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4151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Pathological Science: climate scientists still deceiving? on: November 01, 2011, 01:41:11 PM
 'There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,’ ‘To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.’

(Where is BBG?)

The story so far: ten days ago a self-proclaimed "sceptical" climate scientist named Professor Richard Muller of Berkeley University, California, managed to grab himself some space in the Wall Street Journal (of all places) claiming that the case for global warming scepticism was over. Thanks to research from his Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures (BEST) project, Professor Muller stated confidently, we now know that the planet has warmed by almost one degree centigrade since 1950. What's more, he told the BBC's Today programme, there is no sign that this global warming has slowed down.

Cue mass jubilation from a number of media outlets which, perhaps, ought to have known better – among them, the Independent, the Guardian, The Economist and Forbes magazine. To give you an idea of their self-righteous indignation at the supposed ignorance of climate change deniers, here is the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson in full spate:

    We know that the rise in temperatures over the past five decades is abrupt and very large. We know it is consistent with models developed by other climate researchers that posit greenhouse gas emissions — the burning of fossil fuels by humans — as the cause. And now we know, thanks to Muller, that those other scientists have been both careful and honorable in their work.

    Nobody’s fudging the numbers. Nobody’s manipulating data to win research grants, as Perry claims, or making an undue fuss over a “naturally occurring” warm-up, as Bachmann alleges. Contrary to what Cain says, the science is real.

Problem is, Eugene, almost every word of those two paragraphs is plain wrong, and your smugness embarrassingly misplaced.

As you know, I had my doubts about Muller's findings from the start. I thought it was at best disingenuous of him to pose as a "sceptic" when there is little evidence of him ever having been one. As for his argument that the BEST project confounds sceptics by proving global warming exists – this was never more than a straw man.

Now, though, it seems that BEST is even worse than I thought. Here is what Muller claimed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme:

    In our data, which is only on the land we see no evidence of [global warming] having slowed down.

But this simply isn't true. Heaven forfend that a distinguished professor from Berkeley University should actually have been caught out telling a lie direct. No, clearly what has happened here is that Professor Muller has made the kind of mistake any self-respecting climate scientist could make: gone to press with some extravagant claims without having a smidgen of evidence to support them.

Here, to help the good professor out, is a chart produced by the Global Warming Policy Foundation's David Whitehouse. It was plotted from BEST's own figures.

Note how the 10 year trend from 2001 to 2010 – in flat contradiction of Muller's claims – shows no warming whatsoever.

What's odd that BEST appears to have gone to great trouble – shades of "hide the decline", anyone? – to disguise this inconvenient truth. Here is a graph released by BEST:

The GWPF's David Whitehouse is not impressed:

    Indeed Best seems to have worked hard to obscure it. They present data covering more almost 200 years is presented with a short x-axis and a stretched y-axis to accentuate the increase. The data is then smoothed using a ten year average which is ideally suited to removing the past five years of the past decade and mix the earlier standstill years with years when there was an increase. This is an ideal formula for suppressing the past decade’s data.

Muller's colleague Professor Judith Curry – who besides being a BEST co-author chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at America’s prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology – is even less impressed.

    There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn’t stopped,’ she said. ‘To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data, which is very unfortunate.’

4152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 01, 2011, 11:17:48 AM
CCP, Likewise, I respect your views very much.  I read your posts very carefully for your insights especially because we don't come at these things from the exact same point of view.  I know I am hardened in some of my views but I am always open to the political side of how to draw more people into what I call a conservative course of action, smaller government, freer enterprises and restored personal liberties. 

I did acknowledge one valid point in the piece - the two systems of justice, but I don't see where the author in Rolling Stone showed that crimes were committed.  He did give one example but it was after he had lost all credibility with me, so I would have to study it further to know.  It was your idea CCP that I like very much that law enforcement personnel too old (like me) to walk the beat should be trained in white collar areas instead of just given pay and pensions for youthful retirements if that is what is happening now.  If you can learn homicide and arson detective work, I can train you on bank accounting.  No doubt that isn't workable because of public union contracts, but the idea is correct, and (credit to Crafty) resources committed to finding and prosecuting of fraud and therefore deterring it is a worthwhile public purpose.

On the question of banking, it is certainly the most egregious of the so-called public-private relationships that we tend to hate in in every other industry, auto manufacturing, health care etc.  But we wanted it that way, didn't we?  What I don't get is that if the bankers are doing exactly what they are allowed to do by government, why is the anger aimed at this pretend private sector instead of at the controlling government?  If this is a Republican problem, why was it not fixed during the 2 years that leftists had all the votes? If this is anger that goes back to the panic bailouts of fall 2008, why did it start in fall 2011?

The special treatment of the rich who make far more than their 1% of political contributions is the fault of the politicians who give special treatment and the voters who tolerate it.  Among the very worst offenders were Dodd and Frank, so we made them the authors of the latest reform.  Where was OWS while reform was being written and why the delay to come out after?  How many of these street occupiers wrote their own congressman before finding out so many shared their view.  Mark me down as skeptical.  The only group I know that recently stood up and took out their own incumbent representatives for abandoning principles is the tea party.  They did it with some success and they did it willing to lose general elections over it. 

I will listen to any serious idea to privatize banks and I will listen to any serious idea to nationalize banks - they are already under complete federal control except for the choices of coffee in the lobby. 

What I don't like economically and politically is the ad hominem attacks on the successful.  I say that from the lowest quintile of income; I pay roughly 100% of take home income in property taxes state and local before the federal government can take a swipe at it.   The 99% argument is not aimed only at rigged industries or all of them would be conservative tea party members IMO. 

I know that it is only the people with money who can invest and that employment will never come back without investment, and we need more people with money in this country to invest and grow jobs.  We need more serious startups and we need existing companies that want to be here to be economically welcome to stay here.  I know that businesses and manufacturing left this country not because of high wages, but because of high costs and there is a difference.  I know a few ways we could out from under this but I don't know how to persuade other people to get on board.  I am all ears.
The CNN story says OWS is about 'corporate greed'.  While gas prices were spiking under Bush and Katrina, a good friend said to me that the prices jumped up because of greed and something to the effect that it is because the oil companies have their buddies in the White House.  Trying so hard not to use the words 'economic illiteracy' I said back to him that the only thing that remained constant during the whole price volatility thing was corporate greed.  These companies have been maximizing profits since they first struck oil.  What changes is supply and demand.  Supply was affected then by a hurricane and supply is always affected by regulations.  Some regulations are worthy (see Crafty's post) but all of them drive up prices. 

The collapse of 2008 spilling over into 2011 was not a surge in banker or corporate greed.  That is ridiculous.  Bankers have been maximizing their profits since before the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. 

What happened in the current crash is that we created an extreme bubble in a market that affects all of us with runaway government policies and it was finally burst when the policy arrow shifted sharply to the anti-growth direction and investors saw with certainty that asset price collapses were coming.  At this time now when we so desperately need economic growth to get jobs, income and our revenues up, our policies on every level are still anti-growth. 

Meanwhile, greed has remained constant.
4153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics - Rolling Stone piece on: October 31, 2011, 07:15:07 PM
CCP, If the author's conclusion were correct, they would be jumping to our side.  Not so IMO.

I found the beginning to be unpersuasive, contains falsehoods, and a view different than mine.  He makes a good point later about two justice systems.  For sure, white collar crime is harder to track and no one seems to be trying.

My own experience in the housing debacle:  a couple of houses next door to rental houses of mine sold for far more than everyone knew they were worth at the peak and later I bought both of those houses for 1/8th of those prices (pre-tornado).  One in particular was an obvious fraud.  They never fixed up the house before or after an over-priced sale and no one moved in after closing.  Total fraud in my estimation.  Nobody wanted that house that badly, it was play money to somebody.  Seemed obvious to me was that if you tracked the appraiser, the originator, the closer, the realtor and the pigeon or whatever you call they guy that takes title just to default, you would find a prosecutable pattern.  Instead no one cared and no one investigated.  This happened IMO because of government pressure on lenders to lend in the wrong areas for the wrong reasons.  To crash from there isn't that surprising.  Every home but mine on that block went into foreclosure.

On Wall Street though, people that I know at that level play VERY carefully by the rules.  The gripe is or should be with the rules, and that comes out of Washington, not Wall Street.  

Back to the Rolling Stone story, quoting: "Dude," I said. "These people aren't protesting money. They're not protesting banking. They're protesting corruption on Wall Street."

I don't think the majority of 'protesters' are that precise, especially in Occupy Madison, Occupy Richmond and Occupy Denver, etc.

[Cain said he believed that the protesters are driven by envy of the rich.]  "Cain seems like a nice enough guy, but I nearly blew my stack when I heard this. When you take into consideration all the theft and fraud and market manipulation and other evil shit Wall Street bankers have been guilty of in the last ten-fifteen years, you have to have balls like church bells to trot out a propaganda line that says the protesters are just jealous of their hard-earned money."

From what I have heard, Cain has it right - they are largely driven by envy of the rich.  Saying guilty of evil shit is cool but does not establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt.  It is sold as evil in our politics just to have success.  Unless you are a supply sider, you mostly believe they took a share of your slice.

"there have always been rich and poor people in America, so if this is about jealousy, why the protests now?" ... "Where was all that class hatred in the Reagan years, when openly dumping on the poor became fashionable?"

What an unserious observation.  The anger was there in the 1980's, and how did we dump on the poor? Pure BS.  Domestic spending roughly doubled and Dems held the House the entire decade.  

"At last count, there were 245 millionaires in congress, including 66 in the Senate."

He should have counted Billionaires.  A million in assets or net worth is not filthy rich - your kids still might qualify for free school lunch in America.  

"That's why it's so obnoxious when people say the protesters are just sore losers who are jealous of these smart guys in suits who beat them at the game of life."

The non-achievers in America aren't losing they are NOT PARTICIPATING in our economic system.  They aren't the CEO of your second place competitor or running a small family owned investment banking house.  Half the people are not contributing.  But let's say you are a skilled tradesman instead of a banker and you married to a teacher, secretary or nurse.  If you aren't rich and comfortable on that combined income, it is because of the combined tax burden, not because you were cheated by Wall Street bankers.  Do the math.  It is a ridiculous premise.

"They just want a level playing field, and they want Wall Street to give up its cheat codes"

No.  Our side wants the level playing field.  Take away the excess regulation that keeps competition away from entrenched players.  Take the preferences out of the tax code, and gut the spending down to real safety net and legitimate government functions.  Did you see Cain 9-9-9 sign or Perry 20-20 at the OWS rallies?  I haven't.

He says: [Bankers have] "things like: FREE MONEY."

Yes banks pay close to zero.  So do borrowers.  I pay 2.75%. Meanwhile banks make zero off of savings which used to be the main source of funds for lending because, as he points out, they can get money cheaper at the Fed.  Is that the bank's fault or Fed policy which we know comes out of congress - the people's representatives.  If banks are making such outrageous money right now, why are they broke?  The policy of micro-managing commercial banks comes out of federal deposit insurance.  Does he favor that or oppose it?  He doesn't say.

"Your average chimpanzee couldn't fuck up that business plan, which makes it all the more incredible that most of the too-big-to-fail banks are nonetheless still functionally insolvent, and dependent upon bailouts and phony accounting to stay above water."

Inflammatory BS statement.  The bank business plan is f*cked up, as I said because they are micro managed by government, insured by government and considered too big to fail.

"Stupidity Insurance" ... "When was the last time the government stepped into help you "avoid losses you might otherwise suffer?"

Again he fails to acknowledge that they get propped up because if they fail further we are on the hook for the losses.  That is the law of the land out of Washington, not from the management of the bank.  We stepped in as taxpayers and Bush, McCain, Paulsen, Obama, Volcker, Bernancke and ever other reputable person favored it because they believed the cost to the taxpayer and to the economy would be greater if they didn't.  The alternative system is a free market, and neither side is calling for that, nor does he.  Just bitching and moaning.

"UNGRADUATED TAXES. I've already gone off on this more than once, but it bears repeating. Bankers on Wall Street pay lower tax rates than most car mechanics."

Again, BS, right out of Buffet and Obama.  If that really were true, why all the uproar of the so-called populists against a flat tax and all the studies that that would even tax rates help the rich not the poor.  Which is it?? Capital gains that come to bank execs already were taxed (forget to mention that?) and social security insurance isn't a supposed to be tax, it is insurance against growing old beyond your money and the required contribution is capped so the benefits are capped.  I would be the first to end that system.  Use your own money; choose your own policy.

"Bank of America last year paid not a single dollar in taxes"

Oh really? Not a single dime, such a bone headed statement!  For one thing I will estimate that they pay a billion in property tax which happens to be a federal tax deduction.  By my rough estimate, they pay another $100 million just in the employer contribution of their 300,000 employees social security.  They pay the rest of the employees' employment tax that never gets to the worker.  Who does he think pays those taxes.  They pay sales tax on nearly every product they buy in 50 states unless they are reselling those products in some retail business.  So he must mean federal corporate income tax.  Okay, then say it and call for reform.  All the Republicans are calling to fix it and all the Occupiers are ignoring it, as far as I can see.  One problem with the income tax is that these banks are using up all their revenues on ... expenses, including regulation compliance and things mentioned above like employment taxes and property taxes.

In conclusion he writes: "These inequities are what drive the OWS protests. People don't want handouts. It's not a class uprising and they don't want civil war -- they want just the opposite. They want everyone to live in the same country, and live by the same rules. It's amazing that some people think that that's asking a lot."

No, if that's what they want, we already have a movement - that is what the tea party is calling for.  Public urination, public masturbation, public drug use and attracting the homeless for hire doesn't get you there IMO.

I'm not an expert on OWS.  I assumed from the beginning it was a continuation of the anarchists from Seattle along with the ACORN type liberals from our city that tried to get me to vote again and the groups in Milwaukee who gave free cigarettes to people to get on the vote bus.  My view was summed up yesterday in the Unified Theory post.  Find something wrong and then call for another big government program to solve it.  I would love to find out I am wrong.
4154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: October 31, 2011, 04:43:59 PM
"So, what do you make of the Rolling Stone piece I posted?"

CCP says it disappeared so I'll try to post the text and come back and try to answer.

Wall Street Isn't Winning – It's Cheating

POSTED: October 25, 9:26 AM ET
Comment 381
occupy wall street london sign
A protestor's sign expresses the sentiment of the Occupy Wall Street movement at a Occupy Wall Street protest in London.

I was at an event on the Upper East Side last Friday night when I got to talking with a salesman in the media business. The subject turned to Zucotti Park and Occupy Wall Street, and he was chuckling about something he'd heard on the news.

"I hear [Occupy Wall Street] has a CFO," he said. "I think that's funny."

"Okay, I'll bite," I said. "Why is that funny?"

"Well, I heard they're trying to decide what bank to put their money in," he said, munching on hors d'oeuvres. "It's just kind of ironic."

Oh, Christ, I thought. He’s saying the protesters are hypocrites because they’re using banks. I sighed.

"Listen," I said, "where else are you going to put three hundred thousand dollars? A shopping bag?"

"Well," he said, "it's just, their protests are all about... You know..."

"Dude," I said. "These people aren't protesting money. They're not protesting banking. They're protesting corruption on Wall Street."

"Whatever," he said, shrugging.

These nutty criticisms of the protests are spreading like cancer. Earlier that same day, I'd taped a TV segment on CNN with Will Cain from the National Review, and we got into an argument on the air. Cain and I agreed about a lot of the problems on Wall Street, but when it came to the protesters, we disagreed on one big thing.

Cain said he believed that the protesters are driven by envy of the rich.

"I find the one thing [the protesters] have in common revolves around the human emotions of envy and entitlement," he said. "What you have is more than what I have, and I'm not happy with my situation."

Cain seems like a nice enough guy, but I nearly blew my stack when I heard this. When you take into consideration all the theft and fraud and market manipulation and other evil shit Wall Street bankers have been guilty of in the last ten-fifteen years, you have to have balls like church bells to trot out a propaganda line that says the protesters are just jealous of their hard-earned money.

Think about it: there have always been rich and poor people in America, so if this is about jealousy, why the protests now? The idea that masses of people suddenly discovered a deep-seated animus/envy toward the rich – after keeping it strategically hidden for decades – is crazy.

Where was all that class hatred in the Reagan years, when openly dumping on the poor became fashionable? Where was it in the last two decades, when unions disappeared and CEO pay relative to median incomes started to triple and quadruple?

The answer is, it was never there. If anything, just the opposite has been true. Americans for the most part love the rich, even the obnoxious rich. And in recent years, the harder things got, the more we've obsessed over the wealth dream. As unemployment skyrocketed, people tuned in in droves to gawk at Evrémonde-heiresses like Paris Hilton, or watch bullies like Donald Trump fire people on TV.

Moreover, the worse the economy got, the more being a millionaire or a billionaire somehow became a qualification for high office, as people flocked to voting booths to support politicians with names like Bloomberg and Rockefeller and Corzine, names that to voters symbolized success and expertise at a time when few people seemed to have answers. At last count, there were 245 millionaires in congress, including 66 in the Senate.

And we hate the rich? Come on. Success is the national religion, and almost everyone is a believer. Americans love winners.  But that's just the problem. These guys on Wall Street are not winning – they're cheating. And as much as we love the self-made success story, we hate the cheater that much more.

In this country, we cheer for people who hit their own home runs – not shortcut-chasing juicers like Bonds and McGwire, Blankfein and Dimon.

That's why it's so obnoxious when people say the protesters are just sore losers who are jealous of these smart guys in suits who beat them at the game of life. This isn't disappointment at having lost. It's anger because those other guys didn't really win. And people now want the score overturned.

All weekend I was thinking about this “jealousy” question, and I just kept coming back to all the different ways the game is rigged. People aren't jealous and they don’t want privileges. They just want a level playing field, and they want Wall Street to give up its cheat codes, things like:

FREE MONEY. Ordinary people have to borrow their money at market rates. Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon get billions of dollars for free, from the Federal Reserve. They borrow at zero and lend the same money back to the government at two or three percent, a valuable public service otherwise known as "standing in the middle and taking a gigantic cut when the government decides to lend money to itself."

Or the banks borrow billions at zero and lend mortgages to us at four percent, or credit cards at twenty or twenty-five percent. This is essentially an official government license to be rich, handed out at the expense of prudent ordinary citizens, who now no longer receive much interest on their CDs or other saved income. It is virtually impossible to not make money in banking when you have unlimited access to free money, especially when the government keeps buying its own cash back from you at market rates.

Your average chimpanzee couldn't fuck up that business plan, which makes it all the more incredible that most of the too-big-to-fail banks are nonetheless still functionally insolvent, and dependent upon bailouts and phony accounting to stay above water. Where do the protesters go to sign up for their interest-free billion-dollar loans?

CREDIT AMNESTY. If you or I miss a $7 payment on a Gap card or, heaven forbid, a mortgage payment, you can forget about the great computer in the sky ever overlooking your mistake. But serial financial fuckups like Citigroup and Bank of America overextended themselves by the hundreds of billions and pumped trillions of dollars of deadly leverage into the system -- and got rewarded with things like the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, an FDIC plan that allowed irresponsible banks to borrow against the government's credit rating.

This is equivalent to a trust fund teenager who trashes six consecutive off-campus apartments and gets rewarded by having Daddy co-sign his next lease. The banks needed programs like TLGP because without them, the market rightly would have started charging more to lend to these idiots. Apparently, though, we can’t trust the free market when it comes to Bank of America, Goldman, Sachs, Citigroup, etc.

In a larger sense, the TBTF banks all have the implicit guarantee of the federal government, so investors know it's relatively safe to lend to them -- which means it's now cheaper for them to borrow money than it is for, say, a responsible regional bank that didn't jack its debt-to-equity levels above 35-1 before the crash and didn't dabble in toxic mortgages. In other words, the TBTF banks got better credit for being less responsible. Click on to see if you got the same deal.

STUPIDITY INSURANCE. Defenders of the banks like to talk a lot about how we shouldn't feel sorry for people who've been foreclosed upon, because it's their own fault for borrowing more than they can pay back, buying more house than they can afford, etc. And critics of OWS have assailed protesters for complaining about things like foreclosure by claiming these folks want “something for nothing.”

This is ironic because, as one of the Rolling Stone editors put it last week, “something for nothing is Wall Street’s official policy." In fact, getting bailed out for bad investment decisions has been de rigeur on Wall Street not just since 2008, but for decades.

Time after time, when big banks screw up and make irresponsible bets that blow up in their faces, they've scored bailouts. It doesn't matter whether it was the Mexican currency bailout of 1994 (when the state bailed out speculators who gambled on the peso) or the IMF/World Bank bailout of Russia in 1998 (a bailout of speculators in the "emerging markets") or the Long-Term Capital Management Bailout of the same year (in which the rescue of investors in a harebrained hedge-fund trading scheme was deemed a matter of international urgency by the Federal Reserve), Wall Street has long grown accustomed to getting bailed out for its mistakes.

The 2008 crash, of course, birthed a whole generation of new bailout schemes. Banks placed billions in bets with AIG and should have lost their shirts when the firm went under -- AIG went under, after all, in large part because of all the huge mortgage bets the banks laid with the firm -- but instead got the state to pony up $180 billion or so to rescue the banks from their own bad decisions.

This sort of thing seems to happen every time the banks do something dumb with their money. Just recently, the French and Belgian authorities cooked up a massive bailout of the French bank Dexia, whose biggest trading partners included, surprise, surprise, Goldman, Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Here's how the New York Times explained the bailout:

    To limit damage from Dexia’s collapse, the bailout fashioned by the French and Belgian governments may make these banks and other creditors whole — that is, paid in full for potentially tens of billions of euros they are owed. This would enable Dexia’s creditors and trading partners to avoid losses they might otherwise suffer...

When was the last time the government stepped into help you "avoid losses you might otherwise suffer?" But that's the reality we live in. When Joe Homeowner bought too much house, essentially betting that home prices would go up, and losing his bet when they dropped, he was an irresponsible putz who shouldn’t whine about being put on the street.

But when banks bet billions on a firm like AIG that was heavily invested in mortgages, they were making the same bet that Joe Homeowner made, leaving themselves hugely exposed to a sudden drop in home prices. But instead of being asked to "suck it in and cope" when that bet failed, the banks instead went straight to Washington for a bailout -- and got it.

UNGRADUATED TAXES. I've already gone off on this more than once, but it bears repeating. Bankers on Wall Street pay lower tax rates than most car mechanics. When Warren Buffet released his tax information, we learned that with taxable income of $39 million, he paid $6.9 million in taxes last year, a tax rate of about 17.4%.

Most of Buffet’s income, it seems, was taxed as either "carried interest" (i.e. hedge-fund income) or long-term capital gains, both of which carry 15% tax rates, half of what many of the Zucotti park protesters will pay. 

As for the banks, as companies, we've all heard the stories. Goldman, Sachs in 2008 – this was the same year the bank reported $2.9 billion in profits, and paid out over $10 billion in compensation --  paid just $14 million in taxes, a 1% tax rate.

Bank of America last year paid not a single dollar in taxes -- in fact, it received a "tax credit" of $1 billion. There are a slew of troubled companies that will not be paying taxes for years, including Citigroup and CIT.

When GM bought the finance company AmeriCredit, it was able to marry its long-term losses to AmeriCredit's revenue stream, creating a tax windfall worth as much as $5 billion. So even though AmeriCredit is expected to post earnings of $8-$12 billion in the next decade or so, it likely won't pay any taxes during that time, because its revenue will be offset by GM's losses.

Thank God our government decided to pledge $50 billion of your tax dollars to a rescue of General Motors! You just paid for one of the world's biggest tax breaks.

And last but not least, there is:

GET OUT OF JAIL FREE. One thing we can still be proud of is that America hasn't yet managed to achieve the highest incarceration rate in history -- that honor still goes to the Soviets in the Stalin/Gulag era. But we do still have about 2.3 million people in jail in America.

Virtually all 2.3 million of those prisoners come from "the 99%." Here is the number of bankers who have gone to jail for crimes related to the financial crisis: 0.

Millions of people have been foreclosed upon in the last three years. In most all of those foreclosures, a regional law enforcement office -- typically a sheriff's office -- was awarded fees by the court as part of the foreclosure settlement, settlements which of course were often rubber-stamped by a judge despite mountains of perjurious robosigned evidence.

That means that every single time a bank kicked someone out of his home, a local police department got a cut. Local sheriff's offices also get cuts of almost all credit card judgments, and other bank settlements. If you're wondering how it is that so many regional police departments have the money for fancy new vehicles and SWAT teams and other accoutrements, this is one of your answers.

What this amounts to is the banks having, as allies, a massive armed police force who are always on call, ready to help them evict homeowners and safeguard the repossession of property. But just see what happens when you try to call the police to prevent an improper foreclosure. Then, suddenly, the police will not get involved. It will be a "civil matter" and they won't intervene.

The point being: if you miss a few home payments, you have a very high likelihood of colliding with a police officer in the near future. But if you defraud a pair of European banks out of a billion dollars  -- that's a billion, with a b -- you will never be arrested, never see a policeman, never see the inside of a jail cell.

Your settlement will be worked out not with armed police, but with regulators in suits who used to work for your company or one like it. And you'll have, defending you, a former head of that regulator's agency. In the end, a fine will be paid to the government, but it won't come out of your pocket personally; it will be paid by your company's shareholders. And there will be no admission of criminal wrongdoing.

The Abacus case, in which Goldman helped a hedge fund guy named John Paulson beat a pair of European banks for a billion dollars, tells you everything you need to know about the difference between our two criminal justice systems. The settlement was $550 million -- just over half of the damage.

Can anyone imagine a common thief being caught by police and sentenced to pay back half of what he took? Just one low-ranking individual in that case was charged (case pending), and no individual had to reach into his pocket to help cover the fine. The settlement Goldman paid to to the government was about 1/24th of what Goldman received from the government just in the AIG bailout. And that was the toughest "punishment" the government dished out to a bank in the wake of 2008.

The point being: we have a massive police force in America that outside of lower Manhattan prosecutes crime and imprisons citizens with record-setting, factory-level efficiency, eclipsing the incarceration rates of most of history's more notorious police states and communist countries.

But the bankers on Wall Street don't live in that heavily-policed country. There are maybe 1000 SEC agents policing that sector of the economy, plus a handful of FBI agents. There are nearly that many police officers stationed around the polite crowd at Zucotti park.

These inequities are what drive the OWS protests. People don't want handouts. It's not a class uprising and they don't want civil war -- they want just the opposite. They want everyone to live in the same country, and live by the same rules. It's amazing that some people think that that's asking a lot.

Read more:

4155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: October 31, 2011, 01:49:17 PM
Crafty:  "Again, I repeat my point that we of the American Creed are missing opportunities here to woo and win a goodly percentage of these people."

I have mixed feelings about it.  Yes, get rid of favoritism and present these benefits of conservatism with greater emphasis and fewer diversions into trivial matters while the future of the Republic really is at stake.  I have long believed that the far left and far right should be able to find many areas of agreement, especially with the so-called corporate welfare.  On local issues it is stadium subsidies that having the poorest people in the community help out multi-millionaires and multi-billionaires that just can't make a go of it on their own - because they don't have to. And it happens in so many industries and so many levels of government.  Perry was just saying no federal money preferences to energy.  OWS'ers, that is a big step, lock it in!  I'm sure Ron Paul has said that with every preference.  It was mostly people from the right that opposed TARP and the bailouts and phony stimuli.  Yes we could be out trumpeting areas of agreement, but in many ways we are, and they aren't listening.  Tea party activists in GOP primaries were the ones knocking out their own in Washington that were operating without core principles. Both the Perry and Cain plans literally remove favoritism from the tax code which is a huge first step in ending the favors for sale industry.  I have argued this before, but it is the extreme regulations that make it so that only a few elite firms can handle the compliance issues of large business transactions.  It was mostly liberal justices in Kelo v. New London that supported taking people's family homes against their will and giving them to big business.

OTOH, this is a non-specific, incoherent cause with a bunch of poorly behaved people, leftists gone mad, much like what they hoped the tea party would turn out to be on the right.  Their view of community and anti-capitalism is not what centrists are seeking nor the answer to our economic woes.  The main belief is that wealth is rigged and their main hatred IMO is aimed at the fact of achievement and success rather than at the special treatment.  Lending credibility to class warfare is not the way forward IMO.  We have too few people that are driven to achieve or that even understand our economic system.

The other strategy is to sit quietly and let these people be themselves, illustrating what it means to be anti-market and leftist.  These are almost all Democrat-run cities that are slow to decide how to deal with this human mess without inciting greater disturbances.

We may think him Marxist, but Obama is a corporatist worse than Ralph Nader predicted and worse than any Republican. Just look at where he goes for fund raisers and who he chooses to invite for special events.  Wall street's and Hollywood's biggest contributions went to Obama and not without expecting rewards.

Meanwhile the President is rich from ghost written books that play on his public celebrity and Mrs. O. gets 8 weeks a year of exotic vacations, including beaches overseas even without the husband and flying separate government jets out of Martha's Vineyard for a 4 hour difference in schedules.  She wore $600 shoes to serve at a soup line photo opp.  The kids are in the best private schools as was young Barack growing up, while the policy position remains anti-school-voucher.  Flying Air Force One to NYC for date night.  Now they want to appeal to the 99%?  This group is total elitist 1%'ers and never had to invent or build a product or risk their own capital on any of it.
4156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential, There is no There There on: October 31, 2011, 12:34:57 PM
Cain:  "Never have I committed any kind of sexual harassment."... If they paid a settlement, I hope it wasn't for much, because nothing happened.

The lead author at Politico is one who went after Sarah Palin with lies.  

The author goes from not naming the women to not detailing the accusations.

Note the exculpatory interviews are dropped in at the end of a mulit-page story, after the damage is done.  People who would have known vouch strongly for his character and integrity.

Interesting that these are liberals trying to take down Cain still in the primaries.  If the facts had legs, they should want to let him run and win further and then destroy him a little later in the process.  I would guess that the facts were not leading them any further so they decided not to get beat to press on what they had.  It wasn't just he said -she said, it was that what she said didn't amount to harassment.  I agree with CCP, that certainly someone on the left will give them the money they might have to give back in order to talk about what happened.  Unless something more breaks, I would guess that was already tried and didn't amount to anything.  They say they have been working on this for several weeks.

Example of missing details:  Paula Jones was called white trash for turning Clinton and Juanita Broderick said that Bill Clinton said she oughtta put some ice on that, and Hillary sought her out later and gave her the knowing look.  Not enough to upset any left leaning women's groups. which at least earlier was in the Perry camp is running a story saying there is no there there.  The allegations if they were true do not amount to sexual harassment.  []

Cain Allegations: No There There

Posted by Curt Levey

Monday, October 31st at 9:01AM EDT

In light of last night’s Politico story about allegations against Herman Cain, it is important to clarify the legal meaning of the term “sexual harassment.” Specifically, Politico reports allegations that Herman Cain made an “an unwanted sexual advance” and engaged in “innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature.” Politico suggests that this amounts to sexual harassment, using the term at least six times.

The truth is that the reported allegations, even if true, do not constitute sexual harassment under the law unless – as the Supreme Court has stated – they are “sufficiently severe or pervasive” to “create an abusive working environment,” among other requirements. Even the guidance of the decidedly liberal U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cautions that “sexual attraction may often play a role in the day-to-day social exchange between employees” and that

    “Sexual flirtation or innuendo, even vulgar language that is trivial or merely annoying, would probably not establish a hostile environment.”

The “severe or pervasive” requirement is not a legal technicality. Trivializing the term “sexual harassment” undermines the seriousness with which cases of severe and pervasive harassment are taken. There is no suggestion in the Politico article that Cain’s alleged behavior was either severe or pervasive, so at least for now, the suggestion of sexual harassment is unsupported.

Politico places a lot of weight on the report that “there were financial settlements in two cases in which women leveled complaints [against Cain].” In fact, without knowing more about the details of the settlements, it’s impossible to draw any conclusions from them. Corporate America is very risk averse when it comes to negative publicity, and in-house settlements often occur even when the evidence of harassment falls far short of the threshold needed to be taken seriously by a court.
4157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 30, 2011, 10:59:44 PM
Herman Cain on Face the Nation:;contentBody
Cain sounds very good in the interview.

Try this link for day by day cartoon tough on Romney:

Much improved Rick Perry with MSM Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

Very sad to see story from Politico that is now the lead story on Drudge: - 4 internet pages, starts with this:

Exclusive: Two women accused Herman Cain of inappropriate behavior

(Politico has done some sourcing on this. They also quote board members who vouch strogly for his behavior.  There is probably some truth in that there were probably two or more complaints made and settled.  That doesn't mean guilt, but it does mean a serious challenge and distraction for the campaign is coming.  I'm surprised there haven't been more twists like this in the campaign.  And I hope it is all proven false. but proving a negative is usually impossible to do.)

During Herman Cain’s tenure as the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s, at least two female employees complained to colleagues and senior association officials about inappropriate behavior by Cain, ultimately leaving their jobs at the trade group, multiple sources confirm to POLITICO.

The women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures.

In a series of comments over the past 10 days, Cain and his campaign repeatedly declined to respond directly about whether he ever faced allegations of sexual harassment at the restaurant association. They have also declined to address questions about specific reporting confirming that there were financial settlements in two cases in which women leveled complaints.

POLITICO has confirmed the identities of the two female restaurant association employees who complained about Cain but, for privacy concerns, is not publishing their names.

Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon told POLITICO the candidate indicated to campaign officials that he was “vaguely familiar” with the charges and that the restaurant association’s general counsel had resolved the matter.

The latest statement came from Cain himself. In a tense sidewalk encounter Sunday morning outside the Washington bureau of CBS News — where the Republican contender had just completed an interview on “Face the Nation” — Cain evaded a series of questions about sexual harassment allegations.

Cain said he has “had thousands of people working for me” at different businesses over the years and could not comment “until I see some facts or some concrete evidence.” His campaign staff was given the name of one woman who complained last week, and it was repeated to Cain on Sunday. He responded, “I am not going to comment on that.”

He was then asked, “Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?”

He breathed audibly, glared at the reporter and stayed silent for several seconds. After the question was repeated three times, he responded by asking the reporter, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”

Cain was president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association from late 1996 to mid-1999. POLITICO learned of the allegations against him, and over the course of several weeks, has put together accounts of what happened by talking to a lengthy roster of former board members, current and past staff and others familiar with the workings of the trade group at the time Cain was there.

In one case, POLITICO has seen documentation describing the allegations and showing that the restaurant association formally resolved the matter. Both women received separation packages that were in the five-figure range.

On the details of Cain’s allegedly inappropriate behavior with the two women, POLITICO has a half-dozen sources shedding light on different aspects of the complaints.

The sources — which include the recollections of close associates and other documentation — describe episodes that left the women upset and offended. These incidents include conversations allegedly filled with innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature, taking place at hotels during conferences, at other officially sanctioned restaurant association events and at the association’s offices. There were also descriptions of physical gestures that were not overtly sexual but that made women who experienced or witnessed them uncomfortable and that they regarded as improper in a professional relationship.

Peter Kilgore, who was the association’s general counsel in the 1990s, and remains in that position today, has declined to comment to POLITICO on whether any settlements existed, saying he cannot discuss personnel matters.

But one source closely familiar with Cain’s tenure in Washington confirmed that the claims related to allegations of sexual harassment – behavior that disturbed members of the board who became aware of it, as well as the source, who otherwise liked Cain.

“I happen to know there were sealed settlements reached in the plural. I think that anybody who thinks this was a one-time, one-person transgression would be mistaken,” this source said...
4158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Aesop predicted Unified Theory of Liberal Solutions in 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf' on: October 30, 2011, 07:34:06 PM
Even the solution for government programs gone bad is yet another government program.  Over-regulate auto manufacturing to the point of bankruptcy -> nationalize it.  Fannie and Freddie and CRAprogram -> No problem: order a foreclosure moratorium and pass Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) .  Health care costs gone mad over govt mandates -> Affordable Health Care Act.  TARP-1 failed -> Tarp-2.  No new jobs with Stimulus I -> Stimulus II.  (I could go on!)

My question is this:

What if the solution to next thing to go horribly wrong in this country really is a government program?

4159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: October 30, 2011, 02:45:31 PM
I'm not a big fan of Thomas Friedman but I would go along with this suggestion for the answer to occupy wall street: "4) U.S. congressmen [and Presidents] should have to dress like Nascar drivers and wear the logos of all the banks, investment banks, insurance companies and real estate firms [and unions] that they’re taking money from.
4160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Scrapping and replacing the current U.S. tax code. on: October 30, 2011, 02:33:35 PM
Welcome to objectivist1, but that video is the same one posted on the Tax Policy thread last week.  I would rather hear him tell the virtues of his plan than to tell me I have Stockholm Syndrome.  The Fair Tax is not on the ballot.  It may sell books for the author but this kind of divisive talk doesn't help bring real tax reform in  my humble opinion.  Besides that everyone else is a prisoner and a fool, he might consider that his own plan has real world flaws.

His plan has a 30% sales tax in it (they call it 23% of a number that is increased by 30%) including taxing government purchases which raises no real money and taxing new homes - grow the economy by killing off our most depressed industry?  Make those two exceptions and the rate goes far above 30%.  Even then, revenue neutral plans raise only 60% of current spending before the economic growth  kicks in.

The Pre-Bate actually does kill the simplicity and denying by name calling doesn't answer the objection.  How do we know their income without forms like we have now to calculate it? The ones needing pre-bates are the people who tend not to manage money well.  Cain addresses it far better with no prebate instead saying they can buy used.

The Fair tax requires the REPEAL of the income tax amendment which is a complete political impossibility.  Most polls say people want higher income taxes on the rich.  How many say they want zero - close to zero.  It is certainly less than the roughly 75% required to amend the constitution.  Implement it without repeal and you give liberals all the tools they need to make things far worse than before in their next retake of power.

47 states plus some localities have an income tax and the first line in it says send in your federal return with all its schedules.  States and localities would rely even more on the income tax, not less, if their current sales tax was on top of a 30% federal rate.

The Fair tax involves radical change without a plan for a smooth transition that I know of.  If you want to end all income taxation and go to all consumption-based taxes, my suggestion is: cut spending first!

Boortz' proposal died IMO because it was unworkable not because fellow conservatives have Stockholm Syndrome.  The Cain plan is on the table now and the election starts in less than 2 months.  My suggestion is for the more conservative candidates to find some kind of consensus on policies soon or get ready for another 4 years of moving toward total central control of our economy.
4161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The congnitive dissonance of the left: Robert Reich on: October 30, 2011, 01:24:23 PM
(note to moderator, we need spelling/typo correction to the topic title)

I wonder who others think are the opinion leaders of the left.  I have identified Paul Krugman and Robert Reich but both are so easily discredited.  Today Reich writes:
"Flat tax a flat-out fraud

Robert Reich, Sunday, October 30, 2011
"The flat tax is a fraud. It raises taxes on the poor and lowers them on the rich." [Straw.  He throws all plans into one pile and then criticizes all for defects of one.  I normally stop reading and quoting at the first lie, but there is so much more.]

"The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that Cain's flat-tax plan (the only one that's been set out in any detail) would lower the after-tax incomes of poor households (incomes below $30,000) by 16 to 20 percent."  [That is, if you have no knowledge or understanding of embedded taxes.]

"Meanwhile, 95 percent of households with more than $1 million of income would get an average tax cut of $487,300." [Complete drivel.  It measures in dollars while assuming no change in economic behavior whatsoever to a drastic change in the marginal rate.  No one is that dumb. Plus he seamlessly and deceptively changed from calling a tax rate a tax back to measuring in it n dollars.  If we measure in dollars and admit lower rates bring more income, then that figure is bunk.  The rich will actually pay more dollars by any measure of previous similar rate cuts.]  "And capital gains (a major source of income for the very rich) would be tax-free." [An honest person might say: that income would only get overtaxed once under the proposed plan.]

All flat-tax proposals benefit the rich more than the poor for one simple reason: Today's tax code is still at least moderately progressive. The rich usually pay a higher percent of their incomes in income taxes than do the poor. [Is he intentionally calling President Obama and Warren Buffets bald faced liars?]

"The truth is, the current tax code treats everyone the same." [How come anything that starts 'the truth is - is a lie? Robert Reich, Have you READ the current tax code; it doesn't take 72,000 pages to treat people and different sources of income the same! Even if you settle for 3 brackets or 5. This could have gone under Tax Policy but I am really writing about leftist dishonesty and wondering if someone could point out an honest liberal for me to read.]
Question to Rbt Reich, is everything in your world really all 'us vs. them', lie at all costs to win more, or should we also be trying to grow our economy and raise revenues to pay our massive spending?

Perry's plan puts ZERO tax on a family of four up to $50,000!! while the same people mostly support spending almost 4 trillion a year.  What in God's name would you need to call it fair?

Here is a flat tax: 200 million adults spend almost 4 trillion dollars.  Send in $20,000 per adult American, or face prison for tax evasion,  or spend less and pay your share of that, and  private business matters remain private from government audit. That is a flat tax and everything else is a progressive compromise.  If everyone paid their share, that would cure our spending problem, our wall street bailout problem and most other problems in a big f'ing hurry.
4162  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: October 30, 2011, 12:24:39 PM
Sounds to me like a simple case of self defense at the moment he made the shot.

GM: "Ok, let's now unleash the ignorant assclowns to discuss how the poor felon shouldn't have died based on biased media reporting. Oh wait, the shooter wasn't a cop."

The local media ('ignorant assclowns') were in fact out drawing sympathy for the sister: "The investigation ensnared Evanovich's sister...She had been with Evanovich the night he died, and according to their mother, held him in her arms as he took his last breath."

Very sad story except... she happened to be there as the accomplice, wielding the knife cutting the throat of robbery victim who also ended up with 2 black eyes. 

CBS affiliate draws more sympathy to the felon family, the deceased was the victim??

"MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The mother of a robbery suspect who was shot and killed says her son was the victim.

A witness saw 23-year-old Darren Evanovich committing a robbery in south Minneapolis Thursday night. He chased Evanovich down and, after a confrontation, shot and killed him.

Evanovich’s family said the man who killed Darren was no hero.  “I was so scared,” said Mary Evanovich, the robbery suspect’s mother. “All I wanted was my baby, but I didn’t want it to be true.”

Evanovich is searching for answers as to why her son had to die.  “How can a person play judge, jury and executioner and God, who gave the person the right to be God,” Evanovich said.

Evanovich would not talk about the robbery or what role her son played in it.  “I can’t give no comments on that. I prefer not to actually talk about that part of it..."
The deceased armed robber was talking 9 days earlier to troubled youth about taking a different route.  Great role model (sarc.)
4163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 28, 2011, 01:13:37 PM
CCP,  Levin can be abrasive but he makes his points fearlessly and persuasively.  I like the Perry plan, but not the candidate at this point.  I believe Romney will be the nominee but Cain is staying in there so far. Bachmann for one should drop and join with Cain it seems to me if this is about direction of the country more than personal career.  She made a name for herself and could still get out before becoming irrelevant.  I would like to pick and choose traits from each to assemble my own candidate but it doesn't work that way.  

A good friend and non-conservative asked me in earnest this week what I thought of the Republican contest knowing I would be following it closely. After all these readings and posts I was pretty much speechless to summarize anything.  Interestingly, she thought the country wasn't ready for a Mormon. Maybe I am naive, but I already forgot about that.  People thought it risky that JFK was Catholic (as if he lived that life).  Joe Liebermann broke ground as the first Jewish candidate on a ticket; that didn't become any focus. Obama being half black was only a plus.  The issues are so big for something invisible to matter much it seems to me.  If he was alleged to have more wives, that would be another different.

Newt is the one with the too many wives problem.

I like a lot about Newt, but we can't have a candidate that pushes voters like Mrs. Crafty away for having good moral sense.  Not just Newt but his first lady was also a home wrecker, any chance that will come up on Oprah? He shouldn't have run, just my opinion.  Republicans are held to a higher standard, he knows it and didn't abide by it.  Now he won't quit because his support is swinging up.  But if he was out, where would that support go?  Perry isn't leaving either because he has money at this point.  He will quit after he fails in a key primary unless he turns things around.  If Newt, Bachmann and Perry were out, and it was down to Romney vs one top challenger Herman Cain, this contest would become very, very interesting.  With no challenge on the Dem side, swing voters would likely show up.  Some say that favors Romney, but I would not be so sure.
4164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Marc levin on the Perry Plan on: October 28, 2011, 11:35:35 AM
Conservative commentator Marc Levin assesses the Perry tax plan:
4165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Income Disparity on: October 28, 2011, 11:30:29 AM
Came across an old read (Dec 1995), too long to post, about income disparity, well researched and still applies today.  Read it and learn it if you are so inclined.  These writers went on to start Powerline blog (biased blogger alert).  Income inequality is the ladder up and gets 'better' only in times of no growth or opportunity.
4166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential - Rubio on: October 28, 2011, 10:58:09 AM
Continuing my Rubio reply here:

I actually believe Rubio that he won't take the VP nomination, even though they all say that.  He wants to be a successful senator and keep his promise to do that, unlike others before him.  Also it would risk his career in a couple of ways, tying his future to one of our not so perfect possible nominees while cutting his own experience short.  He doesn't need to be the VP slot to be seriously considered for the top slot in 4 or 8 years if he wants it.  He can be a strong supporter of the ticket from the outside and the top of the ticket needs to be strong enough to stand on his own.  If the nominee is an outsider, and really all of them are, then maybe need a sharp, shrewd, experienced professional insider with gravitas, at least as strong as Biden wink to balance the ticket.
4167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: October 28, 2011, 10:51:32 AM
Interesting that Rubio is against the pathway or whatever amnesty is now called.  I agree with his point that at the very least politically, Republicans must be pro-legal-immigration in a lawful and orderly way.  If done right this makes good economic sense too and follows in a great tradition that got most of the rest of us here.
4168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: October 28, 2011, 10:22:23 AM
Bigdog,  I'm sorry.  I updated my post. The personal reference was not helpful in making my point, especially when it is wrong.  Plenty of other people took those appointments lightly, including the majority of nations!  I hate when people ascribe to me what I didn't say.  Now it reads:

"I don't see how anyone can take lightly the fact that those horribly repressive regimes were sitting on committees judging other people's human rights violations.  We stand for nothing IMO if we stand with that!"

I took the impression as Crafty expressed it.  Actual quote:  "I don't see, then, given the institutional design of the UN (or at least my understanding of the design) allows the opportunity for the UN to act in a manner against the US and the EU."

My view is that the UN IS acting against the US by elevating Cuba, Libya and Syria, and we have guilt in it all by our full knowledge and continuing voluntary association. 
Monday, 27 January, 2003, 16:28 GMT
Should Libya chair UN Human Rights Commission?
Libya has been voted chairman of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, despite opposition from the United States and human rights groups.

The country was nominated by African countries and elected by a clear majority, despite the US's insistence that it will not endorse Libya's chairmanship.

The Commission, the UN's main human rights watchdog, oversees complaints of abuses worldwide, but it has been widely condemned as a toothless body.

The vote has highlighted what many see as a flaw in the way the body is set up. Libya's human rights record has been heavily criticised in the past.

The appointment has been staunchly defended, however, by the son of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, who said it could embarrass middle eastern governments into improving their human rights record.
The Bush administration was 'opposed' but had no veto.  That IMO answers the point of how the UN can act in a manner against the US.  They most certainly did (IMHO).

I understand how international stature helps the rulers in places like Libya and Syria, but what are WE doing there?  No one would talk to us otherwise? 

I am known for my botched analogies and here we go again... If Charles Manson or a current KKK wizard was the chairman of the membership screening committee at the west texas country club and Rick Perry strongly opposed that but kept on golfing, hunting, dining and socializing there, are we okay with that?  It's okay because everyone else in the community belongs there too or because there is no other club available?  No.  It's not okay and he would not survive a second under scrutiny.

4169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The United Nations/ US Sovereignty/International Law on: October 27, 2011, 08:20:07 PM
Much of this already covered, but here is my two cents:

A point of Bigdog's: "Second, there are at least three nations, all with veto power, who are permanent members of the Security Council.  These three are the US, the UK, and France, the later two of which are also members of the EU. I don't see, then, given the institutional design of the UN (or at least my understanding of the design) allows the opportunity for the UN to act in a manner against the US and the EU."

Another great question gets at this further:  "OK... what constitutes the "good" of the country?"

Your point about structure and veto power is a good one. I accept that.  So why all the hysteria on the right?  It seems to me that it is not good to be just one, two or three vetoes away from giving up our sovereignty - and we don't trust any of those three to always do the right thing.   One of my own links about the UN wanting global government, global taxes and global regulations actually came from candidate Obama.  We (really only speaking for myself) don't even trust all American administrations to do what is in the U.S. interest, much less our best allies in western Europe.  As your question reveals, there isn't one mindset in the US of what is in our interest.  The short answer from this side in my view is that we most certainly don't want global governance; we don't even like that state powers went to Washington. Already mentioned are other great points, we don't want one sided condemnations of Israel.  We don't want tyrannical dictators having any voice or podium much less an equal one.  We don't want to expand the legitimacy of things that aren't.  

If so-called neutral member states are voting against us 90% of the time, and if we are doing horse trades with China and Russia to keep them from vetoing certain actions, then might there also be times when we are giving away our veto that is needed to support our interest?  We certainly do that in Washington!

All this unfortunately seems to focus on the negative aspects of the UN.  I would be interested in learning what is happening at the UN that is positive so I would understand why we risk or tolerate all the negatives.

Crafty made a point in particular that I like: "As a talk shop facilitating communication so that affairs between nations do not unnecessarily get out of hand, the UN is fine."

But if that talk is 90% anti-American in direction, why then do we sponsor and participate?  Is the other 10% that good?  If so, how?

The condemnation of Iraq seemed like one example of good.  I list those resolutions below, but what good came out of them?  They gave cover for politicians to say they were doing something when they weren't.  

I liked a proposal made by Dem Senator Zell Miller and others called an Association of Democracies.  Should there not be some requirement of consent of the governed to join with leaders of peace seeking nations?  I also liked the one-time type cooperations that Pres. Bush Sr. called the coalition of the willing.  Can't we have our allies be people who want to be our allies and vice versa.  I don't see how anyone can take lightly the fact that those horribly repressive regimes were sitting on committees judging other people's human rights violations.  We stand for nothing IMO if we stand with that!  I don't like giving legitimacy to illegitimacy, the soapbox for Hugo Chavez comes to mind but there were so many others, Kruschev pounding his shoe - did that really happen? If not he was still denying in 1960 that the Soviet Union swallowed up Eastern Europe.  And we have a peace seeking podium for that.  It doesn't make sense to me.
Iraq's unenforced resolutions in reverse order from the occupation of Kuwait 1990 through the end of 2002, resolutions are clickable at the link:

    1454 (30 December 2002): Iraq-Kuwait
        implements revisions to the Goods Review List. See also the accompanying UN press release.
    1447 (4 December 2002): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends the oil-for-food programme by 6 months, obliges the council to review the goods review list within one month and asks the Secretary General to produce a report on the adequacy of Iraq's distribution mechamisms within the country and oil-for-food revenues within six months. See the accompanying press release.
    1443 (25 November 2002): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends the oil-for-food programme by 9 days only, due to disagreements over US proposals to broaden the Goods Review List. See the accompanying UN press release. See also CASI's press release on the politicisation of the oil-for-food programme.
    1441 (8 November 2002): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Earlier drafts of this resolution are as follows: the US/UK drafts of 2 October 2002, 25 October 2002 and 5 November 2002; the Russian draft and the French draft of 23 October 2002. A collections of critical comments on the resolution can be found on the websites of the Institute for Public Accuracy and Eclipse review.
        Post-vote statements by the US, UK, France, Russia and China are available from the Global Policy Forum
    1409 (14 May 2002): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends the oil-for-food programme by six months, and introduces a new import procedure. Only items on the annexed Goods Review List (GRL) are to be reviewed by the Sanctions Committee. Official version of the GRL (S/2002/515) are here (on the Unmovic site) and here (on the OIP site). Although the GRL is annexed to a letter from the US ambassador dated 3 May 2002 - before the resolution was even offically passed - it was only released on 14 August 2002. An unofficial version of the "Goods Review List" is also available on the UN Office of the Iraq programme website, in doc (2.2MB) and pdf versions (4.6MB). Some background is provided in the UN Press Release and a News Centre report. See also CASI's press release in response to the resolution (15 May 2002); Statement by Save the Children UK (May 2002); Statements by CAFOD of 16 May 2002 and 27 June 2002; and the analyses of Sarah Graham-Brown, Sanctions Renewed on Iraq (14 May 2002), and Colin Rowat, Iraq Sanctions Saga Continues amid Policy Confusion (10 June 2002). See also the fact sheet from the United States mission to the UN on the "Goods Review List" (14 May 2002).
    1382 (29 November 2001): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends the oil-for-food programme by 180 days, commencing Phase XI on 1 December 2001. It also adopts a new "goods review list" (GRL) and procedures for its application to come into force on 30 May 2002. Note that the GRL consists not only of the items actually listed in the annex to the resolution, but also those on the "1051 lists" and those listed within a new 150-page list drawn up by the US. This latter list was an annex to a letter from the US ambassador dated 27 November 2001; a copy sent to CASI can be viewed here. All applications to import goods will have to be reviewed by Unmovic and the UN Office of the Iraq Programme to determine if the proposed imports contain items on the GRL.
    1360 (3 July 2001): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends the oil-for-food programme by 150 days to begin Phase X, after no agreement was reached over the new UK proposals for a modified sanctions regime. The subsequent exchange of letters between the UN and Iraq, agreeing to the continuation of the programme under the terms of this resolution, is dated 5 July 2001. The text of the Security Council debates are available for 26 June 2001 and 28 June 2001. CASI's full index of proposals and statements from May to July 2001 is available here.
    1352 (1 June 2001): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends Phase IX of the oil-for-food programme by one month only, after there is general agreement that more time is necessary to review the UK's draft resolution (and annex) to change the scope and mode of operation of the sanctions.
    1330 (4 December 2000): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends the oil-for-food programme by 180 days, to commence Phase IX. The resolution also allocates another $600m to oil-industry spares, requests exploration into a "cash component" (para. 15), reduces Compensation Fund deductions to 25% (para 12), requests electricity and housing "green lists" (para 10), expresses "readiness to consider" paying Iraq's UN membership dues out of oil-for-food revenue, seeks expanded versions of the existing "green lists" (para 11), and asks the Secretary-General to report on other oil export routes from Iraq. UN Press Release here.
    1302 (8 June 2000): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Begins Phase VIII of "oil for food". The UN's press release is here. Paragraph 8 asks for water and sanitation "green lists". Paragraph 9 extends the oil spare parts permission of SCR 1293. Paragraph 18 calls for the establishment of a team of "independent experts to prepare by 26 November 2000 a comprehensive report and analysis of the humanitarian situation in Iraq, including the current humanitarian needs [...] and recommendations to meet those needs, within the framework of the existing resolutions". According to a UN source, the UK and US insisted upon the final clause of paragraph 18, knowing that the Iraqi government's position would prevent it from cooperating with such an analysis. As a result, there has been no cooperation and no such report has been produced. The BBC's report outlines the politics behind the comprehensive report. AP's report concentrates on the debate around bombing in the "no fly zones". On 30 October, the chair of the group of independent experts mentioned in the resolution was announced as Thorvald Stoltenberg of Norway.
    1293 (31 March 2000): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Doubles permitted oil spare part imports for Phases VI and VII. The UN's press release is here. Paragraphs 53 - 57 of the UN Secretary-General's 10 March 2000 report (S/2000/208) explains the background to this doubling. See CNN's story for mention of some of the politics of the resolution.
    1284 (17 December 1999): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Replaces Unscom with Unmovic, demands Iraqi co-operation on prisoners of war, alters the "oil for food" programme, and discusses the possible suspension of sanctions in ambiguous terms. The statement by Sir Jeremy Greenstock in the Security Council at the introduction of the resolution is here; the full debates in the Council are here; and the UN's press release is here. The UK draft resolution preceding this is here. See also CASI's briefing or its press release.
    1281 (10 December 1999): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Begins Phase VII of "oil for food", to start on 12 December 1999. The report requested in paragraph 9 is S/2000/26. Listen to the BBC's radio story, including an explanation that the previous week-long extensions may have been too short to allow Iraq to sign oil contracts.
    1280 (3 December 1999): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends Phase VI to 11 December 1999 due to wrangling over SCR 1284.
    1275 (19 November 1999): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Extends Phase VI to 4 December 1999 due to wrangling over SCR 1284.
    1266 (4 October 1999): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Allows an additional $3.04 billion in oil sales to offset deficits during previous Phases and (possibly) to slow the rise in oil prices.
    1242 (21 May 1999): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Begins Phase VI of "oil for food", to start on 25 May 1999.
    1210 (24 November 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Begins Phase V of "oil for food", to start on 26 November 1998.
    1205 (5 November 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Echoes SCR 1194, demands that the Iraqi government "provide immediate, complete and unconditional cooperation" with inspectors and alludes to the threat to "international peace and security" posed by the non-cooperation.
    1194 (9 September 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        "Condemns the decision by Iraq ... to suspend cooperation with [Unscom] and the IAEA", demands that the decisions be reversed and cancels October 1998 scheduled sanctions review.
    1175 (19 June 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Gives Iraq permission to apply to import up to $300 million of oil industry spare parts this Phase to allow it to increase its oil production to the cap set in SCR 1153.
    1158 (25 March 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Continues Phase III but under the enhanced provisions of SCR 1153.
    1154 (2 March 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Commends the Secretary-General for securing commitments from the Iraqi government to fully comply with weapons inspections on his mission to Baghdad, and endorses the memorandum of understanding (S/1998/166) that was signed on 23 February. The mapping of the areas of the eight "presidential sites" by a UN Technical Mission is described in an annexed report to a letter from the Secretary-General of 27 February (S/1998/166/Add.1). The procedures for the inspection of "presidential sites" are laid out in an annex to the letter from the Secretary-General of 8 March 1998 (S/1998/208). This agreement put off US and British bombing threats.
    1153 (20 February 1998): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Agrees to increase the cap on permitted Iraqi oil sales to $5.256 billion per Phase once the Secretary-General has approved an "enhanced distribution plan" for the new revenue. Recognises the importance of infrastructure and project-based purchases. Phase IV eventually begins on 30 May 1998. Resolution passed during Unscom crisis.
    1143 (4 December 1997): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Begins Phase III of "oil for food", to start on 5 December 1997 and welcomes the Secretary-General's intention to submit a supplementary report on possible improvements in the "oil for food" programme.
    1137 (12 November 1997): Iraq-Kuwait
        Rejects Iraqi government's announced intention to prohibit weapons inspections unless the composition of Unscom teams is altered to limit the number of inspectors from the US, and to prohibit Unscom overflights. Imposes travel ban on officials to be lifted when full cooperation resumes. Sanctions review to be in April 1998 if cooperation has been restored.
    1134 (23 October 1997): Iraq-Kuwait
        Reaffirms Iraq's obligations to cooperate with weapons inspectors after Iraqi officials announce in September 1997 that "presidential sites" are off-limits to inspectors. Threatens travel ban on obstructive Iraqi officials not "carrying out bona fide diplomatic assignments or missions" if non-cooperation continues. Sanctions reviews again delayed.
    1129 (12 September 1997): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Alters timing of permitted Phase II oil sales in response to Iraqi government's refusal to sell oil until its Distribution Plan was approved by the UN.
    1115 (21 June 1997): Iraq-Kuwait.
        "Condemns the repeated refusal of the Iraqi authorities to allow access to sites" and "[d]emands that [they] cooperate fully" with Unscom. Suspends the sanctions and arms embargo reviews (paragraphs 21 and 28 of SCR 687) until the next Unscom report and threatens to "impose additional measures on those categories of Iraqi officials responsible for the non-compliance".
    1111 (4 June 1997): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Begins Phase II of "oil for food", to start on 8 June 1997.
    1060 (12 June 1996): Iraq.
        On Iraq's refusal to allow access to sites designated by the Special Commission.
    1051 (27 March 1996): Iraq.
        Establishes mechanism for long-term monitoring of potentially "dual use" Iraqi imports and exports, as called for by SCR 715.
    986 (14 April 1995): Iraq
        New "oil for food" resolution, allowing $1 billion in oil sales every 90 days. Memorandum of understanding signed by UN and Government of Iraq on 20 May 1996; Phase I begins on 10 December 1996. The details of implementation, requested in paragraph 12, are here.
    949 (15 October 1994): Iraq-Kuwait.
        "Condemns recent military deployments by Iraq in the direction of ... Kuwait", demands an immediate withdrawal and full co-operation with Unscom. According to a spokesman for the US Central Command, the resolution was passed following a threatening buildup of Iraqi forces near the border with Kuwait, and bars Iraq from moving SAMs into the southern no-fly zone.
    899 (4 March 1994): Iraq-Kuwait.
        Allows compensation to private Iraqi citizens who lost assets to the boundary demarcation process.
    833 (27 May 1993): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        "Welcomes ... the successful conclusion of the work of the [Boundary Demarcation] Commission". The Iraqi National Assembly recognised the territorial integrity and political independence of the State of Kuwait, within the boundaries laid down by the Boundary Demarcation Commission, on 10 November 1994, and its decision was ratified in a decree signed by Saddam Hussein on the same day.
    806 (5 February 1993): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Arms UNIKOM to prevent border incursions by Iraq.
    778 (2 October 1992): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Deplores Iraq's refusal to implements SCRs 706 and 712 and recalls Iraq's liabilities. Takes steps to transfer funds (including Iraqi assets overseas) into the UN account established to pay for compensation and humanitarian expenses.
    773 (26 August 1992): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Responds to a report on progress by the UN Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission and notes that the Commission "is not reallocating territory between Kuwait and Iraq".
    715 (11 October 1991): Iraq (PDF).
        Approves the plans of Unscom and the IAEA, including for long term monitoring. Iraq agreed to the monitoring system established by this resolution on 26 November 1993.
    712 (19 September 1991): Iraq (PDF).
        Rejects the Secretary-General's suggestion that at least $2 billion in oil revenue be made available for humanitarian needs; instead allows total sale of $1.6 billion. Eventually rejected by Government of Iraq.
    707 (15 August 1991): Iraq (PDF).
        Condemns Iraq's non-compliance on weapons inspections as a "material breach" of Resolution 687, and incorporates into its standard for compliance with SCR687 that Iraq provide "full, final and complete disclosure ... of all aspects of its programmes to develop" prohibited weaponry. Also grants permission for Unscom and the IAEA to conduct flights throughout Iraq, for surveillance or logistical purposes.
    706 (15 August 1991): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Decides to allow emergency oil sale by Iraq to fund compensation claims, weapons inspection and humanitarian needs in Iraq. The text of the debates on this resolution in the Security Council is available here.
    705 (15 August 1991): Iraq (PDF).
        "Decides that ... compensation to be paid by Iraq ... shall not exceed 30 per cent of the annual value of the exports".
    700 (17 June 1991): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Approves the Secretary-General's guidelines on an arms and dual-use embargo on Iraq and calls upon states to act consistently with them. Paragraph 5 of this resolution makes the 661 committee responsible for the on-going monitoring regime, thus ensuring that it would retain a role in the long-term relationship between the UN and Iraq.
    699 (17 June 1991): Iraq (PDF).
        Approves the Secretary-General's plan for Unscom and the IAEA and asks for support from Member States.
    692 (20 May 1991): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Establishes the UN Compensation Commission and asks the Secretary-General to indicate the maximum possible level of Iraq's contribution to the Compensation Fund.
    689 (9 April 1991): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Approves the Secretary-General's report on the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM).
    688 (5 April 1991): Iraq (PDF).
        "Condemns the repression of the Iraqi civilian population" in the post-war civil war and "[d]emands that Iraq ... immediately end this repression". 688 is occasionally claimed to provide the legal basis for the American and British "no fly zones". These claims are incorrect both because 688 does not invoke Chapter VII of the UN Charter, a necessary condition for the use of force, and because it does not authorise specific measures to uphold human rights in Iraq, such as "no fly zones". The BBC has an outline of the "no fly zones" here. The UK Select Committee on Defence addresses the legal issue briefly here.
    687 (3 April 1991): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Declares effective a formal cease-fire (upon Iraqi acceptance), establishes the UN Special Commission on weapons (Unscom), extends sanctions and, in paragraphs 21 and 22, provides ambiguous conditions for lifting or easing them. Described as a "Christmas tree", because "so much was hung on it". The fourth preambulary clause, on "the need to be assured of Iraq's peaceful intentions", has been referred to as the "Saddam Hussein clause" as it has been used to link the continuation of sanctions with the survival of the present Iraqi regime. The text of the debates on this resolution in the Security Council is available here.
    686 (2 March 1991): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Affirms the "independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq" and sets out terms for a cease-fire. The use of force remains valid to fulfil these conditions.
    685 (31 January 1991): Iraq-Islamic Republic of Iran (PDF).
    678 (29 November 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        "Authorizes Member States ... to use all necessary means" to bring Iraq into compliance with previous Security Council resolutions if it did not do so by 15 January 1991.
    677 (28 November 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Concerned by Iraq's attempts to "alter the demographic composition of ... Kuwait and to destroy the civil records".
    676 (28 November 1990): Iraq-Islamic Republic of Iran (PDF).
    674 (29 October 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        "Reminds Iraq that ... it is liable for any loss ... as a result of the invasion ... of Kuwait".
    671 (27 September 1990): Iraq-Islamic Republic of Iran (PDF).
    670 (25 September 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Strengthens and clarifies the embargo; confirms that it applies to aircraft. France and the USA disagree on whether 670 requires 661 approval for flights without cargo. Paragraph 12 of the resolution also invokes the possibility of unspecified "measures" against states that evade the sanctions regime. This paragraph seems to have been directed against Jordan and Sudan in particular. It caused disquiet within delegations, as the United Nations Charter has traditionally been interpreted as only permitting the Security Council to impose such measures against the state responsible for a breach of or threat to the peace.
    669 (24 September 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Asks the Sanctions Committee to consider requests for economic assistance from countries harmed by the sanctions on Iraq.
    667 (16 September 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Protests "the closure of diplomatic and consular missions in Kuwait".
    666 (13 September 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        "Decides [to] ... keep the situation regarding foodstuffs ... under constant review", giving the Security Council responsibility for determining when "humanitarian circumstances" had arisen. The text of the debates on this resolution in the Security Council is available here.
    665 (25 August 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Imposes a shipping blockade by calling for the use of "such measures ... as may be necessary" to enforce the maritime embargo. In effect, this resolution reassigns some of the practical responsibility for monitoring compliance with sanctions away from the UN machinery, in the form of the 661 committee, and to the States imposing the naval blockade.
    664 (18 August 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Demands that Iraq release "third state nationals".
    662 (9 August 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Decides that Iraq's annexation of Kuwait is "null and void".
    661 (6 August 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Imposes comprehensive sanctions on Iraq and establishes a sanctions committee (the "661 committee") in paragraph 6 to monitor them. Paragraphs 3 and 4 drawn from those of SCR 253.
    660 (2 August 1990): Iraq-Kuwait (PDF).
        Condemns the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and demands Iraq's immediate and unconditional withdrawal.
4170  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: October 27, 2011, 12:16:45 AM
Thanks for those good replies and ideas. 

"If someone is trying to breach your door, I'm assuming that there is a degree of delay, allowing for a response, yes?" 

In this worst case scenario, no.  It was overwhelming force, door broken through, guns drawn, guns used - they shot the dog and held the gun to the woman, total surprise, no notice.

"Is it going to be enough time to allow law enforcement to respond? Probably not."

It was worse than that.  They didn't have a phone.  There wasn't going to be a call, much less a response, until going to a neighbor after the ordeal.  Very sad.
Offenses Recorded:  Burglary of Dwelling  -  Assault degree 2  -
Public Information:  Suspects kicked in the front door of the above address.  Suspects shot at V-1 and threatened V-2 with a gun.  Suspects are unknown.  Animal control responded.
Photos were taken and the memory card along with spent shell casings were property inventorie ...

4171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: October 26, 2011, 11:48:52 PM
I have this feeling someone may come to regret encouraging GM to provide links and articles that show the UN to be a group running in a direction counter to US interests.  wink

It was not just Cuba, but Libya and Syria were on the human rights commission.  And the Obama administration was 'self-reporting' Arizona for checking IDs with cause.

What was the agenda of the UN Oil for Food scandal?

Our pathological science thread chronicles quite a duplicitous agenda coming out of the UN IPCC on manipulated climate data and studies.  It wasn't 1 or 2 scientists.  It was a movement with an agenda and money, within the UN bureaucracy.  Yes the UN would like to have more power and bigger budgets.  Yes, they want global taxes and global regulations.  I know that sounds like I have a conspiracy problem, but I would only count what they say in their own words.  I will put few links down but these are easy to find.  I would be far more interested in seeing links that indicate otherwise.
 July [2004], Inter Presse news service reported that a top U.N. official was preparing a new study that will outline numerous global tax proposals to be considered by the General Assembly at its September meeting. The proposals will likely include everything from global taxes on e-mails and Internet use to a global gas tax and levies on airline travel. If adopted, American taxpayers could wind up paying hundreds of billions of dollars each year to the United Nations.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is among those leading the charge, having stated that he "strongly supports finding new sources of funding" for the U.N. through global taxes, according to Inter Presse. In fact, Annan made very clear his support for the imposition of global taxes in a 2001 Technical Note that he authored for a U.N. conference. "The need to finance the provision of global public goods in an increasingly globalized world also adds new urgency to the need for innovative new sources of financing," Annan wrote. The Note goes on to describe and evaluate the merits of several global tax proposals.

Snopes took on the veracity of a pass around email that says a list of countries like Jordan and Saudi Arabia vote against us 70% of the time and found out the truth was they were voting against us closer to 90% of the time:

Yet we host and we pay...
4172  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: October 26, 2011, 05:28:28 PM
GM.  Thank you.  My understanding in our state unless laws have changed is that he would have been guilty of murder had he shot the first intruders.  In the second instance the tenants were totally overpowered.  They broke through a solid 2+ inch deadbolted door.  What then, more deadbolts, thicker chains?  Okay.  Most of the things I do to go further with extra security to windows and doors, metal caging over windows for example, are against city code because they also block easy exit in case of smoke and fire.  It was obvious from the outside the tenants had a dog and that meant nothing to them either.  They shot the dog.  I like motion lights and have posted a range of other steps I take, but intruders this determined would appear to stop at nothing.  They certainly didn't care if anyone was home.

It is our equivalent of illegal immigration, but the people who do this in our bad neighborhoods come here from some very worse areas of some much worse, midwestern cities.  Instead of putting up a fence, we pay them to come here.
4173  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: October 26, 2011, 04:29:20 PM
In the case of the first incident, they were unarmed crack fiends taking copper pipes, more scared than my tenant when they were caught.  Shoot 'em?  In the second case it was the perps who were armed and took full advantage of the element of surprise at 6:30pm on a week night.  Would you really be sitting there armed, loaded and waiting as they barge in?  If not, it is the perps who would have likely found and taken the weapon and ammo after they shot the dog and dragged the girlfriend around the house demanding to know where the money was.  How does that help prevent it from happening again?

I suppose you could shoot 'em before they enter but today it was me coming up to the door so I don't think I will recommend that.

Anyone else?
4174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics, OWS on: October 26, 2011, 11:12:26 AM
Looking past the people with bad behavior, I too am interested in BD's view of the legitimacy of the views of the movement.  

I like Crafty's points made while I was writing.  Yes we need to capture the legitimacy of the anger at special treatment by government.  We need to do it carefully though because the main thrust is BS IMO - that those who worked hard, took big risks and accomplished large things should not make more than those who attempted or achieved very little.  

One valid point is that special interests with all their money get special powers and favors out of Washington and state capitols; those marches should be on Washington and the state capitols.  Of those most powerful interests, number one I think is the public employee union special interest.  Start there, shut them down and move down the list.  Goldman Sachs type companies get special treatment.  OWS'ers should demand that candidates like Obama refuse big interest money to isolate and defeat Republicans as the party of big money influence.  But in fact the rich are politically divided.  It is the 99% who control our elected government.  Most of the already rich lean left while the R's are more the party of entrepreneurial spirit of the want to be rich, people wanting to risk it all but want some real hope of a return from it someday.  Of the 99%, half are helping to pull the wagon and half are riding on it - a sad fact of our society.

The biggest force that big government uses to sustain and protect the biggest businesses ironically is over-regulation.  Due to the heavy heavy burden of all encompassing regulations, there is little or no chance for entrepreneurs to move in and disrupt the market share of the largest businesses in this country, whether it is auto makers, investment banks, hospitals or oil companies.  Regulatory compliance comes before revenues and profits in a new business so it is almost impossible for a startup from within our borders to have a chance.  Companies like Microsoft, Cisco, Google all had to invent a new industry in order to start.

The main point IMO is that the hate the rich campaign is intentional divisiveness pursuing an anti-economic freedom political agenda.  We saw it in Seattle and a large part of this is organized from outside our borders.  Economic freedom and growth enables wealth and it happens to different people at different times at different rates.  All facts that expose disparity become evidence to them supporting the need for more policies that pursue economic decline.  Extending legitimacy to that argument is a big mistake.

There is a piece in the NY Post ( that had some right wing sites up in arms this morning.  It calls for the elimination of the top 1%.  The nonsense was so similar to the demands of OWS that people were not noticing it was satire.  If you could eliminate the top 1%, wouldn't there still be a top 1%, and if you eliminate them isn't there still a top 1%.   As long as making money is allowed, won't there always still be people who make more money than you - unless or until you are one of them.
4175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential: Romney Plan on: October 26, 2011, 12:29:35 AM
Thank you CCP.  Point 1 in the 59 point plan is "Lower marginal tax rates" and then he doesn't say how much.  I read, posted and forgot the Romney Plan already I think because I don't see that he is committed to it.  I agree that he has shown an awareness that his words will follow him into the general election as well, but I don't like that he believes that he needs to do that in an Obama-esque sort of way with vague platitudes.

I predict he will have to dip his pen in the ink one more time and write specifics rather than face two serious challengers with very specific plans in a Perry-esque sort of way in a debate with no real plan of his own. 

The 'trust me to get it right' line takes him straight into his biggest weakness, bringing some other pretty serious changes of positions (cf. cap trade, govt healthcare) back into new relevance.

I don't like that because he is rich he has to be especially tough on the rich who are 'doing just fine'.  The rich being idle in our economy is not fine; their resources still sitting on the sidelines is killing employment, national income, government revenues, deficits, debt, the dollar and everything else.  He is showing no greater understanding or ability to articulate an incentive based economy than either of the silver spoon Bush presidents.

I don't care about the rich keeping or not keeping more of their own money.  I care about getting the American economy up on plane.
4176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East: War, Peace, and SNAFU, TARFU, and FUBAR on: October 25, 2011, 11:58:27 PM
"What say we? (on Syria)"

Tough, tough question.  One would like to think we could make a difference or that we already are covertly helping to make a positive difference.  It doesn't seem like we are although our new lead from behind signature is difficult to detect.

These regimes deserve to fall and it sure seems like we should help it fall if we stand for anything.  As already expressed by GM, will a new regime in Syria, Egypt, Libya, Iraq or anywhere else be better (or worse) still remains to be seen.
4177  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizens defend themselves/others. on: October 25, 2011, 11:47:09 PM
GM: "Justice Dept: 12k cops out of work by year's end"

The majority of public monies go to transfer payments.  Apply a little pressure on spending and they cut necessary services instead - the ones that hurt the people most in retaliation.  Don't let them do that.

My tenant last night had their house and persons ransacked while home in a brutal search for money they didn't have.  Response time from the police 1/2 block off the major nerve center in a volatile inner city neighborhood was 15 minutes after the fact, of absolutely no use.  2nd forceable entry in 2 weeks - while home!  The tornado of June was a walk in the park compared to human terror.  What do I tell them?  Good people should leave the city?  Then who is left?
4178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: October 25, 2011, 11:31:14 PM
Some rough math: A 5% on all personal income ($12trillion) raises 600 billion, but spending is 3.6 trillion.  We need about twice that plus the payroll tax, corporate etc just to get to current revenues.  If we have to exempt the lowest incomes, in Perry's terms that means 12,500 x 300 million people, almost 4 trillion of untaxed income, or a 15% rate required.  Revenues lost to mortgage interest, property taxes and charitable deductions is how the flat rate with those exclusions needs to be close to 20%.  No proposal will pass unless it gets us on a static analysis basis at least to current revenues.  Then the growth it unleashes can start to close off the 40% gap with current spending. 

Voters won't trust Republicans 10 seconds to make anything including the deficit worse.

This is the tax thread, but a big part of the new confidence, new hiring and new economic growth needs to come out of a comprehensive regulatory overhaul as well.
4179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tax Policy on: October 25, 2011, 11:12:09 AM
Crafty, With all respect it would be nice if Neal Boortz would address the objections raised instead of name calling critics like me - 'sniper', 'Stockholm Syndrome'. I raised 11 objections on the board to the Fair tax that in my view have not been answered.  I would be happy to update them and re-post.

Obamites must love the in-fighting among their opposition.  The tea party gained steam at least here I think when it switched from a 'tax cut rally' to a cut-spending-first movement.  Cain has articulated that better than almost anyone - it is about the role of government.  Yet we are unable so far to make 'cuts' below a 5% increase.  Going to an all consumption based tax makes sense to me if we were given the luxury of starting over or if we were somehow able to now reduce the federal tax and spend burden to roughly single digits.  We aren't close to getting even 40-50% of the people, much less 75% of the people (rough numbers to get a constitutional amendment) to agree to permanently ending all taxation on income.  Meanwhile we have a country to rescue.

Fair tax is not on the ballot, the 9-9-9 is.  I know that Cain favored the FAIR tax when he was running for nothing or gaining no traction when he did, but I don't know why, Crafty, you think he is still aiming there.  He made his own calculation that it isn't politically do-able and that is when his candidacy leaped forward. 

CCP,  Your 5% number for federal tax burden...hmmm, I'm with you and maybe 2 other people but try having your congressman and senators propose those specific cuts and see how far it goes.  Gingrich offers a 15% optional flat tax rate.  The reason I predicted 20% for Perry is that people want to keep the mortgage deduction, the property tax deduction and the charitable contributions deduction.  20% is the marginal rate AFTER $50,000 is free and clear for a family of 4. That is pretty low considering that Obama is at twice that with a 39.6% rate not counting the removal of FICA caps and new taxes including 'stimulus' deals and Obamacare surcharges.

Cain with a retailing background knows the magic of nines, making his rates sound low.  Problem is that we don't need to sell the producers on producing when they are allowed to keep 90% of what they make, we need to sell independent voters on the idea that that is a high enough rate to raise revenues, we can have a smooth transition, a speedy recovery AND long term robust growth.  We can't afford further disruption, even in just the short run.

A 30% transaction tax on housing in an economy crippled in a housing crisis isn't going to make for a smooth transition no matter what the long term holds.  A 30% tax on government purchases doesn't raise revenues at all.  Prebates don't work for people who can't manage money, have these guys ever met poor people? That isn't Stockholm syndrome to point that out. 

I like the Perry plan.  I'm not endorsing Perry now because of the dope I saw at the debates and because of some policies of his I adamantly oppose - the crony capitalist fund?!  I disagree with all of them starting with Pawlenty about the idea that capital gains taxes can be entirely eliminated (even though that would be ideal for me).  Low rates bring in revenues, and that is the purpose.  Zero tax on capital gains doesn't sound politically astute in a deeply divided electorate.  Long term gains mostly need to be indexed to inflation and taxed at rates low enough to get capital moving.  Perry says no tax on qualified capital gains.  I'm guessing he means gains that were already taxed at the 20% corporate rate, but we will see.

Cain can respond with his final offer and Romney better wake up soon and smell coffee.  Then we choose a candidate.  Either we all get on board with one or we will lose to the snake oil salesman with yet another and another tax and spend stimulus.  Good luck America.
4180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: Rick Perry's 20-20 Plan on: October 24, 2011, 10:51:06 PM
My Tax and Spending Reform Plan
Individuals will have the option of paying a 20% flat-rate income tax and I'll cap spending at 18% of GDP.


The folks in Washington might not like to hear it, but the plain truth is the U.S. government spends too much. Taxes are too high, too complex, and too riddled with special interest loopholes. And our expensive entitlement system is unsustainable in the long run.

Without significant change quickly, our nation will go the way of some in Europe: mired in debt and unable to pay our bills. President Obama and many in Washington seem unable or unwilling to tackle these issues, either out of fear of alienating the left or because they want Americans to be dependent on big government.

On Tuesday I will announce my "Cut, Balance and Grow" plan to scrap the current tax code, lower and simplify tax rates, cut spending and balance the federal budget, reform entitlements, and grow jobs and economic opportunity.

The plan starts with giving Americans a choice between a new, flat tax rate of 20% or their current income tax rate. The new flat tax preserves mortgage interest, charitable and state and local tax exemptions for families earning less than $500,000 annually, and it increases the standard deduction to $12,500 for individuals and dependents.

This simple 20% flat tax will allow Americans to file their taxes on a postcard, saving up to $483 billion in compliance costs. By eliminating the dozens of carve-outs that make the current code so incomprehensible, we will renew incentives for entrepreneurial risk-taking and investment that creates jobs, inspires Americans to work hard and forms the foundation of a strong economy. My plan also abolishes the death tax once and for all, providing needed certainty to American family farms and small businesses.

My plan restores American competitiveness in the global marketplace and provides strong incentives for U.S.-based employers to build new factories and create thousands of jobs here at home.

First, we will lower the corporate tax rate to 20%—dropping it from the second highest in the developed world to a rate on par with our global competitors. Second, we will encourage the swift repatriation of some of the $1.4 trillion estimated to be parked overseas by temporarily lowering the rate to 5.25%. And third, we will transition to a "territorial tax system"—as seen in Hong Kong and France, for example—that only taxes in-country income.

The mind-boggling complexity of the current tax code helps large corporations with lawyers and accountants devise the best tax-avoidance strategies money can buy. That is why Cut, Balance and Grow also phases out corporate loopholes and special-interest tax breaks to provide a level playing field for employers of all sizes.

To help older Americans, we will eliminate the tax on Social Security benefits, boosting the incomes of 17 million current beneficiaries who see their benefits taxed if they continue to work and earn income in addition to Social Security earnings.

We will eliminate the tax on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains to free up the billions of dollars Americans are sitting on to avoid taxes on the gain.

All of these tax cuts will be meaningless if we do not control federal spending. Last year the government spent $1.3 trillion more than it collected, and total federal debt now approaches $15 trillion. By the end of 2011, the Office of Management and Budget expects the gross amount of federal debt to exceed the size of America's entire economy for the first time in over 65 years.

Under my plan, we will establish a clear goal of balancing the budget by 2020. It will be an extremely difficult task exacerbated by the current economic crisis and our need for significant tax cuts to spur growth. But that growth is what will get us to balance, if we are willing to make the hard decisions of cutting.

We should start moving toward fiscal responsibility by capping federal spending at 18% of our gross domestic product, banning earmarks and future bailouts, and passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. My plan freezes federal civilian hiring and salaries until the budget is balanced. And to fix the regulatory excess of the Obama administration and its predecessors, my plan puts an immediate moratorium on pending federal regulations and provides a full audit of all regulations passed since 2008 to determine their need, impact and effect on job creation.

ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley must be quickly repealed and, if necessary, replaced by market-oriented, common-sense measures.

America must also once and for all face up to entitlement reform. To preserve benefits for current and near-term Social Security beneficiaries, my plan permanently stops politicians from raiding the program's trust fund. Congressional IOUs are no substitute for workers' Social Security payments. We should use the federal Highway Trust Fund as a model for protecting the integrity of a pay-as-you-go system.

Cut, Balance and Grow also gives younger workers the option to own their Social Security contributions through personal retirement accounts that Washington politicians can never raid. Because young workers will own their contributions, they will be free to seek a market rate of return if they choose, and to leave their retirement savings to their dependents when they die.

Fixing America's tax, spending and entitlement cultures will not be easy. But the status quo of byzantine taxes, loose spending and the perpetual delay of entitlement reform is a recipe for disaster.

Cut, Balance and Grow strikes a major blow against the Washington-knows-best mindset. It takes money from spendthrift bureaucrats and returns it to families. It puts fewer job-killing regulations on employers and more restrictions on politicians. It gives more freedom to Americans to control their own destiny. And just as importantly, the Cut, Balance and Grow plan paves the way for the job creation, balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility we need to get America working again.

Mr. Perry, a Republican, is the governor of Texas and a candidate for president.
4181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 2012 Presidential: The Perry Plan - Optional 20% Flat Tax on: October 24, 2011, 03:17:00 PM
Steven Moore of the WSJ is first to report today that the Perry plan announcing tomorrow will be an optional 20% flat tax rate exempting the first 12,500 per person.  No one knew until now what this rate would be - although I did call it the 20-20 plan yesterday.  wink  
    POLITICAL DIARY  OCTOBER 24, 2011, 12:18 P.M. ET
Perry's Optional Flat Tax
We are finally starting to get the details about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's flat tax plan to be unveiled formally on Tuesday. Perry insiders confirm that the flat tax will have a rate of 20%, and tax filers will be able to choose between the flat tax and the current code.

This means that workers won't "be forced into the flat tax if they like the current system," a Perry advisor tells me. It would also include a standard deduction of $12,500 for each person in the household.
We will see shortly what the Mitt Romney Version 3.0 reaction will be to it.  Romney 1.0 called it "a tax cut for fat cats".  In August he said “I love a flat tax” (  He will need his own new plan of his own unless his marketing people think they can do something more catchy with the 59 point non-specific plan with no named new rate on top of the current 59,000 page tax code.

These candidates think they are running against each other.  This isn't a job fair and it isn't about them.  We are hiring a leader of the free world and choosing our direction.  Each candidate including Cain should either endorse this, or come out with a better plan, or better yet - do both.  The idea isn't to divide the right; it is to win over the people to the wisdom of the policies and save the nation.

By making it optional which I think Newt offered first, they completely remove that argument used heavily (and unfairly) against Cain that x% of the working poor will actually be worse off.  You don't lose your favorite deduction if the old code is still sitting there available with all its forms.
Current tax code requires a half trillion dollars in compliance before the first dollar of revenue is captured,  Here is an actual excerpt from Schedule D that could also go on a Tylenol bottle: "These distributions are paid by a mutual fund (or other regulated investment company) or real estate investment trust from its net realized long-term capital gains. Distributions of net realized short-term capital gains are not treated as capital gains. Instead, they are included on Form 1099-DIV as ordinary dividends.  Enter on line 13 the total capital gain distributions paid to you during the year, regardless of how long you held your investment. This amount is shown in box 2a of Form 1099-DIV.  If there is an amount in box 2b, include that amount on line 11 of the Unrecaptured Section 1250 Gain Worksheet on page D-9 if you complete line 19 of Schedule D.  If there is an amount in box 2c, see Exclusion of Gain on Qualified Small Business (QSB) Stock on page D-4.  If there is an amount in box 2d, include that amount on line 4 of the 28% Rate Gain Worksheet on page D-8 if you complete line 18 of Schedule D.  If you received capital gain distributions as a nominee (that is, they were paid to you but actually belong to someone else), report on line 13 only the amount that belongs to you. Attach a statement showing the full amount you received and the amount you received as a nominee. See the Instructions for Schedule B for filing requirements for Forms 1099-DIV and 1096.
4182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: October 24, 2011, 12:54:55 PM
Tom, Thank you for that.  Yes I've read Keynes' works and my inability to follow him was a very positive step forward in my quest to understand economics. 
4183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government programs spending, budget process: End the Baseline on: October 24, 2011, 09:40:34 AM
Crafty on Fed thread: "A big part of the problem is that we lie to ourselves with baseline budgeting.  Until we stop using baseline budgeting for our thinking we continue down the road to destruction.

If we were simply to make some genuine cuts to entitlements (e.g. block grants to states for Medicaid and Medicare, set in place gradual increases in the age for social security) truly freeze overall spending from there and set off growth by putting in a genuine massive tax reform (e.g. 9-9-9) would could turn this around in short order."

It is amazing that after all the end of the world hoopla around the debt ceiling panic that we find out we are still spending at a rate 5% higher than ever before in history (4 posts up in this thread).  Both sides think we can't handle the truth and brag about cuts that aren't cuts.  Putting an end to Baseline budgeting would be more exciting if we hadn't already campaigned on it, won, and passed it in Newt's Contract with America:  Ask your congressman anyone, what percentage "cut" is it to spend exactly the same this year as last!  Liberals decided years ago that to own the language is to control the direction, and elected Republicans keep going along with them.

Obama has opened the door to both entitlement reform and flat tax running with the assertion that Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.  If we admit social security is a tax and a welfare system not an retirement insurance contribution, and there is no firewall or lockbox, then it can compete for tax dollars and spending dollars with every other program.  As pointed out, 9-9-9 is one way of eliminating a direct tax for social security and spreading it all the way up and down the system.  Liberals want to do this in an additive way rather than a replacement tax; they want to end the cap on income taxed and tax or means test benefits.  Both of those moves also IMO also move it from sacred cow status to a general welfare program subject to budget restraints and scrutiny.  Meanwhile, if we admit that the rich always find away around punitive taxation even if it means to stop producing, why not once and for all accept that a dollar earned is a dollar taxed and treat all people and all dollars the same.
4184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tax Policy: Broadening the base and lowering the rates increases revenues on: October 24, 2011, 09:09:32 AM

The Tax Reform Evidence From 1986


Congress's Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is struggling to find $1.5 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years. This is a unique opportunity to use tax reform to reduce future budget deficits while lowering individual tax rates.

The Tax Reform Act of 1986, enacted 25 years ago last Friday, showed how a tax reform that includes lower rates can change incentives in a way that grows the tax base and produces extra revenue. The 1986 agreement between President Ronald Reagan and House Speaker Tip O'Neill reduced the top marginal tax rate to 28% from 50%. A conservative Republican and a liberal Democrat could agree to a dramatic reduction in top rates because the legislation also eliminated a wide variety of tax loopholes.

A traditional "static" analysis that ignores the response of taxpayers to lower tax rates indicated that those combined tax changes would leave total revenue unchanged at each income level. But the actual experience after 1986 showed an enormous rise in the taxes paid, particularly by those who experienced the greatest reductions in marginal tax rates.

To measure that response, I studied a sample of individual tax returns (stripped of all identifying information) for more than 4,000 taxpayers provided by the U.S. Treasury Department. Because the sample contained the tax return of each individual for the years 1985 through 1988, I could compare the taxable income of individuals in 1985 with their taxable incomes in 1988, two years after their rates were lowered.

Taxpayers who faced a marginal tax rate of 50% in 1985 had a marginal tax rate of just 28% after 1986, implying that their marginal net-of-tax share rose to 72% from 50%, an increase of 44%. For this group, the average taxable income rose between 1985 and 1988 by 45%, suggesting that each 1% rise in the marginal net-of-tax rate led to about a 1% rise in taxable income.

This dramatic increase in taxable income reflected three favorable effects of the lower marginal tax rates. The greater net reward for extra effort and extra risk-taking led to increases in earnings, in entrepreneurial activity, in the expansion of small businesses, etc. Lower marginal tax rates also caused individuals to shift some of their compensation from untaxed fringe benefits and other perquisites to taxable earnings. Taxpayers also reduced spending on tax-deductible forms of consumption.

A similar picture emerged for the group of taxpayers who faced slightly lower marginal tax rates of 42% and 45%. The reduction to 28% raised the marginal net-of-tax share of this group by 25% and their taxable incomes rose by 20%, suggesting that each 1% rise in the marginal net-of-tax share raised taxable incomes by 0.8%, quite similar to the estimate for the group with the highest marginal tax rate.

The substantial sensitivity of taxable income to the taxpayer's marginal net-of-tax share has important implications for the effect of tax-rate reductions on total tax revenue. For a 10% across-the-board reduction in all tax rates, a traditional "static" analysis implies that revenue would fall to 90% of its previous level. But reducing a current 40% marginal tax rate by 10% to 36% raises the net-of-tax share to 64% from 60%, a rise of 6.7%. If that causes the taxable income of those at that tax level to rise by 6.7%, their taxable income would fall to only 96% of what it had been. In short, the behavioral response of taxpayers in this highest bracket would offset 60% of the static revenue loss.

The effect of taxpayer behavior on revenue is smaller in lower tax brackets. Calculations using the National Bureau of Economic Research's TAXSIM model, which calculates federal and state income tax liabilities from survey data, indicate that a 10% across-the-board reduction in all federal tax rates would reduce revenue by about 60% of what a static analysis would imply—i.e., that the behavioral response of taxable income to the lower marginal tax rates would offset about 40% of the static revenue loss.

These calculations have important implications for today's deficit-reduction debate. Broadening the tax base by limiting the use of tax expenditures (the special tax rules that substitute for direct government spending as a way to subsidize health insurance, mortgage borrowing and other things) could raise substantial revenue. Doing so doesn't require eliminating any of those tax expenditures. In a study of recent Treasury data, Daniel Feenberg, Maya MacGuineas and I found that limiting each individual's tax reduction from the use of tax expenditures to 5% of that individual's adjusted gross income would raise revenue equal to about 10% of current personal tax revenue.

Combining that base broadening with a 10% cut in all tax rates would be revenue neutral in a traditional static analysis. But the experience after the 1986 tax reform implies that the combination of base broadening and rate reduction would raise revenue equal to about 4% of existing tax revenue. With personal income-tax revenue in 2011 of about $1 trillion, that 4% increase in net revenue would be $40 billion at the current level of taxable income, or more than $500 billion over the next 10 years.

The Joint Select Committee should insist on counting that revenue as the starting point for a serious deficit reduction plan.

Mr. Feldstein, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan, is a professor at Harvard and a member of The Wall Street Journal's board of contributors.
4185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: October 23, 2011, 11:00:24 PM
GM: "As pointed out in the Steyn piece Doug posted earlier, we are the brokest nation in human history and I think we are past the tipping point where we can avoid default."
Debt Clock approaching $15 trillion: Terminal.

On the other side of the coin, total assets of the economy are impossible to measure, but one estimate is $188 trillion.

A 15% tax on a trillion barrels of new $100 oil alone is 15 trillion.  Another flawed measure but there are plenty of sources of wealth and revenues in a healthy growth economy.

Unlike 3rd world countries, our debt (so far) was iussued in our currency and devaluing rapidly as we speak.  If we were to quit borrowing now, accumulated debt gets smaller over time through both real growth and inflation even if never paid off.  Of course these devaluation policies are form of default.

What is terminal is the attitude of class envy, class warfare where we choose economic decline and anti-growth policies for 'fairness' instead of trusting people to succeed with economic freedom, limited government and the amazing innovation and growth powers of a private entrepreneurial economy.  It isn't that we can't fix this, it is that we aren't fixing it.  Instead, after another year of these clowns we will owe $16 trillion and be one year deeper into an anti-innovation, anti-freedom, anti-production mindset.
4186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: October 23, 2011, 09:15:02 PM
Interesting stuff Crafty. I also look forward to the comments of others The Shedlock explanation of the difference between credit and debt is excellent.  His deflation thoughts in housing need to be considered in the context of 'all other things held constant', which of course is not true.  We are throwing trillions of fictional dollars at it all, so for the net effect, all bets are off.  We do keep the cycle alive by slowing and preventing correction and the downward cycle feeds on itself killing off jobs andl income putting even more home loans upside down or into default, more homes to sell, less income, lower prices and lower expectations, more businesses close or layoff, keeping us from ever getting fully corrected - until something bold breaks the cycle.  

Tom makes a great point that money supply and general price level are among most things economic that are impossible to measure accurately.  You can see trends in standardized measures, but you never get a complete, accurate measure.

I'm no Keynesian, but poor Keynes gets his name besmirched by these hacks. He never said run up all this debt during good times which makes a a hundred billion of two of attempted stimulus when Keynes would call for a stimulus a meaningless drop in the ocean, with no economic or psychological boost, just more monetary dilution and more poisonous debt.

The MacKinnon piece (IMO) gives an excellent explanation of why a Fed operating with no ground rules (a huge portion of the deficits is not even borrowed), markets of buyers and sellers no longer set and adjust interest rates with such a farce for a market.  Like a hang glider defying gravity for a time, isn't there always eventually a settlement of account with real market forces?

To make sense of both pieces at once I might offer this.  Since we can't measure price levels accurately because of substitution of goods and complexity of goods and services offered, we could instead instantly devalue the dollar for each new fictional dollar put into circulation.  If prices and wages were measured this way I think you would instantly see what a period of prolonged economic decline we are experiencing and how this self-perpetuating cycle is keeping itself from ever getting fully corrected.

The fix requires bold action on the 'all other things held constant' side of the equation.  Shift the economy into forward with a comprehensive, all of the above, pro-growth agenda.  The boost in jobs and income brings up the demand and affordability of the homes, and helps to close the deficits.  Then, by congressional action, tell the Fed to work on one task only, safeguard and rightsize the dollar.  No funny business.

4187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mark Steyn: VP Biden, are you smarter (economically) than a 4th grader? on: October 23, 2011, 07:09:22 PM

Biden’s Fourth-Grade Economics     Mark Steyn    October 22, 2011
How to justify unaffordable and inefficient stimulus

In one of those inspired innovations designed to keep American classrooms on the cutting edge of educational excellence, the administration has been sending Joe Biden out to talk to schoolchildren. Last week, it was the fourth grade at Alexander B. Goode Elementary School in York, Pa., that found itself on the receiving end of the vice president’s wisdom:

    Here in this school, your school, you’ve had a lot of teachers who used to work here, but because there’s no money for them in the city, they’re not working. And so what happens is, when that occurs, each of the teachers that stays have more kids to teach. And they don’t get to spend as much time with you as they did when your classes were smaller. We think the federal government in Washington, D.C., should say to the cities and states, look, we’re going to give you some money so that you can hire back all those people. And the way we’re going to do it, we’re going to ask people who have a lot of money to pay just a little bit more in taxes.

Who knew it was that easy?

So let’s see if I follow the vice president’s thinking:

The school laid off these teachers because “there’s no money for them in the city.” That’s true. York City School District is broke. It has a $14 million budget deficit.

So instead Washington, D.C., is going to “give you some money” to hire these teachers back.

So, unlike York, Pa., presumably Washington, D.C., has “money for them”?

No, not technically. Washington, D.C., is also broke — way broker than York City School District. In fact, the government of the United States is broker than any entity has ever been in the history of the planet. Officially, Washington has to return 15,000,000,000,000 dollars just to get back to having nothing at all. And that 15,000,000,000,000 dollars is a very lowball figure that conveniently ignores another $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities that the government, unlike private businesses, is able to keep off the books.

So how come the Brokest Jurisdiction in History is able to “give you some money” to hire back those teachers that had to be laid off?

No problem, says the vice president. We’re going to “ask” people who have “a lot of money” to “pay just a little bit more” in taxes.

Where are these people? Evidently, not in York, Pa. But they’re out there somewhere. Who has “a lot of money”? According to President Obama, if your combined household income is over $250,000 a year you have “a lot of money.” Back in March, my National Review colleague Kevin Williamson pointed out that, in order to balance the budget of the United States, you would have to increase the taxes of people earning more than $250,000 a year by $500,000 a year.

Okay, okay, maybe that 250K definition of “bloated plutocrat” is a bit off. After all, the quarter-mil-a-year category includes not only bankers and other mustache-twirling robber barons, but also at least 50 school superintendents in the State of New York and many other mustache-twirling selfless public servants.

So how about people earning a million dollars a year? That’s “a lot of money” by anybody’s definition. As Kevin Williamson also pointed out, to balance the budget of the United States on the backs of millionaires you would have to increase the taxes of those earning more than 1 million a year by 6 million a year.

Not only is there “no money in the city” of York, Pa., and no money in Washington, D.C., there’s no money anywhere else in America — not for spending on the Obama/Biden scale. Come to that, there’s no money anywhere on the planet: Last year, John Kitchen of the U.S. Treasury and Menzie Chinn of the University of Wisconsin published a study called “Financing U.S. Debt: Is There Enough Money in the World — and At What Cost?”

Don’t worry, it’s a book with a happy ending! U.S.-government spending is sustainable as long as by 2020 the rest of the planet is willing to sink 19 percent of its GDP into U.S. Treasury debt. And why wouldn’t they? After all, if you’re a Chinese politburo member or a Saudi prince or a Russian kleptocrat or a Somali pirate and you switched on CNN International and chanced to catch Joe Biden’s Fourth Grade Economics class, why wouldn’t you cheerily dump a fifth of your GDP into a business model with such a bright future?

Since 1970, public-school employment has increased ten times faster than public-school enrollment. In 2008, the United States spent more per student on K–12 education than any other developed nation except Switzerland — and at least the Swiss have something to show for it. In 2008, York City School District spent $12,691 per pupil — or about a third more than the Swiss. Slovakia’s total per-student cost is less than York City’s current per-student deficit — and the Slovak kids beat the United States at mathematics, which may explain why their budget arithmetic still has a passing acquaintanceship with reality. As in so many other areas of American life, the problem is not the lack of money but the fact that so much of the money is utterly wasted.

But that’s no reason not to waste even more! So the president spent last week touring around in his weaponized Canadian bus telling Americans that Republicans were blocking plans to “put teachers back in the classroom.” Well, where are they now? Not every schoolmarm is down at the Occupy Wall Street drum circle, is she? No, indeed. And in that respect York City is a most instructive example: Five years ago (the most recent breakdown I have), the district had 440 teachers but 295 administrative and support staff. If you’re thinking that sounds a little out of whack, that just shows what a dummy you are: For every three teachers we “put back in the classroom,” we need to hire two bureaucrats to put back in the bureaucracy to fill in the paperwork to access the federal funds to put teachers back in the classroom. One day it will be three educrats for every two teachers, and the system will operate even more effectively.

It’s just about possible to foresee, say, Iceland or Ireland getting its spending under control. But, when a nation of 300 million people presumes to determine grade-school hiring and almost everything else through an ever more centralized bureaucracy, you’re setting yourself up for waste on a scale unknown to history. For example, under the Obama “stimulus,” U.S. taxpayers gave a $529 million loan guarantee to the company Fisker to build their Karma electric car. At a factory in Finland.

If you’re wondering how giving half a billion dollars to a Finnish factory stimulates the U.S. economy, well, what’s a lousy half-bil in a multi-trillion-dollar sinkhole? Besides, in the 2009 global rankings, Finnish schoolkids placed sixth in math, third in reading, and second in science, while suffering under the burden of a per-student budget half that of York City. By comparison, America placed 17th in reading, 23rd in science, and 31st in math. So the good news is that, by using U.S.-government money to fund a factory in Finland, Fisker may be able to hire workers smart enough to figure out how to build an unwanted electric car that doesn’t lose its entire U.S.-taxpayer investment.

In a sane world, Joe Biden’s remarks would be greeted by derisive laughter, even by fourth graders. Certainly by Finnish fourth graders.
4188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: October 23, 2011, 07:03:43 PM
Seems to me that a prolonged period of deflation following a bubble means that the asset prices are not freely correcting.  In the case of housing today, we made this bubble by artificially inflating a market, now we prevent correction with more of the same policies on steroids, forcing re-writes, blocking foreclosures and delaying properties to market.  Fixing an error by exacerbating it, what could possibly go wrong?  The deflationary period it seems to me is a result of the correction not fully occurring.  The downward expectation becomes a force of its own, just like the inflating bubble did.  An asset price correction should not require a prolonged economic downturn to occur, IMO.

That we try to cover up other policy problems by injecting more and more dollars means yes, hyper inflation is very likely if/when we ever snap out of this. 
4189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government regulations: Paul Volcker on: October 23, 2011, 06:26:08 PM
Thumbs up for accuracy and clarity.  Hard to believe Volcker was ever an Obama supporter with these views.  Everyone was quiet about the falling out, but at what point and over what issue in the Solydra Presidency did he resign or fade away?  My understanding is that they just never sought his advice.  They haven't really had any economic troubles - the unraveling of our economy into crises and government takeovers is going pretty much according to plan.

Volcker Oct 2011: “You ought to be either public or private; don’t mix up private profit-making opportunities with an institution that is going to be protected by the government but not controlled by it.”
4190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government regulations/financial reform: Paul VOlcker says we got it wrong on: October 23, 2011, 03:35:17 PM
Former Obama adviser highly critical of current policy:

“This is an opportunity to get rid of institutions (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac) that shouldn’t exist,”  

“You ought to be either public or private; don’t mix up private profit-making opportunities with an institution that is going to be protected by the government but not controlled by it.”
4191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: October 23, 2011, 03:12:11 PM
The increases in domestic spending alone since Democrats took over congress cost more than deposing Saddam, overthrowing the Taliban, killing bin Laden, deposing Khadafy, 10 years in Afghanistan, 9 in Iraq, drone strikes in Waziristan and Yemen, all combined? Wow! Makes you wonder how much unemployment came down in 6 years with all that pure Keynesian stimulus. Unemployment was 4.4% in Oct 2006 coming into the Pelosi-Reid-Obama-Biden-Hillary takeover.  It's more than double that now, but maybe they were helping minorities?  Hispanic unemployment was 4.6%, 11.3% today.
4192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 23, 2011, 12:39:34 PM
Whether it is rich guilt or economic ignorance, Romney's inability to justify the $200,000 threshold is reminiscent of George Bush not knowing why he wanted lower tax rates.  Just what we need is another President who can't grasp or articulate incentive-based production.

Iowahowk (humor site) is covering the candidacy of a new establishment Republican candidate to thwart off the tea party insurgency:

Murphy's Law must have chosen Rick Perry, only after he proved himself a blockhead and his candidacy was declared room temperature, to finally get a tax reform right (IMHO) with just the first two nines of a flat tax package, 20-20 or whatever it will be called.  I am very excited to find out if he will credit the forum for inspiring his plan:

My advice to Herman Cain is to take ownership of both plans. Cain should say to Perry: "Nice job.  I was first with a bold plan for tax reform and economic growth and my rates are lower, but I like the way you are thinking.  If congress passes a flat tax with out without a new consumption tax that accomplishes all our goals, even if it is called the Perry Plan, as your President I will happily sign it, scrap this tax code and then get moving with regulatory reform and our smaller government, larger freedom agenda". 

My advice to candidate Romney is to have his marketing people take one more look at his 59 point non-specific addition that keeps the current tax code intact.  Gov. Romney, you are running for leader of the free world.  Is this really your final answer?
4193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics, Bobby Jindal wins with 66% of vote on: October 23, 2011, 11:23:31 AM
A post-Katrina Republican, does anyone remember Kathleen Blanco or when Louisiana was a swing state?  Jindal cut taxes, outsourced government services to private companies, supports drilling. Louisiana’s jobless rate of 7.2 percent ranks below the national average of 9.1 percent.  Democrats outnumber Republicans in Louisiana 44 percent to 41 percent.  A poll conducted by WWL-TV on Oct. 5 gave Jindal an approval rating of 63 percent.  Jindal is 40 heading into his second term.
4194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 20, 2011, 12:15:17 PM
I had higher hopes than this for Rick Perry.  If we rule him out, we are down to a very small number of choices, each with their own known deficiencies.

4195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libya and on: October 20, 2011, 12:08:56 PM
GM, At least he was not caught in the picture bowing.  Ghadafy was a humble man, never appointing himself past the rank of Colonel.  Had he made it to King or even Prince, the photo would be most embarrassing.
4196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libya and on: October 20, 2011, 11:30:00 AM
Whatever happened to the policy articulated so well four years ago that we can sit and and talk to these people?

Oh, here it is:
4197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: October 20, 2011, 11:23:21 AM
"Folks: Tom is a serious, well-informed advocate of the Austrian school.  We are fortunate to have him drop in.  Marc"


First to Crafty, I was partially agreeing with you and still wanting to draw your view out further.  Overlap or agreement with me doesn't make either of us right.  wink

Ron Paul's view has evolved from 'end the fed' (he wrote the book) to the one posted which I think is stop mis-managing the Fed, a view we can probably all agree on.  His first point though is a bit simplistic and partly wrong to me.  "Money is like any other good in our economy that emerges from the market to satisfy the needs and wants of consumers." 

Yes money has the characteristics of other goods but it is a public good with a government monopoly as much as it is a private good.  If the oil price (or corn or lumber) is too high, too low or too volatile, that screws up other industries.  When money is high, low or unstable, it screws up all enterprise.  Not only the relative price is important but also the general price level IMO.

TB, that is a great post, much more detailed than Ron Paul! I agree about with nearly all but pick out a couple of points for followup. 

"deflation can be painful, for sure, but it cannot spiral out of control."

Good point, there are of course limits to a downward movement in price.  It isn't that it would spiral out of control, but that it can develop a self-sustaining momentum difficult to break - at least that way in a couple of cases.

"The Fed was created to establish a profit enhancing bank cartel."

A muddled institution, the Fed is both public and private, owned by the member banks, managed by government appointed and confirmed technocrats.  The Fed returns its own direct profits to the Treasury other than a statutory return to its owners, yet no doubt it serves to enable profits to its member institutions. The banks themselves are also public-private entities in a sense due to the deposit insurance guarantee relationship and the all-encompassing regulation aspect.
The real error we are committing now in my view comes from congress assigning a dual mission to the Fed.  Besides the function of managing a stable money supply, the Fed is charged with alleviating unemployment caused by policy errors that were not monetary in the first place.  The Fed is supposed cover for the 40% excesses in federal spending, and 'stimulate' our way through economic damages caused by regulatory and tax policies.  That doesn't make any sense.  It enables rather than soves the other policy errors, and sets up a high likelihood of new inflation coming if or when the current stagnation ends.
4198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: October 19, 2011, 11:20:24 PM
"Lets define our terms here.  Question:  Is the bursting of a bubble a deflation?"
Yes, that is where it starts, at least in the case of the two examples I gave: America in the 1930s and Japan in the 1990s.

The problem is the spiral and that we don't know any easy fixes to snap an economy out of it.

In today's economy the bubble started with housing.  We don't face deflation, but the fear of it was one big reason why we have this 6 trillion plus stimulus/quantitative expansion of debt and dilution will haunt us perhaps forever.  Even with the multi-trillion dollar injection, the momentum is stalled.  Wait, don't buy, don't hire, don't invest is what the smart money is doing.  A sad state of affairs.

If bursting a bubble is a necessary evil, two questions come to mind: what were we doing that made the bubble worse than it needed to be (everything), and what are we doing now that is making the correction take longer than it needs to (pretty much everything).

If we didn't try so hard to stave off corrections maybe the expectation of continued falling prices wouldn't set in for so long and so deeply.

How does someone buy a house today if they know the price will be lower tomorrow?  They don't.  Consistently falling prices are a bad thing.

Back to you.  wink
4199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 2012 Presidential on: October 19, 2011, 01:34:40 PM
"A VERY lively night in last night's debate.  Analysis? Comments?"

Once again, I missed it and don't enjoy trudging through after I have already seen clips and commentary.  THE clip that made news was about hiring of an illegal, not exactly new or the key to beating Obama or turning the country around.  Too bad to give the public a food fight instead of a economics lesson.

Cain now says he misspoke, whatever that means regarding making the 1 for a thousand trade out of Guantanamo.  Not ready for prime time.  Newt was the one to stay on track, they say.  Eleven more debates to go through January.  Let's get it together!


Debate Roundup
October 18, 2011 11:04 P.M.
By Victor Davis Hanson 

I don’t think the debate will change much in the polls, and those without the money are not going to gain some by tonight’s performance. Obama surely gains when the debaters end up shouting at each other and forget about the present mess. Cain took a lot of hits that scored. Here’s a quick take.

Romney: I think he won the weird crossfires with Perry: a) illegal aliens working on his property were hired by contractors, not him personally (most recognize the difference); b) Perry’s ad hominem came off too calculated and studied rather than an ad hoc jousting point. He scored points for being above the fray, and parried all the blows pretty well. Along with Gingrich and Santorum, he seems to have the best command of the facts, and is doing a good job presenting a certain presidential calm. He is often aware that the debate is being watched by independents as well as the base. When he survives these sharp attacks, he gets better — much better than in 2008. The flash of anger at Perry was a sort of Reagan “I’m paying for this” moment.

Gingrich: A person from Mars would conclude that once again Gingrich is the most impressive in debates, especially his efforts to steer the attacks back to Obama’s policies. His above-the-fray lectures come off very well. He should reflect why it is, then, that when he does so well in debates and so often is the best informed, he gets little traction in polls — and then address that paradox.

Bachmann: She is well-informed and comes up with some strange, but welcome, takes on issues that few have thought of — like her quips on foreclosures, illegal immigration, Israel, and 9-9-9. For someone who is supposed to be wacky, Bachmann came across tonight as sensible and often imaginative. Along with Cain, she is the coolest under fire, and the lower she sinks in the polls, the more relaxed and better she is in debate — as if the less pressure, the more natural she appears.

Cain: At some point reiterating “9-9-9” or referring to his website is simply not enough. He is fearless and candid, and that counts for a lot, but without at least some detail he comes off more as a salesman. One would think he at least would make a 20-second pitch that he is trying to encourage more production and investment and discourage consumption, or articulate exactly why the half that doesn’t pay income taxes should pay quite a lot through his federal sales taxes and 9 percent income tax — or to what extent a national sales tax would, in EU style, create (or not) an even bigger underground, off-the-books economy. On too many occasions, he doesn’t answer the particular question asked or obfuscates about his past statements. But again there seems no interest in detail at all. Too many weird things about electric fences and trading captives for terrorists = too little political experience and not enough prep. His chief strength: He remains absolutely unflappable! But we don’t elect presidents on that admirable trait.

Perry: He is not the somnolent Perry of past debates, but his animation is mostly ad hominem and comes off mean-spirited. He seems to have realized that midway, and gets better when he talks about energy. Tonight: two steps forward for passion, two and a half steps back for a bothersome abrasiveness. Passion is not just invective.

Paul: He gets a lot of applause for reducing problems to sheer simplicity. But the more he talks, the more it is clear that he is a neo-isolationist. At this point, I don’t see how getting rid of the Federal Reserve is viable when fiscal discipline in the past was not antithetical to it. Fifteen percent cut to the Defense Department? All those cabinets cut in a year? Abruptly withdraw the troops from South Korea? I guess it is to be “starve the beast”: First, cut the military, and then they can’t go abroad. (No aid to Israel makes it stronger?) He can sound good on the economy, and some cuts in foreign aid, but all in all, he is simply not a serious presidential candidate.

Santorum: His is a more informed, more analytical version of Perry’s personal-attack mode; somehow he pulls it off a little better because he offers detail. He rarely says anything that doesn’t make sense. But he seems visibly exasperated, almost to the point of sputtering, that his rivals don’t reply to his revelations about their purported hypocrisies — but why would they? He needs to adopt a little more of Herman Cain’s sunny disposition and cheer up, since otherwise he seems perennially angry that the debate, like life, is not fair and his talents go unrecognized.
4200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Monetary Policy, Inflation, US Dollar & other currencies, & Gold/Silver on: October 19, 2011, 01:19:56 PM
I have come to doubt the "deflation is bad" hypothesis.

Oh? Do tell.
I like it when conventional 'wisdom' gets questioned around here. 

One argument is that deflation is not a risk in this environment because of our never ending increases in the money supply, but that is not what Crafty is saying.

If Crafty is correct, the Fed could target inflation at 0% instead of more like 1-3%, then with margin of error in a big economy price increases/decreases might swing 2% up or 2% down averaging 0% and the dollar maintaining all of its value over the long term. 

That is only true as long as deflation is not the expectation.

Deflation has tended to correlate with lousy economic periods, the Great Depression in the US and the end of economic growth in Japan in the early 1990s are examples.  Other studies say that is not always so.  Small deflationary periods have come and gone without major damage.

The risk of deflation is really the risk of spiraling deflation.  It goes something like this: Things are cheaper, but people actually buy less because of low demand and because they know prices keep falling.  Companies sell less and make less on what they do sell at the lowered price.  Businesses either lower wages or layoff workers.  Households have even less to spend, demand falls further, prices fall further and the cycle continues or accelerates.  If or when this happens, it is very difficult cycle to break.
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