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hey everybody it's a thread about the tea party
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nathan



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tea is big in China. They serve it at restaurants and everything.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nathan wrote:
Ya know, Rand and Ron are philosophical twits, but comparing their level of forthrightness to the standard republican, I'd be hard pressed to call them douchebags. Generally speaking, they conduct themselves pretty honestly.

Now Dick Armey, John Boehner... those are douchebags.

I thought he was surprisingly honest throughout most of the interview, even admitting that the military budget contains significant waste that needs to be addressed... although that isn't groundbreaking for a Republican anymore (I heard Blake Farenthold (TX-27) say the same thing on C-SPAN this morning). Still, when an interviewer says, "you seem like hypocrites because you talk about shared sacrifice, but only take from the bottom half," and your response is something about government being too big and inefficient, I feel comfortable calling you a douchebag. All the more so if you have a reputation for being forthright.
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Darkman



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rand really did a horrible job of getting his ideas across. Every time he tried to make a point it seemed like he was saying "these programs work undeniably well. So we should stop using them immediately and let everything go back to the shitpile it was before we needed to enact them." Jon even commented he seemed to be making Jon's case better than his own. His only argument for keeping the tax rate was that at a certain point the extra revenue gained tapers off but Jon made it clear we're nowhere near that point. I respect that he acknowledged military bloat but i can't see why it's so hard to agree to a slight tax increase. It stinks of shameless self interest and really undermines whatever respect I could have for these guys if they were honestly committed to the realities of fighting a deficit.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, like when discussing Clean Water and Clear Skies, Paul said something about how everyone likes clean water and no smog, and how things were way better now than 30 years ago, and Jon said, "... possibly due to government regulation." Paul never really had an explanation for how the free market system had any stake in reducing water and air pollution, or how it wasn't all due to government regulation (indeed, when making his points about coal plants being cleaner than ever, Jon said, "they wouldn't have done that on their own," and Paul said nothing). I give him points for acknowledging that some regulation is necessary, but I have to agree he didn't really make any case at all for smaller government, despite that being about the only thing he talked about.
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Mindslicer



Joined: 04 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
Did anyone see Rand Paul on the Daily Show? I liked the interview, but I noted that when Jon asked about the disparity between the argument for "shared sacrifice," and the reality of the Republican budget where the middle and lower classes make all of the sacrifices, Paul had no response... he just changed the subject.

Douchebag.


Actually, he had a two-part answer that Stewart kept interrupting. The first part was about increasing expenditures and the deficit exploding over the last ten years (and even Stewart acknowledged that there's currently no projection for totally eliminating the deficit, just that 'the gap will be closer' a few years from now), and the second part was about revenue and how the top 50% of wage earners already provide 96% of income tax revenue (and roughly a third from the top 1% of earners), which Paul got to after Stewart mentioned the top marginal tax rate under Clinton. Stewart followed that up with continued whining about the tax rate, as if the top 50% need to pay 99% of income taxes, or the top 1% need to pay 50%.

Paul followed that up by explaining how, regardless of specific tax rates, the government only ends up with about 15-20% of GDP in revenue, at least since the end of WWII. Link.

Then, when Paul explains how the Federal Reserve actively kept interest rates low to spur the housing boom when rates would otherwise have increased as demand for houses increased, Stewart responds by saying that clearly the interest rates weren't regulated enough, the exact opposite of what was just explained to him.

I don't think Paul handled himself well when Stewart mentioned the Food and Drug Act and such. I wish he had mentioned that non-governmental sources like Consumer Reports and Underwriters Laboratories test and report on the safety of pretty much everything that gets sold in the country and freely release their findings to the public, and UL started doing that in 1894. So the overall improvement of conditions has been through collaborative efforts of public and private organizations, not solely a result of government regulation, as Stewart continually wanted to suggest.
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mindslicer wrote:
Actually, he had a two-part answer that Stewart kept interrupting. The first part was about increasing expenditures and the deficit exploding over the last ten years (and even Stewart acknowledged that there's currently no projection for totally eliminating the deficit, just that 'the gap will be closer' a few years from now) [...] Paul followed that up by explaining how, regardless of specific tax rates, the government only ends up with about 15-20% of GDP in revenue, at least since the end of WWII. Link.


If you're saying (and I think you are, given the "only ends up with part) that 15-20% is low... and since both sides admitted this wouldn't eliminate the deficit... that would seem to indicate we should raise taxes, no?

(more when work stops interfering with my webbrowsing...)
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mindslicer wrote:
Actually, he had a two-part answer that Stewart kept interrupting. The first part was about increasing expenditures and the deficit exploding over the last ten years (and even Stewart acknowledged that there's currently no projection for totally eliminating the deficit, just that 'the gap will be closer' a few years from now), and the second part was about revenue and how the top 50% of wage earners already provide 96% of income tax revenue (and roughly a third from the top 1% of earners), which Paul got to after Stewart mentioned the top marginal tax rate under Clinton. Stewart followed that up with continued whining about the tax rate, as if the top 50% need to pay 99% of income taxes, or the top 1% need to pay 50%.

I see no problem with rich people paying more tax than poor people... because poor people by definition don't have very much money. Your assumption about how much Jon Stewart thinks other people should pay is smoke up my ass. It's also all ideological hand-waving that avoids the point of Jon's question, which is that if the GOP wants to talk about shared sacrifice then their budget should reflect that. Instead, the middle and lower classes get the shaft and the upper class get a tax break - in effect, they get a bonus for the economy being down. Any amount of rationalization for why this is or isn't good economics is secondary to the point that there is no shared sacrifice. It's just political smoke and mirrors.
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
the second part was about revenue and how the top 50% of wage earners already provide 96% of income tax revenue (and roughly a third from the top 1% of earners), which Paul got to after Stewart mentioned the top marginal tax rate under Clinton. Stewart followed that up with continued whining about the tax rate, as if the top 50% need to pay 99% of income taxes, or the top 1% need to pay 50%.


The richest one percent of Americans pay around one third of taxes. Okay. The richest one percent of Americans happens to have about one third of the income. As I strongly support a progressive tax scheme (after all, the rich can handle paying a greater percentage of their income than the poor, as the absolute quantities are still vastly disparate, and they're fine with a slightly lower percent, rather than struggling to survive even more), well, that one third seems rather low, to me. As evidenced by things like the US's terrible Gini Index, and how it just gets more and more disparate every year, the rich aren't exactly hurting, but the poor and middle class are.
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E-boy



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Realistically a tax increase seems inevitable. Having said that though, the big hubbub about budget cuts is mostly smoke and mirrors. Acknowledging a "Few billion" dollars in waste is like acknowledging just the tail of the elephant in the room.

Let's see, there are high dollar items on the table right now like two multi-billion dollar aircraft carriers. Nuclear and with new and not even fully developed or tested tech to be installed... Don't get me wrong I like the idea of keeping the navy at least at current strength, but investing in hit or miss new tech alone will cost who even knows how much particularly with the routine cost overruns. How about we stick with the models and tech we know work and cut the expense? How about we cut spending on pie in the sky stuff that has very little to do with current day to day operations in the military?

How about we reform the way government contracts are handed out, paid for, and how we do oversight on them? Right now, if a project comes in under budget for the fiscal year they scramble to spend the remaining money. Why? Because if they don't the budget gets cut to that level for the next year. Right now there is incentive to skimp on quality but no incentive to save a buck. We aren't talking a few billion here. A few billion might cover the cost of ONE of the bigger projects. A nuclear aircraft carrier cost about four billion about a decade ago. That was with tried and true tech. Meanwhile they screw the military out of money that really does matter by way of raises (okay I'm biased there but for most of my career I knew a lot of guys on active duty who qualified for federal aid. These days pay is a lot better, so I'm flexible on raises), or logistical support and training. We could quite literally afford to cut costs and make the military more prepared. What's more there'd be a hell of a lot more money for all sorts of other things. Yes a tax raise would still be important, but efficiency alone could do a lot more than austerity measures targeted at areas that aren't even major contributors to our bad spending.
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CTrees



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my bias - I really, really like massive defense spending, because it keeps me employed. A couple new aircraft carriers filled with new tech, and liable to wind up like the LCS program? Fucking awesome. But again, that's *my* self-interest talking.
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tinkeringIdiot



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

E-boy wrote:
How about we stick with the models and tech we know work and cut the expense? How about we cut spending on pie in the sky stuff that has very little to do with current day to day operations in the military?


A philosophical struggle that I wander into on a regular basis is the undeniable fact that "pie-in-the-sky" projects funded by the military (read: funded by the death and suffering of my fellow man) have revolutionized life on this planet. The obvious example here is these shiny tubes which allow us to discuss with and/or troll each other all day long. Less obvious are the advances in medicine, water treatment, transportation, psychology, organizational dynamics, and any number of other convenient monikers for fields which improve our quality of life, all brought about by the same funding. These open-air projects are the driving force for our way of life.

Naturally, these things could be funded by other means; the private sector, or perhaps a non-military government entity. That it is only done on a large scale by the military suggests a lack of incentive for other entities to undertake these projects. Which is understandable: why would anyone want to throw astronomical amounts of money at something from which they have a minuscule chance of a positive return? I propose that the incentives for this work must be more fundamental than the financial gain which drives the private sector: security, popularity, or power.

But chucking the financial incentives - which are short-term gains when viewed against the history of a civilization - is deemed sacrilegious in our culture. It's not just the right of every Youessian to make money any way we can, it's our sacred duty. How can a culture that puts the worth of individual assets above the worth of society as a whole solve the long-term problems we face today?
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mouse



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, this is the issue - we really can't. we seem to have lost the idea that an investment is something that pays off in the long-term, not something that pays you dividends next quarter. so it's all about how much money you will get next quarter, so results have to be instant. and some of those projects just don't have instant results. that's the one thing about the military budget - congress doesn't say no to them, so they are now the only group that doesn't have to show results instantly, and can afford to stick with a program that will take years to show results.

and that's why private industry won't fund it - the stockholders will start baying for blood if they don't get a return on their investment right now. which is why the republicans are idiots for wanting to turn everything over to private industry, but that's another argument.

Dogen wrote:
Yeah, like when discussing Clean Water and Clear Skies, Paul said something about how everyone likes clean water and no smog, and how things were way better now than 30 years ago, and Jon said, "... possibly due to government regulation." Paul never really had an explanation for how the free market system had any stake in reducing water and air pollution, or how it wasn't all due to government regulation (indeed, when making his points about coal plants being cleaner than ever, Jon said, "they wouldn't have done that on their own," and Paul said nothing). I give him points for acknowledging that some regulation is necessary, but I have to agree he didn't really make any case at all for smaller government, despite that being about the only thing he talked about.


i'm not sure he does get points for acknowledging regulation is necessary, since, as you say, he completely ignored stewart's examples of how 30 years of regulation had made a change. i wasn't sure if paul thought the fact that we are better than we were 30 years ago means we don't have to regulate any more, or if he thinks things would have improved over 30 years regardless of regulation, or what. but i firmly believe that he doesn't understand that regulation has made a critical difference which would not have happened without it.
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eureka00



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://dane101.com/files/Panorama.jpg

Saturday’s protest was the largest protest Wisconsin had ever seen. There were more people at the Capitol than at any time during the Vietnam War. Additionally, the 100,000 member crowd was larger than the largest Tea Party Rally, which was 70,000 held in DC in 2009. A friend of mine from college is just below the K in the photo. Smile
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E-boy



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey don't get me wrong, I understand the long term benefits of science investment.

What I don't like is huge expenditures with lots of cost overruns, and all maner of corruption because of a near total lack of oversight. I want oversight and cost benefit analysis on a regular basis.

The feds take risks no one else will financially, and up to a point that's good. In some instances it's still throwing good money after bad though, and the bottom line is even if we invest a mere third more than every other nation on earth and do so intelligently we can maintain our tech lead, continue to make advances, and not be ridiculously deep in debt.

I too am biased in that aside from whatever additional qualifications I pick up in school I am most qualified to work as a military contractor at the moment. Having worked with them on a regular basis for most of my career and at times for them, I can tell you that there are some seriously screwed up things about the way we do business now. For example, as I've mentioned before there is simply no incentive to go under budget. If you are working a multi-year project and come in under budget for the fiscal year, your next years funding gets cut to that level. So what happens is when you do come under budget that in the few months before the end of the fiscal year they will spend the extra money on any freaking thing they can think of to avoid coming in under budget. When I first observed this I actually called the waste fraud and abuse hotline. I got told it was routine and not to sweat it.

I like neat toys as much as anyone and our military capabilities are truly wonderful to have if you're actually in the military and your wellbeing/safety can rely on them, but we do have a very comfortable lead in military tech and one that wouldn't be too hard to maintain. Simply changing the way we handle the money could even result in improvements to what we field while still spending less. Not to mention funding for non-military affiliated science programs like ARPA-E and university science grants could be brought up. This says nothing about the fact that the vast majority of our defense spending doesn't go to the folks that matter most in our defense (IE the actual men and women putting themselves in harm's way. In an all volunteer force quality of life, and benefits matter. Talk about cutting those benefits to save a buck while multi-billion dollar expenditures of questionable value continue to sit on the budget unscrutinized is a bit of a slap in the face)This isn't simply a call to stop investing in science. It's a call to provide realistic assessments and oversight. I'd be quite happy to let a board of engineers/scientists make calls about feasability.
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tinkeringIdiot



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding oversight and cost/benefit analysis driving funding decisions, what I was getting at is that the blue-sky type projects generally look abysmal from that perspective.

As far as some of the stupidity re: budgeting, that seems to be deeply ingrained in American corporate culture rather than being limited to military or government spending. I suspect that some pressure to keep systems like those you take issue with in force results from corruption, though in the private sector we call it "creative accounting" and call the best practitioners thereof leaders of industry.

[anecdote]
For example, one of our divisions was complaining about a certain design that involves a rather complex machining and manual deburring steps to manufacture due to the cost of said processes. The engineer assigned to come up with a solution designed a system that replaces the ~6 holes in the original design with ~60 holes. Big boss accepted this as a viable solution because, using his accounting system, the machine that makes the ~60 holes can do so for $0.00 per hole (because the setup time, run time, and finishing time are carted off to another account ie: ignored) while the machine that made the original ~6 costs some more rational non-zero amount per hole. It'll actually cost more and perform worse, but it'll wash out in the balance sheet as a net gain.
[/anecdote]
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