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Servo

Servo Avatar

Location: Down on the Farm
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 6:05pm

 Brother_Abel wrote:
Historically Americans have tended not to travel abroad...(most dont hold passports)....and rightly so,- its a huge beautiful country.

The consequence of this is conservatism, and as you intimate below, arrogance.
 
{#Yes}  Don't forget parochial thinking, xenophobia and reactionaryism (a.k.a. "regression").

The root of arrogance is fear.  Political reactionaries have a severe lack of courage.


Servo

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Location: Down on the Farm
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 5:58pm

 TernaryBit wrote:
I don't buy this "new era" (expletive deleted).
 
That's why they're called "gifts"; you don't have to buy them.  {#Rolleyes}

Servo

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Location: Down on the Farm
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 5:52pm

 TernaryBit wrote:
I have no problem with the State setting guidelines for acceptable behavior (you can't dump toxic waste into rivers) but I don't agree with massive redistribution of the wealth, manipulation of interest rates, a myriad of mostly useless bureaucracies and state programs funded by our taxes, legislating morality, and a hundred thousand other things Washington does.
 
How come you Republicans insist that "massive redistribution of the wealth, manipulation of interest rates, a myriad of mostly useless bureaucracies and state programs funded by our taxes, legislating morality, and a hundred thousand other things" are vitally necessary when wealth and power flows from the poor to the wealthy, but flip-flop when the wealth and power might flow in any other direction?  Why is that?


Servo

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Location: Down on the Farm
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 5:41pm

 TernaryBit wrote:
Conversely, liberals (not classical liberals, socialist, 21st century "liberals") have had hundreds of years to prove its claims about the wonders of government intervention in economics...
 
You know what?  My level of tolerance for GOP talking points that use abstract terms ("drugs", "terror", "liberal") and weasel words to invent phony bogeymen to blame for their own personal actions is about nil right now as well.

Either name names and give specifics, or STFU.  The same old song and dance routine is no longer accepted here.

Here we agree, except for the "profitable" part. I hardly see how a company that recklessly hands out subprime loans to everyone with a signature counts as "profitable."...

You're making a straw man argument there.  I was not talking about the Bush administration's bail-out scam.  I was talking about the GOP's perennial excuse for giving free money to healthy and profitable businesses, under the excuse of "stimulating the economy".

I say that there are myriad ways to stimulate the nation's economy other than giving hand-outs to big businesses that the wealthy GOP politicians probably hold stock in.  If it works for Big Business, then surely it works for medium-sized and small businesses as well.  How come the money never goes anywhere besides Big Business under GOP policy?

...One could argue that corporations exemplify power in a concentrated form, and I agree.

Another straw man argument.  I can incorporate myself, but the mere act of incorporation adds absolutely no "concentrated power" to myself whatsoever.  As Lord Acton said quite well, "absolute power corrupts absolutely".  This holds true for individuals, sole proprietorships, partnerships and political parties, equally as well as it does for corporations.

Again, no sale.  Get a clue; BS is no longer accepted here.


TernaryBit

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Location: O-town
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 12:41pm

 Brother_Abel wrote:


I simply meant that you are more likely to be conservative..(small c) if you didnt travel.

Travel broadens the mind -Right?

I've really enjoyed reading your well written and insightful postings and fear you are right.

I also applaud loudly your vegetarian ways..(feed people not beefstake )..and all your other ecoways.

.. however!.. I was sideswiped by a recent green survey in the uk; learning that Dick Strawbridge..(mr green/eco man recent tv guru) needs 2.4 planets to live on....given his lifestyle and home situation.

I'm trying to cope with a lot of gloomy predictions!!
 
You are certainly correct! Travel does broaden the mind, hence my regret that I haven't done more yet! Maybe in the future, Lord willing.

And I have most heartily enjoyed our little debate. Such is the beating heart of democracy. The wonders of the Internet serve us well, at least some of the time {#Tongue}
Brother_Abel

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Location: GRIM NORTHERN WASTES


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 12:25pm

 TernaryBit wrote:

You seem to mistake conviction for arrogance, and 19th-century liberalism or libertarianism for conservatism.

Politely disagreeing with the pervasive liberal/socialist/new-age/"open-minded" worldview does not constitute narrowness in mine. It just means I disagree. I don't call you narrow-minded for disagreeing with me, maybe just a little idealistic, but that's hardly an insult.

No, "transition town" is not a household phrase here. I can't vouch for my countrymen/women, but I believe we should earnestly move away from fossil fuels and reduce or eliminate other negative impacts on the environment, if that's the angle of your tack. I am a vegetarian and I walk to work every day, carpool nearly every day and recycle everything I can.
 

I simply meant that you are more likely to be conservative..(small c) if you didnt travel.

Travel broadens the mind -Right?

I've really enjoyed reading your well written and insightful postings and fear you are right.

I also applaud loudly your vegetarian ways..(feed people not beefstake )..and all your other ecoways.

.. however!.. I was sideswiped by a recent green survey in the uk; learning that Dick Strawbridge..(mr green/eco man recent tv guru) needs 2.4 planets to live on....given his lifestyle and home situation.

I'm trying to cope with a lot of gloomy predictions!!

TernaryBit

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Location: O-town
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 11:53am

 Brother_Abel wrote:

Historically Americans have tended not to travel abroad...(most dont hold passports)....and rightly so,- its a huge beautiful country.

The consequence of this is conservatism, and as you intimate below, arrogance.

That was my meaning behind cultivating a 'narrow world view'

On another tack...
Has the phrase 'transition towns' any meaning in the States?
 
You seem to mistake conviction for arrogance, and 19th-century liberalism or libertarianism for conservatism.

Politely disagreeing with the pervasive liberal/socialist/new-age/"open-minded" worldview does not constitute narrowness in mine. It just means I disagree. I don't call you narrow-minded for disagreeing with me, maybe just a little idealistic, but that's hardly an insult.

No, "transition town" is not a household phrase here. I can't vouch for my countrymen/women, but I believe we should earnestly move away from fossil fuels and reduce or eliminate other negative impacts on the environment, if that's the angle of your tack. I am a vegetarian and I walk to work every day, carpool nearly every day and recycle everything I can.

Xeric

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Location: Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 11:44am

 romeotuma wrote:
Consumer quantity is, in the end, the concern.  And yet we somehow manage to almost never even mention it.

Brother_Abel

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Location: GRIM NORTHERN WASTES


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 11:40am

 TernaryBit wrote:

Unfortunately due to the fascist anti-terrorism measures implemented by our government, traveling abroad has become much more difficult.

And I'd take pragmatism/realism any day over idealism/senseless optimism. History repeats itself. This won't be the first enormous collapse of a world superpower due to internal and external forces. A glance at the fall of Rome will elucidate this. How is an evaluation of current affairs in light of history a demonstration of a "narrow world view?"
 
Historically Americans have tended not to travel abroad...(most dont hold passports)....and rightly so,- its a huge beautiful country.

The consequence of this is conservatism, and as you intimate below, arrogance.

That was my meaning behind cultivating a 'narrow world view'

On another tack...
Has the phrase 'transition towns' any meaning in the States?

TernaryBit

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Location: O-town
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 11:18am

 Brother_Abel wrote:

Thats blown my "internet /educate /liberate" theories out of the water.

And confirmed my 'most americans dont travel abroad much and so have a much narrower world view' slant.
 
Unfortunately due to the fascist anti-terrorism measures implemented by our government, traveling abroad has become much more difficult.

And I'd take pragmatism/realism any day over idealism/senseless optimism. History repeats itself. This won't be the first enormous collapse of a world superpower due to internal and external forces. A glance at the fall of Rome will elucidate this. How is an evaluation of current affairs in light of history a demonstration of a "narrow world view?"

Brother_Abel

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Location: GRIM NORTHERN WASTES


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 11:09am

 TernaryBit wrote:

We sure have, but that's an extremely isolated example of peaceful revolution. The communist party of Czechoslovakia abdicated at the time primarily due to the prior collapse of many other communist regimes, and because 500,000 protesting Czechs comprises a very significant percentage of the entire population of that country. Can you name another example where a governing body has relinquished power to its people without any bloodshed?

America, on the other hand, has the most advanced military in the world and even if we could mobilize a million protesters against any one cause, Washington easily could, and would, ignore them since another ~349 million are still feeding the economy. Personally I think a velvet revolution is impossible in America simply because we're all too distracted/pacified/placated by our iPods, American Idol and, yes, the Internet. That, and most of us still seem to believe that we have the best country (read: government & economy) in the world.
 
Thats blown my "internet /educate /liberate" theories out of the water.

And confirmed my 'most americans dont travel abroad much and so have a much narrower world view' slant.

TernaryBit

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Location: O-town
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 10:52am

 romeotuma wrote:


We need government regulations of the markets restored and upgraded now...  one must remember that capitalism has zero morality— its only mantra is to make a profit...  if a company makes fire extinguishers, then that is good...  fire extinguishers save lives and property... if that company dumps its toxic waste from manufacturing into the local river, then that is bad...  this is where government, with regulations, can impose morality on capitalism for the good of the citizens, and make everything good...

unlike corporate CEO's, the government officials are elected by the citizens... that is why we have changed leadership, and that is why we are entering a new era where the paradigm of regulations will change...  I would say where they will improve...  one of the functions of the new regulations in the financial sector will be to restore confidence in the markets...  I think we have another six months of economic downturn to endure, but in the long run, I am optimistic...

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group."  —Franklin Delano Roosevelt

 
I have no problem with the State setting guidelines for acceptable behavior (you can't dump toxic waste into rivers) but I don't agree with massive redistribution of the wealth, manipulation of interest rates, a myriad of mostly useless bureaucracies and state programs funded by our taxes, legislating morality, and a hundred thousand other things Washington does.

I agree, at least legislators are elected officials, but nine times out of ten an incumbent is just as bad as his/her potential replacement. We're all of us human, and again, power is power, be it CEO or senator.

I don't buy this "new era" crap. We are part of global politics, a global economy, and even the figurehead of the (supposedly) most powerful nation on Earth can't stop this runaway train. Our problems as a nation (and world) started long before Bush Jr. and will continue long after. Again, we can delay the inevitable but it's still the inevitable. You call it pessimism, I call it realism.

I would counter FDR by saying the liberty of a democracy is never safe from the threat of groups or individuals accruing enough power to affect a tyranny. The essence of communism is when the government takes all responsibility on itself to meet every need and desire of its citizens. That causes ownership of an individual by the government, which is just as bad as vice-versa.

TernaryBit

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Location: O-town
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 10:27am

 Brother_Abel wrote:


"..................The only "reset" button is revolution, but that only starts the process over again. The only problem now is we have weapons that can literally destroy the entire world, so I don't think we get any more chances to get it "right," if that is even possible...."

Thats bleak.

We have seen a 'Velvet Revolution' in Europe.....?

 
We sure have, but that's an extremely isolated example of peaceful revolution. The communist party of Czechoslovakia abdicated at the time primarily due to the prior collapse of many other communist regimes, and because 500,000 protesting Czechs comprises a very significant percentage of the entire population of that country. Can you name another example where a governing body has relinquished power to its people without any bloodshed?

America, on the other hand, has the most advanced military in the world and even if we could mobilize a million protesters against any one cause, Washington easily could, and would, ignore them since another ~349 million are still feeding the economy. Personally I think a velvet revolution is impossible in America simply because we're all too distracted/pacified/placated by our iPods, American Idol and, yes, the Internet. That, and most of us still seem to believe that we have the best country (read: government & economy) in the world.

(former member)

(former member) Avatar

Location: hotel in Las Vegas
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 10:14am

 TernaryBit wrote:

Again, we are in agreement. Power seems to have a natural tendency to "coagulate" and centralize in any system. Or rather us flawed humans are so irresistibly attracted to power and others are so insecure as to give theirs up little by little that tyranny becomes inevitable.  Corporation and congress are different heads of the same hydra. The only "reset" button is revolution, but that only starts the process over again. The only problem now is we have weapons that can literally destroy the entire world, so I don't think we get any more chances to get it "right," if that is even possible.
 

We need government regulations of the markets restored and upgraded now...  one must remember that capitalism has zero morality— its only mantra is to make a profit...  if a company makes fire extinguishers, then that is good...  fire extinguishers save lives and property... if that company dumps its toxic waste from manufacturing into the local river, then that is bad...  this is where government, with regulations, can impose morality on capitalism for the good of the citizens, and make everything good...

unlike corporate CEO's, the government officials are elected by the citizens... that is why we have changed leadership, and that is why we are entering a new era where the paradigm of regulations will change...  I would say where they will improve...  one of the functions of the new regulations in the financial sector will be to restore confidence in the markets...  I think we have another six months of economic downturn to endure, but in the long run, I am optimistic...

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it comes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism - ownership of government by an individual, by a group."  —Franklin Delano Roosevelt


Brother_Abel

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Location: GRIM NORTHERN WASTES


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 10:09am



"..................The only "reset" button is revolution, but that only starts the process over again. The only problem now is we have weapons that can literally destroy the entire world, so I don't think we get any more chances to get it "right," if that is even possible...."

Thats bleak.

We have seen a 'Velvet Revolution' in Europe.....?


TernaryBit

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Location: O-town
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 10:01am

 romeotuma wrote:


Concentrations of power are not only in the government...

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."  -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin (1802)

 
Again, we are in agreement. Power seems to have a natural tendency to "coagulate" and centralize in any system. Or rather us flawed humans are so irresistibly attracted to power and others are so insecure as to give theirs up little by little that tyranny becomes inevitable.  Corporation and congress are different heads of the same hydra. The only "reset" button is revolution, but that only starts the process over again. The only problem now is we have weapons that can literally destroy the entire world, so I don't think we get any more chances to get it "right," if that is even possible.

TernaryBit

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Location: O-town
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 9:43am

" Servo wrote:

That's a loaded question; I think you know that.

The fact of the matter is that the GOP has had 28 years to prove its claims about trickle-down economics.  They have failed completely and totally, after many years and many chances.  The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.  It's time to end the insanity.

Yes, it is better to simply return FICA money back to the individuals who it was taken from, than to continue to give it to large, profitable corporations as corporate welfare.  Big Business does not have a monopoly on job creation!  They had their chance; they blew it.  It's that simple.

Those who supported recklessly spending tens of trillions of dollars on the military-industrial complex in the name of War, and only now are expressing concern that this small sum of money used to do Good will be paid for by our descendants, whilst continuing to ignore the fact that the same descendants will be paying for the pointless Cheney/Rumsfeld wars forever can go fuck themselves.  I have no more tolerance left for hypocrites.

 
Conversely, liberals (not classical liberals, socialist, 21st century "liberals") have had hundreds of years to prove its claims about the wonders of government intervention in economics. They have failed completely and totally, causing irreparable damage to the respective governments from which they hail. The theory always works wonderfully in the short-term but disastrously in the long-term. That's because power in any concentrated form inevitably corrupts those holding it, and no one entity can possibly know what's best for everybody. Many respectable economists (such as Friedman) argue that the Great Depression had more to do with government intervention via the Federal Reserve than any inherent failure of the free market.

"Yes, it is better to simply return FICA money back to the individuals who it was taken from, than to continue to give it to large, profitable corporations as corporate welfare."

Here we agree, except for the "profitable" part. I hardly see how a company that recklessly hands out subprime loans to everyone with a signature counts as "profitable."

One could argue that corporations exemplify power in a concentrated form, and I agree. I don't think there is any "right" answer—humanity is fundamentally flawed and no system can hope to succeed indefinitely. The only time-honored, tried-and-true method for maintaining individual liberty is revolution. Sad but true.

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants." - Thomas Jefferson


Servo

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Location: Down on the Farm
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 4:17am

 Alchemist wrote:
So paying people to do nothing is better than investing in a company that creates jobs?
 
That's a loaded question; I think you know that.

The fact of the matter is that the GOP has had 28 years to prove its claims about trickle-down economics.  They have failed completely and totally, after many years and many chances.  The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.  It's time to end the insanity.

Yes, it is better to simply return FICA money back to the individuals who it was taken from, than to continue to give it to large, profitable corporations as corporate welfare.  Big Business does not have a monopoly on job creation!  They had their chance; they blew it.  It's that simple.

Those who supported recklessly spending tens of trillions of dollars on the military-industrial complex in the name of War, and only now are expressing concern that this small sum of money used to do Good will be paid for by our descendants, whilst continuing to ignore the fact that the same descendants will be paying for the pointless Cheney/Rumsfeld wars forever can go fuck themselves.  I have no more tolerance left for hypocrites.


Alchemist

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Location: San Jose, CA
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 24, 2009 - 12:42am

 romeotuma wrote:

Right-Wing Myths About The Stimulus

 
So paying people to do nothing is better than investing in a company that creates jobs?



TernaryBit

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Location: O-town
Gender: Male


Posted: Jan 23, 2009 - 1:45pm

 romeotuma wrote:


Right-Wing Myths About The Stimulus

Last week, House Democrats released an $825 billion economic recovery package, which consists of $550 billion in government spending and $275 billion in tax cuts. The provisions in the plan were marked up by various congressional committees this week, with the goal of passing a full stimulus package sometime in mid-February. Though they voiced some support when President Obama initially laid out his vision for a stimulus plan, conservatives balked upon seeing the bill that emerged from the House. Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) made his opposition known by simply saying "Oh. My. God." Conservatives have coalesced around "alternative" stimulus proposals like one crafted by the Republican Study Committee (RSC). But in their opposition, conservatives have propagated several myths about the stimulus and its potential effect on the economy. Here are the three most prominent conservative stimulus myths, and why they amount to nothing more than hot air.
 
MYTH 1 — SPENDING IS NOT STIMULATIVE: In response to the stimulus plan, conservatives on the House Budget Committee released a report stating that the proposal "pours taxpayers' money" into projects, "many of which may be worthy in themselves, but have little to do with 'stimulating' the economy." Harvard professor Robert Barro derided the plan as "voodoo economics," while right-wing pundit Michelle Malkin claimed that it will "at most be useless." However, an analysis by Moody's Economy.com found that government spending results in more significant "bang for the buck." For every dollar invested in specific types of spending, the boost in real GDP is more than $1.30. The most benefit comes from extending unemployment benefits ($1.64) and increasing food stamps ($1.73), but strong returns result from infrastructure investment ($1.59) and aid to state and local governments ($1.36), as well. Furthermore, Moody's also noted, "A well-timed, targeted, and temporary stimulus could in fact cost the Treasury less in the long run, since a debilitating recession would severely undermine tax revenues and prompt more government spending for longer." Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's and former adviser to Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) presidential campaign, released his analysis of the House plan on Wednesday, and concluded that it would "provide a vital boost to the flagging economy," without which full employment would not return until 2014.
 
MYTH 2 — STIMULUS WON'T CREATE JOBS: Last week, Boehner claimed, "When it comes to slow-moving government spending programs, it's clear that it doesn't create the jobs or preserve the jobs that need to happen." Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said that "even if consumption were to bump up, it would not lead businesses to expand and to add jobs." However, as former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich explained, "The stimulus plan will create jobs repairing and upgrading the nation's roads, bridges, ports, levees, water and sewage system, public-transit systems, electricity grid, and schools." It stands to reason that investing in infrastructure is going to lead to job creation, as someone needs to be hired to actually complete the various projects. By investing $100 billion in clean energy infrastructure alone, the Center for American Progress (CAP) has estimated that 2 million jobs can be created in the next two years. Aid to states through bolstering Medicaid also "generates business and gets people into jobs," as a recent report by Families USA showed: "The new dollars pass from one person to another in successive rounds of spending, generating additional business activity, jobs, and wages that would not otherwise be produced." Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Christina Romer and Vice President Biden aide Jared Bernstein, meanwhile — by using the "1% of GDP equals 1 million jobs rule of thumb" — estimated that a stimulus plan will create or save three million jobs. According to their calculations, "30% of the jobs created will be in construction and manufacturing," while "the other two significant sectors that are disproportionately represented in job creation are retail trade and leisure and hospitality."

MYTH 3 — PERMANENT TAX CUTS ARE THE BEST STIMULUS: The only stimulus idea that conservatives are wholeheartedly supporting is permanent tax cuts. At a hearing before the RSC, Romney, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist all claimed that the stimulus should include permanent corporate tax cuts, while Barro claimed that fully "eliminating the federal corporate income tax would be brilliant." But CAP'sWill Straw explained, "The track record for such steps is poor in general, but they are particularly ill-suited for a recessionary period. After all, the reason that businesses and individuals are not investing at the moment has little to do with the taxes they may pay in the future and everything to do with a fear of losing money because there is no demand in the economy." The Heritage Foundation, meanwhile, proposed an "alternative" to the House stimulus: "permanent tax reductions such as the ones Congress passed in 2003." "Tax cuts like those have a proven track record of encouraging economic growth," wrote Heritage. But this is simply the same supply-side approach adopted by the Bush administration, and the evidence that it helps economic growth is "weak at best." An analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund shows that every $10 billion spent on this kind of cut would create or save just 10,000 jobs, "versus nearly 60,000 jobs which could be created or saved by extending unemployment benefits and food stamps or investing directly in energy, transportation and education infrastructure." Furthermore, permanent measures will exacerbate the long-term debt much more than temporary measures will.



 
I have no problem spending money we have, but going into debt nearly a trillion dollars can't possibly be a good thing. We start with a whole bunch of unsecured debt in the form of subprime mortgage foreclosure, and we pay that off by dipping into...nothing? Just write a blank check? Put it on America's credit card and hope things turn up better next year, so we can sell off those failed securities for a profit and pay off the stimulus? Is that really how it's going to end up?

Or more likely will 95% of that trillion dollars (that we don't really have) end up back in the pockets of CEOs and plutocrats? Be honest.

I'm not saying I have the right answer and personally I don't think anyone else does, but robbing Peter to pay Paul hardly seems wise to me. I don't agree with conservatives or liberals at this point. Giving the money back to Americans (via permanent tax cuts) only puts more cash in the hands of the same people who spent it on subprime loans in the first place. Giving the money to the government (via a spending package) confers more power to the State.

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