Seeking Alpha

New accounting rules set to be approved Monday could sharply raise (on paper) the massive...

New accounting rules set to be approved Monday could sharply raise (on paper) the massive pension shortfalls faced by states and municipalities, though government officials insist the change is only cosmetic and won't force an alteration in their behavior or return assumptions. Prepare for "sticker shock" says a benefits consultant.
Comments (159)
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    This is a good thing. Pension shortfalls are the single biggest risk to the U.S. economy. I've seen these estimated at 5x our nation's GDP. They need to become an issue because they need to be addressed and addressed realistically.
    23 Jun 2012, 11:03 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Correct, as in Wisconsin.

     

    They should have been paying higher co-pays, higher deductibles and more for their pensions like the rest of society for a long, long time.

     

    Glad you agree.
    23 Jun 2012, 12:46 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    Wyatt, I think the general approach being taken by several California cities of making modest adjustments has a good chance of succeeding across a broad political spectrum: http://buswk.co/OabyO9 It may not be enough but any change to the trajectory is a positive event.
    23 Jun 2012, 01:04 PM Reply Like
  • untrusting investor
    , contributor
    Comments (9954) | Send Message
     
    The vast majority of these pension plans need to be moved into money purchase type plans instead of defined benefit plans. Defined benefit plans that guarantee certain levels of benefits are just subject to far too many political pressures and become virtually impossible to deliver the over promised and under funded benefits.

     

    Once you remove the temptations to over promise and under fund, then it will become much less of a problem. However the downside is that it shifts all the risk to plan participants ... but that is already the boat that most of us are in already, so why should mainly public employees be any more risk protected than the rest of us?
    23 Jun 2012, 01:07 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    I agree wholeheartedly with this U.I. and would go one further. Allow individuals more flexibility and control over their 401k-style investments. The limited investment choice is the main problem with 401k-style retirement plans. Both public and private sector employees stand to benefit from the ability to self manage more of their retirement. But public employees have the most to gain. Imagine the corruption possibilities should a single fund manager get the 401K contract for all of California. That would be another sort of disaster waiting to happen.
    23 Jun 2012, 01:12 PM Reply Like
  • Brendan O'Boyle
    , contributor
    Comments (1089) | Send Message
     
    I haven't taken a close look at any of these numbers, but 5x GDP is simply out of the question.

     

    Things that can't continue generally don't...
    23 Jun 2012, 02:32 PM Reply Like
  • montanamark
    , contributor
    Comments (1435) | Send Message
     
    california is a massive black hole of corruption. for decades the liberals have been stealing the future by giving and promising everything to public sector unions and pensions. if there was a true accounting the public would be shocked. i know of retired (at an early age) people from the education system that live like kings with huge pensions and benefits - some own multiple income properties and spend time traveling on luxurious vacations - all on the taxpayer tab.
    23 Jun 2012, 02:50 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    What I have read thus far is that state budget deficit issues total $1 Trillion per year for all 50 states together. (NOTE: This is why Obama made the dim witted statement that state and local governments were not doing so well because they did not have enough revenue. Stupid way of thinking but he knows nothing anyways.) That $1 Trillion is a snapshot not looking at future obligations from what I understand so whatever the other promises are made go on top of $1 Trillion. If as another comment said it is 5X GDP then that is $75 Trillion which is mind numbing.

     

    Add on Federal debt of $16 Trillion and then I have read another $18 Trillion of unfunded Federal liabilities the grand total is $109 Trillion which is around $1 million per household of debt we all owe. Greece is starting to look pretty good right now.

     

    I don't know if WI has fixed unfunded liabilities completely but they were certainly moving in the right direction by making the employees pick up some of the cost.

     

    At the end of the day promises are going to need to be broken and people thrown off the taxpayer.
    23 Jun 2012, 03:14 PM Reply Like
  • realornot
    , contributor
    Comments (1281) | Send Message
     
    Black hole it is but it is the center of our tech world!
    23 Jun 2012, 08:42 PM Reply Like
  • Aristiphones
    , contributor
    Comments (1327) | Send Message
     
    they did just agree on a budget for the first time in forever. "got religion" as they say. prepare for an equity bounce on the news.
    24 Jun 2012, 05:54 PM Reply Like
  • Fr33f0rm
    , contributor
    Comments (300) | Send Message
     
    Strongly agreed.

     

    Hedge funds managing public pension plans is a recipe for disaster. There have already been a few scandals but, ultimately, there are so many ways to game the system, and so few ways for the public officials to change money managers, that there is virtually no incentive for fund managers to act ethically.

     

    I would not be surprised at vast amounts of skimming from each fund manager controlling a pension fund.
    24 Jun 2012, 05:56 PM Reply Like
  • Aristiphones
    , contributor
    Comments (1327) | Send Message
     
    for those that have nothing but sinned let them proceed directly to Jamie Dimon. Having seen what has happened to Greece I'm sure he'll be more than lenient.
    24 Jun 2012, 05:56 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    It's not "the first time in forever". It's the next time since last June.
    24 Jun 2012, 05:57 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    Existing accounting rules have permitted politicians, unions and voters to avoid looking at future pension costs. Anything that improves visibility should improve the situation.

     

    States should pass laws on government employee pension funding adequacy, sufficient to hit taxpayers in the pocketbook by requiring immediate funding, or funding over 3 years, of any deficiency. Some maximum level for assumptions, which are often unrealistic. Once property taxes go up to support the benefits, voters will reign the politicians in.
    23 Jun 2012, 11:10 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Wrong, as is usual Tommy.

     

    This has nothing to do with my property taxes out in here in Cali and everything to do with Gray Davis who corrupted the process by using the dot com economy of 1999 and its false trajectory of prosperity to leverage all public pension negotiations on, both future and past.

     

    Public 'jobs' got very popular then, all of a sudden.

     

    Then, it all came crashing down.

     

    Leave my property rights alone, fella.
    23 Jun 2012, 12:49 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    Your missing the point, as usual.

     

    The point is, if the public is made aware of the severity of the pension problem, they will do something about it, mainly, turn off the spigot. Until then, they don't want disruption in public services.

     

    If you want to understand the severity of the problem, try dividing your property tax bill by the value of your house. Here in CT, if the value of my house and land was in 10 year treasuries, the income wouldn't be sufficient to cover the property taxes.

     

    Arguably, I don't own my house, since the the town collects a risk free return in excess of the 10 year treasury rate.

     

    At some point, taxpayers will have to experience enough pain to lead to change.
    23 Jun 2012, 01:00 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
    Comments (13419) | Send Message
     
    TA:

     

    You seem to have the methodology backwards.

     

    You don't demonstrate that pensions are too high by overtaxing the people who provide the funds to pay those absurd pensions. You send the message precisely the opposite way, by having the taxapers refusing to fund them, thereby causing them to be recalculated or perish. That way, the pain is associated directly with the recipients of unjustifiable and unearned largesse, not with the victims (taxpayers) of the politicians who set of these vote-pandering schemes.
    23 Jun 2012, 02:24 PM Reply Like
  • wyostocks
    , contributor
    Comments (8075) | Send Message
     
    Tom
    "Once property taxes go up to support the benefits, voters will reign the politicians in. "

     

    If they don't go broke first. What about those unable to pay?
    Should they take away their homes?

     

    Not a good remedy.
    23 Jun 2012, 02:27 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    Tack,

     

    Apparently we have different ideas about how people behave in practice.

     

    I don't care whether step a or b comes first, I'm waiting on step c.
    23 Jun 2012, 02:32 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    Tack, they're only "vote-pandering schemes" to the extent that people want public services yet don't want to pay for them. The case I know best is San Diego. The city was able to compete for engineers in the late 90's (during the dot-com bubble) to set up web services because it offered a good enough pension benefit that wages were exempt from FICA (social security) withholding. These skills were in high demand at that time. The engineers who accepted jobs with the city weren't "the recipients of unjustifiable and unearned largesse". The city made them an employment offer and years later is failing to uphold its side of the contract.

     

    Because that contract was unrealistic, it probably does need to be broken and compromises made all around. It's always popular to blame some group that you and your buddies are don't belong to but the fact is that every citizen shares responsibility (and blame) for this problem -- even if only through complacency in years past.
    23 Jun 2012, 02:36 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    The government owns the super senior tranche: they will get paid, sooner or later, they will get paid.

     

    Best to fight the thing up front, rather than let them issue IOU's backed up by tax liens on your property.

     

    You will have to sting people quite a bit with taxes, otherwise they will just fold at the idea of cancelling school or forgoing police protection or not having the trash picked up.
    23 Jun 2012, 02:38 PM Reply Like
  • montanamark
    , contributor
    Comments (1435) | Send Message
     
    disagree. the debt is too big for taxpayers, many of which are already fleeing the state. california will become like NY with a mass exodus of taxpayers and earners; there may be some rich foreigners to temporarily bridge the gap but things will eventually collapse like rome.
    just spoke with a trust and estate attorney who said wealthy are in the process of moving out of cal and in some cases are actually being threatened and or resisted by the state.
    additionally much of the "public" doesnt care because they operate in the huge, cash, blackmarket, underground, tax avoiding economy
    23 Jun 2012, 02:56 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    montanamark, you seem blissfully unaware of the fact that pension shortfalls are a nation-wide problem. Tom Armistead doesn't even live in California.
    23 Jun 2012, 03:13 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
    Comments (13419) | Send Message
     
    montana:

     

    I can only imagine what it must be like now.

     

    In 2000, my wife and I left CA for FL, for family reasons, as well as realty and tax attractiveness. Ironically, and happily, we were on the plane the very day of the huge Nasdaq dot-com collapse on April 14th and after selling our home at the CA market's zenith.

     

    Well, I had set up a charitable remainder trust a few years prior, due to earnings from a start-up company we sold. All went smoothly each year, as the usual tax filings were made to the IRS and Franchise Tax Board. Well, after our "final" filing was made, as we departed CA, months later we received a registered letter from the FTB claiming that our last filing was never received and that our tax-free trust was subject to being "voided" for that tax year (i.e., became taxable), and that it was being assessed taxes, interest and penalties. These happened to total almost the entirety of the corpus.

     

    It took a lot of work, coupled with even more anxiety, to get the situation straightened out and prove that the filings had been made in a timely manner and that no monies whatsoever were due to CA. Looking back, I always wondered if this was CA's attempt to somehow put our trust funds into its own coffers, rather than an innocent mistake in an FTB office. I'll never know.

     

    What I do know, however, is that while we still love many things about CA and have family and friends there, I would not let my financial or tax affairs get near there for love or money.
    23 Jun 2012, 03:22 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    You really think the people are that weak don't you?

     

    Here's a clue Tommy. Trash is a public(yes) utility but is a separate payment not levered at all to personal property rights. Its an altogether separate issue.

     

    Most people I talk to, left and right, with kids as well, don't care if the public school system implodes. It already is.

     

    Fire? Buy insurance. Let it burn.

     

    Police? Exercise the 2ndA. Be a DIYer.

     

    None of this is necessary.

     

    It can all go away yesterday and I and many others would be not only thrilled but absolutely ecstatic.
    23 Jun 2012, 03:36 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    "Fire? Buy insurance. Let it burn."

     

    Obviously you've never tried to collect on fire insurance. Pennies on the dollar. Ask the folks in Julian/Cuyamaca if you doubt that. And don't think insurance rates will remain where they are now if fire departments are abolished.

     

    "Police? Exercise the 2ndA. Be a DIYer."

     

    Somalia here we come.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:06 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Debt cliff here we come. Once that happens... Somalia we're already here.

     

    Wake up.

     

    And guns? They're not scary. They're a tool, like a staple gun you can buy at Home Depot with a hair better trajectory.

     

    Oh, but they, they, they're e, e, e evil. Oh noes.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:10 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    Wyatt, you can buy a certain amount of weaponry but there will always be someone else -- or some combination of others -- who can buy more of it than you can. If they want your property, they'll take it. The only reason the idea of shooting people at will makes you feel powerful is because the rest of the world isn't doing that. You're extrapolating for yourself while assuming everything else remains as it is.

     

    You're really advocating for the world in Robocop where a privately owned police corp. (which is also a drug lord and criminal agency) rules over everyone. You'll have far fewer rights in that world. Verhoeven at least expected his audience to be sharp enough to realize this was black comedy.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:17 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    And why exactly if police were privatized that would somehow make them less trustworthy? Perhaps you could connect the dots for me.

     

    I can make a strong case that privitization can make for a better feedback loop as long as the same laws apply, which they would for a private police department.

     

    If they aren't up to a community's standard of 'serving and protecting', you could theoretically fire them every 2 to 4 years on the ballot and get another competitive bid for your county. Can you do that now? No.

     

    And the cops? They would have a lot more ... ahem... customer service, knowing they really were your employee. Versus now, where they take that for granted.

     

    Tie in the direct link, watch efficiency follow.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:27 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    Tom,.
    I already don't get my trash picked up. I take all the recyclable material to a local recycling place and once a month pay them to take a bag of trash.

     

    Schools? It wouldn't bother me one iota to start over with our local public schools. I can't remember the last teacher fired for poor performance and I know that we now employ twice as many people in our school district as we did 20 years ago - even though we have about the same number of students. Something wrong with that picture?

     

    Police and firemen - Well we have VOLUNTEER fire departments here and I support them financially. I want our policemen and women to earn good solid livings - with solid retirements that start at the age of 65 or 67. I don't want to have them retire at the age of 47 and then live off the dole for 30-40 years. I would have no issue with lower salaries and in return they perhaps receive small partial pension payments from the age of 47 to 65 in recognition that they reach a point where they can't physically do the job. But today's situation is one where it is NOT public service - its private enrichment (and I"m not saying all policemen enter the occupation due to the money but we are a long ways from the days of the poor policemen).

     

    Our public institutions are broken and corrupt. In many instances we would be better off abolishing them and starting over.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:28 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    That's why we have police, to keep the DIYers out of it. We think of them as vigilantes, and we don't like their kind of justice.

     

    Sooner our later you get another Zimmerman, riding around looking to be a big shot and shoot someone, basically just to watch them die.

     

    The only time I was even remotely tempted to own a gun was while Bush was attempting to establish right wing rule in the US, under the guise of national security. You talk about spying on everybody and operating in the dark.

     

    Fire insurance rates are based on public protection. No fire department, higher rates. It's a wash, I'd rather have the firemen, and pay less insurance.

     

    Trash varies from town to town, in my case it's a private service, Waste Management bills me direct.

     

    Education is a problem, essentially it comes down to lack of moral authority on the part of teachers. They can't discipline anybody - Mom and Dad will complain and nothing will be done. They can't grade anybody on his performance, Mom and Dad will complain and that C will be raised up to an A. I went back to college in the mid nineties, it was amazing, after every test you had kids up there talking to the professor, trying to negotiate a more lenient grade. One of them appointed herself as a spokesperson, and complained to me that I should lower my performance, I was ruining the curve.

     

    You want to see something strange, look up the story about what happened in Washington DC when the superintendent made a concerted effort to take back the schools, fire incompetent teachers, insist that learning take place, etc. There was open rebellion, and she was pushed off the job. A majority preferred the status quo.

     

    One thing for sure, wackos running around with pistols and a belligerent and anti-social attitude won't help matters.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:36 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    "you could theoretically fire them every 2 to 4 years on the ballot and get another competitive bid for your county."

     

    Not if there are no elections. Remember you don't want gov't, so you'll have no say in who rules over you by force of arms.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:40 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Who said anything about belligerence? You don't think cops can be belligerent right now? That's right, public cops?

     

    Make them private. Force the belligerence out of them. Fire them. Hire ones who aren't... or won't be.

     

    You have a real problem with being in charge of things don't you? You just want to 'trust government' because they're 'public' and that's like, uh, the end of the argument and stuff.

     

    The public entity by its very definition has more of an incentive to be corrupt than a private one. You ever try to fight city hall? Then you know what I mean. Make all these clowns; fire, teachers, cops, bureaucrats, etc. private.

     

    Watch the corruption get drained away out of the system.

     

    That's how you 'check' the system.

     

    Hang the sword of damocles over their head. Let them know 'they can' be fired. Then let them earn it.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:44 PM Reply Like
  • ColdLogic
    , contributor
    Comments (81) | Send Message
     
    Your misrepresentation of the Zimmerman/Trayvon incident ruins your credibility. http://bit.ly/LQArwQ
    23 Jun 2012, 05:07 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    American"Thinker" is what people link to when they can't find a credible source that says what they wish were true ;-)
    23 Jun 2012, 05:11 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10397) | Send Message
     
    Tom, I didn't realize all the evidence was in an the trial concluded in Zimmerman's case?
    23 Jun 2012, 09:57 PM Reply Like
  • chopchop0
    , contributor
    Comments (3439) | Send Message
     
    And in CT, you have the privilege of paying property taxes every year on EACH vehicle you own!

     

    You couldn't pay me enough to live in NY, NJ, CT or CA
    23 Jun 2012, 10:29 PM Reply Like
  • SlingWing9
    , contributor
    Comments (486) | Send Message
     
    Tom,

     

    You're making reference to our Constitution and its accompanying amendments. That is how life is here in the U.S. If you don't like it, get off the continent. You obviously have never lived anywhere but here, have never fought to keep what you have, and really don't have a clue as to the value of our country on a global scale, and until you get a few years under your belt in a communist or socialist government, your value as a citizen is questionable because you'll freely surrender that which you believe is worthless - your freedom.

     

    I'm not a Republican or a Democrat - I'm a U.S. citizen and I love our country and am unwilling to surrender any freedoms at all. If you haven't lived under other forms of government, empathy is worthless because it won't be in your gut, it will just be buzzwords or bylines you heard from some politician.

     

    At your age you need to grow up and face the real world.
    23 Jun 2012, 10:44 PM Reply Like
  • montanamark
    , contributor
    Comments (1435) | Send Message
     
    Hi Tack - sorry to hear of your difficulties but glad for you they were worked out. I was somewhat skeptical when I heard what the trust and estate attorney told me but now I wonder. I guess the state knows more about all of us than we realize. I did not intend to demonize the whole state - there are many good people and good things here - just praying and waiting for some rescue though. Sometimes it feels like you are living in a foreign country.
    23 Jun 2012, 10:54 PM Reply Like
  • Seeking Beta To Your Alpha
    , contributor
    Comments (450) | Send Message
     
    Then add VA to that list. They have a personal property tax which is levied on vehicles.
    23 Jun 2012, 11:50 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    " If you don't like it, get off the continent. "

     

    Sure is interestin' how quick some folks are to trample the 1st amendment under the guise of defending the 2nd.
    24 Jun 2012, 12:02 AM Reply Like
  • SlingWing9
    , contributor
    Comments (486) | Send Message
     
    Seeing as how nothing was said about curtailing his 1st Amendment rights, you obviously have some other agenda. Go ahead, put it on the table.
    24 Jun 2012, 12:24 AM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    SlingWing9, One of the freedoms in the Bill of Rights is the freedom to discuss and to voice opinions. If you actually respected the Constitution, you wouldn't go around telling people you disagree with to "leave the continent". You don't respect the Constitution. You just want to threaten people and to silence them and the 2nd Amendment looks useful to you for that purpose.
    24 Jun 2012, 12:34 AM Reply Like
  • SlingWing9
    , contributor
    Comments (486) | Send Message
     
    Not so SDNS. This conversation could just as easily be about the president's recent NDAA which brings into question the potential for violating such Amendments as the 4th, 6th, or the 14th. Your seizing upon the 2nd seems to be a sore spot with you as it keeps coming into your comments. Once any amendment becomes optional, or subject to re-interpretation, they all do. I have as much right to tell someone my beliefs as they do to tell me theirs. Your opinion is worth just as much or just as little. As far as what I respect, you are way out of your league.
    24 Jun 2012, 01:00 AM Reply Like
  • Villi Grdovich
    , contributor
    Comments (605) | Send Message
     
    Its quite interesting that in a relatively backward state like Queensland, Australia, the then government (so corrupt that many ministers of the crown went to jail), in the early 1990's set up a fund to ensure that all public service pensions were fully funded, by making sure that future liabilities were tied to investment returns of the fund and...that that no defined benefit schemes be initiated. The benefits to the state are quite obvious now.

     

    Subsequently, the Federal Government did the same about 7 years ago.

     

    Its never too late, and even bad governments can do it.
    24 Jun 2012, 06:37 AM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    slingWing6, I didn't "seize upon the 2nd". You did that.

     

    " I have as much right to tell someone my beliefs as they do to tell me theirs"

     

    Absolutely. What you don't have is the right to order people to "leave the continent" because you disagree with what they said.
    24 Jun 2012, 07:56 AM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    SlingWing9,

     

    I'll stand my ground against right wing rhetoriticians like you indefinitely.

     

    You need to develop normal courtesy and the abiltiy to engage in back and forth discussion.

     

    You operate under a pseudonym and you can change your alias anytime you wear out your welcome on this venue. But your true personality shines through, and it's unattractive.

     

    I'm here under my real name and if you want to throw me off the continent I live in Wallingford, CT.
    24 Jun 2012, 08:21 AM Reply Like
  • SlingWing9
    , contributor
    Comments (486) | Send Message
     
    Tom & SDNS,

     

    If you believe that protecting the Constitution is something only performed by right wing rhetoriticians, what is it you want out of this country? Where have you lived that you've seen a system of government more successful than what exists in the U.S.?

     

    If maintaining a pension program that is massively underwater is more important than a solvent middle class, is it your position that the pension program is more important? Is that a right wing problem only?

     

    If some politician gets elected by making promises he or she can't keep leaving the public holding the bag, is that a right wing problem only? How do you propose fixing this?

     

    Tom, trying to win a debate by labeling a person in a derogative manner is rather adolescent. I've not descended to that level and wonder why you feel it is necessary. Does that make you feel better? That is a trait I have come to recognize as shared only among those on the left. BTW, I don't count myself as a Republican or a Democrat. Another label you've misapplied. What's wrong with you? I'll vote for whomever is most qualified and capable to do the job.

     

    I think it's humorous that you physically challenge me. C'mon tough guy, I'm a disabled vet in a wheelchair, you can beat me up if that's what gets your rocks off. If you were really such a tough guy, you might have given some thought to serving your country. You might have a different perspective on things. I don't know anyone that was prior military that shares your opinion or your approach to this country. That should tell you something about what exists outside our borders, things you obviously believe are so great. How do you arrive at that opinion anyway?

     

    By suggesting to you to leave the continent, I'm telling you that if you haven't experienced what it's like to live under other forms of government, how can you possibly have a basis for drawing a comparison? Reading about it, hearing someone tell about it, doesn't even come close to experiencing it. That's what I'm telling you. If you and SDNS see this as me telling you to leave the country, or as my challenging your 1st Amendment rights, you both are taking things out of context to appease some unfulfilled need you both share. Is that more of what people on the left do? It's like talking to children.
    24 Jun 2012, 02:23 PM Reply Like
  • wyostocks
    , contributor
    Comments (8075) | Send Message
     
    slingwing
    Great response and thank you for your service to our country.
    Unfortunetely, service to our country is not something valued by the left.
    24 Jun 2012, 02:26 PM Reply Like
  • Aristiphones
    , contributor
    Comments (1327) | Send Message
     
    hahahahaha! that's a good one! "shall we have the utilities collect the revenue" ala Greece then? This is ridiculous. Besides most of these taxes are written off on your Federal. With all out war in the Middle East now will not be the time for kneecapping our poor and obliterated Middle Class Grumps. Obama's already in such a world of hurt vis a vis Illinois it's really hard to say how this will be resolved. Insofar as payment "in lieu of" as a form of a paycheck here's what the banks will say and how they will say it: http://bit.ly/NpFa3O
    24 Jun 2012, 06:07 PM Reply Like
  • Fr33f0rm
    , contributor
    Comments (300) | Send Message
     
    Do you really want competition in police forces?

     

    You will end up with tribal warfare...

     

    3700 comments and I'm still waiting for you to make a smart one.
    24 Jun 2012, 06:07 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    "If you believe that protecting the Constitution is something only performed by right wing rhetoriticians, what is it you want out of this country? Where have you lived that you've seen a system of government more successful than what exists in the U.S.?"

     

    Huh? This has no applicability to anything said by anyone. Sounds like you've been tuning in to voices in your head here.

     

    "If maintaining a pension program that is massively underwater is more important than a solvent middle class, is it your position that the pension program is more important? Is that a right wing problem only? "

     

    This is pure dishonesty. Look at the top of the page and you'll see that the very first comment states that these pension shortfalls are the single largest economic risk in the U.S. It needs to be fixed before it takes us down. That comment happens to be mine. The second comment (no longer at the top of the page) was Tom's -- saying essentially the same thing.

     

    Tell you what, having lived most of my life in military towns, I've known a lot of enlisted women and men and none of them were dishonest like that. Makes me suspect the rest of your claims about yourself.
    24 Jun 2012, 08:12 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    I had the opportunity the past few days to spend with some very high powered academic types from universities and colleges in the upper Midwest. Some of the professors and directors were from WI and it was fascinating to hear them talk about how the union gave them problems in the past. Specifically related to firing people who were worthless and promoting people who deserved it. Since Walker did away with the union they have done some housecleaning apparently of the dead wood.

     

    They did not agree with Walker's methods necessarily as they tend to be more collegial but it was fascinating to hear them talk about how the union handicapped them in the past and they really did not seem to miss the union.
    24 Jun 2012, 08:54 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
    Comments (13419) | Send Message
     
    TVP:

     

    Like listening to some parents talking about their ax-murderer son (the unions), recognizing he should be given the death penalty, but saying "We still love him."
    24 Jun 2012, 09:01 PM Reply Like
  • talbano
    , contributor
    Comments (324) | Send Message
     
    The only thing valued by the left is what or how they benefit. Why the hell our we paying a guaranteed pension to Gov workers w/ a guar 7-8% return in addition to cost of living adjustments- Plus HC?
    This is a scam that is bankrupting towns, cities & States.
    Enough is enough.
    If you work for the Gov you get benefits similar to a private companies.
    401k & HC w/ contributions......Why should taxpayers work harder and longer to pay for gov workers that retire at 55.
    This is not rocker science it enconomics. We SHOULD not be paying or promise to be paying these generous pensions.
    Why is it so hard to see.
    24 Jun 2012, 09:11 PM Reply Like
  • talbano
    , contributor
    Comments (324) | Send Message
     
    I love the people that retire than go find another public job and get 2 pensions.
    Unfricking real.
    24 Jun 2012, 09:12 PM Reply Like
  • enigmaman
    , contributor
    Comments (2686) | Send Message
     
    GS had completed a study of all US municipalities and found their pensions obligations under funded by 3-5x which is much more then states have been reporting. Any assertions by gov officials otherwise should be met with great skepticism as its behooves them to exclaim " don't worry be happy" imagine if it got out that there is only .25 available for every $1 of pension to be paid out, trillions in shortfall and absolutely nothing being done to rectify this.
    23 Jun 2012, 11:21 AM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
    Comments (13419) | Send Message
     
    We just have 49 other Wisconsins in waiting.
    23 Jun 2012, 11:43 AM Reply Like
  • enigmaman
    , contributor
    Comments (2686) | Send Message
     
    Yep, if voters can stand the short term pain the long term gain will be worthwhile, to bad that Wisconsin and Walker are no longer main stream news, if he lost they would be playing it up 24/7
    23 Jun 2012, 12:03 PM Reply Like
  • davidingeorgia
    , contributor
    Comments (2713) | Send Message
     
    >>...though government officials insist the change is only cosmetic and won't force an alteration in their behavior or return assumptions."

     

    Oh no, nothing at all to worry about. Are these the same nimrods who assumed something like a 7-8% return each every year to cover all the ridiculous unfunded promises made in benefits packages? Yes, I'm sure it's okay if that bunch of loons says it's okay.
    23 Jun 2012, 11:27 AM Reply Like
  • bbro
    , contributor
    Comments (9738) | Send Message
     
    With the widely followed Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index having
    a Yield to Maturity of only 1.7%,,,,you bet there are going to be
    some "re" assumptions...equities anyone??
    23 Jun 2012, 11:28 AM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    bbro,

     

    No problem here, just borrow the money at low rates, then invest in equities, or junk bonds, hedge funds, private equity, alternative investments, or anything that might have a higher yield.
    23 Jun 2012, 12:01 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    Tom, many of these muni pension funds have strict rules about what quality of assets they can buy. The constraints on what they can buy is generally a good thing but it unfortunately led to many of these pension funds having loaded up on AAA-rated MBS's during the housing bubble. Cities have attempted to sue the ratings agencies over this but the courts have sided with the ratings agencies (freedom of speech).
    23 Jun 2012, 12:23 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Should have seen what CAL-PERS was 'invested' in. Wasn't AAA rated MBS. It was high risk Silicon Valley trash startup and high beta angel investing gambling.

     

    Nice try though.
    23 Jun 2012, 12:52 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    Not sure what you mean by "nice try". There's nothing at all unusual about pension funds having investment criteria. Since you seem to think CalPERS is the only public pension fund in the U.S., here's an example of their criteria: http://bit.ly/MQwkLO And here's early coverage of the first muni lawsuit against a ratings agency over MBS's: http://bit.ly/O6BrwY
    23 Jun 2012, 02:21 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    They should sue themselves.
    23 Jun 2012, 03:43 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10397) | Send Message
     
    And Tom, would those "higher yields" in equities be "guaranteed"?
    23 Jun 2012, 04:00 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    WMARKW,

     

    Probably it would be best to call Goldman Sachs and ask them to do something with derivatives.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:05 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10397) | Send Message
     
    Sorry....did you mean...Goldman Suchs?
    23 Jun 2012, 09:59 PM Reply Like
  • sr1977
    , contributor
    Comments (336) | Send Message
     
    Requiem for Merideth Whitneys December 2010 call on Municipalities. To be sure she was wrong about the scale of municipal bankrupcies that would occur (so far), but she certainly saw the problem coming.
    23 Jun 2012, 12:22 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    I agree. MW was making a call on scope of problem and that does not seem to be going away. I would love if MW is wrong but she does her homework and is good at looking at leverage, debt and obligations against offsetting revenues. Simple math but takes a lot of digging as governments are lousy at reporting financials.
    23 Jun 2012, 03:06 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    Nothing will change.

     

    Politicians will continue to say everything is ok as long as the unions are handing them checks for the next campaign.

     

    The Union's will move their battle from the ballot box to the courthouse and argue these are contracts that can't be broken (and I believe in a few states its in the constitution). In essence they are arguing to throw the public overboard and give themselves all available revenue first and foremost. States and cities are already cutting services in order to pay 58 year old retired public employees 60-70-80-90% of their best year's earnings in retirement.

     

    What we need is to remove collective bargaining in the public sector. Period. I support paying public employees good wages. I also support firing poor teachers and other public employees. That doesn't happen now and is never considered when looking at the cost of public employees. How much does it cost to have idiots collecting salaries but not providing a good service? Ever go to the Post office and have the person behind the counter frantically look for their calculator to add up 4 stamps to see if you have the right postage? And that person should be employed and then receiving thirty years of a cushy retirement on the backs of taxpayers?

     

    Public employees as a group are overpaid and underworked. Good salaries for good performance. But poor performance should suffer the same consequences as in the private sector - ie your fired.
    23 Jun 2012, 12:40 PM Reply Like
  • CaladesiKid2
    , contributor
    Comments (271) | Send Message
     
    davidbdc, I share your POV. The glaring conflict of public unions supporting Democratic candidates needs to be resolved. Perhaps taxpayers will finally call a halt to the massive fleecing that has been underway for decades. The arrogance and lack of respect for private business that is demonstrated on a daily basis by public unions is a clarion call that taxpayers need to regain control of how their tax dollars are squandered. The alternative is continued decline in our economy. Unfortunately, our youth are learning there is no honor or integrity in working hard to succeed. Why bother when those on the government dole in it's various forms (including public unions) can flaunt their easy going lifestyles? Vegas anyone?
    23 Jun 2012, 01:08 PM Reply Like
  • Donkey Kong
    , contributor
    Comments (184) | Send Message
     
    This news is obviously bullish. DOW 36,000!!!
    23 Jun 2012, 01:54 PM Reply Like
  • montanamark
    , contributor
    Comments (1435) | Send Message
     
    lol at some of the arguments here - the same arguments were being made, and are still being made by greece, spain, italy and euroland
    23 Jun 2012, 02:59 PM Reply Like
  • Terry330
    , contributor
    Comments (867) | Send Message
     
    Why does a very wealthy man like Mitt Romney only pay a 14% tax rate, lower than even lower income working Americans, while his companies send American jobs to China, Mexico, India?
    23 Jun 2012, 03:23 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    My daughter is a low income working American and she pays zero. Is that low enough for you?
    23 Jun 2012, 03:32 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    China, Mexico and India don't have suffocating union over bloat nor anywhere near the amount of inefficient & wasteful regulations garroting small businesses here.

     

    But you on the left want it both ways right?

     

    You don't want business to 'offshore' while at the same time want to force them to suffer under your own policies here while prohibiting them from leaving.

     

    Such fascism while very very euro-cool, is not becoming of a once global power.

     

    At this point Syria is looking like a beacon of freedom compared to Detroit.
    23 Jun 2012, 03:42 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    You're forgetting Social Security and Medicare, both the employee and the employer share. So a minimum wage earner pays 14% tax, on that basis.

     

    That, and sales and sin taxes fall much more heavily on low income people.

     

    What this country needs is a wealth tax. Income is always taxed, but wealth frequently evades taxation altogether. It really pays to be wealthy, if you can swing it. Cogent arguments can be made for eliminating all income taxes and instead taxing wealth itself.

     

    I would start with 1% at about $5 million, from there you could work it up to 2% for $50 million and above. That would apply whereever its located, here in the US, in the Swiss bank, real estate in Europe, you name it, you own it, they tax it.
    23 Jun 2012, 03:43 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10397) | Send Message
     
    Terry, because that is the Current Tax Law. If you don't like the laws, then work to get them changed. There are lots of "reason" behind the laws, but short and sweet....that's the way it is until it is changed. And you numbers are off significantly in terms of "average" rate of tax for the wealthy. The average Federal Tax rate for the top 5% is 23% and for the top 1% it's 27.6% according to the Tax Policy Center. Even higher fof the top 0.1%. But you could find that out for yourself it you were interested in the Truth.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:03 PM Reply Like
  • kcr357
    , contributor
    Comments (560) | Send Message
     
    It's our right as Americans to be able to purchase dirt cheap goods and services, all the while demanding the producers of said goods and services provide vacation leave, sick pay, maternity, living wages, etc etc etc to their employees. It's in the constitution before the Right to Healthcare Amendment.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:35 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    A wealth tax?

     

    You have to be kidding. We already reward bad behavior and now you want me and those like me that live responsibly to pay even more because we earn, sacrifice, invest, take risks, rinse and repeat for years and years.

     

    Exactly why should I pay a tax on my wealth while my idiot neighbor buys his/her 7th I-phone to go along with their 4 cars and two motorcycles? They already are getting bailed out by taxpayers because they bought too much house!!!

     

    What freaking world do you live in where the government should every year confiscate part of what I've managed to build with money I've already paid taxes on????

     

    Yes it pays to be wealthy - but what your really saying is that it pays to work hard, sacrifice, be prudent, live responsibly, say "NO" to your wife and children sometimes, and put off gratification, and expect to provide for yourself.

     

    I'm sick and tired of hearing those who are irresponsible say that taking what I've worked my whole life for is somehow "fair" and "responsible". How about taxing stupidity! That would balance the budet in year one!
    23 Jun 2012, 04:36 PM Reply Like
  • enigmaman
    , contributor
    Comments (2686) | Send Message
     
    "Cogent arguments can be made for eliminating all income taxes and instead taxing wealth itself." "I would start with 1% at about $5 million, from there you could work it up to 2% for $50 million and above."

     

    So the only people paying any income tax would be those whose net worth starts at $5Million and above.

     

    So 99% of the general public would pay no income tax, now that would fly with the electorate for sure, I just dont believe the wealthy 1% would be paying enough to keep the rest of us living in the lifestyle we have grown accustomed to or the government. So maybe the net worth would have to be lowered, then lowered again, then again, and again and again and again until we are right back in the same place we are now except with even bigger gov. Yeah that sounds like a great plan.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:37 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    Uh, your neighbor with the motorcycles, cars, house etc. pays a wealth tax on most of it, they call it property taxes.

     

    Don't forget, most of taxes paid ultimately is protection money on wealth. The more wealth, the more protection.

     

    So, the taxes should be proportionate to the protection afforded.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:44 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    Probably you would have to have a flat or relatively flat tax on income too.

     

    It should be born in mind, there is a lot of under the table economic activity, particularly in small business. Income tax won't touch them, a wealth tax will.

     

    A very large part of our tax problem is we don't collect the taxes we have. The cheaters and skofflaws get away scott free, at the expense of others.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:47 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    Wyatt,

     

    China has rampant political and business corruption and dishonesty. India is hopelessly corrupt. Mexico is lawless, truckloads of shooting victims ditched on the street on broad daylight.

     

    US is better, we have rule of law here.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:50 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    A very large part of our tax problem is we don't collect the taxes we have. The cheaters and skofflaws get away scott free, at the expense of others
    ----------------------...

     

    This is the "I'll get rid of waste" arguement politicians throw around all the time while doing nothing about it.

     

    I'll agree with your flat tax proposition though. It would allow us to get rid of a large part of the IRS and get politicians out of the business of giving away the tax code to their financial supporters.

     

    I have zero sympathy for those that openly don't pay taxes - throw them in jail. I have a lot of sympathy for those that can't figure out half of the tax code - its unbelievably complicated and frankly corrupt. I know of no one - myself included - that supports the idea of grown men shuffling papers paying only 15% instead of normal income tax rates. Fix it.

     

    Good behavior needs to be recognized and encouraged and not penalized. If you live your life from paycheck to paycheck to buy all kinds of adult toys and the newest of everything - thats your choice. Don't penalize myself and my family because we live responsibly and work extremely hard.

     

    And as for your assertion that small business basically operates on the black market - that generally happens when the average man or woman believes the system is set up against them. Which in our case it currently is - the government only serves the bureaucrats, politicians, and financial elite - everyone else is being played for suckers.
    23 Jun 2012, 05:00 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    Thats total BS - my neighbor doesn't pay taxes on their toys, clothes, cars, motorcycles, etc. They pay taxes on their house.

     

    As do I.

     

    Now you want to come along and tax me again because for years I didn't waste my money buying 9 different I-phones, motorcycles, fancy clothes, fancy trips, fancy jewerly, etc.

     

    Go take it from my neighbor. I don't give a damn that he has no money to give you.

     

    This is pathetic crap saying that the hardworking, sacrificing folks should pay even more for the irresponsible folks.

     

    I'll contribute to the charities in my town that I want to. You should do the same.

     

    A wealth tax will be met with lead.
    23 Jun 2012, 05:05 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    Yes we have rule of law here - but increasingly its for sale. And increasingly the rule of law is taking away our citizens freedoms and giving more and more power to the state.

     

    Everything we have is built on freedom and liberty.

     

    And those in power over the past 15 years seem intent on taking both away from us little by little.

     

    The only solution is to drastically reduce the government. That involves telling people to take care of themselves, their families, and their communities.

     

    Did we follow the rule of law when we bailed out the banks? Did we follow the rule of law when we bailed out GM? (mind you I supported government being involved in ensuring they didn't collapse). We now pass laws that no one has read! And its no big deal because the bureaucrats just make it up as they go!

     

    Freedom and Liberty!
    23 Jun 2012, 05:08 PM Reply Like
  • SlingWing9
    , contributor
    Comments (486) | Send Message
     
    Screw flat tax. Politicians will always be in search of how to get more (for the children). A flat tax won't solve the problem, it will just dress it differently.

     

    I want a consumption tax. Then the politicians won't be catering to the middle class of whom they love to barbeque at every opportunity, they will be making tax decisions on those below the poverty line. That might help keep the government more in check, but a flat tax has no future.
    23 Jun 2012, 05:19 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    China is a communist state and is freer than we are now, so there's that. Yay. Good Lord, what does that say about us then?

     

    In China there is very little in the way of regulation. Its very easy to start a business there.

     

    India is a red tape nightmare with loads of petty, meaningless paperwork.

     

    Mexico is dirty, foul and unclean. Cross the border. Inhale. Yes, you can actually smell it.

     

    Its saying a lot that our businesses want to migrate to those places, isn't it Tom? What do you think that says about the United States?

     

    And no, we don't have rule of law here. We have massive corruption, above board for all to see. Obama doesn't hide it. Its for sale every day. Obama is Hugo Chavez with a media comb over. He's taken over industries just like him. Banks, autos, healthcare, manufacturing and oil. There is absolutely zero difference. In fact, he is far worse. Now, he's moved on to the Constitution itself.
    23 Jun 2012, 05:55 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    Yup, it's real easy to start a business in China, all you need to do is make up a balance sheet and an income statement and issue some stock.

     

    Businesses want to migrate to those places because labor is cheap there, period, amen. Plus, workers have no rights. Plus, the authorities are for sale, all you have to do is buy them.

     

    Try getting service from an Indian customer service reprentative. They will read you the same script 100 times, and never solve the problem.

     

    As for Mexico, entire provinces are unsafe, you could get caught in the cross-fire at any time.

     

    The problem with US business for the past 30 years comes down to the set of economic theories that collectively go by the label of neo- liberalism. Under this set of principles, the almightly dollar rules everything. Nothing else matters. If treating workers fairly increases your costs, you have to treat them unfairly, it's your responsibility to shareholders. Similarly, it's your responsibility to gouge customers, like the banks do with their bogus fee structure. Likewise, you have to cheat anybody and everybody in the whole world by creating bogus mortgages and selling them on down the line. Then you blame the victims, they should have done due diligence.

     

    Regulations protecting your victims, the environment, etc. are an immoral impediment to you god-given right to trample anybody and everybody who stands in your path.

     

    We don't have to live this way.
    23 Jun 2012, 06:09 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    Nor do we have to have a bunch of elitist idiots running every aspect of our lives and taking from those that produce to give to those that don't.

     

    Freedom and Liberty is what needs to be restored. And we'll get that by gutting the government and starting over.
    23 Jun 2012, 06:32 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    "China...is freer than we are now"

     

    LOL. When people start making up stuff like that, you know they've gone off the deep end! China is a pure kleptocracy. There is no rule of law there. The (unelected) gov't does whatever it wants whenever it feels like it. People who speak up about it are "suicided". If the U.S. were like (let alone worse than) China, you wouldn't have been here having your say for years and years and years.

     

    "[Obama] has taken over industries....Banks, autos, healthcare, manufacturing and oil." And is funneling the income from these companies into his own pocket like the leaders do in China? Yeah sure. We believe that. LOL!
    23 Jun 2012, 06:48 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    "Freedom and Liberty is what needs to be restored"

     

    If you truly believed in protecting freedom and liberty, you would have been one of the leftist radicals you despise who spoke out against the DHS. Sure seems like not a co-incidence that all the same people who suddenly want to dismantle gov't were happy as can be about the biggest expansion of gov't power in the history of the U.S. Could it possibly be because, hey, that president was a white, male, Republican from Texas?
    23 Jun 2012, 06:56 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    david,

     

    I think you live in a different country than the one I live in.

     

    I've been here for 65 years, spoken my mind about public officials, etc., and never been hassled for exercising my freedom of speech.

     

    I've attended the church of my choice, or stayed away, without any need to answer to anyone.

     

    I've lived where I wanted to live, worked at careers I chose, traveled anywhere in the country I wanted to go.

     

    I've voted for the candidates of my choice. My votes were honestly counted, and they mattered.

     

    I've been down to town hall, spoken my mind, and been listened to.

     

    What is this paranoid "every aspect of our lives?"

     

    I paid into social security and medicare all my working life, and now I collect from the system I put into. I've paid income taxes, and the government has built roads, schools, infrastructure, and protected my property and my liberty. My employers paid into unemployment, and I collected it when out of work. It all makes sense to me.

     

    You are living in some warped alternate reality. Maybe these far right wing rants make you feel better. I hope so.

     

    Getting back on the topic of this discussion, most of us are concerned that public employees are receving excessive pensions, and that our elected servants are not addressing the problem. As voters, we can vote them out at any time, and vote in others who are more responsive to our will. Just sitting there in self pity about some fictitious elite running every aspect of your life won't cut it.

     

    23 Jun 2012, 06:58 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
    Comments (13419) | Send Message
     
    SDNS:

     

    You know what's a more serious capital crime in China than murder? It's "violation of the public trust."

     

    You may recall the milk scandal, where a CEO adulterated milk with melamine to mask its protein properties? You know what happened to him? He was tried, convicted and executed in the public square. (They send a bill to the family for the bullet, too. Nice touch.)

     

    That would make a radical reduction in the corruption we see here, both in business and government. I'd be happy to add some commensurate risk to the easy rewards that big-time criminals enjoy, now.
    23 Jun 2012, 07:11 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    Tack, the official response to that was about protecting China's public appearance to other nations -- aka saving face. Nothing more. The very spectacularness of it shows just how unpredictable (not ruled by consistently applied laws) China is. That said, though, I'd be glad to see extreme punishment for white collar crime -- including corruption. And a public execution or two might indeed do wonders
    :-)
    23 Jun 2012, 07:22 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
    Comments (13419) | Send Message
     
    SDNS:

     

    We're not ruled by consistently-applied laws, either. Not even close.

     

    I used to spend lots of time in China, as the VP of International Business of a large medical-equipment firm. I can tell you that they take personal responsibility very seriously, and they are unapologetic about treating criminals like criminals. There's a lot positive that can be said about it.
    23 Jun 2012, 07:26 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    "they are unapologetic about treating criminals like criminals"

     

    So where are the prosecutions of gov't insiders to whom the reverse merger shell companies funneled all that money? Heck, where is the investigation of that? We do put gov't officials in jail here -- look at Randy Cunningham and H.R.Haldeman. I see China punishing people who embarrass the gov't, but not those w/in the gov't.
    23 Jun 2012, 07:32 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
    Comments (13419) | Send Message
     
    SDNS:

     

    I don't want to continue this debate, as it would be endless, but, as regards our "noble leaders" putting "government officials" in prison, I'll leave you with this to ponder: our members of Congress are exempted from insider-trading laws and can trade and make millions with insider deals with impugnity. We've literally institutionalized and made legal criminal behavior for our Congress that would put anybody else in prison.

     

    I don't want to hear about the failings of other governments, as regards morals and ethics, thank you.
    23 Jun 2012, 07:39 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    Tack, I already agreed with you we could do more and even agreed that a few public executions might be a good thing. However, the fact that the U.S. could do more to punish corruption (a common complaint from the left, btw!) doesn't make China a paradise of fairness and law.
    23 Jun 2012, 08:08 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    SDNS- I totally am opposed to the DHS and want it slashed and burned just as much as all the rest of the oppressive government agencies. And where do I make a single mention of "leftist radicals"?

     

    And when your first response in a debate is basically "well you must be a racist", I'd say you must have very little to actually add to the debate.
    23 Jun 2012, 08:11 PM Reply Like
  • DaLatin
    , contributor
    Comments (1522) | Send Message
     
    The pension nightmare is both in the private and Gov areas. We all know that and political compromise will never solve anything ! It never has and NEVER will..... It's the fault in the checks an balances the founders never thought through.

     

    What I see is.... whether housing comes back sooner or later that determines the US economic direction employment problem is being magnified by the millions of seniors who must hang on to there jobs decades longer then planned.

     

    AIG's CEO summed it up perfectly... We need to start all the Gov assistance at 80. Then it will all work again ! DL

     

    PS.. I am a/o/k and help my family,but, I've been to WMT and seen the lines when a job notice is posted and those seniors are ferocious ! And, the youngsters need those jobs too ~
    23 Jun 2012, 08:15 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    Tom,
    Sounds good at 65,000 feet.

     

    I too attend the church of my choice. Unfortunately the church's actions have been limited by government. We used to run what was basically a food kitchen from our large fellowship hall. ANYONE could come at lunch and dinner and be served food. No questions asked. We also ran programs like meals on wheels from the kitchen. Then the GOVERNMENT showed up and decreyed that we would have to spend a ton of money if we wanted to serve food to the "public". So somehow the kitchen is good enough to produce food for the congregation for our church events but its not good enough if your unemployed and on the street.

     

    Oh, and the church used to sponsor activities at a local school - don't even think about that these days. The mere mention of God is expressly prohibited - unless of course its in a mocking manner.

     

    I too have lived and travelled and worked. But certainly not as freely as I used to! My businesses fill out at least 5 times as much paperwork as they did 15 years ago. We have "visits" from too many agencies to list. If I want to put in a new sidewalk or change the entranceway to one of my businesses - I have no less than about 6 different studies that have to be done, permits to be obtained, different local and city approvals to get - $5000 of work becomes $17-$20 of total costs once its all done. Oh, and that travelling element? Now I get molested every time I go to board a plane.

     

    I've voted for candidates - but not really of my choice. Candidates of the both the Republican and Democratic parties are corrupt and more than willing to lessen our freedoms and liberties. Most people don't really realize their freedoms are being taken as our schools simply don't teach things like the constitution and everything that went into it.

     

    We've both paid into a system of social security and medicare - one that pays out vastly more than anything we've put in!! So we didn't really pay for it! We'll just steal from our children and grandchildren.

     

    My views aren't far right - thats just code speak. Freedom and Liberty are the foundation of our country - and just like a house, when you allow huge cracks in the foundation pretty soon you've got problems throughout the house. And that pretty much sums up our current status.

     

    And finally, our federal government is populated with tons of elitists that have never done anything in their life other than sit around and make up rules about how we should live ours. A good percentage of them wouldn't last two minutes in the private sector.
    23 Jun 2012, 08:28 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    Here is a true story about the excessive regulation our government provides. I worked a business in CT as an accountant. They employed over 50 illegal immigrants. At the end of the year, they were told to go out and buy new ID's so the company could pretend they didn't know they were illegal.

     

    Then when there was a carbon monoxide leak, all the illegal immigrants were poisoned, and they all had to go to the hospital, by ambulance. My employer couldn't seem to understand that it would be necessary to fill out workers compensation claims, after all, these people had no rights and why should he pay for their care? I recruited a fellow employee who knew whose paperwork matched what alibi and we faxed in the claims.

     

    I became a little disgusted with the whole thing and reported to the INS at the confidential phone number provided. Then I sat and waited patiently for the officers to show up. They never came.

     

    This is crap. We have a government and laws that have been passed by the people, and their ideology is, anything to reduce the cost of products, the legalities have nothing to do with it. They basically tore up the law and ignored it.

     

    Leading up to the financial crisis it was the same thing. They had bank examiners who had a legal duty to make sure the banks were lending responsibly. They would go in, sample 10 files, and 6 would be no good. So they would keep accepting excuses from the bank until they made it all go away, or permitting replacement files to be examined.

     

    You talk about forms, you should have seen the paperwork BP filled out, how they had a plan to deal with a leak at Macondo. A huge report, full of fictions. They didn't have a clue how to deal with it. Of course their regulator took their word on it, nobody ever checked anything they did. We have seen the result.

     

    This kind of rhetoric, we have too much regulation, has done its job, there is no area of our lives where the protections that we formerly enjoyed have not been compromised by laissez faire ideology.

     

    We still hear it today, from Jamie Dimon, who found a way to do what he wanted to do, speculate and gamble with FDIC insured deposits, rather than lending them to businesses that might create jobs. And so it goes.

     

    All this laissez faire has created losses to the economy, the financial system, the public welfare, and the environment.
    23 Jun 2012, 08:51 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    heh

     

    Bribery in China and Mexico but not here in the States.

     

    Riiiight.

     

    Good one Tommy boy.
    23 Jun 2012, 09:38 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    davidbdc, you don't need to include the adjective leftist when you're echoing talking points from Fox Cartoons. It's redundant. Everything one doesn't like in one's life is all due to "evil leftist elites". Whatever that means.
    23 Jun 2012, 09:57 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10397) | Send Message
     
    Really? Seems my local Police force spends an inordinate amount of time in the "poorer" section of town? Perhaps you mean a different kind of "protection"?
    23 Jun 2012, 10:02 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    And btw, I never once called you a racist ;-)
    23 Jun 2012, 10:26 PM Reply Like
  • enigmaman
    , contributor
    Comments (2686) | Send Message
     
    Tom, you worked for a company that employed illegals, all of which were poisoned on the job, and you took it upon yourself to try and get illegals workmen comp coverage, you finally became a "little" disgusted and anonymously blew the whistle on your employer but nothing happened. Interesting because you never said that you went to the papers, never contacted a TV station, I assume your company never found out that you blew the whistle on them so you were able to remain and eventually retire from that evil company. Interesting revelation! Whats that saying "people that live in glass houses should not throw stones"
    23 Jun 2012, 10:33 PM Reply Like
  • wyostocks
    , contributor
    Comments (8075) | Send Message
     
    Tom
    Have you ever started a business or done business in China, India, Mexico, or any place outside the U.S. for that matter?
    23 Jun 2012, 11:23 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    Well Tom I think you've proved my point.

     

    You were a "little disgusted" and waited for the government.

     

    You didn't confront management. You didn't speak to the workers about their rights. You basically passed the buck.... all for your own personal benefit. And then blame the government that you so dearly believe in.

     

    A large percentage of our "public servants" don't really care about the public - yes some do enter government work because they want to do good and help people - but most just want a good living for themselves and their families. The public is an afterthought.

     

    So all the bureaucracy that we pay for in your instance is a total waste!!!!! Fire them all and the situation wouldn't be any different!!!

     

    As Reagan said - Government isn't the answer to your problem - it is the problem!!!

     

    Think if our government would just stay out of the way - the financial crisis would have already run its course. The people responsible would have lost their jobs. Shareholders would have lost their money. Bondholders would have lost their money. Those that committed fraud might actually have been prosecuted (one of the actual things government should be doing). Those that bought 600K houses on 40K incomes would have all moved out. People that have worked and saved would be getting more than .15% on their savings. And basically the economy would now be growing again.

     

    But no, lets let government try to fix everything.

     

    I'll say it again - Freedom and Liberty.
    23 Jun 2012, 11:39 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    " And basically the economy would now be growing again."

     

    Just like in Somalia, where the gov't was completely eliminated a little over 20 years ago. Only one problem, that sure as heck didn't get the economy "growing again". It's one of the poorest regions on the planet.

     

    It's easy to walk around making claims out of thin air, isn't it davidbdc. A much harder, but worthier enterprise would be to tackle the hard work needed to improve how gov't functions. You know, actual participation in your democracy.
    24 Jun 2012, 12:16 AM Reply Like
  • sloemoe
    , contributor
    Comments (42) | Send Message
     
    The system is corrupt because the ethics and morals of our elected officials are corrupted.They should be imprisoned or executed if they fail to serve the people of this country after they have been given that TRUST.WHAT DOES THE OATH OF OFFICE REQUIRE OF THEM?IS IT A LEGAL CONTRACT?
    24 Jun 2012, 12:27 AM Reply Like
  • dbaldwin
    , contributor
    Comments (34) | Send Message
     
    Why so serious? Aren't you supposed to be more patriotic?

     

    If you've said NO to your wife and kids for your whole life, didn't support Apple and its investors by buying the latest iPad and iPhone, don't have a Harley in the driveway, and have 5 MILLION dollars, you deserve to pay a wealth tax. Contributing to charities should minimize or get some of that back.

     

    p.s. oh, and love thy neighbor. His lead may be pointing at you.
    24 Jun 2012, 01:32 AM Reply Like
  • User 462216
    , contributor
    Comments (95) | Send Message
     
    WMARKW
    This is off the subject but can you please tell me what you think the parameters are to classify an individual or family as being middle class according to the government? I just don't know and thought you maybe able to answer this. The question is open to anyone else as well.
    Thank You
    24 Jun 2012, 07:32 AM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10397) | Send Message
     
    I don't know. But I use the concept of Median Income or middle Quintile (of 5) in the income strata. I don't know if that's what you mean, or whether you are asking for things like home, cars, tv, etc.
    24 Jun 2012, 07:40 AM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    EnigmaMan and davidbc:

     

    I don't see any duty on my part to become a martyr over issues of the type discussed here.

     

    When I become aware that the law is being broken, I report it to the responsible authorities by the means they make available. What do you do?
    24 Jun 2012, 08:26 AM Reply Like
  • User 462216
    , contributor
    Comments (95) | Send Message
     
    Yes like homes,savings,income ect. The thing I keeping hearing is that its a house hold income of 45k or so. Personally trying to gain perspective as to what percentage of the population is considered middle class as to wages, asset, debt and then of course net worth.
    House hold income of 45k is relative....how many in the household.
    Assets worth over 200k ...Relative are they paid for or do you still owe 180k on those assets.....Appreciating or depreciating asset. What the heck do people or government think middle class is. I don't know and am wondering if I should consider myself middle class. Also trying to rap my head around what amount of actual dollars does the middle class pay in taxes. Not a percentage but actual dollars. Individuals not corporations or a mix of. Have never been able to find the info that states something that would look like the following example:
    Individuals earning 35k to 55k a year pay an average of 15k in state,city,federal and county tax on earned income.
    Individuals making 1 million to 5 million in earned income pay on average 200k in state,city, federal and county taxes on earned income.
    This then would be relative when looking at the true numbers as far as the following....
    One thousand people earning 35k to 55k paid a total of 15 million in taxes on earned income.
    Fifty people earning 1 mil to 5 mil paid a total of 10 million in taxes on earned income.
    Then things get a little more complicated when we have to consider that one thousand people will be purchasing a lot more services and products than the 50 people and paying secondary taxes on all those items.
    Just trying to understand how big is the middle class and who is paying the bulk of the taxes. Middle class,wealthy or corporations.
    But first and foremost is who is the middle class and what constitutes them being classified as middle?
    Reading your comments over the course of time I thought you might be able to shed some light on the subject so that I may personally have a better understanding.
    I thank you again.
    24 Jun 2012, 10:35 AM Reply Like
  • enigmaman
    , contributor
    Comments (2686) | Send Message
     
    Tom thats easy I would call them out and stand in the daylight like many have and do everyday at their own peril, I wouldnt hide or let things continue as they are. But I understand why you didnt stand up, you had your priorities I mean you didnt want to lose your job and any benefits you accumalated. In any case the story you relayed did make you seem like you were definitley maybe committed to try to do the right thing at least alittle, good for you. Sometimes you have to put your ass and your own money on the line to do the right thing, clearly you missed that opportunity. Next time I would suggest a different ending to your story, be the hero, I mean who will know any different
    24 Jun 2012, 01:21 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    enigmaman,

     

    Sometimes a man gets tired. My first accounting job was working for a sleazeball contractor. His wife was a realtor. He habitually operated the business on empty and opted to solve his problems by taking customer down payments from his wife's trustee account and spending it in his business.

     

    I consulted a lawyer, at my expense, and did what he advised, which was to write a letter to the state real estate regulator and give them a copy. Needless to say things got a little frosty in the office. Their lawyer called me up: "Did you really do that?" incredulous. I sais yes. Then "Couldn't you just play three monkies?" As if I was some kind of retard. I said I don't play that game. After a few weeks they laid me off for lack of work. I was glad to go.

     

    Regretfully, it takes about 3 to 6 months to locate a job at a professoinal level, and if you accumulate a few gaps like that it's harder to find work. Unemployment doesn't replace a paycheck.

     

    I've displayed much more moral courage than most people in business, I'm proud of how I conducted myself, and it has cost me many thousands of dollars in earnings forgone.

     

    I don't think you've worked in the real world and I doubt that you have a clear understanding of how people behave in practice. I'm an exception to the rule that people go along with any kind of dishonesty and unethical behavior in order to hang on to their jobs.

     

    How many employees at sleazeball banks turned in their employers? How many of them knew what was going on? Of the few that resisted, how did they make out?

     

    I've paid my dues, I can critisize your precious banks and no, I'm not like them, and no, they don't have an excuse that everybody was doing it.
    24 Jun 2012, 02:30 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    China has playground recess rules. When yard duty has her back turned, there's no whistle.

     

    And while China is tough on crime, they are lax on startups. But that's a non-sequitur no? Crime has nothing to do with business per se unless you suffer under a classic left of center preconditioned response.

     

    Problem here in America is that we could now learn a lot about China's growth and are patently refusing to do so. China has reduced its SOEs by well over half the last 15 years. Thus, the growth. Especially in their public-private partnerships.

     

    Perhaps its time for the United States to do the same, eh? Fannie, creepy Freddie Kruger, Government Hugo Chavez Motors, the thousand or so solar, publicly funded rip-off re-election scams, the TBTF's, and now... healthcare etc. etc.?

     

    What kind of strange, paternalistic, state run, monopoly of inbred power has our government become?

     

    America is like Icarus, falling to earth, not understanding basic pole reversal(north/south) in terms of what made it once so great. The harder she tries, the harder she falls. Like a diver starving for oxygen, swimming deeper and deeper down instead of up towards the surface, thinking that is its salvation.

     

    Government is never the answer. It is always the problem.
    24 Jun 2012, 02:53 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    SDNS - you just make ludicrous statements - nowhere do I say to totally eliminate the government. NOwhere do I say make the USA Somalia.

     

    Actual participation? You mean like starting and operating businesses - employing members of my community - sponsoring charities and things like Little League - contributing to local institutions? Often finding the money for things like local parks and various programs that the local government doesn't have money for? (yet of course there is money for the bureaucrats raises!).

     

    See thats what I'd call participation. Government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, FOR the people. Its now of the bureaucrat, by the politicians, for the financial elite. And only those three groups benefit.

     

    Until that is changed and our freedoms and liberty restored I'll keep pointing it out - and you can call it any damn thing you like.
    24 Jun 2012, 03:06 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    I didn't say I was pointing my lead at my neighbor. I believe he and his wife have the right to live how they see fit. BUT so do I. And I totally reject the idea that because I make "good" financial decisions that somehow I am therefore responsible for covering for my neighbor's lifestyle choices.

     

    And If your married, I think you know there is no such thing as telling your wife no every day - once a week is pushing it. But we both have made tough decisions and made responsible choices. We spend what we feel comfortable with - that doesn't mean we don't splurge or do enjoyable things - but there are times we choose to by-pass things to allow for a rainy day or to invest in one of my businesses. Thats personal choice and it shouldn't involve me then covering for my neighbor 10 years down the road.

     

    A different word for a wealth tax is tyranny IMO.
    24 Jun 2012, 03:12 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3158) | Send Message
     
    Tom,
    I wasn't there and only know the details you provided. When something is wrong in my community I speak up and do what I can to get it fixed.

     

    I'll also freely admit to not living a perfect life and there are many things I'd do differently if I could do it all over again.

     

    My point wasn't to crucify you - it was to point out that the very institutions that you believe are the answer are in fact only concerned with those within the institution.

     

    Freedom and liberty aren't given by government. Government only can protect and uphold those freedoms and liberties. Unfortunately our government has spent the past 20-30 years shrinking those freedoms and liberties. Day by day, small law by small law, regulation by regulation. I believe there are things that only government can do. Only government can raise and maintain an army. Only government can properly run a program like NASA. Government is necessary to run the Judicial system.

     

    But government isn't need to run charity. Government isn't needed to pick winners and losers. Government isn't needed to aid certain developers obtain land. Government should only do what its not reasonable for an individual to do - and quite frankly taking care of oneself is NOT unreasonable.

     

    And all too ofen the solution to broken government is to increase a different part of government to make up for it!!! And your example fits that perfectly.
    24 Jun 2012, 03:19 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    Let's take an example of business regulation that most businessmen loath and detest: that would be OSHA.

     

    Here's a link to an article I wrote on my investment in Tesoro (TSO).

     

    http://seekingalpha.co...

     

    Briefly, shortly after management graced a conference call with a discussion of deferred maintenance and saving money by not following best practice, a plant exploded, with multiple fatalities, six as I recall. TSO had a history of OSHA violations during the year prior to the fatalities, and no doubt resented the inspections and resulting recommendations and fines as intrusive.

     

    So we have six people dead. Go and preach your freedoms to the widows and orphans.
    24 Jun 2012, 03:33 PM Reply Like
  • wyostocks
    , contributor
    Comments (8075) | Send Message
     
    Tom
    "Let's take an example of business regulation that most businessmen loath and detest: that would be OSHA. "

     

    Pure bunk.

     

    Stop pulling out some extreme example to attempt to make a bogus point.
    24 Jun 2012, 03:46 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    wyostocks,

     

    It's not an extreme example. It's business as usual in American industry.

     

    Read the article, it has a touching discussion of how a very similar case played out. TSO never got to the point of doing the apologies.

     

    Talk to a certain type of businessman about it, and he wil tell you conditions are better in China and threaten to take the work over there. It's the race to the bottom, globalization, etc.

     

    You want a more extreme example in the same industry, check out BP and the Macondo blowout. Again, shortcuts were taken, again workers died.
    24 Jun 2012, 03:54 PM Reply Like
  • wyostocks
    , contributor
    Comments (8075) | Send Message
     
    tom
    You made a blanket statement that "most businessmen loath and detest: that would be OSHA."

     

    Having worked in industry many years the statement is pure bull.
    24 Jun 2012, 03:59 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    Yup, they all meet the inspectors at the door, and give them hugs.
    24 Jun 2012, 04:00 PM Reply Like
  • enigmaman
    , contributor
    Comments (2686) | Send Message
     
    Tom you got me, I never worked in the real world, and your right I dont have a clear understanding of how people behave. Why not just call it a night, stop digging I'm sold you are a true America hero especially all those illegals who you almost helped.
    24 Jun 2012, 04:04 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    I suspected as much. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you need any more information on sleazeball bankers.
    24 Jun 2012, 04:08 PM Reply Like
  • Fr33f0rm
    , contributor
    Comments (300) | Send Message
     
    False. I worked for a manager that turned off the fume hoods to save money. So he could get a better bonus.

     

    OSHA is a pain in the ass and it always costs employers money but accountants always see a cost as a bad thing.
    24 Jun 2012, 06:27 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    It always amuses me how many self-described "rightists" practically worship Communist China. Of course if you really want to emulate China, you'll also want to provide universal health care. The difference is that in China, instead of requiring people to take personal responsibility for their own health insurance (Obamacare's mandate), the Chinese gov't takes over. Bigger gov't controlling everyone and everything has always been the Republican wet dream, though, so I reckon China's the right role model for "good" Republicans.
    24 Jun 2012, 07:50 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    Uh, wyo, you might want to look up the definition of a "blanket statement". It's not what you think it is.
    24 Jun 2012, 07:57 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    "nowhere do I say to totally eliminate the government."

     

    Really? Then what did you mean exactly when you said "Freedom...Liberty... We'll get that by gutting the government and starting over."?

     

    And exactly what freedoms and liberties are you claiming the Obama administration has taken away from you anyhow?
    24 Jun 2012, 08:01 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    TA

     

    India is not hopelessly corrupt any more than the US. Mexico has a problem but we are on the other end of those deaths so our hands are in the pie. China is a political dictatorship and those exist on corruption and dishonesty.

     

    By the way the USSR and PPRC had wealth taxes for a long time. It was basically 100% if you are looking for a case study.

     

    The opposing force to taxes is freedom. You must give up the latter to get the former. Blindly going after tax revenue is walking all over our freedoms and we should never give up freedom and control of our government which wants to shed accountability to the electorate. And is already hogging a lot of capital and driving us into massive debt and an inflation spiral at some point.
    24 Jun 2012, 09:04 PM Reply Like
  • TomasViewPoint
    , contributor
    Comments (4845) | Send Message
     
    TA

     

    That is what Joe Paterno said he did in the Jerry Sandusky case so Sandusky spent the next decade or so raping boys.

     

    Grow a pair. If you want to make a difference and you have an employer as you did then go get another job and then help those illegal immigrants sue the company. Raise some hell and the best place to hit them is in their pocketbook. Nobody changes until you make it painful for them including government. We need people that can force change for the better. And you should not work for such people anyways if you have any self respect.

     

    I have sued a former employer and it was a pleasure because I was right and they were wrong and I was happy to put an axe in their chest because they deserved it.
    24 Jun 2012, 09:12 PM Reply Like
  • Toleman
    , contributor
    Comments (44) | Send Message
     
    I say we tax the poor. It's time for them to start paying their fair share.
    24 Jun 2012, 10:09 PM Reply Like
  • Whitehawk
    , contributor
    Comments (3129) | Send Message
     
    Hard to believe this won't affect the muni funding markets, at least psychologically. Perhaps Ms. Whitney will finally be taken seriously here. Of course the Fed could decide in the future to buy up all those toxic munis.
    23 Jun 2012, 03:31 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    John Kerry better watch out. He's parked all his wife's ketchup money in munis. The richie doesn't pay any taxes on those either. He must be evil.

     

    He better be careful though since those munis are about to go *poof*.

     

    23 Jun 2012, 04:06 PM Reply Like
  • WMARKW
    , contributor
    Comments (10397) | Send Message
     
    He is evil, not because he doesn't pay taxes though.
    23 Jun 2012, 10:07 PM Reply Like
  • DaLatin
    , contributor
    Comments (1522) | Send Message
     
    Yes and with all the news coverage by losing he never had to pay the yatch tax !
    24 Jun 2012, 07:50 AM Reply Like
  • SlingWing9
    , contributor
    Comments (486) | Send Message
     
    Among the more egregious problems we have in our political system is that the taxpayer is not fairly represented.
    23 Jun 2012, 04:29 PM Reply Like
  • $CLU
    , contributor
    Comments (207) | Send Message
     
    Wow!
    Looks like the article brought out a crowd tonight!
    I wonder how many retired pensioners we have here on the site?
    23 Jun 2012, 08:42 PM Reply Like
  • TangoOscar
    , contributor
    Comments (377) | Send Message
     
    Biggest city in the US thus far is probably declaring bankruptcy on Tuesday (Stockton, CA). Should be pretty interesting to see how it plays out and if they take on the unions over retirement and healthcare. Stockton is about 700 million in debt right now and has cut all public services to bare bones. They are already considered the tenth most dangerous city to live in (last I heard). Will be highly interesting to see if this starts a domino effect of California cities like San Jose and Los Angeles.
    24 Jun 2012, 12:52 AM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    Harrisburg PA and Jefferson County LA went bankrupt a couple years ago. Did that start "domino effects " of bankruptcies in Pennsylvania and Louisiana? If your neighbor down the street goes bankrupt does that start a domino effect in which you also go bankrupt? If Nokia goes bankrupt will that start a domino effect in which Apple, Intel, and Microsoft also go bankrupt? Entities that go bankrupt do so for their own internal reasons, not because of some imagined domino effect to other entities with independent finances.
    24 Jun 2012, 08:07 AM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    "Stockton...has cut all public services to bare bones. They are already considered the tenth most dangerous city to live in (last I heard)."

     

    That can't be. It's against the rules! When gov't shrinks, the city is supposed to turn into paradise. That's what the ideologues promised us.
    24 Jun 2012, 08:14 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Educate yourself.

     

    http://bit.ly/PWayKs

     

    http://bit.ly/MHmM9y

     

    http://bit.ly/PWayKw

     

    http://bit.ly/MHmM9A

     

    The facts remain, shrink government spending & taxes = grow your economy.

     

    Or, don't.

     

    Just keep doing what Obama your master wants and enjoy your 40 year Japanese coma.
    24 Jun 2012, 01:12 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Re Stockton, govt. involvement is what got them to where they are.

     

    Baby momma welfare checks rolled in, displacing fathers from homes. Crime consequently skyrocketed north.

     

    No one wants to build a business in thug central.

     

    Its the same pattern repeated across the blue city, democrat strongholds everywhere whether the old union industrialist towns rotted the host companies of funds or forced them to flee.

     

    When you can get govt. checks in the mail for nothing, cities tank.

     

    Long live Detroit.
    24 Jun 2012, 02:47 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    Well what do you know. Estonia has a higher tax rate than the U.S. Chile has a pension mandate, same as Obama's health insurance mandate so hated by the right. And Canada is cutting gov't spending to reduce the deficit, as did Obama, who has been cutting back agency budgets and dramatically reducing the number of federal employees. Republican Bush, otoh, increased the number of federal employees more than any president before him: http://read.bi/LU0GlW
    24 Jun 2012, 07:24 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    Correction, Jefferson County is in Alabama, not Louisiana. Happened just recently -- largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history (Birmingham is in Jefferson County). Doesn't mean every other city in Alabama is going bankrupt.
    24 Jun 2012, 07:48 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Armistead
    , contributor
    Comments (5367) | Send Message
     
    Jefferson County had some help getting themselves into bankruptcy, from the good ole boys at JPM. The SEC gave them a little fine to pay, and they went on their merry way.

     

    "J.P. Morgan Securities settled the SEC's charges and will pay a penalty of $25 million, make a payment of $50 million to Jefferson County, and forfeit more than $647 million in claimed termination fees."
    24 Jun 2012, 08:05 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    Not so fast.

     

    "The profits of Estonian corporations are tax-exempt until the time of final profit distribution. Corporate profits are free of tax whether invested in the stock market, bank deposits, securities, fixed assets or inventory.

     

    Estonia cannot be considered as a pure tax haven though. Rather Estonian tax legislation offers possibilities to decrease tax liabilities and to completely avoid current taxation, postponing it into the future. A significant advantage when compared to most tax havens is the existence of double taxation avoidance treaties. Currently there are tax treaties in force with 21 countries.

     

    As mentioned earlier the main principle of Estonian corporate tax law is now the tax exemption of reinvested profits."

     

    That last sentence has huge implications.

     

    http://bit.ly/NAACLH

     

    Chile's extremely successful and solvent pensionado program is nothing like our politically corrupted slush fund here we call 'social security' and absolutely nothing like Obamacare whatsoever, but your attempt at a failed non-sequitur is duly noted.

     

    In Chile, unlike here, you own your own individual retirement account. They ask you what age you'd like to retire when you start working. The younger you'd like to retire, the more you have to put in and the older you want to retire, the less you put in. Thus, the system is kept pure and unmolested and, taken out of the politician's hands, they cannot rob from the system since it is privatized. You simply don't know what you're talking about.

     

    And Shyster Care is about to get boot stomped tomorrow by the SCOTUS, a moment I will cherish in American history for many years to come, but it was a nice attempt at a power grab.

     

    Canada's reduction in govt spending actually worked. Their economy was dire in the 1990's but now the loonie is one of the more harder currencies principally due to the reforms put in place by Finance Minister Paul Martin.

     

    "In 1994, Canada’s ratio of debt to GDP was approximately 67 percent. This is only slightly more than the current debt to GDP ratio of the United States, which is approximately 62 percent. The vertical black line in Figure 1 shows when Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Finance Minister Paul Martin started their course of budget cuts. Their plan was hugely successful, and when Martin himself became prime minister in 2003, he continued the policy of spending restraint until he left office in 2006. Martin’s successor, current Prime Minister Stephen Harper, continued that policy for the next two years. The result: by fiscal year 2009, the federal debt had fallen to 29 percent of GDP.

     

    How They Did It

     

    The federal government achieved these reductions in debt, not with large tax increases, but with substantial cuts in government spending. While Martin’s 1995 budget did increase some taxes, the budget called for six to seven dollars in expenditure cuts for every dollar of increased taxes."

     

    http://bit.ly/sIUCUB

     

    Obama, OTOH, has been an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions upon our now 'new normal' contracting economy with the tragic consequences of higher and higher unemployment once dropped labor is included(despite the media's attempt to ignore it). Nor, unlike Canada, has our debt decreased under Obama but rather exponentially exploded. Your lies are quite charming though. I can see why you admire Obama. You're both very alike in that regard.

     

    Bush hired TSA agents. It was a huge, huge mistake. They unionized the following year as is typical of public employees which makes my point crystal clear and backing it up while detracting from yours.

     

    At any point, SDNS you can admit your errors and/or defeat(or both) and stop pretending what you say is worth a damn beyond the crumbling oatmeal of propaganda of which it is composed.
    24 Jun 2012, 08:45 PM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    I like the basics of the Chilean pension idea. It would be prone to corruption in the U.S., which means we'd need (dreaded word for you) regulations or other mechanism to protect the rights of the people paying into it. Being privatized is zero protection -- as history has demonstrated over and over. If the money is there, someone will try to grab it. Just look at the S&L debacle to give one example. Nevertheless, I like the idea.

     

    The only thing the right doesn't like about Obamacare is the mandate. The analogy to Chile's pension (and why I like it) is that it's based on taking personal responsibility instead. Without the mandate we'll be right back to Reagan's deficit driving, unfunded free medical care, namely the EMTALA: http://bit.ly/Mrqz8u Me, I prefer to take personal responsibility, which is why I like Obamacare.

     

    LOL that you think Bush's 22 million person increase in the size of the federal gov't was all TSA agents. Or that the union made him do it. Good evidence of your bias.
    24 Jun 2012, 09:07 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    "It would be prone to corruption in the U.S., which means we'd need (dreaded word for you) regulations or other mechanism to protect the rights of the people paying into it. Being privatized is zero protection "

     

    Unlike social security right here, right now in the United States?

     

    Bwhahahahaha.

     

    Forcing public participation is zero protection via FDR's failed invention when politicians are put in charge. You have it exactly backwards. The trust has been robbed, hon. Pull the other one.

     

    Not sure why you're bringing up Bush, but since you did, fine. He was a disaster. Next.

     

    Moving on:

     

    I think this sums it up well.

     

    From ZH tonight:

     

    "Wolfgang Schäuble: Ask Not What Germany Can Do For You, Ask How Many Government Workers You Can Fire"

     

    http://bit.ly/KHKbbE

     

    Even Cuba finally realized they needed to start firing armies of government do nothings. When will you learn? The commies are already catching on.

     

    Enjoy.
    25 Jun 2012, 02:43 AM Reply Like
  • SanDiegoNonSurfer
    , contributor
    Comments (2747) | Send Message
     
    "Not sure why you're bringing up Bush"

     

    I didn't. You brought up the subject of cutting back federal employees, implying that Obama was increasing their number. The opposite is true. Obama has been decreasing the number of federal employees. The biggest increase in federal employees was the Bush administration's. Doesn't fit your ideology but then ideology is almost never based on fact.
    25 Jun 2012, 11:07 PM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4503) | Send Message
     
    The saddest, yet most hilarious part?

     

    Even while Europe implodes underneath the weight of decades and decades of government over bloat and entitlements gone wild, the left here in America are screaming to duplicate their action.

     

    I guess 'news' isn't popular anymore among our left's average, well read electorate.

     

    *chuckle*
    24 Jun 2012, 03:01 PM Reply Like
DJIA (DIA) S&P 500 (SPY)
ETF Tools
Find the right ETFs for your portfolio:
Seeking Alpha's new ETF Hub
ETF Investment Guide:
Table of Contents | One Page Summary
Read about different ETF Asset Classes:
ETF Selector