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Old 07-22-2011, 11:29 PM   #1
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Default United States debt & economic realities

I am so completely blown away by the rigid posturing, misinformation, narrow mindedness, & plain lack of intelligence being displayed by certain members of our House of Representatives regarding the United States' debt ceiling. I've never seen anything like this before in all of the 50 yrs. I've been paying attention to the politics of our nation. I find it hard to believe & stunning frightening that there are so many who are so ignorant that they honestly think letting our Nation go into default on its loans is a good idea.

This evening I sat and watched our President's press conference to hear what the Man Himself had to say. No more reading/listening to the endless interpretations & opinions about what he said by any number of the many commentators who make a good deal of $ by flapping their jaws.
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Old 07-23-2011, 01:01 AM   #2
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Yeah, we're fucked.
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Old 09-15-2011, 02:26 PM   #3
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Although it is very difficult for me to deal with, I do think that changes to MediCare is needed along with tax reform in order for the US to find economic stability. Now, I also think that legislation dealing with our safety-net programs ought to have sunset clauses in them- meaning that any changes are for a specific period of time and up for renegotiation. Our economy is and always will be fluid and I have no problem with some cuts here as long as there is a mechanism for reinstatement with economic changes for the better.

I think the US can and should take some big steps to stabilize the economy, but I also think that this can be done without changing the basis of our social democratic philosophies that call on us all to be responsible to all of our people. I had no problems with contributing to generations older than myself for their retirement. I also expect to have this same support now that I am in my 60's, yet, I know that I will have some decreases in benefits when I reach 65. Of course I don't like this, but, I also believe that our commitments to education are extremely important and the fact is that our younger people starting out are doing so in a very poor climate.

This isn't easy as I have been smacked around pretty hard with this recession at a time in my life in which disability health isssues have been difficult. Industries affecting what I put away for retirement outside of SS that contribute to my income are not going to come back any time soon- some not at all. There are many people that invested in retirement lans outside of what their work offered that will never see the kinds of earnings they thought they would. Many public retirement plans are in decline for hundreds of thousands of public retirees at this very moment- and these folks will not be able to return to work to make up for this.

If it were not for physical issues, I would not have retired as early. But I do think that younger people are not going to have the level of upward social mobility that my generation did. I hope I am wrong, but the really wealthy are the ones that keep rising in economic strength and the middle and working class continues to decline.

Also, we here in the US really need to look at world economies and understand that they indeed impact our economic health- or decline. We are so arrogant when it comes to this.

I honestly think that we haven't seen the worst yet- that middle-class populations that are retired are going to see returns decline over the next few years as we double-dip and unemployment soars. Many public retirement plan administrators invested things like teacher funds in segments that will be falling soon that they thought were safe.

I would be very happy to be very wrong about this.
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by AtLastHome View Post


I honestly think that we haven't seen the worst yet- that middle-class populations that are retired are going to see returns decline over the next few years as we double-dip and unemployment soars. Many public retirement plan administrators invested things like teacher funds in segments that will be falling soon that they thought were safe.

I would be very happy to be very wrong about this.

I think so too. Its disturbing although not surprising. I think more now then ever people have to become self sustaining and as independent as possible from government programs and assistance.

what really blows my mind are the grant programs and government agencies with huge salaries designed to stimulate agricultural. It really is such a fucking racket because they barely do their jobs. Meanwhile our tax dollars just funneling away.

the cost of living and things we've grown to depend on like fuel will become so expensive people can't afford them. Not to mention the shambles they made of our food systems.
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tapu View Post
Yeah, we're fucked.


Indeed.

I can't help but think that if we stopped the wars we are in, raised taxes on everyone but the poor and added to who pays taxes like...document undocumented workers, make corporations pay their fair share if they do business in the US, make churches who have a political agenda pay etc...and fixed infrastructure a la FDR, things would be wayy better.
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:18 AM   #6
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Default 46.2 million Americans Now Living in Poverty

15.4 million are living in the suburbs.

44.2 million using food stamps

Unemployment above 9 million

And the Band Played On...

Senate and Congress still can't get their shit together.

Numbers from CNN this AM, Monday 9/26/11
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:39 AM   #7
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I'm glad to see this thread and the thoughts here. As an avocation, I study soil and soil systems as well as natural systems. America has always been rich in these, but we have to come to realize and cherish that. I was just reading about China's ecosystem health. A price has been paid for that country's rapid economic growth.

Does anyone else believe that a country's economic health is only as good as the ideas the country pursues and that any economic system is a child of the parental system of planetary health?
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Old 09-26-2011, 12:22 PM   #8
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China, India, and the other third world countries where good folks are exploited for cheap slave labor have already begun experiencing their own industrial revolution just like our American workers did, and will enjoy a higher standard of living in the future imo. For example now, many of China's companies have no reporting standards. Imo it was the corporate elite who exploited workers and created this mess. This problem could lead to universal positive reforms in the form of global legislation that will prohibit these CEO's from amassing obscene amounts of wealth. I'm thinking an international debit card, IMU, will need to be used as an international monery unit instead of paper currency? As for natural environmental resources, i agree So Not Her, no other place on Earth is as diverse as America.
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Old 03-03-2015, 06:29 AM   #9
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Default Ever feel as though, no matter how hard you work, you are not getting ahead?

Study: America Hasn’t Had a Pay Raise in 35 Years
By Bob Sullivan

Feb 27, 2015 10:45

There’s been a lot of talk about raising the minimum wage lately, and it is good that workers at Wal-Mart, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls will soon have a little more money in their paychecks. Now, what about the rest of the country? Stagnant wages are a chief component of The Restless Project.

Another comprehensive report issued by the Economic Policy Institute revealed recently that Americans’ wages are stuck in neutral — have been since the recession began — and if you look at the long haul, American workers really haven’t gotten a raise since 1979.

That’s depressing enough, but what’s really disturbing about this latest report is that the wage stagnation applies across all demographics and education levels. Critically, even college graduates have seen their wages drop slightly since 2007, which suggests something that’s hard for many economists to get their heads around: We aren’t going to educate our way out of wage stagnation.

“I n fact, among all education categories, the greatest real wage losses between 2013 and 2014 were among those with a college or advanced degree,” the report says. “Workers with a four-year college degree saw their hourly wages fall 1.3 percent from 2013 to 2014, while those with an advanced degree saw an hourly wage decline of 2.2 percent.”

While the headline unemployment rate has continued to improve, leading to a lot of backslapping in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, the real story of the economy remains much more muddy.

More highlights from the ECI report

From 2013 to 2014, real hourly wages fell at all wage levels, except for a miniscule 3-cent increase at the 40th percentile and a more significant increase at the 10th percentile.

Wages grew at the 10th percentile because of minimum-wage increases in 2014 in states where 47.2 percent of U.S. workers reside. This illustrates that public policies can be an important tool for raising wages.

Only those at the top of the wage distribution have real wages higher today than before the recession began.

Across the distribution, men’s wages remain higher than women’s, but women have seen a slightly bigger increase than men since 2007.

Workers of color continue to have hourly wages far below those of their white counterparts. In 2014, the median black and median Hispanic wages were only about 75 percent and 70 percent, respectively, of the median white wage. All three groups have median wages in 2014 lower than in 2007.

Looking at wages by educational attainment, the greatest real wage losses between 2013 and 2014 were among those with a college or advanced degree. This demonstrates that poor wage performance cannot be blamed on workers lacking adequate education or skills.

Those with the least education actually saw a reversal in trend, likely related to the state-level minimum-wage increases.

Despite wage declines in both 2013 and 2014, those with an advanced degree are the only ones who have returned to 2007 real wage levels.

Nominal wage growth, by any measure, is far below wage growth consistent with the Federal Reserve Board’s 2 percent inflation target.

There is no evidence of upward pressure on wages — let alone acceleration of wages — that would signal that the Federal Reserve Board should worry about incipient inflation and raise interest rates in an effort to slow the economy.

This article was originally published on MoneyTalksNews.com as 'Study: America Hasn’t Had a Pay Raise in 35 Years'.


http://finance.yahoo.com/news/study-...VU9xMAf0PQtDMD


http://www.epi.org/publication/stagnant-wages-in-2014/
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Old 04-18-2015, 03:42 PM   #10
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http://keranews.org/post/north-texas...e-minimum-wage


teens are making more than minimum wage...why arent adults?
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Old 02-24-2019, 06:04 PM   #11
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Default BUMP ~~>>>>> Massive US Economic Collapse predicted for 20/20

Today, I searched for any current article concerning warning signs about an impending US Economic Collapse, which many financial analysts foresee by 20/20. I worry because the next US President needs a strong cabinet of members who can steer us out of massive debt incurred by the current admin, which gets worse every day they are in office. Just the other day, I saw a PR campaign that featured Warren Buffett, telling investors to keep pumping money into the stock market. The last time Buffett made a statement like this, it was shortly before the Economic crash of 2008.

According to an CNN news article, published almost a month ago, it talked about how current US Debt stood at $29++ Trillion dollars, coming off the 2018 calendar year. All this load of baloney foisted upon the American public about how the GOP tax reform would help the public (it hasn't, and the rich pay nothing and keep getting richer), and how the GOP are privatizing Medicare or how republican held states are stripping medicare policy or stripping down any policy, so their party can profit off privatization of certain programs they won't support, because it doesn't make their wallets fatter??? IMHO, it's super scary because in the wake of the current US administration defanging every law on the books to keep social programs accessible or how the current administration is setting up our country for massive economic failure of epic magnitude, the general public needs to keep in sight the damage that has been done and how we need to recover our democracy from the impending US economic crisis that is bound to bust in the very near future (less than 12-18 months away).

See Link to Article Below:

US National Debt Reaches Rises $2Trillion Under T***P (CNN, 1/4/2019)
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Old 02-24-2019, 06:43 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Kätzchen View Post
Today, I searched for any current article concerning warning signs about an impending US Economic Collapse, which many financial analysts foresee by 20/20. I worry because the next US President needs a strong cabinet of members who can steer us out of massive debt incurred by the current admin, which gets worse every day they are in office. Just the other day, I saw a PR campaign that featured Warren Buffett, telling investors to keep pumping money into the stock market. The last time Buffett made a statement like this, it was shortly before the Economic crash of 2008.

According to an CNN news article, published almost a month ago, it talked about how current US Debt stood at $29++ Trillion dollars, coming off the 2018 calendar year. All this load of baloney foisted upon the American public about how the GOP tax reform would help the public (it hasn't, and the rich pay nothing and keep getting richer), and how the GOP are privatizing Medicare or how republican held states are stripping medicare policy or stripping down any policy, so their party can profit off privatization of certain programs they won't support, because it doesn't make their wallets fatter??? IMHO, it's super scary because in the wake of the current US administration defanging every law on the books to keep social programs accessible or how the current administration is setting up our country for massive economic failure of epic magnitude, the general public needs to keep in sight the damage that has been done and how we need to recover our democracy from the impending US economic crisis that is bound to bust in the very near future (less than 12-18 months away).

See Link to Article Below:

US National Debt Reaches Rises $2Trillion Under T***P (CNN, 1/4/2019)
Here's the other article, I meant to cite too, before the edit window timed out. It was published in The Guardian:

Global Economic Crash Predicted in 20/20 (The Guardian, 1/5/2019)
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Old 01-30-2020, 11:54 PM   #13
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Default

Capitalism In America: The Coming Crisis

by Thomas M. Magstadt (for Counter Punch)


“Alphabet joins the $1trn club” the headline read. It is a very exclusive club—in fact, only three other companies in the world belong to it. The Saudi oil monopoly, Aramco, is the only one that is not American. Microsoft and Apple are the other two. They both have a market value well in excess of one trillion dollars. A fourth monster U.S. corporation, Amazon, will probably join this elite group sometime in 2020.

To put the one-trillion-dollar figure into perspective, consider that as of 2017 only 17 countries in the world had a GNP of a trillion US$ or more. In July 2017, CNBC announced that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos—“the richest man in the world”—was the odds-on favorite to become the first trillionaire.

Wealth is power. The concentration of wealth in America has reached epic proportions. In a commercial republic rigged in favor of the superrich, where the problems and predations of capitalism are routinely swept under the carpet and an “empire of law” protects and perpetuates great wealth, free and fair elections are the only effective way to protect the public interest against special interests, powerful PACs, and corporate lobbies.

But something has again gone terribly wrong in America. It happened once before between the end of the Civil War and the World War One. Then it was Teddy Roosevelt and other trustbusters in both parties who led the fight against monopoly capitalism. Today, a very different Republic Party is backing a very different kind of president. And popular elections are no longer a counterweight to extreme wealth.

Shallow Roots, Deep Convictions

Compared to other belief systems that have shaped the modern world, the roots of capitalism in the history of Western Civilization are shallow. I will say more about the problems of capitalism as a belief system later, but for now suffice it say that what began as a theory in Europe has acquired the status of a secular religion in America.

Even if we accept Max Weber’s thesis that capitalism is a natural outgrowth of the Protestant work ethic—especially the theology of John Calvin—it did not emerge as a unified theory, much less a functioning economic system, until sometime in the first half of the 19th Century.

It’s no accident that it happened first in the United Kingdom, a mercantile powerhouse that had by then established a cluster of colonies on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also no accident that Adam Smith was British (Scottish, to be precise). Or that the idea of the “invisible hand” originated in Great Britain. Or that it traveled to America with the Puritans who landed at Plymouth Rock.

Destructive Creation

Economists drunk on capitalism love to talk about the wonders of “creative destruction”. Apart from the obvious—that it is self-contradictory on its face—the concept, even as defined by its apostles, collapses under the weight of historical evidence, critical analysis, and moral philosophy. It is so preposterous as to be comical, but as the basis for a set of myths that has turned a theoretical construct into a secular religion it’s no laughing matter.

According to Alan Greenspan and Adrian Wooldridge in Capitalism in America: A History (Penguin, 2018, p. 14), “Creative destruction is the principal driving force of economic progress, the ‘perennial gale’ that uproots businesses—and lives—but that, in the process, creates a more productive economy.” Get it? No. Okay, let’s try again: “Creation and destruction are Siamese twins.”

Still not? Think of the problem this way: You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Creative destruction is the genius of American capitalism, which is why America invented the omelet and Edison invented electricity: “There is no better place to study this perennial gale” than here in America, where “a throng of business titans” once upon a time “reorganized entire industries on a continental scale”.

What’s that you say? America didn’t invent the omelet? Who cares? You have to break a lot of light bulbs to make electricity. That’s an alternative fact. Just ask Edison.

The nutty idea of creative destruction can be traced to a dead economist named Joseph Schumpeter and his book, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy published in 1942, a banner year for destruction in a world no longer safe for democracy. No other economic system in history had ever come close to delivering the kind of destructive creation capitalism did between 1939 and 1945. Among the horrific fruits of capitalism’s “perennial gale”: the German V-2 rocket with a 2,200-pound payload, the British and U.S. carpet bombing of German cities (note: not military targets, but population centers), and the mushroom clouds over the radioactive ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

To be fair, Greenspan and Wooldridge do acknowledge that there is a “downside” to creative destruction. But they do not appear to have a clue how destructive the downside is and they explain it away with exculpatory language like this: “Partly because people are frightened of change and partly because change produces losers as well as winners, creative destruction is usually greeted by what Max Weber called “a flood of mistrust, sometimes hatred, above all of moral indignation.”

That’s ironic because these distinguished economic thinkers appear to be blind or indifferent to the moral consequences of unbridled capitalism. In a chapter entitled “The Triumph of Capitalism” they note that “It was the farmers’ willingness to turn capitalists. . . that lay behind America’s emergence as an agricultural superpower.” But, “Sadly they engineered an ecological catastrophe. Bison were placid creatures that had grazed in massive herds on the American plains for millennia and coexisted with Native Americans who never killed enough to deplete the herds.”

Never mind that Native Americans, like the Bison, were also driven to the brink of extinction. Clearly, the indigenous folks were not good capitalists like the farmers who were far more adept at creative destruction. To wit: “American farmers engineered an ecological transformation by turning the native grasslands of the Midwest and California into a vast sea of grain.” And in the cruel logic of American capitalism, the fate of millions of displaced indigenous peoples was incidental to the holy grail of economic growth and the magic the marketplace.

Trickle-Down Party Trick

Theory? Strategy? Or Conspiracy? Whatever you choose to call it, trickle-down economics is a political party trick. It’s a trick the Grand Old Party (GOP) has played on a big slice of the electorate only too willing to believe that “liberals” and “socialists” (a.k.a., Democrats) are the cause of chronic federal deficits and all the unfairness baked into American society.

But the facts tell a very different story. What has been happening in America is the exact opposite. Instead of trickling down, wealth has not only trickled up in the past decade but the trickle is looking more like a tidal wave all the time.

A recent article in the Business Insider shouts “One stunning chart undercuts Trump’s favorite economic scorecard—and shows why its misleading.” What the chart shows is that while the S&P 500 has leaped ahead by over 40% during Trump’s first term, wages have inched up at a mere 9%. But half of all middle- and working-class Americans own no stock. “The top 10% of American households own the lion’s share of them at 84%.

Extreme economic inequality is a fact of life in many countries and regions of the world. Globally, America is not the most extreme example nor did not start when Donald Trump stepped into the Oval Office. But in the last decade, according to the calculations of a development economist at the Brookings Institution “The United States was the top of the league table in terms of the rich’s share of consumption growth—fully 65 percent of the spending increase . . . . The rich started in 2010 with the bulk of household spending . . . and the distribution over the last decade simply reinforced this inequality.” All the rest went to the middle class—zero trickle down.

Still not convinced these facts are accurate? Fair enough. One recent statistical analysis found that income inequality in the United States is highest its been in more than 50 years, while a another study found that income of the poorest Americans actually fell by 7 percent over the past 15 years!

The biggest GOP party trick of all, of course, is the systematic effort to deny, distort, and discredit facts. Not just facts about the economy but facts in general. Which is why we now have propaganda—nonsense like trickle down economics aimed at serving private interests—in place of fact-based debates over taxes and public policy. It’s at the least a strategy, at worst, a conspiracy to conceal with real truth about the concentration of economic wealth in America and the political hijacking that has made it possible.

Congress on the Auction Block

Fact: The extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of a small number of rich Americans is getting worse by the year. Fact: The ultrarich collectively got more than $500 billion dollars richer in 2019. Fact: Economic power (a.k.a., wealth) in American translates into political influence.

So long as the Supreme Court continues to uphold the ruling in Citizens United that, in effect, blocks any real campaign finance reform, the U.S. Congress will remain on the auction bloc and key votes on taxation and the federal budget—who gets (or pays) what, when, and how—will be sold to the highest bidder.

Thus, it was no surprise when Congress passed a Republican tax bill in 2017 that overwhelmingly benefited corporations and the rich—and President Trump gleefully signed it. Fact: The U.S. has the highest concentration of billionaires in the world (705 individuals) and was the only country to add more billionaires last year.

Fact: The 2017 tax law lowered the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and gives so-called “pass-through businesses” like the Trump Organization a 20% tax deduction. It also repealed the 20 percent corporate alternative minimum tax designed to ensure that corporations paid at least some taxes.

Companies are excused from paying corporate taxes on money they claim to earn abroad, as well—a reward for exporting jobs and an incentive to keep more income in foreign tax havens. If and when corporate income is repatriated is now between 8% and 15.5%, down from 35%. Sweet.

But not sweet enough: the 2017 tax bill also doubled the inheritance-tax exemption for married couples from $11 million to $22 million.

The Coming Crisis

The coming crisis of capitalism is not only economic; it’s also a moral and political crisis. A constitution in tatters is the death knell of democracy. By the same token, corporate monopolies are incompatible with a market economy.

Capitalism thrives on vigorous and fair competition. When the deck is heavily stacked in favor of a few massive conglomerates and billionaires, the rest of society, the many—the middle class and low-economic underclass—lose faith in The System. As Economist Stephanie Kelton tweeted last year, “No one makes a billion dollars. You TAKE a billion dollars.”

The “strong economy” of recent years is largely an illusion. When it comes to capitalism and constitutional democracy, Republicans in Congress are world-class hypocrites: “Fiscal conservatives and deficit hawks seem to have changed their tune, all in the name of massive tax cuts that would primarily benefit the wealthy.”

Fact: Household credit card debt in America currently exceeds $1 trillion—the average interest rate on this form of debt starts at 17.4 % and goes up. In February 2019 it was reported that total household debt has climbed to over $4 trillion.

Fact: The 2017 tax bill will cost $1.46 trillion over 10 years. No wonder, the federal deficit in 2019 jumped 26% in 2019, nearly hit the trillion-dollar mark for the first time ever, and will go over a $1 trillion in 2020. Meanwhile, the national debt climbed to over $23 trillion last year.

What a government does and says influences how citizens behave and what they believe. In the Reagan era, we learned that greed is good. In the Trump era, we are being told that deficits don’t matter—and neither, of course, do the facts.

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