 72, I’d BETTER “have mine” and make NO mistakes because I can’t go out and start all over again. And if anyone unilaterally decides they are entitled to something of mine, YOU BET my gun will stand ready to contribute to the “conversation”.

I have never said the United States is “utopia” or in any manner perfect. It remains a “work in process”. But I DO understand that “we, the people” must make many choices day after day from the ones available. Dreamers and wishful thinkers get “left in the dust” by pragmatists all the time, and then grouse about how unfair life is.

You complain constantly without honest suggestions for improvement. You say: “Oligopoly has tended to be overthrown by masses of the unwashed. Better stock up on ammo, because the more unfair the system, the less likely it will last forever.” So your sole idea of “change” is an inevitable revolution (by others…you would never risk anything).

“Companies are as rich as ever, yet refuse to do any more hiring.” Please. Companies have income and expenses. Until you read their balance sheet you have NO IDEA of their actual cash “reserves”, some of which may be reserved for expansion, anticipated litigation, or paying bills due in the next 30 days.

So long as their business is legitimate, what they do with THEIR cash is THEIR business, not yours. That you would presume them obligated to “start hiring” anyone and everyone because they have cash is truly laughable.

That’s on a par with the gal that calls her bank and says: “I can’t be overdrawn, I still have checks left”. How does it feel to be a living, breathing joke?