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Show ALL Forums  > California  > The latest stimulus 'deal' -- a deal or a steal?      Home login  
 AUTHOR
 cncgandolf
Joined: 7/29/2007
Msg: 126
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Back to the StimulusPage 6 of 17    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)
"I have a government competitor. I will be as vague as possible but let's just say they have 100 plus people sleeping on their couches"

What couches? Our ladies room had a couch back in 1978, but women's lib took it away from us cause the guys restroom didn't have one.

I worked aerospace (read that as government) and DARPA (also government) contracts for 14 years ... never napped never wasted any government money. In all my years of government work .... oh, I forgot the 7 more years with another government contractor .... none of us were the kind of worker you describe.

What did my work accomplish? The backbone of the Internet back in the early 80's. The advancement of the manufacture of crystals ... key to many of the current technologies today. The development of high speed integrated circuits - aka all computers since the 386.

Please, I am sure you have your isolated experiences. I'll put my experiences up against your experiences. However, I am not putting up just mine, cause I belonged to associations of other Project Managers and other Contracts Managers ... and consistently we and all of our fellows were and are hard workers making significant advances.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 127
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/19/2009 10:16:39 PM

Did I mention you pay for these guys to sleep on their couches and compete with me?


Unless you're doing basic research, we should get those guys out of your way. If you are doing basic research, then that research should be supported by seed money IFF there is no current company doing it.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 128
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/19/2009 10:22:33 PM

Other than the vote money is the other way to vote.


Yep! Voting with money on a daily basis is actually a lot more democratic than the occaisonal election.

However, spending money on the basis of political considerations rather than price undermines the market. In order for the market to behave according to the model, price is the only consideration.

That's from an economist standpoint. From a financier standpoint, every expenditure can be viewed as a series of payments. A good investment has a positive net present value after discounting for the effects of delayed receipts and inflation.

So when you pay a bit more up front to help ensure that your local business stays in business, the price premium is an investment in your neighbor. At a certain point you have to decide if your neighbor is more important than the model or the model is more important than the neighbor.
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 129
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/20/2009 7:25:26 AM

I worked aerospace (read that as government) and DARPA (also government) contracts for 14 years ... never napped never wasted any government money. In all my years of government work .... oh, I forgot the 7 more years with another government contractor .... none of us were the kind of worker you describe.


My experience is different. I worked as a contractor with the Navy. There was LOTS of wasted time, lots of wasted expense, and lots of looking busy. To avoid not looking busy, we would go to the driving range and hit golf balls. I finally quit out of boredom.
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 130
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/20/2009 7:44:44 AM
I think government influence is a good idea. I actually loved the government tax incentives back in the 70's. The government gave us a tax break to insulate our attics. I took that tax break and insulated my attic. I've sold the house since. The insulation the government helped pay for back in the 70's is still in the house saving energy. THAT was a wise investment by the government.
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 131
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/20/2009 8:34:10 AM
Point is - it cost me hardly anything (above what I pay for the government anyway). The joke is on you.
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 132
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/20/2009 9:23:03 AM
Indeed. The free lunch is doing things that are beneficial to society, to our environment. If the government is willing to pick up the tab - I'll take the free lunch - I don't really care if it's tofu - it's free. Let the government subsidize ideas that will put us WAY ahead in the long run. That house I was talking about has given the government a very good ROI. We should all be so good with our investments.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 133
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/20/2009 10:22:14 AM
You pre paid $500 to help these "neeedy" people and they rec'd $250.00. Wouldn't it be better for you and the "needy" individual if you cut out the inefficient middle man and paid directly?


Unfortunately, I don't know the needy individual personally. I don't know whether that individual is truly needy or just scamming me. And because that person has a right to privacy, I really can't find out.

So, I'm going to lose some money in the process of checking the needy person out--probably more than what I wound up giving them.

Maybe a nonprofit with a mission and a contract, with access to income records for their clients, could do it for a lot less. But I don't think anyone would go for the idea of a for-profit making money off the government for distributing tax dollars to the needy. And, I don't think anyone would voluntarily pony up the money to carry the needy if they didn't have to. Would you?

I might well want to just buy the PV array for its cost and skip the subsidy. However, after 30+ years of waiting for industry to develop a usable and affordable form factor, I'm ready for the government to prime the pump to help jump-start this market. Once manufacturers can see that there is actual demand at a reasonable price point, I'm sure there's an old outdated chip plant that can be converted to making the film. Or maybe the dinosaurs on the oil company boards just want to give that technology to China under the mistaken notion that as a nation of consumers, they can just milk us dry without taking thought to how _we're_ going to get the money to continue buying the stuff they make there.

Did you know that most of the parts in a Honda are now made in America? Did you know that a high proportion of the stock is owned by Americans? We don't need GM to buy American. We need to understand who is investing in us, and who isn't, and buy from those who are.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 134
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/20/2009 10:33:52 AM
My point is not about inefficiency, it's about roles and mission. Governements have a clear mission, protect the citizen from physical harm (military and police, fire) and courts of law.


Government also has a legitimate role in promoting the general welfare. It's right there in the preamble. If the government can build a road--which provides the social service of facilitating transportation and commerce--it can provide other social services as well.

The question is not if, it is how. Free people have the right to delegate any powers they want to a government. So long as they retain the right to representation and the ability to revoke those powers, they can have the government provide any services they want.

You might think it unwise for them to do that, and in many cases you'd be right. But your premise that the government is somehow not allowed to provide social services is simply wrong. If the majority believe it is what we should do to promote the general welfare, you are stuck with it.

So, since they seem to believe that--at least according to their duly elected representatives--we need to make the best of it. Contracting those services out to nonprofits with a mission and expertise is probably the way to go.

As far as the stimulus going awry is concerned, I agree that it is being badly directed. If that money actually went toward R&D for the next generation of technology, it would be money well spent--like the tax incentives for insulation. But bailing out the dinosaurs? All too typical. The only difference this time is that the Bush administration didn't even bother to try to justify it in market terms. And since the Obama administration isn't all that concerned about preserving the appearance of a free market (which means absence of competition and regulation for the big guys only when you get right down to it), they haven't repudiated the practice either. But why we'd invest tax dollars in a failed company without getting meaningful representation on its board is beyond stupid. That was the bone we threw to the free-marketers? That?

Lunacy!
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 135
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/20/2009 2:20:27 PM

We don't need to subsidize sofware makers, shoe makers, or artists. Why is that? Explain to me why car companies and steel mills and financial institutions need bailouts in spite of being able to attract the best and the brightest, pay the highest salaries, and have the BENEFIT lol of government oversite?


Simple answer. We don't.

However, we've had a history of catering to these industries because of the strategic need for the weaponry they are capable of producing. Oil, steel, and motor vehicles are essential to the defense of our government interest. Also, allowing Detroit to collapse could lead to riots. GM is doomed, but if it withers over a period of years instead of collapsing all at once the work force will disperse rather than riot.

So it's an ugly situation as I'm sure you agree. If our grandkids wind up rioting over the national debt, it won't be on Bush's or Obama's watch. --but it will be on ours if we live that long.
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 136
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/20/2009 2:28:36 PM

ahhh... everyone wants something for nothing. It is never "free". We are all paying for it -- PLUS.

Sometimes people forget WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. If you take something from "them" you are actually taking from "us".


Hey, don't blame me if you didn't insulate your house TOO. If the government is passing out free lunches, I'll take my share AND yours if you don't want it. I think the government SHOULD give us breaks when we do the right thing. In this case, insulating homes to save energy is the right thing to do.

Would I have insulated my house without the government's help? Probably not. Maybe millions of others might not have as well. So, follow me here - less insulated homes means more energy wasted in those homes - more energy demand, higher energy prices - we still all pay in the end - one way or the other.

Following this the other way - let's say EVERY home in the US took advantage of the government incentives to insulate. Sure, we all pay for it initially - BUT - the cost savings in energy consumption would be astounding. Energy consumption would go down, demand would go down, prices for energy would (theoretically) go down.

We all pay or we all save - depending on how willing we are to accept that there really is a free lunch.
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 137
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/20/2009 3:38:32 PM
My neighbors had the same opportunity. My dime went to other things at the time - and I could afford to buy other things because my insulation was being subsidized by my neighbors. Maybe I spent my money in their stores - who knows? In any case - the money I saved went back into the economy - so it all comes out in the wash.

Who knows, my neighbors may have cashed in on some other program I wasn't aware of and I ended up paying for that. The government is giving away hand-outs left and right after all (OK, mostly right lately).
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 138
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/20/2009 5:06:45 PM

I think doing the right thing should be the break... whether it's saving on your electric bill, buying a more efficient car and saving on fuel... to think that our energy bills are going down because of these programs?


I agree - we should all do the right thing. We can't be trusted to do this however. I wouldn't have insulated my house back then - not because it wasn't the "right thing" but because it wasn't a priority. A nudge from the government made a non-priority happen and it has helped the environment ever since.


And I'm not blaming you for taking advantage of it... the "system" of too many government programs is interfering in our economy and increasing our tax burden. For what gain really?


The gain is economic stimulus (that's the thread title anyway). Government incentives to develop and use emerging technologies stimulate the economy. Who remembers when recycled paper cost double what new paper cost? When some technologies start out, they are too expensive for the consumer to wrap their minds around but eventually they take hold and the price drops. In other cases, the public needs to embrace a new need that has been identified - even though no new technology is required (insulation is a good example).

Why is the fact that the government is giving the incentives such a bad deal? I'd rather have any extra government money. I saw what the AIG guys do with their hand-outs. I'll take mine now - I don't care if the government wants me to raise squirrels in order to get it.
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 139
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/20/2009 8:23:17 PM
WE put the politicians there. See what I mean. Nobody wants to take responsibility these days.
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 140
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/20/2009 9:32:20 PM

I'll make this real simple for those who think there is a big rock candy mountain, if countries could spend their way out of trouble there would be no poor countries.


You must be too young to remember Reganomics.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 141
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/21/2009 12:30:55 AM
One must always remember that the Constitution was written for our government, and therefore the “general welfare” it refers to is that of the government itself, not of individual citizens. The Founders of this nation never intended for Uncle Sam to become a dole-dishing agent of wealth redistribution, and the fact that our government serves this role today shows how far we have strayed from the object and design of the Constitution.


Well put. So how, then, did we get federal funding for national highways and interstate freeways? Ah, I see you answer in your next post. I suppose it could be justified as a way to regulate commerce. Though while they are convenient for that purpose, I'm not sure that they are necessary. Hmmm ....
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 142
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/21/2009 1:03:50 AM
The Dept. of Agriculture's original mission was to ensure that every American would be fed. Is that authorized by the commerce clause too? I'm just trying to understand the authority under which the Federal Govt. does things that conservatives don't object to.
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 143
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/21/2009 7:17:36 AM
PW Reagan created 22 M jobs and caused the cold war to end with no one being killed.


By writing checks WE couldn't cash. Anybody can live great on a credit card economy. The minute Bush came in - what happened? Same economy - except, no more credit - HUGE economic collapse.

Denying that Regan was an idiot doesn't give you any credibility with me.

The cold war ended because Russia's economy tanked first (ONLY because we were living on credit).
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 144
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/21/2009 11:36:50 AM

First of all, it's R-e-a-g-a-n, not Regan.


I stand corrected - but BFD.


Secondly, back then, it was called the Soviet Union, not Russia.


This doesn't make you look smart you know -


Third, the Soviet economy tanked because Reagan knew that they could not compete with the arms race he started. That action was the type of foresight and courage that we will never again benefit from given the bought-and-paid-for empty suits that the parties offer up as presidential candidates nowadays.


Oh PuLeeeeze... Star Wars? Gimme a break. There never was a Star Wars (but we sure paid for it). Reagan bluffed - the Soviet Union folded - the money went to undermine legitimate governments in central America. Courage and foresight - more like Hollywood cowboy playing president.


I'm enjoying the immense irony of you keeping score regarding credibility.


I know BS when I hear it. But then, I watch O'Reilly for the comedy.


OT: As the normal business cycle progresses and the economy eventually recovers, watch Obama and his wingmen and Congress crow about how their profligate fiscal policies and "stimulus" spending did the trick. Then watch how the Obama Faithful buy that pap.


Spin it however you like when the time comes.
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 145
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/21/2009 11:52:41 AM
Did what? Ended the cold war? Sure he did. Just like he got the hostages released the moment he took office.

This is why I like to avoid political discussions on dating sites.


Does anyone remember anything about 1980? Anything that may have launched the economic recovery we saw at that time? Something OTHER than Ronnie taking the reins?


Can I call you Pekkerwood? It's close enough, BFD


Be my guest. Spell it right though - PeCkerwood. (See how easy it is to make mistakes?)

 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 146
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/21/2009 12:30:26 PM
"In 1981, shortly after taking office, Reagan lamented "runaway deficits" that were then approaching $80 billion, or about 2.5 percent of gross domestic product. Within only two years, however, his policies had succeeded in enlarging the deficit to more than $200 billion, or 6 percent of GDP."

"It was up to the first President Bush, the loyal soldier, to clean up the mess by raising taxes, and he didn't get re-elected because of it," Auerbach observed. "Clinton also had to raise taxes because of Reagan."

"Over time, the Reagan deficit became the Clinton surplus."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/06/09/BUGBI72U8Q1.DTL
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 147
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/21/2009 1:43:19 PM

Create elected citizen grand juries to investigate congressional corruption. Asking them
to police themselves is NOT working.


This is an outstanding idea!
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 148
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/21/2009 8:10:27 PM
The Soviet Union was burdened by a severe shortfall in oil production so badly needed by modern industrial economies, a severe foreign trade deficit, a runaway military budget, ballooning foreign debt, a recent humiliating military defeat (Afghanistan) and widespread fear of a looming catastrophe (eventually played out by Chernobyl).

(See any similarities to the situation we are now in? Would the skyrocketing price of oil after an Israel-Iran conflict serve as a triggering catastrophe in this recipe mix? Would the current, ongoing burgeoning socialism and government control then justify martial law or extreme government intervention in our lives at that point? We will find out within a year...)


Oh PuLeeeeze... Star Wars? Gimme a break. There never was a Star Wars (but we sure paid for it). Reagan bluffed - the Soviet Union folded - the money went to undermine legitimate governments in central America. Courage and foresight - more like Hollywood cowboy playing president.


Their military budget was already huge when Reagan instigated the operationally ridiculous Star Wars, but it was resultantly effective due to the Soviet’s knee-jerk response in that they couldn’t afford this arms race escalation. Add Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech and he had completely punked the Soviet Union and left America as the lone world superpower. Courage and foresight - more like Hollywood cowboy playing president... Do the critics have anything as accomplished as that on their resumes?


Secondly, back then, it was called the Soviet Union, not Russia. This doesn’t make you look smart you know… I know BS when I hear it.


As if it were still possible at this point, I’m enjoying even more irony regarding who has or lacks credibility.


Dude guy - I'm backing my stuff up with articles and you're talking out of your fez. Why am I the one who lacks credibility here? Support what you're saying above if it isn't opinion (like I did). You can repeat back what you remember, or what your heard or Papa Bill's spin zone all you like, but it's ironical that you're questioning MY credibility when I'm the one supporting my statements.

http://www.atomicarchive.com/Docs/Missile/Starwars.shtml
 Petrified_Wood
Joined: 7/29/2009
Msg: 149
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/22/2009 2:02:36 PM

If you think it is merely my opinion that the Soviet Union WAS burdened by the problems I listed (oil, trade deficit, huge military budget and foreign debt, Afghanistan, etc.), then I don’t know how to respond to you and your way of thinking that I am "talking out my fez."


No, I'm not denying that those things existed - I'm asking you to connect them to some notion you have that Reagan planned to topple the Soviet Union by overburdening them economically, (and, BTW, enlisted the Joint Chiefs to agree to throw away their own credibility with this gag) when he made his speech. Nonsense. One doesn't follow the other. Reagan thought he was going to build Star Wars when he made that speech.


Mr. P.W., that stuff really DID happen. You could look it up! It’s nice that you referenced the text of Reagan’s Star Wars speech, but what would really help me is if you actually had a point.


Perhaps, you'll get out your magnifying glass and actually read the speech. The point is - he was serious.


I’ll explain: So Reagan makes his speech, then the Soviets spend money they didn’t have escalating the Cold War arms race, and they soon collapse… So what is your point?


Prove your explanation was what Reagan INTENDED beforehand. Support your explanation with facts. Not facts that the Soviet Union collapsed - we all know that happened - facts that Reagan wasn't the idiot I describe him to be.


Logic dictates that you would agree that Reagan had an enormous influence toward the collapse of the Soviets. But you keep falling back on talk of Hollywood cowboys, Papa Bill and spin zones, and that it’s “ironical” (sic) that I am questioning your credibility.


Yeah - I use "ironical" when I should use "ironic" - I thought it was cute when Robin Williams used that that way in Good Will Hunting - so I do that sometimes. It's ironical that you continue to try to score points by correcting me.

Here's what I think. I think Reagan was a total idiot (I voted for him BTW). I think we had 12 years of Bush running the show. Reagan did some stupid stuff with Bush's knowledge - Star Wars - what could it hurt. Bush was running the country from the VP's office without Reagan's knowledge. All the back-door deals, Iran-Contra, the Shaw of Iran, down to Bin Ladin all connect to the Bush whitehouse during the Reagan years. THAT'S what I think.


I'm doing that because it's plain to see that you got nothin’. But our studio audience is growing wearing of this stuff, so I’m done with you. Carry on...


Not a problem for me. I put my opinion out there just now and stated that it's my opinion. Support your - Reagan predicted the economic collapse of the Soviet Union and pretended to execute Star Wars - theory or correct your statement that it is, indeed, your opinion.

The studio audience - pffft... the viewing audience is who I'm interested in. I'm not that easy to dismiss when we get outside your ministry.
 AceOfSpace
Joined: 5/28/2007
Msg: 150
Back to the Stimulus
Posted: 8/22/2009 4:06:03 PM

Back in the day, the Dems used this phrase "corporate welfare". It seems to me that the "stimulus" bills are the largest corporate welfare programs in the history of the Republic. How come the people that used to scream about "corporate welfare" are in favor of it now?


Who says we are? I'm certainly not. The stimulus was sold as seed money for a more sustainable economy. That's what I bought. If I don't get that, I'm going to be pretty pissed. I don't know anyone on the left who supports a bail-out of GM & AIG.
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