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StrangePackage
09-17-2008, 06:52 PM
http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/09/mccain_this_morning_the_fundam.php

McCain seems to think so.

Can we put it to a vote?

tanaww
09-17-2008, 07:47 PM
No. And the federal government is doing all these bailouts that are just band aids. Like the proverbial "lipstick on a pig" analogy, these are just cosmetics. We're throwing money down the hole but not addressing the fundamental issues regarding the management of these companies and others in the industry. Today's news (the WSJ - the only newspaper, okay), mentioned that the banks had put a freeze on interbank loans or were charging exhorbitant rates for them. This is a very bad thing, kids. Very bad.

The wood is rotting and the Bushies keep putting on additional coats of paint. We must fix the fundamentals or we're fucked. I'd link the article, but it's apparently too new.

Ivhon
09-17-2008, 08:36 PM
No. And the federal government is doing all these bailouts that are just band aids. Like the proverbial "lipstick on a pig" analogy, these are just cosmetics. We're throwing money down the hole but not addressing the fundamental issues regarding the management of these companies and others in the industry. Today's news (the WSJ - the only newspaper, okay), mentioned that the banks had put a freeze on interbank loans or were charging exhorbitant rates for them. This is a very bad thing, kids. Very bad.

The wood is rotting and the Bushies keep putting on additional coats of paint. We must fix the fundamentals or we're fucked. I'd link the article, but it's apparently too new.


But.....but...the fundamentals are strong...

StrangePackage
09-17-2008, 08:50 PM
But.....but...the fundamentals are strong...

Yeah. Except for the real estate, finance, insurance, energy, and manufacturing industries, and the way we're flagging behind Asia and Europe in the high tech sector, our fundamentals are like super solid.

Stay the course.

Davian93
09-17-2008, 09:03 PM
Yeah. Except for the real estate, finance, insurance, energy, and manufacturing industries, and the way we're flagging behind Asia and Europe in the high tech sector, our fundamentals are like super solid.

Stay the course.

How dare you question our current administration.

tanaww
09-17-2008, 09:23 PM
How dare you question our current administration.

He's a Tana/Hopper voter. He questions everything.

Ozymandias
09-17-2008, 10:23 PM
someone is questioning Bush.... TERRORIST SYMPATHIZER!!! GET HIM!!!

Seriously, though. Technically the economy is sound, as GDP is still growing, but I'm pretty sure thats totally due to the dollar being weak and exports being way up.

The market will recover on its own. Its the job of the federal government to keep the pits from being to deep, so band aids are all they should be doing. The problem was in deregulating everything initially, which was a Bush policy.

I think its hilarious, though, that McCain's proposed solution to the problem is to create a committee to examine the origins of the crisis. Talk about a do-nothing response to a problem. He doesn't care... he'll be dead before long anyways.

Sinistrum
09-17-2008, 10:26 PM
Ok, let me ask a question. What exactly are we talking about when we say fundamentals of the economy? Are we speaking in specifics on things like the housing market or investment banking? Because the answer is clearly no and someone would have to be a fool to disagree with that. Or are we speaking in more general/philosophical terms and really discussing the capitalist system as a whole? If by fundamentals we mean the capitalistic principles we base our economic system on, then I would say yes, they are still sound. I'm not sure if this is a practical or philosophical debate which is why I'm asking.

Ozymandias
09-17-2008, 10:32 PM
Ok, let me ask a question. What exactly are we talking about when we say fundamentals of the economy? Are we speaking in specifics on things like the housing market or investment banking? Because the answer is clearly no and someone would have to be a fool to disagree with that. Or are we speaking in more general/philosophical terms and really discussing the capitalist system as a whole? If by fundamentals we mean the capitalistic principles we base our economic system on, then I would say yes, they are still sound. I'm not sure if this is a practical or philosophical debate which is why I'm asking.

Im pretty sure we're talking the situation on the ground, Sini, not the basic economic principles. This country has weathered worse storms than this; its a natural feature of a deregulated market economy. We just haven't had a swing this deep in a long time. A really long time.

I'd like to see military spending slashed and a little of that going to paying off some of the national debt. National debt = good. Too much = bad.

Sinistrum
09-17-2008, 10:36 PM
Im pretty sure we're talking the situation on the ground, Sini, not the basic economic principles.

In that case, no the fundamentals of our economy are not sound at this point.

As for the national debt, I agree with you on paying down the debt but not the source. I'd like to see that money come from somewhere else aside from the military. From my point of view every other type of government spending except for the military budget and federal law enforcement is expendable.

JSUCamel
09-17-2008, 11:00 PM
My suggestions for gov't fixin's:

1) Get out of public education. Turn schools private. Create vouchers of up to $5000 for each student to go to whichever they want. The gov't should set standards for accredited diplomas and that's it. Let market competition take care of the rest. Save a shit ton of money that way.

2) Split the US forces into two groups: the strike force (a la Special Forces/Marines/whatever), and the peacekeeping force (more like police, bureaucrats and administrators). Strike force kicks ass in other countries as necessary, but is primarily stationed and trained at home. Peacekeeping force makes up 95% of Pentagon resources. They go in after the strike force Kicks Ass(tm) and maintains order. Away from home 95% of time.

Note: I understand we have the Marines (strike force) and Army (occupational force) already, but the Army is trained for military procedures rather than for administration. The Peacekeeping Force should focus more training on RUNNING an occupied country than is currently focused in the US Army. That's one of the major problems we've run into in Iraq and Afghanistan -- winning over the locals.

3) Limit campaigning terms. The presidential campaign does not need to last 2+ years. Think of all the millions and millions of dollars Obama, Hillary, McCain, Romney and Huckabee have raised, and think about how many institutions, programs, departments, schools and space programs have had their budgets slashed in the last year.

4) Legalize pot. Tax the shit out of it, get the FDA involved in terms of standards and quality control. Don't smoke it myself, but don't really see the harm.

5) Get involved in local politics. This year you might be the Secretary of Sewage Treatment under Mayor Frenzy. Next year, Vice President. It could happen to you.

Ozymandias
09-17-2008, 11:54 PM
In that case, no the fundamentals of our economy are not sound at this point.

As for the national debt, I agree with you on paying down the debt but not the source. I'd like to see that money come from somewhere else aside from the military. From my point of view every other type of government spending except for the military budget and federal law enforcement is expendable.

The military budget is far too high. This country, its borders, are inviolable. Maintenance of our current nuclear stockpile is more than enough to ensure territorial soveriegnty. We spend like... maybe 7-8% of GDP on military expenditures. This is totally unnecessary. We're embroiled in high-cost conflict abroad which we don't need to be; we're not the paternal figure of the whole world and there is no need to pretend to be. Sure, intervene where our interests are threatened, but the massive military spending at the moment is beyond justification. We spend a trillion dollars a year on it.

Slash 10% of that. Decommission a couple of divisions. To what extent can you argue we need them? With a slightly more conservative foreign policy, we wouldn't. Take half that money, a third, and put it into repaying the national debt. Lender nations would be reassured. If your paying back 30 billion a year, and cutting into the base sum and not just the interest, then you've got a good thing going. And with the extra 70 billion; well, imagine what you could do with that 70 billion. Increase pay for teachers, leading to higher educational standards. Increase pay for civil servants, leading to more efficient and better beauracracy. 100 billion could go a long way, and yet, the only place its going is paying for us to meddle in Iraqi affairs.

Even better, sink it into alternative energy. With 20 billion in capital investment, you could easily slash fossil fuel reliance, or develop more efficient solar energy techniques, subsidize geothermal plants, clean up rivers... 20 billion is a drop in the ocean for our armed forces, but is an ocean in and of itself for most sectors of the country that could use funding.

Sodas
09-18-2008, 01:07 AM
Or are we speaking in more general/philosophical terms and really discussing the capitalist system as a whole? If by fundamentals we mean the capitalistic principles we base our economic system on, then I would say yes, they are still sound.
What do you mean by capitalistic principles?

Davian93
09-18-2008, 06:27 AM
For one, we do not spend hardly anything on the military in real terms. Compare our spending now to during Vietnam or during the Cold War. Percentage wise its not that bad. Its the war thats hurting us as its just money down the drain to a country that is pocketing it. At least when we buy more tanks it helps the U.S. economy in that its a product where every piece is U.S. built. When we give it away to a "friendly" regime its a waste.

And lets factor inflation into the GDP and see what kind of numbers we get. The Fed has dumped an awful lot of money into the pool in the past couple years.

Ivhon
09-18-2008, 06:50 AM
My suggestions for gov't fixin's:

1) Get out of public education. Turn schools private. Create vouchers of up to $5000 for each student to go to whichever they want. The gov't should set standards for accredited diplomas and that's it. Let market competition take care of the rest. Save a shit ton of money that way.

Not sure about this. This could serve to increase the education gap between the haves and have-nots. Could price the poorest out of an education altogether. If tuition in private primary/secondary schools reacts the way college tuition does, it will take about one year for those $5k vouchers to be essentially meaningless.

2) Split the US forces into two groups: the strike force (a la Special Forces/Marines/whatever), and the peacekeeping force (more like police, bureaucrats and administrators). Strike force kicks ass in other countries as necessary, but is primarily stationed and trained at home. Peacekeeping force makes up 95% of Pentagon resources. They go in after the strike force Kicks Ass(tm) and maintains order. Away from home 95% of time.

Agree. Better yet, we could stop going into places where we are neither wanted or needed. I would prefer we let the rest of the world hang since we are so underappreciated abroad, but I realize that is unpractical (Yes, Gonzo, I am fully aware WHY we are despised. But that started way before Bush)

Note: I understand we have the Marines (strike force) and Army (occupational force) already, but the Army is trained for military procedures rather than for administration. The Peacekeeping Force should focus more training on RUNNING an occupied country than is currently focused in the US Army. That's one of the major problems we've run into in Iraq and Afghanistan -- winning over the locals.

3) Limit campaigning terms. The presidential campaign does not need to last 2+ years. Think of all the millions and millions of dollars Obama, Hillary, McCain, Romney and Huckabee have raised, and think about how many institutions, programs, departments, schools and space programs have had their budgets slashed in the last year.

Totally agree. Take it one step further and institute term limits in congress and SCOTUS. 8 years in congress (either house) and 16 on the court would be my take

4) Legalize pot. Tax the shit out of it, get the FDA involved in terms of standards and quality control. Don't smoke it myself, but don't really see the harm.

Agree. Take it one step further. Legalize everything and tax the hell out of it. As long as there is a black market, we are wasting tax dollars fighting something we cant even make a dent in. Take the lucre out of the drug trade. Let the people who use and abuse pay for their own rehabilitation.

5) Get involved in local politics. This year you might be the Secretary of Sewage Treatment under Mayor Frenzy. Next year, Vice President. It could happen to you.

A few too many skeletons for me to want to be propery vetted (of course, a McCain vetting I could easily get trough. But then, Im not cute and don't have a special needs kid, so I wouldnt last too long in the media).


hmmph...characters inserted into someone else's quote dont count.

Davian93
09-18-2008, 06:53 AM
Yeah, I remember this being a bad thing from Economics. I do appreciate the good face they are putting on it. This is kinda like using your credit card to pay the mortgage. Sure it helps you keep your house in the short run but how long can you keep it going?


U.S. taps piggy bank, borrows to aid market
Credit crisis is starting to tax even the Federal Reserve’s deep pockets
The Associated Press
updated 8:48 p.m. ET, Wed., Sept. 17, 2008

WASHINGTON - Where does Uncle Sam come up with huge sums of money during a financial emergency? Like the rest of us, the government taps its reserves and borrows if it needs more.

The federal government has pledged eye-popping amounts — more than $600 billion in the past year — to bail out, or help bail out, some of the biggest names in American finance. The latest was American International Group Inc.

Now the credit crisis is starting to tax even the Federal Reserve's deep resources.

On Wednesday, the central bank took the unprecedented step of asking the Treasury Department to sell debt on behalf of the Fed. The first of those auctions raised $40 billion, and two more to raise an additional $60 billion are scheduled for Thursday.

Analysts said these auctions don't mean that the Fed, the bank that backs up the U.S. banking system, is strapped for money. Instead, they said it represented an effort to better manage its own holdings of Treasury securities.

It uses those securities to control interest rates by buying or selling the securities to banks, thus raising and lowering the amount of money banks have to loan out and influencing the price of that money.

While the Fed has access to its fat piggy bank to support its effort to prop up financial companies, the Treasury Department will have to whip out the credit card for the support it is pledging to mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Treasury will have to borrow the money because it doesn't have the deep reserves that the Fed does. The country is running a huge budget deficit this year and is projected to run an even bigger one next year.

Those deficits will present a major challenge for the next president. Both Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama have a list of their own spending priorities that they want to enact, not to mention their promises to provide tax cuts.

The Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank, estimates those will cost $4.2 trillion over the next decade in the case of McCain and $2.9 trillion in the case of Obama.

Those campaign promises, on top of all that the current administration has done to contain the current fiscal crisis, could really put a strain on the government's balance sheet.

Ten days ago, the government took control of Fannie and Freddie, pledging to provide up to $200 billion to cover losses at the two companies.


On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve employed powers granted during the Great Depression to extend an emergency loan worth up to $85 billion to AIG, the nation's biggest insurance company.

That assistance is on top of billions of dollars in help the government had already put on the table as it battles the worst housing slump in decades.

The Fed extended a $29 billion loan to facilitate the forced-sale last March of Bear Stearns, at the time the nation's fifth-largest investment bank, and in the housing bill that Congress passed last summer the Federal Housing Administration was given the power to insure up to $300 billion in refinanced mortgages.

And that doesn't count the billions of dollars the Fed has pumped into commercial banks and investment banks over the past year as it has struggled to make sure they have the resources needed to keep loans, the lifeblood of the economy, flowing.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues met on Tuesday and voted to hold the target for the federal funds rate, the interest that it influences through its buying and selling of Treasury securities, at 2 percent.

Analysts said if the Fed had not gotten help from the Treasury to auction off more debt that it could use, it ran the risk of pushing the funds rate lower than it wants it to go and thus increasing the threat of inflation down the road.

For the Treasury's $200 billion pledge for Fannie and Freddie plus its support for FHA-backed mortgage loans, the borrowing needed will send the deficit soaring even higher.

Stimulus checks totaling $168 billion, sent to Americans earlier this year to bolster the economy, will have an impact on the budget deficit. For the budget year ending Sept. 30, it's expected to hit $400 billion, the second highest on record and more than double last year's deficit of $161.5 billion.

The Bush administration is projecting that the deficit for the new budget year, which begins Oct. 1, will surge to an all-time high of $482 billion. And that estimate doesn't include any costs for bailing out Fannie and Freddie.

So far investors, including those overseas, have shown no reluctance to buy Treasury debt. In fact, all the financial turmoil of recent days has driven Treasury's borrowing costs lower as investors have flocked to the safety of Treasury securities.

But the combination of Bush's efforts to contain the current financial crisis plus the campaign promises of the next president offer the daunting prospect of serious deficit problems over the next four years.

irerancincpkc
09-18-2008, 07:28 AM
To answer the original question, sadly, no. I knew that when my great-grandma called me the other day to ask what each Presidental hopeful's view on the economy was, when she has never gotten involved in the political process before. Not good...

Ishara
09-18-2008, 08:02 AM
I have never understood why the campaign process lasts so long in your country, I have to say. Ours is 6 weeks. Total. With a major cap on spending. How can anything else be justified?

irerancincpkc
09-18-2008, 08:05 AM
I have never understood why the campaign process lasts so long in your country, I have to say. Ours is 6 weeks. Total. With a major cap on spending. How can anything else be justified?
Well, the long Democratic Primary is making this election cycle seem longer then normal, but you are right. This is a really long, drawn out process.

But I love it. :D

Davian93
09-18-2008, 08:16 AM
Well, the long Democratic Primary is making this election cycle seem longer then normal, but you are right. This is a really long, drawn out process.

But I love it. :D

Think of all the better uses for the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent on stupid campaigning and get back to me on that.

JSUCamel
09-18-2008, 08:19 AM
1) Get out of public education. Turn schools private. Create vouchers of up to $5000 for each student to go to whichever they want. The gov't should set standards for accredited diplomas and that's it. Let market competition take care of the rest. Save a shit ton of money that way.

Not sure about this. This could serve to increase the education gap between the haves and have-nots. Could price the poorest out of an education altogether. If tuition in private primary/secondary schools reacts the way college tuition does, it will take about one year for those $5k vouchers to be essentially meaningless.

I came up with the $5000 voucher number because that's how much the state of Georgia spends, on average, per student, and it's one of the highest rates per student in the country in terms of public schools.

I think in a privatized school system, you would have schools that cater to every demographic. You'd have schools that teach just enough to meet the minimum requirements. You'd have schools that teach to students' strengths: math, science, english, art, history. You'd have schools that have a sports emphasis, schools with certain age ranges, all boys schools, all girls schools. Yes, there would be schools costing $10,000, $20,000 per year, but those would be few and far between. After all, in a free market economy, there would be a lot of competition that doesn't exist today. Competition would drive down prices, drive up quality, and give these kids a chance.

irerancincpkc
09-18-2008, 08:20 AM
Think of all the better uses for the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent on stupid campaigning and get back to me on that.
A large portion of those hundreds of millions of dollars came from the American people to the person they want to represent them in the White House. They considered their giving up of their hard-earned dollars necessary, and unfortunatly, in today's world, it's the only way to do it.

Ivhon
09-18-2008, 08:20 AM
Well, the long Democratic Primary is making this election cycle seem longer then normal, but you are right. This is a really long, drawn out process.

But I love it. :D

I hate it. Puts me in a bad bad mood. And makes all my posts seriously.

I LOVE the idea of a short campaign season and capped dollars. For the Presidential race, that would be fairly easy to implement, I think. Primaries would be more difficult. Biggest challenge would be figuring out who gets money.

JSUCamel
09-18-2008, 08:23 AM
I have never understood why the campaign process lasts so long in your country, I have to say. Ours is 6 weeks. Total. With a major cap on spending. How can anything else be justified?

Precisely. Obama is raising $60 million per MONTH. It should be $60 million TOTAL, if that. Think of all the arts and social security and jobs and start-up businesses and alternative energy development and so on and so forth that could have been made with the half a billion dollars Obama has raised in the last two years (if not closer to a billion).

I like the guy, but I mean, this spending is outrageous. Especially in an economy that's falling like an anvil on Wile E. Coyote.

tanaww
09-18-2008, 08:30 AM
Camel, you're 100% wrong on public education. Full privatization would result in disaster as the haves band together and the have-nots are shut out. Privatized schools would result in polar opposite outcomes based on race, income level and geographic location.

You are also 100% wrong about the military. I suspect it is because you're drawing on your own military experience. I am not trying to light fires, but the structure of our forces is fine as-is. We just need to take out the armchair generals and the bureaucratic BS and let our soldiers do their jobs. For example, there is no need for contracted security guards for gate control when we have MP's. I just can't spend all day writing an explanation of this but I will say that any of you with brilliant ideas of how the military should be run need to enlist. I do think that fraud, waste and abuse are rampant at all levels of government and that needs to be capped and stopped. I've posted on that before and hopefully someone can link you back to that post.

I've also posted already on the limits of campaign length. I had proposed, about a week ago, where candidates are not allowed to file papers to run until January 1 of the election year and may not campaign until March. The primaries would be held between April and August with the General Election date being unchanged. Funding would all come from that $3.00 donation fund that we can opt into on our tax forms. All legal candidates would receive the same amount for their primary campaign with a second disbursement divided equally amongst those candidates selected as their party's nominee in the General Election. This would level the playing field for parties outside of the big 2. Nice, huh?

I do agree with you on the legalization of marijuana. Legalize it and tax the crap out of it. Same goes for prostitution.

Last, I would expand your view on local politics to public service in general.

/rant

Ivhon
09-18-2008, 08:37 AM
Precisely. Obama is raising $60 million per MONTH. It should be $60 million TOTAL, if that. Think of all the arts and social security and jobs and start-up businesses and alternative energy development and so on and so forth that could have been made with the half a billion dollars Obama has raised in the last two years (if not closer to a billion).

I like the guy, but I mean, this spending is outrageous. Especially in an economy that's falling like an anvil on Wile E. Coyote.

Im not sure the two go hand in hand. Its not like people are taking out subprime loans to contribute to the campaign. Of course, the argument could be made that those contributing could put that money to better use elsewhere. But would they? Obama is doing what he has to do to have a shot at being elected in today's game.

I DO hope the rules change, though. Easier said than done, of course - I.E. how do you limit the PAC groups and partisan news outlets from exercising their first amendment rights?

Davian93
09-18-2008, 09:03 AM
You are also 100% wrong about the military. I suspect it is because you're drawing on your own military experience. I am not trying to light fires, but the structure of our forces is fine as-is. We just need to take out the armchair generals and the bureaucratic BS and let our soldiers do their jobs. For example, there is no need for contracted security guards for gate control when we have MP's. I just can't spend all day writing an explanation of this but I will say that any of you with brilliant ideas of how the military should be run need to enlist. I do think that fraud, waste and abuse are rampant at all levels of government and that needs to be capped and stopped. I've posted on that before and hopefully someone can link you back to that post.


/rant


I dont think its a big deal to contract out certain things as those MPs have more important missions like training and deploying during wartime. The rise in defense contracting is directly tied to the war effort and when we leave Iraq a ton of contractors will need to go find real jobs. I'd rather those MPs train in warfighting than sit on a gate doing nothing. Having pulled gate guard a couple times its something that provides no training or help to the warfighting force...Let the MPs do it in peacetime...till then contractors are welcome to it.

tanaww
09-18-2008, 09:06 AM
I dont think its a big deal to contract out certain things as those MPs have more important missions like training and deploying during wartime. The rise in defense contracting is directly tied to the war effort and when we leave Iraq a ton of contractors will need to go find real jobs. I'd rather those MPs train in warfighting than sit on a gate doing nothing. Having pulled gate guard a couple times its something that provides no training or help to the warfighting force...Let the MPs do it in peacetime...till then contractors are welcome to it.

Well, you have a point Davian, but we also need to recognize and address the fact that the sure way to inflate the cost of something by at least 10% is to let the bidders know its for a government contract. And I spotted a lady driving a GSA vehicle to school (at NMSU) yesterday. Government waste anyone?

Davian93
09-18-2008, 09:22 AM
Well, you have a point Davian, but we also need to recognize and address the fact that the sure way to inflate the cost of something by at least 10% is to let the bidders know its for a government contract. And I spotted a lady driving a GSA vehicle to school (at NMSU) yesterday. Government waste anyone?

The gov't needs to streamline its acquisition program and get rid of non-competitive bids for minority owned, alaskan owned and female owned companies (all of which will automatically win a contract based off that status and they can bid whatever they want). It doesn't matter if another company can do the job cheaper and better at that point. Its a very costly and stupid policy enacted as an offshoot of Affirmative Action. The first thing those companies do upon winning a contract is go to the legit company and subcontract the job out to that company and pocket the difference. Its a joke.

tanaww
09-18-2008, 09:35 AM
The gov't needs to streamline its acquisition program and get rid of non-competitive bids for minority owned, alaskan owned and female owned companies (all of which will automatically win a contract based off that status and they can bid whatever they want). It doesn't matter if another company can do the job cheaper and better at that point. Its a very costly and stupid policy enacted as an offshoot of Affirmative Action. The first thing those companies do upon winning a contract is go to the legit company and subcontract the job out to that company and pocket the difference. Its a joke.

That settles it. When I am President, you will be Secretary of Defense. I have long said that we need to do a system-wide, multi-level audit of each and every level, branch and office of Government. If you get taxpayer money, we want to see exactly where it goes. I guarantee we'll cut a lot of fat that way. And, sorry, schools are no exception. Some of their waste is the worst! Like why are you spending millions on software you don't use or don't use properly?

Ishara
09-18-2008, 11:14 AM
They considered their giving up of their hard-earned dollars necessary, and unfortunatly, in today's world, it's the only way to do it. And you don't see a problem with that Spammer? Really?!

It's not the only way to do it - Canada is a perfect example of that. Also, while I suppose that stupid people are entitled to throw money away on crap, I for one would rather see them spend it on something important - like say oh, almost anything other than a presidential candidate.

Plus, I know you must know this, but the majority of funding dollars comes from lobby groups and companies, doesn't it? Like we'll pay up front if you pay us back down the line with a little back scratching when we need it? It's disgusting!

Oh, about the military? There's this show on Discovery called Future Weapons, and every damn time I see it (the bf loves the stupid show), I get really angry thinking about how all the money spent on R&D to make guns turn corners could be put towards curing cancer or funding orphanages. Ugh.

Gilshalos Sedai
09-18-2008, 11:27 AM
Commentary: How we got into this money mess (http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/17/beck.wallstreet/index.html)

By Glenn Beck
CNN


Glenn Beck says Wall Street's troubles began with a wild craze for subprime mortages.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- "Greed is good."

At least, that's what Michael Douglas' character Gordon Gekko claimed in the movie Wall Street. But, just like Gekko, the modern-day companies that followed that motto now find themselves wondering how everything could collapse so fast.

You know the names by now: Countrywide Financial, Bear Stearns, IndyMac, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, AIG. And that's not even counting companies like Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and Goldman Sachs that, while still in existence, have lost untold billions in market value and have laid off thousands of employees.

Maybe greed isn't so good after all.

Lehman was founded in 1844 when Henry Lehman, a German immigrant, opened a small shop in Montgomery, Alabama. His brothers joined him six years later and, by 1858 they were busy turning cotton provided by local farmers into a cash crop -- a business that didn't have anything to do with helping low-income families afford 27-bedroom McMansions.

More than 150 years later, after surviving the Great Depression, Black Monday, the savings and loan crisis and the dot-com bust, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection. They had gone 14 years as a public company without ever reporting a single quarterly loss. Now they will never again post a profit.

Bear Stearns' story is eerily similar. Founded in 1923. Survived every crisis. Never posted a quarterly loss until last year. Gone without a trace.

So how did 235 years of rock-solid American finance disappear virtually overnight? Well, it's not as complicated as you think. If you replace all of the acronyms invented by the brainiacs on Wall Street with references to things that Main Street understands, it becomes a lot easier to see how it all happened. Here's a quick story I invented that does just that.

(Note to any Wall Street executives who might be reading this: I know this simple little story isn't perfect, but let's remember that you're the ones who tried to make everything complicated and I'm the one who still has a job.)

It's just before Christmas,1996, and as you watch overeager parents trample each other to buy Tickle Me Elmo dolls for their kids, you see an opportunity. "This isn't a Tickle Me Elmo bubble," you think to yourself, "this is a long-term trend. Every person in America will soon own a Tickle Me Elmo, maybe even two. It's the American dream."

You approach your local banker about a loan and, naturally, he loves your idea. In fact, he loves it so much that for every $1 you have in your account, he's willing to lend you $34. Great deal, you think, as you max out your credit line and buy as many Tickle Me Elmos as you possibly can.

Sales are easy at first. People are lining up to buy your dolls and the prices are going far higher than you ever thought. The only person happier than you is your banker.

But the following year something unexpected happens: Kids stop asking for Tickle Me Elmos. You try to cut the price, but no buyers show up. You cut the price more, but your store remains empty.

Panic sets in.

You're pretty sure that this downturn is just temporary (after all, who wouldn't want a Tickle Me Elmo?) but you're quickly running out of cash. Your only option is to buy time and hope that Tickle Me Elmos start flying off your shelves again.

You visit every bank in town and, using your piles of Tickle Me Elmo dolls as collateral (which, of course, you purchased with money you didn't have) you get as much new capital as possible.

Soon that money is also gone. Even your friends and family refuse to give you any more loans. At the end of your rope, you go to your town council, which gives you a "bridge loan" to get you through the next few months (something that makes your Furby-selling competitors extremely upset).

Unfortunately, no matter how much you borrow, there's still one nagging little problem: No one wants to buy your stupid Tickle Me Elmo dolls anymore.

The longer you wait, the less they're worth. You sell some for pennies on the dollar, but pretty soon you can't even do that. Then things get even worse: News breaks that China is poisoning some Tickle Me Elmos before shipping them to the United States. Now your dolls are not just out of favor, they're toxic. You literally can't even give them away.

Soon the rest of your money dries up, as do the people who are willing to lend you any more of it. Now you're out of cash; out of a job, and, if not for the pile of poisonous Tickle Me Elmo dolls in your basement, completely alone -- which sounds kind of like the CEOs of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.

Believe it or not, this ridiculous story may be far from reality, but it's not that far off from describing what these financial and mortgage companies did to themselves. Just replace the Tickle Me Elmo references with the once popular, then discounted, now completely toxic subprime mortgages and you're pretty much there.

When you cut through all the noise about "bridge loans" and "discount windows," what you're left with is the fact that too many companies still own way too many Tickle Me Elmos that no one wants to buy. Giving those companies more money doesn't solve anything, it just buys time. Unless and until the underlying problem is fixed, no real turnaround can happen.

But we all know that investors (and elected leaders worried about their careers this November) aren't all that patient. That's why the new chorus you're likely to soon hear will be from people arguing that the only way out of this mess is for the federal government to step in and purchase all of the toxic mortgages themselves. That would allow the companies with eyes bigger than their balance sheets to start over, with barely any repercussions whatsoever and without ever taking responsibility for their mistakes.

Come to think of it, maybe greed isn't so bad after all.

Would the government actually consider that idea? They already are. In fact, the only thing stopping politicians from "rewarding" us with a new government agency that will put billions more of our tax dollars at stake is, ironically enough, the election of new politicians.

Disclaimer: Tickle Me Elmo is still an extremely popular, non-toxic product and, to the best of my knowledge, is not responsible for the credit crisis.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

irerancincpkc
09-18-2008, 11:39 AM
And you don't see a problem with that Spammer? Really?!

Nope. I've supported my pick in that fashion, and was proud and honored too. You may find it stupid, and I'm sure other people do as well, but it is a personal thing. And taking into accout how many people at least have donated to Obama, (I'm not sure about McCain's numbers) a lot of people don't find it stupid.

And Obama takes no money from lobby groups, but even with McCain, who does, it's still a very small percent of all the money raised.

Even if I do think it would be better to have a shortened election since it would mean everyone could get more real work done rather than campaigning, with how large it is already, I don't see anyway to stop it. The media would go crazy. If we had implemented it years ago, yes. But now? I don't know...


Glenn Beck... well... let's not go there... :D

Davian93
09-18-2008, 11:39 AM
I can't stand Glenn Beck...he's a prick.

That movie is great.

Gilshalos Sedai
09-18-2008, 11:56 AM
I posted it for the (over-)simplified explanation of what's going on rather than his opinions.


I don't really pay attention to him anyway, what's wrong with him?

Sinistrum
09-18-2008, 12:04 PM
What do you mean by capitalistic principles?

This.

Capitalism is the economic system in which the means of production are owned by private persons, and operated for profit[1] and where investments, distribution, income, production and pricing of goods and services are predominantly determined through the operation of a free market.[2] Capitalism is usually considered to involve the right of individuals and corporations to trade, incorporate, employ workers, and use money, in goods, services (including finance), labor and land.[2] By definition, production and distribution in a capitalist system are governed by the free market rather than state regulation,[3] though this does not exclude the state defining and enforcing the basic rules of the market[4] and may include the provision of a few basic public goods and infrastructure.[5] Classic unrestrained capitalism is currently confined to theory, as "all of the capitalistic societies of the West have mixed economies that temper capitalism" with interventionist government regulation and social programs.[6]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitalism

Frenzy
09-18-2008, 06:17 PM
A good chunk of military spendign goes to R&D, which funds civillians living and working in the US, so it's putting money back into the system. Don't knock it 'til you try it.

Davian93
09-18-2008, 06:21 PM
A good chunk of military spendign goes to R&D, which funds civillians living and working in the US, so it's putting money back into the system. Don't knock it 'til you try it.

Yeah, its one of the only fields that's still 100% made in teh USA by Americans.

Bryan Blaire
09-18-2008, 08:58 PM
I agree with a lot of stuff a bunch of people in this thread have said.

Be more specific? Screw you guys, I just got power back.

JSUCamel
09-18-2008, 11:09 PM
Camel, you're 100% wrong on public education. Full privatization would result in disaster as the haves band together and the have-nots are shut out. Privatized schools would result in polar opposite outcomes based on race, income level and geographic location.

I don't think so. I really oversimplified my view of the solution. I can't take credit for the idea, though. I'll thank a former Secretary of the Department of Education for writing an excellent thesis on the topic though, outlining the probably pitfalls and possible solutions, including the issues you mentioned.

You are also 100% wrong about the military. I suspect it is because you're drawing on your own military experience. I am not trying to light fires, but the structure of our forces is fine as-is. We just need to take out the armchair generals and the bureaucratic BS and let our soldiers do their jobs.

If you say so. Again, I didn't come up with that idea by myself. I didn't even come up with it at all. A Pentagon official did. And all I did was read his essays on it and watch a lecture he gave on the topic. But to respond to your assertion, I DON'T think the military is fine as-is and neither do a lot of higher-ups in the military. I think if the military was "fine", then we wouldn't be stuck in Iraq. But hey, I'm just a civvie.

I'll scrounge up the link later. Don't let me forget.

tanaww
09-19-2008, 07:47 AM
I don't think so. I really oversimplified my view of the solution. I can't take credit for the idea, though. I'll thank a former Secretary of the Department of Education for writing an excellent thesis on the topic though, outlining the probably pitfalls and possible solutions, including the issues you mentioned.



If you say so. Again, I didn't come up with that idea by myself. I didn't even come up with it at all. A Pentagon official did. And all I did was read his essays on it and watch a lecture he gave on the topic. But to respond to your assertion, I DON'T think the military is fine as-is and neither do a lot of higher-ups in the military. I think if the military was "fine", then we wouldn't be stuck in Iraq. But hey, I'm just a civvie.

I'll scrounge up the link later. Don't let me forget.

1. Every other industrialized nation in the world has a functioning public education system. What is the difference between our structure and the others that makes them so much more successful? I'd be particularly interested in the Finland model since I have heard really good things about it. I think that the United States can and should have a functional PUBLIC education system that includes making a post high school education much more affordable. However that would require a complete overhaul of our current system. The current system is so broken that it doesn't meet the needs of teachers, parents or students. So who is satisifed? Bureaucrats and administrators.

2. I'll look forward to your link on the military but, based on what I've seen, being a "Pentagon Official" doesn't make you a military expert as much as it means you can play the "I know how to work for the government game." Remember that we have higher-level financial analysts for the government with only a high school diploma and not one single credit hour of any post-secondary education. What do you suppose their "analytical skills" are like in comparison with their bureaucratic ability?

Sei'taer
09-19-2008, 08:32 AM
Precisely. Obama is raising $60 million per MONTH. It should be $60 million TOTAL, if that. Think of all the arts and social security and jobs and start-up businesses and alternative energy development and so on and so forth that could have been made with the half a billion dollars Obama has raised in the last two years (if not closer to a billion).

I like the guy, but I mean, this spending is outrageous. Especially in an economy that's falling like an anvil on Wile E. Coyote.

Yep, he's definitely good at raising money. Did you hear that Reid asked Obama to give some money to the democrat congressional races to help them get elected and he said no. That tells me it's too long and taking too much money. Then you have hillary and huckabee who are still trying to figure out how to pay off what they spent, so they still owe millions...unless someone has stepped in the last day or two.

As for the economy. I understand what McCain was trying to say...or at least I understand how his people are trying to spin it, but it was a stupid thing to say. I have a feeling we're going to be in for a rough time.

tanaww
09-19-2008, 09:28 AM
Look, kids, at what happens when Vouchers go into effect. (http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2008/09/19/newsupdate/17mps.txt)

Gilshalos Sedai
09-19-2008, 09:35 AM
Well, what are they going to spend the property taxes on then? Buses to the private schools? Scholarships and tuition for the poor kids?

tanaww
09-19-2008, 09:50 AM
Well, what are they going to spend the property taxes on then? Buses to the private schools? Scholarships and tuition for the poor kids?

I don't think they have a clue. I say spend some coin on an audit, get rid of the excess and NVA activities and give it time. There's no way that a city the size of Milwaukee can actually dissolve the school district but it is telling the kind of effects that our current economic downturn has on public services - education in particular because, as you and I have discussed privately, most school districts are run by monkeys. When you put an administrator with no accounting or financial education or skill in charge of a multi-million to multi-billion dollar budget it can only go badly.

tanaww
09-19-2008, 09:56 AM
Another tale of fraud, waste, and abuse. (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,424622,00.html)

How do we begin to hold people accountable for pissing away tax dollars like this? Sure she was a bitch, but give her misdemeanor Disorderly conduct ticket, have her make restitution and walk away. The escalation is a waste of taxpayer money and federal employee's time. Ludicrous.

Gilshalos Sedai
09-19-2008, 10:18 AM
Ask Bryan about postal employees, sometime, Tanaww.

Davian93
09-19-2008, 10:31 AM
$3.80 is way too much for a soda refill at a VA hosp. She was getting screwed. I'd have freaked too.

tanaww
09-19-2008, 10:32 AM
Ask Bryan about postal employees, sometime, Tanaww.

My mother is retired from the Postal Service. Here are some highlights of her career:

1st. She got a new postmaster. The new postmaster found out that she out-earned him and that was unacceptable to his ego. He was able to have her route re-evaluated and reduced by 25%. That meant she lost 25% of her pay. Of course she had a union. Of course the union couldn't do a damn thing about it. If she were not on the High-3 retirement plan, she'd have been screwed because by the time she retired her pay was about 2/3 or less what it had been before her PM screwed her over. He disguised this action by re-evaluating both routes for Warrens, WI. The result was that both carriers took pay cuts or had to change their schedules to work 6 days a week to minimize the damage and a third route was created for which an employee was hired to work two hours per day. I am sure this resulted in a net cost increase for the office as a whole.

2nd. The Post Office has a relocation program. Some bigwig in Washington DC took a new position and was able to move two miles with assistance selling his house and, of course, the government paid for his move.

3rd. Once upon a time, the Post Office decided that each and every post office, including one-employee powerhouse locations like Mather and Tunnel City, Wisconsin; needed to own a TV/ VCR combo. No one really knows why.

4th. Pay attention. Sometime around late February you magically won't receive any junk mail (3rd class mail for you PO snobs) for about 7 - 10 days. This time period is called "count" when the USPS evaluates the volume of mail carriers are delivering. This volume assessment determines whether they get a raise or take a pay cut. The USPS will send out mailings to their 3rd Class customers offering discounts if they do not send out any 3rd class mailings during this time effectively lowering the volume of mail moving through the system and allowing them to justify not giving the carriers a pay raise. Rural carriers are particularly susceptible to this royal dicking from their employer. My mother took a pay cut nearly every year for the last 5 or six years.

That's the carrier's perspective. I'll bet Pops has some tales from his perspective as well. The USPS is corrupt.

Davian93
09-19-2008, 10:35 AM
That's the carrier's perspective. I'll bet Pops has some tales from his perspective as well. The USPS is corrupt.

That's the understatement of the century.

tanaww
09-19-2008, 10:38 AM
I should add another quick rant showing how f'd up our Government is. Most know what I do for a living, right? What my specialty is? Muttley is most familiar and can explain if you like. I make things better, easier and take costs out of the system. That's what I do.

But given what my husband does for a living, I got the crazy idea in my head that I should try to get a government job. I got two reactions: First, I was told that with an MBA and ten years of experience IN MY FIELD, I should apply for an internship (this from my cousin the GS11 FA with the HS diploma). Second, a "Spouse Employment Specialist" told me that I had a great resume but the government would never hire me with it. I needed to highlight areas where I was able to increase my budget, etc. I don't get budget increases people. I create ways to maintain service to the customer in the wake of budget cuts!

Who knows anything about LEAN here?

Davian93
09-19-2008, 10:40 AM
I should add another quick rant showing how f'd up our Government is. Most know what I do for a living, right? What my specialty is? Muttley is most familiar and can explain if you like. I make things better, easier and take costs out of the system. That's what I do.

But given what my husband does for a living, I got the crazy idea in my head that I should try to get a government job. I got two reactions: First, I was told that with an MBA and ten years of experience IN MY FIELD, I should apply for an internship (this from my cousin the GS11 FA with the HS diploma). Second, a "Spouse Employment Specialist" told me that I had a great resume but the government would never hire me with it. I needed to highlight areas where I was able to increase my budget, etc. I don't get budget increases people. I create ways to maintain service to the customer in the wake of budget cuts!

Who knows anything about LEAN here?

In other words, you don't know enough people on the inside to get hired. GS ranks have nothing to do with experience. I'm supposed to have a masters and 5 years experience or some crap like that...I don't recall having that.

tanaww
09-19-2008, 10:41 AM
In other words, you don't know enough people on the inside to get hired. GS ranks have nothing to do with experience. I'm supposed to have a masters and 5 years experience or some crap like that...I don't recall having that.

And you'd think that, since my Aunt is a GS13 and I have all these military connections that would not be the case. Maybe I need to give a better...

Davian93
09-19-2008, 10:43 AM
And you'd think that, since my Aunt is a GS13 and I have all these military connections that would not be the case. Maybe I need to give a better...

LOL...now you're getting it!

tanaww
09-19-2008, 10:43 AM
LOL...now you're getting it!

I don't own any knee pads.

Davian93
09-19-2008, 10:49 AM
I don't own any knee pads.

the cuts heal eventually. ;) Though the dirty feeling takes a while to go away.

Crispin's Crispian
09-19-2008, 11:05 AM
I needed to highlight areas where I was able to increase my budget, etc. I don't get budget increases people. I create ways to maintain service to the customer in the wake of budget cuts!

Seriously? Increase budgets? Just about every resume that comes across my desk highlights areas where the person decreased spending or cost or budgets. That's the whole idea--how have you increased profit? Usually by cutting costs.

I don't know that much about LEAN, but from what I do know....increasing budgets is rather like anathema, no?

Gilshalos Sedai
09-19-2008, 11:25 AM
Not for the government, Matey.

Crispin's Crispian
09-19-2008, 11:42 AM
Not for the government, Matey.
I suppose it's the same for non-profits, too, in some sense. Where there is (supposedly) little money to go around, you have to spend your money to keep your budgeted amount. If you come up with good reasons to overspend your budget, you get more money next year.

Thar's only one pie, me hearties. Take the biggest slice ye can!

John Snow
09-19-2008, 11:42 AM
I have never understood why the campaign process lasts so long in your country, I have to say. Ours is 6 weeks. Total. With a major cap on spending. How can anything else be justified?

is the difference in type of government - parliamentary systems for some reason do it much faster. (let the double-entendres begin!)

Davian93
09-19-2008, 11:45 AM
is the difference in type of government - parliamentary systems for some reason do it much faster. (let the double-entendres begin!)

That's because they aren't good at it. ;)

Bryan Blaire
09-19-2008, 12:09 PM
Edit: Oh, and in a lot (probably 98%) of gov't agencies, it is almost grounds for dismissal from your position to cut your budget. There actually used to be a policy in USDA where the OICs of ports got bonuses for conserving budgetary money for supplies, etc, but that was because all the money was then taken and given to California to use for their domestic programs.

Well, I had a nice long post about two gov't issues I've seen lately. But V-Bulletin once again ate it after I pushed the Submit button.

So, basically:

1) Yesterday, a USPS employee told me that if I open a private citizen's package to inspect it per my regulatory authority, it becomes US gov't property. If I want to then send it to the private citizen to which it actually belongs, my agency has to pay them. She also informed me that if I left the packages there, she would waste approximately $75 of tax payer money each for the three packages I was returning to them to send them back OUT of the country to Thailand.

2) DHS is currently fielding 100 extra employees here from throughout the country (some from Alaska, California and New York) for the sole purpose of only assisting other DHS employees in their recovery efforts on their house. They are not responding to any other recovery needs, they are not assisting FEMA in any law enforcement capacity, and they are being housed in other agencies' sections of our facility, even though the employees are being paid for hotel housing and meals and incidentals.

tanaww
09-19-2008, 12:40 PM
Seriously? Increase budgets? Just about every resume that comes across my desk highlights areas where the person decreased spending or cost or budgets. That's the whole idea--how have you increased profit? Usually by cutting costs.

I don't know that much about LEAN, but from what I do know....increasing budgets is rather like anathema, no?

If by anathema you mean migraine inducer, yes. Lean is the opposite of increase costs.

I'm pretty sure you'd hire me Dog. Are you an SAP or JDE Company?

tanaww
09-19-2008, 12:42 PM
Edit: Oh, and in a lot (probably 98%) of gov't agencies, it is almost grounds for dismissal from your position to cut your budget. There actually used to be a policy in USDA where the OICs of ports got bonuses for conserving budgetary money for supplies, etc, but that was because all the money was then taken and given to California to use for their domestic programs.

Well, I had a nice long post about two gov't issues I've seen lately. But V-Bulletin once again ate it after I pushed the Submit button.

So, basically:

1) Yesterday, a USPS employee told me that if I open a private citizen's package to inspect it per my regulatory authority, it becomes US gov't property. If I want to then send it to the private citizen to which it actually belongs, my agency has to pay them. She also informed me that if I left the packages there, she would waste approximately $75 of tax payer money each for the three packages I was returning to them to send them back OUT of the country to Thailand.

2) DHS is currently fielding 100 extra employees here from throughout the country (some from Alaska, California and New York) for the sole purpose of only assisting other DHS employees in their recovery efforts on their house. They are not responding to any other recovery needs, they are not assisting FEMA in any law enforcement capacity, and they are being housed in other agencies' sections of our facility, even though the employees are being paid for hotel housing and meals and incidentals.

As much as I would like to say "Are you Fucking KIDDING ME?", this is not surprising. If by some stretch of the imagination I were ever to become the leader of this great nation, this kind of bullshit would be where I started making things right.

Davian93
09-19-2008, 01:06 PM
As much as I would like to say "Are you Fucking KIDDING ME?", this is not surprising. If by some stretch of the imagination I were ever to become the leader of this great nation, this kind of bullshit would be where I started making things right.

Some of us like our cushy gov't jobs darnnit!

Bryan Blaire
09-19-2008, 01:15 PM
My job ain't cushy. I wish. I've actually had more work since I switched to this new position in my office than I had previously.

Crispin's Crispian
09-19-2008, 01:40 PM
If by anathema you mean migraine inducer, yes. Lean is the opposite of increase costs.

I'm pretty sure you'd hire me Dog. Are you an SAP or JDE Company?
LOL

We're neither. We're just a lowly consulting company whose core business is negotiating small parcel contracts. We dabble in SCM, but only as part of the movement of product (usually outbound). We do have some huge clients (some Fortune 100), but we don't play in the ERP or WMS sandboxes.

But we do hire people who have too much experience and are known to be productve and budget conscious... :eek:

tanaww
09-19-2008, 01:47 PM
In other words, you don't know enough people on the inside to get hired. GS ranks have nothing to do with experience. I'm supposed to have a masters and 5 years experience or some crap like that...I don't recall having that.

Another thought behind that is that you, sir, are a Veteran with a disability rating, are you not? They throw jobs at your type. A friend of mine has been a contractor with the Health Benefits office for four years doing the exact same job as her supervisor. She has a college degree and 20+ years of work experience. Remember four years of experience IN HER SUPERVISOR'S JOB. He leaves and his replacement is a 26 year old with no degree but with Vet Preference. The only knowledge she has of Tricare is that she had that insurance while she was deployed. Yet the screening body was unable to disqualify her for the position to hire my friend as a permanent government employee. She'll be training and babysitting her boss for the foreseeable future.

Davian93
09-19-2008, 02:08 PM
In my defense (and yes my VA preference DID get me my job) my supervisor is a non veteran and she's a complete moron and totally unqualified. THey had to rewrite the job desription to get her hired as a 14. the first time around she didn't qualify. Also, I did my exact job as a contractor for 2 years w/ the Air Force. Considering how many times I got turned down for gov't jobs that I was overqualified for due to them wanting to hire their best friend, niece, sister, daughter, son etc, I dont give a damn if my veteran status finally helped me out.

One time I applied for a gov't job, easily had all the qualifications, scored a 99 out of 99 on the exam and had my 10 points on top of that. I didnt even get an interview. How's that for fair? I found out that they simply hired their relative instead.

tanaww
09-19-2008, 02:11 PM
In my defense (and yes my VA preference DID get me my job) my supervisor is a non veteran and she's a complete moron and totally unqualified. THey had to rewrite the job desription to get her hired as a 14. the first time around she didn't qualify. Also, I did my exact job as a contractor for 2 years w/ the Air Force. Considering how many times I got turned down for gov't jobs that I was overqualified for due to them wanting to hire their best friend, niece, sister, daughter, son etc, I dont give a damn if my veteran status finally helped me out.

One time I applied for a gov't job, easily had all the qualifications, scored a 99 out of 99 on the exam and had my 10 points on top of that. I didnt even get an interview. How's that for fair? I found out that they simply hired their relative instead.

Stories like this prove that the process is broken on so many levels. Nepotism is exactly how my cousin got her job. Her mommy got it for her. I want the best person in the position. And if you can't hire me because I don't have a master's degree, prove the person you hired does! It's all just insane.

Tana/ Hopper '08 or I'm going to Canadia. I might not even be kidding.

Gilshalos Sedai
09-19-2008, 02:12 PM
Hey, I know people. Maybe I can get me one of them there govmint jobs.



I keep having to resist the urge to post: "Our economy is sound. All sound."

Davian93
09-19-2008, 02:19 PM
Nepotism is exactly how my cousin got her job. Her mommy got it for her.

Yup, sounds about right. At another office in my state, the chief (15) has hired every single one of his sisters, all his nieces and nephews and several cousins. This is the place I got turned down from BTW. My office is the same way. I never had a shot in hell other than my VA. Also, my office as mentioned before is almost all female...they simply won't hire men unless they are forced to for some other reason (like VA preference). Little birdies say that there is an investigation going on about the hiring practices because of this...but thats just chatter...

Sei'taer
09-19-2008, 03:29 PM
Just to kind of take the thread back. Stock market was up today, but if you look at it, it ain't very stable. From what I understand, feds told everyone they were not allowed to sell short (bet on the market prices going down so you can buy stocks cheaper). This seems to be what artificially drove the market back up. Now, what will happen when the feds allow this again? It seems to me that we will very likely be on the verge of collapse again because everyone on the market knows thats the way stocks should really be going. They will jump in on the short selling and really drive the prices down.

Also, while looking at all this I noticed that home sales in CA were sky high this month...interesting huh?

Sodas
09-19-2008, 03:53 PM
It's the up-tick rule.

With it, you can only buy a stock for more.

Wamu, Wells Fargo, and some other banks are still on the ropes.

tanaww
09-19-2008, 04:35 PM
Just to kind of take the thread back. Stock market was up today, but if you look at it, it ain't very stable. From what I understand, feds told everyone they were not allowed to sell short (bet on the market prices going down so you can buy stocks cheaper). This seems to be what artificially drove the market back up. Now, what will happen when the feds allow this again? It seems to me that we will very likely be on the verge of collapse again because everyone on the market knows thats the way stocks should really be going. They will jump in on the short selling and really drive the prices down.

Also, while looking at all this I noticed that home sales in CA were sky high this month...interesting huh?

I just want to clarify that short sellers are selling stocks that they don't own in the anticipation of the stock price dropping quickly. You sell short and buy to cover at the lower price. It's a technical analyst's trick. The banning of short sales is ominous since, IMHO (without doing any reading on the subject at the moment), the SEC is expecting the market to tank further. I don't see how it cannot since our economic fundamentals are so weak. There's no danger that we can't cover our debt payments since we can always print more money but increasing the money supply will devalue the dollar further and lead to skyrocketing inflation.

If what I just said made no sense to you, register for basic finance and principles of macroeconomics at your local community college.

Thanks.

tanaww
09-19-2008, 05:17 PM
We dabble in SCM, but only as part of the movement of product (usually outbound). We do have some huge clients (some Fortune 100), but we don't play in the ERP or WMS sandboxes.

Chicken! Are you a "4PL" consulting company?

Sei'taer
09-19-2008, 06:04 PM
I just want to clarify that short sellers are selling stocks that they don't own in the anticipation of the stock price dropping quickly. You sell short and buy to cover at the lower price. It's a technical analyst's trick. The banning of short sales is ominous since, IMHO (without doing any reading on the subject at the moment), the SEC is expecting the market to tank further. I don't see how it cannot since our economic fundamentals are so weak. There's no danger that we can't cover our debt payments since we can always print more money but increasing the money supply will devalue the dollar further and lead to skyrocketing inflation.

If what I just said made no sense to you, register for basic finance and principles of macroeconomics at your local community college.

Thanks.

Yeah, what she said.

Hopper
09-19-2008, 06:30 PM
Tanaaw -

I went to school to be a tree-hugger technically a rock-hugger, but let's not quibble. If I want a bean-counter, I call my brother.

Sodas
09-19-2008, 09:30 PM
Let me put it this way for you Sin,

If we didn't bailout these companies, the market would collapse to a point which no one in the goverment at the moment is making public. If you think that Bush would hide a potential S&L recovery, I got a bridge in Alaska to sell you.

And the worst part about this is McCain is out there being partisan and blaming Obama, when everyone else has realized the deregulation agenda of the Republican party itself is to blame.

You see that R next to your name McCain? It's the only reason why you will be on the ballot in the fall. So get ready to be accountable for it.

tanaww
09-19-2008, 09:41 PM
I think everyone at Theoryland should read today's Wall Street Journal. There was an article I read my husband in its entirety. The situation is dire, my friends. Dire indeed.

GonzoTheGreat
09-20-2008, 04:01 AM
Don't worry too much about that, tanaww. A couple of months from now, the current situation will seem like the good old days.

Gilshalos Sedai
09-20-2008, 07:56 AM
Don't get the WSJ, Tanaww.... what's up?

tanaww
09-20-2008, 09:22 AM
Don't get the WSJ, Tanaww.... what's up?

I can't link you to the article because all the WSJ online stuff is subscriber only. But there's a long article about how the Federal Government is now putting out a plan to help banks get distressed assets off their balance sheets (that means to buy them) effectively helping banks dump their bad assets (loans, etc.). The article in question also discusses the Feds efforts to increase the supply of dollars in the international markets. Thankfully, they have done this without increasing the money supply. It also discusses the struggles of financial markets around the world: Moscow, London, Japan... as well as the fact that US Banks are no longer lending one another money and why. It was fascinating. If you do get a chance at a WSJ, the articl is yesterday's lead story.

Here's MSN. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26803347/

Crispin's Crispian
09-20-2008, 01:15 PM
I was talking with our CFO yesterday. I have come to the conclusion that our entire economy is a house of cards built on sand. At some point, the tide will come in.

Maybe that's a bad analogy. It's like a machine that produces its own fuel, but isn't exempt from the laws of thermodynamics.

At some point, something's gotta give.

Bryan Blaire
09-20-2008, 01:40 PM
I agree, Crispy Dog, but a lot of the world market is relatively similar.

Crispin's Crispian
09-20-2008, 01:42 PM
I agree, Crispy Dog, but a lot of the world market is relatively similar.
Hah! Was that supposed to make me feel better?

Bryan Blaire
09-20-2008, 01:44 PM
Nope. That's what I'm concerned about. :D

Neilbert
09-21-2008, 11:27 AM
It's almost as if the American way of life is fundamentally unsustainable.

Davian93
09-21-2008, 12:02 PM
It's almost as if the American way of life is fundamentally unsustainable.

No, it was sustainable when it was based on the #1 production economy in the world...up till around 1950. When we started sending production overseas and transitioned to a service economy, things went south (not that we've noticed). Then we went off the Gold Standard (bad bad move as then the money market is based on belief in the infalliability of the U.S. treasury). Then we overextended ourselves with costly wars and our own welfare programs became too top heavy of an expense. Now we are here, staring potentially at another great depression scenario.

Sodas
09-21-2008, 01:07 PM
Paul Krugman talking with Bill Maher on the issue last night :


youtube link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKMy8pf9qY8&eurl=http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/9/21/10485/5683/675/605451)

Krugman: Look, this is really scary. This is really bad, This Could be 1931 - The collapse of EVERYTHING, so you have to do something big. There are no athiests in foxholes and no liberterians in a financial crisis. When things are really bad, and people are at all rational - well,thank God we've got Hank Paulson as President - we get a response.

Maher: Well, I've been listening to financial experts, and no offense, but it seems like they don't know what's going on.

Krugman: Yeah, right look. Anybody who knew what was going on would have been in a Bomb Shelter by now. This is panicky. Quite Seriously, Like, I was looking at the numbers on Wednesday and I thought "The World is coming to an End", and apparently the people at the Treasury Dept. thought the same thing. This was - boy - this was the worst thing I've ever seen.

Bryan Blaire
09-21-2008, 01:54 PM
Well, if we do get into another Great Depression, maybe we can just have another World War also.

:D

Davian93
09-21-2008, 06:24 PM
Well, if we do get into another Great Depression, maybe we can just have another World War also.

:D

The war is a big reason our economy is tanking. Thanks Dubya!

Bryan Blaire
09-21-2008, 06:41 PM
We just need a bigger one!

Davian93
09-21-2008, 08:11 PM
We just need a bigger one!

You know...that's just crazy enough to work!!!

Lets invade Canada!

Sodas
09-21-2008, 08:37 PM
but that would be too easy. It would last, what, less than 5 hours?

Davian93
09-21-2008, 08:43 PM
but that would be too easy. It would last, what, less than 5 hours?

It'd probably take 5 hours for 50% of Americans to find Canada on a map let alone invade...

Ozymandias
09-21-2008, 08:54 PM
It'd probably take 5 hours for 50% of Americans to find Canada on a map let alone invade...

Thats the beauty of the army. Your told what to do and you do it.

And this isn't another Great Depression. What happened in the 30's happened amidst an environment vastly less regulated than our current one is, with much less government intervention, and a much weaker world economy.

While the American fiscal crisis is dragging down world financial markets, its not THAT bad everywhere else, and we seem to forget that the Great Depression was an equal opportunity killer. In fact it hit other places (1920's Germany, if you view it as the same circumstance) much harder than us.

You also need to recall that a century ago, this kind of economic skyrocket and plunge was normal market behavior. We're upset because it impacts our normal quality of life, but that doesn't spell armageddon for the country or its economy.

I'm a l;ittle surprised Obama hasn't seized on the terrible economic crisis to play up the FDR bit... you know, liberal guy who wants to build national communities, kind of like New Deal stuff.

Gilshalos Sedai
09-21-2008, 09:19 PM
I'm a l;ittle surprised Obama hasn't seized on the terrible economic crisis to play up the FDR bit... you know, liberal guy who wants to build national communities, kind of like New Deal stuff.

Because that would involve acknowledging the elephant in the room. NO ONE wants to talk about the economy.

And yes, if the weather patterns continue as screwed up as they have been, and the world markets take another giant dive, there will be another Great Depression.

Neilbert
09-21-2008, 09:21 PM
No, it was sustainable when it was based on the #1 production economy in the world...up till around 1950.

No, it wasn't. I'm talking long term.

Then we went off the Gold Standard (bad bad move as then the money market is based on belief in the infalliability of the U.S. treasury).

The gold standard was a bad thing, anyone who says differently is invested in gold somewhere somehow.

Sei'taer
09-21-2008, 10:11 PM
The gold standard was a bad thing, anyone who says differently is invested in gold somewhere somehow.

Why was the gold standard bad? I honestly don't know. I always thought that it was a good thing. At least, thats what I learned in my economics classes...I think anyway, it's been 20 years since I took that class.

Davian93
09-21-2008, 10:16 PM
The argument against the gold standard is that it deflates the ability of the economy to expand. The upside is that it provides a rock solid base upon which to support an economic system. Alan Greenspan was a big proponent of the gold standard and even wrote several papers arguing vociferously against the current fiat currency system we use. It IS a house of cards based purely on belief in the U.S. Fed Reserve...not smart...especially with our huge deficits devaluing the dollar.

yks 6nnetu hing
09-22-2008, 07:19 AM
hmm... looking from this side of the pond, europe seems to be standing firm, for once. They are, of course, scrambling to minimize losses, the US crisis does have its effects here. Particularly in Great Britain, but then... you really could see this one coming. The dollar has been sliding ever downward and he pound with it (slower, but still) for about a year now. So. It's not as rosy as it was two months ago but it's not that bad either. Yet...

The really big shocker is the Russian market though, which had lost more than 60% of its value since August 8th. And then the government decided to buy... lots... thus getting the market up about 15% but that just means that state property is being even more enforced in Russia and small and medium businesses will be going down, fast. And it means that the Russian government is spending the oil-dollars now that oil prices are going down... smart move, smart move...

I do think that a little crisis can have a good effect in the long run - getting rid of dead weight and all that. And I also believe that the US (and the world) is much more stable now than it was a century ago so it probably won't turn into another Depression.

Gilshalos Sedai
09-22-2008, 08:25 AM
Not after this. (http://money.cnn.com/2008/09/21/news/companies/goldman_morgan/index.htm)


New world on Wall Street

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to face more oversight from the Federal Reserve. Change provides more funding and opens door to more mergers.

Last Updated: September 22, 2008: 7:19 AM EDT



NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- And then there were none.

Federal regulators converted Wall Street's remaining stand-alone investment banks - Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley - into bank holding companies Sunday night.

The move allows Goldman and Morgan to scoop up retail banks and to streamline their borrowing from the Federal Reserve. The shift also is aimed at removing them as targets of nervous investors and customers, who brought down their former rivals Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch this year.

But it also puts Goldman and Morgan under the Fed's supervision, increasing the agency's regulatory oversight and possibly forcing them to raise additional capital. As banks, Morgan and Goldman will be forced to take less risk, which will mean fewer profits.

And it brings to a close the era of the Wall Street investment bank, a storied institution that traded stocks and bonds, advised mergers and showered lavish bonuses on its executives.

"The separation of investment banking and commercial banking has come to an end," said Bert Ely, an independent banking consultant.

The conversion is but the latest in a series of unprecedented events on Wall Street as it convulses through the global credit crisis. In the past eight days, the federal government announced a $700 billion plan to rescue the financial sector by buying up troubled mortgage assets and an $85 billion emergency loan to insurance titan American International Group. Also, Lehman filed for bankruptcy and Bank of America took over Merrill Lynch.

Morgan (MS, Fortune 500) and Goldman (GS, Fortune 500), whose shares plummeted last week before the $700 billion bailout was unveiled, will likely avoid those fates with the conversion, experts said.

"They were afraid they'd get killed if they didn't [convert]," said Christopher Whalen, managing director of Institutional Risk Analytics. "The Fed is scrambling to take the remaining targets off the radar."

Beefing up the retail banks
The duo is expected to quickly add to their tiny existing retail banking divisions, which will give them access to a cheaper and more stable source of funding - customer deposits - rather than the volatile short-term funding they rely on. The companies, which both requested the conversion, signaled as much in separate press releases Sunday.

They have plenty to pick from now that the credit crisis has devastated the banking sector.

Morgan, which has $36 billion in deposits, may already have a partner in mind. Rumors have flown on Wall Street in the past week that it would hook up with Wachovia (WB, Fortune 500), a large but troubled bank. Sunday's shift would make such a merger easier.

With $20 billion in deposits, Goldman said it plans to grow its deposit base through acquisitions and internally. It is also shifting assets from other divisions into its Goldman Sachs Bank USA, which will become one of the 10 largest banks in the United States with $150 billion in assets.

Access to the Fed funding
The action also solidifies their standing with the Fed. While the investment banks received emergency access to the Fed funding in the wake of Bear Stearns' demise in March, Goldman and Morgan will now have all the same privileges at the Fed lending window as their banking peers.

As part of Sunday's move, the Fed extended additional credit to Goldman and Morgan, as well as Merrill, allowing them to pledge a wider array of collateral.

The companies also hope the shift will end investors' fears that the investment banks are not solid enough to survive.

"This new bank holding structure will ensure that Morgan Stanley is in the strongest possible position," said John Mack, Morgan's chief executive. "It also offers the marketplace certainty about the strength of our financial position and our access to funding."

"We believe that Goldman Sachs, under Federal Reserve supervision, will be regarded as an even more secure institution with an exceptionally clean balance sheet and a greater diversity of funding sources," said Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman's chief executive

Turmoil on Wall Street
The Fed's decision is just the latest in a dizzying series of events over the past week representing a dramatic reordering of the financial world.

All eyes now turn to the troubled traditional banks, such as Washington Mutual (WM, Fortune 500) and Wachovia, which are scrambling to shore up their books as lending has frozen up and investor confidence has sunk.

First Published: September 21, 2008: 10:51


~*~
Though this probably means a return to the Robber Barons is more likely than a Great Depression.

Sodas
09-23-2008, 02:12 PM
Pfft. Check this out, from the Whitehouse (link (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/09/20080923-6.html))

With respect to executive pay, again, I'm not going to get into specific, point-by-point details on what our views are on that, other than the Secretary of Treasury said it would make more difficult to make this plan work and effective if you provide disincentives for companies and firms out there who are holding mortgage-backed securities and other securities from participating in the program. You have to remember, these are not all weak or troubled firms that own mortgage-backed securities. A lot of them are very successful banks and investment houses that have done very well, have been responsible, are holding performing assets that have value. They were not necessarily irresponsible players, and so you have to be careful about how you deal with them.
Puhleeze. This bailout purposed by the whitehouse is non-sense. Now we gotta care that these businesses that are not "weak or troubled" want to get a piece of the bailout too? Hot dog damn.

This feels like going into Iraq all over again. Lies on top of more lies. Heaped with non-reviewable or accountable action, and optimistic cost assessments.