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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:35 am 
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IJ wrote:

More classic Bill. I wouldn't have it any other way. Provocative statements meant to evoke the Nazis followed by pulling back when the desired meaning is understood.

My dear friend... You are the master of the strawman. I didn't just fall off the turnip truck you know. And when you do that, I choose not to take your bait. That is my (wise) prerogative. There's nothing in the rule book that states I have to engage when you go out in left field.

I generally (not always) choose my words carefully, and mean what I say. I don't always mean what others choose to interpret from my words. And in my old age (and frankly obscene schedule) I've learned the art of saying things once and not beating it to death.

Try having teenagers in your home. You'll become an expert at all the smoke and mirrors communication tactics.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:46 am 
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Glenn wrote:

Understood, the age old avoidance strategy.

What avoidance is there in telling you that you misrepresented what I say? I believe that's pretty direct.

My views are my views. Stating them doesn't imply I think I'm brilliant and everyone else is wrong. There are many ways to run a system. But if I was a politician (and I won't be), I'd obviously have my own path.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:53 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
But if I was a politician (and I won't be), I'd obviously have my own path.

And the current party system definitely does not favor those who have their own paths. In some ways that can be good, given some peoples' paths, but it certainly does not favor creative solutions.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:04 am 
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Here's a hint, Ian. I've said it many, many times.

1) Make government smaller. Let me say it again... Make government smaller. There's no need to raise taxes if you have no need to spend.

2) Stop throwing "stimulus money" at "shovel ready" government programs. That just feeds the beast that is a parasite on private enterprise. It doesn't bring private enterprise back on its feet. All it does is make the recession longer. If you want to throw stimulus money at something, throw it at private enterprise - with strings attached. Recessions are the absolute best time to invest in R&D (much written about that). By the time the recession ends and people are buying again, you have new products to sell. And then the economy takes off.

If you don't have good ideas that we as a nation could be investing in, I certainly do...

3) Yes, Virginia, GM would have been fine without government intervention. No, Ian, the sky would not have fallen. You're quoting other liberal economists. Not all economists sing from the same hymnal. Try some other reading material.

There was only one thing that Uncle Sam saved that GM couldn't have if it did bankruptcy the old fashioned way - the UAW. The Government Motors intervention was political pay-back to the unions that helped get Obama into office. If GM had gone through Chapter 11 and had to get serious, obligations to the UAW would have been severed. It would have been brutal, but guess what? GM will N-E-V-E-R be competitive with Japan, Korea, "Detroit south", and soon to be India and China. The GM-UAW paradigm is a dead one.

Saving it only delayed the inevitable.

Saving it was grossly unfair to Ford which showed it was capable of surviving without help.

Saving it delayed the development of two brand new electric auto start-ups in the U.S. Now China is catching up. They're going to have an electric in the U.S. market in a year or two. Thanks a lot, Obama!

Remember when Washington saved Chrysler before? Didn't last long, did it? Dead paradigms die. (My Forrest Gump line of the day.)

4) Kill the one trillion dollar health care boondoggle and start over again. No, it did not stop health care inflation. It only made it worse, and you ain't seen nothing yet.

Why should I care? My job is made more secure by it all. I care because it's just wrong.

Good luck finding PCPs for those 30 million people thrown into the system, by the way... If the Virginia win in federal court is lost in the Supreme Court, the present paradigm for PCPs is on the way out. The AMA will not be able to ramp up fast enough. Good time to be an NP or a PA! ;)

I could go on, Ian. But I'll first give you some time to misrepresent what I just said.

- Bill


Last edited by Bill Glasheen on Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:25 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
2) Stop throwing "stimulus money" at "shovel ready" government programs. That just feeds the beast that is a parasite on private enterprise. It doesn't bring private enterprise back on its feet. All it does is make the recession longer. If you want to throw stimulus money at something, throw it at private enterprise - with strings attached. Recessions are the absolute best time to invest in R&D (much written about that). By the time the recession ends and people are buying again, you have new products to sell. And then the economy takes off.

At the national (macroeconomic) level, supply and demand are represented by GDP/GNP/etc (supply) and aggregate demand (demand). If the goal is for the economy not to shrink during a recession then aggregate demand has to be stimulated to stimulate supply production. Aggregate demand is measured by the combination of consumption + gross investments + government spending + net exports, the problem is that during recessions consumption and gross investments go down and we have had negative net exports (i.e., net imports) for decades. Therefore if the goal is for the economy not to shrink during a recession then government spending has to increase to offset declines in the other components, and that non-partisan economic logic was behind the Bush and Obama stimulus packages. I do agree though that wise decisions have to be made in what those increases go toward, and I am not sure that has been done in all cases. In addition to R&D, infrastructural improvements are good to a point because the benefits to the economy go well beyond the immediate projects themselves, but that cannot be all there is. Invariably there are a lot of pet projects that get slipped into increases like this that are not going to help the overall economy in the long run.

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If the Virginia win in federal court is lost in the Supreme Court

Speaking of which, what is the current political make-up of the Supreme Court?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:37 am 
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Glenn wrote:

if the goal is for the economy not to shrink during a recession then government spending has to increase to offset declines in the other components

You don't need government spending tax dollars on government programs. Unless of course you prefer to make government strong at the expense of private enterprise.
Glenn wrote:

In addition to R&D, infrastructural improvements are good to a point because the benefits to the economy go well beyond the immediate projects themselves

To what end? Creating the interstate highway system was a game changer for our economy. Fixing bridges during a recession that otherwise can be fixed when tax revenues naturally go up in a strong economy is not smart.

Send someone to the moon and farm out the technological improvements needed to do that? That was a game changer.

Improve military technology? That was a game changer.

Demand a Manhattan Project for a better battery? That will be a game changer.
Glenn wrote:

Invariably there are a lot of pet projects that get slipped into increases like this that are not going to help the overall economy in the long run.

It's embarrassing.
Glenn wrote:

Speaking of which, what is the current political make-up of the Supreme Court?

It's a crap shoot. Right now I say it's 50/50 on the idea. The extremes of the political spectrum look at the interstate commerce law and prior rulings, and come up with diametrically opposed opinions.

- Bill


Last edited by Bill Glasheen on Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:46 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
There was a leadership vacuum after World War I in Germany, and a strong personality stepped up. Let's hope our window of opportunity and need has a better outcome. So far, not so good.

I see nothing wrong with evoking the Nazis when appropriate, there are lessons to be learned from history and I think Bill is spot on with this concern. I highly recommend a series of articles published by the political geographer John O'Loughlin in the late 1990s and early 2000s analyzing the electoral geography in the Weimar Republic that resulted in the Nazi Party and Hitler being voted into power in Germany in democratic elections.

O'Loughlin wrote:
The results from the various methods are consistent in showing a voting surface of great complexity, with many local clusters that differ from the regional trend. The Weimar German electoral map does not show much evidence of a nationalized electorate, but is better characterized as a mosaic of support for "milieu parties," mixed across class and other social lines, and defined by a strong attachment to local traditions, beliefs, and practices.

In other words, sectionalism dominated the voting patterns, just as we have seen here in recent elections. And the parallels between the rise of the Nazi Party and the Tea Party, with both having origins in grass-roots disatisfaction over existing politics and parties and both having the same base of their support (middle-class independent businessowners), has not gone un-noticed by those paying attention. While I suspect the parallels will ultimately end there, we should definitely be taking note.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:20 am 
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You know Bill, you've gt a pretty good game here. Say something that evokes the Nazis and Hitler to 100% to people, wait for the planned response, then assert smoke and mirrors and misrepresentation. I have to admit I'm impressed with the consistency and dedication to your art.

As for the economy plan, well, it must pain you to have to explain yourself to goofballs like me all the time. Here's the problem though:

"Make government smaller. Let me say it again... Make government smaller."

Ah, yes, that's a good idea. I guess you mean we should just take, what, 30% of everything away? Slash particular programs? Who could say, reading this advice which is designed to sound pithily erudite but is completely unready for application? I'd say the devil is in the details but we're a level up from that; the devil's in the generalities here.

Have you thought about my plan to slash social security benefits and ration healthcare or are you too busy portraying me as a liberal sympathizer? Because if you don't do these things, it's all talk. I mean, maybe you mean to do these things (in which case the simplest thing for you to do is just agree with me for once; pointedly NOT doing so sets up another call and response scheme where I reasonably assume that means you don't agree with me, and if I say so you chastize me for not realizing that you clearly meant that by saying small government and it was in your subtext, so I won't bite this time, but that just leaves me sounding like I don't understand your POV, so you get to use your "sigh, dumb kid" tone; I could always assume you meant to agree with me but then I'll get a "now you're getting it!" response, even though these were my ideas and I put these specifics here first--I guess you would win any way we slice it). If you don't mean to do these things and you just want to reduce inefficiencies elsewhere, your plan is hopeless. If you DO want to join me on these issues, then all we are arguing about is the utility of stimulus in recession, which is largely past anyway.

As for the unemployment benefits and stimulus plans, well, it's not just liberal economists who believe in them, unless the majority of economists are liberals (NB: I got my liberal ideas on the stimulus from a pro capitalist mag that called Obama a statist and anti-business). Maybe you haven't left the WSJ editorial page in too long or maybe you would like to hit me up with some consequential economist input that suggests that unemployment benefits AREN'T a good way to stimulate the economy, that a stimulus package of some kind wasn't a good idea, or that things would not have gotten worse had we not bailed out the financial sector. I'm totally open to the idea that two houses of congress and the federal reserve and the economists on the news had this wrong, provided we are treated to some real content, but at a minimum, I think it's fair to say that it's at least not cut and dry. You don't have to repeat yourself or treat us like children. You could try noting areas of agreement, like I do, or acknowledging some of the choices are tough, like I do.

I sometimes wonder why you're not an economist, or climate scientist, since you have them scooped most of the time.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:21 am 
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One reason why increased government spending is so attractive a plan is because it gives a bigger bang for the buck in immediate economic growth compared to tax cuts. If government gets more money to spend it is going to spend every penny of it without fail. So say a $100 million stimulus plan is passed and the multiplier effect is 4 (i.e., each dollar generates a total of $4 dollars economic growth as it changes hands through transactions), that $100 million will generate around $400 million in economic growth.

The public on the other hand will not spend everything, any increase in money they get will be divided between spending and savings. So say a $100 million tax cut is passed, the multiplier effect is 4, and the average marginal propensity to consume is .75 (i.e., for every extra dollar of income received a person is likely to spend 75 cents and save 25 cents), that $100 million will generate around $300 million in economic growth.

Increased government spending invariably results in greater short-term economic gains, and if you are a politician that can make the difference between success and failure for you and your party at the next election. Is it any wonder both parties tend to chose that route?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:35 pm 
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IJ wrote:

Say something that evokes the Nazis and Hitler to 100% to people,

too busy portraying me as a liberal sympathizer?


I reasonably assume that means you don't agree with me

that just leaves me sounding like I don't understand your POV, so you get to use your "sigh, dumb kid" tone

even though these were my ideas and I put these specifics here first

your plan is hopeless. If you DO want to join me on these issues, then all we are arguing about is the utility of stimulus in recession, which is largely past anyway.

you would like to hit me up with some consequential economist input that suggests that unemployment benefits AREN'T a good way to stimulate the economy, that a stimulus package of some kind wasn't a good idea, or that things would not have gotten worse had we not bailed out the financial sector.

I sometimes wonder why you're not an economist, or climate scientist, since you have them scooped most of the time.

:popcorn:


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:40 pm 
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If it makes you feel better, Ian...

1) I'm assuming social security and Medicare won't be there for me. If you think otherwise, you've got some splainin to do. Economists and health policy experts have been predicting this for 40 years.

2) Raising the retirement age is a natural consequence of better public health. I think that's a marvelous idea. (But don't tell that to protesters in France and Greece.) But if we want this trend to continue, we're going to have to stop the obesity epidemic first. Last I checked, life expectancy dropped in the most recent assessment.

3) We already ration health care. The big question isn't "if" but rather "how." I don't have a problem with the "r" word. Do you?

The difference between health care in the United States and elsewhere is the degree of choice people have. Culturally we're different. Americans want things because they want them. They want to buy their homeopathic medicine from GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, etc. because that's how they want to spend their personal health care dollars. We collectively choose not to be dictatorial about it. That's probably a good thing, because there's a wide swath of medicine that can best be described as "equivocal" or "practice preference."

No ObamaCare program is going to change that propensity to consume services. By making health care more readily available, it's only going to get worse. Rationing happens best in this country when the consumer has more skin in the game. It does lead to some poor care for chronic conditions with evidence-based care, but I'm not sure even Stalin could do something about that. Spend some time with the people in my world who do disease management for members with very rich benefits. (I supply them with the data.) I'm sure the frustrations would feel eerily familiar.

By the way... Remind me to post something about a Wikileaks discovery concerning Cuba vs. a Michael Moore film. As the story goes, it appears that Cuba banned the publishing of his film Sicko because they didn't want the average Cuban to assume that the care made available to Michael Moore's stooges was available to the commoner. Say it ain't so, Michael!!!

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:55 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
1) I'm assuming social security and Medicare won't be there for me. If you think otherwise, you've got some splainin to do. Economists and health policy experts have been predicting this for 40 years.

One of my economics professors this semester said the same thing, that these programs cannot last unless minimum ages are raised and the government stops funding them with IOUs. I think part of why this is not taken more seriously is the same problem the climatologists run into, when you predict doom-and-gloom so long (4 decades for SS disappearing; 3 decades for global warming) while people are not seeing any effects themselves they start assuming that either you are crying wolf or that it will happen so far into the future as to not be an issue for them. Both economists and climatologists try to educate officials and the public, but run into the same road blocks of people not seeing any immediacy or connectedness, or simply not understanding the science to believe that their are problems.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 7:40 pm 
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"If a trend can't continue, it won't." --Stein

Agreed that SS and medicare are unlikely to be there for us in their current form but I do suspect government will be around in retirement and healthcare for the future. They have more rational government involvement in healthcare, for example, elsewhere, and so at some point we'll be forced to emulate other nations. In the meantime, making a reasonable proposal for controlling these two programs is a better idea than just expecting them to fail.

As for life expectancy, it may be stuck where it is for a while, but that somewhere is much higher than it was. So we can make a change now.

As for rationing healthcare, did you just ask me if I had a problem with the R word? Just how many more times would I need to suggest doing so for you to get me?

Anyeay, yeah, Americans like Vitamins. Other cultures like tiger powder or rhino horn. Whatever. That does not mean that we cannot redesign the most expensive piece of medical equipment available: the doctors pen. The amount of waste is astonishing and this continues because, as we agree, no one has skin in the game. A program, government run, regulated, or none of the above, can be designed to change this. For starters, we can change things overnight with government power. When McDonald's says jump, the suppliers say "how high?" And Medicare can simply stop paying for mistakes and unproven care. It can defund things like Avastin. This will P.O. all the Americans who think that the magical physician whim and the patient's preference are king, regardless of cost. But too bad. We will either find this will or the programs will collapse completely. Hopefully we can do it while things aren't so bad (it's not unlike deforestation or extinction, you know?).

And we don't need any wikileaks to explain how dumb Moore is. He pulled a tearjerker over a guy who died for lack of a bone marrow transplant, saying the insurance company killed him. BMT. Does not work. For what he had. Utter, insane nonsense and a disservice to the public.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:29 pm 
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Getting the thread back on track...

It appears all it took for the first-responders legislation to get through Congress was to remove the pork and come up with more palatable ways to fund it. In this way, the dynamic tension of divided government - something I advocate - was doing its job.

WSJ wrote:

NEW YORK | DECEMBER 23, 2010
Health Bill for 9/11 Responders Is Approved

Long-delayed legislation providing aid to sick Ground Zero workers sailed through Congress Wednesday in a few short hours, after Democrats scaled back the bill to overcome lingering Republican objections.

The legislation would provide for the first time a long-term comprehensive health-care program for those who became sick after working at the toxic debris pile of the collapsed World Trade Center, as well as those who lived nearby and suffered ill health effects.

{snip}

New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer, both Democrats, negotiated with the two principal Republican objectors, Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, well past midnight Tuesday.

The bill had already failed a test vote earlier this month in the Senate because of unanimous Republican opposition. Some GOP lawmakers said the program cost too much and could be susceptible to fraud.

"We nearly gave up last night," Mr. Schumer said. In the end, both sides agreed to reduce the bill's cost to $4.3 billion from $6.2 billion, and add provisions to study whether the program would be better run through veterans hospitals, as well as a number of other last-minute tweaks.

They also changed the method of paying for the program, removing a tax on foreign corporations and instead imposing a fee on companies in certain countries that sell goods and services to the U.S. government overseas.

{snip}


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:21 am 
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While I'm in favor of the changes, it's ridiculous that it's taken six years longer than it should have to get this out there.

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