View Poll Results: Who's to blame for going of the the fiscal cliff?

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  • Democrats

    14 16.87%
  • Republicans

    45 54.22%
  • Other (please elaborate)

    24 28.92%
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Thread: Who's going to take the blame for the fiscal clif

  1. #141
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    Re: Who's going to take the blame for the fiscal clif

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    Your math is better than some here at least, but there is nothing magical about a projected 30% reduction over the next 75 years either. In 1950, the worker-retiree ratio was 16.5-to-1. That's about an 80% reduction over the past 65 years. Productivity per worker increased enough over that time for a typical worker to be able to support five retirees instead of one. The role of real per capita GDP is not to be taken lightly here. I think the earlier graph of that ended up being an invalid attachment somehow, so here it is again...

    Attachment 67140016

    And again, putting faith in the trustees' projected 2.1 number is putting faith in a projection of flat and declining immigration going forward, even though the retirement of the baby boomers will be creating increasing demand in the personal and health services industries that immigrants dominate.
    Yes thank you for posting a valid link to the graph. But what I'm really interested in, is what growth rate do we need to ensure it doesn't encounter problems?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    Costs have increased as we have added new layers. Pre-school, after-school care, tutoring, and test-prep are all but ubiquitous today where they were quite uncommon yesterday. This suggests an increasing ability to invest in child-dependents. It seems odd to suggest a declining ability to invest in elderly-dependents at the same time, unless we are simply throwing Granny from the train so that we may further coddle Junior.
    Who wants to throw Granny from the train? Granny has been doing just fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    Right, they just want to cut Headstart and education, period.
    Which I don't agree with either. Problem is, they just cut what is most convenient, rather cutting what is the least important and reforming what is the most expensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    No, it's a matter of purchasing power (aka "lifestyle" in some sources) which is preserved through the use of wage rates rather than inflation rates in determining initial benefit levels. The purcahsing power of 75% of scheduled benefits in 40 years will be greater than the purchasing power of 100% of scheduled benefits today.
    What I'm more concerned about is, will the rate of return be greater or less in 40 years than it is today?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    It was already increased from 65 to 67. That's one thing for a nice, cushy office worker, quite another for a telephone or electrical lineman or other worker subject to continuous physical stress and injury throughout his career. How long do you think you can force these people to keep working? Many of them have physically crashed and burned already by 60. Keep trotting them out there and you'll simply end up paying them from the disability pool instead of from the retirement pool.
    Obviously. But telephone workers endure physical injury?

    But when I say retirement age, I just mean the age at which SS benefits start. So it isn't neccesarily "retirement."

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    Really? Life expectancy for whom? As calculated by whom?
    Life expectancy for the country as a whole, as calculated by the CDC.

    I know SS isn't the "WORSE THING EVER" but I disagree with the low rate of returns that it gives compared to many mutual funds, and the fact that most people don't save at all and expect SS to give them a full retirement. Ideally I'd much rather see SS turn into a mixed system, with it being mostly private accounts, and perhaps make benefits if someone over say 65 declares bankruptcy. It was supposed to be old age insurance, not an actual retirement. How this could be implemented at this point in time, I'm not entirely sure, but over time I think we could transition smoothly if it is managed effectively.

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    Re: Who's going to take the blame for the fiscal clif

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    Plenty of people who aren't in the top 1% can manage their own retirement.
    Plenty of people who ARE in the top 1% CAN'T. There are two things that American males can be counted on to badly overestimate -- how good they are in bed, and what savvy, clever investors they are. The average person does not have either the time or interest it takes to become an effective financial manager. And guess who will end up with all their money if you force them to try.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    And how much of the fact that people aren't saving is the fault of social security?
    Social Security is an insurance scheme. Paying the premiums IS a form of saving. And savings rates have of course soared since the Great Bush Recession as people try to reduce debt and reconstitute recently eradicated wealth.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    Regardless, SS would be a far better program if it was based on individual accounts which taught people how to save and invest their own money. But it seems recessions like 2008 always scare people off from saving, despite the fact that they are usually mere blimps in the long term, bigger picture.
    Blips? It takes a 100% gain to recover from a 50% loss. Ordinary Americans lost about $7 trillion from their IRA/401-k wealth over 15 months as the result of the Great Bush Recession. All but overnight, people's long-tended nest eggs were simply vaporized on them. For anyone within perhaps five years of retiring, this was a case of going back to square-one. That is not a blip. SS is meanwhile risk-free to the worker and it requires no extra effort at all. Adding both risk and work to the process is a highly undesirable double-negative. No serious retirement analyst will suggest that more work and more risk are the answers to anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    So... 1.7% growth rates are too pessimistic, but 2.0% would do just fine?
    2% would all by itself be at least approaching the cusp in assuring that in fact the SS Trust Fund would never be exhauted and 100% of scheduled benefits could be paid in perpetuity. You'd really rather see another tenth or three in that regard if you were relying on growth alone to blow the trustees away, but 2% would at least get close. The options the SS Trustees project are labelled High, Intermediate, and Low. They would more honestly be called About Average, Below Average, and Way Below Average.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    It was a bad idea even when they first proposed it. I'm not in favor of it, because it completely eliminates the possibility of concierge medicine being available to the general public.
    The mandate is a requirement unless you have found and not reported a solution to the free-rider problem that others have not. Your upscale boutique-level health care is meanwhile not prohibited or restrained by PPACA at all. The general public won't be getting any, just as they don't get any now.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    I'd like to see some evidence that it is just a right wing conspiracy theory rather than an actual problem.
    Again then why haven't you? What has kept you from learning, given all this interest you have? So let's take a quick peak. According to right-wingers, federal workers have the ne plus ultra cushy public sector retirement system. And according to the 2010 OPM Annual Report on the state of that system, total assets will continue to grow throughout the 70-year term of its projections, ultimately reaching a level of more than four times annual federal payroll, or about nineteen times the level of annual benefit payments. Sound like it's teetering on the brink to you?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    Of course bad management played a role.... but Detriot's contracts with the UAW gave its workers better retirement benefits than Toyota or any other competitor.
    Speaking of free-riders, the non-union southern auto plants simply piggyback their wages and benefits on UAW contracts. They have even boasted about it on their websites. If they didn't march along just a step or two behind what the UAW negotiates, they would lose significant portions of their workforce to better paying union shops. The UAW is simply negotiating here on behalf of tens of thousands of piker-workers who don't pay a dime in dues.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    GM's pension obligations are currently around $136B. Non-unionized Toyota on the other hand, pays its workers the same hourly wage, not nearly as generous health benefits, and its workers have their own retirement IRAs rather than pension plans.
    Apples versus oranges? How many people have worked at the southern plants long enough to reach retirement? I can tell you that in 2010 it was 3,200 for Honda. What do you think GM's number would look like?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    Actually, one of the first things I learned in economics was the Lucas critique.
    I doubt you would have understood a single word Lucas was saying if it was among the first things you had learned. There has also been a great deal of development simply in terms of processing power since 1976. Dynamic general equilibrium models today reach rather deeply into assorted sticky and frictional factors as well as into the exogenous world. Horses of a different color from what Lucas was considering. It remains true in any case that micro and macro are different worlds and that deadweight loss is an element of the former.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    I wasn't outlining how the tax should be implimented, rather the rationale behind its reasoning. Regardless, I'm not seeing how that disputes the validity of a national property tax?
    Your original claims were that land is not variable and cannot expand over time, and further that its value cannot be negatively distorted by taxes, being derived solely from natural resources and the surrounding community. None of these assumptions can be upheld. If these are the rationale behind any sort of plan at all, then that plan is not well supported at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    We already tax at local and state levels, why would this not work at a federal level?
    We tax the value of property. We do that at the level that assessors deem the property of whatever sort likely to fetch if it were to be offered for sale. Assays and mining surveys do not enter into that process. Significant numbers of annual appeals do enter into it. The objection isn't in any case raised as to the capacity of imposing a national land tax, merely as to the justiification, practicality, and wisdom of it.

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    Re: Who's going to take the blame for the fiscal clif

    Quote Originally Posted by DVSentinel View Post
    Thank you. Your demonstration in this one post of the depth of your ignorance/comprehension has probably done more to undermine you arguments than anything I could of written myself. I say ignorance/comprehension because you clearly demonstrate a singular bias that blinds you to other facts, as your insistence that there was only a single contributing factor clearly demonstrates. You have now saved me an unknown amount of time in writing counters, since you have so thoroughly shot your own stance in the foot. No further need for me to argue anything. Good day.
    LOL! When overwhelmed by fact and reason, throw silly insults at people, then claim victory and go home.

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    Re: Who's going to take the blame for the fiscal clif

    Quote Originally Posted by haymarket View Post
    I guess you really can learn from your mistakes. Obama got his clock cleaned and had to back down in the last two budgets over extending the debt ceiling. Now he is not playing that same weak role any longer apparently empowered by he election results.
    You can't always get what you want in politics. Some like it and some don't, but Obama has stuck at least until now to a notion of fighting one battle with an eye to the next one. That has served him well in the long-run.

    Quote Originally Posted by haymarket View Post
    The GOP will take the hit.
    They are in quite a bind at the moment. They will likely duck out through the back door of some short-term deal and hope they can do better down the road. You never know, but that seems increasingly unlikely these days.

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    Re: Who's going to take the blame for the fiscal clif

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisL View Post
    Okay thanks. I see what you're saying.

    But like you said, you only save if the position is not refilled. I would think that most of the time they hire someone else to fill the position of the retired employee. That also depends on if they have to pay a new employee more or less money as well, I would think.
    Can't say with certainty it's the case with all Federal agencies, but I know there are a large amount of Federal Agencies that are currently functioning under an Attrition plan in which they are only able to hire one new person for every 2 people they lose.

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    Re: Who's going to take the blame for the fiscal clif

    Quote Originally Posted by ttwtt78640 View Post
    Obama signed this "bipartisan" joke into law, instead of using the "veto" in August.
    Man..... you need to get out of the bubble every once in a while.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moot View Post
    The constitution says corporations have some of the same rights as "persons".

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    Re: Who's going to take the blame for the fiscal clif

    Quote Originally Posted by BigRedChief View Post
    Man..... you need to get out of the bubble every once in a while.
    What are you talking about? It was simply shelved as an issue, right before campaign time. Obama's idea of balance is to tax the rich a bit more and keep right on borrowing and spending, doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different result.
    “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself.
    Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ― George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

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    Re: Who's going to take the blame for the fiscal clif

    Quote Originally Posted by haymarket View Post
    I guess you really can learn from your mistakes. Obama got his clock cleaned and had to back down in the last two budgets over extending the debt ceiling. Now he is not playing that same weak role any longer apparently empowered by he election results.

    The GOP will take the hit.
    Say what you want about Obama and his policies....... he's a very smart man. At least he learns from his mistakes.

    He won the election. The R's seemed to think they had won and got to decide what happened. Same stuff, different day from last year. Obama from a strictly political standpoint has handled this with some Clintonesqe political savy.

    The R's at the Republican presidential candidates at the debate when asked if they would accept $10 of spending cuts to $1 in taxes, all rejected that deal. Now the R's will be lucky to get a $1 to $1 deal. Thats just an amazing turn around.

    If I was an establishment Republican I would be pissed at the Tea Party. They have cost them the Senate, the house and probably the Presidency, a chance to seriously go after medicare, medicaid and Social Security.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moot View Post
    The constitution says corporations have some of the same rights as "persons".

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    Re: Who's going to take the blame for the fiscal clif

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    Yes thank you for posting a valid link to the graph. But what I'm really interested in, is what growth rate do we need to ensure it doesn't encounter problems?
    Well, let's see. Real per capita GDP is real GDP divided by population. There are many sites that present the long-term population projections of various demographers. With such numbers in hand, the rest should be easy.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    Who wants to throw Granny from the train? Granny has been doing just fine.
    Whence all the concern then that projected declining worker-per-retiree ratios are going to crash Social Security?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    Which I don't agree with either. Problem is, they just cut what is most convenient, rather cutting what is the least important and reforming what is the most expensive.
    What's most expensive is rather easily discovered. Not so for what is "least important".

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    What I'm more concerned about is, will the rate of return be greater or less in 40 years than it is today?
    That depends on your own earnings history and -- obviously -- what if anything gets done to SS tax and benefit calculations in the future. As of right now, an average worker with a wife and two children who retires in 2030 at age 67 will have earned a real rate of return of just under 4% per year. A high-income earner retiring under similar conditions could conceivably have earned a negative real rate of return. That happens only rarely, but if you earn a lot, you will do fine with SS in terms of absolute dollars, but not so well with regard to rate of return.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    Obviously. But telephone workers endure physical injury?
    Yes, telephone and electrical lineman don't face quite the same risks as farmers or lumberjacks, but they are high on the list of most frequently injured workers.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    But when I say retirement age, I just mean the age at which SS benefits start. So it isn't neccesarily "retirement."
    The problem is the gap between when people need to or are forced to retire (as in not working) and the point at which they can begin to receive benefits. You want to broaden that gap when it is already too broad. Poeple who can't or can't find work are already being forced to take early retirement at 62 simply to have an income, even though they take at least a 25% cut in their monthly benefit by doing so. You want to make that situation even worse?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    Life expectancy for the country as a whole, as calculated by the CDC.
    CDC is one source and they break virtually all of their tables down by race and gender. There are also relevant differences to be found based on native versus foreign-born, smoker versus non-smoker, urban versus rural, high school graduate verus dropout, and on and on. You'd better have a good team of lawyers with you when you decide to use national numbers that will unavoidably discriminate against one or the other of all of these groups and more.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    I know SS isn't the "WORSE THING EVER" but I disagree with the low rate of returns that it gives compared to many mutual funds...
    Advertised rates of return for mutual funds are trash. Claims that the stock market has historically returned this or that are garbage. Assuming that you can hope to do better than a 2% real rate of return over the long term will be a mistake.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    ...and the fact that most people don't save at all and expect SS to give them a full retirement.
    People who can't save don't save. If you want low-income workers to save, you will have to pay them enough so that they can afford to do so. Traditionally, there have been four legs to the stool of retirement security: employment-based pensions, Social Security, Medicare, and personal savings. Social Security is easily in the best shape of the four at the present time. Very few people meanwhile rely on Social Security for 100% of their income. It is a significant portion of income however to most elderly Americans. In 2010, 65% of elderly Americans received at least half of their income from Social Security.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    Ideally I'd much rather see SS turn into a mixed system, with it being mostly private accounts...
    Because you think you can do better, and perhaps you could. But you already have every avenue open to you for doing so. There are all manner of tax-advantaged and other investment avenues and opportunities open to your game-playing and portfolio-building. Go for it. But why insist that others do the same? Why deny anyone the minimal guaranteed floor of security in old age that Social Security provides?

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    Re: Who's going to take the blame for the fiscal clif

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    Plenty of people who ARE in the top 1% CAN'T. There are two things that American males can be counted on to badly overestimate -- how good they are in bed, and what savvy, clever investors they are. The average person does not have either the time or interest it takes to become an effective financial manager. And guess who will end up with all their money if you force them to try.
    You're damn right about that one. People have too big of egos when it comes to investing. Everyone things they will be the one to pick the big winner that will make them exceedingly rich. And you're right, technical analysis nerds make absolute killings shorting those stocks all the way to the bank. But if you're too proud to make smart decisions, that's a personal problem.

    Investing isn't rocket science. Its not even that exciting. Its quite boring, considering the goal is to invest in value and limit downside as much as possible. So its not so much stock "picking" as it is stock watching, waiting for companies that everyone knows are good to for whatever reason fall below market values.

    I'm not suggesting they have to make every single stock pick themselves. Actually, most people have no business in the stock market. So if that is you, then you should be in mutual of mutual funds. They actually have very low cost overhead mutual funds based on the DJIA, NASDAQ, or S&P 500 at the most basic level. Does that sound like a high stress way to save to you?

    On a side note its a shame that personal finance isn't a mandatory class for every high school graduate.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    Social Security is an insurance scheme. Paying the premiums IS a form of saving. And savings rates have of course soared since the Great Bush Recession as people try to reduce debt and reconstitute recently eradicated wealth.
    Saving with no choices in how to stash that money is not saving.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    Blips? It takes a 100% gain to recover from a 50% loss. Ordinary Americans lost about $7 trillion from their IRA/401-k wealth over 15 months as the result of the Great Bush Recession. All but overnight, people's long-tended nest eggs were simply vaporized on them. For anyone within perhaps five years of retiring, this was a case of going back to square-one. That is not a blip. SS is meanwhile risk-free to the worker and it requires no extra effort at all. Adding both risk and work to the process is a highly undesirable double-negative. No serious retirement analyst will suggest that more work and more risk are the answers to anything.
    So whats happened since those 15 months? Let's see... oh the stock market is nearly back to pre-recession values. Blip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    2% would all by itself be at least approaching the cusp in assuring that in fact the SS Trust Fund would never be exhauted and 100% of scheduled benefits could be paid in perpetuity. You'd really rather see another tenth or three in that regard if you were relying on growth alone to blow the trustees away, but 2% would at least get close. The options the SS Trustees project are labelled High, Intermediate, and Low. They would more honestly be called About Average, Below Average, and Way Below Average.
    That doesn't explain how 2% is somehow magically better then 1.7%

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    The mandate is a requirement unless you have found and not reported a solution to the free-rider problem that others have not. Your upscale boutique-level health care is meanwhile not prohibited or restrained by PPACA at all. The general public won't be getting any, just as they don't get any now.
    There are a number of doctors offering $50 a month plans for unlimited patient visits, testing, and actual doctor to patent time; which is available to the general public. The number is actually up 30% since last year too.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    Again then why haven't you? What has kept you from learning, given all this interest you have? So let's take a quick peak. According to right-wingers, federal workers have the ne plus ultra cushy public sector retirement system. And according to the 2010 OPM Annual Report on the state of that system, total assets will continue to grow throughout the 70-year term of its projections, ultimately reaching a level of more than four times annual federal payroll, or about nineteen times the level of annual benefit payments. Sound like it's teetering on the brink to you?
    "According to the Public Fund Survey of 126 state and local pension plans, which account for about 85 percent of pension assets and participants in state and local pension plans in the United States, those plans held roughly $2.6 trillion in financial assets in 2009 but had about $3.3 trillion in liabilities for future pension payments. Thus, those assets covered less than 80 percent of liabilities, and unfunded liabilities (the amount by which liabilities exceed assets) amounted to roughly $0.7 trillion. That share of liabilities covered by assets in 2009 was the lowest percentage in the past 20 years. By comparison, the amount of state and local governments' debt that was outstanding at the end of 2009 was $2.4 trillion.

    That estimate of unfunded liabilities is calculated on the basis of actuarial guidelines currently followed by state and local governments. Another approach for measuring pension assets and liabilities, which more fully accounts for the costs that pension obligations pose for taxpayers, yields a much larger estimate of unfunded liabilities for those plans in 2009—between $2 trillion and $3 trillion." CBO 2011.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    Speaking of free-riders, the non-union southern auto plants simply piggyback their wages and benefits on UAW contracts. They have even boasted about it on their websites. If they didn't march along just a step or two behind what the UAW negotiates, they would lose significant portions of their workforce to better paying union shops. The UAW is simply negotiating here on behalf of tens of thousands of piker-workers who don't pay a dime in dues.
    Well, they have to pay higher wages, or they would have too high of an employee turnover compared to the other companies. But competition for workers causes wages to rise, unions or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    Apples versus oranges? How many people have worked at the southern plants long enough to reach retirement? I can tell you that in 2010 it was 3,200 for Honda. What do you think GM's number would look like?
    A lot more. I was saying I like Toyota's retirement plans better, regardless of "how many retirees" each has at the moment. Besides, actually having less retirees would be more expensive in an IRA type investment scheme, because the company is paying along the way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    I doubt you would have understood a single word Lucas was saying if it was among the first things you had learned. There has also been a great deal of development simply in terms of processing power since 1976. Dynamic general equilibrium models today reach rather deeply into assorted sticky and frictional factors as well as into the exogenous world. Horses of a different color from what Lucas was considering. It remains true in any case that micro and macro are different worlds and that deadweight loss is an element of the former.
    Surely they take microlevel analysis into the picture?
    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    Your original claims were that land is not variable and cannot expand over time, and further that its value cannot be negatively distorted by taxes, being derived solely from natural resources and the surrounding community. None of these assumptions can be upheld. If these are the rationale behind any sort of plan at all, then that plan is not well supported at all.
    Well I mean't the area of land doesn't expand over time. Well it does, but only over millions of years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cardinal Fang View Post
    We tax the value of property. We do that at the level that assessors deem the property of whatever sort likely to fetch if it were to be offered for sale. Assays and mining surveys do not enter into that process. Significant numbers of annual appeals do enter into it. The objection isn't in any case raised as to the capacity of imposing a national land tax, merely as to the justiification, practicality, and wisdom of it.
    Since you're the expert, perhaps you could point out for me where the "economic effects" section is wrong.
    Land value tax - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by ReformCollege; 12-29-12 at 10:42 PM.

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