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Smiley
07-07-2008, 05:55 PM
Anybody else fear the reality of having to work longer then your projections.

mschol17
07-07-2008, 06:04 PM
Yes, and I'm 27.

gasman
07-07-2008, 06:08 PM
Yea, and I've told my 15 and 19 year old kids to start saving for retirement NOW.

My daughter has a small Roth IRA already.

Frank
07-07-2008, 06:21 PM
the only way I can afford to retire is if I die and my insurance pays off!

barry1021
07-07-2008, 06:24 PM
They're only paper losses <gulp!!>

b21

Bud_E
07-07-2008, 06:28 PM
Mostly I invest in funds but I own a few individual stocks. I just checked Bank of America ( BAC ) -- It's less than 1/2 of what it was 1 year ago.

Not only can I not retire but after I die, they're going to make my corpse keep working.

Pete Serotta
07-07-2008, 06:29 PM
I am in my 2nd career...... :beer: or is that the 3rd one :confused: :confused:

Kevan
07-07-2008, 06:43 PM
that'll teach'em!

Erik.Lazdins
07-07-2008, 06:48 PM
On the bright side - there are a lot of terrific companies' shares on sale now!

RPS
07-07-2008, 06:52 PM
On the bright side - there are a lot of terrific companies' shares on sale now!Yes, but does that make them a good buy? ;)

tab123
07-07-2008, 06:58 PM
Yes, it is a real test of my being a long-term investor.

TMB
07-07-2008, 07:14 PM
Mostly I invest in funds but I own a few individual stocks. I just checked Bank of America ( BAC ) -- It's less than 1/2 of what it was 1 year ago.

Not only can I not retire but after I die, they're going to make my corpse keep working.

All the better, buy more. At this price the dividend yield is almost 12%.

mike p
07-07-2008, 07:15 PM
About a year ago I got out of every fund and stock I owned and put into CD's. My broker tried to convince me to just get into less volatile funds but I had a feeling. I havent made much in the last year of course but I haven't lost half the value of my portfolio either.

Mike

Erik.Lazdins
07-07-2008, 07:19 PM
Yes, but does that make them a good buy? ;)

The time to buy is when fear is at it's highest - However is fear at it's highest!?!

dekindy
07-07-2008, 07:32 PM
All the better, buy more. At this price the dividend yield is almost 12%.

I had a buddy say that about Ford a few years ago. After he purchased the stock it went down further and then they suspended the dividend. It did not turn out as he had planned. Investments have a funny way of doing that.

SoCalSteve
07-07-2008, 07:36 PM
Im sooo thinking of cashing out my IRA (taking the penalty) and buying a mobile home in the area that I want to retire in with the cash out.

Good idea? Or????

Steve

Enigma
07-07-2008, 07:45 PM
Dollar Cost Averaging.
Buy low, sell high.
It is not the time to cash out if the market is tanking. It'll come back.
Settle down.

Richard
07-07-2008, 07:53 PM
Imagine privatized social security on top of this!!

xlbs
07-07-2008, 08:07 PM
for those who wait...I manage several millions of dollars of clients' money...Selling now is not a good idea 'cause all it does is lock in your "losses".

Have a gander at this site and ask yourself one simple question, does it go up more than down?! Yes, it does...

When should a person buy? When the graph slopes to the right. What is the graph doing right now?!!

www.andexcharts.com/

Sandy
07-07-2008, 08:30 PM
I own some funds, a few stocks, have some cash, and a large position in one stock. I am not diversified much because of such a large position in the one stock. I am amazed at how much my funds and stocks have come down. I have been thinking of selling almost everything with the exception of the one position .I feel that we are going to have a major sell off one day, like 400-500 points, even from the level we are at. What is there to like in the market? A dollar that seems as if it will get even weaker, financials that have been beaten up and will probably go lower as a fuction of a different credit crunch- consumer and commercial deliquencies, gas at over $4/gallon which will proably go a lot higher because of fundamental world wide demand and some speculation, a possible Israel/Iran conflict, extremely high ongoing foreclosures, remarkable increase in grain/commodity prices, food costincreases of 30 percent in a year in some instnaces, possible foreign investors taking money out of the US market, increased personal bankruptrcies, dramatic decrease in home prices, layoffs from major and small business, airline carriers hardly able to stay alive, US auto Sales in June down significantly, with General Motors trading at 50 year lows and some predicting possible bakruptcy, increased unemployment, Fed moves not seemingly very productive, an established bear market, Social Security under funded by a zillion dollars,......and the list goes on.

It will get better, but it may get a lot worse before it gets better and it will take some time before it does get better, no matter what happens, I think.


Sad Sandy

RPS
07-07-2008, 08:31 PM
Imagine privatized social security on top of this!!Indirectly, isn't it all privatized anyway?
Where else are the trillions coming from?

bike <3'er
07-07-2008, 08:33 PM
I own some funds, a few stocks, have some cash, and a large position in one stock. I am not diversified much because of such a large position in the one stock. I am amazed at how much my funds and stocks have come down. I have been thinking of selling almost everything with the exception of the one position .I feel that we are going to have a major sell off one day, like 400-500 points, even from the level we are at. What is there to like in the market? A dollar that seems as if it will get even weaker, financials that have been beaten up and will probably go lower as a fuction of a different credit crunch- consumer and commercial deliquencies, gas at over $4/gallon which will proably go a lot higher because of fundamental world wide demand and some speculation, a possible Israel/Iran conflict, extremely high ongoing foreclosures, remarkable increase in grain/commodity prices, food costincreases of 30 percent in a year in some instnaces, possible foreign investors taking money out of the US market, increased personal bankruptrcies, dramatic decrease in home prices, layoffs from major and small business, airline carriers hardly able to stay alive, US auto Sales in June down significantly, with General Motors trading at 50 year lows and some predicting possible bakruptcy, increased unemployment, Fed moves not seemingly very productive, an established bear market, Social Security under funded by a zillion dollars,......and the list goes on.

It will get better, but it may get a lot worse before it gets better and it will take some time before it does get better, no matter what happens, I think.


Sad Sandy

I don't think the anchor has hit bottom yet. Then it's going to drag and set. It'll be a while before the ship sets sail again.

Sandy
07-07-2008, 08:35 PM
for those who wait...I manage several millions of dollars of clients' money...Selling now is not a good idea 'cause all it does is lock in your "losses".

Have a gander at this site and ask yourself one simple question, does it go up more than down?! Yes, it does...

When should a person buy? When the graph slopes to the right. What is the graph doing right now?!!

www.andexcharts.com/

My knowedge compared to your is undoubtedly totally insignificant. I never paid attention to my investments in the past and did very poorly Now I am trying to pay more attention. Yes, you will lock in your losses, and one cannot predict when the market will turn up and stay up. I just think we have a ways to go on the downside yet.


Scared Sandy


Sandy

Sandy
07-07-2008, 08:38 PM
I don't think the anchor has hit bottom yet. Then it's going to drag and set. It'll be a while before the ship sets sail again.

Agreed. Are you who I think you are?


Sandy

Smiley
07-07-2008, 08:49 PM
Agreed. Are you who I think you are?


Sandy
what ? Milton Freidman ?

RPS
07-07-2008, 09:08 PM
Have a gander at this site and ask yourself one simple question, does it go up more than down?! Yes, it does...Most statements I see always have fine print to the effect of something like ďpast performance is not a guarantee of future returnsĒ.

Why is that? ;)

BumpyintheBurgh
07-07-2008, 09:33 PM
Anybody else fear the reality of having to work longer then your projections.

You don't have to work any longer, it's just when you quit, you'll be poor and relying on the government to provide you with a social security check like a lot of folks do, struggling to make ends meet. Welcome to your Golden Years!

1centaur
07-07-2008, 10:08 PM
As a professional money manager, I can't resist these threads, but that in no way makes me right, and I am not a stock manager.

Sandy's list of woes is right on - can we really have that litany of bad events and NOT have a serious recession? Are we in a serious recession now? Is the stock market down as much (in %) as it usually is even in a medium recession? Will the Fed have to raise rates in a weak economy having saved the banking system but needing the consumer to feel the pain in order to save the currency?

The good news is that there are only a few reserve currencies in the world, the Euro is already expensive and commodities (a way to flee the dollar) even more so. The Yen is not begging to be bought, so the dollar is set to rally...at some point. We have a good capitalist system with property rights and ways to make a fortune to a degree most countries lack, and that will attract investment. Our real estate is getting cheap and foreigners understand and like real estate and cheap currencies. Markets usually rally AFTER true capitulation to the pain, and I have not seen that yet. But good SYSTEMs get rewarded reliably, and ours is good (though higher taxes to come will be yet another hurdle for the market to get over - stocks may sell off more if capital gains taxes are set to go up a lot after November 4 (probably)).

BTW - if SS was privatized and everybody had to buy US Treasuries, the return would beat the return offered by the government's current IOU system, according to many projections for young people. The trick was funding the near term deficit, and there was no way around that from what I heard. We have many fiscal problems to overcome, and taxing the rich/middle class ever more may not be the way to solve them - the pain needs to be shared to discipline the politicians, or those who don't pay will choose to spend money they don't have.

My best guess, made today to a fellow investment professional, is that the Dow needs to be under 10,000 to be even close to capitulation. I don't think stocks are all that cheap. I think investment returns in general will be low for a couple of years, though perhaps not as low as SS implied returns. There will be a time to buy - it will be a scarier time than this, IMO. For now, the returns on cash don't look that far off the returns on stocks if stocks do better than I expect. Individual stocks will, of course, always have big winners. Overseas markets are more accessible than ever and worth some asset allocation by US investors, but I think there needs to be a shakeout in those markets too.

bike <3'er
07-07-2008, 10:13 PM
As a professional money manager, I can't resist these threads, but that in no way makes me right, and I am not a stock manager.

Sandy's list of woes is right on - can we really have that litany of bad events and NOT have a serious recession? Are we in a serious recession now? Is the stock market down as much (in %) as it usually is even in a medium recession? Will the Fed have to raise rates in a weak economy having saved the banking system but needing the consumer to feel the pain in order to save the currency?

The good news is that there are only a few reserve currencies in the world, the Euro is already expensive and commodities (a way to flee the dollar) even more so. The Yen is not begging to be bought, so the dollar is set to rally...at some point. We have a good capitalist system with property rights and ways to make a fortune to a degree most countries lack, and that will attract investment. Our real estate is getting cheap and foreigners understand and like real estate and cheap currencies. Markets usually rally AFTER true capitulation to the pain, and I have not seen that yet. But good SYSTEMs get rewarded reliably, and ours is good (though higher taxes to come will be yet another hurdle for the market to get over - stocks may sell off more if capital gains taxes are set to go up a lot after November 4 (probably)).

BTW - if SS was privatized and everybody had to buy US Treasuries, the return would beat the return offered by the government's current IOU system, according to many projections for young people. The trick was funding the near term deficit, and there was no way around that from what I heard. We have many fiscal problems to overcome, and taxing the rich/middle class ever more may not be the way to solve them - the pain needs to be shared to discipline the politicians, or those who don't pay will choose to spend money they don't have.

My best guess, made today to a fellow investment professional, is that the Dow needs to be under 10,000 to be even close to capitulation. I don't think stocks are all that cheap. I think investment returns in general will be low for a couple of years, though perhaps not as low as SS implied returns. There will be a time to buy - it will be a scarier time than this, IMO. For now, the returns on cash don't look that far off the returns on stocks if stocks do better than I expect. Individual stocks will, of course, always have big winners. Overseas markets are more accessible than ever and worth some asset allocation by US investors, but I think there needs to be a shakeout in those markets too.

When E.F. 1Centaur talks, people listen.

I always enjoy your insight, perspective and advice. :beer:

RPS
07-07-2008, 10:31 PM
But good SYSTEMs get rewarded reliably, and ours is good (though higher taxes to come will be yet another hurdle for the market to get over - stocks may sell off more if capital gains taxes are set to go up a lot after November 4 (probably)).Thanks for your excellent insight.

Just wondering, how much of the expected capital gains increase do you think the market has priced in already anticipating "that" candidate will win?

Louis
07-07-2008, 10:55 PM
1) Diversify

2) Don't chase the "hot money"

3) I've you're smart enough to time the market, then by now you should be rich enough to retire. If you're not rich enough to retire that's proof right there that you're not smart enough to time the market.

4) If you don't need the money near-term don't worry about it.

5) If you do need the money near-term it's too late for anybody here to help you. A winning Powerball ticket might be your only hope (and a slim one at that).

6) Be happy that you have enough money to even be thinking about investments. Tons of people on this earth don't even know where the money for tomorrow's dinner will be found. The fact that you even get to "worry" about this means that you already have too much money.

7) You can't take it with you.

8) Your kids don't need it all anyway. Let them earn their own.

learlove
07-07-2008, 11:30 PM
I've done 15% into a 401K (diversified across 7-10 funds/stocks) since I was 25 back in 1999. I will continue with the 15% and if that is not enough by the time I'm 60/65 then so be it.

Ray
07-08-2008, 02:03 AM
3) I've you're smart enough to time the market, then by now you should be rich enough to retire. If you're not rich enough to retire that's proof right there that you're not smart enough to time the market.

4) If you don't need the money near-term don't worry about it.

5) If you do need the money near-term it's too late for anybody here to help you. A winning Powerball ticket might be your only hope (and a slim one at that).

6) Be happy that you have enough money to even be thinking about investments. Tons of people on this earth don't even know where the money for tomorrow's dinner will be found. The fact that you even get to "worry" about this means that you already have too much money.


POTM!!

I claim no expertise, only nerves. But 1Centaur's knowledgeable post is in line with my intuition. But I just have to wonder about the impact of energy prices on this whole thing. We've always assumed that oil shocks in the past were just that, shocks. Lower energy prices were right around the corner and that would right the ship. If this is the long term peak some of us have been fearing and oil just keeps going up, is the rest of the economy resilient enough to recover from that? I keep feeling like energy is the 64 zillion ton gorilla in the room, that our economy is so thorough dependent on cheap energy that we may not recover from this one, at least along the cycles we've become familiar with in our lifetimes. I don't claim special knowledge, just a gut feel / fear. If we'd gotten started on alternatives sooner, the transition might have been less painful than I fear its going to be, but the market conditions weren't right for it back when Carter was pissing everyone off but being somewhat prophetic.

I have this weird feeling that our generation of Americans / Westerners may go down in history as the most affluent in human history based on the availability of dirt cheap energy for most of our lives. Which makes me feel incredibly fortunate but also worries the hell out of me for our kids and grandkids. And possibly for us in our dotage - but that part scares me more than it bothers me (we'll probably deserve it). I honestly do hope I'm wrong by the way.

-Ray

1centaur
07-08-2008, 05:21 AM
Just wondering, how much of the expected capital gains increase do you think the market has priced in already anticipating "that" candidate will win?

Commentators who forget Bill Clinton's retroactive cap gains increase think we have to mid-09 at the earliest to sell. Many investors don't forget that and were planning to sell in '08, where appropriate, but the downturn has caught them out because now they can't be clever (in their minds) - they've lost more in the downturn than they'd save in taxes. That's a broad generalization, but I think represents the psychology in the aggregate. I'd expect capitulation on that front starting in September to beat the November rush that now precedes the December tax loss selling season. That allows a "free option" to see if ?????? somehow gains traction and comes right after the Democratic convention.

To Ray, I think I've got the energy thing figured out :)

Genuine supply shortages/demand excesses have been joined by real speculative excesses. Buying higher futures increases the spot price of oil via arbitrage, which should mean more supply comes to market to meet the higher spot price, but that supply is partly being diverted to unrecorded inventories (storage costs being low thanks to low rates) and partly not coming due to industry skepticism the price will last. Eventually that supply will come and prices will drop sharply. There is plenty of carbon energy in the world but it comes at a price. Last I heard, the industry was focused on $80 as the level above which they were not putting new projects into play. This drilled supply response could take a couple of years - I don't know enough about petroleum engineering to say. The stored supply release would come quickly if the dollar strengthened sustainably. Again, higher rates may be part of that equation.

As to whether this was a historic period for cheap prices, I HOPE that the answer is no, but the form of energy will be different. When we have wide scale production of alternatives and better technology, I hope solar, especially, will prove to be even cheaper. Not in my lifetime, unfortunately.

Pete Serotta
07-08-2008, 05:41 AM
:beer: yep!!!

1) Diversify

2) Don't chase the "hot money"

3) I've you're smart enough to time the market, then by now you should be rich enough to retire. If you're not rich enough to retire that's proof right there that you're not smart enough to time the market.

4) If you don't need the money near-term don't worry about it.

5) If you do need the money near-term it's too late for anybody here to help you. A winning Powerball ticket might be your only hope (and a slim one at that).

6) Be happy that you have enough money to even be thinking about investments. Tons of people on this earth don't even know where the money for tomorrow's dinner will be found. The fact that you even get to "worry" about this means that you already have too much money.

7) You can't take it with you.

8) Your kids don't need it all anyway. Let them earn their own.

Pete Serotta
07-08-2008, 05:43 AM
Do it later...... not now.... The pain ver well could get worse, but the world is not going away.... .

Im sooo thinking of cashing out my IRA (taking the penalty) and buying a mobile home in the area that I want to retire in with the cash out.

Good idea? Or????

Steve

Climb01742
07-08-2008, 05:46 AM
We have many fiscal problems to overcome, and taxing the rich/middle class ever more may not be the way to solve them - the pain needs to be shared to discipline the politicians, or those who don't pay will choose to spend money they don't have.

i may be one of the few americans who don't mind -- or at least accept -- paying taxes. virtually all of my income is earned vs capital gains. and i pay at the highest rate, so my "pain" is real. yet for me, it is the price of living in a society. yes, there is a HUGE amount of government waste, but we need roads, we need schools, we need police and a (much smaller) military. inefficient government is the problem, not government itself.

i'd be curious, 1centaur, about your vision of a more fair tax system. i've always been intrigued by a flat tax, or a consumption tax, but i like them for philosophical reasons, without knowing the true, long-term impact on revenues.

i have a knee-jerk distaste for two political extremes: republicans who always say "cut taxes" and democrats who always say "tax the rich". but i guess i'm more in warren buffet's camp of... why should his secretary have a higher tax rate than he does?

and can any discussion of taxes ever be truly honest if, first, we don't discuss spending cuts? everyone wants to cut taxes but no one wants to make the hard choices of what services do we cut too? i can't help but see behind every republican politician's call to cut taxes their true goal: starve the "beast". and no one of them has the honesty or guts to own up to the real consequence of that: starving some large part of america in the process.

is there a truly equitable tax system out there that does, as you quite rightly point out, share the pain but still leave us with a goal of a humanistic society?

Richard
07-08-2008, 06:31 AM
Climb -- You hit it on the head...the political post of the election cycle.

Richard -- who doesn't "want" to pay taxes, but understands that it is our obligation maintain an advanced, "compassionate" (yeah, right) society.

Spinner
07-08-2008, 07:20 AM
About a year ago I got out of every fund and stock I owned and put into CD's. My broker tried to convince me to just get into less volatile funds but I had a feeling. I havent made much in the last year of course but I haven't lost half the value of my portfolio either.

Mike

... after my funds gained back all that was lost in 2001. yes, the gains have been small, but it has helped me sleep at night. i do hope to re-enter the stock market at some time.

what really rankles me are the politicians who talk about social security being broken while they simultaneously vote for looting the dollars not tied to current funding obligations. they always have this facial expression of bewilderment when discussing the topic.

michael white
07-08-2008, 08:47 AM
I don't know, after a few traumatic ups and downs I just decided to adjust my portfolio a couple years ago at 85/15 stocks and bonds, and now I just don't think about it. If America tanks, and it might, then we've all got bigger problems than just our retirement.

I think Climb's post is eloquent and patriotic. But I don't think we can even have a conservative/progressive discussion about gov't anymore, since we haven't had any true conservatives in Washington for quite some time.

It's cool the way America swings one way politically, then the other. If anything can save us, it's that--the way we roll with the punches.

best,
mw

Ray
07-08-2008, 08:54 AM
I think Climb's post is eloquent and patriotic. But I don't think we can even have a conservative/progressive discussion about gov't anymore, since we haven't had any true conservatives in Washington for quite some time.

It's cool the way America swings one way politically, then the other. If anything can save us, it's that--the way we roll with the punches.

best,
mw
That's kind of funny - I don't think there have been many true progressives in Washington in a long time. We moved so far to the right that what's now considered 'liberal' would have been considered center-right 25 years ago. But I agree, the current administration is anything but 'conservative'. I think its the creative tension between the two philosophies that keeps us honest. If the left over-reaches, we swing back to the right. And when the right over-reaches, we swing back to the left. Ironically, its the relatively uninformed voters in the middle who don't pay that much attention who are responsible for the swings. But they ultimately get it sort of right. Usually.

-Ray

michael white
07-08-2008, 09:02 AM
I guess it's more of a fore-aft thing now rather than left-right. Who knows?

RPS
07-08-2008, 09:09 AM
I have this weird feeling that our generation of Americans / Westerners may go down in history as the most affluent in human history based on the availability of dirt cheap energy for most of our lives. Which makes me feel incredibly fortunate but also worries the hell out of me for our kids and grandkids. And possibly for us in our dotage - but that part scares me more than it bothers me (we'll probably deserve it). I honestly do hope I'm wrong by the way.

-RayI don't agree. But in the short term we have to act on the only viable option that can help us out of this mess. New nuclear plants can solve our problems for a generation while other technologies are fully developed.

Since there is no limit to how much we can build at an economical cost (compared to oil at over $100 and natural gas at the corresponding price), within a reasonable time frame of something like 10 to 15 years we could build enough plants and distribution system to heat every home with cleaner and safer electricity rather than use fuel oil, and have enough to convert appliances to electric so that water heaters, dryers, stoves, etc.... were all clean electric. And yes, we could have enough left over to charge electric or hybrids at night.

That would leave natural gas for commercial transportation and heavy industry.

"Energy" is not running out Ray. Maybe cheap oil, but who says we are limited to oil?

andy mac
07-08-2008, 09:14 AM
It ain't just the USA if that helps... or confuses the political arguments.

We moved to Sydney from the USA nearly two years and it's ugly down here too. Europe is similar.

Some friends of mine high up in investment banks say they expect the market to back where it was a few months ago, in around two and half years. Yikes.

Batten down the hatches kids!

:beer:

Climb01742
07-08-2008, 09:17 AM
I don't agree. But in the short term we have to act on the only viable option that can help us out of this mess. New nuclear plants can solve our problems for a generation while other technologies are fully developed.

Since there is no limit to how much we can build at an economical cost (compared to oil at over $100 and natural gas at the corresponding price), within a reasonable time frame of something like 10 to 15 years we could build enough plants and distribution system to heat every home with cleaner and safer electricity rather than use fuel oil, and have enough to convert appliances to electric so that water heaters, dryers, stoves, etc.... were all clean electric. And yes, we could have enough left over to charge electric or hybrids at night.

That would leave natural gas for commercial transportation and heavy industry.

"Energy" is not running out Ray. Maybe cheap oil, but who says we are limited to oil?

i'm a dyed-in-the-wool environmentalist but i would strongly support more nuclear plants. we need a middle path, where we're neither all green or all black (oil). finding a good compromise of alternative fuels is a good way to begin finding other middle grounds on other issues.

Pete Serotta
07-08-2008, 09:20 AM
"Mankind, and woman kind have always risen to the challenges....Solutions will be developed but not over 6 or 12 months. There will not be a single solution, just as there is not a single cause of the run up.

Many smarter folks, than I, are out there and can tell us what the transfer of wealth internationally means. But in regard to the US, high oil prices are a wake up call for us to start living smarter.

High oil prices are bad for the economy and make the poor (not us) even poorer for it hits them the hardest. That is a tragedy for it will impact the quality of life, education, and the future for their kids (because of education and services).

Wish there was a single answer...We talk about drilling more (that will take years) and when you have the oil you need to have refinery capacity (which we have little of). As to Nuclear and Wind - the lawyers will get rich while it works its way thru the courts and that will also take years/

Using less is the only real short term answer and that will have to be world wide (although we use about 40% of the world resources at this time from what I read).
:confused: :confused: PETE

H1449-6
07-08-2008, 09:22 AM
From the Oracle of Omaha:

A short quiz: If you plan to eat hamburgers throughout your life and are not a cattle producer, should you wish for higher or lower prices for beef? Likewise, if you are going to buy a car from time to time but are not an auto manufacturer, should you prefer higher or lower car prices? These questions, of course, answer themselves.

But now for the final exam: If you expect to be a net saver during the next five years, should you hope for a higher or lower stock market during that period? Many investors get this one wrong. Even though they are going to be net buyers of stocks for many years to come, they are elated when stock prices rise and depressed when they fall. In effect, they rejoice because prices have risen for the ďhamburgersĒ they will soon be buying. This reaction makes no sense. Only those who will be sellers of equities in the near future should be happy at seeing stocks rise. Prospective purchasers should much prefer sinking prices.

RPS
07-08-2008, 09:26 AM
....snipped.....
i have a knee-jerk distaste for two political extremes: republicans who always say "cut taxes" and democrats who always say "tax the rich". but i guess i'm more in warren buffet's camp of... why should his secretary have a higher tax rate than he does?In fairness to the discussion, Warren Buffett is a well-known democrat and often uses that statement out of context.

As far as I'm concerned, if a person has billions and keeps it invested in factories and other types of businesses that create jobs and wealth for others, I don't see a problem with them not paying taxes on that investment.

It's only when they cash out and start using the money for their own personal needs that I feel they should pay higher taxes. From my perspective it's in essence a form of consumption tax applied to income. As long as the rich keep their money working with others and not being spent on themselves to buy private mansions, yachts or airplanes, then why tax it?

Climb01742
07-08-2008, 09:38 AM
In fairness to the discussion, Warren Buffett is a well-known democrat and often uses that statement out of context.

As far as I'm concerned, if a person has billions and keeps it invested in factories and other types of businesses that create jobs and wealth for others, I don't see a problem with them not paying taxes on that investment.

It's only when they cash out and start using the money for their own personal needs that I feel they should pay higher taxes. From my perspective it's in essence a form of consumption tax applied to income. As long as the rich keep their money working with others and not being spent on themselves to buy private mansions, yachts or airplanes, then why tax it?

all money produces jobs. when i spend my salary, i am producing jobs at the grocery store, at the car dealer, at the bike shop. by your logic, then, shouldn't my salary be sheltered too? job-creation is a convenient fig-leaf for corporate tax rates.

i'm a partner in a small business. so my desire for both more fair corporate taxes and capital gains taxes would impact me as well.

i believe there is an inequity in the tax structure, but i must leave it to smarter folks to find some more fair scheme.

and if warren buffet is a democrat, doesn't that tell you something? :p

RPS
07-08-2008, 10:49 AM
all money produces jobs. when i spend my salary, i am producing jobs at the grocery store, at the car dealer, at the bike shop. by your logic, then, shouldn't my salary be sheltered too? job-creation is a convenient fig-leaf for corporate tax rates.Climb, Iíve struggle with that question a lot and have come up with a different answer. To me it is not all the same.

If I had a billion dollars to spend, I see a big difference between spending it on myself by buying a mansion, yacht, and private jet versus building a hospital, university, or building a new "General Motors".

They may all create jobs equally during the construction/fabrication phase, but the longer-term effect it has on society is quite different. Thatís why I feel that a billionaire shouldnít pay taxes on his ďpaperĒ money as long as he doesnít benefit directly from it.

In many ways I like consumption rather than income taxes, but fear the transition would hurt the economy in the short-term. Corporate taxes I donít like at all Ė mostly because I canít make sense of taxing the corporations and then taxing the owners of the corporations again.

H1449-6
07-08-2008, 10:58 AM
Thatís why I feel that a billionaire shouldnít pay taxes on his ďpaperĒ money as long as he doesnít benefit directly from it.


I don't think billionaires (or anyone else) do. If I have a share of MSFT that I bought at $10 and it's now worth $30, I have a paper gain of $20 but I don't pay taxes on that $20 until I sell the share. The real issue for me is that if I hold that share for more than a year, I pay a long term capital gains rate that's half or less than the ordinary income rate.

Or did you have some other kind of "paper" wealth in mind?

Climb01742
07-08-2008, 11:05 AM
Climb, Iíve struggle with that question a lot and have come up with a different answer. To me it is not all the same.

If I had a billion dollars to spend, I see a big difference between spending it on myself by buying a mansion, yacht, and private jet versus building a hospital, university, or building a new "General Motors".

They may all create jobs equally during the construction/fabrication phase, but the longer-term effect it has on society is quite different. Thatís why I feel that a billionaire shouldnít pay taxes on his ďpaperĒ money as long as he doesnít benefit directly from it.

In many ways I like consumption rather than income taxes, but fear the transition would hurt the economy in the short-term. Corporate taxes I donít like at all Ė mostly because I canít make sense of taxing the corporations and then taxing the owners of the corporations again.

RPS, you may well be right. i can only argue as a two-bit philosopher ;) as economic theory -- or maybe more accurately economic reality -- is not my intellectual wheelhouse. the tax code IS byzantine because it was written by lobbyists of all stripes and persausions. here's a dream: that one day, common interests will trump special interests. :o

1centaur
07-08-2008, 12:30 PM
So much to respond to and so little intellectual power with which to do it:

I view the tax code as the 100-year history of back room deals to dole out favors to special interests. That puts the real payers and beneficiaries into a murky world best addressed by accountants, not taxpayers. That leads to confusion by voters and politicians alike, all quoting stats produced by third parties without any real insight to the full picture. Gee whiz staffers working past midnight to tweak the tax code to fit what a lobbyist wants or a politician can trumpet is not the path to the best tax system.

My ideal tax code would be fairly flat but definitely progressive, as some can afford to pay more than others. For the sake of argument call it three rates, 10/20/30 with as few deductions as possible (don't want to kill the housing market even more than it is, so maybe phase out mortgage interest over 25 years). I want every earner to pay taxes, so that every voter is spending his own money when he votes for programs. I want the politicians to tell the populace, "we need to spend more money, so we are raising rates," not, "we need to spend more so we'll tweak some stuff and most of you will never feel it." Honesty and transparency, with simple arithmetic for all to see and judge, is the goal. Eliminate tax code manipulation as a target for lobbyists. If government wants to spend it (promise it to voters), they have to ask everybody for it. And don't put in a multitude of rates so that voters can be divided and conquered by targeting only a small segment of the population for a tax increase.

Capital gains taxes are double taxation, or triple if the investment funds came from dividends. Is it really ideal to tax money multiple times? Maybe, but I'm just asking the question. Use estate taxes to prevent "excess" wealth build-up if desired, but don't force business sales to pay taxes.

The Warren Buffet secretary quote reflects, IIRC, the fact that she was paying social security taxes on a significant portion of her income while he was not, and his income stream did not lend itself to the 35%+ federal rate one would think of for someone for his wealth. SS presumably will be meaningful to her retirement, so those taxes are forced savings (for a low return), whereas for him the SS payments would be meaningless, which is why the SS tax phases out at $105k (last I looked). When Barack raises the threshhold on that phaseout to much higher levels, he will ignore the benefits side of the equation (will the million-dollar-earner get a SS income commensurate with his SS taxes??) and thereby create a huge new wealth transfer from those who earn it to those who don't. Add those points of marginal tax to the higher earned income rates and the higher cap gains rate and the tax increase on the wealthy will be very large indeed, while an increasing proportion of the populace pays little or no tax and votes for people who want bigger programs. This ends one of two ways - higher taxes must move into the middle class or programs must be cut. If I were president, every program that is justified by "wouldn't it be nice if" would be cut. Only "it is utterly essential that" programs would be kept. No clue how many would make the cut, but we need to spend as little as possible via bureaucracy if we want to maximize the size of the economic pie that pays for all the programs.

Super rich Democrats like Buffet and Gates don't care that much about taxes because they have way more than enough regardless of rates. Therefore they are not demonstrating great character when they moralize about taxes. It's people saving for retirement and college education for their kids who really get nailed by higher marginal tax rates at the upper end. $10-$20k at that level can pay for 6 months of college and leave junior less saddled by debt on her first job, or it could could compound from 45-65 and pay for 6+ months of living expenses in retirement. Whether a politician wants a super duper new fighter bomber (in his home state) or to provide free pills to every voter who earns less than $50k a year, it's the attempted savers who know they'll pay and who are fighting to achieve some margin of safety for their old age. That's why they have a knee-jerk instinct to lower taxes. If the tax system were flatter and only essential programs were funded (and defended by proponents) I think the prospect of more taxes would be easier to swallow.

Climb01742
07-08-2008, 01:47 PM
1centaur, thank you for your customary thoughtful and insightful answer. and thanks for taking the time to write it. it all seems spot on to me. we are in virtual full, violent agreement, though i may give mr buffet a bit more benefit of the doubt.

michael white
07-08-2008, 03:25 PM
I agree it's very helpful to have Centaur's expansive comments here. . . it's a wealth of information for those of us who don't grasp the big picture in finance/economics etc. I don't know about Gates et al, I don't think most Democrats truly relate to people like that.

acorn_user
07-08-2008, 09:50 PM
One issue with nuclear power is the fuel. Currently, prices are very low. This was because demand was declining, and major user were able to set up long term contracts with suppliers at excellent prices. Well, those prices are going up, and when contracts start to come to an end, prices will go up a lot. That's without the possible supply issue.

Fixing the energy problem is going to require a multifaceted approach. Depressions and recessions help too, because they lower demand ;)

[Paraphrased from our graduate energy class and a Duke power talk.]

Bernie
07-09-2008, 03:45 PM
An awful lot of good comment here. Thanks for all the thoughtful posts.

In answer to the original question, yes, I will likely be working a bit longer and retire later than expected. I will be doing that so as to assure both my standard of living when I retire and long into the future since I don't plan on being dead anytime soon. I'm fortunate that I can even think about it with some sense of security, but on the other hand a bit jaded that my plans didn't quite work out.

I feel let down by the politicians, those richer than me that cheated others less fortunate out of money, and the corporate scoundrels that found ways to swindle money out of everything they could. Let me explain why.

For the last 20 years I've saved significant amounts of my income for retirement. Almost never less than 15% and at times up to 20%. I saved for a down payment on a house, built another and added sweat equity to it, paid off the mortgage while I drove my 100k plus mileage used vehicle around. I don't scrimp but I do live well within my means. I will admit that I am debt averse, and have only bought one new car for my wife in 20 years. I had the goal of retiring at age 55, this year. Moderate historical rates of return in mutual funds could have secured the capital I needed to retire, but since 2001 stuff has virtually been in the toilet, and now it is worse. With perfect hindsight perhaps I could have pulled everything out last October and cashed it all in to be held in liquid assets. However, like a previous poster said if I were an expert in timing then I would be rich already.

Perhaps I could have taken advantage of the dot.com stuff in the mid 80's, gambled on some business (and perhaps lost it all), but I took the course I thought was safe and less risky to my family and simply worked and saved. What it has gotten me is a sour feeling in my stomach and a bad taste in my mouth from the platitudes our president has been serving us on a platter about how they are making our world more safe. In reality, the lack of attention to domestic policy while squandering trillions in Iraq has while at the same time reducing the burden on those most able to shoulder it has contributed to the situation in which we now find ourselves.

I'm not a financial genius so I don't ahve any answers about what to do. What I will probably do is keep working, buy as much now while prices are down and hope that things will get better after the next election. I'm thankful I don't have to worry about my house price as I'm not selling anytime soon anyway. In the meantime, I'm mad as hell and frustrated that powerful people have gotten away with scandolous actions at mine and other decent peoples expense.

B

93legendti
07-09-2008, 04:04 PM
Not for nothing, but if I was anywhere close to retirement and all my retirement "capital" was tied up in stocks, I'd either be foolish or in the company of a good crystal ball.

michael white
07-09-2008, 04:18 PM
Not for nothing, but if I was anywhere close to retirement and all my retirement "capital" was tied up in stocks, I'd either be foolish or in the company of a good crystal ball.

Fortunately for me, I have a job (academic) that is fun for me, and don't want to retire till I have no choice. Really. I see folks down here riding around on their boats, and frankly I just don't get it.

I remember when my dad tried to retire . . . he didn't like it, so he went and asked for his office back. It was gone, of course, but his old employer (a university) let him come back and moonlight.

keno
07-09-2008, 04:48 PM
read this. http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/fortune.pdf

The net is that a very small number of events have extraordinarily large influence over ultimate outcomes. Over time, I've concluded, that the stock market, somewhat like the lottery, requires you to be in it to win it. And, to be in it with the greatest sense, albeit illusory, of security is to invest in companies that are in sound, understandable businesses run by sober management whose shareholders won't allow them to manage the company for their personal benefit.

I do not intend to retire from retirement. On the other hand, if my wife retires I'll kill her. I know she would hate it and I couldn't bear to see her suffer.

keno

Tobias
07-09-2008, 09:07 PM
I feel let down by the politicians, those richer than me that cheated others less fortunate out of money, and the corporate scoundrels that found ways to swindle money out of everything they could. Let me explain why.You could start by explaining why the predominant sentiment here seems to be that most evil people are rich and powerful, and take advantage of the weak and helpless? I mean, is it more palatable when a scoundrel is poor? What about all the swindlers that go door to door and cheat little old ladies out of their life savings? And what about poor criminals who play havoc on the richer by taking their lives as they steal a little of their wealth?

In my opinion class warfare is not going to get us anywhere.

Tobias
07-09-2008, 09:09 PM
Are Democrats more likely to ride bicycles than Republicans? Seriously, Iím trying to understand why there is so much anger, bitterness, and resentment towards W and Republicans here.

Assuming you are so miserable that you canít see anything whatsoever right with our US of A, donít some of you get a little tired of blaming W for everything that is wrong? In your book, is he so powerful that he can devastate an entire nation by himself?

Maybe liberal Democrats are simply an angry bunch, as illustrated by Jesse Jacksonís latest comments about 0bama.

BoulderGeek
07-09-2008, 09:27 PM
Are Democrats more likely to ride bicycles than Republicans? Seriously, Iím trying to understand why there is so much anger, bitterness, and resentment towards W and Republicans here.

Assuming you are so miserable that you canít see anything whatsoever right with our US of A, donít some of you get a little tired of blaming W for everything that is wrong? In your book, is he so powerful that he can devastate an entire nation by himself?

Maybe liberal Democrats are simply an angry bunch, as illustrated by Jesse Jacksonís latest comments about 0bama.

For me, it has to do with the willful theft of the Office of the President through extremely dishonorable and dubious means. Then, using illicit power to craft a predetermined unilateral military action against a sovereign nation, while lying about it to the people and the government.

Then, to include the friends and cronies of the usurping political cabal now in power, funneling billions to friends and former colleagues of those who now send troops to die and be maimed, just so Bush, Cheney and Company could pay back the hidden costs of buying the Presidency.

No, W isn't that smart nor powerful. He's an easy mark and a buffoon. Cheney and Rove put W out front, to look like Alfred E. Neuman and take the wrath of a fscked-over populous, while Cheney, Rove, etc al continued to rape the national resources for their own PNAC agenda.

The entrenched group of businesspeople who backed and funded these asshats certainly are powerful enough to put this in motion and siphon the benefits, when taken en masse.

W is a sock puppet. But, that doesn't mean that our government and military resources haven't been overtaken by extremists, opportunists and liars.

sloji
07-09-2008, 10:15 PM
Wealth is a severe form of poverty but unrecognized...if you can understand why then you are free to go your own way.

Ray
07-10-2008, 05:00 AM
Are Democrats more likely to ride bicycles than Republicans? Seriously, Iím trying to understand why there is so much anger, bitterness, and resentment towards W and Republicans here.

Assuming you are so miserable that you canít see anything whatsoever right with our US of A, donít some of you get a little tired of blaming W for everything that is wrong? In your book, is he so powerful that he can devastate an entire nation by himself?

The first question is an interesting one. In terms of the "sport" of bicycling, I have no idea what the demographics or politics are. Seems like I've met folks from all over the economic and political spectrum on club rides, but we don't talk about that stuff much, so I don't really know. In terms of people riding bicycles for transportation (where bicycles become USEful), at least those who have a choice about it, I'd be willing to bet a good buck that Democrats ARE more likely to be doing that than Republicans. I could be wrong, I'm clearly biased and making all sorts of assumptions there and its not based on anything but a hunch, and I'd love to find out I am wrong. But I bet I'm not.

As for the second point, I can only speak for myself. I'm not miserable and MY life is great by any measure. I don't think the USA is a terrible place at all - I think its a great country due primarily to the incredible foresite of our revolutionary founding fathers who envisioned and set up a system of freedoms and checks and balances that have resulted in the greatest form of self-government the world has ever seen. We're also STILL capable of greater change and adaptability than probably any other nation on earth, which can only be seen as a good thing. Where else could we go from being a place where black people were routinely lynched in the south in my youth to being on the cusp of very possibly electing one PRESIDENT in my middle age!?!?!? The rate of social change in this country remains extraordinary and probably unique and that's ALL good imho.

But I also feel like we're in the process of squandering much of what makes us great in the name of continued material comfort that is a) shortsighted and not sustainable, and b) wrong in terms of creating suffering for many people around the world who've been pulled into our economic vortex against their will. I'm not blind to the fact that our economic vortex has also created great wealth elsewhere in the world, and some of that even trickles down to the common folk as well, but too much does not. Bottom line, when such a small percentage of the world's population is using such a huge percentage of the world's resources for our own comfort, something is BADLY wrong. And we're fouling our planet in the process, possibly irretreivably, possibly not.

I don't give W enough credit to blame him for much of what I see as wrong with this country - he's just the best symbol we've got and the Alfred E Newman explanation couldn't be better. He even frickin' LOOKS like him when he smirks, which is often. It is our population that I believe has gotten short-sited and stupid in just enough numbers to screw up the last couple of elections and I suspect will probably elect someone I consider the right guy this time, but for all the wrong reasons (the Barak'ster is NOT going to bring gas prices down!). But the elections are just symptomatic - its our lifestyles and insatiable desire for more more more that's put us here. All of this makes me an elitist and a snob I'm sure, but i can get away with it because I'm not running for anything!

BTW, I'm not under any illusions about human nature. If we weren't doing what we're doing to the rest of the world, someone else would be doing it to us. And probably will be soon. I think we're a fat, dumb, and happy empire but we see the writing on the wall and we're starting to panic and its showing. We're probably gonna come tumbling down like all the rest have and its not gonna be fun or pretty and I fear for my kids or grandkids or whoever, and maybe even myself, but I'm old enough that I'm kind of a secondary concern.

I'm sort of like George Carlin without near as good a sense of humor - I don't have much faith in mankind. I like people individually a lot and see more good in people than bad. Individually, I love us. But collectively, I don't think we're worth a warm bucket of piss (one of the words, inexplicably, you can't say on TV). We're like a lot of open racists I met in the 60s - some of the nicest people you'd ever want to meet if you came upon them in the grocery store or at a church social and you happened to be white (and not obviously Jewish). But if you get a bunch of them together and let 'em get their hoods on and start talking about losing what is RIGHTFULLY THEIRS, look out brother.

Oh, and I don't blame the rich. We have undue influence (I count anyone who's middle class or above in the USA as rich, and damn near anyone who hangs out on the Serotta board qualifies!), like we always have, but poor and middle class folks are every bit as dumb, short-sighted, and evil. But we're really all a good bunch of folks if you meet us one on one. I've met a lot of us and like us!

Count me as miserable and angry if you want. I don't feel that way. I'll cop to feeling pretty bummed and pessimistic about the state of things, but personally, things couldn't be better. And I appreciate that EVERY day. One of the ironies that becomes possible with age and perspective.

BTW, as always, sorry for the rant. But you can't just toss miserable and angry at people and not expect a response, Tobias. I could call you folks reactionaries with rose-colored glasses, but I don't believe it and it wouldn't be productive :cool:

-Ray

Climb01742
07-10-2008, 08:53 AM
one of the lamest "arguments" put forth by many republicans is... if you criticize america, you must not dig america or be proud to be an american. what complete BS. being proud and being blind are two very different things. i love my daughter, too... would she grow up better if i never corrected or guided her behavior? love sometimes means saying "you're wrong".

and while W isn't solely responsible for the fix america finds itself in, he certainly has done more than his fair share to drive our national bus into the ditch. but gutless democratic politicians certainly share some of the blame, too... see yesterday's vote on wire-tapping.

Spinner
07-10-2008, 10:34 AM
one of the lamest "arguments" put forth by many republicans is... if you criticize america, you must not dig america or be proud to be an american. what complete BS. being proud and being blind are two very different things. i love my daughter, too... would she grow up better if i never corrected or guided her behavior? love sometimes means saying "you're wrong".

and while W isn't solely responsible for the fix america finds itself in, he certainly has done more than his fair share to drive our national bus into the ditch. but gutless democratic politicians certainly share some of the blame, too... see yesterday's vote on wire-tapping.

the republicans have done their best to criticize the presumptive democratic presidential nominee's wife (this crazy system will not allow me to enter her name, go figure) for her comment about "for the first time" having pride in her country.

well, i have been a registered voter, taxpayer and law-abiding citizen for decades and i can tell you that i have not always been proud of the actions of our country, especially during the last 8 years. this doesn't mean that i won't continue to be a good citizen (vote, pay taxes, abide by the laws).

am i a bad person too?

Tobias
07-10-2008, 11:16 AM
Ray, your comment below reflects my feelings about PCs and the internet.
But if you get a bunch of them together and let 'em get their hoods on and start talking about losing what is RIGHTFULLY THEIRS, look out brother.Iím convinced we have too many whacked people with strange and crazy conspiracy theories that find each other on the internet and work themselves into an illogical frenzy. In my opinion these wackos are either extremist or weak-minded individuals who think repeating something enough times will make it so.

Basically I just get irritated at the continuous one-sided negative :crap: about W. If your life is as good as you mention (and mine is too), then he must be doing ďsomethingĒ right for many of us, right? Does anyone here think that ďanyĒ US President can share with us ďallĒ information about economics or national security? In that context how can we possibly know the underlying reason for inexplicable decisions or actions meant to prevent panic or avert future disasters? For instance, do you think many Americans knew at the time how close they came to extinction during the Kennedy presidency? Or was it only understood many years later when information was declassified?

IMHO those ďwho see only what they want to see and disregard the restĒ are fanatics. How can anyone maintain any sense of credibility when their views are excessively one-sided?

BTW Ray, I donít consider myself a Republican. You may, I donít. I consider myself an independent person; not just an independent in politics. The fact that I donít like 0bama for president or donít think that Bama-nomics are in the best interest of our nation doesnít make me a Republican. Additionally, the fact that Iím questioning W bashing doesnít mean I like the guy. I donít.

EXTREME5
07-10-2008, 11:41 AM
IMHO, No matter what chair you are sitting in; there is not a comfortable seat in the house. :confused:

Ray
07-10-2008, 12:49 PM
Ray, your comment ...reflects my feelings about PCs and the internet. Iím convinced we have too many whacked people with strange and crazy conspiracy theories that find each other on the internet and work themselves into an illogical frenzy. In my opinion these wackos are either extremist or weak-minded individuals who think repeating something enough times will make it so.

Basically I just get irritated at the continuous one-sided negative :crap: about W. If your life is as good as you mention (and mine is too), then he must be doing ďsomethingĒ right for many of us, right?
I pretty much agree with you about the internet. The ability to link people with common interests is a great thing, but it is also, like any medium, a double edged sword. Just like it can link people with common hobbies like cycling or (in a past life) the Grateful Dead, it can also link people with some pretty extreme or fringe ideas. The "real world" tends not to give these people too much credibility or support so their extreme or fringe ideas don't get much traction, but when they find a couple hundred like minded souls from around the world who support and lend credence to their ideas, things can get wacky and downright dangerous pretty quickly. I think the whole Oklahoma City bombing was facilitated by the early days of the net and the Islamic terrorists use it too. But ultimately, its just paper - it doesn't create good or evil - it just facilitates both, and everything in between.

Regarding W, I don't rate the quality of a politician by my economic circumstances. I've been fine my whole adult life, whether under Reagan, Clinton, or either Bush. I personally think that our national priorities, as reflected by Bush and his cronies (but not caused by them - I agree that politicians are not at the root of the problem generally - we get what we ask for) are a mess right now. I think they're all about short term propping up of a standard of living that's not sustainable. Any politician who tries improving things in the long term and sacrifices ANYthing in the near term will be shortly unemployed - Carter being a good example. He was, by all accounts, a relatively poor politician. But if we'd started toward energy independence when he was pushing us to, instead of taking the easy way out with another few years of "morning in America", we'd be in better shape today. We wanted to feel good about ourselves and Reagan let us do that, but I think we'd have been better off taking our medicine then instead of dealing with an energy crisis now. Maybe its inevitable that we wait until we have a crisis to deal with a problem, but i still think that's remarkably stupid and I reserve the right to criticize it.

I disagree with Bush on most things, but think he's been pretty good on a few things - immigration, free trade, AIDs in Africa. But I think his social policies, economic policies, and foreign policy in general have been worse than terrible. A huge percentage of the country seems to agree now. I wish they'd felt that way in 2004. Understand, I don't for a minute think he CAUSED most of our problems, but he's played what I see as a very destructive role. We asked him to do it, so its ultimately our fault, but that doesn't let him off the hook either. You can't fire the whole team, so you fire the manager, eh?

-Ray

RPS
07-10-2008, 01:52 PM
Any politician who tries improving things in the long term and sacrifices ANYthing in the near term will be shortly unemployed - Carter being a good example. He was, by all accounts, a relatively poor politician. But if we'd started toward energy independence when he was pushing us to, instead of taking the easy way out with another few years of "morning in America", we'd be in better shape today.Engineers like Carter can be very good problem solvers. ;) Unfortunately he lacked other skills to sell his solutions.

Talking of Carter, I noticed some are discussing bringing back the 55 MPH national speed limit as a means to reduce our dependency on foreign oil; hence help the economy. Itís interesting because most believe it was Carterís doing, but records show it was Nixon. I guess I was too young at the time to care whose idea it was.

BTW, Iíd guess the inverse of your assessment of Carter must also exist. Being a good politician does not make one a good leader or a good long-term problem solver.

Ray
07-10-2008, 02:11 PM
Engineers like Carter can be very good problem solvers. ;) Unfortunately he lacked other skills to sell his solutions.

Talking of Carter, I noticed some are discussing bringing back the 55 MPH national speed limit as a means to reduce our dependency on foreign oil; hence help the economy. Itís interesting because most believe it was Carterís doing, but records show it was Nixon. I guess I was too young at the time to care whose idea it was.

BTW, Iíd guess the inverse of your assessment of Carter must also exist. Being a good politician does not make one a good leader or a good long-term problem solver.
Yeah, I actually remember the 55mph speed limit and remember that it was Nixon, but I don't remember the specific precipitating event, if there was one.

I'd agree that being a good politician doesn't make one a good leader or long term problem solver. Nor are "leader" and "long term problem solver" necessarily the same. Bush is a damn good politician and arguably a strong leader - he got a lot of his agenda through. I'd argue that he's a terrible long term problem solver, but the story isn't written on that one yet. I hope I have to eat my words in 20 years. I've certainly eaten SOME of my words about Reagan. He was a very effective leader and was very good, in retrospect, on some issues. And, to my perspective, pretty terrible on others. I'd say Clinton was a great politician, a very good long term problem solver, but not much of a leader - hence, he didn't get a lot of his long-term solutions through and settled for playing small ball for most of his terms. Not being able to keep his unit in his pants didn't help. I have high hopes for Omaba, if he gets elected, but I also think that some of the problems we're facing now are likely to result in a succession of one-term presidents unless someone emerges a Rooseveltian leader who can help us find our way through the morass and convince us of a difficult but necessary course of action. Tough times sometimes bring out the best in presidents. I guess we'll see.

-Ray

Spinner
07-10-2008, 02:27 PM
Yeah, I actually remember the 55mph speed limit and remember that it was Nixon, but I don't remember the specific precipitating event, if there was one.

-Ray

the 55 speed limit happened in 1973 as a result of an oil embargo triggered by opec in response to the yom kippur war.

i remember the situation well. i decided to drive 55 before it became the official limit. my only real problem with the 55 limit was related to all of the resources used across the country to replace speed limit signs.

RPS
07-10-2008, 03:22 PM
the 55 speed limit happened in 1973 as a result of an oil embargo triggered by opec in response to the yom kippur war.I hope we donít see a similar version of history repeat.

Oil was down about $5 recently on government estimates that US oil consumption this year will be off significantly versus last -- I think something like 7 percent. Unfortunately oil is back up today about $5 due to saber rattling. If you look at it in US dollars, that's one expensive test rocket launch.

Spinner, I also remember the 55 MPH speed limit and fuel rationing. I got caught in south Florida visiting my GF when I was at UF and drove back to school on a Sunday when gasoline was not available. By driving at or just under 55 MPH the first part of the trip my mileage went from a typical 18 to 23.2 MPG (that number stuck in my head since we discussed it in my Internal Combustion Engines class). Once I got half way I realized I would make it with plenty of fuel to spare so I picked the speed up.

Not sure how I would feel about a national 55 MPH law, but if I get something in return maybe it wouldnít be all bad. Allowing bikes to use the shoulders of all Interstates would probably sway me if I could horse trade with the government. Entrance and exit ramps would keep me from using them within cities, but I'd like the option anyway; particularly if traffic was traveling at 55.

1centaur
07-10-2008, 04:12 PM
but gutless democratic politicians certainly share some of the blame, too... see yesterday's vote on wire-tapping.

With 60 something votes, there must have been something attractive in the bill. My reading of the media is that the bill was a reasonable compromise. You don't want the phone companies giving the finger to the government if wiretapping needs to be done, and you don't want the government asking for wiretaps without sufficient rationale. Sounds like the bill reflects that.

My perhaps false impression of the complaints from the left is that they think the government is really eager to wiretap citizens rather than terrorists.

What's not to like?

Climb01742
07-10-2008, 04:59 PM
With 60 something votes, there must have been something attractive in the bill. My reading of the media is that the bill was a reasonable compromise. You don't want the phone companies giving the finger to the government if wiretapping needs to be done, and you don't want the government asking for wiretaps without sufficient rationale. Sounds like the bill reflects that.

My perhaps false impression of the complaints from the left is that they think the government is really eager to wiretap citizens rather than terrorists.

What's not to like?

i have two issues: why does the bush administration feel it needs more than the FISA court allows? they've never given any evidence that FISA wasn't working. and what proof do we have that dick cheney's definition of terrorist matches mine, yours or ours, as a society? gitmo doesn't give one confidence. a leading military lawyer says gitmo is fubar. i fear that applies to far too many of W's definition of terrorist. shredding the constitution to protect it seems dubious.

and if a government asks a company or person to break the law, i want that company or person to say no and go public. "i was just following orders" has never worked out well for humanity, has it? if bush didn't ask the telco's to break the law, why do they need retroactive immunity?

i admit a bias. based on the past 7 years, i don't trust bush&co to act in the best interest of the constitution. but i can see how others might look at the same 7 years and draw different conclusions.

Ray
07-10-2008, 05:13 PM
i admit a bias. based on the past 7 years, i don't trust bush&co to act in the best interest of the constitution. but i can see how others might look at the same 7 years and draw different conclusions.
I can't. I can see how others could look at the same 7 years and determine that trashing the constitution is a price worth paying to possibly help protect ourselves from the occasional, even catastrophic, terrorist attack. I would disagree with their conclusion overwhelmingly, but I can see how it would be possible to reach it. But I can't see how anyone could interpret the administration's actions over the last 7 years as "in the best interest of the constitution". I just can't.

-Ray

csm
07-10-2008, 06:23 PM
I guess I forgot that the economy is suffering. I managed 5 wks ago to get a new job. took a HUGE salary increase. with a car allowance. and they pay for my gas.
my car does 60 in 2nd gear with 4 more to go.
I don't care for W but I cared for Gore even less. out of the next 2 choices, I am undecided. might just flip a coin.

1centaur
07-10-2008, 06:42 PM
i have two issues: why does the bush administration feel it needs more than the FISA court allows? they've never given any evidence that FISA wasn't working. and what proof do we have that dick cheney's definition of terrorist matches mine, yours or ours, as a society? gitmo doesn't give one confidence. a leading military lawyer says gitmo is fubar. i fear that applies to far too many of W's definition of terrorist. shredding the constitution to protect it seems dubious.

and if a government asks a company or person to break the law, i want that company or person to say no and go public. "i was just following orders" has never worked out well for humanity, has it? if bush didn't ask the telco's to break the law, why do they need retroactive immunity?

i admit a bias. based on the past 7 years, i don't trust bush&co to act in the best interest of the constitution. but i can see how others might look at the same 7 years and draw different conclusions.

I think a lot of this area is vaguer than many think. For example, I doubt the government told the companies to break the law, I bet they said "we need you to do this under the following authority" and the telco lawyers had to make a judgment about that authority. They need retroactive protection so that politically motivated people don't get a sympathetic judge to nail them after the fact. I somehow doubt the telcos are jumping up and down to trample on the constitution - they like it just fine as well. I presume the government told them one reading of the law and they were afraid of saying no and then being blamed for terrorists not being caught. Rock and a hard place, and not a great time to examine their navels.

As to who has constitutional protection, one answer is not foreigners. W and crew were in just do it mode, I don't think they wanted to spy on Americans for fun. Clearly wrong? No. Potential for abuse? Yes. Actual abuse to date? Don't know. I agree there was some arrogance in going around the courts given a history of swift acquiescence, and I would like a non-political, expedient path to walk, but I don't want people wringing hands and thus blocking legitimate counterterrorism attempts just because somebody could choose to use that method against citizens.

I have long said that the crux of this argument is that Reps say they are just going after terrorists and the Dems say they could be going after us, so why not set up a system where if people DO go after us they get nailed by the system with serious prison time (from a Dem judge)? I am looking for the best practical solution, and without knowing the intimate details of the FISA court realities vs. timing of important phone calls I can't say if the FISA set up was right (I've heard arguments in both directions). Bottom line, assume good will from the listeners and punish those who violate the trust. And don't make corporate lawyers decide the fate of their companies based on interpretations of unclear statutes they've never seen before when their government is telling them the "official" interpretation. Immunity is about not playing 'gotcha" for political gain.

Climb01742
07-10-2008, 06:50 PM
Immunity is about not playing 'gotcha" for political gain.

i wonder how valery plame feels about someone playing gotcha for political gain. and scooter is the one who got immunity, in essence.

we could, i'm sure, go tit for tat on why you give W the benefit of the doubt and i don't. until the history is written, we'll never know who's doubt is well- or mis-placed.

i'm a jeffersonian. the rights of individuals always trump the power of gov't.

michael white
07-10-2008, 07:30 PM
I'll be happy to consider giving W. the benefit of the doubt when the energy, housing, overall economic, Iraq and Afghanistan (for starters) crises go away. Till then, no: don't even ask.

1centaur
07-10-2008, 08:42 PM
we could, i'm sure, go tit for tat on why you give W the benefit of the doubt and i don't. until the history is written, we'll never know who's doubt is well- or mis-placed.

Without titting or tatting, I'm genuinely interested what you think W's aim was other than the stated one? I would have thought the objection could only be that citizens' rights could end up being trampled as fallout of trying to catch terrorists, but are you saying you suspect Bush was using terrorism as a pretext for domestic spying, that terrorism was not the real goal at all? I'm trying to figure out what doubt we disagree on, since I was thinking any disagreement could only be on whether the ends justify the potential misuse of the means, and the relative consequences of such misuse vs. the consequences of failing to stop terrorists.

As for history, I get the impression it's just as inaccurate as concurrent speculation - human bias and worldview do not cede to pure neutrality just from the act of looking back.

Tobias
07-10-2008, 09:40 PM
I'll be happy to consider giving W. the benefit of the doubt when the energy, housing, overall economic, Iraq and Afghanistan (for starters) crises go away. Till then, no: don't even ask.Michael, I may not like him, but I give W the benefit of the doubt because I see his performance on par with the previous administration on many of these fronts. Letís be a little objective to set a point of reference by which to compare and judge.

Under 8-years of the previous administration (pre-Bush), what was done on energy? Iíd say next to nothing. Cars got bigger and thirstier and not one new nuclear plant or refinery was built that I know of. Not much of anything else meaningful was accomplished either. Did we get a bunch of electric cars on the streets instead of ever-larger SUVs? Did we become more independent of foreign oil? Why does C get a passing grade and W all the criticism?

On housing well-intentioned do-gooders pushed through new laws making it easier for the poor to buy houses; thereby encouraging financial institutions to take on riskier loans. In retrospect we know how well that works out long term. We should never encourage people to buy stuff they canít afford.

Under C the economy did pretty well in general, but the surge was fueled in large part by lax regulations (or enforcement thereof); which led to an incredible level of corporate corruption. Remember Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, etcÖ And letís not forget the bursting of the tech bubble leading NASDAQ to lose most of its value. I know a lot of people who lost much of their financial future due to these scandals and bubble. From an objective standpoint some would argue that C created the bubble and W had to deal with the collapse. Same with the scandals.

As to the infamous deficits, how much of that was due to tax revenue based on financials built like a house of cards? During the C administration I paid more than my share of taxes based on stock options that should have not been valuable in the first place. Iím not complaining personally but it was like playing (or paying taxes) with Monopoly money.

I wonít comment on similar deficiencies dealing with national security and our long-term best interests since that would become more political and therefore more volatile. This is not the place.

My point is simply that you are judging W as completely incompetent while his predecessor probably gets a passing grade. Am I right on this? I just want to understand why the difference on how they are judged.

Thinking back on the previous administration, what did they actually accomplish that was of significance? I canít recall anything that was lasting.

Climb01742
07-11-2008, 05:52 AM
Without titting or tatting, I'm genuinely interested what you think W's aim was other than the stated one? I would have thought the objection could only be that citizens' rights could end up being trampled as fallout of trying to catch terrorists, but are you saying you suspect Bush was using terrorism as a pretext for domestic spying, that terrorism was not the real goal at all? I'm trying to figure out what doubt we disagree on, since I was thinking any disagreement could only be on whether the ends justify the potential misuse of the means, and the relative consequences of such misuse vs. the consequences of failing to stop terrorists.

As for history, I get the impression it's just as inaccurate as concurrent speculation - human bias and worldview do not cede to pure neutrality just from the act of looking back.

i honestly don't know what W's goal is. which is troubling.

he and his administration has created and used fear. toward what ultimate goal, i don't know. the best historical analogy i can think of is the hysterical fear generated against japanese-americans on the west coast in WW2. their internment was not legal, right, useful or necessary. AND took resources away from fighting the real enemy -- not domestic but foreign enemies. will we one day look back to see that all the fear W has generated over terrorism was equally or more counter-productive. so then what was the real purpose of the fear?

we know who attacked us on 9/11. it wasn't iraq. yet the neo-cons had other agendas.

look at the politicalization of justice department. to push a political agenda, at the expense of the law.

and finally, carl rove believed in two things: the permanent campaign and trying in stall a permanent republican majority. in rove's eyes, everything is/was political and should be turned to partisan political advantage.

in legal terms, this is all circumstantial evidence. it proves nothing. but in a RICO case, it might hold-up as a pattern of behavior. i honestly don't think there is any grand vast conspiracy here. just a bunch of small petty ones that coalesced for convenience. some were petty and political. some were petty and financial (see cheney and oil and haliburton and blackwater). some were petty and just about power and punishing past foes, or simply accuring to the executive branch as much power as possible.

but taken as a pattern -- the overarching purpose i don't know -- but it's a pattern i don't trust.

i trust the constitution. the magna carta, the declaration of independence and the constitution are the three greatest political documents ever written. the constitution gives america the greatest set of ideals ever created. and if we live up to them, it gives us the greatest force for good on earth. not our military. but our form of government and the life of individuals it makes possible.

W has spent 7 years trying to shred the constitution. so he could spread democracy around the globe, he trampled on it at home. ***?

Ray
07-11-2008, 06:41 AM
Michael, I may not like him, but I give W the benefit of the doubt because I see his performance on par with the previous administration on many of these fronts. Letís be a little objective to set a point of reference by which to compare and judge.

Under 8-years of the previous administration (pre-Bush), what was done on energy? Iíd say next to nothing.

...snip....

Thinking back on the previous administration, what did they actually accomplish that was of significance? I canít recall anything that was lasting.
I actually agree with a good chunk of your critique of Clinton, Tobias, particularly on energy. The SUV explosion happened mostly under his administration. I think his attitude was to let the good times roll, not cause a stir, get re-elected, despite what Gore was plainly telling him regarding the consequences. I still don't see that as quite as bad as having the oil companies invited in to write the secret administration energy policies, but the practical effect wasn't much different. The bigger difference is that by Bush's presidency, particularly by his second term, we knew a lot more about what the costs were becoming and we STILL didn't do anything about it.

I also agree that Clinton was fairly lucky on the economy, riding an incredible tech bubble and with huge capital infusions coming in the aftermath of the Cold War. And, yeah, I've come around to giving Reagan his share of the credit on that one. And Clinton's administration also did look the other way or worse on a lot of Rubin's restructuring to take advantage of lots of de-regulation. That was clearly a major pre-cursor to the sub-prime crisis and the housing bubble that we're dealing with now.

But Clinton did have the pelotas to raise taxes and cutting spending when he first came into office to get the deficit under control. Which he did and the economy didn't exactly tank, despite the typical dire warnings of the Republicans at the time. He TRIED to take on health care and failed miserably, but they were at least paying attention to an increasingly critical problem that Bush has basically ignored and allowed to get much worse. He got welfare reform done - yes, with a Republican congress, but he was always a leader on that as a governor, so you have to give him a good chunk of credit on that. As someone who had to fight like hell to keep my family together over the fallout from the old welfare system, I thought that was pretty important. And he also enforced and strengthened environmental laws instead of undermining them at every turn. He also pushed through NAFTA, which isn't very popular now, but I was basically in favor of - they should probably renegotiate a lot of the details of some of those trade agreements now, but I'm fundamentally in favor of free trade and he was strong on that, against the wishes of his party. He wasn't a great foreign policy president, but at least he didn't do much harm, in contrast to the current administration which I believe has done huge amounts of harm.

His Supreme Court justices were solid centrist judges (liberal by today's standards, but decidedly centrist from a historical perspective) where Bush's have not been anywhere close to the center.

Bottom line. Neither is gonna be on the short list of great presidents. I don't think Clinton's presidency will be historically notable for much except blowjobs. But I suspect Bush will be seen as historically terrible. I realized I could be wrong - I was too harsh on Reagan during his term - and if the middle east comes up smelling of roses, I'll be the first to applaud. Bush has been far more of an activist with the greater risk that entails. And, at the moment, I think those risks are looking very very bad indeed.

-Ray

Climb01742
07-11-2008, 06:57 AM
for what it's worth, i agree that clinton wasn't a stellar president. he doesn't seem like a man of principles. he's a politician, poll-driven, and a deeply flawed human-being.

when history is written, i wonder if bush will be most remembered for what he didn't do. if on sept 12, 2001 he had asked the american people to come together to make us energy independent in 10 years, if he had seen 9/11 as FDR saw 12/7/41, how might history and our lives been different? is there anything america can't do when joined together in a common purpose?

Ray
07-11-2008, 07:18 AM
W has spent 7 years trying to shred the constitution. so he could spread democracy around the globe, he trampled on it at home. ***?
Right. We have to defeat the terrorists who "hate us for our freedom". So his approach is to eliminate the freedoms they hate us for? Who's winning?

39cross
07-11-2008, 07:22 AM
OK, my time to chime in here...the thread has drifted sufficiently for me to jump in.

The W. party is over...and we are going to be suffering from the hangover for a long time.

His legacy will be Iraq. It will overshadow all of the other incompetent acts of a hubristic Republican government.

Just imagine if the hundreds of billions that has disappeared like water into the sands of Iraq had been spent on...well, you name it...a state of the art public transportation system....education...rebuilding the national infrastructure....this would have created real jobs and national income and provided national prosperity.

Harry Truman was deeply unpopular at the end of his term because of the Korean War, but his legacy was reevaluated and ultimately revived because of the incredible string of accomplishments in his administration, fostered by the talented people he brought into his administration, like George Kennan to name one. Mr. Bush likes to think he is the second coming of Mr. Truman, but I just don't see it, not in a government he filled with like-minded party members who were encouraged to remind him how wonderful he was (aka "the leader of the free world") and not to challenge him and his policies.

To paraphrase Colbert, is Mr. Bush a deeply unpopular president, or the most unpopular president of all time? You choose. I am so looking forward to inauguration day, 2009.

keno
07-11-2008, 07:31 AM
I am neither a ?????? nor an ????? supporter. I do fully expect that ????? will be elected easily.

From my perspective, the only reason I would consider voting for either relates to the Supreme Court, which I believe has taken over time and from both sides of the political fence, on journeys far from the juridprudence I thought that I learned in law school. I believe that the treatment of the Constitution by its sworn interpreters is somewhat analagous to the interview of a several applicants for an accountant's job. Each of three applicants was asked the same question - "What is one and one?". The first replied two, and he did not get the job. The second replied 11, and she did not get the job. The third replied "What do you want it to be?", and, of course, got the job. Warren Burger, I recall, once said that in deciding a case he came up with what he wanted the result to be and then, after the fact, came up with some legal reasoning for it to which he gave little credence. He was historically hardly alone nor will he ever be.

Nevertheless, living in the state of New Jersey, I see little point in squandering any gas money to support of my view but will anyway, holding my nose the whole way.

Now, the question. Despite ?????'s claim to a wide base of small contributors, he too, like any politician, is highly dependent upon very large and influential contributors. While engaged in campaign rhetoric it is easy for ????? to speak of idealistic tax and fiscal policy, what do you think will happen when they day of reckoning comes when his fat cats make clear that winning an election is one thing and affecting their business and other interests another? Personally, I think that the Prime Time version of ????? will bear little resemblance to what we hear now, and will be the source of great cognitive dissonance.

(On an a seemingly unrelated point, I regularly try to read Paul Krugman in the NYT, not because I agree with him but because I think that he represents the extreme in liberal thinking of any remotely practical enlistement. I was greatly amused a few weeks back reading as he railed on about the IRS failing to give renters the same valuable deductions that home and mortgage owners and holders have, conveniently failing to give the House, Senate and President their due in actually creating the law around deductions. Long live the straw man, and the useful idiots who swallow without chewing.)

keno

Ray
07-11-2008, 08:16 AM
Now, the question. Despite ?????'s claim to a wide base of small contributors, he too, like any politician, is highly dependent upon very large and influential contributors. While engaged in campaign rhetoric it is easy for ????? to speak of idealistic tax and fiscal policy, what do you think will happen when they day of reckoning comes when his fat cats make clear that winning an election is one thing and affecting their business and other interests another? Personally, I think that the Prime Time version of ????? will bear little resemblance to what we hear now, and will be the source of great cognitive dissonance.
Given the site censorship rules, I can only infer who you're talking about, but I'm guessing his name doesn't start with M. I think that for all of his rhetoric, "O" is fundamentally an incrementalist, not a radical. He's talked about a different kind of politics and working with the other side on common goals. Well, as Gail Collins asked in her column the other day, where did his supporters (some of whom are shocked, SHOCKED, at his posturing towards the center) suppose that meeting of the minds was going to take place, in left field? Look, he knows how to play ball and he'll play. And I'll hate some of the decisions he makes and stances he takes and I'll like other ones. And my current calculation is that, on balance, I'll like his direction a LOT more than the current one or the alternative one. But assuming he's going to try for a second term if he gets the first, he's going to do some things I think are stupid and wrong. I don't think this guy walks on water - no politician who was in lockstep with my views could get elected dog-catcher, let alone president. So I'll hold my nose and probably consider him the better alternative in 2012 also, if we get there. I suspect he'll approach the critical three-legged stool of energy/environment/middle-east policy far more intelligently than the current occupant has or than "M" would, and I think that's very important, even though it'll never be all that I want.

-Ray

Tobias
07-11-2008, 08:34 AM
Bottom line. Neither is gonna be on the short list of great presidents.Agreed. This makes it that much more difficult to understand why one is so revered while the other is so hated. :confused:

keno
07-11-2008, 08:43 AM
My concern is that many have a far more idealized view than do you. As in many things, the "new and different" will be tempered by reality, which many do not take into account.

BTW, my use of "a" and "an" were a dead giveaway and little guessing was required.

keno

Tobias
07-11-2008, 08:50 AM
i trust the constitution. the magna carta, the declaration of independence and the constitution are the three greatest political documents ever written. the constitution gives america the greatest set of ideals ever created. and if we live up to them, it gives us the greatest force for good on earth. not our military. but our form of government and the life of individuals it makes possible.Of what value are any of these without a strong military?

Rhetoric and idealism aside, if not for the nuclear deterrent, what would have kept the Soviets from moving in and flushing these priceless documents down the proverbial toilet? And then how much good could we do, for anyone, including ourselves?

Great as these documents are, they canít stop a sword, a bullet, or a nuke. I for one donít want to die an unarmed martyr. It's about balance IMO.

Chad Engle
07-11-2008, 09:09 AM
Tobias: I agree, that being said, we need to get out of Iraq asap. Should have saved all the $ spend in Iraq for their neighbor. I'm afraid we may need it.

For me the next election boils down to the war and energy. Take the war funds and invest them in energy. 39cross hit the nail on the head.

Ray
07-11-2008, 09:09 AM
My concern is that many have a far more idealized view than do you. As in many things, the "new and different" will be tempered by reality, which many do not take into account.

BTW, my use of "a" and "an" were a dead giveaway and little guessing was required.

keno
Part of the process of getting elected is getting people to idealize you. The people who put some thought into on both sides don't fall into that trap, but there are plenty of folks who think Reagan may have represented the second coming and even a FEW who still feel that way about Bush. We haven't had a Democratic president since I was a very small child who anyone felt that way about and all I can claim to remember about him are hazy images of my family sitting around all day watching coverage of his assassination and funeral.

Based on what I've read about the "O" guy, particularly the very favorable views from the conservatives he worked with in Chicago, the Illinois legislature, and at Harvard, and his incredible speaking skills, I think he has the CHANCE to be the best we've seen in a generation. And if that wildly optimistic hope comes to pass, I'll STILL be terribly disappointed with him in all sorts of ways. So it goes.

By the way, I also kind of agree with you on the Supreme Court - we've seen activism on both sides for many years. My bias is just that if they're gonna err, and they're GONNA err, I'd rather see them do it on the side of expanding rights and liberties, rather than limiting them. Even on stuff I don't particularly like. For example, I hated the DC gun ban decision on a personal level and think it will do more harm than good in society, but I think it was the right call constitutionally. Same with the eminent domain decision in Connecticut a few years ago. Life's full of trade-offs and politics is even more full of them than life.

-Ray

Tobias
07-11-2008, 10:06 AM
Tobias: I agree, that being said, we need to get out of Iraq asap.Oil this morning is up another $5. I think it is naÔve to separate our near-term livelihood from the Middle East. Like changing diapers, sometimes we have to hold our nose and get our hands dirty for the greater good. Given a little extra time the problem should solve itself (or until our kids have kids and the cycle repeats), but the immediate need has to be confronted regardless of how ghastly.

Iran tests a long-range rocket and oil goes up $5 on saber rattling. Imagine how many billions of dollars that rocket test makes them in oil. They are playing with us Ė and much of the world -- and profiting in the process.

In a perfect world weíd ignore them. In the real world thatís not an option Ė and I seriously doubt we can talk extremists into playing nice. Our best hope is that the people of Iran (and Saudi Arabia) will see their neighbors enjoy the freedom of a democracy and pressure their own governments for change.

Iíd like to think that Wís master plan for the Middle East involves more than Iraq; which explains why finishing the job is so important to him. His vision for the Middle East may be misguided, but I donít think his actions are as arbitrary as many think. IMO his mission is similar to Reaganís. He wants a democratic Middle East while Reagan wanted a democratic Soviet Union.

zap
07-11-2008, 10:28 AM
snipped

Iran tests a long-range rocket and oil goes up $5 on saber rattling. Imagine how many billions of dollars that rocket test makes them in oil. They are playing with us Ė and much of the world -- and profiting in the process.



If I'm not mistaken, Iran has to import petrol, so it costs them.

CNY rider
07-11-2008, 10:51 AM
snipped



If I'm not mistaken, Iran has to import petrol, so it costs them.

They are huge exporters of crude oil but need to import refined products like gasoline.

RPS
07-11-2008, 11:03 AM
If I'm not mistaken, Iran has to import petrol, so it costs them.I believe they export in the order of 2.4 million barrels per day. At one time they did much more.

Itís their threats of closing the Strait of Hormuz that should make us nervous. They make a little noise and the Dow drops 200 points. That should tell us something. It's a small world and we are becoming a smaller part of it every day.

Louis
07-11-2008, 11:13 AM
Back on topic:

What's going to happen to Fannie and Freddie?

93legendti
07-11-2008, 11:33 AM
I believe they export in the order of 2.4 million barrels per day. At one time they did much more.

Itís their threats of closing the Strait of Hormuz that should make us nervous. They make a little noise and the Dow drops 200 points. That should tell us something. It's a small world and we are becoming a smaller part of it every day.

They can't and won't. Standoff cruise missiles and torpedoes would sink any boats trying to establish a naval closure. The rest of the Middle East wouldn't be too happy and would push them all into an "us vs. Iran". It would also open up Iran's Abadan Island, where most of their refining is done, to attack. Reports about Iran's might need to be scrutinized.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1215330934708&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

1centaur
07-11-2008, 11:41 AM
Can't say what will happen to Fannie and Freddie stock, but do think the institutions and their role in keeping mortgage rates low will endure without great cost to taxpayers.

On Barack, what I hope to like about him is that he seems persuadable to rational outcomes which he still has the spiritual energy to pursue. Rational outcomes is a better way of triangulating than figuring out preexisting biases and positioning oneself in the middle of them, since newer, better ways of doing things have a chance to survive the early rounds and make their way into legislation, particularly if presented to the public by someone with oratory skills (wouldn't that be nice to have). If he is elected, his energy will fade over the years under the weight of the job, but the first couple of years could be interesting. IMO, he remains less grounded in the reality of economics than he should be, which is the greatest danger to to his legacy (assuming we don't have a terrorist attack).

To climb, it's not "coming together" that will get us to energy independence, it's very painful economics (not wise just after 9/11) or technological breakthroughs that will get us there. I do think that Bush had a few months of US cohesion in 2001/2 in which if he was a visionary he could have made the case that energy independence is a necessity to avoid the dangers of Middle East reliance. He could have started a race to the moon type program that could have sped up the technological breakthroughs, but the result still would not been anything close to energy independence by now. I did see a report yesterday from the Street that suggested solar is competitive today in some European countries at current oil prices without subsidies. To me, that's thrilling, because I love the idea of solar and think when we reach the tipping point on costs we could move surprisingly quickly to achieve economies of scale (thereby lowering oil prices - whoops).

michael white
07-11-2008, 11:57 AM
I think Centaur's last paragraph above is brilliant and spot-on. That would have been exactly the right time to do it.

Bud_E
07-11-2008, 12:15 PM
They can't and won't. Standoff cruise missiles and torpedoes would sink any boats trying to establish a naval closure. The rest of the Middle East wouldn't be too happy and would push them all into an "us vs. Iran". It would also open up Iran's Abadan Island, where most of their refining is done, to attack. Reports about Iran's might need to be scrutinized.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1215330934708&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

With crude at an all time high you'd think they could afford a better Photoshopper.

RPS
07-11-2008, 12:21 PM
They can't and won't. Standoff cruise missiles and torpedoes would sink any boats trying to establish a naval closure. The rest of the Middle East wouldn't be too happy and would push them all into an "us vs. Iran". It would also open up Iran's Abadan Island, where most of their refining is done, to attack. Reports about Iran's might need to be scrutinized.I agree, and believe our military when they stated they can keep the Strait open for oil tankers. I give them the benefit of the doubt. ;)

I'm mostly nervous about the effect it could have on our markets expecting that even a surface missile shot at an oil tanker could play havoc on our economy short term.

Ray
07-11-2008, 12:23 PM
On Barack, what I hope to like about him is that he seems persuadable to rational outcomes which he still has the spiritual energy to pursue. Rational outcomes is a better way of triangulating than figuring out preexisting biases and positioning oneself in the middle of them, since newer, better ways of doing things have a chance to survive the early rounds and make their way into legislation, particularly if presented to the public by someone with oratory skills (wouldn't that be nice to have). If he is elected, his energy will fade over the years under the weight of the job, but the first couple of years could be interesting. IMO, he remains less grounded in the reality of economics than he should be, which is the greatest danger to to his legacy (assuming we don't have a terrorist attack).

To climb, it's not "coming together" that will get us to energy independence, it's very painful economics (not wise just after 9/11) or technological breakthroughs that will get us there. I do think that Bush had a few months of US cohesion in 2001/2 in which if he was a visionary he could have made the case that energy independence is a necessity to avoid the dangers of Middle East reliance. He could have started a race to the moon type program that could have sped up the technological breakthroughs, but the result still would not been anything close to energy independence by now. I did see a report yesterday from the Street that suggested solar is competitive today in some European countries at current oil prices without subsidies. To me, that's thrilling, because I love the idea of solar and think when we reach the tipping point on costs we could move surprisingly quickly to achieve economies of scale (thereby lowering oil prices - whoops).
Everything he just said, +1.

The only qualifier is that ?????? seems no more "grounded in the reality of economics" and I trust Barack's intellect more when it comes to surrounding himself with good people, asking tough questions, and getting where he needs to get. The idea of solar and wind getting competitive is exciting - I just wonder what kind of hit everyone's standard of living is going to take and how well we'll cope socially.

I also saw some hopeful stuff in the last couple of days about a deal in the works between Israel and Syria and the progress that's been made, finally, behind the scenes, despite all of the bluster, between the US and Iran on dealing with the aftermath of Iraq, the relative stability of which is critical to ALL involved. Cautious but ever hopeful.

-Ray

RPS
07-11-2008, 01:28 PM
.....snipped......... and I trust Barack's intellect more when it comes to surrounding himself with good people.....snipped........OK Ray, Iíll bite. Do you mean associating with people like Wright?

What does this mean? :confused: Yours is the second remark Iíve read in reference to his intellect Ė the first calling him a genius. Iím obviously not following any of these guys close enough to know whatís up in this area.

With few exceptions I donít associate politician with being a genius. What has BO done to deserve your praise in this area? Seriously, Iím just trying to learn.

keno
07-11-2008, 01:48 PM
you mentioned standard of living. Not specifically to anything you said, save those words, I have a vewpoint about SoL which happens to coincide pretty much with the more common meaning of SOL.

I expect that the SoL in the US will decrease over the forseeable future regardless of questions of energy and natural resources. For certainly longer than I can remember, the SoL in the US has been on an upward sloping curve owing to US world dominance. China and India are quickly proving that we are in the fourth quarter of that business, and not destined to turn back the clock. I remember when "made in Japan" was a comment of derision. Look around you; what's made in the US? The much more difficult issue is that they're now making brains "in Japan".

While traditional economic thinking has the less expensive producer selling to the more expensive producer of the same good, since our SoL is higher in almost all regards, to compete it must drop. We are not the sole keepers of innovation and lower cost production insofar as non-human labor is concerned. The new giants have not only that but also lower cost, lower SoL, human labor.

I do not see this as a dire forecast but as the reality we're in. These economics would bring any politician to his knees.

keno

paczki
07-11-2008, 02:04 PM
This is a fascinating thread. Thank you all.

Tobias
07-11-2008, 02:58 PM
Reports of his intellect could very well be politically motivated since no one is going to question it for fear of being called a racist.

From what I could find, much of Oís often-touted intelligence is due to his serving as President of the Harvard Law Review.

To place the achievement in context, by the time he was elected the process had been revised and no longer guarantees the same level of academic excellence as previous Presidents of the Harvard Law Review.

A quick search reveals there has been much written about his intelligence (on both sides) although little objective data has been published to support it. One article stated that his school records are not known at this time (would be an obvious indication). That seems strange to me since if he was at the top of his classes Iíd expect him to be flaunting his grades. But what do I know, maybe heís modest.

Ray
07-11-2008, 03:06 PM
OK Ray, Iíll bite. Do you mean associating with people like Wright?

What does this mean? :confused: Yours is the second remark Iíve read in reference to his intellect Ė the first calling him a genius. Iím obviously not following any of these guys close enough to know whatís up in this area.

With few exceptions I donít associate politician with being a genius. What has BO done to deserve your praise in this area? Seriously, Iím just trying to learn.
No, not Wright. President/Editor/Whatever of Harvard Law Review comes to mind. Not lightweight stuff. The testimony of a number of folks NOT on his side of the aisle or many issues as to his open mindedness and intellectual curiosity to get to the best solution, regardless of ideology. And to give the other side a full hearing, really LISTEN, and incorporate their ideas when at all possible. And a handful of in-depth interviews I've seen where he's really delved into some stuff. He just comes off, and this isn't a lot more than intuition I'll admit, as someone who's VERY thoughtful, not given to a quick answer just to score points, but thinks about what he's saying and how he's saying it. Not in his speeches, which are obviously performances (and damn good ones at that), but when he really has to think things through. Mac is quick AND sharp. Bush can be quick. I sense some depth, curiosity, and open-mindedness in Barack that I can't prove with test numbers or anything else. I guess it IS ultimately about character and that's ultimately a gut call.

I'm not talking about everyone he's ever known or associated with - I'm talking about how HE comes off. I find him impressive in a way that politicians rarely are.

-Ray

Ray
07-11-2008, 03:15 PM
you mentioned standard of living. Not specifically to anything you said, save those words, I have a vewpoint about SoL which happens to coincide pretty much with the more common meaning of SOL.

While traditional economic thinking has the less expensive producer selling to the more expensive producer of the same good, since our SoL is higher in almost all regards, to compete it must drop. We are not the sole keepers of innovation and lower cost production insofar as non-human labor is concerned. The new giants have not only that but also lower cost, lower SoL, human labor.

I do not see this as a dire forecast but as the reality we're in. These economics would bring any politician to his knees.

keno
That's a lot of what I've been trying to say in my more pessimistic posts. We've been more or less ruling the world for about a century, and hugely dominant since WWII. We've been living in a way that only those on top can live, and I think most of our population has come to take it for granted. Most of us who are alive today have never known anything else. And as the rest of the world inevitably gets more, we're gonna get less. And I'm not optimistic about our ability to suck it up and cope with that well (I don't exclude myself from this calculation either). I don't think any politician can change it and I don't think many can even survive it. Which is why I've said we're likely in for a succession of one term presidents and you say will bring any politician to his knees. I think we're in total agreement, regardless of the role energy plays in the whole equation. We've had it really really good, it's not a birthright, and it's not sustainable.

-Ray

1centaur
07-11-2008, 03:20 PM
I guess it IS ultimately about character and that's ultimately a gut call.

I'm not talking about everyone he's ever known or associated with - I'm talking about how HE comes off. I find him impressive in a way that politicians rarely are.

-Ray

+1 back atcha. This is why he will win, if he wins, because he comes off as a true believer and a thinker. Somebody once told me not to confuse the ability to communicate with intelligence - something that can be viewed the other way with W - but most people do confuse the two. Barack can communicate, and to my eye appears to think and assess as he talks, while most politicians are automatons of learned communications tricks. This actually hurt Barack in the early debates because he dared to hesitate when he replied. My wallet does not want him to win, but my head would rather see someone of his apparent intellect take a shot (hoping he's not Jimmy Carter-esque - high IQ and little executive ability or common sense judgment). Perhaps a case of dangerous naivete on my part.

RPS
07-11-2008, 03:52 PM
I'm not talking about everyone he's ever known or associated with - I'm talking about how HE comes off. I find him impressive in a way that politicians rarely are.

-RayOK Ray, fair enough. You like the guy.

I view intelligence differently; and donít find BO in the same league with Einstein, Sagan, Hawking, etcÖ but then who is? All the talk about his ďgeniusĒ is premature IMO; particularly since there is not much to go on.

From my observations I think he is a great speaker but average on substance. He seems to have mastered a few talking points and doesnít deviate much from them (typical politician). Itíll be interesting to see what happens after he is elected.

I expect his first real-world tough test after the election will be dealing with our own military -- weíll know right away if heís for real or not. I donít see that going well for him; he might have the same problem Kennedy did Ė lack of respect.

Climb01742
07-11-2008, 04:48 PM
Of what value are any of these without a strong military?

Rhetoric and idealism aside, if not for the nuclear deterrent, what would have kept the Soviets from moving in and flushing these priceless documents down the proverbial toilet? And then how much good could we do, for anyone, including ourselves?

Great as these documents are, they canít stop a sword, a bullet, or a nuke. I for one donít want to die an unarmed martyr. It's about balance IMO.

i agree completely. we certainly need a military. and the wisdom to use it properly. our constitution makes us great. our military makes us strong. both china and russia have strong militaries. what they don't have is our constitution.

Climb01742
07-11-2008, 04:54 PM
keno, i view BO as a work in progress. so far, i like what i see. but i don't have blinders on. he says this election is about change. i'd modify that to say that this election is about the change from politics/gov't without principles to one, hopefully, with principles. the last two weeks have given me some pause about principles vs expediency in the BO campaign. time will tell.

i have hope but my eyes are open.

39cross
07-11-2008, 05:04 PM
Via Wikipedia: "A genius is a person of great intelligence, who shows an exceptional natural capacity of intellect, especially as shown in creative and original work."

So maybe "genius" is stretching it, but he has written two books which merit reading. And defeating Hillary Clinton, the heavily odds-on favorite with everything going in her favor - well maybe that's not genius - but it is an incredible accomplishment.

Ray
07-11-2008, 06:02 PM
I view intelligence differently; and donít find BO in the same league with Einstein, Sagan, Hawking, etcÖ but then who is? All the talk about his ďgeniusĒ is premature IMO; particularly since there is not much to go on.
For the record, I never called him a frickin' GENIUS - I just said I trusted his intellect. I admire his intellect. I think he has a keen intellect. In addition to having good political instincts, I think he's a really smart guy who's not afraid to think a problem through.

Genius is a word I save for the likes of Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Pablo Picasso, etc. Not to be tossed around lightly.

-Ray

andy mac
07-11-2008, 08:31 PM
genius comes in many shapes and forms.

for either JM or BO to have achieved what they have is particularly impressive. you need to be able to wear a lot of hats which is a form of 'genius' in itself.

as to the guys who have written both off before they have even been elected, that seems a little unfair and shortsighted.

to the people bashing on clinton may have had some shortcomings but on his watch the usa was loved and respected in many parts of the world. that goodwill has largely been undone.

i do think both candidates could only be better than the current regime. if the usa was a company it's financially in bad shape, has no long-term plan AND it's brand is suffering. luckily it's current CEO, however well intentioned, will be gone soon.

:beer:

andy

RPS
07-12-2008, 01:43 PM
For the record, I never called him a frickin' GENIUS - I just said I trusted his intellect.I thought my statement below made it clear ďGeniusĒ was used by someone else. Sorry for the confusion, it was not my intent to upset you.

Yours is the second remark Iíve read in reference to his intellect Ė the first calling him a genius.

Ray
07-12-2008, 03:00 PM
I thought my statement below made it clear ďGeniusĒ was used by someone else. Sorry for the confusion, it was not my intent to upset you.
Not a problem - I just felt the need to clarify because the line of yours that I quoted was in a short post that was otherwise in response to a post of mine about his brains. Not to worry - it takes a LOT more than any of this stuff to really upset me :beer:

-Ray

MRB
07-12-2008, 08:05 PM
Scared to look up my mutual funds

Yea... I'm not concerned about the Return ON my principle, I'm concerned about the Return OF my principle. ;)

vaxn8r
07-14-2008, 01:56 AM
keno, i view BO as a work in progress. so far, i like what i see. but i don't have blinders on. he says this election is about change. i'd modify that to say that this election is about the change from politics/gov't without principles to one, hopefully, with principles. the last two weeks have given me some pause about principles vs expediency in the BO campaign. time will tell.

i have hope but my eyes are open.
Climb, you are an idealist. That's a good thing. I wouldn't hold my breath for a politician with principles. Special interests own politicians. In the final analysis, politicians always cave.

Case in point. A couple of dozen grass seed farmers in the Willamette Valley continue to get local political support to burn their fields every summer at the expense of hundreds of thousands of valley residents health and quality of life. There are hundreds of ED visits, inpatient hospitalizations and even deaths attributed to the heavy particulate exposure during the burn periods. One year there was a multicar pile-up on I-5 because visibilty was nil. But a few dozen grass seed farmers keep lining local politicians belts and nothing gets done year after year. Classic microcosm of what goes in DC.

Chad Engle
07-14-2008, 09:16 AM
Iíd like to think that Wís master plan for the Middle East involves more than Iraq; which explains why finishing the job is so important to him. His vision for the Middle East may be misguided, but I donít think his actions are as arbitrary as many think. IMO his mission is similar to Reaganís. He wants a democratic Middle East while Reagan wanted a democratic Soviet Union.

So the master plan is evolving? Must be, I don't remember any demand for Saddam to allow his fellow country men and women to vote or we would invade. IIRC it was allow the inspectors to look for wmd's. Folks can always find a reason to justify staying but IMO they never outweigh the reasons to justify leaving.

Charles M
07-14-2008, 11:28 AM
I'm insanely lucky...

I rolled all of my funds yo a fixed income account ahead of swapping to new fund management. That was 7 months ago and I havent changed anything since...

Now I sit and fidget all day wondering when the right time to dump everything back in is...

Tobias
07-14-2008, 03:26 PM
Folks can always find a reason to justify staying but IMO they never outweigh the reasons to justify leaving.A mistake wonít fix a previous one.
Iíve never seen it work in my lifetime.

Our economy and future depend on stability.

Chad Engle
07-15-2008, 03:04 PM
A mistake wonít fix a previous one.
Iíve never seen it work in my lifetime.

Our economy and future depend on stability.

Agreed, just don't think it will ever be. Wasn't stable when we went in, won't be stable when we leave.

Ray
07-15-2008, 03:55 PM
Agreed, just don't think it will ever be. Wasn't stable when we went in, won't be stable when we leave.
Disagree - it WAS stable when we went in. It wasn't GOOD, by our standards or the Iraqi people, but it was stable. It took a SOB like Saddam to keep it that way, but he did. That's part of what was so messed up about going in to begin with without a plan for what to do once we took him down. There were some smart people around who saw what we were doing. Barack was just one of them.

-Ray

Pete Serotta
07-15-2008, 04:02 PM
feel free to open another thread but this one is starting to splinter.

Thanks Pete

Tobias
07-15-2008, 04:14 PM
Agreed, just don't think it will ever be. Wasn't stable when we went in, won't be stable when we leave.Iíd like to think our presence adds stability to an unstable area. If nothing else, our vulnerability to oil should make us question a quick withdrawal. And unless conditions change in Iraq or the Middle East in general, I remain convinced it would be a horrendous mistake to pull out early. It's just my personal opinion and accept others have different views.

Besides, Iím more concerned than ever about the path our economy is likely to take. We are seeing countries like China and Russia prospering by shifting from communism and socialism towards capitalism, and at the same time our economy is sliding as we move from capitalism towards socialism.

I was going to link an article on Wall Street's fear of 0bama economics but the forum won't allow 0bama to appear.

Tobias
07-15-2008, 04:17 PM
Disagree - it WAS stable when we went in.Maybe that day, but what about all the killing? What about the Iran and Iraq wars?

Stability, like on a bike, is relative to our taste.

Skrawny
07-15-2008, 06:22 PM
I'm insanely lucky...

I rolled all of my funds yo a fixed income account ahead of swapping to new fund management. That was 7 months ago and I havent changed anything since...

Now I sit and fidget all day wondering when the right time to dump everything back in is...

Start doing it NOW.
Use something called "dollar cost averaging" (as someone mentioned in this thread earlier) DCA is a technique where you put a fixed amount in regularly (Wikipedia explanation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dollar_cost_averaging) ). That way if the prices continue to fall, you buy proportionally more at a lower price, and as they rise you buy less. It allows you to time the market without timing the market.

The ones who try to time the market end up buying high and selling low.
-s