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Greg Davidson
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I like that Obama went in responded directly to aggressive questions from the Republican House members. This meeting was a one day effort that is consistent with what John McCain proposed during the campaign, to have the American President directly questioned by members of Congress.

And I like that Obama can provide answers to the same sort of questions that are asked on this forum. The full transcript is here.

Here's just one snippet responding to the fact that the Administrations prediction of peak unemployment made in January 2009 was wrong:

quote:
You’re absolutely right that when I was sworn in the hope was that unemployment would remain around 8 [percent], or in the 8 percent range. That was just based on the estimates made by both conservative and liberal economists, because at that point not all the data had trickled in.

We had lost 650,000 jobs in December. I’m assuming you’re not faulting my policies for that. We had lost, it turns out, 700,000 jobs in January, the month I was sworn in. I’m assuming it wasn’t my administration’s policies that accounted for that. We lost another 650,000 jobs the subsequent month, before any of my policies had gone into effect. So I’m assuming that wasn’t as a consequence of our policies; that doesn’t reflect the failure of the Recovery Act. The point being that what ended up happening was that the job losses from this recession proved to be much more severe — in the first quarter of last year going into the second quarter of last year — than anybody anticipated.

So I mean, I think we can score political points on the basis of the fact that we underestimated how severe the job losses were going to be. But those job losses took place before any stimulus, whether it was the ones that you guys have proposed or the ones that we proposed, could have ever taken into effect. Now, that’s just the fact, Mike, and I don’t think anybody would dispute that. You could not find an economist who would dispute that.


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Greg Davidson
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I forgot to mention, start about 20% of the way through to where the questioning starts
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kenmeer livermaile
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Kind of a history-making day, I say.
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TomDavidson
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I would definitely like to see this sort of thing become a tradition here in the States.
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edgmatt
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I give him a lot of credit for doing this, and doing it live. I thought he squirmed a bit, at least during the parts I watched, but he was confident and wasn't backing down....so hats off.

If you had asked me before hand if I thought President Obama would willingly have a question and answer session with the Republicans of congress televised live, I would have said certainly No.

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Greg Davidson
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I just read the whole transcript. In one sense, it's just a reasonable person from one political perspective having a reasonable discussion with others. On the other hand, it's just what I would want a President to do.

I would be interested in the opinion of those who have said that they see Obama more naive, inexperienced, incompetent, and radical even than their perception of other previous Democratic Presidents.

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Pete at Home
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Haven't seen it yet, but sounds wonderful.
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LetterRip
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Just read it, it was excellent.

I really wish that this sort of thing could be done on a regular basis.

LetterRip

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Al Wessex
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Young Dan'l in the lions den. The best thing about it was that he went. I can't imagine him being any more accommodating toward their questions or more sensible in his responses. A couple of them tried to nail him, and he deftly turned it back on them. Very nice, overall. I hope he does something similar with the Democrats.
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Greg Davidson
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Now how do I invite G2, JWatts, Cherry, and michelle to read this and give their opinions on this?
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JoshCrow
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Now how do I invite G2, JWatts, Cherry, and michelle to read this and give their opinions on this?

The question is, do you want to bet money on the nature of their responses?
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PSRT
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I think its unfair to Jwatts to lump him in that group, but that's just me.
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Greg Davidson
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In this context, I do find Obama to model good behavior. I would like to be able to persistently address critics with respectful challenges to their ideas and opinions with which I disagree. I don't always succeed, but it is an aspiration.
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bringer
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No response needed. This says it better.

http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/-231622--.html

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bringer
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Here's a response from the angry barker.

http://www.popmodal.com/video/4585/Rush-Limbaughs-Letter-to-President-Obama

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DonaldD
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bringer, did you even read the thread to know what is being discussed here? Because your links, even ignoring their obvious partisan hackery, have zero to do with the topic at hand.

Unless you yourself are simply demonstrating the very partisan hackery that Obama's Q&A with House Republicans puts into stark relief..?

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JoshCrow
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Bringer, start your own thread or discuss the topic of this one.
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kenmeer livermaile
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Propaganda usually works better when it relates to the topic on which it intrudes.
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bringer
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So, with this I am invited to talk to my opponents about the President talking to his opponents about what he talked about in his SOTU?

Good. We seem to have some 'Rules of Engagement'.
One being, 'No talking about what others outside of this forum talked about when talking about what the President talked about when he talked to Republicans about scolding them on world wide media without them being able to talk about it on world wide media.

I will hold you to that.

Another RoE seems to be that we can call dissenting opinion propaganda.

I will not stoop to that.

You can hold to that.

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Greg Davidson
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bringer, let me propose this as a premise for productive discussion:

Anyone who responds to a genuine request for their opinion with the comment
quote:
No response needed
should heed their own advice.
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kenmeer livermaile
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It's all propaganda unless it is dispassionate inquiry. Some propaganda fits a given consensus group's concept of truth more than other.

I see no reason to cite one poster's complaint as a rule when the official rules are posted on Ornery's intro. Here they are:

1. We aren't impressed by your credentials, Dr. This or Senator That. We aren't going to take your word for it, we're going to think it through for ourselves.

2. We don't like being spun. That doesn't mean we aren't sometimes fooled by the way reporters slant their stories, but when we find out how we've been manipulated, we get a little mad and we refuse to trust that writer, commentator, that magazine, that newspaper, that news network, or that politician again.

3. We think America is larger and more important than our self-interest. You can't buy our integrity with a boomtown economy, and we won't let you shame our country just to avoid risking American lives. We Americans have never been afraid to make sacrifices for a worthy cause.

4. We believe that character matters -- our own character, the character of our leaders, and the character of our nation as a whole. We don't like bullies and cowards, liars and hypocrites, and we don't appreciate it when our leaders make our nation behave as if that were what Americans are.

5. We'll forgive your misdeeds, but only if you apologize sincerely and never do it again. Our trust, once betrayed, is not lightly restored.

6. We vote.

7. We know that good, wise people sometimes disagree. So we listen to the views of others, and have no patience with those who shout others down or use ridicule or coercion to silence serious arguments. Only fanatics and dictators assume that anyone who disagrees with them must be evil or stupid.

8. We believe in right or wrong. Individual cases may merit compassion, but the law must be respected. Along with individual freedom must come responsibility for others. Along with compassion for the minority's needs must come respect for the majority's will.

9. We believe in representative government, with the separation of powers set forth in the Constitution. Judges do not have the right to create law. Presidents do not have the right to lie to, conceal information from, or ignore the prerogatives of Congress. Congressmen must act first for the good of the nation, and only secondarily for the benefit of their constituents.

10. We reject violence except in self-defense or to protect the weak against aggression.

If you are an Ornery American, we hope you'll take part here and invite others to join us as well.

On this website, we welcome serious discussion about events, ideas, leaders, candidates, parties, principles, governments, religions, philosophies, and programs.

If you post something and someone disagrees with your idea, their disagreement does not erase your original statement. There is no need to answer except to clarify or offer new material.

Personal attacks, mockery, or speculation about the motives of people posting here are not allowed, and such posts will be removed without notification. Repeated offenders will be banned from the site.

Personal courtesy is the fundamental condition of free discussion, and free discussion is the fundamental condition of democratic government.

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bringer
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Wait. A new rule comes from Greg, that being "heed" ones "own advice".

After which Kenmeer says 'We have rules. Don't add to them'.

He said this to me, I think, and did so because I was so rude as to identify rules that he and the rest moved to impose on me. Namely, not linking to other comments, submitting to judgement about those links being pertinent or on topic, and allowing opposing views to be labeled 'propaganda'.

Did I leave any of your rules out?

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kenmeer livermaile
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Orson sets the rules proper. Our job is to break them, including by adding new rules. Have at it, y'all. Either way, the rules by which credibility and logical consistency are maintained will scarcely be altered, if at all, by us.
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Greg Davidson
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I was proposing a new rule in an attempt to get you to focus on what I felt to be your admission that you were not attempting to participate in a productive discussion from the start. I had asked on this thread for your opinion on the interaction. My concern is less about what you posted as to the degree it was not what I was asking about. If you had posted a link about the life cycle of starfish, you would equally be undermining the point of this specific thread which was to hear your opinion on a certain specific set of interactions.

Kenmeer makes a good point about the existing rules, so I withdraw my proposal. I would be very pleased, bringer, if you would just follow the existing rules of Ornery and I would be especially pleased if you would respond to my question. I don't know what you think about everything, I cannot predict all of your responses, and I would be genuinely interested in your opinions if you read the part of my original link where there was interaction between Obama and the Republican Congressmen.

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whitefire
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I second the wish that this kind of thing became more commonplace, maybe quarterly, and not just with the opposition but a real dialog with congress, and maybe even the governors.
Because for this format to be successful you need to have more than several minute answers, and you need extended dialog on different subjects. For example, I grew up in WV, and I thought the congressman from my home state wanted to ask a question about policy framed by the interests of his state. But coming from that state I know that the problems with coal stem far beyond cap and trade (in fact much of WV's coal hasn't been used in the US in years due various regulations - at least as of when I last studied the subject). In any case my point is that these questions have to be honed, answers considered, and replied to after due consideration. I don't want a Q&A, I want a dialog.
I would welcome a Federalist/Anti-Federalist style debate online, in newspapers, on TV, and I would encourage anyone who thinks their ideas could stand up to throw their hat in the ring.
My only concern is that it turns into a kind of "state of the union"ish thing that does nothing but let each side grandstand and do nothing to increase understanding and dialog in the country.

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kenmeer livermaile
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I suspect that years from now this will be cited as part of a movement that altered our electroal structure from a 2-party, winner take all system.
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edgmatt
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He floundered a bit, and apparently got some stuff wrong. Like I said in my earlier post, I give him credit for DOING it, but I don't think he pulled it off very well. One of the congressman asked him about discretionary spending, and he answered talking about medicare and medicade...which is NOT discretionary spending.

I didn't see a good bit of it, so maybe he did better in the parts I didn't see. If I had to grade him on how he did from what I saw I'd give him a D.

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kenmeer livermaile
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Did you mean medicaid?
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Greg Davidson
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quote:
He floundered a bit, and apparently got some stuff wrong. Like I said in my earlier post, I give him credit for DOING it, but I don't think he pulled it off very well. One of the congressman asked him about discretionary spending, and he answered talking about medicare and medicaid...which is NOT discretionary spending.
I believe that the discussion you are referring to is that with Rep. Paul Ryan, extracted below. It appears to me that Ryan started with an 84% number that referred to all spending ("domestic and discretionary" if the transcript is accurate). It seems to me that Obama is being reasonably thoughtful and raising a legitimate point that much of the 84% increase in spending was due to laws on the books before Obama got there. But I am genuinely interested in what you think, do you read this same transcript and think that Obama deserves a D?

For reference, here is the exchange:

quote:
RYAN: The spending bills that you have signed into law, the domestic and discretionary spending has been increased by 84 percent. You now want to freeze spending at this elevated level beginning next year. This means that total spending in your budget would grow at 300ths of 1 percent less than otherwise. I would simply submit that we could do more and start now.

You've also said that you want to take a scalpel to the budget and go through it line by line. We want to give you that scalpel. I have a proposal with my home state senator, Russ Feingold, a bipartisan proposal, to create a constitutional version of the line- item veto.

(APPLAUSE)

The problem is we can't even get a vote on the proposal.

So my question is, why not start freezing spending now? And would you support a line-item veto and helping us get a vote on it in the House?

OBAMA: Let me respond to the two specific questions, but I want to just push back a little bit on the underlying premise, about us increasing spending by 84 percent.

Now, look, I talked to Peter Orszag right before I came here, because I suspected I'd be hearing this -- I'd be hearing this argument.

The fact of the matter is is that most of the increases in this year's budget, this past year's budget, were not as a consequence of policies that we initiated, but instead were built in as a consequence of the automatic stabilizers that kick in because of this enormous recession.

So the increase in the budget for this past year was actually predicted before I was even sworn into office and had initiated any policies. Whoever was in there, Paul -- and I don't think you'll dispute that -- whoever was in there would have seen those same increases because of, on the one hand, huge drops in revenue, but at the same time people were hurting and needed help. And a lot of these things happen automatically.

Now, the reason that I'm not proposing the discretionary freeze take into effect this year, retro -- we prepared a budget for 2010, it's now going forward -- is, again, I am just listening to the consensus among people who know the economy best.

And what they will say is that if you either increased taxes or significantly lowered spending when the economy remains somewhat fragile, that that would have a destimulative effect and potentially you'd see a lot of folks losing business, more folks potentially losing jobs. That would be a mistake when the economy has not fully taken off.

That's why I've proposed to do it for the next fiscal year. So, that's point number two.

With respect to the line-item veto, I actually -- I think there's not a president out there that wouldn't love to have it. And, you know, I think that this is an area where we can have a serious conversation. I know it is a bipartisan proposal by you and Russ Feingold.

I don't like being held up with big bills that have stuff in them that are wasteful but I've got to sign because it's a defense authorization bill and I've got to make sure that our troops are getting the funding that they need.

I will tell you, I would love for Congress itself to show discipline on both sides of the aisle. I think one thing that, you know, you have to acknowledge, Paul, because you study this stuff and take it pretty seriously, that the earmarks problem is not unique to one party, and you end up getting a lot of pushback when you start going after specific projects of any one of you in your districts, because wasteful spending is usually spent somehow outside of your district. Have you noticed that? The spending in your district tends to seem pretty sensible.

So I would love to see more restraint within Congress. I'd like to work on the earmarks reforms that I mentioned in terms of putting earmarks online, because I think sunshine is the best disinfectant. But I am willing to have a serious discussion on the line-item veto issue.

Obama did the mistake of calling a Congressman named Jeb by the name Jim.


edit: had some junk cut and paste text at the bottom

[ January 30, 2010, 11:14 PM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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bringer
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Okay. Bygones. Greg, you said:

"...I would be very pleased, bringer, if you would just follow the existing rules of Ornery and I would be especially pleased if you would respond to my question. I don't know what you think about everything, I cannot predict all of your responses, and I would be genuinely interested in your opinions if you read the part of my original link where there was interaction between Obama and the Republican Congressmen."

I would be happy to abide by the rules of Ornery and by the rules "by which credibility and logical consistency are maintained" stressed by Kenmeer, but should the thread drift in any way from these guidelines then I reserve the right to use common and decent tools with which I am best suited to the combat against abuse.

That being said my method is misread. In attempting to address your question I sought a beginning to the events surrounding your question and started to lay a base from there. I expected to address your exact question having done that. Or that others, those you referred to, G2, JWatts, cherrypoptart, and michelle, would address it in concert with me and much better than me.

So mindful of that I will start even earlier to a moment in midsummer of 2008. Kelsey Grammer explained very humbly that he was trading out of the stock market in light of the probability that Senator Obama would win the November election.
He noted that many others were doing the same thing and that adversarial climate well known to investors was prompting it.
I would here insert that businesses big and small are investors. They, big and small, invest labor and capital without guarantee of return on the faith that the rules under which they are allowed to do so will remain somewhat favorable. Why would they not? Who invests without chance of return?
So when the President says to the Congressmen that job losses in the months before he took office can't be blamed on him then I see Kelsey Grammers face and I see that expression on the faces of Republican representatives.
What is not understood is that simple math was performed in board rooms and construction offices by weathered decision makers who tossed the probabilities around and saw what Kelsey saw.

Then they did what Kelsey did. They downsized, stopped development, tossed away resumes, and prepared to ride out a storm. Heard of John Galt?

Every conservative and a good number of the liberals in government know that.

As historic as the meeting is, very little was ceded by either side. Gwen Ifill interviewed the representatives afterwards, they were very clear about the disconnect.

Rush Limbaugh and Mark Steyn are not driving this, they are only clearly aware of it, and their dissenting view ironically is the clearest and the least considered explanation.

Thus my first attempt to post a link and begin at the beginning.

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edgmatt
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I didn't read the transcript, and I said that I only saw a part of it. I'd rather watch the President speak than read what he said.

I don't know if that was the exact part I was speaking of, it doesn't seem to be because he mentioned Medicare and Medicaid in the part I watched. I'll have to find it for you...

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Greg Davidson
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bringer,
Your response to my question about Obama's interaction with the Republican Congressmen is to cite the stock predictions of the actor who is best known for playing Frazier Crane?

This is such an off-the-wall response that I cannot resist responding. Your hint that the stock market decline may have been due to the anticipation that Obama would be elected ("Kelsey Grammer explained very humbly that he was trading out of the stock market in light of the probability that Senator Obama would win the November election") is a marvelous example of making up unprovable points to substantiate your argument.

You say that:
quote:
In attempting to address your question I sought a beginning to the events surrounding your question and started to lay a base from there
This is what you need to tell me prior to discussing the question of his interaction with the Republican Congressman?
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kenmeer livermaile
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"Heard of John Galt?"

He played the postman on CHEERS, right?

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Greg Davidson
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Actually, the actor who played the postman on cheers was campaigning with newly-elected Senator Brown last month (I am not making that up)
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by bringer:
Wait. A new rule comes from Greg, that being "heed" ones "own advice".

After which Kenmeer says 'We have rules. Don't add to them'.

He said this to me, I think, and did so because I was so rude as to identify rules that he and the rest moved to impose on me. Namely, not linking to other comments, submitting to judgement about those links being pertinent or on topic, and allowing opposing views to be labeled 'propaganda'.

Did I leave any of your rules out?

First impressions matter. So does the tone you set in your first 3 weeks. When you find yourself geting in a personal rut with someone, or a group of someones, ask yourself, is this really where I want to be in nine years? At least that's what I wish someone had told me nine years ago, when I was making smartass remarks like that. It's really hard to stop doing once you get in the habit. I find myself reacting to Greg in the same way that you did, even though every single time that I've done this, I've looked back at what he said, and thought, that didn't warrant my smart ass response. In fact, what he said was quite reasonable. Why did I respond that way? He's polite, reasonable, often insightful. I'd like to be his friend. Why am I treating him like an enemy? Am I mistaking dolfins for torpedoes?

You've done better than I did in my opening years ago, so I shouldn't worry about you. I don't think you're in any danger of getting kicked off, and Greg wasn't implying that with the discussion of rules. Take it easy. Bend a little to accomodate the quirks of your fellow discursants, but don't bend too much, and if they make demands that hamper your best style or offend your dignity, just say no; don't be snotty about it. I'd like to see you stay. Let your conflicts bring more light than heat.

[ January 31, 2010, 12:33 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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bringer
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Thank you, Pete. Light is good. Heat is last resort.
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bringer
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Yes, Greg. Because it takes explaining the cause to converse about the continuing effects.
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Greg Davidson
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So, bringer, could you tell me what you believe the root causes of the budget imbalance are?

So far, from what you have written, it appears that you believe that anticipation of Obama's election as President is at least a partial cause of the economic decline. That sounds implausible to me (for example, the stock market traditionally does better under Democratic Presidents than under Republicans, so it is a very strong assertion on your point to posit that mere anticipation of a Democratic President will significantly affect the economy adversely).

Do you believe that there were any other causes of the economic problems? And if so, how would you apportion the responsibility between Bush and Obama. Obama made the claim that he inherited a debt of ~10 trillion and prior to when he took office existing legislation drove the annual budget deficit to over a trillion dollars. According to Obama, the actions of his Administration have added 1 trillion dollars to this total. Do you dispute these claims, and if so,how so?

And beyond this, how much more background will be necessary before you could answer my question?

[ January 31, 2010, 02:32 AM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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bringer
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Simple. Klaus sees it. Hayek defined it. Ayn Rand gave a 1000 plus pages of narrative to illustrate the dynamics between free enterprise and meddling micromanaging government.
We couldn't do more of the wrong things that these and others have warned us not to do.

We have been killing small business by regulating industries, supposedly targeting large offenders who ride out the regulation while it kills off their less connected competitors. You've watched the mergers of large oil, Chevron-Texaco and Phillips-Conoco? What you didn't see was small mom and pop refineries dying unable to pay for compliance. Big oil benefited by government intervention. Less competion leads to higher prices. Making foreign oil attractive. This drives up a trade deficit.
Bad guys on all levels use courts to tie up competitors. Unions use OSHA inspections to harass non-union shops, and underbid a lowbid winner with 'National Defense' payoffs with impunity.
Green movements want instant changes based on a false urgency from bad science. They can't do math and do not have the patience to consider the implications. This is a repeat of the dotcom frenzy of the 90's. No connection to production and comsumption cycles, no time for retooling, evil corporations are killing the planet, therefore open season is declared on all production and manufacturing.
John Galt is quitting, production is evil and can't pay for union labor anyway.
Yet more of the proceeds of production are demanded for programs that continue to punish production. More concessions are demanded by labor even when it will kill the machine of production, I give you Michigan, California, New York, Nevada, and Hawaii.


I suffered with the citizens of Ortega. Ortega attacked the producers.
I watched the boom under Fujimori in Peru.
He didn't attack the producers.

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Al Wessex
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Heat, not light. I could just as easily claim that a lack of regulations and special regulations favor big business over Mom and Pop shops. Every literary reference and assertion can be countered with others leaning towards equal and opposite "conclusions", but there's no point in raising them.

You haven't offered anything that will sway anyone who doesn't already agree with what you wrote. It will help if you make an argument, rather than just recite your beads.

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