Now that the campainging is over...

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Now that the campainging is over...

Post by SonomaCat » Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:15 pm

This is an interesting article that makes a good point. Now that we are out of campaign mode, can Bush now more effectively drive the car back out of the ditch by making moves that he couldn't during the campaign?

Above all other things, yesterday was a good day because it means that the campaigns are over, we don't have to see any more mindless commercials, and people in office can start doing their jobs again.

http://slate.com/id/2109132/
Last edited by SonomaCat on Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post by El_Gato » Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:34 pm

Interesting article, bay, but I immediately discount anything I see on Slate.

The best point of the article is the question: Was W campaigning differently than he'll govern? I don't believe so. I'm sure off the record, W would admit that some, maybe even a large number of things went wrong and/or were underestimated in Iraq. But I DO believe that he is a man of principle, whether you agree with them or not, and that HIS principles will guide how he operates the next 4 years & whether or not he shows any of his current staff the door.

I, for one, will be extremely interested to see what W's vision is domestically. I've never felt he was anything "right" of a moderate when it comes to government. With a clear majority in both the House & the Senate, a TRUE, CONSERVATIVE Republican would begin the process of reducing the size, scope, and cost of the federal government. Given what I've seen of the man, I don't hold out much hope of Washington DC doing anything more than it's done the last 50+ years; growing exponentially larger and moving our great society ever further toward oblivion...
Last edited by El_Gato on Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Post by SonomaCat » Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:45 pm

El_Gato wrote:Interesting article, bay, but I immediately discount anything I see on Slate.

The best point of the article is the question: Was W campaigning differently than he'll govern? I don't believe so. I'm sure off the record, W would admit that some, maybe even a large number of things went wrong and/or were underestimated in Iraq. But I DO believe that he is a man of principle, whether you agree with them or not, and that HIS principles will guide how he operates the next 4 years & whether or not he shows any of his current staff the door.
I think the article was wondering as to whether he will now be able to follow his principles and admit what he is really thinking and do something about it, as to admit any kind of error while running a campaign is taboo.

I don't think anybody doubts that Bush is a man who has very strong principles that he believes in deeply (you can't proclaim that God wanted you to be President without having a very firm belief in your principles). But now that the whole make believe say anything game (of both sides) of the campaign is over, what does he do now? He has the freedom to do practically anything he wants, especially with the House and Senate in his favor. I'm hoping that he makes some positive changes with this newly gained power. I have no choice but to be optimistic.



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Post by wbtfg » Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:24 pm

The thing that scares me the most about Bush being reelected is that now he can do whatever he wants without having to worry about public opinion. He's not going to be running for public office ever again, so he can basically do whatever he wants, and with a republican controlled congress, he will have free reign to do whatever the hell he pleases.

God Help Us All!!!!



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Post by '93HonoluluCat » Thu Nov 04, 2004 1:42 am

wbtfg wrote:
The thing that scares me the most about Bush being reelected is that now he can do whatever he wants without having to worry about public opinion. He's not going to be running for public office ever again, so he can basically do whatever he wants, and with a republican controlled congress, he will have free reign to do whatever the hell he pleases.

God Help Us All!!!!
I think that line of thought is a bit drastic and overstated. The Republicans went a little overboard the last time they gained this many seats in Congress (1996), and then two years later they lost many of the seats they won the election year prior.

I think the GOP will have learned a lesson to show a bit of restraint this time around.

The fact that Congress and the President are all Republican will not, I think, be a factor except in the minds for those that want to make it so. There will always be spin--don't we all know it :roll: --but I think the facts will be four years from now will bear the fact President Bush fared no better than he would have had the Congress been split 50/50.

A side thought here is that I really think the DNCs "publicity" given by Michael Moore, et al, really ended up hurting them in the long run. When a party aligns itself with oddball egomaniacs it will inevitably chase supporters from its midst.



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Post by BozoneCat » Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:08 am

The most important thing in any election is that everyone, win or lose, should try to take a step back and try to look at things from an objective point of view. I may be a little upset and worried that Montana voted in so many Democrats this year, but I am trying to look at it with an open mind and attempt to see what made so many people vote Democrat this year when they had been staunch conservatives in the past. I think that the take-home message is that Montanans are fed up with the way Republicans have been running this state over the last two decades, and are willing to give the Dems a shot to see if they can change things. I cannot argue that I have been largely unhappy with how this state is being run, although I place more of the blame on the legislature full of idiots than I do the governor's chair, although that too is inhabited by an idiot at the moment. I want to keep an open mind and see what Schweitzer can do - I hope I am wrong and he will bring about much-needed change and growth to this state.

On a national level, I think that even though George W. Bush won the election, he needs to take a step back and listen to the 50 million people who voted against him and try to understand why. Any way you look at it, this country is hurting and searching for a strong identity right now - I hope that Bush and everyone alike can work on developing some unity and bind this country together. I voted for Bush and I am really excited that he won - but that is not to say that I think he is perfect or does things I am not happy with. My major beef with Bush is economically - not his taxation policy, which I agree with, but his spending. I don't know that he has ever vetoed a spending bill, and look at our deficit. Sure, everything is for a "good" cause, but you just have to draw the line. When Kerry said everyone should have good health care and free college education... sure, that is all fine and dandy, but someone has to pay for it! Our Congress needs to seriously look at the way our spending has run out of control, and completely overhaul the entire system. Sadly, I doubt this will happen anytime soon.


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Post by hokeyfine » Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:09 am

i loved it when i saw the day after the election the white house immediately wanted to raise the debt limit. classic political move. bush will average 350 billion debt, not including the war, for the next four years. remember, it's all the previous administrations fault.



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Post by rtb » Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:16 am

hokeyfine wrote:i loved it when i saw the day after the election the white house immediately wanted to raise the debt limit. classic political move. bush will average 350 billion debt, not including the war, for the next four years. remember, it's all the previous administrations fault.
The debt issue I think gets blown way out of proportion. If you compare the United States inflows versus debt you see why they are considered the best credit in the world. The debt to equity ratio of this country is pretty amazing. How many of us have ever lived without taking on any debt? No mortgage, no car loans, nothing? I would say probably no one, yet when the government runs debt that is much smaller percentage wise than anyone else we freak out because nominally it is huge. Debt is not a bad thing, too much debt is a horrible thing, but too little debt means you aren't leveraged enough. Keep that in mind next time you think about the government's debt.



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Post by hokeyfine » Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:12 pm

so we never pay off the debt? when does it end? at some point i would think you would pay some of it back. the third most expensive program in our budget behind defense and HHS is interest payment on the debt. eventually our individual debt (car loans, mortgages, etc.) gets paid back. were not even paying on the principle.



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Post by SonomaCat » Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:38 pm

I agree that leveraging on debt is a good idea if you are, say, a growing business that will get a return on the interest it is paying, or if you are otherwise somehow getting arbitrage income (making more on the the borrowed funds than you are paying in interest). However, I'm not sure that we can apply those same models to a government. I'm sure there are some good reasons to have the government float at least a decent amount of debt (if for no other reason than that the government debt is the basis for our bond markets), but it seems like it is definitely in our best interest to limit the amount of deficit spending and debt that we incur. If we could pay off our debt and use the interest on other current spending needs/wants, I'd think that would be a much more efficient use of the government's resources. It would also greatly limit the concerns about inflation (and by extension, interest rates) as the demand for financing would be reduced as the government wouldn't be eating up so much of that market. Of course, our economy is managing to defy conventional logic and doesn't appear to be heading into any inflation worries at the moment, but that possibility is always lingering out there.

All of that being said, there are probably economic theories that are exactly the opposite of everything I have said, and since all of this stuff is such complicated and often undecipherable results of billions of individual decisions every day, it's hard to say who's right and who's wrong.

In general, though, I'd personally prefer that our government not spend more than it brings in, except in times of emergency, and that we carry as little debt as possible. We don't need to leverage the government into an organization that is growing at a rate faster than its cash inflows can support.



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Post by rtb » Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:53 pm

Yes, I have spent quite a bit of time reading/exploring this idea and of course there are all kinds of theories that point out the merits of each policy. I don't know exactly where I stand I just wanted to point out that saying $XXX Billion dollars of debt is bad. That might be bad, it might be good very hard to say. Percentages have a lot more substance.



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Post by SonomaCat » Thu Nov 04, 2004 1:29 pm

Agreed -- the only good information is all in the percentages. It's always funny to hear people quoting absolute numbers relating to the economy as the "largest of all time" (and generally doing so for dramatic effect, often with a Chicken Little quality) when virtually everything is the largest of all time due to the fact that the economy is (nearly) always growing. It's hard to compare anything that happens now to anything in the past, except as a function of something else (%'s).



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Post by Bleedinbluengold » Thu Nov 04, 2004 5:23 pm

I'm really glad to hear that inflation isn't a concern. That means I'm really not paying more for heating, electricity, fuel, milk, bread, cheese, meat, etc., etc. Also, my clients will be happy to hear that although my rates are going up, that doesn't mean they're paying more.

my sarcastic remark for the day.



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Post by '93HonoluluCat » Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:52 pm

Bleedinbluengold wrote:
I'm really glad to hear that inflation isn't a concern. That means I'm really not paying more for heating, electricity, fuel, milk, bread, cheese, meat, etc., etc.
A simple lesson in macroeconomics will tell you that the cost of living is generally unavoidable. "A cost-of-living price index measures the changing cost of a constant standard of living. The index is a scalar measure for each time period. Usually it is a positive number which rises over time to indicate that there was inflation. Two incomes can be compared across time by seeing whether the incomes changed as much as the index did." (Thanks, http://www.econterms.com)

The cost of living rising at a moderate rate is on of the signs of a healthy economy. It is when prices start skyrocketing at too rapidly that it becomes a bad thing.

It's also interesting to point out the definition of "full employment", economically speaking, is 5% unemployment.



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Post by Bleedinbluengold » Fri Nov 05, 2004 6:15 pm

The people that bought my house will be happy to know that the $275,000 they paid this October was only a "moderate" increase from the appraised value of $193,000 in June 2003.

It is comforting to know that $2.10/gallon of gas is only a "moderate increase" from $1.40/gallon 18 months ago.

I'm comforted knowing that my average monthly power bill 18 months ago was $100, and only increased "moderately" to $250 at the present time, and I didn't even get to change my utility load.

Indeed, moderate inflation is healthy for our economy. And, for the most part, inflation as measured by the CPI and PPI has been held in check for a period longer than any in our history. However, if you have been following fearless leader (a.k.a., Alan Greenspan) over the course of the last 8 years, you would have known, for quite sometime, that the FOMC has acknowledged these indices as being highly suspect, at the very least, as a basis for establishing monetary policy due to their extreme lagging nature as an indicator.

Perhaps one could consider the CRB as somewhat of an indicator of prices at the commodity level, and one way to view macroeconomics. A brief look into the CRB over the course of the last 2 years reveals that in October 2002, the CRB held at 220. A year later, that level was at 240, and in October 2004, it held at 280. My math might be fuzzy, but it appears that the price of commodities may have gone up at more than a "moderate" rate. Here's a fancy link of the CRB, http://quotes.ino.com/chart/?s=NYBOT_CRY0&v=dmax

Here's a fancy link related to the changing cost in America's standard of living. http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_04 ... 10104.html. Or, the illusion thereof, as the title of the editorial implies.

This year, record prices were received for both wheat and beef by my folks.



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Post by '93HonoluluCat » Sat Nov 06, 2004 3:11 pm

Bleedinbluengold wrote:
The people that bought my house will be happy to know that the $275,000 they paid this October was only a "moderate" increase from the appraised value of $193,000 in June 2003.
That's the nature of real estate...talk to people that have sold their houses for a loss--sometimes a significant loss.

It's all about supply and demand. Houses in Belgrade, for instance are climbing higher because the sewer system is limiting the building of many more developments. In Boulder, CO, the city passed a law preventing the building of any more residential buildings at all--which was followed by a steep climb in the prices of those houses. On the flip side, I offer the price of houses in California during the real estate crash of the 1980's (?).
Bleedinbluengold wrote:
It is comforting to know that $2.10/gallon of gas is only a "moderate increase" from $1.40/gallon 18 months ago.

I'm comforted knowing that my average monthly power bill 18 months ago was $100, and only increased "moderately" to $250 at the present time, and I didn't even get to change my utility load.
Depending from where you get your power, these two could be related. When OPEC decides to reduce production, or when the NY (or wherever) Commodities Exchange decides the world situation is a bit "iffy," the result will be higher prices for oil. Higher prices for oil equals--you guessed it--higher prices for gas--or anything else oil-related (including plastics). I would also add that a big reason for the higher gas prices is state tax.



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Post by Bleedinbluengold » Mon Nov 08, 2004 11:52 am

That's just not the nature of real estate - it's the nature of prices. When prices fall, that's called deflation, which is worse than inflation. When prices crash, that's even worse, which is what will happen when the real estate bubble bursts. Lots of home owners are going to be in the soup line when that happens. Way more common folk are going to get hurt this time than in 2000 when the market crashed.

I do realize that gasoline comes from oil - at least that's what they taught me in Chemical Engineering.

Some people will tell us that the price of gasoline is only catching up to where it should have been all along. I don't know really what to believe. There are more known oil reserves now than 25 years ago in terms of volume, and the efficiencies in production and exploration have significantly increased during that same time. On the other hand, as you said, prices tend to inflate over time.

Here's my question: Why do we pay so much more for an equal volume of water than we do for gasoline?

Just to be clear - the NYMEX doesn't set the price of oil. The buyers and sellers in the NYMEX do that.

Hopefully you don't take me for a complete idiot - but I do detect a most condescending tone? ---- [edit] OH, I probably started it....all apologies.
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Post by velochat » Mon Nov 08, 2004 2:35 pm

The debt is not a problem when the elephants are in power :?



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Post by '93HonoluluCat » Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:40 pm

First things first:
BIBNG wrote:
Hopefully you don't take me for a complete idiot - but I do detect a most condescending tone?
There was no intent on my part to sound condescending. We all have different viewpoints, and on this subject, they're all valid. Therefore, I have no right to sound condescending or self-righteous. I apologize if you took it that way.

Okay, that out of the way...
BIBNG wrote:
Some people will tell us that the price of gasoline is only catching up to where it should have been all along. I don't know really what to believe. There are more known oil reserves now than 25 years ago in terms of volume, and the efficiencies in production and exploration have significantly increased during that same time. On the other hand, as you said, prices tend to inflate over time.
I think instead of complaining about the exorbitant prices of all petroleum-based products, we need to be thankful our gasoline isn't priced at European levels. Can you imagine the outrage if gas was...gasp...$5 per gallon like it is in Germany!

I think our discussion is similar to that of professional economists. I tend to be a believer in Adam Smith's economic theories, and some people aren't. All in all, it makes our society better critical thinkers.

And that is a good thing.



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