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David Simon
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5472

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:14 pm    Post subject: David Simon Reply with quote

I don't know if anyone watched Bill Maher last night, but if you did, you were probably stunned by the intelligent comments of David Simon, writer of the best television show I've ever seen, "The Wire." His comment, which caught everyone short because it was outside of current talking points, is that the political dialogue is remarkably impoverished when we are looking at monthly employment numbers to fight about very long term employment trends in the country. As he noted, de-industrialization and the contraction of blue collar labor, and organizations that represent such labor, has been going in this country for over 40 years. There are a few bright spots in Silicon Valley, where new manufacturing jobs are being developed, but the erosion of manufacturing continues, and neither George Bush nor Obama are responsible. He was spot on.

His larger thesis, shown in his work like "The Wire" and his attitude towards the abject failure of the "war on drugs", is that we cannot have an adult conversation in our political discourse about truly difficult hairy problems. These are problems like de-industrialization, drugs, and the Middle East, where neither party really knows what to do, and where our efforts to date haven't yielded measurable results. We are, at the major party level, allergic to serious discussion of these topics with an acknowledgement that we are certain about what to do. If Mitt Romney's work at Bain Capital had a consistent thread where he identified ways in which manufacturing could continue in this country in some places, and other places manufacturing had to go overseas for companies to survive, I would be much more pursuaded that he is a serious candidate. Obama's successful efforts to restructure the auto industry as an iconic symbol of American ingenuity comes much closer to the model we might need--but it is, as yet, unclear whether that is just a symbolic action in a continued trend.

And just to show that every now and then mrgybe says something that isn't directly out of the John Birch/Koch brothers playbook, this does include the Fed. Although I notice that the right didn't object as the Fed manipulated the economy for political gain under both Clinton and Bush.

Anyone with some adult conversation suggestions?
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mat-ty



Joined: 07 Jul 2007
Posts: 1088

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac
You have mentioned maher several times before, you obviously enjoy his show. That's pretty ironic considering you preach about bigotry, racism , and hatred as if it's something you are above. Well apparently you are not, you only feel that way when someone attacks your beliefs and people you admire. maher is a pig , calls woman c&&ts, and MILFS, and has complete disrespect for anyone who does not agree with him. And please spare me the bullshit response that he is a comedian, he is a foul mouth punk , and only someone with hate , and bigotry running through their veins could find him amusing.


Last edited by mat-ty on Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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coboardhead



Joined: 26 Oct 2009
Posts: 2034

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mac...I think we can count Matty out.

I will have to see if I can find a record of this show on-line.

As I was biking along today, I was thinking of the same thing. I, recently heard that procuctivity increased by 2.3% last year. On the surface, this looks great...but now less workers are needed to produce a product. It will make us more competitive on a world market, but at a cost to the laborer.

We may not be able to compete with other countries with lower employment costs, such as China. If we pay our workers Chinese wages, they cannot afford our much higher cost of living.

Placing tarriffs on products from countries that do not provide a level of social responsibility, such as China, is a tempting way to level the playing field. But, trade limitations could plunge us into a cold (or hot) war with China.

So, industry continues to offshore. How far can this go?

In addition, we are looking at a huge number of baby boomers entering unproductive retirement years. This should help some with the unemployment trend, but what pays for this?
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5472

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matty--the post was about David Simon--who is much more profound and thoughtful than Maher, and one of the great artists of our time. You obviously missed that point--and have missed seeing the numerous panelists that Maher has on that raise issues that might teach you something.

Yes, Maher is rude and sexist and says many cringe-worthy things. But you obviously missed the meta-message, so I'll spell it out for you. Even a pothead asshole like Bill Maher can run circles around many of the conservative "intellectuals" that he invites on his show. He tore Dinesh D'Souza apart, substantively. Kind of like you on this forum, where your only "proof" that Obama is a failure is his success in getting a health care enacted--as he promised he would when he was elected by a landslide.

Try the real world some day.
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w8n4wind



Joined: 12 Nov 2008
Posts: 275
Location: canada

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

just wondering whats going to be like when china has a big enough domestic market that they wont really care, or want to bother with the relatively small north american market..we we have completely lost our ability, capacity and facilities to manufacture anything here.
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feuser



Joined: 29 Oct 2002
Posts: 1395

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

w8n4wind wrote:
just wondering whats going to be like when china has a big enough domestic market that they wont really care, or want to bother with the relatively small north american market..we we have completely lost our ability, capacity and facilities to manufacture anything here.


China is just developing a real appetite for Levi's jeans, Napa wine and iPhones. The question is, do we really want to create labor conditions in the US that would make a trade equilibrium possible?

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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4312

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So feuser, that sounds like we'll become Greece, who only sell olive oil and goats?

We cannot only produce jeans, nik naks and movies. We need to produce things like energy, manufactured goods, and cars for export. IMO tax rates and regulations are key to attracting high paying jobs.

Unfortunately it seems congress and the prez have spent way too much time trying to get re-elected, and not enough time facing up to our future.
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keycocker



Joined: 10 Jul 2005
Posts: 3525

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The two biggest tax cuts in human history, followed by further tax cuts from Obama have produced the lowest taxes in my lifetime.
Have they attracted a lot of high paying jobs?
This is the part I don't get. I thought that tax cuts would help but clearly it did not.
Why is the GOP completely committed to solving all problems with tax cuts, after proving that isn't working?
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5472

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bard--I guess arithmetic wasn't your strong suit in school. Debt certainly matters, both public and private because it affects your discretionary income. But comparing the United States and Greece without also comparing their economic strength is foolish. Greece's debt to GDP ratio is 1.3, the US's is 0.93. Japan's is about 2.25. The United States' debt ratio as a percentage is 20 points below the top 10 countries--something to worry about but manage instead of panic. The US economy, by GDP, ranks first in the world at $14.6 trillion, nearly three times that of China at $5.7 trillion.

The falling value of United States' labor force in the world market after Clinton's policies on trade is a very long term trend, and will probably continue until the rising prices of transportation and the higher productivity of US workers reach a new equilibrium. Check this site for wage comparisons throughout the world: http://www.worldsalaries.org/uk.shtml. I'll make the China/US comparison for you: Urban worker in China made about $8000 US dollars in 2004; the US worker made about $35,000.

But in the fact free world, you can blame all of that on Obama. Of course if you want a better researched piece of analysis, which shows what was discretionary, what was due to Obama's policies, and what was due to Bush's policies, you can find it at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/is-obama-responsible-for-a-5-trillion-increase-in-the-debt/2012/05/15/gIQACA0QSU_blog.html
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5967

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"we we have completely lost our ability, capacity and facilities to manufacture anything here."


I'm with w8n4wind in recognizing the huge losses we've sustained in manufacturing, and how that continues to cripple the nation. Whole industries are gone. This is far more devastating than simply some companies moving offshore. When you lose the capacity and facilities to manufacture products, you can't leverage off of development and innovation rooted in making both better products and new technologies. That's a serious loss of technical leadership that once was the cornerstone of American business and manufacturing. Furthermore, your workforce doesn't benefit from the growing sophistication and expertise that comes with improved manufacturing.

In my view, a consumer based economy that depends heavily on retail sales and services just isn't going to cut it over time. As we can see right now, the affect of the financial and housing debacle and the recession that followed, any contraction of consumer spending has a huge negative impact on our economy.

What I find distressing is that large corporations are just sitting on incredible sums of money, and they aren't really doing anything with it. Frankly, I don't buy the bogus Republican talking points about lower tax rates and reduced regulations that will result in growth and jobs. Instead, I would like to see the right kind of financial stimulus and leadership coming from the government to help industries grow. If any tax preferences or relief is associated this, there must be requirements and measurable performance metrics to prove they make sense. We know it works very well, as evidenced in the military, defense and space related industries. With well developed goals and strict performance requirements, private and publicly owned industries have a chance to grow in areas that will better guarantee our technological leadership and manufacturing long into the future. Crucial in this would be maintaining our intellectual property, and that means we don't transfer it wholesale to other countries as we have done so readily in the past in the goal of profit for the limited few.

If I was to highlight a few targets that are ripe for improvement, those would be the coal, gas and oil industries. That said, it's important to note that I'm not suggesting pursuing the "drill baby drill" path as so many eagerly promote these days. Instead, it's about tightening regulations that lead to less pollution and better environmental outcomes. Contrary to the push from these industries, tighter more demanding regulations will lead to more rather than less jobs. Just think about it, how many refineries and energy production facilities could upgraded right now with existing technology we already have. Just think how many folks could be employed to accomplish these tasks. Of course, there's a cost associated with important production improvements, but in the long run it's clearly worth it. To help stem added costs, the government could offer targeted tax advantages that make it very attractive to industry, and to help promote them to do the right thing rather than fight it every step of the way.
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