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Fragile Bird

US Politics: What goes up, must come down!

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1 hour ago, larrytheimp said:

Yeah I'm your hero, Michael Fucking Bloomberg.

 

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Aren't you from Canada, a country regularly rated as having a higher standard of living than the US?  In case you are unaware, the US economy may be large, but it's not very equitable.  Three families own as much wealth as the poorest 50% of people here.  I'd just like to not be bankrupt from going to a doctor.  Aren't you a lawyer?  Take off, eh?

 

As Lord of Rhinos pointed out, the US economy is consumer driven - 70% of American economic growth is based on consumer spending. The US economy has been doing well because Americans are spending spending spending. Your economy will go into a recession when Americans decide they are in fact not doing well and stop spending.

As for savings, Canadians are in far more debt than Americans are. That’s because the financial crisis of 2008 was caused by insanity in the US housing market. That insanity did not happen in Canada. In the US, millions of people walked away from their houses and their mortgages, many declaring bankruptcy. There was no housing crisis in Canada, because our mortgage rules are dramatically different. Instead, the population is up to their eyeballs in mortgage debt.

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1 hour ago, Fragile Bird said:

When I read an American, living in the country with the best economy in the world, tell me how bad things are in the US, just imagine how horribly the rest of us must be living.

About the same as most of us--about five people are benefiting from that economy.

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1 hour ago, Lord of Rhinos said:

Americans are well known for being huge consumers.  The fact that culturally Americans are very bad at saving does not mean the economy is bad overall. In general, Americans savings rate tend to go up after the economy hits a rough patch so in some ways living paycheck to paycheck is indicative of Americans being confident about their economic prospects.  Also, your article says 59% of Americans say they're living paycheck to paycheck (no idea where your 70% is coming from) but 80% of Americans have retirement accounts which of course indicates 2/3s of those paycheck to paycheck folks have savings to fall back on.

Again this is bullshit. Yeah I'm a bad saver. My rent increases astronomically over the last decade, I live in affordable housing and I have a bachelor and master's degree but fifty percent of my check goes to rent. Yeah fuck me and my budgeting. You have no clue.

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6 minutes ago, Simon Steele said:

Again this is bullshit. Yeah I'm a bad saver. My rent increases astronomically over the last decade, I live in affordable housing and I have a bachelor and master's degree but fifty percent of my check goes to rent. Yeah fuck me and my budgeting. You have no clue.

What the hell, man?

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37 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

It's because of those homeless seat savers, isn't it?

I don't know what this means, but it sounds pretty fucking stupid.

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3 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

What the hell, man?

Yeah it sucks. I have options I suppose (which many Americans don't). I can stop halfway thru my PhD program and quit my job at the University which is a contract renewable position (thus the shitty pay), even tho my position is set to convert to a tenure track position the day I get my degree. But if I moved across the state and went back to public school teaching I'd make marginally more and have better cost if living. Of course, I can't really do that or I forfeit custody of my son to his mother. I mean he lives with me full time, but...fuck it. I'm tired of explaining the truly terrible conditions so many of us live in.

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16 minutes ago, Simon Steele said:

Again this is bullshit.

You sure do fight with everyone around here.

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37 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

This is just wrong. Here's how he pays for it:

https://berniesanders.com/issues/how-does-bernie-pay-his-major-plans/

Which doesn't hold water for anyone who's not already a True Believer.

He's thrown out a cost for M4A and then backtracked on it saying he didn't know. Now he's back at 30 trillion. For now.

On 60 Minutes a few days ago, he said the following (site has wrong video loaded for some reason):

https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/24/politics/bernie-sanders-donald-trump-2020/index.html

Quote
Cooper: Do you know how all -- how much though? I mean, do you have a price tag for -- for all of this?
 
 
Sanders: We do. I mean, you know, and -- and-- the price tag is -- it will be substantially less than letting the current system go. I think it's about $30 trillion.
Cooper: That's just for "Medicare for All," you're talking about?
Sanders: That's just "Medicare for All," yes.
Cooper: Do you have -- a price tag for all of these things?
Sanders: No, I don't. We try to -- no, you mentioned making public colleges and universities tuition free and canceling all student debt, that's correct. That's what I want to do. We pay for that through a modest tax on Wall Street speculation.
Cooper: But you say you don't know what the total price is, but you know how it's gonna be paid for. How do you know it's gonna be paid for if you don't know how much the price is?
Sanders: Well, I can't -- you know, I can't rattle off to you every nickel and every dime. But we have accounted for -- you -- you talked about "Medicare for All." We have options out there that will pay for it.
 
What? So, Sanders not only a) isn't sure how much all of his proposals would cost but also b) isn't able to say how he would pay for these programs. That strikes me as a potential weak spot if/when Sanders winds up as the Democratic nominee against President Donald Trump.
 
Which is the point that former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign immediately sought to make. "For the second time in the last month, Senator Sanders has admitted that he does not know the astronomical price tag that his massive new programs would force onto American families," said Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield. "That's untenable."
And in a weekend memo from the Democratic centrist group Third Way warning the party of the perils of nominating Sanders, authors Jonathan Cowan and Matt Bennett write:
"Experts estimate that Sanders' major proposals would cost a staggering $60 trillion and would double the size of the government (while his tax plans fall $27 trillion short of paying for it). There's a reason that, when pressed on the cost of his plans, Sanders simply refuses to answer, saying he actually has no idea and 'no one does.'"
That $60 trillion number comes from The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein, a CNN contributor, who broke down the costs of Sanders' proposals like "Medicare for All," the "Green New Deal" and free tuition at public colleges and arrived at that stunning price tag.
Just how big a number is that? This, from Brownstein, puts the $60 trillion in spending proposals in very clear context:
"The Vermont independent's agenda represents an expansion of government's cost and size unprecedented since World War II, according to estimates from his own website and projections by a wide variety of fiscal experts.
"Sanders' plan, though all of its costs cannot be precisely quantified, would increase government spending as a share of the economy far more than the New Deal under President Franklin Roosevelt, the Great Society under Lyndon Johnson or the agenda proposed by any recent Democratic presidential nominee, including liberal George McGovern in 1972, according to a historical analysis shared with CNN by Larry Summers, the former chief White House economic adviser for Barack Obama and treasury secretary for Bill Clinton."
Now consider that there is no estimate from any credible budgeting service that suggests that the government would be able to bring in the sort of revenue needed to pay for that spending surge over the next decade. Sanders' plan to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations would close some of that gap, but a study from a fellow at the Manhattan Institute (a conservative think tank) cited by Brownstein suggests the top end of revenue from the Sanders' tax increases is $23 trillion.
Sanders doesn't talk much about the price tag of what he's proposing or the very real likelihood that his tax plan will not be enough to fill the spending gap he would create. Which makes sense -- because, politically speaking, the idea of raising taxes on what we broadly consider the middle class isn't terribly popular among, well, the middle class. (Raising taxes on the wealthy or corporations, on the other hand, is a stone-cold winner politically.)
But Sanders once did admit the harsh reality of how his plans would be paid for during a debate over the summer. Here's the exchange between Sanders and NBC's Savannah Guthrie (bolding is mine):
Guthrie: Will you raise taxes for the middle class in a Sanders administration?
Sanders: People who have health care under "Medicare for All" will have no premiums, no deductibles, no copayments, no out of pocket expenses. Yes, they will pay more in taxes, but less in health care for what they get.
So, here's what we now know about Sanders' plans for America:
1) He isn't sure how much they will cost.
2) He isn't totally sure how he will pay for them.
3) It's likely they will be paid for by an increase in taxes on the middle class.
Whoo boy. Maybe Sanders is right that America is ready for a fundamental reorienting of how we value ourselves, our society and our money. But if he's not -- and this election winds up being like virtually every other election in which people vote on who is going to let them keep more of their money -- then Sanders (and Democrats by extension) have a big problem.

Then yesterday in a town hall, he pulls out a list of numbers reversing himself from Sunday.

https://www.mediaite.com/election-2020/sanders-confronted-on-costs-of-his-plans-at-cnn-town-hall-literally-pulls-out-receipts-claiming-to-fund-everything/

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/24/us/politics/bernie-sanders-medicare-for-all.html

It looks like he's making stuff up.

 

Adding: And if anyone bought Bernie's numbers for M4A and if they were widely believed to be viable, M4A would have passed long before now.

Edited by Lollygag

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1 minute ago, Simon Steele said:

You sure do.

I suppose robots still do not have self awareness.  So should I speak in binary?

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Just now, DMC said:

I suppose robots still do not have self awareness.  So should I speak in binary?

If it makes you feel more comfortable to speak in your native language.

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2 minutes ago, Simon Steele said:

If it makes you feel more comfortable to speak in your native language.

As long as you pretend to understand as I go along, as usual.

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23 minutes ago, Simon Steele said:

Again this is bullshit. Yeah I'm a bad saver. My rent increases astronomically over the last decade, I live in affordable housing and I have a bachelor and master's degree but fifty percent of my check goes to rent. Yeah fuck me and my budgeting. You have no clue.

Myself and family members are in the same situation with the cost of living. My income's not bad, but ~50% goes to rent and I've been nailed hard with medical costs and that's with good health insurance. There's no way for me to buy as the market is absurd. People aren't moving and are opting to renovate instead because they can't afford to move. Houses stay on the market for hours. The only things being built are high-profit luxury homes and condos, but nothing middle-class.

But I still think Bernie's ideas will only make things worse. I appreciate that he cares, but I'm not buying the Messianic politician act that he can't substantively back up.

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[mod] Folks: we do extend a little more tolerance in politics threads as we realise these are topics where people are passionate, and that's OK. But that does not mean the rules don't apply. Please remain civil to one another. If you disagree with someone's views, point out why you think they're wrong, without attacking them and without getting mean. If you can't do that, maybe don't post. The tone is getting a little heated in here, so let's all take a step back, OK? [/mod]

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4 hours ago, larrytheimp said:

It's not great for most people.  It wasn't great under Obama either.  I'm not sure why this is so hard to understand or who the Peter Navarro is 

Because its silly?  Look, obviously living paycheck to paycheck is terrible, and a damnation on the status of the USA.  But living paycheck to paycheck is a lot better than no paycheck, which was the case under the later Bush years and early Obama years as the GFC bit.  And when you're so close to the edge, it isn't necessarily a surprise that you're a lot more worried about anything that will push you over.  

Sanders is asking for a lot of things on faith that they will miraculously (to Americans) reduce costs, while for the first time ever (at least as reported by US media) the government run program will be efficient.  All while increasing taxes enormously.  You can't understand someone who can't afford to lose anything getting pretty bloody jittery over that? 

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6 hours ago, Triskele said:

Sometimes it's fascinating to observe one's own psychology from a distance, if one can.  Back when I was giving Sanders less of a chance and was more worried about him as the nominee I would have been more worried and upset by this stuff.  Now that I'm shifting into a Sanders . Trump mindset it's much harder to be bothered.  

Mind you, I'm not defending this in myself at all.  Just amazing how biases can work and how quickly they can change. 

It’s having the opposite effect on me, sadly.  Obviously I’m voting against Trump, but I’m feeling increasingly disgusted and disappointed with America’s apparent tolerance for populist personality cults on both goddam sides, and furious over the fact that no matter which side wins it looks like populism/ true believer’s zeal is empowered either way.  Anyone or thing that creates these kinds of true believers, one true path, he alone can fix it zeal kind leaves me feeling pretty alienated, when it doesn’t outright terrify me.  This fever cannot break soon enough.

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13 hours ago, Lollygag said:

The problem with praising dictators on the scale of Bernie's is that it's kinda like saying Ted Bundy was a smart, charming and charismatic guy. Technically true, but unless you're just explaining how he got some of his victims, it comes off as minimizing what he did.

I like your analogy.
However my real issue here is not even how talk of Bundy might be perceived, it's more that it seems quite ok to talk of Manson.
Like the fact Obama refused to seriously consider the possibility of the US apologizing for its support of Pinochet's regime for instance...
Or the fact that Anderson Cooper basically planned to "trap" Bernie on Cuba from the start.

I think my point here is that Bernie's not going to lose because he's wrong.

9 hours ago, Lollygag said:

Obama did praise Castro and Cuba, but there's a big difference.

Yeah, he'd been elected first. :P

5 hours ago, Lollygag said:

Your view ultimately assumes its own conclusion: that socialism and ANTI-CAPITALISM, will actually help anything. No one is complaining about Bernie wanting to help, but there is much to doubt about the solutions suggested and much to doubt about Bernie himself. The promoting of whatever as-yet unspecified anti-capitalistic solutions (!) and flipping our entire economy and way of life by someone who has no concrete plans and a deeply questionable record looks like it will not only not help anyone, but will be phenomenally damaging.

The US is the biggest polluter on the planet. Your "way of life" is unsustainable and we must all pray that countries like India and China never really emulate it. A different way to put it is that everyone would be better of if the "American way of life" disappeared, like, yesterday

Just a friendly reminder that suggesting anti-capitalism won't help might be the extraordinary proposition here.

You want to look at the greater picture by reminding everyone that Bernie's not a good candidate? Sure, though I'm not sure why anyone here needs the reminder. But if we're talking greater picture, might as well remember that by some estimates the next few US elections might determine the future of our species... So speaking about spending tens of trillions of dollars to fight climate change might be the reasonable option here.

Way I see it, the problem here definitely isn't Bernie.

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5 hours ago, Simon Steele said:

Absolutely it was bad under Obama. I had a three year pay freeze, then minimal raises here and there. I was a public school teacher. Our insurance rates also went thru the roof, and the school board shut down negotiations with our Union. Amidst these number of years we didn't get raises (and cut benefits), the rent rose astronomically. 

Yeah it kind of has fuckin sucked a long time which is why people want something different.

Some people. I don't. The economy works just fine for me and for pretty much everyone I know. Yes I live in an upper middle class urban bubble. But these bubbles are filled with exactly the kinds of people who used to be Republican and aren't anymore. In my specific case, its because of the people around me that Virginia is a blue state now.

I personally have always been a Democrat due to family background, but I'm an exception for the area. And I know this area. Using a message that the economy isn't working and we need to blow it up will not resonate here or in places like here. Here all people want is less discrimination, an end to Federal budget wars, and maybe a few minor tweaks to a few policies here and there.

There's a reason why the new Democratic majority in our state legislative has been so hesitant to go too far. They're happy to push cultural issues, like finally getting gun control done. But they couldn't even end Virginia's status as a right-to-work state; which I think they should've, but it just goes to show what kinds of voters pushed them to the majority.

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5 hours ago, Lollygag said:

Myself and family members are in the same situation with the cost of living. My income's not bad, but ~50% goes to rent and I've been nailed hard with medical costs and that's with good health insurance. There's no way for me to buy as the market is absurd. People aren't moving and are opting to renovate instead because they can't afford to move. Houses stay on the market for hours. The only things being built are high-profit luxury homes and condos, but nothing middle-class.

But I still think Bernie's ideas will only make things worse. I appreciate that he cares, but I'm not buying the Messianic politician act that he can't substantively back up.

No one knows exactly how much m4a will cost.  Estimates range from 35 trillion to 60 trillion over 10 years - that's a pretty big span.  Because we don't know just how much the cost of healthcare will go down how quickly.  But it's still cheaper than the system we have now, and it will also give healthcare to the millions who right now are uninsured or underinsured.  

You don't have to buy it, you can disagree that his plans to pay for it will work.  But don't keep moving the goal posts from "they won't say how they can pay for it".  A bunch of studies have shown that m4a is cheaper than a public option and cheaper than our current system.  How do we pay for those?  How would Warren pay for single payer?  Does she have a plan?  Can it be done?  Has this idea worked anywhere else in the world?  

 

Edited by larrytheimp

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In case anyone hasn't pasted it here yet, John Oliver did a piece on Medicare for All.

His conclusion basically seemed to be that it's difficult to tell whether Medicare for All will decrease or increase healthcare costs in the long-term, but in his personal view it's worth it for the knowledge that everyone will be covered, that it increases the governments negotiating power so they can lower drug prices, and that co-pays and premiums will be eliminated.

One thing he pointed out that was quite stunning was that a lot of Americans travel to Mexico to pick up their prescriptions because the drugs are much cheaper there.

And another crazy story was the woman who had a burst appendix, didn't want to call an ambulance because it would cast her money, had her manager drive her to a hospital that was on her network, but was operated on by a surgeon who was not on her network and thus had to pay about 3,000 in medical bills anyway.

The clip is 20 minutes long for anyone who wants to watch it.

 

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