A Sincere Request of Help from Those Who Disagree with My Politics

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Pdxfashionpioneer
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Re: A Sincere Request of Help from Those Who Disagree with My Politics

Post by Pdxfashionpioneer »

Hello Freedom for All,

First we need to keep in mind the difference between the deficit and the national debt. The deficit is the amount that the fiscal year's expenditures exceed the revenue (In the Federal case most noticeably taxes, but there are fees and royalties charged for extraction rights and other things.) collected. Naturally, last fiscal year's deficit added to this year's national debt. As far as that goes, this year's deficit adds to the national debt as we go through the fiscal year. Finally, there are the timing issues that cause the government (or a business) to have to incur short-term (less than a year) debt.

I didn't say that Biden would work some budgetary magic that would allow him to decrease the national debt. The last President to manage that was President William Jefferson Clinton, better known as "Bill." In his last year as Pres. Not only that, but the economy was humming along quite nicely thank you very much.

His successor, George W. Bush, fixed that. He reasoned that because the Federal government the previous year showed a surplus, it could afford an equal-sized tax cut, mostly for the rich by the way. When "letting the people keep more of their money" not only failed to stimulate the economy, but his fiscal policies pushed the country into a recession. Not to worry, W had the solution to that too ... another tax cut! Isn't that interesting, the answer to a growing economy is a tax cut, mostly favoring the rich, and the answer to a faltering economy is also another tax cut, mostly for the rich. Doesn't it make sense that opposite phenomenon need different responses?

But I digress, what I did say was that Biden can be counted on to not have a higher deficit than Trump did. Assuming he gets his fiscal policies approved by the House and Senate. Unless the Democrats win both of the Georgia Senate seats and go on to eliminate that nefarious accident of history, the filibuster, we don't have much hope of Biden's fiscal plans, maybe not any of his plans, passing the Senate. At least not until the midterms. Or Mitch McConnell being permanently disabled. No, I am not wishing for that. I'm just say that like the scorpion that killed the proverbial frog in the middle of the pond; it's just Mitch's nature to oppose anything proposed by a Democrat.

As to taking a use it before you lose it approach to the annual budget of government departments, the first time I encountered that phenomenon was when my Uncle Bernard took my sibs and I for a tour of his fledgling data processing department at Clark Industries, the now-giant oilfield service company. Even then, (It was in the very early days of electronic computers; they still programmed the machines with plug and jack boards.) Clark was big enough it was managed like any other bureaucracy. Sure enough, even though their offices had been painted earlier in the year, they had to be repainted again because it was the end of the fiscal year and their manager was afraid of losing that much money from his coming year's budget!

After I had worked for first the local operating company of AT&T and then the Oregon State government, I came to the conclusion there wasn't much difference in how they operated. That all large organizations ran pretty much the same. That all of this talk about this that and other "waste of taxpayers' money that would NEVER be tolerated in a profit-making organization!" was a bunch of horse feathers.

Sure enough a few more years later I got around to reading Peter Drucker's chapter on "Bureaucracies" in his seminal book, Management. In so many words he said that by necessity all large organizations, whether they be for-profit, not-for-profit or government agencies, are run as bureaucracies and share the same strengths and disfunctions.

The only cure that for-profit firms have found for the "Use it so you don't lose it," end of year phenomenon is to split up the operating and capital budget. Governments don't have that luxury. Their tax revenues are a year to year matter. There is no investors' equity they can draw on or treasury stock they can sell for the small scale investments that keep any enterprise moving forward.

Governments can employ bond measures for major expenditures such as new schools or a major highway construction or repair program. But they're all or nothing propositions that require the approval of the voters. And then everyone involved has to hope and pray that the bids actually come in under budget, because in construction or major acquisitions there are always unanticipated expenses that become cost overruns. And citizens HATE that word.

As Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter employed zero-based budgeting with some initial success but in time bureau chiefs learned how to work around the spirit of the law and long-range planning and projects were problematic.

In short, the use it or lose it syndrome is woven into the warp and woof of bureaucracies and government agencies aren't alone in it.
David, the PDX Fashion Pioneer

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Re: A Sincere Request of Help from Those Who Disagree with My Politics

Post by Pdxfashionpioneer »

Hello Carl,

I hope you didn't think I had forgotten you. Perish the thought!

I'd like you to indulge me by considering an alternate theory as to why the American oligarchy -- not to be confused with the Russian oligarchy or for that matter any other nation's because, by gum, whatever we Americans build, it's always bigger and better ... well, okay, when it comes to cars, bigger anyway. I mean, with about 4% of the world's population and creating about 25% of the world's economic output, we've managed to claim 50% of the world's billionaires.

I'm sorry, where were we? Oh yes, I'd like to follow along as I lay out another explanation as to why no matter who wins the election, the 1% seem to remain in control.

First of all, it's as old as wealth and power themselves; one begets the other. Even in supposedly egalitarian societies such as Soviet Russia and Communist China. Not only that but there's a certain amount of inertia and resilience to both power and wealth. Whichever is choice of emphasis, if you have a lot of either, you have the resources to maintain your position except in the most extreme circumstances.

Well, right now there are a lot of extreme circumstances plaguing our nation right now:
  • With, again, 4% of the world's population we've had over 20% of the cases and of the deaths
    The effects of climate change have become so pronounced even the most die-hard conservative Republicans are voting for measures to do something about them.
    The differential of wealth and income between the wealthiest and both the poorest and the middle-class are so extreme in the US that we are a statistical outlier compared to all other developed nations and even most developing nations.
    The odds of this disparity causing social instability are so great, that a growing number of people among the top 1% are beginning to worry aloud that maybe they've become too rich for their own good.
    With all that comes the fact that the possibility of upward mobility is becoming increasingly limited for young people.
    The US history of racism has created so much accumulated frustration and resentment that it has reached a crisis point.
    On the other hand, the frustrations and resentments of citizens who consider themselves to be white have also reached a boiling point, as evidenced by many of the posts in this thread.


Consequently, the two major candidates couldn't have been more different if they had been created by Hollywood scriptwriters.

So how do the oligarchs retain their political power in all this division and turmoil? Do they get together to plot out how to once again manipulate the naive sheeple of the electorate and get them to nominate and then elect the politicians of the 1%'s choice or could it be something else?

In the first place, history has shown that all actual conspiracies are short-lived for the simple fact that the human animal LOVES to talk. Especially about themselves. So when a conspiracy is successful, you can count on its members to brag to everyone who will listen about what they did and how and why it was for the general public's greater good, but only incidentally for their own good as well. And when they are unsuccessful, conspirators can be counted on to talk quite openly about how they were trying to help the general public (and again themselves ONLY incidentally), that it wasn't the speaker's fault, it was those other bozos he/she fell in with and by the way, you should all be petitioning those who are now in power to grant us pardons because we were just trying to do all these good things all of you!

Because conspiracies aren't a likely cause of the massive disconnect between our elected officials and rest of us, I'm more inclined to consider the synergy of that inertia I discussed above and two other factors: access and flexibility.

In this day and age. political contributions aren't meant to buy candidates, but to buy access. With big donations, comes lots of access. When all a politician hears is what a benefit to the nation, their state or district a donor's enterprise is, what is that elected offical going to think of a legislative proposal that hurts said enterprise? Or helps it?

Major corporations have gotten pretty crafty about spreading those benefits around. Especially the biggest benefit of them all; JOBS. A number of years ago Common Cause looked at the production of major US weapons systems. Without fail, every one of the systems included jobs in every single or nearly every single Congressional District. On the Senate side of Capital Hill that meant that every single one of the states had jobs attached to the given weapons system. The most sophisticated companies had well-oiled political programs that got employees to remind their local Senator and Representatives that those individuals' jobs depended on that system being reauthorized when it came up for reconsideration. And those wouldn't forget any solon who cost them their job!

I'm willing to bet that national politics plays a role in the siting of many major corporations' new facilities.

There's also the issue of flexibility, or adaptability if you prefer. Recently, I binge watched a couple of the Great Courses on "Great Military Blunders" and "Decisive Battles." In both collections of battles and campaigns, more often than not the deciding factor was flexibility. Similarly, in the affairs of large organizations, because strategy is so important, adaptability has got to be a decisive factor there as well.

My graduate program was taught entirely by adjunct professors. That is, practicing professionals. During our first term a Presidential campaign was under way. Our planning and strategy instructor was asked by a fellow student what effect one candidate or the other would have on the economy. Our instructor categorically said, "None." From experience he knew that all of the major corporations had planning departments and that when major elections came up they were tasked with preparing contingency plans for how to proceed if one or the other won. If the Republican won, they would follow Plan A. If the Democrat won, Plan B. In either case, the corporation would prosper. Don't you think that every member of the 1% has similar teams drawing up their plans for either possibility in a major election?

Not only does possessing great wealth afford one the luxury of thinking long-term and dispassionately about the various turns of events, it also gives one the means to carry out the necessary research and planning to prosper in any circumstance. And to change strategy when necessary.

If you look carefully at the political donations of major special interest groups such as Big Tobacco and Big Pharma, you will see that while they make their biggest donations to their natural allies, such as the Senators of tobacco-growing states, they also make donations to their opponents. While the amounts may look nominal in comparison to the major donations, I have to believe that those amounts are the result of a careful calculation of the odds of the long-shot opponent actually winning; in light of the size of their campaign chest, what would be a large enough donation to acquire access and how much money going to that opponent would make them look like a hypocrite if they were to call out the probable winner for taking money from the special interest group.

What I am asking you to consider is if the combination of the inherent power and resilience of wealth. the political access that significant contributions buys one (understanding that significant is a relative term) and the adaptability that a successful strategist must possess might not be enough for the rich and powerful to always wind up on top no matter who or which party prevails in the national elections?
David, the PDX Fashion Pioneer

Social norms aren't changed by Congress or Parliament; they're changed by a sufficient number of people ignoring the existing ones and publicly practicing new ones.
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Re: A Sincere Request of Help from Those Who Disagree with My Politics

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Pdxfashionpioneer wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 1:05 pm
I'm sorry, where were we? Oh yes, I'd like to follow along as I lay out another explanation as to why no matter who wins the election, the 1% seem to remain in control.
It's elementary, my dear sir -- power, access, and control -- all of which can be purchased. No conspiracy necessary, only human nature and a complete disregard for things like ethics and common decency.
Well, right now there are a lot of extreme circumstances plaguing our nation right now:

With, again, 4% of the world's population we've had over 20% of the cases and of the deaths
Little people matter not to the super-rich; to them we're merely cattle. See "ethics" and "common decency" above. They do not think the way we do. To them, all there is is "more".
The effects of climate change have become so pronounced even the most die-hard conservative Republicans are voting for measures to do something about them.
Not in sufficient numbers to actually do anything about the problem, and the problem right now benefits some of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world. Nothing will get done about the problem until the corrupting power of money is removed from the system so at least it becomes slightly more difficult to buy candidates (note that I did not write "election" there).
The differential of wealth and income between the wealthiest and both the poorest and the middle-class are so extreme in the US that we are a statistical outlier compared to all other developed nations and even most developing nations.
Working as designed. Case closed. If there was any interest in evening out the playing field we'd have removed the tax-inversion that went into effect in 1981 and started the utter destruction of what was the middle class. The masses exist to enrich the already rich. "Greed is good. Greed works."
The odds of this disparity causing social instability are so great, that a growing number of people among the top 1% are beginning to worry aloud that maybe they've become too rich for their own good.
What's going to be interesting is to see what's going to happen when the "good old days" of stealing from the have-nots to enrich the haves comes to an end because there's nothing left to steal. Then the rich will have to start preying on each other.
With all that comes the fact that the possibility of upward mobility is becoming increasingly limited for young people.
"Upward mobility" has been a joke in poor taste since the late '80s. By that time, downward mobility was the norm, and it remains the norm today.
The US history of racism has created so much accumulated frustration and resentment that it has reached a crisis point.
Racism is a big, big problem in the US, but the real driver of trouble now is primarily economic in nature.
On the other hand, the frustrations and resentments of citizens who consider themselves to be white have also reached a boiling point, as evidenced by many of the posts in this thread.
That's likely because the smarter ones are waking up to the problem and don't like what they see and like the future it offers even less.
Consequently, the two major candidates couldn't have been more different if they had been created by Hollywood scriptwriters.
Obedient little 'droids. One is held in check by his paymasters, and the other was "made an offer he couldn't refuse" to keep him in line. No matter who "won" the general population lost -- in spades.
So how do the oligarchs retain their political power in all this division and turmoil? Do they get together to plot out how to once again manipulate the naive sheeple of the electorate and get them to nominate and then elect the politicians of the 1%'s choice or could it be something else?
Sheer dominance in materiel and money is now. "They" don't even need to communicate with each other because their interests all align, "I want more." Thus laws are crafted and enacted so they get "more", all on the backs of the Little People. No "conspiracy" is even necessary -- simply greed and avarice unchecked by law, ethics, or decency.
My graduate program was taught entirely by adjunct professors. That is, practicing professionals. During our first term a Presidential campaign was under way. Our planning and strategy instructor was asked by a fellow student what effect one candidate or the other would have on the economy. Our instructor categorically said, "None." From experience he knew that all of the major corporations had planning departments and that when major elections came up they were tasked with preparing contingency plans for how to proceed if one or the other won. If the Republican won, they would follow Plan A. If the Democrat won, Plan B. In either case, the corporation would prosper.
What was the year?
What I am asking you to consider is if the combination of the inherent power and resilience of wealth. the political access that significant contributions buys one (understanding that significant is a relative term) and the adaptability that a successful strategist must possess might not be enough for the rich and powerful to always wind up on top no matter who or which party prevails in the national elections?
It's enough to have already destroyed what was the United States of America. I cannot imagine it turning around peacefully.
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Re: A Sincere Request of Help from Those Who Disagree with My Politics

Post by Fred in Skirts »

To PDX and Carl......

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
–Frederic Bastiat-
French Economist (1801-1850)
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Re: A Sincere Request of Help from Those Who Disagree with My Politics

Post by crfriend »

Fred in Skirts wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:34 pm
Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
Actually, no. Governments, and indeed societies exist so the "law of the jungle" does not apply where the alpha dog always wins. Why? Because we've found that good functional societies are, indeed, greater than the sum of their parts.

Sadly, what we've got now in the USA is the "law of the jungle". The alphas just haven't collided yet. It's coming.
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Re: A Sincere Request of Help from Those Who Disagree with My Politics

Post by Freedomforall »

Pdxfashionpioneer wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:42 am
Hello Freedom for All,

First we need to keep in mind the difference between the deficit and the national debt. The deficit is the amount that the fiscal year's expenditures exceed the revenue (In the Federal case most noticeably taxes, but there are fees and royalties charged for extraction rights and other things.) collected. Naturally, last fiscal year's deficit added to this year's national debt. As far as that goes, this year's deficit adds to the national debt as we go through the fiscal year. Finally, there are the timing issues that cause the government (or a business) to have to incur short-term (less than a year) debt.
I really appreciate you clarifying the difference. I was confusing the two because the concept of spending more than you make is totally foreign to me. Our household lives on less than we make. We do not buy it if we don't have the money. We put away what we have left as none of us are afforded the ability to ask our employers for more if we fall short. Or for that matter we cannot force our employers to pay us more by taxing them etc.
Pdxfashionpioneer wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:42 am
After I had worked for first the local operating company of AT&T and then the Oregon State government, I came to the conclusion there wasn't much difference in how they operated. That all large organizations ran pretty much the same. That all of this talk about this that and other "waste of taxpayers' money that would NEVER be tolerated in a profit-making organization!" was a bunch of horse feathers.
It is a small world. I do contract work for AT&T now. The bomb blast in downtown Nashville was right in front of their main C.O.
Pdxfashionpioneer wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:42 am
Sure enough a few more years later I got around to reading Peter Drucker's chapter on "Bureaucracies" in his seminal book, Management. In so many words he said that by necessity all large organizations, whether they be for-profit, not-for-profit or government agencies, are run as bureaucracies and share the same strengths and disfunctions.

The only cure that for-profit firms have found for the "Use it so you don't lose it," end of year phenomenon is to split up the operating and capital budget. Governments don't have that luxury. Their tax revenues are a year to year matter. There is no investors' equity they can draw on or treasury stock they can sell for the small scale investments that keep any enterprise moving forward.

In short, the use it or lose it syndrome is woven into the warp and woof of bureaucracies and government agencies aren't alone in it.
I do not know all the details but the city of Nashville was at one point trying to issue bonds against their employees retirement fund to build the Music City Center.
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Re: A Sincere Request of Help from Those Who Disagree with My Politics

Post by Pdxfashionpioneer »

Hello Freedom for All,

Did you ever have a mortgage on your house? Have you ever taken out a car loan? If so, you too have engaged in deficit spending. Borrowing money to buy a house you will be living in for years is a smart investment. Such deficit spending creates problems when you are trying to carry more debt than you can handle. A common indicator of when you have taken living on borrowed money too far is when you are financing last month's groceries by not paying off your credit cards in full each month.

Unfortunately, when governments don't have operating and capital budgets, they just have a budget so, the federal government rolls over a lot of debt just to keep our government in operation. Why? Few people are willing to pay the taxes required to keep government in operation.

Economists have determined that the best way to determine how much debt a country can carry is to look at the nation's debt as a percentage of its GDP. As I remember the figures, developing nations can carry 60-some% of the GDP, whereas developed nations can carry 90-some%. The US it turns out carry an even higher percentage because the US dollar is and has been the international exchange currency of choice. This has occurred because starting with Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, it has been the firm policy of the US government to NEVER default on its financial obligations. Naturally, this has lead to the US government having the lowest effective interest rates on its bonds.

Because the US dollar is the foremost exchange currency in the global financial markets, not all of the dollars we export with our trade deficits come back to the US. Each of our trading partners hold onto some of those dollars so they can use them in their major deals with other countries.

Perhaps you remember that Donald Trump promised to make major inroads on the national debt. Shortly after he got elected he explained that her was going to handle the country's debt the same he handled debt in his business dealings; he was going to refuse to pay and then renegotiate that debt. Fortunately, his senior advisors were able to convince him that nuking the world financial system, destroying the country's hard-earned credit rating and touching off a world-wide economic depression like no one has ever seen was not a good idea.

That's the kind of business acumen that Trump brought to running our nation's affairs.
David, the PDX Fashion Pioneer

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Re: A Sincere Request of Help from Those Who Disagree with My Politics

Post by Sinned »

PDX, a mortgage may not be considered deficit spending but investment predicated on an anticipated increase in the value of the property over time. Under your definition all investment by companies would be considered as deficit spending, which it is not. Of course, like any investment, the returns ( increase in value ) may not be as anticipated. MOH and I bought wisely on a motgade and are now inhabiting a proprty worth many times what we paid for it on cheap terms and are now mortgage free.

BTW this issues with Trump get more interesting with him being caught in a recorded telephone call indulging in requesting an illegal attempt to get officials to subvert the election. And he still has blind support!
I believe in offering every assistance short of actual help but then mainly just want to be left to be myself in all my difference and uniqueness.
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Re: A Sincere Request of Help from Those Who Disagree with My Politics

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PDX,
I understand what you are saying. My wife and I drive vehicles that are considerably old. My truck is 29 years old and her car is 11 years old. Our home has doubled in value since we purchased it. There are liabilities but could be sold as assets should the need arise. The government does not generate money and I am not sure what assets they could sell to pay things off. Do you think your tax money should be given for things like this?

https://www.business-standard.com/artic ... 575_1.html

That is 25 million dollars of tax payer money. Did they argue over how much to give Pakistan? They sure seemed to argue over how much to give back to the people.
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Re: A Sincere Request of Help from Those Who Disagree with My Politics

Post by Freedomforall »

Here is a link to the bill the government just passed. It is 5593 pages!

https://rules.house.gov/sites/democrats ... 116-68.pdf

I am all for helping people. However, one must have there own house in order before sending out millions to other countries. This ship is being steered on a collision course.
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