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Fr33f0rm

Fr33f0rm
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  • Train carrying fuel runs off tracks in Mississippi [View news story]
    I apologize if my tone appeared too harsh but it seemed that you were implying something fallacious but not stating it directly that stuff makes my blood boil. I have never used derisive terms to describe conservatives and I consider myself a conservative in many respects. But, yes, I align myself more with the people on the left because I believe the country, in its current state, has drifted too far to the right.

    Ultimately. government is the only entity with the ability to punish those that harm others.

    The common argument for "free-market" advocates is that the market will punish wrongdoers. But this is rarely the case.

    -Bad labor practices (i.e. benefits cuts and terminating injured workers) have been rewarded by the stock market.
    -Customers rarely learn enough about the companies they buy from to make "morally" informed decisions.
    -If executives are divorced from the legal repercussions of their actions (S Corps), they have no duty to act in the long term best interests of the company if they can make a quick buck. Therefore: they cut quality and safety.
    -The natural tendency is for money to go up the ladder and blame to go down
    -It is only though "fairness" imposed on the system that the country can avoid becoming the aristocratic trap that other countries had become. The "aristocratic traps", by the way, drove people to America for opportunity.
    Feb 23 04:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Train carrying fuel runs off tracks in Mississippi [View news story]
    The nature of business-government relationships is much different now than in the 1970s. We now have more monopolies and oligopolies than any time in most of our lifetimes.

    Because of the small number of actors in most sectors and the existence of trade groups (whose legality could be called into question), competitive sectors can jockey for the affections of government. We, as consumers, are doubly harmed by actors within sectors moving in concert because the actors do not adequately compete with each other and the sectors tend to have significant infrastructure requirements so we cannot go from gasoline powered cars to diesel powered cars without getting an entirely new car.

    Governance has, historically, been the driver of wholesale change when there was enough popular support, generated by grassroots campaigns, to make a change. You cannot say that the Civil Rights movement, the breakup of monopolies, or the introduction of traffic safety was driven by corporate lobbying.

    Historically, it was common for government to advocate for an industry but it has been only recently that legislators have become as beholden to corporate masters as they are now. There have been cases where legislators have submitted ALEC legislation without changing the community-specific details.

    In a more "free-market" system, legislators would be free to openly admit their sponsorships and commit corrupt practices without worry of retribution. This is the direction we are headed and it is encouraged by the right leaning factions because they claim that they want "smaller government" but not a one has advocated reducing subsidies for the largest companies.

    "There is a better chance of grass-roots movements to have an impact to help communities. " I really wanted to highlight this phrase because I am very interested in what mechanism of change that you see in grass-roots movements. Unless the "grass-roots" movement is corporate sponsored, there is very little result from the action. Recently, "Occupy Wall Street" inspired activists to pop up in major cities across the world and, at the end of the day, any change that occurred was modest and accomplished through people asking for change through government.

    You took some big swings above but facts seem to have tripped you up a bit.
    1) Please explain what Natural Gas has to do with your argument?
    2) How are governments "typically used strategically for the best interest of companies"? Governmental actors are supposed to be referees and they should be acting as third parties in nearly all cases.
    3) Competition is a great thing and I am a capitalist. And, history has shown us that the country works better when there is competition so I am an advocate of aggressive break up of monopolistic and oligopolistic actors.
    Feb 3 02:08 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Train carrying fuel runs off tracks in Mississippi [View news story]
    What would help is if corporation protections were lessened. There is ALWAYS pressure in engineering and science to cut costs to meet projections without regard to longer term risks. Quality and safety are always laid out on the chopping block and government regulations are the only thing that stays the executioner's hand.

    Regulations are a storehouse of experience because most regulations on the books were written with the blood of someone who had died and most executive decision-makers have held their posts for less than 7 years. Anyone that rails against regulation has never worked in manufacturing.

    If I am reading your comment correctly, you are suggesting that it is the POTUS' fault that the train rolled over. It is your right to express your opinions but when you see the words in front of your face, you should read them before clicking the reply button.
    Feb 2 04:34 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Paul Ryan: Ideas for reducing poverty [View news story]
    That was one of the most eloquently worded fallacious summaries I have seen in a long time. It really looks like it was assembled by one of the brilliant spin masters like Glenn Beck or Grover Norquist. It has enough facts to give the appearance of legitimacy, paints the Democrats as the masters of the universe, and presents all black people as mindless pawns.

    If I am addressing someone with different viewpoints than myself I try to address the differences in philosophy but your libertarian utopian view of human nature is so unrealistic that I don't know where to start.

    I will state my beliefs, feel free to address them or not...

    1. People are driven by selfish interests.
    2. In all inflation-driven monetary systems, it is extremely difficult for the lowest rungs of the ladder to accumulate wealth.
    3. It is easier to make money with money than without it.
    4. Money is power.
    5. There will always be a wealthy class and an impoverished class and, without some sort of intervention, they will trend toward their respective extremes.
    6. People who are impoverished will resort to crime to feed their families if they must.
    7. Wealth is created through innovation, cultivation, and harvest. Money acquired through zero-sum gain transactions tend to have zero or negative economic multipliers.
    Jan 28 01:36 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Paul Ryan: Ideas for reducing poverty [View news story]
    Do you have an alternative theory as to why red states tend to have weaker economic activity than blue states?
    Jan 27 07:41 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Paul Ryan: Ideas for reducing poverty [View news story]
    Bullying and beat downs happen in school but they also happen in the real world. If you want your children to grow up in fantasyland then feel free but being overprotective can have far-reaching negative effects.

    And as far as shootings...there was a voluntary ban on posting details of shooting incidents because of the known "copy cat" effects but the outright denials of the dangers of guns on the Right led to the Left lifting the ban and inspiring additional shootings. All said, the number of deaths from shootings at schools is still very low.
    Jan 27 07:40 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Paul Ryan: Ideas for reducing poverty [View news story]
    And as far as the, acting locally, part...I would put money that <10% of posters here know who their state senator, state congressman, and local city officials are. So if people are advocating for all decisions to be done at the local level...and there is virtually no voter turnout for local elections...how does that improve the life of citizens? Wouldn't that just allow a small cadre of churches or voting blocs to decide what happens to a much larger voting public? Wouldn't those elections be easier to manipulate?
    Jan 27 01:27 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Paul Ryan: Ideas for reducing poverty [View news story]
    Our economy is built on the fact that people always want more. If we start rationalizing and saying that a person at some certain level doesn't deserve modern conveniences anymore then our economy implodes.

    The biggest of the red state/blue state economy problems is that people in red states tend to accept their station more readily which actually leads to less economic activity. We should be encouraging more "keeping up with the Jones'" because that makes people buy countertops made of materials they can't pronounce and artwork that only has value because other people don't have it. All of these are drivers of the economy so condemning people for wanting more is an absurd argument unless you are Amish or a communist.
    Jan 27 01:09 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Paul Ryan: Ideas for reducing poverty [View news story]
    I am in the bible belt and I can tell you that the home-schooled kids out here tend to be "damaged". Most have horrible problems with social interaction and many cannot cope with diversity of thought.

    Yes, facts can often be learned outside of the classroom more easily than inside, but, institutional educations teach social interactions, collaboration, and ethics. These cannot be adequately learned from YouTube videos.

    There is no such thing as perfection in governance and one person's waste is another person's lifeblood.

    Don't forget that most people in this world work as middlemen in one fashion or another. As the systems get more efficient, we need less middlemen. The issue is one that people have seen coming for 40 years if not longer, but, no individual or institution has come up with a reasonable solution. Whatever the solution is will require heavy involvement from the government (because there is no profit in it) so it's going to be tricky.
    Jan 27 01:00 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Cliffs are in fashion this fall," economist Ed Yardeni writes. Not only is there the fiscal cliff, there's the political cliff and the revenue cliff. “If they fall off of it,” says Yardeni, "so will the profit margin." Which makes for an earnings cliff too. Then there's the "capital strike," described by Barclays' Barry Knapp as industry's reluctance to invest until we know the election result and whether the fiscal cliff will be averted. [View news story]
    I understand about the desire for multinational companies to maximize their return on capital, but, remember that the calculation requires game theory.

    All companies want a reduction in regulation on their particular company but no companies want across the board regulation cuts. Generalized reductions in regulations produce a much larger beta. When things are good, safety nets are unnecessary but, the unregulated companies stockpile less for the bad times.

    Investing in countries with reasonable regulations actually provides a safer investment for those that do not reap direct rewards from the risks permitted in the weak regulatory environments. Compared to much of the rest of the world, we have had relatively few major chemical and biological disasters. This record of believing in and achieving safety is what has established our "brand". As my friend in the internet advertising world says, you can only whore out your brand once. Once the U.S. is no longer considered a safe place to do business because of demolished regulations, the U.S brand will suffer and we will lose a lot of the competitive advantage that we currently have in the world. Talent does not immigrate to the 3rd world and talented foreigners will no longer come here if we permit a regulations reboot.
    Oct 31 10:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Cliffs are in fashion this fall," economist Ed Yardeni writes. Not only is there the fiscal cliff, there's the political cliff and the revenue cliff. “If they fall off of it,” says Yardeni, "so will the profit margin." Which makes for an earnings cliff too. Then there's the "capital strike," described by Barclays' Barry Knapp as industry's reluctance to invest until we know the election result and whether the fiscal cliff will be averted. [View news story]
    Cash is just a proxy for what is still, fundamentally, a barter system.

    What I'm saying is that with a trade deficit, the U.S. is exchanging revenue generating notes (bonds) for imported goods. If, at any time, our capacity for repaying our bonds is cast into doubt, or the dollar inflates so quickly that bonds produce a negative real ROI, our trade deficit will disappear because no country will accept our bonds for their exports.

    We cannot maintain a trade deficit indefinitely because, at some point, people are going to want to use their dollars to buy something.

    I wish I could recall the source, I think it was actually SA, but I was reading an article about how the Chinese have been using all of their stockpiled dollars to purchase dollar-denominated assets like precious metals and oil. This could be the reason that Japan is becoming our number one bondholder. Not because they have been buying more, but because China is executing a shift out of dollars without trading directly with the central banks.
    Oct 31 10:35 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Cliffs are in fashion this fall," economist Ed Yardeni writes. Not only is there the fiscal cliff, there's the political cliff and the revenue cliff. “If they fall off of it,” says Yardeni, "so will the profit margin." Which makes for an earnings cliff too. Then there's the "capital strike," described by Barclays' Barry Knapp as industry's reluctance to invest until we know the election result and whether the fiscal cliff will be averted. [View news story]
    Your argument here is getting a bit esoteric.

    Value, perceived value, and expected value all play a role in capital flow.

    Case in point, during the housing market collapse, Citi and other American firms were still selling stock and crappy products to the Arab countries, because the Arab countries believed that the value that was being presented was accurate. The perceived returns were extremely high, even though the actual returns were much lower. They could not determine a true expected value because they were not given all of the information.

    And, to get back to the point, when I advocate and adversarial relationship, I mean the relationship between the referees and the players in sporting events. Refs do not permit holding because it helps the offensive player out...they penalize the player whenever they force undue risk upon other players (like clipping or facemask penalties). That is the role of government, to set reasonable, enforceable rules to permit rigorous competition but prevent the players from, intentionally or unintentionally, causing undue harm against other players.

    No one likes the refs unless they're calling an unfair game for your side. The same goes for government officials.
    Oct 31 01:26 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • "Cliffs are in fashion this fall," economist Ed Yardeni writes. Not only is there the fiscal cliff, there's the political cliff and the revenue cliff. “If they fall off of it,” says Yardeni, "so will the profit margin." Which makes for an earnings cliff too. Then there's the "capital strike," described by Barclays' Barry Knapp as industry's reluctance to invest until we know the election result and whether the fiscal cliff will be averted. [View news story]
    You forget that U.S. bonds can also be classified as exports. They have value and they are a form of capital.

    Obviously, markets are more complicated than having any that are pure importers or pure exporters because any one-sided relationship like that will fall apart in a reasonable amount of time.
    Oct 31 01:14 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "Cliffs are in fashion this fall," economist Ed Yardeni writes. Not only is there the fiscal cliff, there's the political cliff and the revenue cliff. “If they fall off of it,” says Yardeni, "so will the profit margin." Which makes for an earnings cliff too. Then there's the "capital strike," described by Barclays' Barry Knapp as industry's reluctance to invest until we know the election result and whether the fiscal cliff will be averted. [View news story]
    Sort of...as long as there are customers here, multinational businesses will continue to do business here. There are instances of regulatory overreaches and those need to be addressed but as long as the expected revenue exceeds expected cost, companies will continue to do business here.
    Oct 29 12:18 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • "Cliffs are in fashion this fall," economist Ed Yardeni writes. Not only is there the fiscal cliff, there's the political cliff and the revenue cliff. “If they fall off of it,” says Yardeni, "so will the profit margin." Which makes for an earnings cliff too. Then there's the "capital strike," described by Barclays' Barry Knapp as industry's reluctance to invest until we know the election result and whether the fiscal cliff will be averted. [View news story]
    That is true but it requires significant domestic production to sell to domestic consumers.

    Basically, we could have a fairly robust domestic economy without significant external trade if we all ate at each other restaurants or cut each other's hair. But, a service-based economy makes export very difficult.
    This would cause international demand for our currency to be reduced because the currency could not be exchanged for an exported good or service. Being used as a reserve currency will help but, again, if the only value of the dollar is as a currency standard, it would not be very difficult to establish a new currency standard.
    Oct 29 12:15 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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