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27 January 2011


RL Crabb

The space race was more about bragging rights than science. The Rooskies had the first satellite, first guy in space, first woman in space, first docking and space walk. It was only after we beat them to the moon that we got our mojo back, and even then, most of the third world countries we were trying to impress thought it was faked.

As for Von Braun, one of my favorite lines was the title of Werner's book, "I Aim for the Stars". Somebody later added, "...and hit London!"

The Feds might not need to fund solar panels, since the free market seems to be doing okay without them, but there probably isn't as much interest in pouring money into something like cold fusion. Am I wrong?

The Republicans were the politically correct faction that wanted to hang Rahm Emanuel for uttering the word "retard". Sister Sarah thought it demeaned her disabled child, but couldn't understand why people didn't like targets on their chests.

Mikey McD

My 2 cents -Collective Tendencies- Obama, Castro and Ayn Rand
January 25th 2011 State Of the Union, President Obama starts the meaty part of his address with “It [the future] has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age.” 

The  comment above which Obama used to prime his State of The Union address sounds eerily similar to the demands made by the fictional socialist government in Atlas Shrugged and comments from non-fiction’s Fidel Castro.  From Atlas Shrugged page 468, “Sacrifice is the cement which unites human bricks into the great edifice of society.” Fidel Castro said “I feel my belief in sacrifice and struggle getting stronger.”

[Did past generations (running up Trillions in debt) sacrifice?]

The shrinking economies of socialist countries requires leaders to guilt the citizenry into sacrificing self for the common good.  The future, an ever moving target, is always painted as utopia with better health care, jobs, education, equality….

The utopia future never comes.  And thick headed (read power hungry and prideful) politicians would rather shackle the citizenry into sacrificing self for the common good than free them to a time-tested quality of life improving capitalist system. 
Fidel Castro said it best “We prefer any sacrifice, any fate to that of capitalism.”

Obama’s call for sacrifice prefaced a push for more government subsidized jobs [“investments” in innovation, education, and infrastructure”] and an attack on the private sector [producers], “We need to get behind this innovation [government subsidized industry]. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies [producer sacrifice]. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own.”

Obama’s call for sacrifice to curtail our nations debt seems to fall solely on the shoulders of producers (not touching the entitlements as George has pointed out). “And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up [sacrifice] their tax break. It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success.”

It is about sacrifice [for the producers].

Russ Steele

In the world of texting WTF does not stand for "Win the Future." I wonder if Sarah Palin was aware of the other context of WTF when she said this on Fox News Last night:

Well, speaking of last night, that was a tough speech to sit through and try to stomach because the president is so off base in his ideas in how it is he believes government is going to create jobs. Obviously, government growth won’t create any jobs. It’s the private sector that can create the jobs. His theme last night in the State of the Union was the WTF, you know, “Winning the Future,” and I thought OK, that acronym, spot on. There were a lot of WTF moments throughout that speech.

More contex here including the video.

Greg Goodknight

There's another way to minimize SS hemorrhaging, and the medicare meltdown, and that's means testing.

There is no 'pact between generations' that is morally defensible. Promises by long dead and buried politicians have no legal standing.

George Rebane

Greg, the problem with the alternative (morally defensible?) policy is that the living will then no longer be able to depend on which "long dead and buried" policies they can incorporate into their own plans. The notion you seem suggest though is widely held in the land today by people who recall that our Republic rests on a Constitution that was written by long dead and buried politicians. And as you correctly point out, that almost 250-year-old promise also appears to have no legal standing.

Mikey McD

Greg, I agree "There is no 'pact between generations' that is morally defensible. "

I don't see how "means testing" could be anything other than stealing (since the individual makes the forced contribution to SS, the individual should benefit from their forced contributions). Are you insinuating that individuals should pay into SS as an extremely inefficient and expensive 'retirement income insurance' which they must then prove to be destitute to receive down the road? Does anyone trust the government enough to buy that?

Greg Goodknight

Current generations can amend the Constitution, but talk about means testing SS benefits and folks squeal.

The 'stealing' money from Person A by Government B to give to Person C has been going on for decades; FDR and Claude Pepper are long gone. You have no title to any money. Yes, they promised to shake down the young for your bennies when you got into the system, but your money is long gone. So is mine.

I'm insinuating that the system is broken, one way to fix it is to decide Bill Gates and other well heeled individuals really don't need the benefits, and limiting or refusing them benefits might be a lesser evil than rampant inflation on all or confiscatory taxes levied on the children and grandchildren of beneficiaries.

Mikey McD

Greg, is this what you have in mind for a means test:

1.)Those with adjusted gross incomes above $250,000 forgo receiving SS retirement benefits (2% of population)

2.) Anyone earning a publicly funded (local, state or federal) pension plan forgoes receiving SS benefits (though they do not forgo paying into SS). estimated 5% of population.

Greg Goodknight

I have no specifics in mind, but I suspect your 'adjusted gross income' threshold is way off. If you're *making* $50K or more after you stop working, you have significant assets and can afford not to rely on taxes paid by your kids and grandkids for that next cruise.

Greg Goodknight

By the way, George, I thought there wasn't really any 'treasury bonds', it's more just a ledger entry in the Federal budget where they pretend to pay the "trust fund" the interest.

Past Congresses (led by Democratic Speakers for the vast majority of my lifetime, starting in the mid '50's) spent the money. It's gone. To replace it will take big income tax hikes on all and big SS taxes on the young. A better way to reform the system might to resurrect Milton Friedman's negative income tax idea.

Greg Goodknight

By the way, the issue of a 'pact between generations' not being defensible was (if my brain cells tickled in '72-'73 aren't lying to me) right out of John Locke's 2nd Treatise on Government; his demolishing of the moral foundation of feudal arrangements being binding on one's descendants was a basis for Liberal (in the good and original sense) thought.

I suspect "Sean" read the same thing in '71 or '72.

George Rebane

Greg, do you consider the vailidity/enforcability of such inter-generational pacts to also be a function of whether such generations comprise of people ruled by an autocracy and a free people living in a constitutional republic? If so, how?

D. King

“As Exhibit A, just consider their assessments and reaction to the global warming scam, the viability of enforced ‘cleantech’ initiatives (whatever happened to the much-hyped solar panel company that got videotaped and stimulated to the tune of $500M last year?)…”

Yes, why enforced ‘cleantech’? Cleantech is the leaky vessel being used to cross the lake. With each patch made from debt, an additional body is added to our intrepid dinghy as she moves half the distance to the desired shore. (Spain)

I have more to present, but hesitate because it’s so eye and ear bleedingly boring. Suffice it to say this is about the seizure of intellectual properties.

Ah, what the hell. See here the EU booger eaters plan for Cleantech and IP.

'Patents and clean energy'

I have found some scan forward points that may reduce your pain.

'Patents and clean energy'

Scan points and videos

scan to 3:40 Pay dirt at 3:55

scan to 6:30

scan to 10:50

scan to 3:40

Got your retirement.
Got your banks.
Got your cars.
Got your appliances. (GE)
Got your energy.
Getting your thoughts!

Account Deleted

Greg makes a good point about SS. Basically, it was (is) a Ponzie scheme and we got hosed. Accept the fact that there is no money and move on. But the idea that it will be the 200K plus earners that will get shafted is so far off the mark it isn't funny. Greg - go look in the mirror and say hello to the person that won't get any SS after paying into it all your working life. It will have to go way down into the middle income earners to do any good to stave off serious problems. And then there's Medicaid. Makes SS look well-funded. But that's another blog topic. Something else that needs to be considered is that if we are going to stiff SS boomers, there will probably be a really large number of really pissed off people. I have known all along that it was just another tax I had to pay and I have never assumed I would get a dime. Others bought into the lie. Every day, they will get up and think about the bass boat and the vacations that they were working for all their lives and now it won't happen because they were cheated by folks that ride around in limos protected by burly guys with guns that the govt won't let them buy. They will have time and money enough to join together and create a whole new political faction that will make the Tea Party folk look like liberals. And there is another problem that arises - a lot of long range financial planning assumed the boomers would have wads of disposable income and they would really rev up the economy. Just as we arrive at a time when we need a lot more tax revenue from all of that economic activity, we get millions of boomers stuck sitting at home watching TV. So, just "getting real" isn't necessarily going to work with out a whole new raft of problems.

Russ Steele

SPUTNIK MOMENT: Soviet space expert James Oberg comments: “I’m seeing up close how ‘Palin Derangement Syndrome’ can compel otherwise intelligent people to foam at the mouth and babble nonsense to prove they’re right and she’s wrong. . . . It’s more complicated, but the essence is, Palin was right: the Soviets sowed the seed of their own collapse by setting off the Space Race.”

Greg Goodknight

Scott Obermuller, I don't know *where* you got the idea I ever bought into the SS story; I've known since my 20's when "contributions" started climbing sky high that, as a middle boomer, I was going to get screwed. This was a way to consider reducing the outflows and giving up the pretensions that you put your money in and you took your money out.

George, perhaps if you were a bit more specific I'd be able to answer exactly what you're asking. If I'm reading you correctly, you may be asking if I think there's a moral difference between a father binding his children to the economic bondage of donating 20% of their lifetime labor to good old Dad, a democratically determined binding of everyone's children to economic bondage to everyone's mom and dad, or a King (benevolent or not) binding all the children to economic bondage, I think the answer is no.

The kids own themselves and the fruits of their labor. While taxes are necessary for public goods, I'm not sure stealing from them to help wealthy Gramps over there buy a nicer RV qualifies.

Account Deleted

I never said you did. In fact, I said you had a good point about what might happen to "solve" the problem. Chill out. I just thought that you were off on who is going to have to get stiffed when they means test. Maybe you make a lot more than I do, but I thought that that some how you figured they could just means test a very high income level and you wouldn't make enough to be touched. My point was that it's so broke that they will have to go down to the middle class to do any real good to help SS.

Greg Goodknight

That $50K income in retirement was just a number conveniently lower than the $250K floated by someone else. Chill out, indeed.

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