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Balancing the budget
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4304

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I knew that Boggs! I got it off Drudge. It is a good metaphor though, Don'tcha know.

Let's face the facts though. Why isn't he meeting with Netanyahu?

Q2, which party is going to get us off the crack pipe of free printed money to juice the economy? In my opinion neither. I desperately wish we had a 3rd choice.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14454

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevenbard wrote:
which party is going to get us off the crack pipe of free printed money to juice the economy?

The "Aftershock" guys show why that ship sailed decades ago, that printing play money is now the only way, and a very temporary way at that, to delay the inevitable global crash.
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5965

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

isobars has been hyping "Aftershock" for some time now, so I did a little looking around to find out a bit more about it. I found the following review, which offers an opinion.

By John J. Robinson

"If you would like to visit the author's website, hire them to financially advise you, or simply buy their friend's books, then you'll have plenty of opportunities during this read. Shameless plugs and weblinks are littered throughout so many of these pages you'll probably catch yourself laughing in spite of it all.

And seriously, I have never encountered a more pretentious self-congratulatory pat-themselves-on-the-back-and-then-do-it-again group of authors in my life. Ever. It's tolerable at first, annoying next, unbelievable, and finally comical. Is it entertaining? Oh ok, you'll finally be entertained by their level of arrogance... but probably because you suspect these guys (and gal) don't even realize it.

Their message is simple and never approaches the more erudite levels of their contemporaries. They even complain about their failure at publishing in peer reviewed journals at one point. More sour grapes appear when they devote a huge section of the book (probably about 35%) to attacking practically every economist in the known world. At least they explicitly reveal to the reader exactly where each economist makes their mistake and how they should proceed down the path of redemption. Hell, they even take on the entire SCIENCE of economics at one point.

It's a fun read though and I enjoyed it. It's a serious topic and these guys are probably pretty damn close to predicting what will happen in the next few years despite their sophomoric approach. Go ahead and buy it if you are interested, but in case the Aftershock has already left you penniless, here's the summary:

The U.S. will hit their credit limit when foreign entities quit buying our T-bills. The Fed will continue to buy bonds to manipulate the market, massive inflation will occur, so you better have stocked up on gold because nothing else will protect you."
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4304

PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They have been predicting the end of days for 6000 years. However, there are many reasons to think that the day of reckoning is close at hand. Redistribution is the final gasp of a government without answers. Rather than promote growing the economy, they promote taking from others. Here is an interesting video/article.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/49117901

The question, do you bet with Buffett, or with Soros? One says buy gold, the other not.
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5965

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to ask Bard, do you think that that guy in Nevada that died with 7 million dollars in horded gold lived a good life?
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4304

PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

swchandler wrote:
I have to ask Bard, do you think that that guy in Nevada that died with 7 million dollars in horded gold lived a good life?


That wasn't my point, however who am I to judge? The point is, the stock market hasn't moved in 10 years, however the value of his gold has gone up 4 times.

With all the foolish spending, printing and borrowing that our government engages in, many people have put their savings into gold. Gold is only a rational investment when governments fail their people.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5460

PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the release of election loser Paul Ryan's budget, and the hysterical comment by Bard immediately above, it is time to revive this topic. I started a much older topic asking people what they would actually cut to try to get people thinking about both the technical and political difficulties of cutting the debt. But Ryan's in-your-face approach, and the op ed piece by Paul Krugman make the topic not merely current, but vital. Krugman's piece can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/11/opinion/krugman-dwindling-deficit-disorder.html?_r=0, and conservatives have pushed the Ryan response even higher in Google. Nothing so important as talking points when an issue is complicated.

The gist of Krugman's piece is that a huge amount of the deficit involved the collapse of tax revenues and the Federal governments Keynsian response. Both correct, and you can support or criticize deficit spending. Krugman goes on to make another point which can be fact checked--the deficit has dropped from a peak of $1.9 trillion in 2009 to about $845 bllion this year.

Krugman's next arguments are certain to be controversial--first that continued recovery of employment will drop the deficit to $423 billion, and that an ongoing deficit of about $460 billion is sustainable as long as the economy is growing faster than the debt. Interesting points. In support of his view, he points out that we never paid off the World War II debt, and our debt doubled in the 30 years following the war.

I am not completely convinced that a deficit of $460 billion is sustainable, and I see both Medicare costs and Social Security costs as having the potential to push the deficit higher in the long term. But if the debt crisis isn't so good as Krugman would have it, neither is it as bad as Ryan would have it. So what is going on?

In doubt, follow the money. I read a very interesting article by Lisa Graves, former deputy assisant attorney general and now Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy. They are the publishers of "ALEC exposed", Sourcewatch, and PR Watch. The big money whipping up budget hysteria comes from the head of lobbying effort known as "Campaign to Fix the Debt." The key figure behind that effort is Peter G Peterson, who made his billions by founding the private equity firm Blackstone Group. Blackstone Group participates in hedge-fund type activities, notably purchasing Travelport, a travel reservation conglomeration, loading it with $4.3 billion in new debt and then plucking $1.7 billion out for payments to shareholders and Blackstone. Guess what ensued? Travelport fired 81 workers. Peterson was also involved in the housing bubble, Blackstone owned the Financial Guaranty Insurance Company, which invested in subprime mortgage debt. By the time it went belly-up, Peterson had sold most of his shares in an IPO that netted Blacktone $4 billion. Bush's man at the SEC, Chris Cox (Republican from Newport Beach) ignored warnings that the IPO had problems.

Then there is David Cote, another CEO (of Honeywell) active in Fix the Debt. Honeywell has a negative average tax rate, and is underfunding its pension fund by $2.8 billion. Let's not forget former Tennssee govenor Phil Bredsen, who has said publicly that their goal is to create an "artificial crisis" in order to spur Congress to action. http://blogs.tennessean.com/politics/2012/phil-bredesen-helping-to-lead-new-national-fix-the-debt-effort/ Of course he is now working as a lobbyist.

None of this suggests that the question of debt is not a serious matter for debate. But it does suggest that there is an endless supply of charlatans feeding around the edges. Some of them--Bowles and Simpson--have cashed in and gone to work for Fix the Debt. Others are involved in hedge funds and are trying to maintain favorable tax treatment, or avoid regulation. Still others see billions to be made privatizing Social Security, or maintaining the drug companies insulation from using the Federal budget to drive drug prices down to more reasonable levels.

The chief hypocrite in all this, in my opinion, remains Paul Ryan. Remember, he is the scion of a family that made its fortune on--gasp--government contracts for road building. How many do you suppose were of the no-bid variety? Ryan's first budget, once he got the deficit reduction "religion", was of course unbalanced--because it provided more tax reductions for the 1%.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14454

PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obama says he has no interest in balancing the budget.
Murray's latest Dem budget openly increases spending, taxes, and the debt.
Ryan claims his budget balances the budget within 10 years with no new taxes (and the left's primary objections to it are lies).

Wake up.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14454

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevenbard wrote:
The question, do you bet with Buffett, or with Soros? One says buy gold, the other not.

And both are dumping millions of shares of stock.

Some of the books I'm reading discuss why Buffett is not big on gold: his mantra -- "invest only in what you understand to the levels I do" -- does not apply to ordinary people, not even to ordinarily savvy investors or advisers. (Meanwhile, his fund continues to underperform the S&P.)

However, two other very astute and wealthy fiscal gurus also advise against gold and other precious metals. Both Ben Stein and Ken Fisher dismiss it as just another commodity, unworthy of special attention, as whimsical as oil, and subject to decades of doldrums. The world's most acclaimed commodity guru, Jim Rogers, says just the opposite.

Ya pays yer money and rolls the dice. I'm rolling some tomorrow.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4304

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cyprus has proposed a law that would confiscate 10% out of every bank account worth over $100,000. Of course there is chaos, and would validate the purchase of gold. I have not recommended gold because there are many other ways to take shelter from misbehaving government.

Interesting, that in return, Cyprus is going to guarantee this confiscation by giving the victims shares in new natural gas drilling in the country. Seems that when pushed to bankruptcy, governments will have to rape the environment to pay for their folly. Why not just create jobs by drilling now?
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