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Presidents: leaders or beggars?

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  1. #1
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Presidents: leaders or beggars?

    I am starting to get fed up with all the public debt.
    I spend most of my life in Greece and of course there was always a public dept. Never a surplus so the debt is never paid. Then I move to the US. My naive thought was that the rich countries borrow to the poor countries, so the US obviously wouldn't have a debt. Then I see that there is a 14 trillion debt here as well. It simply didn't make sense to me.
    Of course, starting reading and thinking you get how the system works. And it is simply disappointing.

    The point I want to raise is do you think that borrowing money is a good solution compared to getting the money from the people?

    For example, you want to make something big. A war or some stadiums for the Olympic games you are hosting. Something costly. You have a lot of solutions as a government if you don't have money saved. I ll focus on two:
    -Have a temporarily high tax.
    -Borrow money.

    For me the second solution is just irresponsible. I wouldn't accept it as an individual, I don't want my government and the country as a whole to do it. If I want to buy something I will first try to work harder, cut my expenses, sacrifice something. And not just buy it with my credit card and worry about it later. But I guess that is just me.

    But, do I really sacrifice? Do I really suffer? No. I feel pride that I have to work for something, do something extra and somehow earn it. Pride I believe is my drive in this situation. If I can find pride, my neighbor can find pride. And my neighbor's neighbor. Thus, the country as a whole.

    So, allow me to label these kind of presidents "Beggars". Now, I know blaming just the president is naive in a sense, but for simplicity we can do so as a representative of the government.

    To view the other side, long time ago in ancient Athens the "president" there, Periklis, wanted to build the Acropolis. Due to previous costly constructions, the people had already paid a lot of taxes. They weren't willingly to agree to anymore government spending. And they had direct democracy, the majority vote had to be followed. So Periklis to convince the people just responded "fine, I will pay from my personal money. But every piece of marble will have the name Periklis carved on it". The people agreed to make the Acropolis. I called that being a "Leader".

    A more recent example comes from Hungary half a century ago. In Budapest after all the wars, national monuments all around the historic city were in bad shape. The government ask for people to give 20% of their income to rebuilt them. And once the government had rebuilt them and in the future made a surplus, they would pay back.The people agreed. The government did pay back. Again, I call that being a Leader and the people being responsible. If they had borrowed a few millions the people today would still being owning that money.

    The other point is, why pay taxes to somebody that goes bankrupt and has to borrow money? Would you buy stocks from a company that is going bankrupt? If you really want to save that company (you need a government obviously) just buy "good" stocks, make money and donate them. Yes, I would happily pay more taxes to a government that does its job. A feel like an idiot, literally, paying to a government that doesn't do what it has to.

  2. #2
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    Yes, I would happily pay more taxes to a government that does its job.
    O_o

    To be honest, I think you are probably not telling the entire truth as part of the governments job in the United States is paying lazy people to remain lazy. (I've heard "If you go out and get a temporary job you will lose your unemployment benefits." strait from the horse.) Virtually everyone I've met who has been on unemployment has intentionally remained as long as possible.

    The problem with the citizens of the United States is that secretly they all pretty much want "big government", (In this case, a government that pays for public works maintenance, provides healthcare for those who can't afford it, and boasts a large standing military.) don't want to pay for it, (Let's be honest, you may be willing to pay an extra %7 of your pay to provide healthcare for those in need, but you are going to want to stop paying for it the instant you find out how much your local representatives, every single one, earn every year.) and are often to lazy or proud to get a job to pay for it even if they wanted to pay. (There are a lot of jobs in the United States that people in position would love to hire a United States citizen to fill, but the arrogance of "Joe I-Do-Not-Even-Have-A-University-Degree Average" prevents him from seeking employment unless they are dramatically overpaid for their services in comparison to what payment others are willing to work.) It doesn't help that a crazy huge number of laws exist solely to prevent bad employees from being fired, healthcare from being reasonable, and the diminished from getting back "on their feet".

    *shrug*

    Are you also willing to pay a lot more for your produce to be grown in the United States even though a potato is just a potato? (Bad example, I know, but the particulars are hardly relevant.) More for pretty much everything else, in fact? Until we became closer to self-sufficient, that is what it would take.

    How much better would the United States be if we as a nation stopped trying to solve everyone else problems and solve our own.

    Soma
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  3. #3
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Required watching: YouTube - ‪Lesson 1 National Debt & Budget Deficit Explained‬‏

    The point I want to raise is do you think that borrowing money is a good solution compared to getting the money from the people?
    For example, you want to make something big. A war or some stadiums for the

    Olympic games you are hosting. Something costly. You have a lot of solutions as a government if you don't have money saved. I ll focus on two:
    -Have a temporarily high tax.
    -Borrow money.
    War is not really something that provides the government with money. Since only governments will start a war, you could consider it a social program because the government has to pay for it. This is one thing where national debt, found everywhere, can come from.

    To pay for government and social programs, you can also:
    - cut program spending
    - grow the economy (as you learn in the video)

    And if you have an existing national debt, you probably do all of these things with varying success.

    So, allow me to label these kind of presidents "Beggars". Now, I know blaming just the president is naive in a sense, but for simplicity we can do so as a representative of the government.
    It doesn't make anything simpler to blame the head of state, it only perpetuates the myth that somehow the head has direct control. In the case of the United States, the Congress and the Federal Reserve control the nations purse strings. The president signs laws or issues executive orders. An idea might come from the president in the form of an Order, but he's really just goading the baboons.

    It isn't necessarily bad to borrow money. The only thing the government really does is release bonds, which are paid when they reach maturity. Often, the Federal Reserve will buy these, but there are percentages of debt that are owed to foreign governments, foreign companies, (which is what most people worry about) and domestic companies. Those bonds are assets to the payee. Since everyone has liabilities, owning one is money on paper: good for any investor.

    In a perfect world the income part of the congressional budget would meet the expenses perfectly every year without having to borrow, but we still have to pay for interest on things like WWII. A lot of reforms if not all of them, make up part of the principle of our debt. The national debt has its own troubled history.

    I don't look at the national debt as something that is going to be paid anymore. That's not how money works.
    Last edited by whiteflags; 05-28-2011 at 03:26 AM.

  4. #4
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomotap
    Let's be honest, you may be willing to pay an extra %7 of your pay to provide healthcare for those in need, but you are going to want to stop paying for it the instant you find out how much your local representatives, every single one, earn every year.
    How much do they earn? Mine earn about 145K USD a year, in addition to whatever other jobs they do. I hear my country's ministers earn far more than their foreign counterparts, but I've never thought about comparing the earnings of the backbencher members of parliament.
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  5. #5
    and the Hat of Guessing tabstop's Avatar
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    Base pay in the US is $174K.

  6. #6
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    O_o

    Let me rephrase that and elaborate, after all some are impeached, retire early, or fail to move well within the system.

    Allow me to change that then to "almost every single one". My point wasn't that any individual earns a lot on a yearly basis during their service. (That said, the average annual for any "big ticket" seat is between $50,000 and $450,000.) My point was that an average politician making it to that level, because of the "stairs", will have lifelong benefits. It isn't the approximately $100,000,000 spent on the actual wages of the current congressional representatives but the $4,000,000,000 spent on yearly maintenance of those benefits.

    [Edit]
    I mistyped a few bits in my haste. I was/am about to go practice violin.
    [/Edit]

    Soma
    Last edited by phantomotap; 05-27-2011 at 11:58 PM. Reason: none of your business

  7. #7
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    Base pay in the US is $174K.
    This is only the base for the "House of Representatives" and "Senate" proper. It doesn't include all the other local representatives all of whom fall under similar federal minimums for benefits.

    Soma

  8. #8
    Registered User xentaka's Avatar
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    Yah

    (There are a lot of jobs in the United States that people in position would love to hire a United States citizen to fill, but the arrogance of "Joe I-Do-Not-Even-Have-A-University-Degree Average" prevents him from seeking employment unless they are dramatically overpaid for their services in comparison to what payment others are willing to work.)
    Talk of arrogance?

    This seems like another conservative talking point about how the average Joe makes too much dang money. Joe has the awesome ability to get a minimum wage job that will not take him off the public coffers, but will empower corporate America to expand their war on the working class whilst padding the pockets of our lawmakers.

    The United States was built on the backs of the "Average Joe without formal education" and only now that we have reaped the benefit of their hard work do we discard them as though they are useless leaches on society. The only people that I feel pity for are the social elites that actually believe the working class are the pawns on their morally corrupt game of chess.

    EDIT: If you are talking about manufacturing being outsourced then I really have no reply for that... kinda hard to compete against slave labor or should we start condoning slavery in the US for stupid average americans?
    Last edited by xentaka; 05-28-2011 at 02:08 AM.
    "The people don't want war, but they can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country." - Hermann Goering.

  9. #9
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    Talk of arrogance?
    If you would reward the lazy, arrogant, and uneducated individuals of any country the same as you would reward the motivated, willing, and trained individuals of any country for a dissimilar measure of work you are among the worst of parasites.

    The drunkard fool who grew lazy after dropping out of high school to chase skirts is unfit for digging, too entitled for trenches, and too stupid for the supervision of the crew.

    Would I reward that lazy drunken fool the same as I would reward those willing to do the hard labor of the guys pulling shovel of shovel of dirt from the earth? Never.

    Would I reward that lazy drunken fool the same as I would reward those willing to crawl into the filthy sewers to sift the sand? Absolutely not.

    Would I reward that lazy drunken fool the same as I would reward those willing to devote decades of their life to managing the lives and safety of a hundred others? Hell. ........ing. No.

    If that makes me a "conservative", I'll wear the badge with pride; it apparently means that I have a brain.

    Soma

  10. #10
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Regarding the initial question, maybe not beggars. But definitely not leaders. There's here a false dichotomy, in my opinion. But that's for another discussion. Instead Democracy has been slowing eroding the possibility of coming up with truly remarkable individuals. Good intentions and a strong urge to serve may be the catalyst of a good number of men and women when they come into the political scene. But a system of favors and lobbies, and the requirements today for a young politician to build public awareness strongly based on marketing strategies that don't reflect his persona, but project an image (false) that can gather more consensus among the population, rob any politician of their personality while tying their hands and subtly changing their priorities.

    There's a crisis of values in our societies that gets projected into the political scene by the power of the electorate. After all, in any democratic society we are who governs us. When a politician campaigning for a seat (any seat) is told to make liberal use of fallacies as a means to gather votes, he's not only consciously adopting a strategy based on deceit, but is also caving in to the fact the society where he lives on is permeable to fallacies, little lies, subtle arrangement of numbers and other cheap tricks. The same techniques we use every day when debating with friends, talking to a social security representative, getting a new job, applying for a grant or loan, or asking for insurance money.

    National Debts

    That said, there's responsibility nonetheless. And the executive and legislative branches of our political scene have a great deal of responsibility about our public debt. But also the population, who instead of gathering money over the months to go on vacations like good and responsible citizens, prefers to make a loan and go on vacations today. We have simply been changing our lifestyles from a sustainable and secure savings model, into an unpredictable and dangerous path of debt. All of course, backed by the banks. But the downside is that banks need to go somewhere to loan us money, and so you have national debt.

    Meanwhile governments (national, federal, or local) keep wanting to grow fat in many countries. This is the biggest problem in Europe and what may prove to be our downfall. Greece and Portugal are too excellent examples of countries who have for decades lived (and apparently want to keep doing it) on the backs of the state. Where the private sector survives mostly from governmental support (in the form of funds) and the government itself establishes competing business with up to 100% capital presence. On some sectors -- transports, health, energies (note the plural), education and culture -- our governments in fact dominate the market as veritable monopolies. At the same time many companies in the private sector exist exclusively to serve this governmental machine (auditing, legal counseling, and other services). And because all this requires money, banks are forced into he whole machine by granting loans to the government public sector and private sector serving the government.

    The very wrong thing with this picture is that there is simply NO WAY that a public company will be managed with the very same principles of a privately owned company. In every "experiment", everywhere in the world, the public sector is the largest responsible for a country's corruption levels and, through governmental money injection, is the type of sector that can keep surviving for years on end, where a similar privately owned company under a similar financial situation would have filled for bankruptcy already. And here you have your public debt.

    In countries like Greece and Portugal, this is at the core of our national debt. What's more embarrassing is that despite the shameful events that lead our two countries to ask for external help, there's every sign we will keep doing this once the crisis passes. On the case of Portugal specifically this is the 3rd bloody time we ask for IMF money in the last 30 years! No kidding. It's just insane. This socialist (and you Americans don't confuse European socialism with your socialism. Your socialism is called communism here) approach has to end. We have to thin our our governments. I don't want a government that owes businesses in my country for pete's sake. What kind of madness is this where the largest customer of good and services in my country is my government!? What forced the government here to finally ask IMF intervention was a joint declaration from the national banks saying they wouldn't lend any more money to the state, after their ratings having fallen to dramatic levels exactly because they were subsidizing the state debt for the past couple of years. In a country where the state owes all, everyone becomes a victim of the state. Even those whose task is to help sustain it.

    This simply cannot be. We need to bring our governments back to what they should be; executive and legislative branches of our societies. The economy belongs to the private sector. For anyone coming up with "oh, but how I will survive without government funding", go get a bloody job you lazy scoundrel! Can't manage a business? Don't be in business.
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  11. #11
    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    I would say that to achieve this you need some laws, some rules governing the way the government can operate. One of those should be that they don't take a loan. That would result of the government being forced to sustain predictable financially entities only. Thus no business at all. Problem solved.

    For example I put the Greek national telephone company. It has one problem, its public. So it started moving to the private sector. In two ways. One was leasing lines to other new telephone companies and the other selling its stock to another big foreign telecom company.
    The first was excellent. Antagonism was boosted and DSL prices halved within a year for the consumer.
    The second is a crime. They just reduced the overall wealth of the country.
    Now they are selling more to gain quick money. If they had some laws though what could have happen is that they would lease all there lines and the national telephone company would stay as a line provider. The private companies would take the risks. The public company would keep the safe business.

    You need to be careful with the rules you set, because a small government in this case would mean no telephone lines in the first place when in Greece only the government had the capital to do so.

    Not even Marx liked Socialism, it was just a temporary bad but necessary state to achieve Communism. A temporary state means that it is not stable, it will fail eventually as happening. Thus I would think it will be reduced, if not already, to mandated capitalism. Where the risk is having the government as both the entity that mandates and invests. Which is by definition wrong. So I would like the government to keep the role it should in the economy, regardless how big the size of it is.

  12. #12
    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    Trouble with that is I don't think anyone in America wants to dissolve any of the public companies:
    - PBS
    - busses
    - the postal service

    Greece is not America. If you want to trim America's budget there is a multi-billion dollar line item that eclipses every other around the world in spending. Laws or the lack thereof may help positively, but I'm not seriously considering Constitutional amendments necessary.

  13. #13
    Registered User xentaka's Avatar
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    Well

    If you would reward the lazy, arrogant, and uneducated individuals of any country the same as you would reward the motivated, willing, and trained individuals of any country for a dissimilar measure of work you are among the worst of parasites.

    The drunkard fool who grew lazy after dropping out of high school to chase skirts is unfit for digging, too entitled for trenches, and too stupid for the supervision of the crew.

    Would I reward that lazy drunken fool the same as I would reward those willing to do the hard labor of the guys pulling shovel of shovel of dirt from the earth? Never.

    Would I reward that lazy drunken fool the same as I would reward those willing to crawl into the filthy sewers to sift the sand? Absolutely not.

    Would I reward that lazy drunken fool the same as I would reward those willing to devote decades of their life to managing the lives and safety of a hundred others? Hell. ........ing. No.

    If that makes me a "conservative", I'll wear the badge with pride; it apparently means that I have a brain.
    Seems as though you think the "educated" people of a society are entitled to wealth, and that the uneducated masses are simply there to do their bidding. I fortunately had the chance to attend college, but some of the best/brightest people I have worked with had no formal education.

    The US was not built on the backs of the lazy social elite, but the sweat and blood of the working class.

    I see your point though. Those uneducated lazy oafs should just submit to the son of a social aristocrat who cheated/coasted his way through college while chasing skirts and drinking himself in a stupor. So I will agree that all uneducated Americans are lazy and drunk, but you will have to agree that all college grads are simply lazy drunks who's parents had more money.

    Stereotypes are bad mm'kay?
    "The people don't want war, but they can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country." - Hermann Goering.

  14. #14
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    The US was not built on the backs of the lazy social elite, but the sweat and blood of the working class.
    O_o

    So, even though you say "sweat and blood" payed for the United States, you are willing to reward the "lazy social elite", "lazy, unwilling jerk", and "uneducated layabout" exactly the same as those who gave "sweat and blood" for a dissimilar measure of work?

    Like I said, worst kind of parasite.

    Soma

  15. #15
    Registered User xentaka's Avatar
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    no

    Absolutely not.

    What I am saying is that it is not white and black, and we cannot assume because someone is unemployed or uneducated that they are "lazy drunks".

    You have two women... GirlA and GirlB.

    GirlA comes from a wealthy family. GirlB comes from a family well below the poverty line.

    GirlA/GirlB have aspirations of being a biologist.

    GirlA/GirlB do average in High School and get average scores on college entrance exams. Neither do well enough to get a scholarship.

    GirlA/GirlB meet the man of their dreams. They both end up pregnant and said man of dreams disappears.

    GirlA/GirlB now have tough decisions to make.

    GirlA now has options. Abortion would be quick and easy for her, but she decides it is against her moral convictions and decides to carry the child to term.

    GirlB might have options. She might be able to get an abortion, but due to the current political climate may be restricted. It doesn't matter though as she decides it is against her moral convictions and carries the child to term.

    GirlA now lives with her parents, and attends college while a nanny watches the child for her.

    GirlB now lives with her parents, but poses a burden to the family with the newborn. She is forced to work two jobs to pay for all the necessities of life, and to attend her local college. Childcare is difficult since she must rely on family/friends.

    GirlA obtains a degree with an average GPA.

    GirlB drops out after the first year when working two jobs and taking care of her child become overwhelming.

    GirlA finds a nice job making a very nice wage. Buys a nice two story house in suburbia and lives care free.

    GirlB loses one of her jobs, and is living day to day just hoping she can afford food until she can find a replacement for her lost job. She applies for government programs to avoid losing everything.

    Both girls made the same decisions, and both worked hard to obtain their desires. The difference was that GirlA had the financial backing to allow her success in spite of her mistakes. GirlB had no such backing, and had to rely on the government when things went south.

    I would contend that GirlB worked MUCH harder at trying to realize her dreams, and GirlA simply coasted through life lazy and unaware.

    It's not always black and white like the politicians want you to think. It's those darn shades of gray that test a moral society.
    "The people don't want war, but they can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country." - Hermann Goering.

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