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Forums > Politics & Religion > Why would Americans think our best days are behind us?
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Thread started 05/13/12 11:25am

SUPRMAN

Why would Americans think our best days are behind us?

This is a columnist opinion. An interesting perspective.

I, for the record, see the glass as half full.

I don't see the country in long term decline. I see a country with a legislature that needs to be real about its problems and the solutions needed. Going through pain, doesn't mean the country is in decline.

[EDITED FOR COMPLIANCE]

Some people love elections. But data compiled by the redoubtable Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution show that this one is unfolding against a deep gloom. Four recent surveys have found that on average only 28% of Americans are satisfied with the condition of the country, while 70% are dissatisfied. Three recent surveys have found that between 69% and 83% of Americans believe that the country is still in recession (it isn’t), and only half believe that a recovery is under way.


If voters conclude that Mr Obama has failed them on the economy, they will fire him and hire Mitt Romney in November. That is normal. Less normal is how many Americans have come to think that the country is not just passing through a rough patch but is in long-term decline. A survey of 12 swing states found 55% agreeing that the jobs being created in the recovery are of lower quality than those jobs lost during the recession. By a margin of nearly two to one, Americans expect their children’s jobs, salaries and benefits to be worse than their own. Some 35% go so far as to say that America’s best days are behind it.

America is prone to bouts of “declinism”. In the 1980s the country was in a funk about the rise of Japan and its own vanishing competitiveness. Another bout was bound to follow China’s rise, two grinding wars and the deep recession of 2008. The gloom is nourished by a fountain of declinist literature. In “Time to Start Thinking” Ed Luce of the Financial Times ponders an America “in descent”. Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute and Thomas Mann of Brookings claim in a book on America’s politics that “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks”.

Yet anyone who prefers their glass half-full can find grounds for optimism. The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner has just landed in Washington, DC. It will be decades before China can make such a machine. The IMF is predicting average growth of over 2% for 2012 and 2013, not meteoric but not bad for a mature economy. America has a young workforce, with plenty of skilled people knocking at the door to come in. It still has more of the world’s best universities than any other country. It is the world’s largest producer of natural gas and its biggest food exporter. Amid the gloom, the economy is getting “Better, Stronger, Faster”, argues Daniel Gross, in a book of that name published this week.

Politics is, admittedly, a weak point. The debt-ceiling crisis last year showed it at its most irresponsible, and led to a downgrade of America’s credit rating. But whatever you think of this Congress, you cannot accuse its two predecessors of failing to get things done. Apart from passing health reform, they were able to mobilise some $800 billion for stimulus spending and billions more to stabilise the financial system and bail out the car industry. Approve or disapprove, that was not gridlock. And if you disapprove, then in 2010 you witnessed the power of America’s system to check an overactive majority. Granted, this is government by fits and starts, hobbled by the whims of voters. A Platonic philosopher-king would run America differently. But given how recently government stood accused of overreach, the evidence does not suggest that the place is ungovernable.

What about the soaring deficit? At some point, this must be tackled. But sooner or later it will be. Indeed, if Congress fails to take action before the end of the year, the “sequester”, a gun it pointed at its own head last year, will go off and produce $1.2 trillion of automatic spending cuts just as George W. Bush’s tax cuts expire, thereby bending the deficit sharply downwards. This is not an elegant way forward. In fact it is pretty stupid: some of the cuts will fall in the wrong places. But it is telling that even after the debt-ceiling debate and the credit-rating downgrade, global investors remain happy to buy American debt because they still see America as a haven in a troubled world.

The binary illusion

People tend to think in black and white. America is either in decline or it is ordained to be for ever the world’s greatest nation. Government is either paralysed or it is running amok, stifling liberty and enterprise and snuffing out the American dream. The election campaign accentuates the negative and sharpens this binary illusion. The Republicans say that Mr Obama is leading America into socialised serfdom; the Democrats retort that Mr Romney would restore the conditions that caused the recession. Little wonder that, according to polls, most voters do not believe that either man has a clear plan for fixing the economy.

Charles Dickens said of the United States that if its citizens were to be believed America “always is depressed, and always is stagnated, and always is at an alarming crisis, and never was otherwise.” On a variety of objective measures, it is in an awful mess right now. And yet America of all countries still has plenty of grounds to hope for a better future, despite its underperforming politics, and no matter who triumphs in November.

Economist.com/blogs/lexington

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #1 posted 05/13/12 11:39am

V10LETBLUES

I didn't read the article, but that same exact headline I have read every year since as long as I can remember.

It could be that every day since the beginning of time has been worse than the previous one, and we have been going down ever since, OR, get off my lawn!
innocent
Reply #2 posted 05/14/12 5:27am

JoeTyler

maybe because it's time to realize that America doesn't NEED to be the BEST at EVERYTHING

dissatisfied americans are those who, at least since 1946, NEED to think that the USA "fights" (economically, socially and, sometimes, lol militarilly) against the whole world...

they think this is a competition or something, that's why those americans are scared to death when they think about China, the increasing power of Brazil, or the "european-influenced" health care....

tinkerbell
Rejecting the Dark Side...by ignoring the BS around me
Reply #3 posted 05/14/12 6:12am

midnightmover

I haven't read any of the thread, but as a Brit who has kicked against the reflexive anti-Americanism of many of my countrymen, I'll say one thing. America may be deeply flawed, but if China ever took over, these anti-American windbags would soon be nostalgic for the red, white and blue.

Although I enjoy seeing a nation of brown skinned people challenging Whitey, I'm under no illusions about the evils of the Chinese political system. No-one in authority has ever apologised for Tianamen Square, and they still worship Mao, who was one of the biggest mass-murderers of the 20th century.

Sorry if this didn't address the main topic, but I just wanted to say it.

Reply #4 posted 05/15/12 3:00pm

herb4

We're dead broke. We start and fail to finance unwinnable wars. We place no value on education or art. We're horrible polluters. Too many of our citizens are bordeline theocrats. We've turned this entire nation's modern discourse into a television commercial. Our best and brightest would rather persue careers in banking than science or medicine or engineering. A third of the population is on anti depressents. We are the world's largest jailer of it's own citizens, per capita, by far. We buy things we don't need and can't afford because the TV tells us to, waiting in line for privilege of handing Apple money we don't have.

Our economy is based on nothing of substance and our money is an illusion that stands for nothing. Our national energy, healthcare and drug policies are a fucking joke. We have serious candidates for the U.S. Presidency who deny the existence of evolution, openly hate gays, think contraception is a sin, global warming is a hoax and that our sitting President is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Nazi. We shoot each other in the streets with impunity. The largest sector of our economy by far is banking and credit. We think that fake tits, whiteened teeth and fake tans will make us more attractive.

We've moved the Overton Window so far to the right that we've not only lent credibility to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, but have somehow managed to paint our sitting President as an extreme left winger when he's actually governed to the right of Ronald Fucking Reagan. Our citizens can't read, write add or subtract worth a shit. Wall Street owns our law makers and legally gambles with our retirement money. Very serious efforts are being made to dismantle any remaining semblance of our social safety net.

I don't see a way to move forward until we get serious about our energy policy and our education system, but I don't see anyone doing that. So, yeah, our best days ARE behind us.

Reply #5 posted 05/15/12 3:05pm

Cloudbuster

herb4 said:

We're dead broke. We start and fail to finance unwinnable wars. We place no value on education or art. We're horrible polluters. Too many of our citizens are bordeline theocrats. We've turned this entire nation's modern discourse into a television commercial. Our best and brightest would rather persue careers in banking than science or medicine or engineering. A third of the population is on anti depressents. We are the world's largest jailer of it's own citizens, per capita, by far. We buy things we don't need and can't afford because the TV tells us to, waiting in line for privilege of handing Apple money we don't have.

Our economy is based on nothing of substance and our money is an illusion that stands for nothing. Our national energy, healthcare and drug policies are a fucking joke. We have serious candidates for the U.S. Presidency who deny the existence of evolution, openly hate gays, think contraception is a sin, global warming is a hoax and that our sitting President is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Nazi. We shoot each other in the streets with impunity. The largest sector of our economy by far is banking and credit. We think that fake tits, whiteened teeth and fake tans will make us more attractive.

We've moved the Overton Window so far to the right that we've not only lent credibility to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, but have somehow managed to paint our sitting President as an extreme left winger when he's actually governed to the right of Ronald Fucking Reagan. Our citizens can't read, write add or subtract worth a shit. Wall Street owns our law makers and legally gambles with our retirement money. Very serious efforts are being made to dismantle any remaining semblance of our social safety net.

I don't see a way to move forward until we get serious about our energy policy and our education system, but I don't see anyone doing that. So, yeah, our best days ARE behind us.

Perfect. lol

Reply #6 posted 05/15/12 3:17pm

aardvark15

Because many people don't seem to realise how bad the Korean and Vienam wars were.

"Do Me, Baby...oh, oh, OOOOOOOOOOOH"
"Scandalous I'm talkin' bout u n me"
"Insatiable's my name when it comes 2 u"
"When 2 R N Love their bodies shiver at the mere contemplation of penetration"
"Flesh against flesh, And God Created Woman"
Reply #7 posted 05/15/12 3:17pm

RodeoSchro

Too much debt.

Second Funkiest White Man in America

Rocket Frog
Reply #8 posted 05/15/12 4:43pm

JoeTyler

herb4 said:

We're dead broke. We start and fail to finance unwinnable wars. We place no value on education or art. We're horrible polluters. Too many of our citizens are bordeline theocrats. We've turned this entire nation's modern discourse into a television commercial. Our best and brightest would rather persue careers in banking than science or medicine or engineering. A third of the population is on anti depressents. We are the world's largest jailer of it's own citizens, per capita, by far. We buy things we don't need and can't afford because the TV tells us to, waiting in line for privilege of handing Apple money we don't have.

Our economy is based on nothing of substance and our money is an illusion that stands for nothing. Our national energy, healthcare and drug policies are a fucking joke. We have serious candidates for the U.S. Presidency who deny the existence of evolution, openly hate gays, think contraception is a sin, global warming is a hoax and that our sitting President is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Nazi. We shoot each other in the streets with impunity. The largest sector of our economy by far is banking and credit. We think that fake tits, whiteened teeth and fake tans will make us more attractive.

We've moved the Overton Window so far to the right that we've not only lent credibility to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, but have somehow managed to paint our sitting President as an extreme left winger when he's actually governed to the right of Ronald Fucking Reagan. Our citizens can't read, write add or subtract worth a shit. Wall Street owns our law makers and legally gambles with our retirement money. Very serious efforts are being made to dismantle any remaining semblance of our social safety net.

I don't see a way to move forward until we get serious about our energy policy and our education system, but I don't see anyone doing that. So, yeah, our best days ARE behind us.

typical hysterical bullshit rant

I agree with a couple of things, though...

[Edited 5/15/12 16:44pm]

tinkerbell
Rejecting the Dark Side...by ignoring the BS around me
Reply #9 posted 05/15/12 5:58pm

herb4

JoeTyler said:

herb4 said:

We're dead broke. We start and fail to finance unwinnable wars. We place no value on education or art. We're horrible polluters. Too many of our citizens are bordeline theocrats. We've turned this entire nation's modern discourse into a television commercial. Our best and brightest would rather persue careers in banking than science or medicine or engineering. A third of the population is on anti depressents. We are the world's largest jailer of it's own citizens, per capita, by far. We buy things we don't need and can't afford because the TV tells us to, waiting in line for privilege of handing Apple money we don't have.

Our economy is based on nothing of substance and our money is an illusion that stands for nothing. Our national energy, healthcare and drug policies are a fucking joke. We have serious candidates for the U.S. Presidency who deny the existence of evolution, openly hate gays, think contraception is a sin, global warming is a hoax and that our sitting President is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Nazi. We shoot each other in the streets with impunity. The largest sector of our economy by far is banking and credit. We think that fake tits, whiteened teeth and fake tans will make us more attractive.

We've moved the Overton Window so far to the right that we've not only lent credibility to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, but have somehow managed to paint our sitting President as an extreme left winger when he's actually governed to the right of Ronald Fucking Reagan. Our citizens can't read, write add or subtract worth a shit. Wall Street owns our law makers and legally gambles with our retirement money. Very serious efforts are being made to dismantle any remaining semblance of our social safety net.

I don't see a way to move forward until we get serious about our energy policy and our education system, but I don't see anyone doing that. So, yeah, our best days ARE behind us.

typical hysterical bullshit rant

I agree with a couple of things, though...

[Edited 5/15/12 16:44pm]

Typical no content post addresing anything at all that I wrote, even the things you agree with, and that contributes nothing at all to the thread. Good input, Joe, and encouraging to know you agree with a couple things. Feel free to expound upon some of them and offer us all something worth reading when you have the energy.

[Edited 5/15/12 17:59pm]

Reply #10 posted 05/15/12 7:22pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

We're dead broke. We start and fail to finance unwinnable wars. We place no value on education or art. We're horrible polluters. Too many of our citizens are bordeline theocrats. We've turned this entire nation's modern discourse into a television commercial. Our best and brightest would rather persue careers in banking than science or medicine or engineering. A third of the population is on anti depressents. We are the world's largest jailer of it's own citizens, per capita, by far. We buy things we don't need and can't afford because the TV tells us to, waiting in line for privilege of handing Apple money we don't have.

Our economy is based on nothing of substance and our money is an illusion that stands for nothing. Our national energy, healthcare and drug policies are a fucking joke. We have serious candidates for the U.S. Presidency who deny the existence of evolution, openly hate gays, think contraception is a sin, global warming is a hoax and that our sitting President is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Nazi. We shoot each other in the streets with impunity. The largest sector of our economy by far is banking and credit. We think that fake tits, whiteened teeth and fake tans will make us more attractive.

We've moved the Overton Window so far to the right that we've not only lent credibility to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, but have somehow managed to paint our sitting President as an extreme left winger when he's actually governed to the right of Ronald Fucking Reagan. Our citizens can't read, write add or subtract worth a shit. Wall Street owns our law makers and legally gambles with our retirement money. Very serious efforts are being made to dismantle any remaining semblance of our social safety net.

I don't see a way to move forward until we get serious about our energy policy and our education system, but I don't see anyone doing that. So, yeah, our best days ARE behind us.

Source?

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #11 posted 05/15/12 7:30pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

We're dead broke. We start and fail to finance unwinnable wars. We place no value on education or art. We're horrible polluters. Too many of our citizens are bordeline theocrats. We've turned this entire nation's modern discourse into a television commercial. Our best and brightest would rather persue careers in banking than science or medicine or engineering. A third of the population is on anti depressents. We are the world's largest jailer of it's own citizens, per capita, by far. We buy things we don't need and can't afford because the TV tells us to, waiting in line for privilege of handing Apple money we don't have.

Our economy is based on nothing of substance and our money is an illusion that stands for nothing. Our national energy, healthcare and drug policies are a fucking joke. We have serious candidates for the U.S. Presidency who deny the existence of evolution, openly hate gays, think contraception is a sin, global warming is a hoax and that our sitting President is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Nazi. We shoot each other in the streets with impunity. The largest sector of our economy by far is banking and credit. We think that fake tits, whiteened teeth and fake tans will make us more attractive.

We've moved the Overton Window so far to the right that we've not only lent credibility to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, but have somehow managed to paint our sitting President as an extreme left winger when he's actually governed to the right of Ronald Fucking Reagan. Our citizens can't read, write add or subtract worth a shit. Wall Street owns our law makers and legally gambles with our retirement money. Very serious efforts are being made to dismantle any remaining semblance of our social safety net.

I don't see a way to move forward until we get serious about our energy policy and our education system, but I don't see anyone doing that. So, yeah, our best days ARE behind us.

The Banking and Finance Sector accounts for more than 8 percent of the U.S. annual gross domestic product and is the back-bone for the world economy.

https://docs.google.com/v...&pli=1

Financial firms are becoming a smaller part of the U.S. economy as they deal with a past that won't go away and a future of lower revenue and fewer jobs. Persistent low interest rates and stagnant loan growth are shrinking interest income just as new regulations are putting a lid on the fees banks charge their retail customers. Net revenue at the six largest U.S. lenders—Bank of America (BAC ), JPMorgan Chase (JPM ), Citigroup (C ), Wells Fargo (WFC ), Goldman Sachs (GS ), and Morgan Stanley (MS )—will probably fall 3.7 percent in the second quarter, the fourth year-over-year decline in five quarters, according to 100 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Regulations requiring banks to hold more capital as a cushion against losses are likely to crimp profitability. "You don't have to be a scientist to figure out that tighter regulation and more onerous capital rules without economic growth will shrink the industry," says John Garvey, head of the financial industry advisory practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Financial companies accounted for 29.3 percent of U.S. corporate profits over the 12 months ended Mar. 31, well off the record high of 41.7 percent set in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2002.

Investors don't like what they see. Financial stocks have trailed the broader market for 9 of the last 11 months. The ratio of the price of the Standard & Poor's 500 financials index to the S&P 500-stock index is less than 0.16, down from a peak of 0.36 in March 2004. The only other time in the last 20 years the ratio dropped below 0.16 was a stretch from January to April 2009, when some banks faced nationalization after taking billions in rescue funds to survive the credit crisis. Bank of America, the biggest U.S. lender by assets, saw its stock hit a two-year low on June 6.

Analysts including Meredith Whitney and Nomura Holdings' (NMR ) Glenn Schorr expect the slow growth to result in job cuts on Wall Street in the coming months. The number of U.S. financial-industry jobs dropped for the fourth straight year to an average of 7.63 million in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's 8.4 percent below the 2006 peak, and the figure fell to 7.61 million in May.

[EDITED]

http://www.businessweek.c...451894.htm

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #12 posted 05/15/12 7:32pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

JoeTyler said:

typical hysterical bullshit rant

I agree with a couple of things, though...

[Edited 5/15/12 16:44pm]

Typical no content post addresing anything at all that I wrote, even the things you agree with, and that contributes nothing at all to the thread. Good input, Joe, and encouraging to know you agree with a couple things. Feel free to expound upon some of them and offer us all something worth reading when you have the energy.

[Edited 5/15/12 17:59pm]

I'd appreciate facts when making claims . . . .

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #13 posted 05/16/12 3:53am

JoeTyler

SUPRMAN said:

herb4 said:

Typical no content post addresing anything at all that I wrote, even the things you agree with, and that contributes nothing at all to the thread. Good input, Joe, and encouraging to know you agree with a couple things. Feel free to expound upon some of them and offer us all something worth reading when you have the energy.

[Edited 5/15/12 17:59pm]

I'd appreciate facts when making claims . . . .

in the Politics forum, rants come first, sources/facts second (if any)

tinkerbell
Rejecting the Dark Side...by ignoring the BS around me
Reply #14 posted 05/16/12 4:31am

SuperFurryAnimal

JoeTyler said:

SUPRMAN said:

I'd appreciate facts when making claims . . . .

in the Politics forum, rants come first, sources/facts second (if any)

Is that true?

Can you provide a link to those facts? Maybe some charts? stats? articles?

Reply #15 posted 05/16/12 6:08am

JoeTyler

SuperFurryAnimal said:

JoeTyler said:

in the Politics forum, rants come first, sources/facts second (if any)

Is that true?

Can you provide a link to those facts? Maybe some charts? stats? articles?

want links? just check out any of the politics threads of the Politics forum; you're just a few feet away from them, right?

easy shrug

tinkerbell
Rejecting the Dark Side...by ignoring the BS around me
Reply #16 posted 05/16/12 6:31am

SuperFurryAnimal

JoeTyler said:

SuperFurryAnimal said:

Is that true?

Can you provide a link to those facts? Maybe some charts? stats? articles?

want links? just check out any of the politics threads of the Politics forum; you're just a few feet away from them, right?

easy shrug

A fact is something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven. An opinion is what someone thinks about that subject.

You called people out for stating opinion when in fact you stated an opinion. I don't care if people state opinions but if you are going to call people out for not stating facts. What you are doing is no different.

Reply #17 posted 05/16/12 6:42am

JoeTyler

SuperFurryAnimal said:

JoeTyler said:

want links? just check out any of the politics threads of the Politics forum; you're just a few feet away from them, right?

easy shrug

A fact is something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven. An opinion is what someone thinks about that subject.

You called people out for stating opinion when in fact you stated an opinion. I don't care if people state opinions but if you are going to call people out for not stating facts. What you are doing is no different.

shove off that smart-ass attitude, is not working

as I said, you have like 100 links in THIS forums

why do I need to post them?? neutral they're already here rolleyes

and by the way, herb4's post in this thread is a fine example

so you're going in circles...

tinkerbell
Rejecting the Dark Side...by ignoring the BS around me
Reply #18 posted 05/16/12 6:52am

SuperFurryAnimal

JoeTyler said:

SuperFurryAnimal said:

A fact is something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven. An opinion is what someone thinks about that subject.

You called people out for stating opinion when in fact you stated an opinion. I don't care if people state opinions but if you are going to call people out for not stating facts. What you are doing is no different.

shove off that smart-ass attitude, is not working

as I said, you have like 100 links in THIS forums

why do I need to post them?? neutral they're already here rolleyes

and by the way, herb4's post in this thread is a fine example

so you're going in circles...

Keep it polite please.

Reply #19 posted 05/16/12 9:26am

herb4

God damn. Here:

Any more fact checking you want me to do with my post before you contribute a single thing of any substance to the thread?

Five banks—JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Goldman Sachs (GS)—held more than $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s up from 43 percent five years earlier.

http://www.businessweek.c...er-to-fail

http://www.globalresearch...;aid=30368

Reply #20 posted 05/16/12 9:32am

XxAxX

herb4 said:

We're dead broke. We start and fail to finance unwinnable wars. We place no value on education or art. We're horrible polluters. Too many of our citizens are bordeline theocrats. We've turned this entire nation's modern discourse into a television commercial. Our best and brightest would rather persue careers in banking than science or medicine or engineering. A third of the population is on anti depressents. We are the world's largest jailer of it's own citizens, per capita, by far. We buy things we don't need and can't afford because the TV tells us to, waiting in line for privilege of handing Apple money we don't have.

Our economy is based on nothing of substance and our money is an illusion that stands for nothing. Our national energy, healthcare and drug policies are a fucking joke. We have serious candidates for the U.S. Presidency who deny the existence of evolution, openly hate gays, think contraception is a sin, global warming is a hoax and that our sitting President is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Nazi. We shoot each other in the streets with impunity. The largest sector of our economy by far is banking and credit. We think that fake tits, whiteened teeth and fake tans will make us more attractive.

We've moved the Overton Window so far to the right that we've not only lent credibility to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, but have somehow managed to paint our sitting President as an extreme left winger when he's actually governed to the right of Ronald Fucking Reagan. Our citizens can't read, write add or subtract worth a shit. Wall Street owns our law makers and legally gambles with our retirement money. Very serious efforts are being made to dismantle any remaining semblance of our social safety net.

I don't see a way to move forward until we get serious about our energy policy and our education system, but I don't see anyone doing that. So, yeah, our best days ARE behind us.

clapping all true, imo, and YET we are still one of the best countries going, and from a female perspective i'd not want to live elsewhere where my rights are restricted.

and hell, over in china, they can't even voice their disapproval of the government without being tossed into concentration camps until they're dead.

in afghanistan women are being burned with acid by the taliban for attempting to attend school, and the theocracy there is oppressive to an extreme

america still rocks, even in decline

Reply #21 posted 05/16/12 9:33am

V10LETBLUES

Herb4 I dig your post. Nothing like a good passionate rant.

And even though most of it can be said about most any time frame, the 60's 70's 80's, and prefixed by a 15 16 17 18,19 or 00, it still "feels" right.
innocent
Reply #22 posted 05/16/12 9:35am

Cloudbuster

herb4 said:

God damn. Here:

Any more fact checking you want me to do with my post before you contribute a single thing of any substance to the thread?

Five banks—JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Goldman Sachs (GS)—held more than $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s up from 43 percent five years earlier.

http://www.businessweek.c...er-to-fail

http://www.globalresearch...;aid=30368

Certain folk here are always wanting facts, except for the facts they don't like. wink

Reply #23 posted 05/16/12 9:45am

JoeTyler

herb4 said:

God damn. Here:

Any more fact checking you want me to do with my post before you contribute a SINGLE thing of any substance to the thread?

Five banks—JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Goldman Sachs (GS)—held more than $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s up from 43 percent five years earlier.

http://www.businessweek.c...er-to-fail

http://www.globalresearch...;aid=30368

whatever, darling

I (and SUPRMAN) forced you to provide a couple of links to support your rather bold claims

tinkerbell
Rejecting the Dark Side...by ignoring the BS around me
Reply #24 posted 05/16/12 9:46am

JoeTyler

Cloudbuster said:

herb4 said:

God damn. Here:

Any more fact checking you want me to do with my post before you contribute a single thing of any substance to the thread?

Certain folk here are always wanting facts, except for the facts they don't like. wink

that's untrue and manipulative, and borderline ridiculous

then again, you're a conspiracy theorist, so I guess that's all I can expect from you

[Edited 5/16/12 9:47am]

tinkerbell
Rejecting the Dark Side...by ignoring the BS around me
Reply #25 posted 05/16/12 9:47am

herb4

And by the way, Joe and Superman, thanks for pointing out that what I wrote was a rant, otherwise no one would have known.

Assuming you both disagree with me, it'd be pretty cool if you posted something along the lines of "No, America's best days are not behind us. Here's why." You know, since that's the title and the topic of the fucking thread and everything.

What do either of you think America's going to build on moving forward, financially and socially? What will be the foundation upon which it's built? On what do you base your (presumed) optimism?

Reply #26 posted 05/16/12 9:49am

JoeTyler

herb4 said:

And by the way, Joe and Superman, thanks for pointing out that what I wrote was a rant, otherwise no one would have known.

Assuming you both disagree with me, it'd be pretty cool if you posted something along the lines of "No, America's best days are not behind us. Here's why." You know, since that's the title and the topic of the fucking thread and everything.

What do either of you think America's going to build on moving forward, financially and socially? What will be the foundation upon which it's built? On what do you base your (presumed) optimism?

did you even fockin notice my first post of this thread, way before you wrote the rant?

tinkerbell
Rejecting the Dark Side...by ignoring the BS around me
Reply #27 posted 05/16/12 9:49am

Cloudbuster

JoeTyler said:

Cloudbuster said:

Certain folk here are always wanting facts, except for the facts they don't like. wink

that's untrue and manipulative, and borderline ridiculous

then again, you're a conspiracy theorist, so I guess that's all I can expect from you


Reply #28 posted 05/16/12 9:52am

herb4

JoeTyler said:

herb4 said:

God damn. Here:

Any more fact checking you want me to do with my post before you contribute a SINGLE thing of any substance to the thread?

whatever, darling

I (and SUPRMAN) forced you to provide a couple of links to support your rather bold claims

Will those suffice or do I need to Google and post the first three hits I get from next sources I'm asked to cite? Would you like to have a discussion or post dumb, snarky shit like "Darling"?

What the fuck is wrong with you?

Sweetie.

Reply #29 posted 05/16/12 9:54am

JoeTyler

herb4 said:

JoeTyler said:

whatever, darling

I (and SUPRMAN) forced you to provide a couple of links to support your rather bold claims

Will those suffice or do I need to Google and post the first three hits I get from next sources I'm asked to cite? Would you like to have a discussion or post dumb, snarky shit like "Darling"?

What the fuck is wrong with you?

Sweetie.

and can you even read?

why have you ignored my last post AND the first post I wrote in this thread?

are you seriously THAT manipulative?

What the fock is wrong with you?

Darling.

tinkerbell
Rejecting the Dark Side...by ignoring the BS around me
Reply #30 posted 05/16/12 9:55am

herb4

XxAxX said:

herb4 said:

We're dead broke. We start and fail to finance unwinnable wars. We place no value on education or art. We're horrible polluters. Too many of our citizens are bordeline theocrats. We've turned this entire nation's modern discourse into a television commercial. Our best and brightest would rather persue careers in banking than science or medicine or engineering. A third of the population is on anti depressents. We are the world's largest jailer of it's own citizens, per capita, by far. We buy things we don't need and can't afford because the TV tells us to, waiting in line for privilege of handing Apple money we don't have.

Our economy is based on nothing of substance and our money is an illusion that stands for nothing. Our national energy, healthcare and drug policies are a fucking joke. We have serious candidates for the U.S. Presidency who deny the existence of evolution, openly hate gays, think contraception is a sin, global warming is a hoax and that our sitting President is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Nazi. We shoot each other in the streets with impunity. The largest sector of our economy by far is banking and credit. We think that fake tits, whiteened teeth and fake tans will make us more attractive.

We've moved the Overton Window so far to the right that we've not only lent credibility to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, but have somehow managed to paint our sitting President as an extreme left winger when he's actually governed to the right of Ronald Fucking Reagan. Our citizens can't read, write add or subtract worth a shit. Wall Street owns our law makers and legally gambles with our retirement money. Very serious efforts are being made to dismantle any remaining semblance of our social safety net.

I don't see a way to move forward until we get serious about our energy policy and our education system, but I don't see anyone doing that. So, yeah, our best days ARE behind us.

clapping all true, imo, and YET we are still one of the best countries going, and from a female perspective i'd not want to live elsewhere where my rights are restricted.

and hell, over in china, they can't even voice their disapproval of the government without being tossed into concentration camps until they're dead.

in afghanistan women are being burned with acid by the taliban for attempting to attend school, and the theocracy there is oppressive to an extreme

america still rocks, even in decline

Of course I get all that. I'm not moving anywhere. It's a little depressing to know that we've set the bar so high that we're congratualting ourselves for not burning people with acid and establishing concentration camps.

Funny you bring up female rights, because there are serious legislative efforts being made all across the country right now to seriously restrict your rights as a woman. From contraception to abortion.

Reply #31 posted 05/16/12 10:01am

herb4

JoeTyler said:

herb4 said:

And by the way, Joe and Superman, thanks for pointing out that what I wrote was a rant, otherwise no one would have known.

Assuming you both disagree with me, it'd be pretty cool if you posted something along the lines of "No, America's best days are not behind us. Here's why." You know, since that's the title and the topic of the fucking thread and everything.

What do either of you think America's going to build on moving forward, financially and socially? What will be the foundation upon which it's built? On what do you base your (presumed) optimism?

did you even fockin notice my first post of this thread, way before you wrote the rant?

This one?

JoeTyler said:

maybe because it's time to realize that America doesn't NEED to be the BEST at EVERYTHING

dissatisfied americans are those who, at least since 1946, NEED to think that the USA "fights" (economically, socially and, sometimes, lol militarilly) against the whole world...

they think this is a competition or something, that's why those americans are scared to death when they think about China, the increasing power of Brazil, or the "european-influenced" health care....

I think I addressed a lot of that in my rant, but there's not a whole lot there for me to address really. Fine. That was a great post you made there.

Why did you call me "darling" and then call someone else out for being a smart ass to you?

EDIT:

And Suprman just posted something someone else wrote and didn't partuclarly weigh in or somment on it, except that he disagreed and thinks America is on the upswing. He didn't say why.

Oh shit. Never mind. I'm trying to have a debate with someone who has THIS:

"If U Don't Wanna Blow My Cock, Can eye Suck Ur Pussy Instead?"

as their signature line.

[Edited 5/16/12 10:08am]

Reply #32 posted 05/16/12 10:05am

JoeTyler

herb4 said:

JoeTyler said:

This one?

JoeTyler said:

maybe because it's time to realize that America doesn't NEED to be the BEST at EVERYTHING

dissatisfied americans are those who, at least since 1946, NEED to think that the USA "fights" (economically, socially and, sometimes, lol militarilly) against the whole world...

they think this is a competition or something, that's why those americans are scared to death when they think about China, the increasing power of Brazil, or the "european-influenced" health care....

I think I addressed a lot of that in my rant, but there's not a whole lot there for me to address really. Fine. That was a great post you made there.

Why did you call me "darling" and then call someone else out for being a smart ass to you?

because I can shrug

tinkerbell
Rejecting the Dark Side...by ignoring the BS around me
Reply #33 posted 05/16/12 10:10am

Cloudbuster

herb4 said:

Of course I get all that. I'm not moving anywhere. It's a little depressing to know that we've set the bar so high that we're congratualting ourselves for not burning people with acid and establishing concentration camps.

Funny you bring up female rights, because there are serious legislative efforts being made all across the country right now to seriously restrict your rights as a woman. From contraception to abortion.

I saw this recently, pretty grim.

Reply #34 posted 05/16/12 10:22am

herb4

JoeTyler said:

herb4 said:

because I can shrug

I can shit on my bed and call it a pillow but I don't. But OK I suppose.

Here. Have a fact:

Global per capita prison population:

1 United States 730 ICPS
2 St. Kitts and Nevis 649 ICPS
3 U.S. Virgin Islands (USA) 539 ICPS
4 Georgia 536 ICPS
5 Russia 522 ICPS
6 Seychelles 507 ICPS
7 Anguilla (UK) 480 ICPS
8 Rwanda 450 ICPS (c.)
9 British Virgin Islands (UK) 439 ICPS
10 Bermuda (UK) 428 ICPS
Reply #35 posted 05/16/12 10:25am

Cloudbuster

herb4 said:

I can shit on my bed and call it a pillow but I don't.

falloff

Reply #36 posted 05/16/12 10:40am

herb4

Cloudbuster said:

herb4 said:

Of course I get all that. I'm not moving anywhere. It's a little depressing to know that we've set the bar so high that we're congratualting ourselves for not burning people with acid and establishing concentration camps.

Funny you bring up female rights, because there are serious legislative efforts being made all across the country right now to seriously restrict your rights as a woman. From contraception to abortion.

I saw this recently, pretty grim.

I hope you're kidding.

Reply #37 posted 05/16/12 10:44am

Cloudbuster

herb4 said:

I hope you're kidding.

biggrin

Reply #38 posted 05/16/12 10:51am

V10LETBLUES

Herb thanks for posting the statistics. I agree with your initial post, I wasn't kidding.

Like I said, I love a good passionate "rant", whinnying, not so much. Especially by someone you elegantly put in his place but don't know when to give up.
innocent
Reply #39 posted 05/16/12 11:00am

JoeTyler

V10LETBLUES said:

Herb thanks for posting the statistics. I agree with your initial post, I wasn't kidding. Like I said, I love a good passionate "rant", whinnying, not so much. Especially by someone you elegantly put in his place but don't know when to give up.

who called you, anyway? you're just an observer here

I wanted links, I demanded links, I got links, this wasn't/isn't a competition, it's about facts. I stay in the same "place", as always: a guy demanding facts, not rants. everybody happy now

[Edited 5/16/12 11:03am]

tinkerbell
Rejecting the Dark Side...by ignoring the BS around me
Reply #40 posted 05/16/12 11:22am

herb4

SUPRMAN said:

I, for the record, see the glass as half full.

I don't see the country in long term decline. I see a country with a legislature that needs to be real about its problems and the solutions needed. Going through pain, doesn't mean the country is in decline.

What do you base your optimism on? What, as you see them, are the real and most pressing and urgent problems facing the U.S., what caused them and and what solutions do think are needed by the either the legislature or the American people?

The thing with the banks I brought up was really just examining and acknowledging the 'too big to fail' problem, which we're still staring in the face. All of the things that brought the US and global economy to its knees in 2008 are still happening and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a repeat of that situation. Congress and the President can do nothing about it, and certainly seem to lack the will even if they could, becuase our government has been sold. They're not even in charge. Obama put the very people who caused the collapse in charge of his cabinet. I'm not sure if Obama is just in over his head or if the entrenched power structure is just too large, but either way, nothing will be done about it until they need another bailout. Frank/Dodd has no teeth at all.

The obvious solution is to break up the banks (and maybe nationalize some of them) like we did with AT&T and Microsoft, but I don't see it happening. Another solution would be to re-implement the Glass Stegal Act that prohibits banks from the sort of wanton casino gambling and high risk investments they're allowed to make with everyone else's money, but that's not happening either and no one important I know of is even talking about except for Bernie Sanders. Just look at news on J.P. Morgan Chase for the most recent example of how horrible this situation is and how sickeningly entrenched it's become.

My personal favorite solution/idea (aside from public financing of elections) would be to require elected representatives to wear logo patches on thier suits, like NASCAR drivers, to represent their corportate donors. Anyone who's seen 'Idiocracy' will know what I'm talking about.

I remain pessemistic about the future of our country and what sort of world my 14 month old son will live in. I suspect it will be worse than what I've lives through, but, as others have pointed out, that's just my opinion.

[Edited 5/16/12 11:23am]

Reply #41 posted 05/16/12 12:16pm

2freaky4church1

The system is the problem. Change the system and you avoid a depression.

wildsign Wave your wildsigns high!! wildsign
Reply #42 posted 05/16/12 12:31pm

herb4

2freaky4church1 said:

The system is the problem. Change the system and you avoid a depression.

How?

Reply #43 posted 05/16/12 3:58pm

TemetNosce

SUPRMAN said:

I, for the record, see the glass as half full.

I don't see the country in long term decline. I see a country with a legislature that needs to be real about its problems and the solutions needed. Going through pain, doesn't mean the country is in decline.

"Decline" from what? This country has always been a racist occupation at home and ruthless empire abroad. The "middle class" everyone points to as "America's success" was entirely propped up on, and dependent on war (largely WWII and the "Cold War") in one way or another. And, it was basically a hand out, an entitlement, to white people. Other groups largely excluded and shut out.

Reply #44 posted 05/16/12 4:13pm

SuperFurryAnimal

TemetNosce said:

SUPRMAN said:

I, for the record, see the glass as half full.

I don't see the country in long term decline. I see a country with a legislature that needs to be real about its problems and the solutions needed. Going through pain, doesn't mean the country is in decline.

"Decline" from what? This country has always been a racist occupation at home and ruthless empire abroad. The "middle class" everyone points to as "America's success" was entirely propped up on, and dependent on war (largely WWII and the "Cold War") in one way or another. And, it was basically a hand out, an entitlement, to white people. Other groups largely excluded and shut out.

You sound like a racist complaining about welfare recipients but you replaced welfare with WW2 and the cold war.

Reply #45 posted 05/16/12 4:17pm

JoeTyler

herb4 said:

JoeTyler said:

This one?

JoeTyler said:

maybe because it's time to realize that America doesn't NEED to be the BEST at EVERYTHING

dissatisfied americans are those who, at least since 1946, NEED to think that the USA "fights" (economically, socially and, sometimes, lol militarilly) against the whole world...

they think this is a competition or something, that's why those americans are scared to death when they think about China, the increasing power of Brazil, or the "european-influenced" health care....

I think I addressed a lot of that in my rant, but there's not a whole lot there for me to address really. Fine. That was a great post you made there.

Why did you call me "darling" and then call someone else out for being a smart ass to you?

EDIT:

And Suprman just posted something someone else wrote and didn't partuclarly weigh in or somment on it, except that he disagreed and thinks America is on the upswing. He didn't say why.

Oh shit. Never mind. I'm trying to have a debate with someone who has THIS:

"If U Don't Wanna Blow My Cock, Can eye Suck Ur Pussy Instead?"

as their signature line.

so, you wanna play that game? personal attacks? backstabbing? KAY...so here I go: I don't even wanna waste another second of my life with a guy that uses THAT movie as the AVATAR, no less, which says A LOT about his personality/views. And btw, you needed a couple of days to discover my signature?? that only confirms that you ONLY like to read what YOU post

So GOODBYE, you radical bitter apocalyptic leftist hater, go on with your life, and enjoy watching crap like Fear and Loathing in Vegas or the Big Lebowsky, films tailor-made for you

tinkerbell
Rejecting the Dark Side...by ignoring the BS around me
Reply #46 posted 05/16/12 5:50pm

TemetNosce

SuperFurryAnimal said:

TemetNosce said:

"Decline" from what? This country has always been a racist occupation at home and ruthless empire abroad. The "middle class" everyone points to as "America's success" was entirely propped up on, and dependent on war (largely WWII and the "Cold War") in one way or another. And, it was basically a hand out, an entitlement, to white people. Other groups largely excluded and shut out.

You sound like a racist complaining about welfare recipients but you replaced welfare with WW2 and the cold war.

White privilege as an institution is a reality in this country. Pointing that out is not "racism."

WW2 and the Cold War were directly or indirectly responsible for this country's industrial and technological economic base.

Reply #47 posted 05/16/12 5:54pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

God damn. Here:

Any more fact checking you want me to do with my post before you contribute a single thing of any substance to the thread?

Five banks—JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC), and Goldman Sachs (GS)—held more than $8.5 trillion in assets at the end of 2011, equal to 56 percent of the U.S. economy, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s up from 43 percent five years earlier.

http://www.businessweek.c...er-to-fail

http://www.globalresearch...;aid=30368

But that is not to say that they control 56% of the U.S. economy. Assets are not counted as part of GDP or the economy. GDP and the economy measure the value of goods and services produced in a given period of time, not what is owned.

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #48 posted 05/16/12 5:59pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

And by the way, Joe and Superman, thanks for pointing out that what I wrote was a rant, otherwise no one would have known.

Assuming you both disagree with me, it'd be pretty cool if you posted something along the lines of "No, America's best days are not behind us. Here's why." You know, since that's the title and the topic of the fucking thread and everything.

What do either of you think America's going to build on moving forward, financially and socially? What will be the foundation upon which it's built? On what do you base your (presumed) optimism?

Nowhere did I say you were ranting.

I only asked for a source and rather than wait, provided my own.

See my original post.

Financially and socially? I don't know. I do expect our economy to continue growing and that we will find another growth engine whether it be in energy, health care, transportation or something we cannot forsee.

The foundation it will be built on is the America we live in now.

I base my optimism on the fact that. most people on the planet still consider this THE place to live or at least hang out.

My optimism is based on seeing what we've done and knowing we can do so much better.

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #49 posted 05/16/12 6:04pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

JoeTyler said:

I can shit on my bed and call it a pillow but I don't. But OK I suppose.

Here. Have a fact:

Global per capita prison population:

1 United States 730 ICPS
2 St. Kitts and Nevis 649 ICPS
3 U.S. Virgin Islands (USA) 539 ICPS
4 Georgia 536 ICPS
5 Russia 522 ICPS
6 Seychelles 507 ICPS
7 Anguilla (UK) 480 ICPS
8 Rwanda 450 ICPS (c.)
9 British Virgin Islands (UK) 439 ICPS
10 Bermuda (UK) 428 ICPS

What is the relevancy? Are you suggesting that our incarceration rate means our best days are behind us?

How would that be indicative of our best days being behind us?

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #50 posted 05/16/12 6:06pm

SUPRMAN

2freaky4church1 said:

The system is the problem. Change the system and you avoid a depression.

We did avoid a depression with the system that we have.

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #51 posted 05/16/12 6:18pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

SUPRMAN said:

I, for the record, see the glass as half full.

I don't see the country in long term decline. I see a country with a legislature that needs to be real about its problems and the solutions needed. Going through pain, doesn't mean the country is in decline.

What do you base your optimism on? What, as you see them, are the real and most pressing and urgent problems facing the U.S., what caused them and and what solutions do think are needed by the either the legislature or the American people?

The thing with the banks I brought up was really just examining and acknowledging the 'too big to fail' problem, which we're still staring in the face. All of the things that brought the US and global economy to its knees in 2008 are still happening and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a repeat of that situation. Congress and the President can do nothing about it, and certainly seem to lack the will even if they could, becuase our government has been sold. They're not even in charge. Obama put the very people who caused the collapse in charge of his cabinet. I'm not sure if Obama is just in over his head or if the entrenched power structure is just too large, but either way, nothing will be done about it until they need another bailout. Frank/Dodd has no teeth at all.

The obvious solution is to break up the banks (and maybe nationalize some of them) like we did with AT&T and Microsoft, but I don't see it happening. Another solution would be to re-implement the Glass Stegal Act that prohibits banks from the sort of wanton casino gambling and high risk investments they're allowed to make with everyone else's money, but that's not happening either and no one important I know of is even talking about except for Bernie Sanders. Just look at news on J.P. Morgan Chase for the most recent example of how horrible this situation is and how sickeningly entrenched it's become.

My personal favorite solution/idea (aside from public financing of elections) would be to require elected representatives to wear logo patches on thier suits, like NASCAR drivers, to represent their corportate donors. Anyone who's seen 'Idiocracy' will know what I'm talking about.

I remain pessemistic about the future of our country and what sort of world my 14 month old son will live in. I suspect it will be worse than what I've lives through, but, as others have pointed out, that's just my opinion.

[Edited 5/16/12 11:23am]

No, all the things that happened in 2007-2008 are not the same and a repeat is not going to happen.

The too big to fail was caused by Northern Rock, a British bank which failed and had high exposure to U.S. subprime mortgages. Those mortgages and derivatives were insured by AIG, Lehman Brothers and others. When Lehman Brothers could not pay the insurance claims on the products it insured, it sought assistance from the U.S. Treasury to get it through. President Bush, ironically, turned them down on moral grounds (ironic, because he had no problem setting those morals aside to get his war in Iraq, which cost us billions also. Morally and immorally he cost the country trillions.)

When Lehman Brothers collapsed, all financial instruments that were believed to be insured, were now questionable. Banks would not reveal their exposure to Lehman Brothers, AIG and other banks. Without knowing how bad off someone else could be banks stopped lending each other short term loans lest their money get caught in a bank imploding, going bankrupt or being nationalized. When banks stopped trusting each other, credit ground to a halt. That's when government had to step in to prevent the global economy from seizing. The U.S. wasn't the only country to use a stimulus package. Even China did, for the same reasons. Chinese banks are basically semi-private government institutions.

The obvious solution is not to break up banks. I think investment banks and retail banks should be treated separately. A retail bank doesn't play with others money as investment banks do. But investment banks make more money than retail banks.

Higher capital requirements including a tougher Basel 3, make banks much safer but still stifle credit.

You cannot create a bank with a mandate to never lose money. The money Citigroup lost is their shareholders money. That's the risk you take with investing.

[Edited 5/16/12 19:26pm]

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #52 posted 05/16/12 6:22pm

SUPRMAN

TemetNosce said:

SUPRMAN said:

I, for the record, see the glass as half full.

I don't see the country in long term decline. I see a country with a legislature that needs to be real about its problems and the solutions needed. Going through pain, doesn't mean the country is in decline.

"Decline" from what? This country has always been a racist occupation at home and ruthless empire abroad. The "middle class" everyone points to as "America's success" was entirely propped up on, and dependent on war (largely WWII and the "Cold War") in one way or another. And, it was basically a hand out, an entitlement, to white people. Other groups largely excluded and shut out.

Could you elaborate? I don't understand what you mean? Only white people had jobs?

The Cold War ended twenty years ago but our economy has kept growing. The wars in Iraq did not contribute to the economy but were a drain. Unemployment did not decline because we were at war.

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #53 posted 05/16/12 6:47pm

SuperFurryAnimal

TemetNosce said:

SuperFurryAnimal said:

You sound like a racist complaining about welfare recipients but you replaced welfare with WW2 and the cold war.

White privilege as an institution is a reality in this country. Pointing that out is not "racism."

WW2 and the Cold War were directly or indirectly responsible for this country's industrial and technological economic base.

Privilege to what? Fight and die!

Reply #54 posted 05/16/12 7:42pm

TemetNosce

SUPRMAN said:

Could you elaborate? I don't understand what you mean? Only white people had jobs?


The establishment of a "middle class" is what most people consider "the good old days" of this country. The wealth wasn't evenly distributed, to say the least.

The Cold War ended twenty years ago but our economy has kept growing.

"Our" industrial and technical industries all began out of war, directly or indirectly -- largely directly.

The wars in Iraq did not contribute to the economy but were a drain. Unemployment did not decline because we were at war.

The days of Rosie the Riveter are long gone.

Reply #55 posted 05/16/12 7:43pm

TemetNosce

SuperFurryAnimal said:

Privilege to what?

To get a loan from a bank, a house in the suburbs, a seat at a Woolworth lunch-counter, etc.

Reply #56 posted 05/16/12 8:47pm

TemetNosce

SUPRMAN said:

The Cold War ended twenty years ago but our economy has kept growing.

Growing for some, but certainly not spreading. More and more wealth/ownership/control has been concentrating in fewer and fewer hands -- as it always has.

Reply #57 posted 05/17/12 9:01am

XxAxX

TemetNosce said:

SuperFurryAnimal said:

You sound like a racist complaining about welfare recipients but you replaced welfare with WW2 and the cold war.

White privilege as an institution is a reality in this country. Pointing that out is not "racism."

WW2 and the Cold War were directly or indirectly responsible for this country's industrial and technological economic base.

meh. all countries have unjust systems of power. white, black, yellow. i challenge you to name one single country on this planet that does not have a bloody past and violent history.

[Edited 5/17/12 9:38am]

Reply #58 posted 05/17/12 11:58am

herb4

SUPRMAN said:

herb4 said:

And by the way, Joe and Superman, thanks for pointing out that what I wrote was a rant, otherwise no one would have known.

Assuming you both disagree with me, it'd be pretty cool if you posted something along the lines of "No, America's best days are not behind us. Here's why." You know, since that's the title and the topic of the fucking thread and everything.

What do either of you think America's going to build on moving forward, financially and socially? What will be the foundation upon which it's built? On what do you base your (presumed) optimism?

Financially and socially? I don't know. I do expect our economy to continue growing and that we will find another growth engine whether it be in energy, health care, transportation or something we cannot forsee.

The foundation it will be built on is the America we live in now.

I base my optimism on the fact that. most people on the planet still consider this THE place to live or at least hang out.

My optimism is based on seeing what we've done and knowing we can do so much better.

Who's advocating for those things except a small number of increasingly innefectual non Blue Dog Democrats? The solution by the opposition to the three areas you cited are "drill baby drill", "repeal Obamacare" and "fuck the Volt, the Prius and high speed rail", repectively. They won't even acknowledge a problem and see any proposed solutions and an anti-American government socialist takeover of capitalism.

What is the relevancy? Are you suggesting that our incarceration rate means our best days are behind us?

How would that be indicative of our best days being behind us?

The relevancy is twofold. I interjected a pre-emptive fact that no one asked me for which supported my original post since I was being challenged on those fronts. Secondly, it's pretty hard to rebound as a society and maintain the mantle of "Land of the Free" with so many people locked up and our prison system basically being run like a supply side labor camp.

No, all the things that happened in 2007-2008 are not the same and a repeat is not going to happen.

The too big to fail was caused by Northern Rock, a British bank which failed and had high exposure to U.S. subprime mortgages. Those mortgages and derivatives were insured by AIG, Lehman Brothers and others. When Lehman Brothers could not pay the insurance claims on the products it insured, it sought assistance from the U.S. Treasury to get it through. President Bush, ironically, turned them down on moral grounds (ironic, because he had no problem setting those morals aside to get his war in Iraq, which cost us billions also. Morally and immorally he cost the country trillions.)

When Lehman Brothers collapsed, all financial instruments that were believed to be insured, were now questionable. Banks would not reveal their exposure to Lehman Brothers, AIG and other banks. Without knowing how bad off someone else could be banks stopped lending each other short term loans lest their money get caught in a bank imploding, going bankrupt or being nationalized. When banks stopped trusting each other, credit ground to a halt. That's when government had to step in to prevent the global economy from seizing. The U.S. wasn't the only country to use a stimulus package. Even China did, for the same reasons. Chinese banks are basically semi-private government institutions.

The obvious solution is not to break up banks. I think investment banks and retail banks should be treated separately. A retail bank doesn't play with others money as investment banks do. But investment banks make more money than retail banks.

Higher capital requirements including a tougher Basel 3, make banks much safer but still stifle credit.

You cannot create a bank with a mandate to never lose money. The money Citigroup lost is their shareholders money. That's the risk you take with investing.

I might ask you to source what you're claiming as well, but I'll take your word for it. Not saying you're incorrect, but from everything I've read, the ability of banks to do credit default swaps, predatory loans and trade derivatives remains virtually unchanged since 2008. Nothing's really been done about what happened, which you don't seem to be arguing anyway.

Thanks for the honest and well thought out response.

XxAxX said:

TemetNosce said:

White privilege as an institution is a reality in this country. Pointing that out is not "racism."

WW2 and the Cold War were directly or indirectly responsible for this country's industrial and technological economic base.

meh. all countries have unjust systems of power. white, black, yellow. i challenge you to name one single country on this planet that does not have a bloody past and violent history.

[Edited 5/17/12 9:38am]

Switzerland.

Reply #59 posted 05/17/12 12:30pm

herb4

And here's a graph illustrating what I was talking about:

That dashed red line there.

I know it's from 08 but it's the best I could find right now. I'd be curious to see an updated one.

Reply #60 posted 05/17/12 2:09pm

V10LETBLUES

Notice the dotted black line. Government took a dip with Clinton and bounced back up with W. Those darn big government conservatives.
[Edited 5/17/12 14:55pm]
innocent
Reply #61 posted 05/17/12 5:25pm

XxAxX

herb4 said:

SUPRMAN said:

meh. all countries have unjust systems of power. white, black, yellow. i challenge you to name one single country on this planet that does not have a bloody past and violent history.

[Edited 5/17/12 9:38am]

Switzerland.

lol lol

Reply #62 posted 05/17/12 6:14pm

seekingtruth

I think that our political system messed up, and many feel that true change within said government is hopeless. We have to dominant parties who seem more interested in thei own political power than in what is best for this country.

In my opinion, that is why Americans feel this way.

The more of our freedom that is hijacked by government, the more I will believe this.
True genius is knowing how little
you really know.
Reply #63 posted 05/17/12 6:18pm

seekingtruth

herb4 said:

We're dead broke. We start and fail to finance unwinnable wars. We place no value on education or art. We're horrible polluters. Too many of our citizens are bordeline theocrats. We've turned this entire nation's modern discourse into a television commercial. Our best and brightest would rather persue careers in banking than science or medicine or engineering. A third of the population is on anti depressents. We are the world's largest jailer of it's own citizens, per capita, by far. We buy things we don't need and can't afford because the TV tells us to, waiting in line for privilege of handing Apple money we don't have.


 


Our economy is based on nothing of substance and our money is an illusion that stands for nothing. Our national energy, healthcare and drug policies are a fucking joke. We have serious candidates for the U.S. Presidency who deny the existence of evolution, openly hate gays, think contraception is a sin, global warming is a hoax and that our sitting President is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Nazi. We shoot each other in the streets with impunity. The largest sector of our economy by far is banking and credit. We think that fake tits, whiteened teeth and fake tans will make us more attractive.


 


We've moved the Overton Window so far to the right that we've not only lent credibility to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, but have somehow managed to paint our sitting President as an extreme left winger when he's actually governed to the right of Ronald Fucking Reagan. Our citizens can't read, write add or subtract worth a shit. Wall Street owns our law makers and legally gambles with our retirement money. Very serious efforts are being made to dismantle any remaining semblance of our social safety net.


 


I don't see a way to move forward until we get serious about our energy policy and our education system, but I don't see anyone doing that. So, yeah, our best days ARE behind us.



Bizarre. I agree whole heartily with some of your post and think that the other part is naive and misrepresents conservative perspective.
True genius is knowing how little
you really know.
Reply #64 posted 05/17/12 6:27pm

seekingtruth

SUPRMAN said:

 



herb4 said:


 


 



SUPRMAN said:


I, for the record, see the glass as half full. 


I don't see the country in long term decline. I see a country with a legislature that needs to be real about its problems and the solutions needed.  Going through pain, doesn't mean the country is in decline. 


 

 


What do you base your optimism on? What, as you see them, are the real and most pressing and urgent problems facing the U.S., what caused them and and what solutions do think are needed by the either the legislature or the American people?


 


The thing with the banks I brought up was really just examining and acknowledging the 'too big to fail' problem, which we're still staring in the face. All of the things that brought the US and global economy to its knees in 2008 are still happening and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a repeat of that situation. Congress and the President can do nothing about it, and certainly seem to lack the will even if they could, becuase our government has been sold. They're not even in charge. Obama put the very people who caused the collapse in charge of his cabinet. I'm not sure if Obama is just in over his head or if the entrenched power structure is just too large, but either way, nothing will be done about it until they need another bailout. Frank/Dodd has no teeth at all.


 


The obvious solution is to break up the banks (and maybe nationalize some of them) like we did with AT&T and Microsoft, but I don't see it happening. Another solution would be to re-implement the Glass Stegal Act that prohibits banks from the sort of wanton casino gambling and high risk investments they're allowed to make with everyone else's money, but that's not happening either and no one important I know of is even talking about except for Bernie Sanders. Just look at news on J.P. Morgan Chase for the most recent example of how horrible this situation is and how sickeningly entrenched it's become.


 


My personal favorite solution/idea (aside from public financing of elections) would be to require elected representatives to wear logo patches on thier suits, like NASCAR drivers, to represent their corportate donors. Anyone who's seen 'Idiocracy' will know what I'm talking about.


 


I remain pessemistic about the future of our country and what sort of world my 14 month old son will live in. I suspect it will be worse than what I've lives through, but, as others have pointed out, that's just my opinion.


 


[Edited 5/16/12 11:23am]



No, all the things that happened in 2007-2008 are not the same and a repeat is not going to happen. 


The too big to fail was caused by Northern Rock, a British bank which failed and had high exposure to U.S. subprime mortgages.  Those mortgages and derivatives were insured by AIG, Lehman Brothers and others. When Lehman Brothers could not pay the insurance claims on the products it insured, it sought assistance from the U.S. Treasury to get it through. President Bush, ironically, turned them down on moral grounds (ironic, because he had no problem setting those morals aside to get his war in Iraq, which cost us billions also. Morally and immorally he cost the country trillions.)


When Lehman Brothers collapsed, all financial instruments that were believed to be insured, were now questionable. Banks would not reveal their exposure to Lehman Brothers, AIG and other banks.  Without knowing how bad off someone else could be banks stopped lending each other short term loans lest their money get caught in a bank imploding, going bankrupt or being nationalized. When banks stopped trusting each other, credit ground to a halt. That's when government had to step in to prevent the global economy from seizing. The U.S. wasn't the only country to use a stimulus package. Even China did, for the same reasons.  Chinese banks are basically semi-private government institutions. 


The obvious solution is not to break up banks. I think investment banks and retail banks should be treated separately. A retail bank doesn't play with others money as investment banks do. But investment banks make more money than retail banks. 


Higher capital requirements including a tougher Basel 3, make banks much safer but still stifle credit. 


You cannot create a bank with a mandate to never lose money. The money Citigroup lost is their shareholders money. That's the risk you take with investing.

[Edited 5/16/12 19:26pm]



I hate it when you are correcting me (which has happened more than once), but I found this instance of stuffing somebody with facts as being particularly funny.
True genius is knowing how little
you really know.
Reply #65 posted 05/17/12 6:29pm

seekingtruth

TemetNosce said:

 



SUPRMAN said:


The Cold War ended twenty years ago but our economy has kept growing.

 


Growing for some, but certainly not spreading.  More and more wealth/ownership/control has been concentrating in fewer and fewer hands -- as it always has.  



That is not because opportunity has narrowed. Anybody who is willing to work, risk, and sacrifice can build wealth.
True genius is knowing how little
you really know.
Reply #66 posted 05/17/12 7:13pm

TemetNosce

seekingtruth said:

TemetNosce said:

Growing for some, but certainly not spreading. More and more wealth/ownership/control has been concentrating in fewer and fewer hands -- as it always has.

That is not because opportunity has narrowed. Anybody who is willing to work, risk, and sacrifice can build wealth.

You're either working for someone else who can and will lay you off at any time, or you're working for yourself and being eaten alive by taxes and threatened at every angle by monopoly big business power -- like a mouse amongst so many elephants.

That, or you're a member of the elite multi-billionaire class. And they don't earn their wealth by their own hard work, risk and sacrifice, but by the hard work, risk and sacrifice of many, many other people working for them and/or paying into the tax pool from which they, the multi-billionaire class, primarily benefit.

Reply #67 posted 05/17/12 7:18pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

SUPRMAN said:

meh. all countries have unjust systems of power. white, black, yellow. i challenge you to name one single country on this planet that does not have a bloody past and violent history.

[Edited 5/17/12 9:38am]

Switzerland.

[Edited]

Napoleonic Era (1798–1848)

During the French Revolutionary Wars, French armies enveloped Switzerland during their battles against Austria. In 1798 Switzerland was completely overrun by the French who turned it into the united Helvetic Republic, effectively abolishing the cantons. Having been imposed by a foreign power, and relying on French troops to survive, the Helvetic Republic was highly unpopular and encountered severe economic and political problems and uprisings. Its new constitution following not Swiss sentiment but the political philosophy of the French Revolution. Swiss resistance constitution reflects a wider European discontent with the French Revolution and conflicting Swiss notions of liberty and freedom.[4]

In 1803, Napoleon's Act of Mediation partially restored the sovereignty of the cantons, and the former tributary and allied territories of Aargau, Thurgau, Grisons, St. Gallen, Vaudand Ticino became cantons with equal rights.

The Congress of Vienna of 1815 fully re-established Swiss independence and the European powers agreed to recognize permanent Swiss neutrality. At this time, Valais, Neuchateland Geneva also joined Switzerland as new cantons, thereby extending Swiss territory for the last time.

[Edited]

http://en.wikipedia.org/w...witzerland

Try again?

[Edited 5/17/12 20:21pm]

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #68 posted 05/17/12 8:03pm

V10LETBLUES

We didn't save Northen Rock, but if you throw a rope to save people, there has to be someome holding it taking all weight. It was all going to collapse and turn out the same no matter what.
There was no other outcome possible no matter how one obfuscates this mess.

Again, ths mess isn't complicated, we just played the oldest con on ourselves. We can create boogiemen and cut and paste articles but in the end, in the simplest terms it was a ponzi/pyramid scheme. The one's in on it at the beginning made the money, and those at the end when the music stopped were left without a chair and shit out of luck.
Nothing complicated another it regardless of the bs we tell ourselves.

Nobody has their hands clean and we all got what was inevitable, what we as a society deserved.[quote]
[Edited 5/17/12 21:57pm]
innocent
Reply #69 posted 05/18/12 12:46am

purplethunder3121

Hyperactive when I was small
Hyperactive now I'm grown
Hyperactive 'till I'm dead and gone...
Reply #70 posted 05/18/12 8:05am

HuMpThAnG

purplethunder3121 said:

yeah...popcorn

Reply #71 posted 05/18/12 8:54am

XxAxX

.

[Edited 5/18/12 8:55am]

Reply #72 posted 05/18/12 9:50am

herb4

Anyone who thinks a repeat of the 2008 collapse is impossible, or even unlikelt, is deluding themselves and framing their arguments semantically to suit their opinion. Europe's economy is still in the very early stages of what may very well be a crash. A econd economic meltdown will start with what is going on in Europe today. The whole point of concern here is that American banks have significant positions in Europe, so a macro problem in their economy would potentially cause (nobody knows how large these positions are) bank failures in the US, like we saw in 2008.

Not only do American banks have positions in Europe, many European banks have underwriting and investment portfolios in the United States that would become extremely unstable if the European banking system began to teeter.

And the worst part is, because Obama put reinvigorating the Fed's regulators, the SEC, and the CFTC on the back burner, we still have minimal transparency into the degree of market connectivity that is going on. These banks have entire divisions trading in the tens of billions of dollars in new types of securities and swaps that we STILL have no regulatory window to peek into.

Sellers need buyers. The banks would love to offload whatever crazy Euro bank security swap paper they've got, but no one's interested in buying. That's why these things are called crap; they aren't worth the paper they're printed on, much less the massive debt they're supposed to collateralize. And it just spirals from there, because those huge debts for which the worthless investments were supposed to be collateral suddenly come due because that's how CDS deals are actually supposed to work. I think it would be hard to come up with a better way to crash the world financial system if you were trying. It would be funny if they weren't gambling (unknown) trillions.

Reply #73 posted 05/18/12 9:55am

herb4

seekingtruth said:

herb4 said:

We're dead broke. We start and fail to finance unwinnable wars. We place no value on education or art. We're horrible polluters. Too many of our citizens are bordeline theocrats. We've turned this entire nation's modern discourse into a television commercial. Our best and brightest would rather persue careers in banking than science or medicine or engineering. A third of the population is on anti depressents. We are the world's largest jailer of it's own citizens, per capita, by far. We buy things we don't need and can't afford because the TV tells us to, waiting in line for privilege of handing Apple money we don't have.

Our economy is based on nothing of substance and our money is an illusion that stands for nothing. Our national energy, healthcare and drug policies are a fucking joke. We have serious candidates for the U.S. Presidency who deny the existence of evolution, openly hate gays, think contraception is a sin, global warming is a hoax and that our sitting President is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist Nazi. We shoot each other in the streets with impunity. The largest sector of our economy by far is banking and credit. We think that fake tits, whiteened teeth and fake tans will make us more attractive.

We've moved the Overton Window so far to the right that we've not only lent credibility to Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, but have somehow managed to paint our sitting President as an extreme left winger when he's actually governed to the right of Ronald Fucking Reagan. Our citizens can't read, write add or subtract worth a shit. Wall Street owns our law makers and legally gambles with our retirement money. Very serious efforts are being made to dismantle any remaining semblance of our social safety net.

I don't see a way to move forward until we get serious about our energy policy and our education system, but I don't see anyone doing that. So, yeah, our best days ARE behind us.

Bizarre. I agree whole heartily with some of your post and think that the other part is naive and misrepresents conservative perspective.

Weird. Why, it's as if people can have differing opinions on things and might agree with the same person on some things and not others. Almost as if we're not all pre-programmed robots who must march in lockstep. It is bizzare. The other night I was disagreeing with my wife about something but then the next day, we totally agreed on some other shit and we still ove each other.

It was CRAZY!

Reply #74 posted 05/18/12 10:09am

herb4

SUPRMAN said:

herb4 said:

Switzerland.

[Edited]

Napoleonic Era (1798–1848)

My bad.

So, the Swiss being invaded 214 years ago totally conflates to the United States' modern history of never-ending warfare and an unsustainable investment in the military industrial complex? I get your point, but I think you're arguing in bad faith, moving the goalposts around and making false equivalencies.

Of course every nation has a history of war and conflict in their history. If you want me to conceed that, I will.

Reply #75 posted 05/18/12 9:25pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

Anyone who thinks a repeat of the 2008 collapse is impossible, or even unlikelt, is deluding themselves and framing their arguments semantically to suit their opinion. Europe's economy is still in the very early stages of what may very well be a crash. A econd economic meltdown will start with what is going on in Europe today. The whole point of concern here is that American banks have significant positions in Europe, so a macro problem in their economy would potentially cause (nobody knows how large these positions are) bank failures in the US, like we saw in 2008.

Not only do American banks have positions in Europe, many European banks have underwriting and investment portfolios in the United States that would become extremely unstable if the European banking system began to teeter.

And the worst part is, because Obama put reinvigorating the Fed's regulators, the SEC, and the CFTC on the back burner, we still have minimal transparency into the degree of market connectivity that is going on. These banks have entire divisions trading in the tens of billions of dollars in new types of securities and swaps that we STILL have no regulatory window to peek into.

Sellers need buyers. The banks would love to offload whatever crazy Euro bank security swap paper they've got, but no one's interested in buying. That's why these things are called crap; they aren't worth the paper they're printed on, much less the massive debt they're supposed to collateralize. And it just spirals from there, because those huge debts for which the worthless investments were supposed to be collateral suddenly come due because that's how CDS deals are actually supposed to work. I think it would be hard to come up with a better way to crash the world financial system if you were trying. It would be funny if they weren't gambling (unknown) trillions.

No. How is another subprime mortgage meltdown going to happen in the near future?

No one is buying homes, let alone mortgages of those who are buying homes.

Europe's meltdown is due to a currency crisis. A different problem with different solutions.

U.S. banks have been reducing their exposure to European assets. U.S. banks also passed a stress test based on worsening conditions in Europe.

European holding in the U.S. would not become unstable. They would merely be sold at bargain prices by European banks to raise capital.

Why does every financial instrument need government regulation? Merely because it exists?

It wasn't any and every financial instrument that caused the credit crisis and recession of 2007-2009. It was a loss of confidence in the ability of insurers of those financial instruments to meet their obligations.

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #76 posted 05/18/12 9:28pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

SUPRMAN said:

[Edited]

Napoleonic Era (1798–1848)

My bad.

So, the Swiss being invaded 214 years ago totally conflates to the United States' modern history of never-ending warfare and an unsustainable investment in the military industrial complex? I get your point, but I think you're arguing in bad faith, moving the goalposts around and making false equivalencies.

Of course every nation has a history of war and conflict in their history. If you want me to conceed that, I will.

How am I moving the goalposts?!!!!! I answered the challenge of another poster. Accurately I might add as there were no parameters in regard to time, just the history of that nation. Switzerland was a nation when Napoleon invaded.

I was responding to this:

XxAxX said:

TemetNosce said:

White privilege as an institution is a reality in this country. Pointing that out is not "racism."

WW2 and the Cold War were directly or indirectly responsible for this country's industrial and technological economic base.

meh. all countries have unjust systems of power. white, black, yellow. i challenge you to name one single country on this planet that does not have a bloody past and violent history.

[Edited 5/17/12 9:38am]

Switzerland.

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #77 posted 05/18/12 10:49pm

V10LETBLUES

In Europe, the US and everywhere, it was the same exact thing, passing off overvalued assets.


U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said British bank practices before 2008 resembled “Ponzi schemes,” contributing to the market crash.


http:/bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-03/u-k-banks-ran-ponzi-schemes-before-2008-financial-crash-osborne-says.html
innocent
Reply #78 posted 05/19/12 4:50am

XxAxX

herb4 said:

SUPRMAN said:

[Edited]

Napoleonic Era (1798–1848)

My bad.

So, the Swiss being invaded 214 years ago totally conflates to the United States' modern history of never-ending warfare and an unsustainable investment in the military industrial complex? I get your point, but I think you're arguing in bad faith, moving the goalposts around and making false equivalencies.

Of course every nation has a history of war and conflict in their history. If you want me to conceed that, I will.

obviously that was my point from the beginning.

there simply are no countries without a violent history

and switzerland has a very lengthy history (we're talking back to the beginning of recorded history lenghty) of warfare.

[Edited 5/19/12 4:52am]

Reply #79 posted 05/19/12 5:37pm

SuperFurryAnimal

TemetNosce said:

SuperFurryAnimal said:

Privilege to what?

To get a loan from a bank, a house in the suburbs, a seat at a Woolworth lunch-counter, etc.

I had relatives in WW2. They were paid for the week about what some will spend on an avg stoner binge at the mini-market in todays world.. It's easy to be jaded but let's put that into perspective.

Reply #80 posted 05/20/12 9:12am

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

Anyone who thinks a repeat of the 2008 collapse is impossible, or even unlikelt, is deluding themselves and framing their arguments semantically to suit their opinion. Europe's economy is still in the very early stages of what may very well be a crash. A econd economic meltdown will start with what is going on in Europe today. The whole point of concern here is that American banks have significant positions in Europe, so a macro problem in their economy would potentially cause (nobody knows how large these positions are) bank failures in the US, like we saw in 2008.

Not only do American banks have positions in Europe, many European banks have underwriting and investment portfolios in the United States that would become extremely unstable if the European banking system began to teeter.

And the worst part is, because Obama put reinvigorating the Fed's regulators, the SEC, and the CFTC on the back burner, we still have minimal transparency into the degree of market connectivity that is going on. These banks have entire divisions trading in the tens of billions of dollars in new types of securities and swaps that we STILL have no regulatory window to peek into.

Sellers need buyers. The banks would love to offload whatever crazy Euro bank security swap paper they've got, but no one's interested in buying. That's why these things are called crap; they aren't worth the paper they're printed on, much less the massive debt they're supposed to collateralize. And it just spirals from there, because those huge debts for which the worthless investments were supposed to be collateral suddenly come due because that's how CDS deals are actually supposed to work. I think it would be hard to come up with a better way to crash the world financial system if you were trying. It would be funny if they weren't gambling (unknown) trillions.

How you gamble with 'unknown' funds?

Believe it or not, people do keep track of these things.

The notional amount of outstanding over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives declined to $648 trillion at the end of last year, after reaching a high of $707 trillion in June 2011. Interest-rate contracts, which make up the majority of OTC derivatives traded, decreased by 9% to $504 trillion; credit-default swaps dropped by 12%; and other derivatives, including commodities and equity-linked contracts, fell by 9%—despite Australia and Spain reporting to the Bank for International Settlements for the first time in December 2011. However, gross market values, which measure the cost of replacing all existing contracts, increased by 40%, to $27.3 trillion, the biggest increase since the second half of 2008.

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #81 posted 05/20/12 10:45am

herb4

SUPRMAN said:

stuff

When I said you were "arguing in bad faith" and "moving the goalposts", I didn't mean you were wrong about your facts, and I conceded as much. I meant that you're shifting the focus from the main topic and sort of hand-waving away the United States' perpetual preoccupation with war and slavish devotion to the military industrial complex, it's unsustainability, the economic and global ramifications for America's future in doing so and excusing it by saying "Meh. Every country has wars. Show me one that doesn't."

And I wouldn't categorize Switzerland as "having a bloody past and violent history" any more than I'd say that someone who got busted with weed one time or got a DUI has a serious drug problem. By that definition, the Faulkland Islands was a fucking bloodbath.

I appreciate your attention to detail and fact checking, as well as your input and feedback on the banking problem, even though I disagree entirely with your conclusions on it. I never really saw where you specifically adressed how you thought we'd ever get serious about our energy policy or who you thought might lead the way, especially when you've got half the government and half of our citizens who don't even believe global warming is a problem and that our energy problems can be fixed by simply drilling more.

I guess what I mean is, saying that every country has had military conflicts doesn't do much to dispel the idea that the U.S. has a modern and unique fascination with it (see: military spending) and how that is helping to avoid "putting our best days behind us" (see: Rome/Germany).

I remain stunned at your optimism about Wall Street and big banks, but have it your way. I hope I'm wrong. But the problem is that those troubled assets are on their books at their original value, acting as collateral for even more debt. If they burn them or even admit their real value (shit) the banks suddenly have to admit they are deeply insolvent. This is why the mark-to-market rule was so important and also why it was murdered in its crib by the banking lobby. Banks are terrified of having to use the actual value of their assets on their official books instead of imaginary values they could never actually get for those assets.

No one in their right mind would buy those assets for their stated values.

Reply #82 posted 05/20/12 10:51am

herb4

seekingtruth said:

TemetNosce said:

Growing for some, but certainly not spreading. More and more wealth/ownership/control has been concentrating in fewer and fewer hands -- as it always has.

That is not because opportunity has narrowed. Anybody who is willing to work, risk, and sacrifice can build wealth.

Tell me more about working harder, bootstraps and raising my retirement age so we can keep taxes low on the "job creators".

American worker productivity continues to rise and wages have been stagnant and flat for 25 years or more. So I guess you're saying, just work harder, risk and sacrifice even more and one day it'll all even out? Shit. I better get off this forum and go buy some real estate!

Reply #83 posted 05/20/12 10:57am

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

SUPRMAN said:

stuff

When I said you were "arguing in bad faith" and "moving the goalposts", I didn't mean you were wrong about your facts, and I conceded as much. I meant that you're shifting the focus from the main topic and sort of hand-waving away the United States' perpetual preoccupation with war and slavish devotion to the military industrial complex, it's unsustainability, the economic and global ramifications for America's future in doing so and excusing it by saying "Meh. Every country has wars. Show me one that doesn't."

And I wouldn't categorize Switzerland as "having a bloody past and violent history" any more than I'd say that someone who got busted with weed one time or got a DUI has a serious drug problem. By that definition, the Faulkland Islands was a fucking bloodbath.

I appreciate your attention to detail and fact checking, as well as your input and feedback on the banking problem, even though I disagree entirely with your conclusions on it. I never really saw where you specifically adressed how you thought we'd ever get serious about our energy policy or who you thought might lead the way, especially when you've got half the government and half of our citizens who don't even believe global warming is a problem and that our energy problems can be fixed by simply drilling more.

I guess what I mean is, saying that every country has had military conflicts doesn't do much to dispel the idea that the U.S. has a modern and unique fascination with it (see: military spending) and how that is helping to avoid "putting our best days behind us" (see: Rome/Germany).

I remain stunned at your optimism about Wall Street and big banks, but have it your way. I hope I'm wrong. But the problem is that those troubled assets are on their books at their original value, acting as collateral for even more debt. If they burn them or even admit their real value (shit) the banks suddenly have to admit they are deeply insolvent. This is why the mark-to-market rule was so important and also why it was murdered in its crib by the banking lobby. Banks are terrified of having to use the actual value of their assets on their official books instead of imaginary values they could never actually get for those assets.

No one in their right mind would buy those assets for their stated values.

Energy policy? I posted a whole thread on U.S energy independence.

Here it is:

U.S. energy independence is no longer just a pipe dream

Williamsport, Pa., used to be celebrated for its past — as the 1938 birthplace of Little League Baseball, which still plays its annual World Series nearby. Then natural gas was found.

Now this once-sleepy chunk of north-central Pennsylvania is a star on the map of an emerging national energy rush. Six hotels are new or being built, and about 100 companies have moved to town, sometimes so fast that the head of the local Chamber of Commerce has told executives wanting guided tours to wait.

"I've said, 'Look sir, get in line,' " says Vince Matteo, chief executive of the Williamsport/Lycoming chamber. "Now I know people in their 20s with high school (diplomas) making $120,000 a year."

Much of Wall Street and Washington is seized by the hope that the U.S.'s energy future will be as bright as Williamsport's. As Americans heave a sigh of relief at gasoline prices falling back from near $4 a gallon, big new discoveries of domestic oil and natural gas hold the promise of more substantial benefits for the U.S. economy for decades to come — even the possibility of energy independence.

Every president since Richard Nixon has called for the U.S. to wean itself from needing oil from unstable or unsavory countries. The nation's new-found energy riches are likely to bring that ambition closer to reality in the next two decades, according to many forecasters.

It's no pipe dream. The U.S. is already the world's fastest-growing oil and natural gas producer. Counting the output from Canada and Mexico, North America is "the new Middle East," Citigroup analysts declare in a recent report.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency says U.S. oil imports will drop 20% by 2025. Oil giant BP projects the U.S. will get 94% of its energy domestically by 2030, up from 77% now, as oil imports fall by half. Energy billionaire T. Boone Pickens, a major investor in oil and natural-gas companies, said the U.S. can at least end oil imports from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, about half its total, through new drilling and by shifting diesel-swilling trucks to natural gas. Any other oil needs should be from politically stable allies such as Canada, Pickens said.

Most enticing, a team of analysts and economists at Citigroup argues that the U.S., or at least North America, can achieve energy independence by 2020, as more domestic production and doubling down on conservation produce a virtuous cycle. The U.S. can make itself a net exporter of crude oil, refined products and natural gas — says Citigroup energy strategist Seth Kleinman.

"The notion of the U.S. getting to zero net imports of oil is obviously a sexy notion, but it's not necessary for it to mean the world will change," he says. "We are seeing a dramatic collapse in U.S. net imports of oil as we speak, to the tune of almost 1 million barrels a day each year over the last four years."

If anything like that happens, an improbable-sounding litany of good things can result.

In practical terms, more energy independence could mean 3.6 million new jobs, enough to cut unemployment by two percentage points, Citigroup argues. It could help manufacturers and chemical businesses that use lots of energy or make products from natural gas. It might give the U.S. a structural advantage on trade partners in energy costs, helping to offset the edge that cheaper labor gives nations such as China, Kleinman says. Already, U.S. natural gas prices are a seventh of what they are in Beijing, Pickens says.

"The potential is clearly there for a genuine revitalization and reindustrialization of the economy," Kleinman says. "In industries where energy is a major element of costs, the U.S. is moving into a uniquely advantaged position."

After years of gripes that the U.S. imports too much oil, the energy industry is pumping a gusher of good-news numbers:

•The U.S. price of natural gas has plummeted more than 80% since 2008, including nearly 45% in the last year, thanks to new supplies. The falling cost of natural gas alone will save U.S. households $926 a year between now and 2015, consulting firm IHS Global Insight says.

The USA's 15% gain in crude-oil production since 2008 is by far the world's biggest, with new fields just beginning to be developed. The U.S. has overtaken Russia as the world's largest refined-petroleum exporter, according to Citigroup.

•Utilities' switchover to cheap natural gas from coal is lowering power bills. One utility switching to more gas plants, Georgia Power, has filed to cut Atlanta-area electricity rates 6%, citing a 19% drop in fuel costs.

[EDITED FOR COMPLIANCE]

Why $2 gasoline is unlikely

For consumers, America's new energy supplies help contain costs — but they're not a magic path back to $2 gasoline.

The good news: Natural-gas heating costs have dropped nearly 40% since 2008, undoing half their 160% climb after 1999. Electricity costs have remained flat, too.

The bad news: Gasoline prices have flirted with all-time highs this year, and even the fast-emerging new supplies are unlikely to offer major relief soon.

To understand why, it helps to master some numbers.

First is the number two — the U.S. has two main energy markets, one each for electricity and transportation. They're very different. Electric utilities use mostly coal, natural gas and nuclear power, or renewables, almost all from the U.S. and Canada. Cars use oil, about 45% of it imported.

The second big number is 86 — the 86 million barrels of crude produced worldwide daily. About 19 million are burned in the U.S., three-fourths of them for transportation, the government says. About 8.9 million are imported, 4.2 million from OPEC. Bringing crude-oil imports down will be about changing how Americans fill gas tanks — or whatever advanced electric-car battery replaces gas tanks.

Domestic natural-gas gluts will do little for real energy independence until more cars use electricity or natural gas, says Hemphill. That's one reason Pickens is campaigning to subsidize converting business truck fleets to natural gas — legislation the Senate defeated in March.

"I'm for anything American," Pickens said. "I want at least to get off the 5 million barrels a day we get from OPEC."

The most important number may be $70 — the estimated cost to produce a barrel of oil from shale or tar sands, the heart of the new U.S. supplies. While natural-gas prices have sunk, oil prices might not, since they typically follow the cost of producing the most expensive barrel on the market.

Today's world oil prices of about $111 a barrel are boosted by tensions from Iran's nuclear program, as well as emerging-market oil demand that will exceed that of developed nations for the first time this year, according to the International Energy Agency. At about $95 a barrel, U.S. oil prices have risen, too, even though the U.S. doesn't import Iranian crude.

Using the rule of thumb from research firm IHS CERA, that a $10 move in crude changes U.S. gasoline prices by 24 cents a gallon, dropping crude to $70 would lower pump prices about $1, leaving gasoline near $3.


[Edited]

The money saved on energy will pay dividends throughout the economy. Lowering the $400 billion the U.S. sends abroad annually for oil would function like a huge tax cut, says Chris Lafakis, energy economist at Moody's Analytics.

"A third to 40% would be my guess" at how much the U.S. can cut imports by the next decade, Lafakis says. "At 40%, that's $160 billion a year, and that's massive. It's like the temporary payroll tax cut we have now, plus a third, and it lasts forever."

[Edited]

http://www.usatoday.com/m...54977254/1

"The potential is clearly there for a genuine revitalization and reindustrialization of the economy," Kleinman says. "In industries where energy is a major element of costs, the U.S. is moving into a uniquely advantaged position."

Natural gas may be a reason to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S to take advantage of cheap energy. You can even avoid union states as pipelines take natural gas throughout the U.S.

But I like this. Again, why would Americans feel we've seen our best?

All the oil we no longer buy, China will.

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #84 posted 05/20/12 11:15am

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

SUPRMAN said:

stuff

When I said you were "arguing in bad faith" and "moving the goalposts", I didn't mean you were wrong about your facts, and I conceded as much. I meant that you're shifting the focus from the main topic and sort of hand-waving away the United States' perpetual preoccupation with war and slavish devotion to the military industrial complex, it's unsustainability, the economic and global ramifications for America's future in doing so and excusing it by saying "Meh. Every country has wars. Show me one that doesn't."

And I wouldn't categorize Switzerland as "having a bloody past and violent history" any more than I'd say that someone who got busted with weed one time or got a DUI has a serious drug problem. By that definition, the Faulkland Islands was a fucking bloodbath.

I appreciate your attention to detail and fact checking, as well as your input and feedback on the banking problem, even though I disagree entirely with your conclusions on it. I never really saw where you specifically adressed how you thought we'd ever get serious about our energy policy or who you thought might lead the way, especially when you've got half the government and half of our citizens who don't even believe global warming is a problem and that our energy problems can be fixed by simply drilling more.

I guess what I mean is, saying that every country has had military conflicts doesn't do much to dispel the idea that the U.S. has a modern and unique fascination with it (see: military spending) and how that is helping to avoid "putting our best days behind us" (see: Rome/Germany).

I remain stunned at your optimism about Wall Street and big banks, but have it your way. I hope I'm wrong. But the problem is that those troubled assets are on their books at their original value, acting as collateral for even more debt. If they burn them or even admit their real value (shit) the banks suddenly have to admit they are deeply insolvent. This is why the mark-to-market rule was so important and also why it was murdered in its crib by the banking lobby. Banks are terrified of having to use the actual value of their assets on their official books instead of imaginary values they could never actually get for those assets.

No one in their right mind would buy those assets for their stated values.

How Switzerland is categorized was not at issue. Take the Swiss issue(s) up with whomever gave Switzerland as an answer to the question.

I just showed that Switzerland, despite its legend is not immune. We're talking human behavior.

You are apparently unaware with my history here if you think I don't take issue with and criticize the U.S. miiltary and defense spending. I don't feel the need to do it each and every time I comment however.

Those troubled assets cannot be on their books at their original value. Do you think a bank carries a house in foreclosure on its books at the original sale price? Capital requirements don't allow that for the reason you imply- that it presents a deceptive sense of the bank's health.

This portion of an article about Deutshe Bank I think addresses some of your concerns regarding banking and international banking.

[EDITED]

The global financial system has a “worse problem” now than before the U.S. subprime crisis because banks have actually gotten bigger through acquisitions, Nouriel Roubini, the New York University professor who predicted the 2008 financial crisis, said in Davos on Jan. 27.

Even Bigger

“They’ve become even bigger-to-fail,” Roubini said. “Now we’re saying we’ve reformed the system; we have living wills; we have insolvency regimes, and we’re going to be able to break up these monsters or close them down when there is the next crisis. Nobody really believes that, this is something that’s not going to happen.”

Lehman’s bankruptcy, which led to more than $2 trillion in losses and taxpayer bailouts worldwide, spurred regulators to introduce stricter capital rules for financial firms.

Deutsche Bank increased its core Tier 1 capital ratio, a measure of financial strength that takes into account risk- weightings assigned to various assets, to 10.8 percent by the end of 2011 from 7 percent at the end of 2008.

Risk-Weightings

Risk-weighted assets at Deutsche Bank will rise to 499 billion euros at the beginning of 2013 from 381 billion euros at the end of 2011 as new rules from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, known as Basel III, increase the value of the assets by 105 billion euros, according to a simulation included in a Feb. 2 company presentation.

The amount would be higher if it excluded mitigation plans, which Deutsche Bank hasn’t broken down. The firm previously reduced risk-weighted assets by selling securitized products, allowing assets to expire and engaging in hedging.

The new rules assign higher risk-weightings to force banks to increase the amount of capital they hold against assets and boost their ability to withstand shocks in financial markets.

Deutsche Bank’s ratio of common equity to risk-weighted assets using Basel III standards would be 7.4 percent by the end of this year compared with 9.9 percent at Morgan Stanley, 9.7 percent at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and 8.5 percent at Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan analysts Kian Abouhossein and Amit Ranjan estimated in a Jan. 24 note.

Banks worldwide will be required to hold common equity of at least 7 percent of risk-weighted assets by 2019 when the rules take effect, and firms deemed systemically important, such as Deutsche Bank, will need more.

Leverage Ratio

Deutsche Bank is focusing on reining in assets weighted according to risk instead of its total balance sheet to boost capital levels, said Dirk Becker, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Kepler Capital Markets.

Total assets exceeded Tier 1 capital by 44 times as of Dec. 31, making the German lender the second-most leveraged among the 10 biggest European banks, behind France’s Credit Agricole SA (ACA) at 46 times, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Deutsche Bank’s leverage is down from 68 times at the end of 2007, when the U.S. subprime crisis was claiming its first casualties.

The bank says its leverage ratio, as calculated under an in-house “target definition” that makes it more comparable to U.S. peers, is 21, higher than JPMorgan’s, which is about 15.

“Leverage alone is not a good risk measure as it ignores balance-sheet composition,” said Christian Streckert, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank. “For example, our growth in cash and liquid assets improved the bank’s risk position and at the same time resulted in an increased leverage.”

Counterparty Risk

Deutsche Bank in the fourth quarter also cut its trading risk at the corporate and investment-banking unit to the lowest since at least 2003, according to company filings on average value at risk, or VaR, a measure of how much it could lose in trading in one day.

The bank will increase its VaR because the fourth-quarter level isn’t sustainable, Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause said in February.

The German lender has one of the biggest derivatives books in Europe because it’s the largest trader of fixed income, currencies and commodities, Kepler’s Becker said. The notional value of those contracts increased last year because of higher market volatility and the appreciation of the dollar against the euro, he said.

“The larger your derivatives book, the more counterparty and price risks you have,” Kepler’s Becker said. “Deutsche Bank managed risk extremely well under Banziger. The question is whether it will work as well under the new risk chief.”

‘Can Go Wrong’

Derivatives are a type of security whose price is dependent upon or derived from underlying assets such as stocks, bonds, commodities and currencies. The contracts between two or more parties are often used to hedge risk.

“Derivatives used properly can reduce risk, but things can go wrong, especially if there’s too much concentration in your book,” said Matthew Czepliewicz, a London-based analyst at Canaccord Genuity Corp. who has a hold rating on the bank’s shares. “From an analytical perspective, my primary focus is rarely total size, but it does attract regulatory and media attention.”

Global regulators have tried to address issues of too-big- to-fail with measures that go beyond Basel rules.

Beyond Basel

The Financial Stability Board, a body set up by the Group of 20 nations that includes regulators and central bankers, in November published a provisional list of 29 systemically important lenders that must hold additional capital. Deutsche Bank and Barclays Plc (BARC) may get the second-highest surcharge of 2 percentage points, while banks including JPMorgan and BNP Paribas may face the top charge of 2.5 percentage points, according to a copy of a second list obtained by Bloomberg News.

Germany has introduced a law aimed at helping the government restructure lenders and avoid bailouts. Beginning in 2011, the Federal Agency for Financial Market Stabilization began to oversee a restructuring fund and collect a bank levy that will enable it to reorganize lenders and protect systemically relevant parts of struggling firms.

Germany’s governing coalition of Christian Democrats and Free Democrats is considering copying the U.K. by introducing a legal separation of lenders’ investment-banking and consumer arms, and the Finance Ministry is drawing up a feasibility study, lawmakers have said.

‘A Juggernaut’

“We have introduced multilevel checks and balances globally as well as in Germany that show we’ve learned from the crisis,” Bjoern Saenger, a Free Democrat member of the finance committee, said in an interview. “Clearly Deutsche Bank has become a juggernaut, and it makes good political sense to be aware of that development. But I don’t see a problem. Most in Germany would say having a global player is a good thing.”

Germany and France led efforts in 2009 to weaken capital regulations proposed by the Basel committee for lenders worldwide. The group softened its original proposals for how much capital banks will be required to have in proportion to assets weighted according to their perceived risk, while the plan to limit banks’ gross assets in comparison to capital is still under review.

That contrasts with Switzerland and Sweden, which are requiring lenders to boost capital beyond Basel requirements and sell securities that become equity in times of market turmoil.

UBS Losses

The danger of balance-sheet expansion came to light during the last credit crisis. Before global credit markets froze in 2007, UBS added assets to boost earnings and shareholder returns. Profit at the Zurich-based bank doubled between 1999 and 2006 as its balance sheet more than doubled.

Once the crisis hit, the bank found itself with losses and writedowns of more than $57 billion from securities such as super-senior tranches of collateralized debt obligations, which often had top ratings and were perceived to be risk-free. The near collapse of the firm, which was rescued by the Swiss government, illustrated how high leverage can translate into greater risk and unforeseen losses.

A more recent example of assets once seen as almost risk- free turning sour is sovereign debt. Long-term Greek government bonds were rated A-, six levels below the top rating by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, until December 2009. Moody’s Investors Service kept an equivalent rating until June 2010.

The Greek government this month carried out the biggest sovereign-debt restructuring in history after banks, insurers and other investors backed a plan to forgive more than half of the 206 billion euros in debt held by private investors.

Systemically Important

Deutsche Bank cut its net exposure to the sovereign debt of Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain to 3.67 billion euros at the end of last year from 12.1 billion euros in 2010, helped by hedging, writedowns and maturing bonds. The lender has been praised by investors and analysts for holding fewer U.S. subprime mortgages and less sovereign debt than many peers.

At the end of 2010, Deutsche Bank was ranked the world’s most systemically important financial institution by Japan’s Financial Services Agency and central bank, based on estimates about the impact a failure would have on the global financial system, according to Mainichi newspaper.

“On the one hand, it made us proud, but on the other hand, of course, we’re aware of the responsibility,” Ackermann said at an earnings press conference in February 2011 when asked about being deemed the world’s most systemically important bank.

By the end of May, the Swiss native will no longer carry that weight on his shoulders. After the shareholders meeting, he’ll pass the baton to Jain and Fitschen.

The co-CEOs may sleep comfortably, knowing they’ve got German taxpayers behind them, Merck Finck’s Becker said.

“No government in this world would let a bank with comparable significance to Deutsche Bank go bust,” he said.

http://www.bloomberg.com/...ation.html

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #85 posted 05/20/12 11:39am

herb4

Good stuff, Suprman, and thanks for the response. I love finding reasons to be less cynical about things. I was unaware of your energy thread. I haven't spent much time here in a good while. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seemed to be arguing that banks needed to be less regulated but the arguments you just submitted are citing increased regulation (that kicks in in 2019) as a good reason why there won't be another financial collapse.

by which I mean:

as new rules from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, known as Basel III,

The new rules assign higher risk-weightings to force banks to increase the amount of capital they hold against assets and boost their ability to withstand shocks in financial markets.

Banks worldwide will be required to hold common equity of at least 7 percent of risk-weighted assets by 2019 when the rules take effect, and firms deemed systemically important, such as Deutsche Bank, will need more.

The Financial Stability Board, a body set up by the Group of 20 nations that includes regulators and central bankers...


Sooooo...more regulation is the reason you think we're safer now than in 08? Is that right?

I enjoy discussing this with you.

Reply #86 posted 05/20/12 12:28pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

Good stuff, Suprman, and thanks for the response. I love finding reasons to be less cynical about things. I was unaware of your energy thread. I haven't spent much time here in a good while. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seemed to be arguing that banks needed to be less regulated but the arguments you just submitted are citing increased regulation (that kicks in in 2019) as a good reason why there won't be another financial collapse.

by which I mean:

as new rules from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, known as Basel III,

Banks worldwide will be required to hold common equity of at least 7 percent of risk-weighted assets by 2019 when the rules take effect, and firms deemed systemically important, such as Deutsche Bank, will need more.

The Financial Stability Board, a body set up by the Group of 20 nations that includes regulators and central bankers...


Sooooo...more regulation is the reason you think we're safer now than in 08? Is that right?

I enjoy discussing this with you.

Basel III was in the works before the credit crisis and was delayed to see how the rules would have played out in that environment. Then it was tweaked accordingly.

But the bigger reason is simply more awareness. Interconnectedness was a major problem with everyone holding everyone else's debt and risks. Now institutions are more aware of avoiding situations where they are placing bets against assets they are holding.

Greece has shown that even sovereign debt is not be assumed fully guaranteed.

[EDITED]

Five large American banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs , have more than $80 billion of exposure to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece, the most economically stressed nations in the euro currency zone, according to a New York Times analysis of the banks’ financial disclosures.

But these banks have made extensive use of a type of financial insurance, the credit-default swap , to help them offset any losses that might occur if defaults swamped the five troubled nations.

Using these swaps, along with other measures, the five banks have cut their theoretical exposure to the troubled countries by $30 billion, to $50 billion. The analysis also shows thatCitigroup has the greatest percentage of its exposure potentially protected, at 47 percent, while Bank of America has bought the least protection, at 12 percent.

On Sunday, the Greek government appeared close to a deal with the majority of its creditors that would lead to big write-downs in the value of its debt. But even a deal could spawn a series of events that could lead to payouts on Greek credit-default swaps. While the Greek swaps would probably be paid, they represent only part of the $602 billion of swaps that have been written on the five troubled countries.

Credit-default swaps have functioned well for big bankruptcies, but they were also a big source of systemic weakness in 2008, when the American International Group nearly collapsed because it could not make payments on its side of its swaps contracts. Some market participants now doubt they would work properly during periods of great financial instability.

“The likelihood of actually getting paid out from owning a credit-default swap would be troubling to me if this were my hedge against a systemic shock — especially in a political environment unfriendly to more Wall Street bailouts,” Mark Spitznagel, chief investment officer at the hedge fund Universa Investments, said through a spokesman.

Since the A.I.G. debacle, regulators have been working to ensure financial firms will actually be able to make, or collect, payments on their swaps when markets are failing. While regulators have the power to get a detailed look at banks’ swaps positions, investors have struggled to get a solid grasp of their exposures from the banks’ financial filings.

Analyzing banks’ Europe-related swaps can be like a walk through a fun house, where appearances are distorted and you do not know what is around the corner. The degree of disclosure among the five banks differs greatly, and not all of them give a complete snapshot of their exposures and offsetting bets.

But that could change in February, when the banks release 2011 annual reports. The Securities and Exchange Commission this month requested that banks now provide fuller and more consistent presentations of their European positions, saying disclosures have lacked transparency, and might therefore be inadequate for investors. Bank representatives last week said they would comply with the guidance.

One upshot of the new disclosure might be that certain banks’ European numbers could suddenly look substantially bigger, since the S.E.C. is effectively asking banks to unbundle key exposures in their financial statements so outsiders can see how big they are before offsetting items.

“If you do see a jump in gross exposures, there will be new questions for management,” said Mike Mayo, a bank analyst with the brokerage CLSA.

Citigroup said it had $20.2 billion of exposure to the five stressed peripheral countries at the end of last year. The bank said it had $9.6 billion of “credit protection” on those countries, and had set aside $4.2 billion of collateral that would also offset its total exposure.

Collecting on the swaps would mean Citigroup’s counterparties having the money in stressed times to make a full payment. John Gerspach, Citigroup’s chief financial officer, said this month that the bank was highly confident it could collect, adding that the entities it bought protection from were “very high quality.”

Citigroup’s disclosed gross exposure to the five countries, including $7.4 billion in loans that have not actually been drawn, was $28.9 billion at the end of last year. Its net number, after credit-default swaps and collateral, was $15.1 billion. Put another way, Citigroup has “hedged” 47 percent of its disclosed exposure to the five countries.

Bank of America appears to have hedged the least, with only 12 percent of its stated $14.4 billion exposure offset with credit-default protection, according to the analysis. “We carefully manage our risk while still supporting our clients in Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain,” said a Bank of America spokesman, Jerome F. Dubrowski.

Like other firms, Bank of America has cut its European exposure by aggressively selling assets and cutting back on lending since 2009, when the region’s debt began to look like a serious problem. The bank’s exposure to the five countries is down by 44 percent since 2009, Mr. Dubrowski said. Also important, the new S.E.C. disclosure request could reveal the extent to which a bank has bought credit protection from banks based in the stressed European countries.

The fear is that a bank, say, in Italy, would be unable to pay out on its swaps if the country’s government went into default. Morgan Stanley implicitly recognizes that in its European disclosures. Alone among the five banks, it broke out the amount of default protection it had bought from banks in the five peripheral countries, about $1.43 billion.

Credit-default swaps can be dangerous because they have the ability to hit one side of the trade with a demand for an overwhelmingly large payout if a default occurs. Right now, it costs a bank $401,000 a year to insure $10 million of Italian government debt for five years, according to Markit, a data provider. If Italy took a serious turn for the worse, and its government debt seemed in real danger of default, that swap price would rapidly spike higher, as happened with Greece.

If that occurred, the bank that sold the protection might then have to post a lot of cash to ensure it would make good on the swap. Large cash calls like that might drain some banks of liquid assets, causing systemic stress.

If an important part of the financial system overhaul were in place by now, there may be fewer questions about whether banks would be able to meet cash calls in stressed times. The change involves directing most swaps trades to clearinghouses, whose job is to ensure that the money flows underlying a trade are made. Clearinghouses would standardize collateral payments across the default swap market, and they might demand higher amounts of collateral than banks currently demand from each other.

Recognizing this weakness in the derivatives market, finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 leading industrialized nations said in 2009 that they wanted to have clearing in place for all standardized derivatives by the end of 2012.

Yet, as of June, only 9.4 percent of the $29.6 trillion credit-default swap market is centrally cleared, according to the Bank for International Settlements. Notably, the credit-default swaps that pay out if a European government defaults appear to have been held back from central clearing by the British regulator, the Financial Services Authority, which declined to comment on why it had not yet approved these swaps.

As things stand, banks may still be able to avoid using their default swaps, except, perhaps, those on Greece. That is because the European Central Bank has taken stronger actions to prevent the crisis from worsening, like making $620 billion of cheap loans to European banks in December. But the central bank’s moves do little to actually reduce European government debt levels.

Until those come down, the banks are betting on their hedges, imperfect as they may be.

http://dealbook.nytimes.c...maelstrom/

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #87 posted 05/20/12 12:48pm

herb4

SUPRMAN said:

herb4 said:

Good stuff, Suprman, and thanks for the response. I love finding reasons to be less cynical about things. I was unaware of your energy thread. I haven't spent much time here in a good while. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seemed to be arguing that banks needed to be less regulated but the arguments you just submitted are citing increased regulation (that kicks in in 2019) as a good reason why there won't be another financial collapse.

by which I mean:


Sooooo...more regulation is the reason you think we're safer now than in 08? Is that right?

I enjoy discussing this with you.

But the bigger reason is simply more awareness. Interconnectedness was a major problem with everyone holding everyone else's debt and risks. Now institutions are more aware of avoiding situations where they are placing bets against assets they are holding.

Greece has shown that even sovereign debt is not be assumed fully guaranteed.

True that. People tend to notice shit like their mortgage payments doubling, their houses being forclosed on and their entire retirement savings wiped out right after they lose their job. Things like that will flat out rattle certain folks and get them riled up. And what difference does it make WHEN certain regulations were enacted as it relates to your assertion that regulation is unnecessary, but these regulations you're citing are why we're no longer at risk? Please clarify for me why you said:

The obvious solution is not to break up banks. I think investment banks and retail banks should be treated separately. A retail bank doesn't play with others money as investment banks do. But investment banks make more money than retail banks.

So...break up the banks then? At least into separate categories, yes? Becuase they're not.

and also (can't find the exact quote, but it was something like):

why should banks be regulated? Simply because they exist?

Um....yes. Otherwise, I'll just take my money to the horse track or bury it in a shoebox in my back yard.

At least you're not feeding me tired shit like the CRA as reasons for the collapse. I've heard some circles say that Glass Steagall woudn't have prevented any of the major bank collapses that happened. Do you think that's true?

Reply #88 posted 05/20/12 1:04pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

SUPRMAN said:

So...break up the banks then? At least into separate categories, yes? Becuase they're not.

and also (can't find the exact quote, but it was something like):

why should banks be regulated? Simply because they exist?

Um....yes. Otherwise, I'll just take my money to the horse track or bury it in a shoebox in my back yard.

I think this is the quote you were referencing?

"Why does every financial instrument need government regulation? Merely because it exists?"

I ask that question in earnest. People conduct plenty of financial transactions without government interference. Corporations realize it is in their best interest generally to behave aboveboard. Do you think fellow banks would extend credit to a bank that had been found to be cheating them? Same with a corporation. It's a needless self-inflicted wound as most would simply alter the terms of the orignal agreement to still meet the intent of the agreement.

That's why I don't think every financial instrument needs to be regulated at the time it is dreamed up and put in use.

At least you're not feeding me tired shit like the CRA as reasons for the collapse. I've heard some circles say that Glass Steagall woudn't have prevented any of the major bank collapses that happened. Do you think that's true?

Yes, Glass-Steagall which didn't govern insurers, would not, because retail banks were still loaded with mortgages whose value collapsed. It would not have prevented the need for a bailout as the credit crisis would have affected them also.

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #89 posted 05/20/12 1:17pm

SUPRMAN

SUPRMAN said:

herb4 said:

Good stuff, Suprman, and thanks for the response. I love finding reasons to be less cynical about things. I was unaware of your energy thread. I haven't spent much time here in a good while. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seemed to be arguing that banks needed to be less regulated but the arguments you just submitted are citing increased regulation (that kicks in in 2019) as a good reason why there won't be another financial collapse.

by which I mean:


Sooooo...more regulation is the reason you think we're safer now than in 08? Is that right?

I enjoy discussing this with you.

But the bigger reason is simply more awareness. Interconnectedness was a major problem with everyone holding everyone else's debt and risks. Now institutions are more aware of avoiding situations where they are placing bets against assets they are holding.

Greece has shown that even sovereign debt is not be assumed fully guaranteed.

True that. People tend to notice shit like their mortgage payments doubling, their houses being forclosed on and their entire retirement savings wiped out right after they lose their job. Things like that will flat out rattle certain folks and get them riled up. And what difference does it make WHEN certain regulations were enacted as it relates to your assertion that regulation is unnecessary, but these regulations you're citing are why we're no longer at risk? Please clarify for me why you said:

The obvious solution is not to break up banks. I think investment banks and retail banks should be treated separately. A retail bank doesn't play with others money as investment banks do. But investment banks make more money than retail banks.

So...break up the banks then? At least into separate categories, yes? Becuase they're not.

MY RESPONSE STARTS HERE:

Investment banks and retail banks are currently regulated somewhat differently.

Breaking up a bank does decrease the overall exposure of the nation's banks.

Having 10 smaller banks fail is probably worse than bailing out one. financial system?

That's what Sarbanes-Olsey and Dodd-Frank seem intent on doing.

Dood-Frank, ironically, is sowing the seeds for future problems by taking away transparency rather than stimulating it.

"Public companies produce annual reports, hold shareholder meetings and explain themselves to analysts. Private companies by comparison operate behind a veil of secrecy. The danger is that regulators are creating a corporate version of the dual labour market. By shining a spotlight on public companies, they are encouraging businesses to take refuge in the shade of the private sector."

This is a long article, but helpful to show how crying for more regulation isn't giving us what we want.

The endangered public company

[EDITED FOR COMPLIANCE]

But during the past decade, the title of a 1989 essay, “Eclipse of the Public Corporation”, by Michael Jensen of Harvard Business School, has turned out to be prescient. In 2001-02 some of America’s most prominent public companies imploded. They included Enron, Tyco, WorldCom and Global Crossing, which, before their demise, were admired. Six years later Lehman Brothers collapsed and Citigroup and General Motors turned to the government for salvation. Meanwhile, SOEs were growing in emerging markets, challenging the idea that public companies are the biggest fishes in the sea. Private-equity firms flourished in the West, challenging the idea that public companies are the best managed. And the rise of the Asian economies, with their legions of family-owned conglomerates, challenged the idea that they are best equipped to advance capitalism’s geographical frontier.

So, even though public companies are flush with cash (American firms are sitting on $2.23 trillion, see Free Exchange) and even though the world’s most talked-about entrepreneur, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, is due to take his company public on May 18th, the signs of health are misleading. Public companies are in danger of becoming like a fading London club. Their membership is falling. They spend their time fussing over club rules. And, as they peer out of the window, they see the bright young things heading elsewhere.

The number of public companies has dropped dramatically in the Anglo-Saxon world—by 38% since 1997 in America and by 48% in Britain’s main markets. The number of initial public offerings (IPOs) in America dropped from an average of 311 a year in 1980-2000 to just 81 in 2011 (chart 2).

Going public no longer has the glamour it once had. Entrepreneurs have to wait longer—an average of ten years for companies backed by venture capital, compared with four in 1985—and must jump through more hoops. Lawyers and accountants are increasingly specialised and expensive; bankers are less willing to take them public; qualified directors are harder to find, since even “non-execs” can go to prison if they sign false accounts.

The great IPO famine

Even when their firms do go public, the most successful technology entrepreneurs manage to preserve a lot of personal control. Google introduced a third class of non-voting shares despite the fact that its three bosses, Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin and Larry Page owned 60% of voting shares. Mr Zuckerberg put off taking Facebook public until he had little choice (you have to publish quarterly accounts like a public company once you have more than 500 private shareholders); he will control more than half of Facebook’s voting stock.

The IPO crisis has coincided with a boom in other corporate life forms. Familiar companies have started to put unfamiliar letters after their names: Chrysler LLC and Sears Brands LLC. The University of Illinois’s Larry Ribstein called this “the rise of the uncorporation”.

Private-equity companies have taken some of the most familiar names on the high street private, including Boots, J.Crew, Toys “R” Us, and Burger King. They also bagged some of the biggest stockmarket beasts: in 2007 Blackstone bought Hilton Hotels for $25.8 billion.

Partnerships, too, are thriving, reversing a decline that began in the era of Charles Dickens’s “Dombey and Son” (1848). Partnerships provided unlimited liability to the partners but limited their number. This meant partners could be ruined if their company failed (as Dombey was) but could not expand if it boomed. Now, thanks to three decades of legal reforms, partnerships can offer most of the benefits of listing, such as limited liability and tradable shares. In America they also boast a big tax advantage: partnerships are liable for only one lot of taxes, whereas companies must pay corporate taxes as well as taxes on dividends.

The result has been a revolution: one-third of America’s tax-reporting businesses now classify themselves as partnerships. They have adopted exotic forms of corporate organisation, such as Limited Liability Limited Partnerships (LLLPs), Publicly Traded Partnerships (PTPs) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). Private-equity firms are typically organised as private partnerships. The individual funds through which they raise money are limited partnerships. And they treat their managers more like partners than employees, rewarding them accordingly. The former CEO of the Gap retail chain made $300m running J.Crew, a clothing firm, on behalf of Texas Pacific.

Policymakers have embraced alternatives to the public company, too. Britain’s Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, is happier praising employee-owned John Lewis than your average PLC (public limited company). American corporate reformers regularly cite a private firm, W.L. Gore, as a model; the maker of the eponymous Gore-Tex employs 9,500 “associates” and “sponsors” (not workers and bosses). Such companies use shares to motivate their employees but shield themselves from the capital markets. Employees become co-owners when they join and may not sell their shares when they leave.

Governments have made it easier to create such alternative corporate structures. Seven American states have passed laws to allow companies to register as “B” corporations which explicitly subordinate profits to social benefits. The British government has established a class of Community Interest Companies which issue shares and dividends but exist to promote social purposes. It has also handed over the management of hospitals to “trusts”— public-private hybrids.

The rise of new economic powers has further changed corporate organisation. In the 1990s it seemed that emerging-market companies would take the Western public company as their model. In fact they have embraced two slightly different corporate forms: SOEs and family conglomerates. These companies list on the stockmarket but do little to constrain the power of the state or of family shareholders.

In June 2011 SOEs accounted for 80% of the value of China’s market, 62% of Russia’s and 38% of Brazil’s. They include some of the world’s most important concerns: the 13 largest oil companies, the biggest gas company (Gazprom), the biggest mobile-phone company (China Mobile), the biggest ports operator (Dubai Ports).

The most serious challenge to SOEs comes from family-controlled conglomerates. Family businesses account for about half of listed companies in the Asia-Pacific region and two-thirds in India. Families exercise tight control of their empires—and limit the power of other shareholders—through a variety of mechanisms such as family-controlled trusts (which have more power than boards), appointing family members to managerial positions and attaching different voting rights to different classes of stock. Diversified family firms are good at taking a long-term view, diverting money from cash cows to new industries that might take a long time to produce results. They are also good at dealing with the government failures that plague emerging markets. It is remarkable how fast even India’s lumbering government can move if a Tata or an Ambani calls.

Family companies of a different type have had a good decade in Europe. German family firms have led the country’s export boom by dominating niche markets such as printing presses (Koenig & Bauer), licence plates (UTSCH) and fly swatters (Aeroxon). These firms pride themselves on a professional approach to management: Nicholas Bloom and John Van Reneen, of the London School of Economics, point out that only 10% of German family firms choose their CEOs through primogeniture compared with two-thirds of family-owned firms in Britain and France. They also pride themselves on long-termism, investing heavily in training and upgrading their machinery.

Getting better versus getting worse

Some of the reasons for the decline of public companies and the success of alternatives may prove temporary. The fall in the number of listed firms owes something to the dotcom bust, a one-off event. The private-equity boom was fuelled by cheap debt. SOEs have been turbocharged by the rise in the price of oil and other commodities. The next decade may not be as easy for the emerging-world’s family conglomerates as the past decade. But there is also something more fundamental going on: these various corporate forms have all learned how to manage their problems better than public companies have, while continuing to exploit their advantages.

The biggest advantage of SOEs is political: ties with governments can protect them from unwelcome competition. That, of course, is also their problem: they can easily become bloated and lazy. So state-capitalist governments, particularly the Chinese, have turned to overseas listings to force staid monopolies to become nimbler, capable of responding to market demands, as well as government fiat.

The big advantage for family firms is their capacity for long-termism. The drawbacks are family feuds and a lack of professionalism in the second or third generations. So, like state-capitalist governments, family companies are turning to market mechanisms: professional managers, private-equity firms and private markets such as SecondMarket and SharesPost, which allow private firms to trade shares without public scrutiny.

In contrast, public companies have got worse at managing their problems, three in particular. Mr Jensen argues that their biggest drawback is what economists call the principal-agent problem: the split between the people who own the company (principals) and those who run it (agents). Agents have a nasty habit of trying to feather their own nests. Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco’s former boss, even spent company money throwing a $2.1m birthday bash for his wife that featured a Manneken-Pis-like replica of Michelangelo’s David dispensing vodka. But, as the current “shareholder spring” attests, principals have been bad at monitoring their agents.

Mr Jensen’s solution was to give managers “skin in the game”—that is, make their pay reflect company performance so they act like owners. This has backfired: some bosses manipulated their companies’ share prices to enrich themselves and most have seen their pay outpace company performance. The total remuneration of FTSE 100 chief executives rose by an annual average of 10% in 1999-2010, whereas returns on the FTSE 100 rose by an annual 1.9%.

The second problem is regulation. Public companies have always had to put up with more regulation than private ones because they encourage ordinary people to risk their capital. But the regulatory burden has become heavier, especially after the 2007-08 financial crisis. America has introduced a raft of new rules, from the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley legislation on accounting to the Dodd-Frank financial regulations of 2010. According to one calculation, Sarbanes-Oxley increased the annual cost of complying with securities law from $1.1m per company to roughly $2.8m. But that is nothing compared with the costs of distraction. In 2007 Oaktree Capital Management, a hedge-fund advisory firm, chose to raise $880m in a private placement rather than an IPO because, as the founders put it, “they were happy to sacrifice a little public market liquidity, and even take a slightly lower valuation, in return for a less onerous regulatory environment and the benefits of remaining private.”

The third problem is growing short-termism. The capital markets have increased their power dramatically with the rise of huge institutional investors and the intensification of shareholder activism. Mutual funds count their money in trillions rather than billions. Data providers such as Risk Metrics arm shareholder activists with plenty of ammunition. And hedge funds are not afraid to take on corporate Goliaths such as McDonald’s and Time Warner if they think they are failing. And as capital markets have flourished, corporate life has become riskier. The average life expectancy of public companies shrank from 65 years in the 1920s to less than ten in the 1990s. So has the life expectancy of CEOs. The average job tenure of the CEO fell from 8.1 years in 2000 to 6.3 years in 2009, according to Booz & Co, a consultancy. Léo Apotheker lasted just nine months as head of SAP and ten as head of Hewlett-Packard.

Sometimes, investors are right to kick out managers (they own the firm, after all). Companies must strike a balance between the short and long term, satisfying the market’s demand for profits today, while planning for the future. The worry is that regulators and owners both seem to be making it harder for bosses to look beyond quarterly earnings. Boards are devoting less time to strategy and more to enforcing regulations. Leo Strine, a judge with expertise in corporate law, accuses institutional investors of “gerbil-like” activity as they move money from one company to another. Standard Life Investors complains that the noise generated by quarterly earnings has become an “unwelcome distraction” from thinking about the long term.

Public company as public good

What should one make of the public company’s travails? There is every reason to celebrate the fact that businesses have more corporate forms to choose from. Indeed, the menu should be lengthened by inventing new arrangements or revisiting old ones. France’s “SCAs” or Sociétés en Commandite par Actions have two tiers of partners: general ones jointly and severally liable for a company’s debts, and limited partners who are ordinary shareholders with little power and who can lose only what they invest. This might provide a model for investment banks.

But there are reasons to worry that the downgrading might go too far. Can the private-equity industry function properly if private investors cannot easily cash out through IPOs? Can SOEs avoid stagnation if conventional multinationals are struggling? Public companies are parts of an ecosystem of innovation and job creation. IPOs give venture capitalists and entrepreneurs a chance to make fortunes if they spot a game-changing idea. They also provide new companies with capital. The Kauffman Foundation has shown that one reason America has been better at generating jobs than Europe is its skill at creating innovative companies such as Amazon, eBay and Google. These companies took off when they went public.

William Draper, one of Silicon Valley’s most successful investors, speaks for many when he argues that this ecosystem may be drying up. Venture capitalists are recouping their investment by selling new companies to established ones rather than preparing them for independent life. In 2010 five large companies gobbled up 134 start-ups—more than the entire crop of American IPOs that year. Two of the most talked-about start-ups of recent years—Skype and Zappos—chose to sell themselves to giant firms (Microsoft and Amazon respectively). This may not be good for the start-ups. Imagine if Microsoft or Apple had sold themselves to IBM in the 1980s and you get a sense of the problem.

Public companies produce annual reports, hold shareholder meetings and explain themselves to analysts. Private companies by comparison operate behind a veil of secrecy. The danger is that regulators are creating a corporate version of the dual labour market. By shining a spotlight on public companies, they are encouraging businesses to take refuge in the shade of the private sector.

Public companies also foster popular capitalism. The 20th century saw shareholding broadened thanks to privatisations in the 1980s and the rise of mutual funds. Today shareholding is in danger of narrowing again. The reduction in the number of IPOs is making it harder for ordinary people to put money into a future Google. The rise of the private-equity industry and the proliferation of private markets such as SecondMarket gives more power to a magic circle of company founders and experienced investors.

Public companies have shown an extraordinary resilience. They have survived the Depression, the fashion for nationalisation, and the buy-out revolution of the 1980s. But the challenge to them looks unusually strong at the moment, and the auguries for the future grim.

http://www.economist.com/node/21555552

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #90 posted 05/20/12 1:40pm

herb4

Dood-Frank, ironically, is sowing the seeds for future problems by taking away transparency rather than stimulating it.

"Public companies produce annual reports, hold shareholder meetings and explain themselves to analysts. Private companies by comparison operate behind a veil of secrecy. The danger is that regulators are creating a corporate version of the dual labour market. By shining a spotlight on public companies, they are encouraging businesses to take refuge in the shade of the private sector."

Is that an argument against regulation in and of itself or more an indictment of how the people doing the regulating are owned and paid for by the very people they're attempting to regulate? Fox running the henhouse and such.

It seems to me you're arguing, to an extent at least, that there should be no rules governing a baseball game because some umpires are taking bribes. Would those umpire payoffs speak more to the umpires and getting rid of them or to just abandoning the rules of the sport entirely? I'm speaking specifically of this quote:

By shining a spotlight on public companies, they are encouraging businesses to take refuge in the shade of the private sector.

Which seems to be acknowleding the need for increased regulation, but excusing it because banks naturally don't want to go along with it and are looking for more loopholes and ways around it. I mean, that's a hell of a statement right there. "Seeking refuge". From what? From accountability and transparency because the private sector can do what they want and rip more people off with greater impunity? It's like saying that the Vegas mob was forced into more legitimite business ventures and above board money laundering because the casino industry was too heavily regulated.

EDIT:

You're alos citing things like "well, banks have to have these annual reports now" and stuff like that. Enron, Tyco, WorldCom...they had annual reports. Reports designed with the specific intent of defruading their investors and lying about their bottom lines.

I guess this thread is about banking now, but then, I suppose that really is the number one issue we're facing so it makes sense.

[Edited 5/20/12 13:48pm]

Reply #91 posted 05/20/12 2:09pm

SUPRMAN

Dood-Frank, ironically, is sowing the seeds for future problems by taking away transparency rather than stimulating it.

"Public companies produce annual reports, hold shareholder meetings and explain themselves to analysts. Private companies by comparison operate behind a veil of secrecy. The danger is that regulators are creating a corporate version of the dual labour market. By shining a spotlight on public companies, they are encouraging businesses to take refuge in the shade of the private sector."

Is that an argument against regulation in and of itself or more an indictment of how the people doing the regulating are owned and paid for by the very people they're attempting to regulate? Fox running the henhouse and such.

That is not an argument against regulation. What we need is balanced regulation. Sarbanes and Dodd are loaded with BS because it has to go through Congress. So that is an indictment.

I am suggesting that it be more like baseball with clear rules and let them play.

I am not opposed to the need to regulate or the intent to regulate. How its being done however isn't helpful.

It seems to me you're arguing, to an extent at least, that there should be no rules governing a baseball game because some umpires are taking bribes. Would those umpire payoffs speak more to the umpires and getting rid of them or to just abandoning the rules of the sport entirely? I'm speaking specifically of this quote:

By shining a spotlight on public companies, they are encouraging businesses to take refuge in the shade of the private sector.

Which seems to be acknowleding the need for increased regulation, but excusing it because banks naturally don't want to go along with it and are looking for more loopholes and ways around it. I mean, that's a hell of a statement right there. "Seeking refuge". From what? From accountability and transparency because the private sector can do what they want and rip more people off with greater impunity? It's like saying that the Vegas mob was forced into more legitimite business ventures and above board money laundering because the casino industry was too heavily regulated.

EDIT:

You're alos citing things like "well, banks have to have these annual reports now" and stuff like that. Enron, Tyco, WorldCom...they had annual reports. Reports designed with the specific intent of defruading their investors and lying about their bottom lines.

I guess this thread is about banking now, but then, I suppose that really is the number one issue we're facing so it makes sense.

That is not acknowledging the need for increased regulation nor excusing it.

The point of that paragraph is that because of Sarbanes and Dodd companies are choosing to from public to private or never go public at all.

That decrease the information available the copy and could disguise problems. The intent should be more transparency to see problems coming, not rewarding those who do not have to disclose.

If it costs $2.2 million annually to be public and comply with Sarbanes, that a cost your private competitors don't have.

Enron, Tyco, WorldComm didn't have to file false reports. I don't recall that any of them did.

What was in those reports no one may have understood and no one wanted to look ignorant by asking. Sarbanes requires quarterly reports to be in layman's language and to be signed off on, so no one can say they didn't know what was or wasn't there or what it meant.

"To say in a report for example that you are in compliance with SEC regulation 512 (a)(1) (Provisions e-f) with a footnote, noting changes to the law that have affected your compliance, or exemptions subsequently given, or that this is a one time charge per HB ____ (with a full citation and maybe a quote . . . ) and to expect someone to find the referenced regulation, determine if they can determine whether the company is in compliance and cross checking that with the regulations cited and Congressional Record is spending a lot of time on one sentence in the report.

[Edited 5/20/12 14:10pm]

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #92 posted 05/20/12 2:39pm

13cjk13

seekingtruth said:

TemetNosce said:

Growing for some, but certainly not spreading. More and more wealth/ownership/control has been concentrating in fewer and fewer hands -- as it always has.

That is not because opportunity has narrowed. Anybody who is willing to work, risk, and sacrifice can build wealth.

Anybody, right. No other roadblocks involved except the "willingness to work", "risk", "sacrifice". Bullshit right wing talking points all wrapped up in one shiny package.

"I do not provide links because I do not get my information in that manner." Guess who."Where i say that?"
Reply #93 posted 05/20/12 4:34pm

herb4

SUPRMAN said:

economy things

Do me a favor and just reply in every day text with your opinions and link your sources (or C&P the relevent things) because you're Google bombing me to death and I feel like I'm not only having a discussion with you, but the entire editorial staff of The Economist. It will get boring in here really quick of we just Google, copy, paste and emphasis bold things that we both like to read. I'm more interested in reading your opinions and what you think.

When did the quote/close quote function on this site get so incredibly broken, BTW? Whenever I'm trying to respond to a specific item you've referneced or thing you said and leave some other stuff out, it won't let me click outside the quote box. I'm trying to spare everyone the pain of reading my original stream of consciousness cynical shit missle, as well as the entire Economist website. That, and the quote boxes get all fucked up and no one can tell where a quote begins and a response ends.

Anyhow, where were we?

I am suggesting that it be more like baseball with clear rules and let them play. I am not opposed to the need to regulate or the intent to regulate. How its being done however isn't helpful.

Then we're in agreement. It seemed like earlier you said something like "why should the banks be regulated? Simply because they exist?" (Yes) And what do we do when the unpires are corrupt? Change the rules or get better umpires? Are you a free market Libertarian, an accountant, an incurable optimist, rich, a banker, or some combination thereof? Because I find your perspective interesting but I'm having a tough time getting a hold of what you're aiming at and believe in when almost everything you throw at me is something someone else wrote.

The energy stuff you posted was almost entirely related to fossil fuels, which is not the future. I'm fully aware of the U.S. contribution to world energy supplies and the preponderance of natural gas, etc., but maybe it'd be better if I posted my energy opinions over there. Do we have a global finance/economic meltdown thread in this forum, because I wrote about a lot more than banking in my original tirade and, so far, out of those hundred things, the only thing anyone wants to talk about is the financial sector.

What about how half the population believes in creationism, denies evolution and doubts the existence of global warming? Or the percentage of people who think our President forged his birth certificate and is a Manchurian stealth Muslim? Or who thinks that the most pressing we face are gay sex and a lack of guns?


Reply #94 posted 05/20/12 5:58pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

SUPRMAN said:

economy things

Do me a favor and just reply in every day text with your opinions and link your sources (or C&P the relevent things) because you're Google bombing me to death and I feel like I'm not only having a discussion with you, but the entire editorial staff of The Economist. It will get boring in here really quick of we just Google, copy, paste and emphasis bold things that we both like to read. I'm more interested in reading your opinions and what you think.

When did the quote/close quote function on this site get so incredibly broken, BTW? Whenever I'm trying to respond to a specific item you've referneced or thing you said and leave some other stuff out, it won't let me click outside the quote box. I'm trying to spare everyone the pain of reading my original stream of consciousness cynical shit missle, as well as the entire Economist website. That, and the quote boxes get all fucked up and no one can tell where a quote begins and a response ends.

Anyhow, where were we?

I am suggesting that it be more like baseball with clear rules and let them play. I am not opposed to the need to regulate or the intent to regulate. How its being done however isn't helpful.

Then we're in agreement. It seemed like earlier you said something like "why should the banks be regulated? Simply because they exist?" (Yes) And what do we do when the unpires are corrupt? Change the rules or get better umpires? Are you a free market Libertarian, an accountant, an incurable optimist, rich, a banker, or some combination thereof? Because I find your perspective interesting but I'm having a tough time getting a hold of what you're aiming at and believe in when almost everything you throw at me is something someone else wrote.

The energy stuff you posted was almost entirely related to fossil fuels, which is not the future. I'm fully aware of the U.S. contribution to world energy supplies and the preponderance of natural gas, etc., but maybe it'd be better if I posted my energy opinions over there. Do we have a global finance/economic meltdown thread in this forum, because I wrote about a lot more than banking in my original tirade and, so far, out of those hundred things, the only thing anyone wants to talk about is the financial sector.

What about how half the population believes in creationism, denies evolution and doubts the existence of global warming? Or the percentage of people who think our President forged his birth certificate and is a Manchurian stealth Muslim? Or who thinks that the most pressing we face are gay sex and a lack of guns?


Are we married or something? biggrin

Posting my opinions is fine, but I also want to show that those opinions are grounded in facts.

Posting a rant with inaccurate information makes it unclear if the frustration is due to being mis-informed or if it's hyperbole.

Natural gas is the immediate future that will tide us over to a longer term replacement.

What that replacement is, I don't know.

I have no solution to willful ignorance of any individual let alone half the population. Education is a personal choice. Forcing education doesn't mean people will learn. All I can do is expose them to knowledge. I'm not currently in a position however to inform half the population.

I guess I don't post what I and the Economist disagree on. biggrin I can argue that on their site.

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #95 posted 05/20/12 7:32pm

herb4

SUPRMAN said:

herb4 said:

Then we're in agreement. It seemed like earlier you said something like "why should the banks be regulated? Simply because they exist?" (Yes) And what do we do when the unpires are corrupt? Change the rules or get better umpires? Are you a free market Libertarian, an accountant, an incurable optimist, rich, a banker, or some combination thereof? Because I find your perspective interesting but I'm having a tough time getting a hold of what you're aiming at and believe in when almost everything you throw at me is something someone else wrote.

The energy stuff you posted was almost entirely related to fossil fuels, which is not the future. I'm fully aware of the U.S. contribution to world energy supplies and the preponderance of natural gas, etc., but maybe it'd be better if I posted my energy opinions over there. Do we have a global finance/economic meltdown thread in this forum, because I wrote about a lot more than banking in my original tirade and, so far, out of those hundred things, the only thing anyone wants to talk about is the financial sector.

What about how half the population believes in creationism, denies evolution and doubts the existence of global warming? Or the percentage of people who think our President forged his birth certificate and is a Manchurian stealth Muslim? Or who thinks that the most pressing we face are gay sex and a lack of guns?


Posting a rant with inaccurate information makes it unclear if the frustration is due to being mis-informed or if it's hyperbole.

Natural gas is the immediate future that will tide us over to a longer term replacement.

What that replacement is, I don't know.

I have no solution to willful ignoranceof any individual let alone half the population. Education is a personal choice. Forcing education doesn't mean people will learn. All I can do is expose them to knowledge. I'm not currently in a position however to inform half the population.

I get that you want to be factual, of course. I explained why earlier, but calling out my diatribe for being "factually inaccurate" is cherry picking what I wrote and selectively ignoring the good points I made just so you can use your red felt-tip pen and show the internet where I'm wrong. It's a lot like getting a 95% on an a term paper and getting bitched out by your old man because it wasn't an A+. Even the hardest right winger here scratched his head when he read what I wrote, unsure of where to "slot" me, so I know we're beyond political partisanship here.

Now, tell me more about the benefits of flammable water and about how our education system is failing us becuase people "choose" to remain stupid, and how either of those things fuel your optimism as America moves forward, or should fuel mine. It brings me no pleasure to sit here and argue in favor of the fact that our country is flushing itself down the toilet and that my son will likely live in a worse world than I did, but for me to deny it is to deny reality. Who am I going to believe, you or my lying eyes?

You're ignoring a lot the questions I'm asking you about what YOU think, what you do from day to day, how we can specifally move forward as a country and generally just seem to be focusing on "Wait! That guy phrased something wrong! *Google* Check Mate!". If you just want to be an internet vessel for Google and Wikipedia, that's fine, I guess, but it's not all that interesting, and you seem to be capable of more.

Reply #96 posted 05/20/12 7:58pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

SUPRMAN said:

Posting a rant with inaccurate information makes it unclear if the frustration is due to being mis-informed or if it's hyperbole.

Natural gas is the immediate future that will tide us over to a longer term replacement.

What that replacement is, I don't know.

I have no solution to willful ignoranceof any individual let alone half the population. Education is a personal choice. Forcing education doesn't mean people will learn. All I can do is expose them to knowledge. I'm not currently in a position however to inform half the population.

I get that you want to be factual, of course. I explained why earlier, but calling out my diatribe for being "factually inaccurate" is cherry picking what I wrote and selectively ignoring the good points I made just so you can use your red felt-tip pen and show the internet where I'm wrong. It's a lot like getting a 95% on an a term paper and getting bitched out by your old man because it wasn't an A+. Even the hardest right winger here scratched his head when he read what I wrote, unsure of where to "slot" me, so I know we're beyond political partisanship here.

Now, tell me more about the benefits of flammable water and about how our education system is failing us becuase people "choose" to remain stupid, and how either of those things fuel your optimism as America moves forward, or should fuel mine. It brings me no pleasure to sit here and argue in favor of the fact that our country is flushing itself down the toilet and that my son will likely live in a worse world than I did, but for me to deny it is to deny reality. Who am I going to believe, you or my lying eyes?

You're ignoring a lot the questions I'm asking you about what YOU think, what you do from day to day, how we can specifally move forward as a country and generally just seem to be focusing on "Wait! That guy phrased something wrong! *Google* Check Mate!". If you just want to be an internet vessel for Google and Wikipedia, that's fine, I guess, but it's not all that interesting, and you seem to be capable of more.

You think the world is going to be worse, but people thought that over 100 years ago too. It's arguably gotten better in the last 100 years in ways no one could forsee.

I can't tell you what comes next or why in the next 20 years the U.S. economy will still be #1 globally.

Looking at our history, we've overcome previous challenges in contentious times. It's not all wine and roses and no government can guarantee against business cycles which seem to be cyclical.

Booms and busts in the stockmarket and various assets have been happening for at least 350 years and likely longer.

i recall growing up and the pessimism in the 60's and the angst that these pothead college hippies would be running the country soon enough.

I guess your answer also depends on how you measure 'America." Socially, economically, finacially, as a singular whole . . . .

Don't want you to feel I'm ignoring your questions, so what would you like me to answer?

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.
Reply #97 posted 05/21/12 7:48am

herb4

SUPRMAN said:

herb4 said:

I get that you want to be factual, of course. I explained why earlier, but calling out my diatribe for being "factually inaccurate" is cherry picking what I wrote and selectively ignoring the good points I made just so you can use your red felt-tip pen and show the internet where I'm wrong. It's a lot like getting a 95% on an a term paper and getting bitched out by your old man because it wasn't an A+. Even the hardest right winger here scratched his head when he read what I wrote, unsure of where to "slot" me, so I know we're beyond political partisanship here.

Now, tell me more about the benefits of flammable water and about how our education system is failing us becuase people "choose" to remain stupid, and how either of those things fuel your optimism as America moves forward, or should fuel mine. It brings me no pleasure to sit here and argue in favor of the fact that our country is flushing itself down the toilet and that my son will likely live in a worse world than I did, but for me to deny it is to deny reality. Who am I going to believe, you or my lying eyes?

You're ignoring a lot the questions I'm asking you about what YOU think, what you do from day to day, how we can specifally move forward as a country and generally just seem to be focusing on "Wait! That guy phrased something wrong! *Google* Check Mate!". If you just want to be an internet vessel for Google and Wikipedia, that's fine, I guess, but it's not all that interesting, and you seem to be capable of more.

Don't want you to feel I'm ignoring your questions, so what would you like me to answer?

Just general stuff I've asked here and there. What kind of work do you do, where do you tend to fall politically, are you a free market Libertarian, an accountant, an incurable optimist, rich, a banker, or some combination thereof? Where, specifically, are you deriving your sense of optimism? What do you think about the general theocratic tone being bandied about by a lot of today's leaders?

It doesn't particualry matter I guess. You've covered the important stuff and actually answered a few things in your last post. Plus, at this point this thread is pretty much just you and me bantering back and forth, which is probably boring the shit out of everyone reading it.

AH! Here's one. How do you see the U.S. handling our rising healthcare costs, which are absolutely spiraling out of control and putting a HUGE drain on us, and also, in the wake of the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court, how do you think that will lead us towards less corruption, money in politics and the likelihood of better candidates? Those two things alone are enough to quell a lot of my optimism.

Reply #98 posted 05/21/12 7:09pm

SUPRMAN

herb4 said:

SUPRMAN said:

Don't want you to feel I'm ignoring your questions, so what would you like me to answer?

Just general stuff I've asked here and there. What kind of work do you do, where do you tend to fall politically, are you a free market Libertarian, an accountant, an incurable optimist, rich, a banker, or some combination thereof? Where, specifically, are you deriving your sense of optimism? What do you think about the general theocratic tone being bandied about by a lot of today's leaders?

It doesn't particualry matter I guess. You've covered the important stuff and actually answered a few things in your last post. Plus, at this point this thread is pretty much just you and me bantering back and forth, which is probably boring the shit out of everyone reading it.

AH! Here's one. How do you see the U.S. handling our rising healthcare costs, which are absolutely spiraling out of control and putting a HUGE drain on us, and also, in the wake of the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court, how do you think that will lead us towards less corruption, money in politics and the likelihood of better candidates? Those two things alone are enough to quell a lot of my optimism.

The solution to the cost is to nationalize it. The industry will simply raise prices the more the government pays for. Government already pays for more than half of all the country's health care anyway. Nationalizing it will not reduce research or advances and those who choose to pay, will still have that option.

Citizens United was the right ruling. Less corruption? We're human beings. As long as we're running things, count on corruption. What you want to do is expose it where found and limit it as best can be managed.

Citizens United will not affect campaign spending levels. If you live in California you can see the sums spent on ballot initiatives. Millions. More money in politics isn't a problem as much as the perception of what it buys.

Better candidates? That's up to the public. The best and brightest aren't going to run because of what we put people through that do.

Tearing anyone and everyone to shreds is no way to attract the best and brightest. Until our behavior toward candidates changes, don't expect a better class of person to run.

I don't want you to think like me. I just want you to think.

URL: http://prince.org/msg/105/381129

Date printed: Thu 24th Jul 2014 7:38am PDT