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Hoover’s pro-labor stance helped cause Great Depression, UCLA economist says
Posted: 02 September 2009 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Missed my context. I said government leaders CAN be held accountable. They should and it is possible. Of course they are not. Corporate interests have ruined them as well and most of the populace is too ignorant to see it.

I have worked for large corporations my entire career. 30 years for Rockwell, (bought by Boeing) and Lockheed. I know how corporations work.

So, lets go there. lets remove all government regulation from business and markets. Get rid of the federal reserve and let the free market set interest rates? Supply and demand?

Let mortgage companies, banks, Insurance Companies etc., charge and barter and do anything that they want to. Whatever the free market demands. Is that what we want?

No oversight, no rules, just let the free market, supply and demand, establish everything financially for all of us.  Talk about social darwinism and survival of the fittest! tell me that would not be chaotic and brutal for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Are we such a self centered species that we shouldn’t care about anybody but our own financial interests?

One group of people would truly love this system-lawyers. They would be very busy, that is if people were still afforded rights and able to suit.

Can you just imagine such a world?

There might not be much difference between government and business on an ethical scale, but I think we better have both, just for any hope of balance and stability and fairness in a modern society.

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Posted: 02 September 2009 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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eudemonia - 02 September 2009 03:00 PM

Missed my context. I said government leaders CAN be held accountable. They should and it is possible. Of course they are not. Corporate interests have ruined them as well and most of the populace is too ignorant to see it.

I have worked for large corporations my entire career. 30 years for Rockwell, (bought by Boeing) and Lockheed. I know how corporations work.

So, lets go there. lets remove all government regulation from business and markets. Get rid of the federal reserve and let the free market set interest rates? Supply and demand?

Let mortgage companies, banks, Insurance Companies etc., charge and barter and do anything that they want to. Whatever the free market demands. Is that what we want?

No oversight, no rules, just let the free market, supply and demand, establish everything financially for all of us.  Talk about social darwinism and survival of the fittest! tell me that would not be chaotic and brutal for hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Are we such a self centered species that we shouldn’t care about anybody but our own financial interests?

One group of people would truly love this system-lawyers. They would be very busy, that is if people were still afforded rights and able to suit.

Can you just imagine such a world?

There might not be much difference between government and business on an ethical scale, but I think we better have both, just for any hope of balance and stability and fairness in a modern society.

False dilemma fallacy.  Just because I am opposed to massive government intervention and bailing out failing industries with taxpayer money—in other words my money, money taken from me by force of law and thrown away on government follies—does not mean that I am in favor of totally unregulated laissez faire capitalism.

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Posted: 02 September 2009 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Billy Shears - 02 September 2009 02:46 PM

[
Government employees, taken as a whole, absolutely are not more trustworthy or accountable than corporate ones.  They may not any worse in these respects, but they are also no better.

Well, not if you let the republican party have its way.
Under Bush the Lesser, the revolving door between business and government spun fast and furious.

You have travelled and read, Billy.
You know what the word is for a government that is inextricably connected with the ruling business interests.
I’ll gave you a hint. It starts with an ‘F’.

I’m never really sure whether to laugh or cry when our brothers and sisters on the right bemoan the incompetence and untrustworthiness of government and then proceed to vote into power the most repulsive and incompetent ‘leadership’ imaginable.

While my continent of birth has practically invented bad governance, it is absolutely unthinkable that people as stupid as Reagan, W or Palin, to name but a few, could get elected to a position of power anywhere in Europe nowadays, as even folks with only a little education see these people for the empty corporate shills that they are.

Your argument, Billy, is therefore total and utter bullshit.

Ruthlessness and a complete lack of scruples will get you far in a corporation.
If we don’t scrutinize our political candidates we run the same risk, as the will to power is hard to deny.
But if a senator, who ran on a platform of morals and ‘family values’ fucks his secretary, the citizenry can, and will, vote the hypocrite from office and unto the golf links where he can spend the rest of his pathetic life hitting a ball around with the other self proclaimed rulers of the universe.

However, when Jack Welch, that most celebrated of all Captains of Industry, keeps producing ‘shareholder value’, by lowering the salaries of working people while stuffing his own pockets and those of small group of rich people who let other people work for them ( euphemistically called ‘investors’) there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do about it.

Incidentally, when Mr. Welch couldn’t get the European anti-trust commission to agree with the purchase of Honeywell by GE, guess who Jack called to push those troublesome Europeans to cooperate?

Funny, there’s that F word again.

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Posted: 02 September 2009 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Good to hear Billy. Neither am I. I am an ex-libertarian fiscal conservative free market guy myself.

I think it has become very obvious that to think that an unfettered free market is the best economic system for the most people is naive at best and ignorant at most. It has proven for centuries now that it serves the solvent, the wealthy and the priveledged more than it does the general populace.

I don’t like our government spending trillions of dollars either, expecially on POS corporations that should have been left to fail. But, I think this is too big to not do something to try and get back on track. De-regulating industry got us into this mess by and large and borrowing, lending, spending, and regulating will have to get us back out. There really is no other option now. What would the unemployment rate be if the fed did nothing and let the market runs it’s course? 25%? 35%? Who knows. What becomes of those people? Surely not unemployment benefits! Surely not eventually welfare!

It just seems reasonable to borrow and spend up front and keep as many people working as possible and paying into the system until consumer confidence comes back and some growth can again be obtained by industries. Thats really all that is trying to be done here. It’s Keynesian economics not socialism as all the right wing talking heads proclaim.

Having said all of that, it is going to take a while and it will not be painless for sure. We let the boys play in the sandbox by thenmselves too long this time and we all have to pay for that. Sadly.

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Posted: 02 September 2009 12:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Bad Rabbit - 02 September 2009 03:31 PM
Billy Shears - 02 September 2009 02:46 PM

[
Government employees, taken as a whole, absolutely are not more trustworthy or accountable than corporate ones.  They may not any worse in these respects, but they are also no better.

Well, not if you let the republican party have its way.
Under Bush the Lesser, the revolving door between business and government spun fast and furious.

You have travelled and read, Billy.
You know what the word is for a government that is inextricably connected with the ruling business interests.
I’ll gave you a hint. It starts with an ‘F’.

I’m never really sure whether to laugh or cry when our brothers and sisters on the right bemoan the incompetence and untrustworthiness of government and then proceed to vote into power the most repulsive and incompetent ‘leadership’ imaginable.

While my continent of birth has practically invented bad governance, it is absolutely unthinkable that people as stupid as Reagan, W or Palin, to name but a few, could get elected to a position of power anywhere in Europe nowadays, as even folks with only a little education see these people for the empty corporate shills that they are.

Your argument, Billy, is therefore total and utter bullshit.

Ruthlessness and a complete lack of scruples will get you far in a corporation.
If we don’t scrutinize our political candidates we run the same risk, as the will to power is hard to deny.
But if a senator, who ran on a platform of morals and ‘family values’ fucks his secretary, the citizenry can, and will, vote the hypocrite from office and unto the golf links where he can spend the rest of his pathetic life hitting a ball around with the other self proclaimed rulers of the universe.

You can only entertain this delusion if you have a very, very selective view of politics and history.  True, your hypothetical corrupt, hypocritical senator may get voted out of office.  Meanwhile, most of his staff, and most of the special interests he dealt with in his job remain right where they were to corrupt the next holder of the office, who is no more honest, but just conceals his moral failings better.  And I say may get voted out of office, because right up to the present day serious moral failings and even outright crimes haven’t killed some prominent politicians careers.

Former membership in the KKK hasn’t hurt Sen. Robert Byrd’s career.  Sen. Christopher Dodd took more money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac than any other politician and then blocked reform proposals aimed at these two organizations.  Rep. Jerry Lewis is guilty of massive influence peddling and earmarking, approving hundreds of millions of dollars in federal projects to benefit clients of one of his best friends, lobbyist and former Congressman Bill Lowery.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi snuck a $25 million earmark for her husband into a $15 billion Water Resources Development Act passed by Congress.  Rep. Charlie Rangel is a notorious tax cheat (as is current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner).  And let’s not forget recently deceased “Lion of the Senate” Ted Kennedy (a notorious philanderer, BTW, since you brought up the issue of family values), who was guilty of vehicular manslaughter, then tried like hell to evade responsibility for this—and largely succeeded thanks to his wealth and family connections (not for Teddy, the laws and responsibilities that we poor peasants must live under)—and yet managed to keep his seat in the senate for another forty years!  And this the tiniest sampling of corrupt politicians.  It really doesn’t even scratch the surface.

Your idea that government officials are, of course, more accountable and therefore better behaved is balderdash, easily refuted by even a cursory glance of some of the outrageous behavior of politicians throughout history, and continuing right up to the present day.

Bad Rabbit - 02 September 2009 03:31 PM

However, when Jack Welch, that most celebrated of all Captains of Industry, keeps producing ‘shareholder value’, by lowering the salaries of working people while stuffing his own pockets and those of small group of rich people who let other people work for them ( euphemistically called ‘investors’) there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do about it.

Incidentally, when Mr. Welch couldn’t get the European anti-trust commission to agree with the purchase of Honeywell by GE, guess who Jack called to push those troublesome Europeans to cooperate?

Funny, there’s that F word again.

While his behavior might, admittedly, be truly awful, how is it in any way worse than some of the things I referenced on the extremely short list of politicians’ peccadilloes above?

Sorry, but while I will readily admit that corporate executives can be bottom feeders, I am in no way ready to concede that politicians don’t have just as much potential and disposition to sink to equally low depths, nor am I ready to put my faith in one set of crooks to save me from the other.

[ Edited: 02 September 2009 12:18 PM by Billy Shears]
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Posted: 02 September 2009 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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‘nor am I ready to put my faith in one set of crooks to save me from the other.’

Ah but Billy, I think you already have. wink

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Posted: 02 September 2009 02:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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eudemonia - 02 September 2009 04:50 PM

‘nor am I ready to put my faith in one set of crooks to save me from the other.’

Ah but Billy, I think you already have. wink

Then you think wrong.  Period.  You are inferring that I must accept some things, merely because I reject certain others.  This is not the case, and it is wrong of you to make such assumptions. 

I don’t for a moment think that the free market is benevolent, or that (most) corporate personnel are motivated by anything but self-interest.  What I do think is that the free market, with some regulation, and with laws in place in society that enforce contracts and respect property rights, works better, on the whole, to create wealth than any other system yet tried.

I also think that while a certain amount of regulation and oversight are necessary, (most) politicians are absolutely no less self-serving than corporate types, and their meddling in the economy often does more harm than good.  Moreover, even some of the genuinely idealistic ones often do more harm than good because they have no experience in business and don’t understand enough about economics.  Every politician who tries another round of price fixing (whether they do it cynically to pander to voters, or idealistically because they genuinely [and naïvely] think it will work), just to take one example of political meddling in the market, is living, breathing proof of the absolute truth of this proposition.

What works best is when politicians enforce a reasonable amount of regulation aimed solely at curbing abuses (not “spreading the wealth around”), and enforce fair contract laws, and respect private property, but otherwise, avoid interfering.  This sets up the best conditions in which enterprises can prosper and drive the economy.  With no regulation and too little enforcement of fair laws, abuses will build, corruption will become a worse problem, and prosperity will decrease.  With too much regulation and interference in the marketplace, politicians will kill the goose that lays the golden egg (q.v. California).

Right now, with taxpayer money being used to prop up failed enterprises, we crossed the line into excessive interference with market forces a while back.

[ Edited: 02 September 2009 02:58 PM by Billy Shears]
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I have my faith so I’ve no need for ideas that are logical
Atheists and Pagans fall before my wit satirical
They’ll burn in hell just as they should; their cries will be so lyrical
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Posted: 02 September 2009 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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‘Right now, with taxpayer money being used to prop up failed enterprises, we crossed the line into excessive interference with market forces a while back.’

Maybe so Billy, but what is your solution then? let the free market work itself out? Where will the tens of billions of dollars of bad loans and bad debt, toxic assetts etc., that no one will ever pay then…go? It won’t disappear on it’s own.

I think you are fighting this psychological battle of saving businesses with tax payer money that should not be saved because they were run by incompetence and greed. Do you understand we are way past that now? Ethically you are right, it should not happen, but what is worse, letting AIG off the hook and keeping them in business employing tens of thousands of people, or letting them collapse and taking a huge section of the economy with it? you are willing to cut off your nose to spite your face? There are no good choices here, thanks to de-regulation of the markets and Alan Greenspan feeding the easy money to everybody for 8 years.

Perhaps with taxpayer money, restructuring of industries and new oversight….which we are trying to do, these enterprises will succeed. We are way beyond punishing businesses now, we are trying to prevent a world wide depression.

So you do not believe entities like Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac were too big to let fail? What percentage of mortgages in the US are backed by those two entities? Like over 70%? What happens if they just go bankrupt and out of business?

Is it ethically right for the fed to just take them over and give we taxpayers a stake? Who knows, probably not but….seriously..what is the alternative?

We can all sit and scowl and be pissed that the government is throwing money at these problems and cry all that we want to, but other than doing nothing and letting it all take it’s natural course…which Hoover actually did from 1929 to 1933, we are trying to not repeat ugly history here. I would like to think that we are smart enough as a people and as a nation to not ‘do nothing’ and have another 10 year, or longer, economic depression, which this time will be felt worldwide.

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Posted: 02 September 2009 04:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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eudemonia - 02 September 2009 07:15 PM

‘Right now, with taxpayer money being used to prop up failed enterprises, we crossed the line into excessive interference with market forces a while back.’

Maybe so Billy, but what is your solution then? let the free market work itself out?

Essentially, yes.  It’s the best choice available among a bad lot.  There is no good solution.

The whole idea that we must “do something” is based on the gospel of John Maynard Keynes, and people—even many economists—subscribing to Keynesian theories, imagine a complex world in which economics at the personal, corporate and municipal levels are governed by laws far different from those in effect at the national level.  But that’s a really big assumption, and what if it’s wrong?

We are proposing to do, on a national level, what would appear to anyone to be absolute, pure insanity on a personal level—forestall a personal recession by taking out newer, bigger loans when the old loans can’t be repaid.

Individuals, companies or cities with heavy debt and shrinking revenues all understand that they must reduce spending, pay down debt, and start living within their means, and if they do not do this, insolvency is ahead, as sure as the sun rises in the east.  But on a national level, we are told that governments can create and sustain economic activity by injecting printed money into the financial system.  But what are the real consequences of doing this—of taking out more loans when you are looking at an inability to pay the ones you already have?

The problem is Keynesian economics sound very appealing,  because they promise happy, relatively painless solutions. The theories allow economists to appear to have some arcane wisdom, governments to pretend that they have the power to ease hardship simply by firing up the printing presses, and voters to believe that they can have recovery without painful sacrifices and dreadful consequences.  But the truth of the matter is that there really is no free lunch.

You’re right, all those billions of dollars of bad loans aren’t going to disappear.  But we really have just two choices: reducing spending and beginning to pay down those debts right now, even though that’s going to mean severe hardship, or undertake deficit spending, and as a result having more debt that’s just going to delay the inevitable (in other words, inflict the hardship on our kids instead of shouldering it ourselves).

Government has no money of its own.  Every penny it’s got it got by sticking its hand in my/your/our pockets.  If the government doesn’t have a surplus, the only way to get more is either to raise taxes or borrow more.  If taxes go too high, business flees to friendlier climes, and the tax base shrinks, causing revenues to go down.  And then if lenders won’t lend (which they eventually won’t once you’re credit becomes too extended), then there’s only one place left the money can come from: the printing press (which is how all these bailouts are going to end up being dealt with). But each additional dollar printed diminishes the value those already in circulation. I repeat, there is no free lunch.  Something cannot be effortlessly created from nothing.

By borrowing more than it can ever pay back, the government will guarantee higher inflation for years to come.  This will lower the value of everything that Americans have saved and acquired.  You’ll have trillions of extra dollars in circulation, but they will be worth far less, the economy will be weaker, and productivity will be way down.  You will see 1970s-style stagflation, only with a much sharper contraction and significantly higher inflation.

There is no good news at this point; our economy is broken and there is nothing the government can do to fix it. The solution isn’t complicated, but it is very unappealing: accept the inevitability of the painful recession, tighten out belts, and start working off the debt.  It’s going to be painful, and a lot of people are going to lose their shirts. But if we put our faith in the power of government to make the pain go away, we will live with the consequences for generations instead of just a few years.

eudemonia - 02 September 2009 07:15 PM

Where will the tens of billions of dollars of bad loans and bad debt, toxic assetts etc., that no one will ever pay then…go? It won’t disappear on it’s own.

I think you are fighting this psychological battle of saving businesses with tax payer money that should not be saved because they were run by incompetence and greed. Do you understand we are way past that now? Ethically you are right, it should not happen, but what is worse, letting AIG off the hook and keeping them in business employing tens of thousands of people, or letting them collapse and taking a huge section of the economy with it? you are willing to cut off your nose to spite your face? There are no good choices here, thanks to de-regulation of the markets and Alan Greenspan feeding the easy money to everybody for 8 years.

Perhaps with taxpayer money, restructuring of industries and new oversight….which we are trying to do, these enterprises will succeed.

What?  Like Amtrak?  Government-run enterprises almost invariably have a worse track record of performance than private corporations, because they can always make up for profit shortfalls with subsidies from tax revenues, and consequently the incentive to fire incompetent employees and managers and revise inefficient or counterproductive business practices is enormously reduced.

eudemonia - 02 September 2009 07:15 PM

We are way beyond punishing businesses now, we are trying to prevent a world wide depression.

See the story “An Appointment in Samara.”  The problem is that the government policies aimed at avoiding something may in fact bring that very thing about, or at least worsen it.

eudemonia - 02 September 2009 07:15 PM

So you do not believe entities like Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac were too big to let fail? What percentage of mortgages in the US are backed by those two entities? Like over 70%? What happens if they just go bankrupt and out of business?

Is it ethically right for the fed to just take them over and give we taxpayers a stake? Who knows, probably not but….seriously..what is the alternative?

We can all sit and scowl and be pissed that the government is throwing money at these problems and cry all that we want to, but other than doing nothing and letting it all take it’s natural course…which Hoover actually did from 1929 to 1933, we are trying to not repeat ugly history here. I would like to think that we are smart enough as a people and as a nation to not ‘do nothing’ and have another 10 year, or longer, economic depression, which this time will be felt worldwide.

I can’t believe that you are saying “we are trying to not repeat ugly history here” and assert that “letting it all take it’s natural course…which Hoover actually did from 1929 to 1933” is how to avoid this, when in fact, “letting it all take it’s (sic) natural course” is NOT what Hoover did—as you should be aware by simply reading the first post of this thread.  This whole argument started over a discussion of how the proactive step that Hoover took to interfere with market forces worsened the depression.  How can you read that and argue the Hoover did nothing? The charge that Hoover sat on his hands was begun Hoover’s political opponents, and has been perpetuated since, and it’s flatly untrue.  It’s true that Hoover almost certainly never would have tried to regulate and control the market to the extent the FDR did, and he did rely on “volunteerism” far more than government intervention, but to say that he did nothing is simply false.  Ohanian provided one example of a proactive measure taken by the Hoover administration.  The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was another.  He also levied tariffs, and (with the the Revenue Act of 1932) increased taxes, raising income tax on the highest incomes to 63%, doubling the estate tax, and raising corporate taxes by almost 15% (and these sound awfully similar to some of the tax increases being proposed today).  So while Hoover didn’t and almost certainly never would have intervened to the extent that FDR did, New Dealer Rexford Tugwell, an economist who became part of FDR’s first “Brain Trust,” later commented that “practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started.”

So it’s horrifying, in a way, to hear you suggest that the way to avoid repeating Hoover’s mistakes is to go ahead and do the very things he actually did (start interfering), but which his political opponents accused him of not doing, and got people to believe them. 

Santayana was right.

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Posted: 02 September 2009 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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eudaimonia: So why did previous downturns last only a couple years at most, but the Great Depression lasted about a decade? Previous administrations took a do-nothing approach to recessions, and they were over almost right away. Hoover broke with precedent and intervened to try to prevent a drop in wages, and then did even more to try to get us out of the Depression. FDR did still more, and the Great Depression lasted his entire administration.

Bad Rabbit - 02 September 2009 01:23 PM

I have never really understood why people viewed the government as anything other than a group of people who may or may not be capable (or willing) to serve the interests of the citizenry at large.

The critical aspect of government that differentiates it from any other group of people is the use of force. If you don’t obey the law, if you don’t pay your taxes, one of those people wearing a blue suit with a nice badge on his chest and carrying a gun will come to your house and take you somewhere you don’t want to be. No other institution in our society legally has that power. This is the kind of power that corrupts, which is why that power needs to be restrained, strictly limited.

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Posted: 02 September 2009 06:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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Bad Rabbit - 01 September 2009 11:51 AM

The teacher and the police actually made the situation much worse.

What should have happened is that young Gerald should have picked himself up by his bootstraps and dealt with his abusive father on his own. This way, he would have overcome his trauma much faster.
It is because of the nanny-state that people like Gerald are still belly-aching about their past troubles.

Although I understand your point, I must say that I had a client who killed his abusive father (the only fitting fate for Gerald’s father) had to undergo 2 trials, the first of which placed him at risk of serving life in prison without parole, the second of which (after the first jury hung on a 2nd degree murder charge, acquitting on the more serious charges) put him at risk of a 15 year to life sentence before the second jury let him go home.  Self help carries certain risks (although I imagine in the right circumstances the rewards are great.)

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Posted: 03 September 2009 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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So, All I am hearing from Saul and Billy is that Hoover was wrong, FDR was of course wrong, and Bush/Obama are wrong. Government is the problem not the solution to this economic disaster we are trying to avoid.

Guys it’s easy to naysay from the sidelines and in hindsight without having any solutions of your own. None of you will say that you think the free markets should be left alone now to determine all of our economic fate, but without government intervention what other solutions are there?

Here is a little tidbit on Herbert Hoover from Wiki. Sounds like he was maybe not so keen on government intervention in 1929 or so.

Great Depression

Hoover’s stance on the economy was based largely on volunteerism. From before his entry to the presidency, he was a proponent of the concept that public-private cooperation was the way to achieve high long-term growth. Hoover feared that too much intervention or coercion by the government would destroy individuality and self-reliance, which he considered to be important American values. Both his ideals and the economy were put to the test with the onset of The Great Depression. At the outset of the Depression, Hoover claims in his memoirs that he rejected Treasury Secretary Mellon’s suggested “leave-it-alone” approach.[26] Critics, such as liberal economist Paul Krugman,[27][28] on the other hand, accuse Hoover of sharing Mellon’s laissez-faire viewpoint. President Hoover made attempts to stop “the downward spiral” of the Great Depression.[29] His policies, however, had little or no effect. As the economy quickly deteriorated in the early years of the Great Depression, Hoover declined to pursue legislative relief, believing that it would make people dependent on the federal government. Instead, he organized a number of voluntary measures with businesses, encouraged state and local government responses, and accelerated federal building projects. Only toward the end of his term did he support a series of legislative solutions.

So then, Hoover favoured volunteerism over government intervention and it has been accepted since that time that Hoovers actions, or inactions made the depression worse.

Hmmmm….interesting.


So fellas, just who are you mad at?

The fed for deregulating the markets and businessess in 2000?
The markets and businessess for taking advantage of this deregulation and destroying what was then a fairly prosperous economic system.
Or, the government now for realizing the mistakes made and trying to fix them through borrowing, spending and regulating?

Again, solutions anybody? let the economic system take it’s course without intervention?

The dow is back up to what, around 9500. What do you think it would be right now without government intervention?

Lets all just complain about government and offer no real alternatives then. It’s so fookin’ cool to be a naysayer.

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Posted: 03 September 2009 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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eudemonia - 02 September 2009 03:00 PM

There might not be much difference between government and business on an ethical scale, but I think we better have both, just for any hope of balance and stability and fairness in a modern society.

The book Systems of Survival by Jane Jacobs brings out the idea that there actually are two different moral systems operative—one for corporations and the other for politics (both are more general than that, but for your comment that’s all that is necessary).  She gives examples of the problems that occur when these get mixed (e.g., when somebody tries to run a government like a business).

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Posted: 03 September 2009 09:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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And thats one of the key points burt and I am glad you chimed in. Conservatives and free market people seem to think that government should be run like a business. That is at the root of the problem. Government provides services, they are not supposed to make profits. This is at the core of the health care debate. European, Asian and Canadian health care systems do not make profits, and they are not structured to, they provide health care services.

One simply cannot compare the effeciency of one entitity to the other as they play very different roles. Many of the anti government bashers in America seem to not fully understand this.

Now the questions remain for debate as to how much government should regulate business, and how much business should rely on government, but to compare the operation of the two, and proclaim one is better than the other, is a non sequiter.

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Posted: 03 September 2009 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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eudemonia - 03 September 2009 01:23 PM

Now the questions remain for debate as to how much government should regulate business, and how much business should rely on government, but to compare the operation of the two, and proclaim one is better than the other, is a non sequiter.

I’ve made an assessment about the healtcare debate. After hearing several insurance and ex-insurance industry spokespeople opine on programs like Jim Lehrer’s News Hour and elsewhere, I find the arguments they make against government intervention, especially a government option, to be highly incredible. Their justifications seem to be getting lamer, more nonsensical and more transparent. Then consider the expose by the ex-Cigna exec whistleblower, and the opponents’ motivations become more evident. They’re talking fixes because they have no choice. Where have they been until now? They appear to want to do it, or give lip service to it, with the least change of the status quo to protect their $$$ interests, which is their only interest. The one I heard last night said there’s nothing in any of the plans to increase efficiences and reduce costs, only to underpay services as does medicare. Now, we all know that President Obama has been talking about efficiences, value-added assessments, and other cost-saving measures since day one.

Various economic theories are very complex and I sure don’t understand most of it, but there’s no reason that I see that we have to religiously adhere to any one specific historical model. It’s time to invent a whole new world. We invented this one so it’s within our power. For instance, if it takes reductions in employee salaries for a company to survive or remain viable or to stave off a reduction in jobs, why shouldn’t the same sacrifices have to made across the board, from executive pay to stockholder dividends. Cost cutting measures should be comprehensive. Also, if it were all tied to performance and income of the corporation, I see no reason there could not be contractual stipulations that trigger activation of paycuts (again from top down) or conversely, increases in salary, within reasonable limits.

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