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Thread: Putin US is a parasite on world economy

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    Re: Putin US is a parasite on world economy

    Quote Originally Posted by j-mac View Post
    One could wonder Dave, if you feel like you are getting ****ed so hard here in America, why you would choose to reside here? Aren't there plenty of Socialist playgrounds around the world that would be more than happy to have you? And then you could be just content living in Utopia?

    j-mac
    You probably won't believe this , but we are not allowed to go to Cuba. Something about old Mafia, big Rockefeller banks, the Rum Trade, and an embargo to protect us against millions of tobacco pruners and twisters. Then , over in Libya they are trying to get rid of Qaddaffi because he is setting a bad example by giving all the oil wealth to the people through foolish social programs like free housing, free food, free education, and free healthcare. Tobacco and freebies! Those are the real dangers, eh?

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    Re: Putin US is a parasite on world economy

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    Evanescence,

    There is no silver bullet. The process will take a lot of time. The first step would be to slow the increase in the rate at which the nation's debt has been growing. The second step would be to stabilize that debt. The last step would constitute debt reduction. In doing so, there will always be a level of social welfare, investment, national security, among other functions, that the federal government needs to undertake. The federal government cannot be "run like a business" because the interests in governance are far broader than those of a business (social, economic, financial, safety, etc., vs. financial/economic for businesses). The government can apply some lessons i.e., become far more focused and efficient.
    IMO, the larger the federal government becomes, the less efficient it can be. I think of FEMA as an example. During the Katrina disaster, FEMA purchased hundreds of trailers from businesses like Clayton Homes, and then the trailers sat in lots where they remain to this day. Of course, there are so many examples of gross inefficiency concerning the Katrina disaster, but what stands out to me the most is how private charities and individuals were able to accomplish so much more than the government. If one applies the same logic to the government on a grander scale such as national security and the general welfare of the county, the government is largely ineffective because of corruption and inefficiency.

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    IMO, a credible fiscal consolidation strategy will have to involve:

    1) Social security reform: A fairly simple actuarial problem. Current retirees would largely be held harmless. The eligibility age would be raised for future retirees and then pegged to changes in life expectancy. The payroll tax cap would be raised to the original level (share of income) and pegged that share of income. Benefit increases (for future retirees) would be tied to the cost of living, not wages.
    Since the cost of living is constantly increasing, wouldn't that increase social security liabilities even with the eligibility age requirement increased? I guess that would depend on how fast the cost of living increases. My concern is inflation-even hyperinflation.



    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    2) Medicare/Medicaid: Very complex. Savings would depend on fundamental health care reform. Unless the health system's excessive cost growth problem is addressed, Medicare/Medicaid reform won't be viable. One could convert the programs to vouchers, but then the problem would be that the recipients' vouchers would provide increasingly less coverage (underinsurance/uninsurance) on account of rapidly rising health costs. One could impose strict budgeting, but that would lead to rationing based on expenditures (effectively simulating underinsurance/uninsurance). As a result, neither vouchers nor strict budgeting would fix the programs in the absence of fundamental health reform, except at unacceptable costs of effective underinsurance/uninsurance.

    Policy reforms would include permitting Medicare to negotiate drug prices, etc. In business, firms use their purchasing power to leverage better deals. It is remarkable that Medicare is not permitted to do so. Reimportation of drugs should also be permitted. Prohibitions are anti-competitive and they essentially protect price disparities from arbitrage. In the securities markets, if a share of a company's stock is trading at a higher price in London than in New York, one would witness buying in New York/selling in London (profitable) until the price disparity disappears. Such a practice is barred when it comes to preventing reimportation of drugs.
    Excellent suggestion. I have heard of people buying cheaper drugs in Canada as an example. But imo, I see rationing health care as the only viable option in the long run, even with cheaper drug prices and foreign competition. Health care rationing takes place in most socialized systems. For example:

    In England, they have government managed health care:

    The NHS cannot, and never has been able to, offer every treatment to everyone who needs it.The NHS is funded from taxes, and it spends more than £42bn every year - £779 for every person in the UK. But it is not a bottomless pit of funds and some treatments have to be restricted. Raising taxes to pay for every possible need is politically unthinkable, as it would require a massive increase in income tax to raise enough revenue to make a significant difference to spending. This means some treatments have to be restricted, or rationed.

    It stands to reason that any form of government issued health care, including medicare, will eventually have to be rationed to curve the costs, or taxes must be raised. The most we can hope for is to slow the rising expenses.
    But with privately run health care and HMOs, there is a higher administrative cost associated with health care, and also profit considerations.

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    Fundamantal health reform would be more complex. Both the demand and supply side would need to be addressed. That means addressing incentives that currently exist for overutilization (copayment structures could be made flexible). It means dramatic changes in technology procurement. It also means reducing competitive barriers i.e., making it far easier for foreign medical providers/hospitals and physicians to practice in the U.S. Other reforms would include tort/medical malpractice reform, licensing reform, etc.
    As the article stated, there will always be a higher demand for health care than funds available. Increasing taxes to cover these expenditures is simply not feasible. Rationing is the only viable option in this case. Perhaps, each individual should have a spending cap with no one being able to cost the government more than a certain amount. Of course, this would reduce coverage, but the other option is increasing taxes to cover the expenses. To lower the overall cost of health care is a daunting task to say the least. Even with more competition, the technology necessary to make health care more efficient becomes more costly.

    Either way, medicaid and particularly medicare is simply not sustainable in the long term. There are too many people retiring (namely baby boomers) and not enough people in the work force to cover all of the retirees. More people are retiring than entering the work force. Those entering the work force cannot be expected to pay for an entire generation of people retiring, especially as the cost associated with their upkeep continues to rise and inflation eats away at the value of the dollar. Even with the reforms you suggested, (all great ideas, btw) with the purchasing power of the dollar declining, all of the reforms conceivable simply can't keep up with its decline.

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    3) Tax reform: The tax base should be broadened (elimination of various deductions) so as to generate additional revenue. Even popular deductions should be on the table. In general, if all businesses cannot receive the same deduction, such a deduction is preferential. It distorts economic activity.

    My guess is that a credible fiscal consolidation program could stabilize federal debt relative to GDP within 5-10 years. Afterward, a gradual reduction relative to GDP, and later absolute terms, could commence. However, a lot will depend on economic growth and interest rates. Historic experience with fiscal consolidation has shown that consolidation that is largely (but not wholly) spending-driven (2/3 or more of the savings come from spending changes) creates the least economic drag in the short-term. Policy makers should be careful to distinguish between expenditures that are mainly consumption and those that are investments (create future value). Indiscriminate treatment could also tend to cap the nation's long-term growth potential. More robust economic growth leads to faster revenue growth. At the same time, the program has to be credible in terms of substance and perceived as credible by the public. When credibility is lacking or perceived to be lacking, interest rates would wind up higher than they would otherwise be. Higher interest rates would slow economic growth (higher cost of capital) and increase debt service costs. A measure of revenue increases can add credibility, as it could take away concern that a country might not be able to carry through with a magnitude of spending reductions that could be viewed as unrealistic.
    Good point, but therein lies the problem. With the bickering that goes on between our vastly ineffective two party system, coming up with a plan to consolidate spending while at the same time encouraging growth seems unlikely. As far as encouraging long term growth, we need more industry. So much of it has left the country in the form of outsourcing. We need an industry that cannot be outsourced, and also can provide people with decent wages that can support a family. My answer to this problem is: Green energy

    Of course, many companies aren't doing too well in this industry, but it's future is assured. I believe this because of peak oil. Eventually, oil will run out. It would be wise of our government to invest in green technology before this happens. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if oil reserves were tapped out, and this energy was no longer available. The US already uses 25% of the world's energy. I really see no reason why the type of technology can't be successful, but more research and development is needed. When green energy is a success, building this new infrastructure and its maintenance will provide many decent jobs for Americans.



    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    Finally, the recent debt ceiling debate revealed enormous problems in the nation's political process. The extent of dysfunction has elevated risks going forward. The other big issue is structural problems in the nation's economy. Unless those issues are addressed by both the public and private sectors, the nation's long-term growth rate will be lower than it would otherwise have been. A 2.5% sustainable long-term growth rate vs. the 3% figure widely assumed in many fiscal projections, would essentially wipe out a significant share of the savings in the recently enacted debt ceiling legislation (revenues would underperform and stabilizers such as unemployment costs would be higher than expected).
    The understatement of the year!

    And this is where my negativity increases. The so called structural problems are overwhelming, and involve more corruption than people realize. IMO, if the curtain was pulled back, and the corruption of our government and the political process could be seen for what it is, Americans would literally take up arms and storm Washington DC. Luckily for all of the theives, Americans are glued to their tvs.
    “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” -Napoleon

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    Re: Putin US is a parasite on world economy

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveFagan View Post
    You probably won't believe this , but we are not allowed to go to Cuba. Something about old Mafia, big Rockefeller banks, the Rum Trade, and an embargo to protect us against millions of tobacco pruners and twisters. Then , over in Libya they are trying to get rid of Qaddaffi because he is setting a bad example by giving all the oil wealth to the people through foolish social programs like free housing, free food, free education, and free healthcare. Tobacco and freebies! Those are the real dangers, eh?
    You might want to do a little more research into your buddy Gaddaffi before you give him the man of the year plaque.

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    Re: Putin US is a parasite on world economy

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamT View Post
    You might want to do a little more research into your buddy Gaddaffi before you give him the man of the year plaque.
    I automatically compare world leaders to GWSoupForBrains and grade them accordingly. Qaddaffi doing really well in the comparison department. He supposa take care o' Libyans, not Mericans. He doin' hell of a job. We just bombed the water works over there so pretty soon we'll be able to bury all the lil' chilluns what dies of dehydration related illness. Ok though, we the good guys. We won't be able to smell the dead over here. We ain't gonna read about it either. Obama got a Peace prize is how I know we the good guys. That be the Obama what bombed Tripoli and killed babies. Just so ya knows.

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    Re: Putin US is a parasite on world economy


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    Re: Putin US is a parasite on world economy

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveFagan View Post
    I automatically compare world leaders to GWSoupForBrains and grade them accordingly. Qaddaffi doing really well in the comparison department. He supposa take care o' Libyans, not Mericans. He doin' hell of a job. We just bombed the water works over there so pretty soon we'll be able to bury all the lil' chilluns what dies of dehydration related illness. Ok though, we the good guys. We won't be able to smell the dead over here. We ain't gonna read about it either. Obama got a Peace prize is how I know we the good guys. That be the Obama what bombed Tripoli and killed babies. Just so ya knows.
    Gaddaffi came to power in a military coup. The punishment for establishing an opposition political group in Libya is death. He has been a direct sponsor of terror, including the Lockerbie bombing. Libya has the lowest rating for freedom of speech in the world. If this was Libya and you criticized Gaddaffi like you are criticizing Bush, you would be in jail.

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    Re: Putin US is a parasite on world economy

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamT View Post
    Gaddaffi came to power in a military coup. The punishment for establishing an opposition political group in Libya is death. He has been a direct sponsor of terror, including the Lockerbie bombing. Libya has the lowest rating for freedom of speech in the world. If this was Libya and you criticized Gaddaffi like you are criticizing Bush, you would be in jail.
    Qaddaffi threw out a CIA stooge who was selling Libya's oil at about $.06/barrel. In Libya the political parties are more like tribes and there are lots of them in the country. Did the CIA or FauxNews tell you that I'd be in jail for telling the truth about a leader? Or is there a link to that info? Lockerbie was a political settlement. Why do you really think they let the prisoner go home? Mining permits are available that allow a person to turn on a flashlight when there head is so far up a News Disinformation Service anus that vision and critical thinking are impaired and some news announcers should declare that they are licensed for viewer enlightenment. Don't you think?

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    Re: Putin US is a parasite on world economy

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveFagan View Post
    Qaddaffi threw out a CIA stooge who was selling Libya's oil at about $.06/barrel. In Libya the political parties are more like tribes and there are lots of them in the country. Did the CIA or FauxNews tell you that I'd be in jail for telling the truth about a leader? Or is there a link to that info? Lockerbie was a political settlement. Why do you really think they let the prisoner go home? Mining permits are available that allow a person to turn on a flashlight when there head is so far up a News Disinformation Service anus that vision and critical thinking are impaired and some news announcers should declare that they are licensed for viewer enlightenment. Don't you think?
    What I think is that you are trying to portray a murderous lunatic dictator as some kind of holy man, and that you are seriously disturbed.

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    Re: Putin US is a parasite on world economy

    Quote Originally Posted by evanescence View Post
    IMO, the larger the federal government becomes, the less efficient it can be.
    In general, the same applies to any organization. Management/control becomes increasingly difficult. At some point, the diseconomies resulting from deteriorating management approach and then outweigh any benefits from economies of scale. Hence, one typically sees grwoth in profit margins begin to slow over time and then even shrink in cases. Among other things, focus gets lost, resources are deployed inefficiently, intra-organization competition emerges, opportunity costs mount, etc. The more complex an organization's mission--and governance is the most complex human activity given the myriad interests/trade-offs involved--the more vulnerable an organization can be to the increase in diseconomies related to its size.

    Since the cost of living is constantly increasing, wouldn't that increase social security liabilities even with the eligibility age requirement increased? I guess that would depend on how fast the cost of living increases. My concern is inflation-even hyperinflation.
    The wage index has chronically increased faster than the overall cost of living. Hence, a switch to the CPI (or another broad-based inflation measure) would slow benefit growth. At the same time, it would insulate retirees from exposure to rising costs.

    But imo, I see rationing health care as the only viable option in the long run, even with cheaper drug prices and foreign competition. Health care rationing takes place in most socialized systems.
    Rationing takes place in any system. In the U.S. rationing occurs based on price. The problem is that rationing in the U.S. leads to some extreme outcomes e.g., significant incidence of underinsured individuals that, in turn, leads to grossly inefficient utilization of services (higher incidence of emergency room usage) and contributes to outcomes that are below those in many other industrialized countries (a complex issue, but there is some contribution from the underinsurance issue). IMO, the issue is not whether rationing will exist--it will--but what in what form and how one can minimize the adverse impact of such rationing. If rationing mainly takes place in overutilized non-essential care, that's one thing. If rationing creates barriers to access to care for essential treatment, that's a wholly different problem. The former can promote greater efficiency overall. The later undermines it and increases adverse health outcomes.

    Either way, medicaid and particularly medicare is simply not sustainable in the long term. There are too many people retiring (namely baby boomers) and not enough people in the work force to cover all of the retirees. More people are retiring than entering the work force. Those entering the work force cannot be expected to pay for an entire generation of people retiring, especially as the cost associated with their upkeep continues to rise and inflation eats away at the value of the dollar. Even with the reforms you suggested, (all great ideas, btw) with the purchasing power of the dollar declining, all of the reforms conceivable simply can't keep up with its decline.
    That's exactly the problem with the pay-as-you-go system in place. Such a system would work very well if the workforce-beneficiaries ratio was stable. It isn't. Down the road, it will stabilize. The transition now underway with the retirement of the Baby Boom generation will be treacherous. Longer life expectancies, meaning more years of retirement, will amplify the impact of the decline in the workers-retirees ratio. As a result, dramatic reforms will be necessary. Those reforms will have to deal with the structure of benefits. They will also need to deal with funding. An emphasis only on the former would decimate benefits. An emphasis only on the latter would badly suppress long-term economic growth. A "least bad" solution will need to be devised, and both benefits and revenues will have to be part of that solution.

    Good point, but therein lies the problem. With the bickering that goes on between our vastly ineffective two party system, coming up with a plan to consolidate spending while at the same time encouraging growth seems unlikely.
    This increased rigidity in the U.S. political system is depriving it of the flexibility that gives democratic governance its unique ability to adapt to change. It is a worrisome development. In my view, it is a development that raises genuine questions as to whether the U.S. deserves a AAA rating. After all, if policy making becomes increasingly rigid, the probability that the U.S. won't be able to adopt credible fiscal consolidation to begin to address its long-term imbalances, much less carry through with such a program, increases. Instead, the risk of financial repression (negative real interest rates), tolerance of inflation (to reduce the debt burden in real terms), and currency devaluations (that worry led many creditor countries to criticize QE2) will all increase.

    As far as encouraging long term growth, we need more industry. So much of it has left the country in the form of outsourcing. We need an industry that cannot be outsourced, and also can provide people with decent wages that can support a family. My answer to this problem is: Green energy

    Of course, many companies aren't doing too well in this industry, but it's future is assured. I believe this because of peak oil. Eventually, oil will run out. It would be wise of our government to invest in green technology before this happens. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if oil reserves were tapped out, and this energy was no longer available. The US already uses 25% of the world's energy. I really see no reason why the type of technology can't be successful, but more research and development is needed. When green energy is a success, building this new infrastructure and its maintenance will provide many decent jobs for Americans.
    The case for a coherent energy program is very strong. Even if oil were not a finite resource, the reality that oil is located in many geographically unstable areas, creates geopolitical risk exposure. Unfortunately, after each energy crisis, the U.S. has demonstrated remarkable policy amnesia. Today, the U.S. still lacks a credible energy policy. In doing so, it is passing up one important competitive opportunity. Already, China is forging ahead in solar energy and arguably is now the global leaders in solar technology. With its increasing base of graduates in the sciences, China is well-positioned to expand that lead. Another area in which the U.S. is ceding ground is aerospace. Declining goals for NASA is merely a symptom of the larger trend that is underway. Ultimately, some countries other than the U.S. could well gain a qualitative edge in some advanced technology. If so, the relative position of the U.S. will be weaker than it would otherwise be and that would translate into foregone macroeconomic growth/income growth/job creation/tax revenue.

    And this is where my negativity increases. The so called structural problems are overwhelming, and involve more corruption than people realize. IMO, if the curtain was pulled back, and the corruption of our government and the political process could be seen for what it is, Americans would literally take up arms and storm Washington DC. Luckily for all of the theives, Americans are glued to their tvs.
    Challenging as the situation is and lack of political courage/political dysfunctionality that defines contemporary policy making, the U.S. still has latitude to make changes to address those challenges before its ability to choose all but disappears. That its policy makers continue to consume time while maintaining a course not too different from the status quo is slowly eroding U.S. strategic flexibility. Barring some significant changes, the risk of a crisis will increase in the medium-term and beyond. If such a crisis erupts, the U.S. will have to go through an extremely painful restructuring with very high social and economic costs before it can renew itself.

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    Re: Putin US is a parasite on world economy

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    In general, the same applies to any organization. Management/control becomes increasingly difficult. At some point, the diseconomies resulting from deteriorating management approach and then outweigh any benefits from economies of scale. Hence, one typically sees grwoth in profit margins begin to slow over time and then even shrink in cases. Among other things, focus gets lost, resources are deployed inefficiently, intra-organization competition emerges, opportunity costs mount, etc. The more complex an organization's mission--and governance is the most complex human activity given the myriad interests/trade-offs involved--the more vulnerable an organization can be to the increase in diseconomies related to its size.
    So basically, bureaucracy produces mostly negative results.


    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    The wage index has chronically increased faster than the overall cost of living. Hence, a switch to the CPI (or another broad-based inflation measure) would slow benefit growth. At the same time, it would insulate retirees from exposure to rising costs.
    Not recently. Especially with the decent jobs being outsourced.

    For millions of working Americans, the phenomenon economists call "median wage stagnation" has become a way of life. For decades, their annual incomes have remained virtually the same, leaving many just a paycheck or two from the street.

    Experts attribute the causes to various factors: the decline of organized labor, the erosion of the minimum wage, the shift from a manufacturing-based to a service-based economy, and the transformation to a more globalized economy. But a common thread is the choking of America's besieged middle class.
    "For the average worker in this country, there is a sense of despair, there is a sense of hopelessness and growing anger because they're now seeing that corporate profits are hitting record levels again, corporations have extraordinary savings, and that CEO's always manage to pay themselves more," said Stephen Lerner, director of banking and financial reform for the 2.2-million-member Service Employees International Union.
    Economy: Will Middle Class America Ever See A Real Raise Again? - ABC News

    I don't necessary support unions, nor do I agree with this entire article, but the point stands. Wages are mostly stagnate for a large portion of the middle class.

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    Rationing takes place in any system. In the U.S. rationing occurs based on price. The problem is that rationing in the U.S. leads to some extreme outcomes e.g., significant incidence of underinsured individuals that, in turn, leads to grossly inefficient utilization of services (higher incidence of emergency room usage) and contributes to outcomes that are below those in many other industrialized countries (a complex issue, but there is some contribution from the underinsurance issue). IMO, the issue is not whether rationing will exist--it will--but what in what form and how one can minimize the adverse impact of such rationing. If rationing mainly takes place in overutilized non-essential care, that's one thing. If rationing creates barriers to access to care for essential treatment, that's a wholly different problem. The former can promote greater efficiency overall. The later undermines it and increases adverse health outcomes.
    People tend to overuse a service they don’t directly pay for. If people would quit going to the doctor because of every hang nail and sniffle, things might improve slightly. Your ideas would improve things, but even a modest decline in costs still leaves our children and grandchildren with bills they cannot hope to pay. If I live to see retirement, I don’t expect anyone to care for me. It wont be there.


    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    That's exactly the problem with the pay-as-you-go system in place. Such a system would work very well if the workforce-beneficiaries ratio was stable. It isn't. Down the road, it will stabilize. The transition now underway with the retirement of the Baby Boom generation will be treacherous. Longer life expectancies, meaning more years of retirement, will amplify the impact of the decline in the workers-retirees ratio. As a result, dramatic reforms will be necessary. Those reforms will have to deal with the structure of benefits. They will also need to deal with funding. An emphasis only on the former would decimate benefits. An emphasis only on the latter would badly suppress long-term economic growth. A "least bad" solution will need to be devised, and both benefits and revenues will have to be part of that solution.
    Ah, the lesser of the two evils approach. Well, there’s not much I can argue as a rebuttal other than scrap it all, start over again, and screw all of the retirees.


    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    This increased rigidity in the U.S. political system is depriving it of the flexibility that gives democratic governance its unique ability to adapt to change.
    Agreed. And this is a result of layer upon layers of new laws, rules, and regulations. It reminds me of the tax code in this country. It is now something like 2,000 pages long. The bigger government gets, the more regulations and laws there will be which leads to the rigid and inflexible system we have now.

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    It is a worrisome development. In my view, it is a development that raises genuine questions as to whether the U.S. deserves a AAA rating. After all, if policy making becomes increasingly rigid, the probability that the U.S. won't be able to adopt credible fiscal consolidation to begin to address its long-term imbalances, much less carry through with such a program, increases. Instead, the risk of financial repression (negative real interest rates), tolerance of inflation (to reduce the debt burden in real terms), and currency devaluations (that worry led many creditor countries to criticize QE2) will all increase.
    And this is my fear. Already, US credit ratings are in question:

    News Headlines


    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post

    The case for a coherent energy program is very strong. Even if oil were not a finite resource, the reality that oil is located in many geographically unstable areas, creates geopolitical risk exposure. Unfortunately, after each energy crisis, the U.S. has demonstrated remarkable policy amnesia. Today, the U.S. still lacks a credible energy policy. In doing so, it is passing up one important competitive opportunity. Already, China is forging ahead in solar energy and arguably is now the global leaders in solar technology. With its increasing base of graduates in the sciences, China is well-positioned to expand that lead. Another area in which the U.S. is ceding ground is aerospace. Declining goals for NASA is merely a symptom of the larger trend that is underway. Ultimately, some countries other than the U.S. could well gain a qualitative edge in some advanced technology. If so, the relative position of the U.S. will be weaker than it would otherwise be and that would translate into foregone macroeconomic growth/income growth/job creation/tax revenue.
    And sadly, this is preventable if the US had effective policy makers instead of the useless, corrupted politicians we currently have. The best action for the US right now would be to scrap the two party system and remove both parties from existence.


    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post

    Challenging as the situation is and lack of political courage/political dysfunctionality that defines contemporary policy making, the U.S. still has latitude to make changes to address those challenges before its ability to choose all but disappears. That its policy makers continue to consume time while maintaining a course not too different from the status quo is slowly eroding U.S. strategic flexibility. Barring some significant changes, the risk of a crisis will increase in the medium-term and beyond. If such a crisis erupts, the U.S. will have to go through an extremely painful restructuring with very high social and economic costs before it can renew itself.
    People probably see me as paranoid and overly negative, but this is the unfortunate future I see for this once great nation. I think people place too much hope and optimism in the current system, and are not angry enough to force the changes we need to take place. However people will change their attitide of acceptance and complacency as they continue to lose their standard of living while those responsible reap the benefits.
    “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.” -Napoleon

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