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Is recording off-the-air broadcasts to an internet storage service no more infringement than TiVo? Some online service providers and the Democratic controlled Congress think so. They may push copyright reform legislation to allow such hosting, much to movie and TV studios' chagrin.  (Source:
The new Democratic controlled government has ambitious plans for the internet and more

Congress under the Bush administration cast largely a blind eye on legislating net neutrality.  Net neutrality, the movement to block telecommunication companies from creating "fast lanes" where paying websites would be sped up, while others might slowed down, seemed unlikely to be signed into law by the President who sided with the telecommunication companies on numerous issues.

However, with President-Elect Barack Obama soon to be inaugurated, change is afoot.  President-Elect Obama's team, while receiving flak on some tech issues like attempting to delay the transition to digital TV, has largely been praised for its ambitious tech agenda which looks to expand provisions to protect users from telecoms, among other things.

Aaron Cooper, counsel to Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in the Senate Judiciary Committee, says that among the top items that his boss will seek to legislation during Barack Obama's term are performance rights and Net neutrality legislation.  This legislation will likely include provisions blocking internet "speed lanes" and also block telecoms from implement data caps on "unlimited" connections, and perhaps to provide users with more overage protection.

Ultimately, the issue of net neutrality is intimately connected with copyright law as is the Democratic Congress and Presidency's attempts to legislate it.  The music, film, and video game industries have shown opposition to net neutrality laws, as they fear it will make it illegal to throttle traffic of infringed materials.  Daryl Friedman, vice president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences says the music industry will likely support net neutrality "as long as it doesn't mean piracy is equal to legal commerce."

While the Democratic administration may skirt the issue of piracy, or even allow throttling in cases of infringement, Mr. Cooper says that Patrick Leahy will seek mild copyright reform.  At stake are scenarios such as online storage of personal off-the-air recordings, internet radio, and other examples, which see current copyright laws failing to provide a realistic solution.  In the case of recordings, companies like Cablevision have been pleading their case to the Justice Department and the courts, arguing that their recording and storage services are no different than an internet-connected TiVo. 

Mr. Cooper supports allowing such use saying that copyright laws are "geared toward an analog world."  Gigi Sohn, the president of public interest group Public Knowledge, too, argues that the service should be perfectly legal, stating, "Are we really going to say every single temporary copy demands a licensing fee?  I think that's insane."

Alec French, vice president for government relations for NBC Universal says such a scenario, though would be disastrous for the TV and movie industry.  He said the industry would oppose any Democratic legislation which involved such reforms.  He states that allowing such services would be akin to "setting a roadmap out for anyone who wants to create a copyright infringing service."

In the case of web radio, the Democratic congress may seek to reform copyright laws so as to encourage lower rates for small internet radio stations, who can't afford big licensing fees like offline radio stations.  Michael Petricone, senior vice president for government affairs of the Consumer Electronics Association, says that the music industry, in its greed, is missing out on this possible abundant source of income.  If it were to compromise and agree to lower rates, a boom of web casters would arise and be allowed to grow, leading to a lot of revenue.  He states, "They will be the future of the industry if they're allowed to thrive.  Let's not cook the golden goose."

While the Democratic-controlled Presidency and Congress will almost undoubtedly pursue net neutrality, performance rights, and copyright reform legislation, they're still trying to come to a consensus on exactly what the best solution is.  However, the party agrees it’s time for change.

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By Josh7289 on 1/15/2009 6:49:15 PM , Rating: 1
These upcoming changes are a move in the correct direction.

I'm glad the Obama administration appears to have a good understanding of net neutrality and such.

Just one thing: Fix the typos in the article.

RE: Good
By Reclaimer77 on 1/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 1/15/2009 7:42:53 PM , Rating: 1
Actually its more about how they hate big business and success. Except their own that is.

Expect internet taxes under this administration though.

RE: Good
By DigitalFreak on 1/15/2009 8:33:37 PM , Rating: 4
FIT, you should head over to and hook up with TKJunkMail. Anti-Democrat love fests and reacharounds would abound.

RE: Good
By Oregonian2 on 1/16/2009 2:43:58 PM , Rating: 3
BTW - Net neutrality is embedded into the current 285 page stimulus legislation package. Read about it on BBC news. :-)

RE: Good
By Tsuwamono on 1/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 1/15/2009 9:25:04 PM , Rating: 4
And why do you think they're willing to give them money?

a) to preserve some more of their voting base (the UAW)
b) to have control over the automakers so they will produce what cars they want.

Our government now has greater control over this nation's businesses than it ever should have had. We're on a pretty big step to nationalized industries. The private banking sector is already pretty much gone.

But keep drinking the koolaid and pretending that everything is ok and that Obama and his croonies actually give a sh*t about you.

RE: Good
By Tsuwamono on 1/15/2009 9:38:55 PM , Rating: 1
I highly doubt they would give a shit about me since I'm Canadian. We have the bank act of Canada which protects the banks and the consumers from stuff like what happened to you guys. You lend to people who cant afford the payments, they default and OMG, no more money? how did that happen? :S

Its still a private business, the only difference is in Canada we don't allow them to lend to people who can't afford it. TD bank, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova scotia, Dejardins, RBC, and a few others. Still big business, they make loads of money but they still aren't allowed to take down our entire financial system through stupid lending practices.

RE: Good
By cmdrdredd on 1/15/2009 10:37:08 PM , Rating: 4
I highly doubt they would give a shit about me since I'm Canadian. We have the bank act of Canada which protects the banks and the consumers from stuff like what happened to you guys. You lend to people who cant afford the payments, they default and OMG, no more money? how did that happen? :S Its still a private business, the only difference is in Canada we don't allow them to lend to people who can't afford it. TD bank, Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova scotia, Dejardins, RBC, and a few others. Still big business, they make loads of money but they still aren't allowed to take down our entire financial system through stupid lending practices.

problem was the government FORCED the banks to lend to these people. If you didn't give enough minority home loans you were FINED! It wasn't cheap. So the banks played along and bam...people can't pay.

RE: Good
By zombiexl on 1/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By Regs on 1/15/2009 11:24:59 PM , Rating: 1
I think it's because of the word sh*t.

RE: Good
By robinthakur on 1/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By Spuke on 1/16/2009 11:46:02 AM , Rating: 4
The Republicans were solely responsible for everything. It takes a majority vote to get things done and the Republicans aren't the majority. And to quell the pro-Repubs, the majority Democrat Congress needs Republicans to get things done too. It is, quite frankly, EVERYONE'S FAULT !!! Those who disapproved should've voiced loud and clear to the public what was going on and how it could affect the financial stability of the country. They ALL did us a disservice.

And to make it even more terrible than it already is, some of them have the nerve to blame it ALL on the President and the Republicans!! Like the Dems had nothing to do with it! God that really overcooks my grits!!! Some of people are happy as hell right now, pointing your ignorant little fingers. The blame rests with Congress as a whole. We were misled and continue to be misled.

Pull your heads out of your collective asses! The next Congressional elections should have everyone here voting EVERYONE out of office. It will take a LONG time to get it done but eventually it will get done and maybe send a message. But I know in my heart that you idiots will just keep pointing fingers and nothing will ever get done.

You reap what you sow.

RE: Good
By JediJeb on 1/16/2009 12:03:07 PM , Rating: 2
This is about as correct as it gets when placing blame.

RE: Good
By Ammohunt on 1/16/2009 4:05:50 PM , Rating: 2
hence the reason America is arming themselves like never before.

RE: Good
By BansheeX on 1/16/2009 9:09:22 AM , Rating: 5
That is correct, Fannie and Freddie were Government Sponsored Enterprises that accomplished the opposite of what they intended (like most socialist programs) by making homes ridiculously unaffordable. They basically took perfectly sound renters and declared that every American should own a home, regardless of how much debt they would have to incur to do it. The Community Reinvestment Act is a perfect example of this kind of social engineering, it declared lending standards discriminatory to low income people. The Fed provided the cheap credit with centrally price fixed interest rates. The tax code promoted real estate flipping, and the FDIC eliminated the fear that otherwise would have deterred depositors from putting their money in high-yielding, over-leveraged investment bank models. Everything came to a head, and now the same socialist nutjobs are blaming the market for getting drunk when it was them who spiked the punch.

Now you understand why the Libertarians are right. I want market determined money and interest rates, and less government intervention in the market. Banks self-regulate, it's not in their interest to loan money to people who can't pay it back. Look at all the worthless collateral they were about to be stuck with after all the zero-down people walked away, they were finished from subprime. They would only do it if (a) the government forces them to and (b) they expect to get bailed out by their enablers. And that's exactly what happened. Government CHANGES market behavior by fixing prices and overriding self-regulation with social engineering concepts, this is not a problem with the free market.

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 1/16/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By masher2 on 1/16/2009 10:35:17 AM , Rating: 5
Eh? Fannie and Freddie fit the definition of a socialized enterprise like a glove. What is the level of government engagement in their actions? Let's take a peek.

Who appoints, and therefore controls, the leadership of Fannie and Freddie? The President. Who sets quotas on their percentage of low-income loans made? Congress. Why are they exempt from SEC filings and state and local taxes? Why does the FDIC apply an entirely different (and much less strenuous) set of rules to their lending practices?

You can claim there was no federal backing of GSE securities-- but millions of investors dispute you. For decades, they bought them at high prices, because of the perception of government backing. And they were right...when Fannie Mac floundered, the government instantly stepped in pick up the tab.

Vernon Smith, nobel-winner in Economics, noted Fannie Mae was 'implicitly government backed' even before they collapsed. Now that the government has ratified his statement, there's no disputing it.

These GSEs racked up over half of all mortgage activity in the entire country, thanks to a combination of government control, special treatment, and backing. The classic model of socialism.

RE: Good
By Oregonian2 on 1/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By masher2 on 1/16/2009 3:02:49 PM , Rating: 2
Eh? The Fed most certainly is a public (technically quasi-public) entity.

"The Federal Reserve System is not "owned" by anyone and is not a private, profit-making institution. Instead, it is an independent entity within the government..."

You may be getting confused because member banks can own shares in an FRB. But those shares don't entitle them to a share of the Fed's profits, nor does it allow them to exercise the Fed's largest powers by far-- control of monetary policy and the size of the US currency pool.

Those powers are exercised by the Chairman of the Fed, who is appointed by the President and approved by Congress. The government also receives the profits from the Fed's operations, except for a small 6% dividend paid to member banks.

The Fed, as well as Fannie Mac, are most certainly "government things", as much as the SEC, the FTC, the FAA, NASA, or any other government agency.

RE: Good
By Oregonian2 on 1/19/2009 2:33:12 AM , Rating: 2
I stand corrected. I was overly ambiguous and over generalizing. The Fed System is not privately owned, but the Federal Reserve banks are (even if that stock ownership is "different" from normal corporate ownership). I was just quoting from a quasi-famous book about the system which a friend of my attempted to read (he got bored to death I think). Point being that the Fed branches have private banks owning membership (if that's a better name) in those banks that make up the Fed or another way to say it is that the Fed is not a branch of the government.

The Fannie May and Freddie Mac are only recently government entities when the government took them over. They had originally been set up by the government but had been independent (of the government) entities -- complete with officers who were lusting after money (paid proportional to loan volume without regard to quality of the loans -- which was one major downfall leading to problems now).

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 1/20/2009 7:23:28 AM , Rating: 2
You can claim there was no federal backing of GSE securities-- but millions of investors dispute you. For decades, they bought them at high prices, because of the perception of government backing. And they were right...when Fannie Mac floundered, the government instantly stepped in pick up the tab.

Well that's how the system failed isn't it. They wern't supposed to end up backing the mortgages, but they did. The takeover of the two was *definitely* socialism at its most blatant.

RE: Good
By codeThug on 1/21/2009 3:51:07 PM , Rating: 1

Koolaid Koolaid taste great......

RE: Good
By zsdersw on 1/16/2009 9:39:28 AM , Rating: 2
blaming the market for getting drunk when it was them who spiked the punch.

It takes two to tango. One to spike the punch, another to naively drink it.

RE: Good
By BansheeX on 1/16/2009 11:00:59 AM , Rating: 5
The market operates on self-interest, people mutually transact with others to increase their own lots with the effect of increasing everyone's. The only job the government has is to make sure people aren't stealing and hurting each other in those pursuits. If the government does something that causes businesses or people to do crazy things they otherwise wouldn't, the root cause is the enabler. You can prevent it from happening from preventing the enablement. Government can't avert blame by spiking the punch and then saying "oh, well those people in the pursuit of fun drank it, it's their fault." And the solution that they're pushing now is not to take liquor away from the spiker, but to create a rehab program and hire more cops to address the effects of the spiker's actions. Thus, socialism builds on itself by perpetually creating new programs to solve the problems begotten by others until complete financial collapse.

RE: Good
By Spuke on 1/16/2009 1:12:22 PM , Rating: 1
It takes two to tango. One to spike the punch, another to naively drink it.
Banshee, it does indeed take two to tango. Those businesses, if they truly valued bottom dollar, should've just taken it in the a$$ with the fines and went public about what was happening to them. They're so good at convincing people to buy a damn TV for the Super Bowl, use some of that knowhow to convince people that the people can't afford more than they can afford. If the public says FU, then you pay the damn fines and stay in business. Not bend over for the government and crash the entire economy!!!

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 1/16/2009 9:20:29 AM , Rating: 1
problem was the government FORCED the banks to lend to these people. If you didn't give enough minority home loans you were FINED! It wasn't cheap. So the banks played along and bam...people can't pay.

No the problem was your governmnt over a number of years persisted in de-regulating the financial industry. I'd like to hear any evidence to suggest the government forced banks to make bad loans. There is none, because you made it up to make democrats and government interference in business sound bad.

RE: Good
By MrBungle123 on 1/16/2009 10:46:11 AM , Rating: 2
You really need to get your news from someone other than MSNBC...

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 1/20/2009 8:36:06 AM , Rating: 2
I have never watched msnbc.

What do you suggest I watch instead? Fox News? gimme a break.

RE: Good
By masher2 on 1/16/2009 11:00:43 AM , Rating: 3
> "I'd like to hear any evidence to suggest the government forced banks to make bad loans"


"Internal documents show that even late in the housing bubble, Fannie Mae was drawn to risky loans by a variety of temptations, including the desire to increase its market share and fulfill government quotas for the support of low-income borrowers..."

While only one of those factors would seem to be government-based, actually both are. All entities wish to increase market share-- but private entities normally refrain from doing so by taking enormous risks with shareholder money.

A government entitity like Fannie Mae, however, with government offloading the majority of its risk, is not so constrained.

In addition, there are laws like the CRA, which affect all lenders, forcing them to make loans in low-income areas:

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 1/20/2009 8:46:18 AM , Rating: 2
"Internal documents show that even late in the housing bubble, Fannie Mae was drawn to risky loans by a variety of temptations, including the desire to increase its market share and fulfill government quotas for the support of low-income borrowers..."

What that says is that Fannie Mae, through its own free will, decided to take risky moves in order to not look bad when their results come out at the end of the period.

Sure the government put those quaotas in place to encourage lending to minorities but it doesn't state that they should be taking dangerous risks to meet them.

It also doesn't demostrate an evil socialist creation going wrong causing all these problems. It was the way the mortgages were traded that caused all this, wrapping up dirty loans and calling them AAA rated when they fundamentally weren't.

If the only way you can find to meet targets set by an outside body is to take silly risks then you obviously need to be replaced with somebody more competant.

If Fannie were a true socialist entity it would be entire funded by the taxpayer (which it wasn't) and entirely run as a state owned company - probably not for profit.

It was none of those things, although that has changed since its bailout.

RE: Good
By jimbojimbo on 1/19/2009 4:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
Obama while working for ACORN was also responsible for some of the lawsuits that caused this. Someone with horrible credit applies for a home loan and gets denied? Why it's racism! Approve that loan or you're a racist! Thanks, Obama. But then again he got their votes and everyone's so infatuated with his celebrity status nobody seems to care abou this past any more.

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 1/20/2009 8:57:22 AM , Rating: 2
The subprime bomb was caused by lawsuits from a voter registration organisation now eh?

The bomb was set by banks regurgitating and reselling loans using clever (not so!) techniques to marginalise risk. They could do this because the lines between a bank and an investment bank were rather blurred during the introduction of further deregulation, I think under Clinton.

This bomb does not explode because right now, all the bad loans can meet their payments because interest rates are low, have been low for ages and show no signs of increasing.

That is until, for some reason which should be patently obvious, inflation starts to shoot sky high and the fed decides to increase the interest rate to offset this tax-on-money. The bomb goes off as the defautls start soaring in.

This problem, could have been identified, solved and had never happened if interest rates had not shot up along with inflation because that bomb would not have gone off (yet). It's just a matter of whether anyone would listen to those 'trash talkers' of the economy. history tells us that we have boom and bust cycles, I guess the banks forgot that when they let their newfound freedom to play god with the financial system go unchecked.

RE: Good
By Swamp on 1/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By Reclaimer77 on 1/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By Oobu on 1/16/2009 8:33:06 AM , Rating: 1
Oh no, anything but that !

I know I'm gonna get rated down for this. You are a real piece of work you know. You wouldn't be saying crap like that if YOU were in danger of losing your job, or had lost it already. My company is firing 300+ people, because of this crap, and a lot of people I work with every day just lost their jobs. These jobs were their way of life, they have kids to feed, as well as having to keep a roof over their head.

People like you are why I don't read comments 90% of the time, or post replies. You are a wretched person.

RE: Good
By Reclaimer77 on 1/16/2009 8:34:54 PM , Rating: 2
I know I'm gonna get rated down for this. You are a real piece of work you know. You wouldn't be saying crap like that if YOU were in danger of losing your job, or had lost it already

How do you know I'm not ? You don't know me. My business, like a lot right now, could end at any minute. Nothing is guaranteed.

The difference between me and a Lib like you is I don't think we need to move heaven and earth and saddle future generations with untold debt just so we can feel good about ourselves because we saved some jobs.

People like you are why I don't read comments 90% of the time, or post replies.

Good ! Then I wish there were more like me so people like you would be in the minority again and common sense and responsible thinking would rule.

You are a wretched person.

Why ? Because I didn't want our tax money going to a bunch of overpaid GED educated teamsters and their fat cat mafia union bosses intent on milking the car industry for all it's worth ?

If that makes me wretched then give me a cane and call me Scrooge.

RE: Good
By mdogs444 on 1/15/2009 10:36:21 PM , Rating: 4
Lot of people would of lost jobs. Would of killed Michigan and made it even worse.

The UAW did it to themselves. They would have killed Michigan, not the big 3. They resort to walk outs and strikes when they want something bigger and better, and know it costs the company more money to sit idle than it does to pay them and take a loss. This was not a case of corporate greed, but rather worker greed.
Government should be able to tell the car companies what cars they should make

Why? To limit our choices, or at least, so they can make our choices for us? We don't know any better? We don't have a right to buy a status symbol because we worked harder than the next person?
well the regulations on them at least.

As if the current environmental regulations and safety regulations don't drive the costs of the cars up already? The democrats goal is these little econoboxes and that get good mileage, but are deathtraps. So they figure if everyone has to have one, then it'll be ok. But the companies have made these little cars for years - and the problem is that there is not enough room for profit, thus leading to less workers and low company value. This doesn't even address the point that they've been made for years and don't sell - people don't want them. So what do you do when people don't WANT them? You take away their alternatives and force them to buy one. Yeah, makes great sense to me.

RE: Good
By Swamp on 1/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 1/16/2009 6:15:45 AM , Rating: 2
Is that why Fords quality right now is rated as high as Toyotas?

And with the bailout, the UAW won't be going anywhere. So you can thank people with your attitude for that. The only way they would have gotten rid of the UAW was through bankruptcy. Yes their labor contract is up in 2011 but while they'll probably face concessions, they'll be back driving the price of labor and demanding more outrageous benefits again as soon as they're able to.

I love it how quickly people abandon that which made this country so great as soon as times get tough. All this government spending in the name to "save" the economy. When all they actually need to do is spend less on government and drop taxes to spur job growth and PRIVATE spending.

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 1/16/2009 9:36:28 AM , Rating: 1
being bailed out doesn't mean that everything is A-ok again.

Bailing out your car industry has to result in the industry turning a profit again. If it just keeps going down the same path it will need ANOTHER bailout, whent hat doesn't happen you, the taxpayer will turn around and wonder what happened to those billions you said your government could borrow off your 2 year old kid.

Issuing a bail out is a big deal and should only be done with a guaranteee that it's going to work.
... and hats of to the automaker CEO's offering to work for a dollar a year..

RE: Good
By omgwtf8888 on 1/16/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By masher2 on 1/16/2009 10:45:06 AM , Rating: 3
> "The automobile manufacturers experienced huge profits from this "globabilization"."

Err, GM has been pretty much steadily losing money for the last 20 years. It turned things around briefly during the late 1990s, and what did it do with the money? It used it to fund its enormous pension program, for a pool of people four times as large as those actually working. And now, that fund is underwater again.

Let's not even get into union practices such as the 'job pool': paying people to not work, rampant featherbedding: forcing the hiring of unneeded workers, and union restrictions and perks that make even working, needed personnel some of the least productive, motivated workers on the planet.

The CEO of GM gets paid a few hundred million -- when he's making bonuses and options. Union workers are getting paid hundreds of billions -- a thousand times as much. The money here isn't flowing into executive pockets, but union ones.

RE: Good
By Chocobollz on 1/17/2009 5:19:41 AM , Rating: 2
We don't have a right to buy a status symbol because we worked harder than the next person?

You get more money than some other guy doesn't mean you work harder or smarter... It only means that you're luckier than him.

RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 1/16/2009 6:11:22 AM , Rating: 5
I don't know what scares me more. Your lack of understanding of what it means to live in a free enterprise. Or the fact that you got rated up when you said that the government should be able to tell car makers what kinds of cars they're allowed to build.

If GM and Chrysler had declared bankruptcy, they would have freed themselves of their obligations to the unions. This alone would have taken an enormous weight off their shoulders. They would be able to get out of the labor contracts they were locked into which made them spend far more than Toyota or Hyundai for labor. They also would have been somewhat free of the massive health care debt hanging over them from the UAW.

Bankruptcy would have protected them and allowed them to remain in business while they restructured, got rid of the unions, and returned to profitability. Sure some job losses would have been incurred but they are anyway considering both manufacturers are cutting back on production. And when it comes down to it, I would rather the companies fail and someone new rise to take their place than have a government funded automaker that only builds the cars that the government tells them to.

The government has no authority to do what it is doing.

RE: Good
By juuvan on 1/16/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By arazok on 1/16/2009 9:19:42 AM , Rating: 5
If the free market is only good, why did it find itself in this finance mess at all?

The US has a mixed market economy. It is far from free. The banking industry, where the troubles originated, is one of the most regulated portions of the US economy.

You seem to confuse socialism and personal greed.

Socialism is entirely based on personal greed. It’s all about people voting for the guy who promises to give them the most stuff.

RE: Good
By Dreifort on 1/16/2009 9:27:16 AM , Rating: 4
free market create this mess!!??

If by "free" market you mean the FREE loans the Clinton administration was pressuring banks to give low income ppl or ppl with bad credit ratings. Then yes, the "free" market created this mess.

Capitalism had NOTHING to do with the bad economy we are suffering through right now. Even the NYT and WP admit this...that is soley to blame on Fannie/Freddie type home loans. The only difference with most who understand this and the NYT, WP...those publications somehow think Bush was responsible for Fannie/Freddie (and not their beloved Clinton).

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 1/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By MrBungle123 on 1/16/2009 11:08:01 AM , Rating: 3
You right wingnuts always called the left (and centre) haters for disagreeing with Bush's actions.

This dude hasn't even done anything yet and you are already inventing government policies that you say he will enact.

Thats because those of us on the right actually pay attention to what is going on, we understand how economies work, and we know enough about history to see where this is going.

and contrary to popular uninformed liberal belief Bush is not a true conservative, he is a conserative on a few social and defense issues but other than that he has been quite liberal. His refusal to defend the southern border, his run away defecit spending, and his medaling in the financial sector by advocating making financing available to people that want to buy a house are a few examples.

If you had been paying attention this last two years you would know that the things we are arguing against are simply the things that Obama has been saying he wants to do for the last two years during the presidential campaings.

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 1/20/2009 8:33:38 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, I am well aware of how not-conservative Bush has been... and how not conservative the majority of the republican party is. The only real conservative you've got is Ron Paul.

Your idea that you are simply arguing about things Obama wants to do is erroneous, because all kinds of made up rubbish is circulating about 'what Obama wants to do' as apposed to what he has officially stated.

Now I don't agree with half of the thigns Obama wants to do and stances he wants to take, but they are a helluva lot more appealing than Bush's or Mccains are/wouldhavebeen/were.

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 1/20/2009 8:59:04 AM , Rating: 2
oh and exactly where is this going please...

RE: Good
By Dreifort on 1/16/2009 9:18:13 AM , Rating: 3
What is the most valuable thing in the world to politicans?

National Security? no.

No national poverty? no.

Building up our armed forces? no.

Higher education? no.

Securing future votes? ding-ding-ding-ding... yes!

RE: Good
By Dreifort on 1/16/2009 9:32:38 AM , Rating: 2
Other thing politicians have learned to do...

If you find you will not be able to secure future votes (due to lack of popularity or term limits), then you find a way to do something controversial. Doing something controversial will immediately boost your popularity (good or bad) and will also secure a nice income for when you leave public office - by offering the always reliable income-boosting book deal.

RE: Good
By lucre on 1/17/2009 10:41:39 PM , Rating: 2
I find this comment both inflamitory and very poorly thought out.
a. i challenge you to find a good number of politicians not looking to preserve their voting base. if you dont like it, vote for people who dont care about you or what you might think. maybe this is already a little bit the case but at least they serve under the pretense of caring.
b. perhaps you dont know what a loan is. now let me add a disclaimer that i didnt take a really good look at the money headed to the big 3. However, a loan from the government means that they would control the car manufacturing about as much as a bank of america loan to applebees means boa would decide the sauces applebees serves.

Don't begin to exclusively blaim liberals for the mess the banks are in now. As I see it, the problems we face today are the result of
1. Irresponsible banking practices and
2. Deregulation... to put it simply, if you remove the barriers between financial institutions/sectors, and one group does something stupid, like, oh, say give billions in loans that anyone with foresight could predict won't be repaid reliably, then the entire economy will suffer all the force of the repricussions.
Actually there is one more thing. Cronies... a group of people with similar interests... you mean like obama and the people interested in net neutrality. Yeah. They don't care about me. But I suppose cynicism is easier than believing something might actually improve.

RE: Good
By mdogs444 on 1/15/2009 9:26:23 PM , Rating: 3
They are throwing money at the big 3 for the sake of the unions. Notice the democrats were the ones not in favor of reducing the UAW concessions? Now they want to throw money around for the purpose of bailing people out of homes they never should have bought in the first place - when in fact they should be kicked to the curb and back in apartments to save like a responsible person.

RE: Good
By tdawg on 1/15/2009 11:05:55 PM , Rating: 1
Which must be why the Democratic-controlled congress denied the Big 3 the money they wanted and then Bush and the Fed stepped in and gave them money from the bailout pool. To save the unions!

I think unions should be regulated, just like some businesses. As others have said, unions do a great job of killing the business they're a part of. Look at the asshats at Boeing, for example. We're in the heart of recession and they go on strike for raises?! And their contract isn't even expired or close to expiring; they sign a 3 year deal and then strike the next year because the terms they agreed to last year suddenly aren't good enough!

Housing-wise, I don't think there should have ever been a housing bailout, but here we are, so... You seem to forget about those that are being kicked out of their apartments because the property owner can't afford the mortgage on the building. What did the renters do to deserve your boot in their ass?

RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 1/16/2009 6:20:08 AM , Rating: 2
Which must be why the Democratic-controlled congress denied the Big 3 the money they wanted Republicans and moderate Democrats denied them the bailout.

Notice how the majority of the NAYs are who again? Oh right Republicans.

I am less than pleased with Bush's behavior as of late. But I'd still prefer 4 more years of him rather than what Obama has in store.

RE: Good
By ekv on 1/16/2009 7:10:53 AM , Rating: 2
I heard Southern Republicans voted (largely as a block) no on the bail-out, though with the behind-the-scenes stipulation that Bush would work something out. Sigh.

I believe Bush has been a stand-up guy, in fighting terrorism. He's put up with a lot of BS to do so, and done so graciously. For this at least, his leadership is something I would attain to. Ain't there quite yet.

Interesting how Reagan wound up fighting terrorism in an effort to clean up Carter's mess. Then Clinton went soft and GW wound up having to do something about it. I simplify, but there does appear to be a pattern. And how will Barrack Hussein Obama react? I'd almost laugh ... if only it weren't so predictably tragic.

RE: Good
By BansheeX on 1/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By ekv on 1/16/2009 4:10:33 PM , Rating: 2
My understanding is -- and this will be controversial 8) -- the Patriot Act was meant to correct certain deficiences bestowed on us by the previous administration <ahem> the Clinton's. Does anybody know why the CIA and FBI should not be allowed to talk to each other and cooperate on an assignment? This is a reason why CIA tracked terrorists came into the country and then they stopped being tracked. FBI does internal tracking, but FBI wasn't told because the CIA couldn't tell, by law. Somebody named Gorelick played a large part.

Ok, Reagan wasn't perfect. It didn't exactly work out. Now we know. Those Middle East countries are a bunch of nut-cases. Nevertheless you can't just let things go to pot. Israel is an ally. Not the best ally, however, potent.

I'd like to see all foreign aid cut-off. "Yes, we are still allies, but we've a budget crisis and there's no money for you." Just like that. The money saved could go towards building a hi-tech border, that and use illegal aliens as grunt labor. Not nice, but a deterrent, no?

"Lost us all international credibility" BS. If you're a terrorist are you going to launch an attack on the US homeland? Notta so easy. If you're a terrorist you're going to vote for Barrack Hussein Obama, and/or funnel money towards his campaign.

Thinking about your statement, I'd have to come down on the side that Afghanistan was and is a "just" war. Ostensibly, OBL is still there. His last communique was so tepid it could've been translated as "Nancy Pelosi, send some bail-out money. Thanks. I knew you'd come through."

RE: Good
By Spuke on 1/16/2009 5:26:35 PM , Rating: 1
If you're a terrorist you're going to vote for Barrack Hussein Obama, and/or funnel money towards his campaign.
So that's why the terrorists called him some racial slurs because they fully support him becoming president? (where's my down syndrome smilie?). There is no one side or the other. Both are FU. Polarization will always lose because real people aren't that fanatical. Finger pointing does nothing. Real people want results not blame.

RE: Good
By ekv on 1/16/2009 6:01:00 PM , Rating: 1
Ok, using the full name was deliberately inflammatory. However, I know the Mohammedan (aka Muslim) community has an underground banking system [used to get "money" across national borders]. I heard said community gave big-time to the Obama campaign. I'd like to see Obama's donor list 8) but I also know that even 20 years ago something like this would have been reported on the nighly news. Not now.

My point was that, if you're a terrorist, would you spend money to setup an operation in the US, or would you spend it on the elections (and hence have Liberals subvert the administration who is kicking your butt) ?

Not sure what you mean by "there is no one side ..."

I understand what you're saying about finger pointing and wanting results. Perhaps all I can say is that thinking long term is a good idea. [Look at Wm Wilberforce trying to abolish slavery in the UK ... took a hell of a toll on him, and 20+ yr's, etc.]

RE: Good
By Spuke on 1/16/2009 6:24:25 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps all I can say is that thinking long term is a good idea.
I can agree with that.

RE: Good
By someguy123 on 1/15/2009 10:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
i'm not exactly an admirer of this administration, what exactly is the "success" big businesses are trying to obtain here? the internet is suppose to be a open, hell the idea was just to be able to share information between universities in the beginning. this seems more like an opportunity for broadband companies to force a new tiered standard, with the public completely forced to comply as we have no control over the internet.

if this was some new, better internet or something that they were trying to appeal for then i'd be all for it, but instead they are trying to limit usability of those who won't pay the premium.

RE: Good
By porkpie on 1/15/2009 10:51:58 PM , Rating: 3
Um, huh? No one has EVER even ATTEMPTED to "limit usability". Telcos certainly could if they wanted to, there's no law against it now. That's just silly.

At least understand what the argument is all about. Telcos want to be able to offer new, advanced services. Things that will cost a lot for them to put in place. And therefore, things that they'll charge customers for, the customers that want them at least. Things high ultra-low latency connections for real-time remote control or videoconferencing, or guaranteed packet delivery, yadda yadda.

With Net Neutrality, they can't offer services like that, at least not until they become so cheap they can offer them at a single flat rate.

RE: Good
By MadMan007 on 1/15/2009 11:13:44 PM , Rating: 3
Telecom Act of 1996. Look it up.

RE: Good
By PrinceGaz on 1/16/2009 10:04:30 PM , Rating: 2
Net neutrality is a good thing because it will help keep the internet as a pipe through which almost anything can pass unimpeded, allowing the free transfer of information globally.

If companies were allowed to throttle connections, those throttles would become ever tighter until everyone (private users as well as website owners) were forced onto expensive tariffs. Net-neutrality embodies what the internet set out to be, and what it always should be, and anybody against it obviously has vested interests.

RE: Good
By dflynchimp on 1/15/2009 7:51:50 PM , Rating: 3
Before you dismiss the man's idea out of personal political leanings, you have to give his ideas a chance and analyse them at face value (just like we all gave Bush a chance; SEVERAL times). It's easy to detract from a government no matter what they do.

Goverment goes hands off- We complain they don't do enough keeping illegal immigrants off the country and giving companies too much power.

Government goes hands on- We complain they're consolidating power and going Hitler on us.

Face it. The job of a government is to GOVERN. That's why they're there. You need to look at things objectively with a little bit more openmindedness. You might think government stepping in to take control of private businesses are a bad idea, but face it, we're in a recession, and it's due in no small apart to what we've been doing for he past eight years (unless you try to pass that off onto Bill Clinton). You also can't expect to tell the government to fVck off after they just doled out a fat paycheck (borrowed from China) to save your asses.

Of course Obama gives a darn. Anyman running for office at least has half a mind to leave behind his legacy, and I'm pretty sure whatever Obama has in mind for the U.S he means to at least try and pull us out of this current economic s#!thole.

I'm the kind of guy who tells my republican friends that I'm a democrat and my democrat friends that I'm a republican just to initiate idealogical debate with them. I'm not politically affiliated, because jumping on a bandwagon blindly without passing your personal judgement on the issues at hand first is just absurd. You gotta look at both sides of the coin.

RE: Good
By Lord 666 on 1/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By Reclaimer77 on 1/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 1/15/2009 8:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
Face it. The job of a government is to GOVERN.

The job of the government is to SERVE the people. Not seek to rule them. Read the f*cking constitution for christs sake. I mean I know they don't teach it in school anymore (hell they don't even say the damn pledge of allegiance anymore) but damn.

RE: Good
By dflynchimp on 1/15/2009 10:45:22 PM , Rating: 3
Serving the people has many facets. This includes curtailing what is wrong the social and economic infrastructure so as to best allow advancement to take place. Few people complain about jails and fire/police departments and government funded construction projects like roads, bridges, schools and all the other research grants that have given us huge leaps in technological and living standards.

Governing doesn't mean going Hitler on us. The two are apples and oranges. I could bash the right wings for war propaganda and considering bringing back the draft for the same reasons that you're insulting me for (apparently you know for a fact that I've never read the constitution). Left/right wing principles are all skewed by sensationalism and brainwashing into believing that one MUST choose one of two sides. Where's the gray matter in between?

Every issue has two sides, and sometimes there's no such thing as the right sides; only idiots who insist that sides must be taken, and will find a way to demonize whichever side they ended up opposing.

Get this straight. The government is CHOSEN by us (assuming perfect real world rendition of the constitution) to govern and represent us. If we didn't like something about it we can always refresh and restart with a different set of people.

RE: Good
By cmdrdredd on 1/15/2009 10:48:39 PM , Rating: 3
I could bash the right wings for war propaganda and considering bringing back the draft for the same reasons that you're insulting me.

Actually no, you can't. Obama was the one telling everyone we need FORCED civil service. Please...this nation was based on freedom and forcing someone to civil service by any means is not a free state.

RE: Good
By dflynchimp on 1/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By ekv on 1/16/2009 3:58:33 AM , Rating: 2
It's my spare time. And I'm using it for a purpose.

RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 1/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 1/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By Reclaimer77 on 1/15/2009 8:33:52 PM , Rating: 2
We will have socialized medicine, and we won't even have a say in it.

Nancy P just rammed home the S-CHIP program through Congres, blocking any debate or deliberation on it of course. This is the first step in national socialized healthcare. All for the children, of course...

This is how the Obaman administration will get everything passed. By bypassing our representatives entirely. And it won't even make the news.

RE: Good
By Tsuwamono on 1/15/2009 9:32:59 PM , Rating: 5
Whats so bad about nationalized health care? If you're sick you get treated. I don't see where the bad side is. It doesn't cost 150$ for a broken arm or 10,000$ or something retarded to have knee surgery. I'm only 20 and I'm sure if i would have lived in the states id have easily 100 000$ of medical bills so far.

Personally I like having nationalized health care here in Canada. Quick, courteous, and quality. All the friends I have in the states say their hospitals treat them terrible, they do things too quick sometimes(like wrapping bandages) and the waiting time sometimes is ridiculous.

My dad went in a little while ago for a dislocated shoulder and within 5 minutes he was talking to a doctor and then drugged. He woke up 10 minutes later in a wheel chair and hes arm was fixed and off he went home. I believe grand total of 30 minutes in the hospital from walk in to walk out.

I have a heart problem and I signed in for a Ultrasound of my heart and literally i just put my hand on the seat to sit down and the guy came out and called my name before my ass hit the chair. I changed into the gown and waited for maybe 5 minutes while he prepared the room. Again i was out of there within maybe 30 minutes.. It took a little longer because my stomach kept rumbling screwing up the ultrasound.

My mother had a heart attack and she was in a bed with a heart monitor and seeing a doctor within about 15 minutes from the call to 911. She was sent home after a few hours of tests and review but was sent home. Unfortunately she died later that day.

3 seperate cases. Again i see no problem with Nationalized health care.

RE: Good
By masher2 on 1/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By Darkskypoet on 1/15/2009 11:44:48 PM , Rating: 4
Actually, its a fairly well known Economic development fact that relying on a resource based economy leads almost absolutely to declining terms of trade.

See the issue here, is that the US essentially got to write all the rules of trade post World War 2. As a result of course, it benefits greatly.

Further, if you actually had been to Canada, or actually studied it at all, you'll understand that the same returns to scale that the US benefits from are not readily applicable to Canada.

1.) ~30ish Million people spread over an area larger then the United States. Having to pave / construct thousands of km of highway, rail, etc to serve small population centers of perhaps 15 000 people, over and over, and over again, in each province, (except for maritime provinces) multiple times, takes its toll on any country's resources.

2.) Considering the infrastructure costs per person (as explained above) you will find these to be much higher then similar costs per US citizen. Additionally, our mean temps are lower, resulting in much more resources required simply to maintain populations in Northern latitudes... Quite frankly, I'd imagine over half of your population has never felt -20c

3.) GDP / capita is a pretty crappy reference for anything, especially quality of life. Our life expectancy is longer, infant mortality lower, education ranking higher, prison population lower, crime lower, etc, etc, etc.

4.) Currently, the US spends almost double what Canada does on health care already... Its funny though, because honestly... that should mean longer life expectancy, better results for your population, etc. Instead though, its another anomaly like your gdp/capita claim; inequity is huge in your country... And so the poor get screwed, and the rich get first rate treatment for a high price. Additionally a tonne is lost to inefficient admin systems, and lack of real accountability to the patients. (I am sure that those worse off are the ones too 'rich' for Medicare, and excluded from your HMOs / insurance system, however here at least I know if I am worse then the guy beside me, I get seen first.)

Honestly... I have no big contention about many people in the US feeling they are better off because they can buy almost anything they want, and jump to the head of the line with money. Kudos. I prefer having our society as a whole do better, and no one ever getting shut out of essential services because they can't pay, or because a samll number of firms are profiting like crazy from what essentially is an oligarchic cartel. Many American Private Health Care orgs get away with murder, quite literally. I am glad that by and large we don't ration by income.

Yes I realize that as in ALL systems; there will be free riders. Unfortunately its hard to expunge laziness from all humans. However, for the many 'working poor' I have no problem helping any of them to get essential services. If someone has to work 40-50 hours a week on minimum wage to pay the bills, damn straight they deserve to be able to go to the doctor, hospital, etc.

Further, our health care system, even at the times you seem to reference in your articles, covers a higher percentage of the population then the US system has, without anyone losing their life savings for an operation, unexpected birth complications, etc. For you to seemingly indicate that people being turned away is unique to socialized medicine... You are on glue.

Bottom line; Triage should always trump the cheque book when it comes to providing services. Here at least 95ish% of the time it does. Also, in our province at least, private clinics are simply bought by the province when they contravene the Canadian Health Act, and wait times for a number of extremely expensive procedures has dropped substantially. However these wait times are matters of the public record, the number of patients turned down for necessary treatments under your system is not.

But since we like to throw links at each other:

"The U.S. already rations care. Rationing in U.S. health care is based on income: if you can afford care, you get it; if you can’t, you don’t. A recent study by the prestigious Institute of Medicine found that 18,000 Americans die every year because they don’t have health insurance. Many more skip treatments that their insurance company refuses to cover. That’s rationing. Other countries do not ration in this way.

If there is this much rationing, why don’t we hear about it? And if other countries ration less, why do we hear about them? The answer is that their systems are publicly accountable, and ours is not. Problems with their health care systems are aired in public; ours are not. For example, in Canada, when waits for care emerged in the 1990s, Parliament hotly debated the causes and solutions. Most provinces have also established formal reporting systems on waiting lists, with wait times for each hospital posted on the Internet. This public attention has led to recent falls in waits there.

In U.S. health care, no one is ultimately accountable for how the system works. No one takes full responsibility. Rationing in our system is carried out covertly through financial pressure, forcing millions of individuals to forego care or to be shunted away by caregivers from services they can’t pay for.

The rationing that takes place in U.S. health care is unnecessary. A number of studies (notably a General Accounting Office report in 1991 and a Congressional Budget Office report in 1993) show that there is more than enough money in our health care system to serve everyone if it were spent wisely. Administrative costs are at 31% of U.S. health spending, far higher than in other countries’ systems. These inflated costs are due to our failure to have a publicly financed, universal health care system. We spend about twice as much per person as Canada or most European nations, and still deny health care to many in need. A national health program could save enough on administration to assure access to care for all Americans, without rationing."

RE: Good
By CSMR on 1/16/2009 8:12:04 AM , Rating: 1
-Health care:
I agree the canadian health care system is better. Far from ideal however. The US health care system is a bad example of a private health care system. Nationalized health care isn't the only option. The capitalist system which gives walmart can also give cheap health care but you need to take away the wrong regulations (which give doctors and pharmaceuticals monopoly power) and put in the right ones (which maintain competition).

A system where you go to a shop, are not told the price of what you are buying, and say "my bank's agreed to pay for my purchases" is not a functioning capitalist model. And where the shop asks you if you are paying yourself and if you are paying either charges much higher prices but if you can't pay lets you have the goods anyway. And where you can't start a shop without complying with massive state regulations. You would not expect reasonably priced goods in this model.

-Inter-national comparisons
You can't make policy comparisons so simplistically. You should factor out natural human capital at least. The US has had a large "brain drain" to it from other countries, giving it a lot of people naturally at the top, and the slave trade and immigration from mexico giving it a lot of people at the bottom. To identify policy effects you have to factor these out and look at the situation of an equivalent person in each country. Cut out low-skilled immigration and you have reduced GNP, increased inequality, crime, etc., even though all people (immigrants and natives) may be better off.

RE: Good
By tdawg on 1/16/2009 2:19:55 AM , Rating: 2
How about those at the lower income tiers, as you say, that have to work 2 or 3 part time jobs to get 40 hours because none of the employers wants to give them enough hours to qualify for health insurance, or the employer simply doesn't offer health insurance? People in this situation would finally be able to walk into a doctor's office and be able to get treatment with their national health insurance, rather than having to clog up the emergency room for non-emergency medical needs, freeing up emergency care nurses and doctors to care for emergencies. It'd also get rid of the stressors and stigma of free clinics in major urban areas, potentially resulting in more facilities to choose from, and consequently, lowering the patient:doctor ratio and increasing the time you get to spend with a doctor to treat what ails you.

Everybody that looks at the world with a "Just World" viewpoint likes to lump everybody that is living below the livable wage as welfare-stealing scum that contribute nothing to society and that would be better off being shot and we should leave them to die on downtown streets.

RE: Good
By Dreifort on 1/16/2009 9:44:55 AM , Rating: 4
one way to stop the growth of an industry (scientifically/medically/technologically) is to nationalize it.

sure it's free...but the same treatment for cancer today will be almost the exact same treatment 40 yrs from now.

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 1/16/2009 10:03:00 AM , Rating: 1
"a. It tends to reduce the quality of care."

No it doesn't. Especially being as not having it means a lot of people go without.

"b. For those who can already afford it, it tends to reduce availability. (for those who can't, it tends to increase availability obviously)."

No it doesn't, how can adding a socialised healthcare system reduce your ability to get healthcare? No it will not put private companies out of business.

"c. Those at the higher income tiers are taxed more heavily to pay for it, which disincentives them and may force them to more tax-avoidance shelters and, in extreme cases, to leave the system entirely."

It is the fault of the system if people can avoid taxes just by knowing how to do it. If everybody knew, you would get no tax revenue.

"d. Those at the lower income tiers are given yet another benefit, which further disincentives them from working."

Absolute tosh. Giving them money *might* make them think twice about working. Giving them healthcare will allow them to work without fear of losing their job due to sickness.

"After all, when food, housing, medical care, education, and even entertainment are all rights -- why spend years in school and work?"

They aren't all rights and never have been, nobody is trying to make all of those things rights. Some, yes. Access to medical care and education is a must if you want a civilised society.

"Canada has a 20% lower per-capita GDP than the US, despite having, on a per-capita basis, at least ten times the natural resources. You think that's just blind luck?"

Have you taken a look at the environmental conditions in Canada at any point?

"The gap used to be much larger, when US was a little less socialized itself. Heavily-socialized nations do not have efficient economies, plain and simple."

I have one word for that statement.


High taxes, loads of social programs and government regulation of its industries. Yanno, they have the dreaded minimum wage that is supposed to destroy businesses and all that prosperity destroying socialist crud.

Largest economy in Europe.

If all this social rubbish is so deadly to a country how come Germany exists? How come Britain which is still far more socialist than the USA the 5th largest economy in the world?

By your logic, we should all be wondering why we can't afford a telly whilst begging some government office for enough money to pay for a prostitute.

RE: Good
By Spuke on 1/16/2009 3:48:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think the biggest problem with those that oppose a national healthcare system is that they'll more than likely have to pay the majority of the taxes that go to run a system like that. I doubt a national healthcare system will be cheap to run and, quite frankly, it's going to be f$&ked up. I don't want half my paycheck going to something that going to be massively f$%ked up. The way welfare is run is bad enough. No thank you sir, I DON'T want another.

RE: Good
By MrPoletski on 1/20/2009 7:29:47 AM , Rating: 2
In the states, you already spend a ton of taxpayers money on medical related welfare programs.

Simply replacing all of that with a basic, free healthcare service/system (so no extra taxes to pay) would probably be better than what you have.

But that's socialism and hence evil, of course.

RE: Good
By masher2 on 1/15/2009 10:01:38 PM , Rating: 2
> "I like having nationalized health care here in Canada"

"Canada's publicly financed health insurance gradually breaking down. Private clinics are opening around the country by an estimated one a week"

Canadian Woman stranded in US due to lack of hospital beds back home:

Lack of doctors and beds plagues health system:

"The plaintiff...argued his yearlong wait for surgery was unreasonable, endangered his life, and infringed on the charter's guarantee of the right to life..."

"71 Ontario patients died [while on the waiting list for heart] surgery, 121 were removed from the list permanently because they had become medically unfit for surgery," and 44 left the province to have the surgery, many having gone to the United States for the operation "

"Fifty percent of the Canadian hospital administrators said the average waiting time for a 65-year-old man requiring a routine hip replacement was more than six months "

Canadian Woman Miscarries While Waiting for Hospital Bed:

RE: Good
By cessation on 1/15/2009 11:28:26 PM , Rating: 2
You digged dirt up on something that's really large. That's easy to do in almost any case. I could easily find just as much or more problems with the healthcare problems in the USA or anywhere else that large.

RE: Good
By masher2 on 1/15/2009 11:46:40 PM , Rating: 3
Several of those links are studies pointing to systemic problems that affect huge percentages of all Canadians. Not simply isolated cases.

The US does not have chronic shortages of doctors and hospital beds, lengthy wait times for essential surgeries, or any of the other problems plaguing the Canadian health care system.

RE: Good
By Darkskypoet on 1/16/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By Darkskypoet on 1/16/2009 12:13:14 AM , Rating: 1
New England Journal of Medicine:

"Background A decade ago, the administrative costs of health care in the United States greatly exceeded those in Canada. We investigated whether the ascendancy of computerization, managed care, and the adoption of more businesslike approaches to health care have decreased administrative costs.

Methods For the United States and Canada, we calculated the administrative costs of health insurers, employers' health benefit programs, hospitals, practitioners' offices, nursing homes, and home care agencies in 1999. We analyzed published data, surveys of physicians, employment data, and detailed cost reports filed by hospitals, nursing homes, and home care agencies. In calculating the administrative share of health care spending, we excluded retail pharmacy sales and a few other categories for which data on administrative costs were unavailable. We used census surveys to explore trends over time in administrative employment in health care settings. Costs are reported in U.S. dollars.

Results In 1999, health administration costs totaled at least $294.3 billion in the United States, or $1,059 per capita, as compared with $307 per capita in Canada. After exclusions, administration accounted for 31.0 percent of health care expenditures in the United States and 16.7 percent of health care expenditures in Canada. Canada's national health insurance program had overhead of 1.3 percent; the overhead among Canada's private insurers was higher than that in the United States (13.2 percent vs. 11.7 percent). Providers' administrative costs were far lower in Canada.

Between 1969 and 1999, the share of the U.S. health care labor force accounted for by administrative workers grew from 18.2 percent to 27.3 percent. In Canada, it grew from 16.0 percent in 1971 to 19.1 percent in 1996. (Both nations' figures exclude insurance-industry personnel.)

Conclusions The gap between U.S. and Canadian spending on health care administration has grown to $752 per capita. A large sum might be saved in the United States if administrative costs could be trimmed by implementing a Canadian-style health care system."

RE: Good
By ekv on 1/16/2009 4:29:54 AM , Rating: 4
Actually, I'm a bit disturbed that illegal aliens get better health care than I. It would be nice if hospitals turned away people that couldn't pay. The Democratic gov't in this state says otherwise. The cost is high. Budget hasn't been balanced for a long time -- though of course, it is not due singularly to health care, but rather, it is a spending problem. Government is very good at spending OPM -- other people's money.

Last I checked, "the richest nation is the world!!!" may be going under. I've heard that the massive debt's run up, due largely to CRA induced lending practices, are working their way through the system. We may be able to stabilize in a year or so, unless the government intervenes. Guess what? Congress just approved another $350 billion bail-out. They don't even know where the first $350 billion went.

I'd like to see government get out of health care. The government's job is to ensure domestic tranquility, like enforcing contracts. Socialism cannot determine costs appropriately. The free market can. That and tort reform would dramtically lower health care (administrative) costs. Obama is a lawyer? Guess what the chances of tort reform are? Isn't Malpractice insurance the largest cost factor for a doctor?

Congratulations are certainly due for being "the only G7 nation to run surpluses for the past decade plus". Btw, how much does Canada spend on defense? And thanks for all your help in fighting terrorism, internet based and otherwise, especially for all the troops you sent to Iraq. Oh, wait...

RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 1/16/2009 7:32:15 AM , Rating: 2
People who require emergency care, get it. Regardless of their ability to pay. Hence why so many hospitals in certain parts of the country are closing because of the rampant influx of illegal aliens. Illegal immigration has a lot to do with why health care is so expensive in this country. Just like car insurance. But why should doctors spend their time and resources, which aren't free, to give care to someone who can't pay them?

Is it "nice"? No. Is it fair? Yes. It is not fair to force people to work for someone who can't pay you. If your boss told you that you would no longer receive a paycheck, but he still wanted you to come in and work, would you do so? Why should doctors be any different? Especially when there are other people who need care and can pay them.

Do I feel bad for those who don't have good health care? Sure. Do I feel it is my responsibility to insure they get good care? No. What it comes down to is personal responsibility. You have to be responsible for yourself. That includes going to school, doing well, and getting a good job. If you choose not to do that and wind up working shitty jobs your whole life, that is no ones fault but your own.

Anyone can go to college today. You just have to have the grades and the ambition. Money is available to go if you need it. I paid for college all on my own. And not some cheap public school. A private one. I have $60,000 in loan debt I am having to repay. But I'm supposed to feel sorry for those who slacked off and have crappy jobs, thus not making as much money as me? I'm supposed to pay all my bills AND support them? No. But I don't have a choice in paying my taxes and it going to things I don't approve of.

RE: Good
By zsdersw on 1/16/2009 9:27:44 AM , Rating: 2
You want the government out of your wallet, and so do I, but do you also want the government out of your bedroom, living room, kitchen, automobile, and bathroom? I do.

RE: Good
By Dreifort on 1/16/2009 9:59:46 AM , Rating: 2
Michael... tell them to dig up any POSITIVE ground breaking stories about medical breakthroughs in Canada vs. US.

No contest.

I do have friends here in the US who WENT OUTSIDE of the US or medical treatment - but that was because the specific laser eye surgery was not approved in the US -- and it was cheaper. What happened? His eyesight didn't improve and he spent 4 months trying to recover from the botched eye surgery. And since it was done outside the US, no medical insurance so he had no recourse.

RE: Good
By Regs on 1/15/2009 11:33:40 PM , Rating: 3
I think the fact that is nationalized is not the problem, but the problem is that the Canadian economy cannot sustain a quality of health care like ours. Canada has a GPD of 1.4 million next to USA's 54.6 million. Of course they're going to cross the border. Nationalizing medicare isn't a magic key to unlock great health care.

RE: Good
By Oralen on 1/16/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By superflex on 1/16/2009 1:32:52 PM , Rating: 1
-1 for being a solcialist retard.

RE: Good
By Swamp on 1/15/2009 11:14:39 PM , Rating: 2
Wish America would have nationalized health care. Then everyone could get insurance. The quality wouldnt go down. Why would it?? For my wife, son and myself we pay $500ish a month for insurance. And still we have to pay co pays and any extra cost our insurance doesnt pick up.

RE: Good
By zombiexl on 1/15/2009 11:35:18 PM , Rating: 2
I hate to tell you but $500/mo isnt all that bad. My wife's company pays over $1100/mo for our health insurance. My company was paying over $1300/mo and we still had/have copays.

Do you really think free healthcare will be free? It will start with small across the board tax increases. Then they will agrue its costing more than expected and raise taxes further. Eventually we will have a VAT (or some such other national sales tax) added to the tax system, not to replace the current income tax system but to further suppliment the "free" health care and other "free" programs.

RE: Good
By Darkskypoet on 1/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: Good
By zombiexl on 1/16/2009 12:02:07 AM , Rating: 2
There is a reason why people come here for major health concerns.

What's sad is that until you need any real health care you wont relaize how much you are wrong in thinking socialized medicine is better.

RE: Good
By MadMan007 on 1/16/2009 12:13:10 AM , Rating: 2
People come here because the quality of care is very good. I also doubt the people coming here are anything but wealthier people if they are paying for it themselves.

RE: Good
By masher2 on 1/16/2009 12:14:15 AM , Rating: 4
> "the US already pays double what Canada does per capita"

This isn't true. Such studies are done by groups attempting to push socialized medicine, and ignore many factors. Furthermore, accurate cost-accounting of any socialized sector -- medicine or otherwise -- is essentially impossible. For instance, Canada has to subsidize medical education to counteract the doctor shortages its artificially low salaries provide. Those costs aren't counted as "medical" costs, though they wouldn't exist in a non-socialized system.

The facts are simple. If Canadian health care was satisfactory, private health clinics wouldn't be popping up all over the country, despite the fact that they're technically illegal. People wouldn't pay their own money to visit these clinics, if the "free" medical care truly met their needs. And they certainly wouldn't be fleeing to America for major surgeries like heart conditions and hip replacements, because of lengthy wait times in their own country.

RE: Good
By juuvan on 1/16/2009 7:31:06 AM , Rating: 2
as with everything accounts must match. If you want health care somebody has to pay for it. It could be you, or it could be the society.

Distribution of wellfare always requires distribution of wealth.

I guess majority of US decision makers choose not to distribute the wealth but instead stockpile it into hands who already have plenty.

Our health care is based on government funding(taxes), but we also have major private sector available for those who are willing to invest extra for their health.

Basically you can have the cake and eat it too.

RE: Good
By arazok on 1/16/2009 9:43:42 AM , Rating: 2
For instance, Canada has to subsidize medical education to counteract the doctor shortages its artificially low salaries provide.

For general practitioners (family doctor), the government pays them a paltry $18 per patient visit, regardless of how long you spend with the doctor. This must cover everything – the doctors salary, office expenses, and staff salary. It’s not uncommon for doctors to allow only one medical issue to be discussed per visit, meaning you must book separate appointments for each condition you are seeking treatment for.

RE: Good
By MadMan007 on 1/16/2009 12:08:02 AM , Rating: 2
The problem isn't healthcare costs themselves, it's the insurance companies that insert themselves as useless middlemen to get their slice. It's been proven that any system with insurance has higher costs - 'Who cares, insurance will cover it.'

RE: Good
By arazok on 1/16/2009 9:35:44 AM , Rating: 2
Personally I like having nationalized health care here in Canada. Quick, courteous, and quality.

As a fellow Canadian, can I just say AAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Courteous, sure. But there is nothing quality or quick about Canadian health care.

A warning to you Americans. In Canada, the average wait to see a doctor in an emergence room in 12-24 hours. I have personally sat in an emergency room, withering in agony, for 16 hours waiting to be seen.

In Ontario (and other provinces), people have been DENIED life saving cancer medication because it has not yet been approved for government health care funding, and it’s ILLEGAL to pay for the medication yourself! Yes, unless some bureaucrat can be convinced to fund your medication, you could die.

The average wait for a simple MRI is three months. In Manitoba, the median wait for neurosurgery is 15.2 months. For chemotherapy in Saskatchewan, patients can expect to be in line for 10 weeks. 10,000 breast cancer patients who waited an average of two months for post-operation radiation treatments have filed a class action lawsuit against Quebec's hospitals.

The American system isn’t very good either, but at least people don’t die in line, or because the government decided your medication was to expensive for even you to pay for yourself.

RE: Good
By Reclaimer77 on 1/16/2009 6:25:01 PM , Rating: 2
You, sir, are my personal hero of the day.

This is the ONLY time I have ever read a Canadian with the integrity and the courage to stand up and tell us the truth about your system.

I have personally sat in an emergency room, withering in agony, for 16 hours waiting to be seen.

Oh-my-god ! And I complain when I have to wait 2 hours ! That's terrible !!

and it’s ILLEGAL to pay for the medication yourself!

Whoa, what !?? How come none of these other Canadians brought this up ?

All you other Canadians are so full of it. Every time this topic comes up, you lie through your teeth and BS us about how great your healthcare system is. It's garbage !

RE: Good
By jimbojimbo on 1/19/2009 4:27:38 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, you're right. If we have nationalized healthcare every doctor and nurse will suddenly become super polite and efficient and work 300% better and there will suddenly be more of them too.

It's not a matter of being able to pay for it, it's a matter of WHO will be supplying it.

RE: Good
By MadMan007 on 1/15/2009 11:19:44 PM , Rating: 2
Bypassing our representatives? That doesn't even make sense. There was a majority elected, heck even in long-time conservative districts the Democrat won and that majority won't be bypassed. People are just sick of neo-Cons and probably threw out some good Republicans with the bathwater but the Republicans still have filibuster numbers so the Democrats can't just completely steamroll everything.

RE: Good
By rudolphna on 1/15/2009 10:11:26 PM , Rating: 2
oh goodie! One day we will have a true democracy! 400 million people willl vote on every tiny little thing, all led by FITcamaro! That would be even worse than the current Beuarocracy. NOTHING would EVER get done. In my opinion, bad health care is better than no health care. Look at Canada and how well their National Health Care system works. What kind of government would YOU like to see FIT? Sure, communism doesnt work. But pure, unadulterated Capitalism, doesnt work either. You know why? One word. Greed.

RE: Good
By rudolphna on 1/15/2009 10:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
Well, works well as opposed to some people not being able to afford any at all.

RE: Good
By MonkeyPaw on 1/15/2009 11:34:59 PM , Rating: 2
Why do people always assume that capitalism is the opposite of communism? Oh that's right, because communism is about controlling every aspect of the nation, including its economic welfare. Capitalism is just a system for a nation's economy. Believe it or not, "economy" is not what makes a nation, its the strength and freedom of its people. It is "by the people" that great nations are born.

What America used to guarantee was that your welfare was in your own hands. When times were tough, you were on your own and life might suck, but you got to pursue happiness on the way. This might have made life hard at times, but it was in the nation's struggles that America became great, largely based on PEOPLE working to overcome adversity. These days, people don't like hardship, or for life to be unfair, so they ask the government to work hard to prevent such things. The problem is, the more control you surrender, the less powerful you become. Just study the history on any world empire or superpower--rarely do these nations fall by violence. No, they fall from the indifference and laziness of their people, at the hands of incompetent leadership.

I live in a city that just announced a severe budget shortfall. It came form poor tax policy, waste, corruption, and lofty goals to "improve" this city. What happens now? They are raising taxes (especially in nicer areas) and decreasing public services (again). The city's school system is already terrible, and the infrastructure is falling apart. While this is just at the city level, this is what poor leadership and too much government control can do. Considering how corrupt we feel so many elected officials are, why do we suddenly trust them when they all get together in Washington DC?

RE: Good
By FITCamaro on 1/16/2009 7:35:48 AM , Rating: 2
Capitalism isn't a form of government. It's an economic system you moron.

But capitalism was working fine until the government became as involved in it as it is today.

These problems were not caused by capitalism. They were caused by the government telling businesses how to do business. But you just seem all the more willing to hand over the nations economy to the government and let them handle it all. Because they've done such a great job with all the other government programs.

RE: Good
By cmdrdredd on 1/15/2009 10:39:35 PM , Rating: 1
Face it. The job of a government is to GOVERN. That's why they're there.

Actually the constitution and the government that is supposed to be in place here in the US says that the PEOPLE are the government. They work for us, but they want to tax us more, reduce our freedom, punish us for THEIR MISTAKES, and force us to buy piece of shit cars.

RE: Good
By cmdrdredd on 1/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By porkpie on 1/15/2009 11:07:06 PM , Rating: 3
"The scariest words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help' "

- Ronald Reagan

RE: Good
By ekv on 1/16/2009 4:37:06 AM , Rating: 2
dang it! You beat me to it 8)

RE: Good
By MadMan007 on 1/15/2009 11:11:35 PM , Rating: 3
Are you retarded? Copyright LAWS are LAWS written by the government. If there were none of these LAWS there would be no such thing as Copyright Infringement in the first place which is illegal because of LAWS. Copyright Laws are there to protect the copyright owners (businesses) not to 'tell them how to run things.'

RE: Good
By drzoo2 on 1/15/2009 7:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
While I would normally agree with you, do you think Time Warner enjoys the added bandwidth my Netflix streaming account has added? You know now that I can get most of my content from Netflix and not them? It's not like I have any choice in my broadband provider. If TW decided to throttle that service tomorrow, what am I going to do about it? They are the only option hence no competition.

Alec French, vice president for government relations for NBC Universal says such a scenario, though would be disastrous for the TV and movie industry. He said the industry would oppose any Democratic legislation which involved such reforms. He states that allowing such services would be akin to "setting a roadmap out for anyone who wants to create a copyright infringing service."

Yep, change or die. Sorry. Not going to show you any sympathy. The writings on the wall buddy. Your business models are crumbling. It looks like crying to the government isn't going to help anymore.

RE: Good
By Sunday Ironfoot on 1/15/2009 7:38:08 PM , Rating: 3
Good one Obama. Now all we need is some patent reforms :)

RE: Good
By Etsp on 1/15/2009 7:59:59 PM , Rating: 2
While the Democratic administration may skirt the issue of piracy, or even allow throttling in cases of infringement, Mr. Cooper says that Patrick Leahy will seek to copyright reform.
We aren't going to get patent reform, reform is going to be copyrighted, and so anyone who attempts reform of any kind will be subject to licensing fees...</sarcasm>

RE: Good
By tjr508 on 1/15/2009 11:33:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, government control over the internet is always the correct decision and price controls have never been known to cause shortages.

Yes to Net Neutrality, No To Government Totality
By createcoms on 1/15/2009 7:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
I'm all for Net Neutrality, but I agree with previous comments here and more abroad that a government solution is almost never pretty. They need to stay (the F)out of our lives, and that is for all things positive or negative.

By rudolphna on 1/15/2009 10:18:35 PM , Rating: 1
All banks go bankrupt, ironically. . Poverty level rises significantly as people go out of work. Companies are free to charge whatever they want for everything. $100 for a gallon of gas, $40 for a loaf of bread. No state-sponsored education. No state testing. No FAA. No NTSB (national transportation safety board). Old people go homeless as costs rise, and Social security goes away. Roads become god awful since there is no state/federal funding to fix them. No fed-sponsored anti-drug programs. No state police. No Prescription program. Bridges collapse. Airlines go Chapter 7, and disappear. No air travel. No Air Traffic Control anyway so not a big deal right? Sounds like a great world to me! /sarcasm

By porkpie on 1/15/2009 10:59:34 PM , Rating: 2
Hello in there Rudolph. Funny how none of these things seem to happen in capitalist nations. But awful roads, super-high prices, breakdown of police services, and bankrupt airlines are all pretty much a staple of socialist nations.

By rudolphna on 1/15/2009 11:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
Either extreme is bad. But, the system we use today, or should seems to work fine. For the most part the economy/country is left to itself. But the government oversees things, to keep things going well. And Airlines are already bankrupt they have just filed for Chapter 11 over and over.

How about sticking to the topic?
By SlipDizzy on 1/16/2009 9:49:38 AM , Rating: 2
It seems that if you put Obama or Apple on any blog, the conversation immediately hops off the track and crashes into some trees. I'm beginning to feel that the anti-democrats and anti-mac people are slowly taking over the commenting section on this site.

I was really hoping for a good discussion on Net Netruality and I wanted to actually see a few people argue against it for the sake of discussion. Instead the conversation nose dived into Obama-Hate-Land/Screw the Government, thanks Obama-haters blowing their load on anything with his name on it.

RE: How about sticking to the topic?
By CSMR on 1/16/2009 10:06:02 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, most of these threads are irrelevant. I've argued against it net neutrality just above you. Having all data treated equally is not the right regulation. Some data needs to be given priority (e.g. time-sensitive VOIP) and if people are willing to pay for this they should be allowed to. There needs to be regulation but not neutrality.

(NB Net Neutrality has a variety of interpretation and democratic politicians' interpretations tend to be very strict as above. There are suggestions that still go by the name "net neutrality" that aren't really neutral and pretty good.)

By SlipDizzy on 1/16/2009 10:11:07 AM , Rating: 2
I apologize, I must have missed your comment. Perhaps I should be using a boat motor instead of a paddle to wade through this swamp of derailing.

I agree that if you want to pay for priority, then you should be able to pay for it as long as it doesn't affect anyone that chooses not to. However as I understand Net Neutrality, its almost as if one is being screwed if they choose not to pay the extra money.

This is just sad.
By Goty on 1/15/2009 7:35:18 PM , Rating: 4
However, with President-Elect Barack Obama soon to be inaugurated, change is afoot.

Wow... really? You should have your "I'm not a tool" card revoked for that one.

This all sound good & dandy, BUT!!
By zolo111 on 1/16/2009 6:52:58 AM , Rating: 2
and also block telecoms from implement data caps on "unlimited" connections

This might be a bad thing for some of us IF ISP's start new plans where they charge $20-45 for 5-20GB a month, and charge an arm & leg for "unlimited".

Since some users in ISPs' point of view abuse the service by downloading 250GB+ a month; they might whine about this.

Shouldn't they upgrade thier infrastructure to solve this problem instead? can't the FCC force them to do so, otherwise they take away thier license or something?

By MadMan007 on 1/16/2009 7:07:43 AM , Rating: 2
Tried already and failed. Telecom Act of 1996. We just need someone with the guts to kick their asses when they don't comply with the terms of such acts.

By CSMR on 1/15/2009 8:57:51 PM , Rating: 2
I certainly understand regulating internet service providers so that they provide internet connections to certain standards: all traffic should be allowed at a regulated quality level. They need to meet contractual standards and also not abuse monopoly power.

Net neutrality steps in this direction but then goes too far. Socialists jump in and say all the internet should be treated equally, as if it were a civil rights issue and not an economic system. If I want to pay an ISP for a fast lane for my VOIP use - which needs to meet strict QoS - then I should be able to do that. Yes there should be a minimum standard for something called an internet connection as a limit to monopoly power and to enforce the contractual obligations of ISPs but abolishing packet discrimination and "fast lanes" is bad for the internet.

It's better than what we have at the moment when VOIP is often discriminated _against_ but net neutrality (in the democrats' form) is far from ideal and unfortunately may stay with us for a long time.

Getting hot in here...
By daar on 1/16/2009 1:52:46 AM , Rating: 2
fact or fiction: fruit jam doesn't stick to tortilla's in space because it's surface tension is too low

By crimson117 on 1/15/2009 7:48:10 PM , Rating: 1
In the case of web radio, the Democratic congress may seek to reform copyright laws so as to encourage lower rates for small internet radio stations, who can afford big licensing fees like off-the-air radio stations.

Did you run that paragraph through some reverse thesaurus?

The Real Question..
By Reclaimer77 on 1/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: The Real Question..
By surt on 1/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: The Real Question..
By Lord 666 on 1/15/2009 7:17:16 PM , Rating: 2
The SEC investigated Madoff several times and did not find anything.

What is needed is unbiased and effective oversight.

RE: The Real Question..
By surt on 1/15/2009 7:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
How does that differ from regulation?
And Madoff was a trivial player who scammed a bunch of rich people and risk takers. Who cares. I care about the system that allowed CDS and massive mortgage fraud.

RE: The Real Question..
By Lord 666 on 1/15/2009 7:50:53 PM , Rating: 2
No one forced people to sign 5/1 and 7/1 ARMS.

If people actually took the time to read AND comphrehend the potential risks of entering into such agreements, then there would be much less foreclosures.

50 billion could have built at least 30 nuclear power plants. Definitely not chump change.

RE: The Real Question..
By BansheeX on 1/16/2009 9:25:40 AM , Rating: 2
At the end of the day, the only effective way to protect people from scams is through education. Having an impotent government agency is just begging for collusive "look-the-other-way" conflicts of interest. That people believe the SEC is capable of preventing this stuff is just one reason people weren't thinking straight. Madoff basically offered consistent, outlandish yields every year and people actually took it! You can't protect people from their own greed and lack of skepticism, fraud is just one of those things you have to be personally vigilant about and not expect government to prevent for you. Ponzi schemes aren't that difficult to spot once you learn about them, our treasury market and Social Security operate under the same principles.

RE: The Real Question..
By ebakke on 1/15/2009 7:33:55 PM , Rating: 2

RE: The Real Question..
By Sunday Ironfoot on 1/15/2009 7:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
If the last 8 months have shown us anything, it's that regulation is a very good idea, especially in the financial markets.

RE: The Real Question..
By masher2 on 1/15/2009 8:23:22 PM , Rating: 2
Please, not the old "deregulation caused the crisis" chestnut. This crash is a textbook case in government overinvolvement. The deadly combination of the Fed's artificially low interest rates, along with Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac's subprime lending practices overheated the entire real estate sector.

Eventually it blew up...and its not like we all didn't see it coming. Home prices doubling over 4-5 years in some areas? Million-dollar McMansions on every street corner, being balloon-financed by people with $60K incomes? Banks not even bothering to do simple credit checks, because they knew they'd turn around and sell the paper to Fannie Mac before the ink was even dry?

Were interest rates allowed to float normally, they would have risen as did the risk, stemming the tide of mortgages, and allowing the red-hot real estate market time to equalize. Instead, the Fed kept them low, and everyone kept buying right up till the point the music stopped.

Every single troubled or collapsed financial institution was involved heavily in either the subprime market, or credit derivatives which relied upon it. There are plenty of banks which avoided these risky behaviors and are still doing just fine.

There's no mystery about the cause. Without government involvement, this never would have happened.

RE: The Real Question..
By Reclaimer77 on 1/15/2009 8:28:34 PM , Rating: 2
Banks not even bothering to do simple credit checks, because they knew they'd turn around and sell the paper to Fannie Mac before the ink was even dry?

Agree with everything you said, but this is the big one.

Most people, especially on Daily Tech, do NOT understand that these loans would not have existed in large numbers if Fannie Mac wasn't buying them up like a 2 for 1 sale on black Friday.

There is no such thing as a "preadatory lender" people.

RE: The Real Question..
By DigitalFreak on 1/15/2009 8:39:51 PM , Rating: 1

Freddie and Fannie may have been backed by the government, but they were run like a typical greedy corporation. Too little government oversight and regulation was the problem, not too much.

RE: The Real Question..
By BrockSamson on 1/15/2009 8:57:35 PM , Rating: 2
They were run like that because of the government backing that appeared to reduce the risk (and in some ways forced them to due to the regulations and the fines they faced if they didn't give low income people loans).

If it was run by free enterprise, as much as I hate such a thing, this never would have happened because nobody would have been willing to take so many risks lending money to so many people who couldn't afford it.

RE: The Real Question..
By masher2 on 1/15/2009 9:37:52 PM , Rating: 3
Picture this. Someone comes to you asking for $800K to buy a home. They have no credit history, little to no downpayment, and they don't make enough money to actually pay down the principle, so they want an interest-only balloon note that, when it expires in a few years, they'll be forced to default on unless home prices have continued to rise.

Just five years ago, the house sold for $400K, and its in an area with countless other similar homes, all on the market as well. Still more homes are being built, as fast as builders can be found.

Would you risk YOUR money to lend to them?

When you understand why banks did, you'll understand how government involvement caused this crisis.

RE: The Real Question..
By energy1man on 1/15/2009 10:38:59 PM , Rating: 2
What sank the wall street investment banks was not loans bought up by Fannie/Freddie. The firms bought up loans on their own, repackaged them as collaraterized debt obligations(CDO's), basically a type of derivative. These were then divided into tranches, different risk levels, that were then peddeled to their clients, such as local school boards. The problem with these tranches, were that the bond rating agencies, which were paid by the wall street firms, gave AAA ratings to most of the junk. This was the only way this stuff could be sold to most local, state agencies which have minimum ratings for the investments they hold. Unfortunately private greed setup most of this fall.

Incidently while the Fed controls interest rates among banks, mortgage rates are generally tied to the rates on the 10 yr treasury notes. These rates are set by what the free market is willing to pay for the treasury notes.

RE: The Real Question..
By masher2 on 1/15/2009 11:25:29 PM , Rating: 2
What you're forgetting is that the vast bulk of problematic CDOs were exposed through CDSs (credit default swaps) and other derivatives. When Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac blew up, it resulted in a massive spiral of defaults, which took out anyone unlucky enough to be holding a portfolio of real-estate related derivatives.

The "greed" explanation doesn't cut it. People are no more or less greedy now than they've ever been.

Holders of actual cash CDOs (where you actually buy someone else's debt, rather than a derivative-based chain) such as the "local and state agencies" you mention, were much less affected.

"while the Fed controls interest rates among banks, mortgage rates are generally tied to the rates on the 10 yr treasury notes"
Yes, but short-term and long-term interest rates *are* tied together. The Fed (along with other government actions) indirectly exerts a large influence on mortgage rates.

RE: The Real Question..
By energy1man on 1/16/2009 12:05:41 AM , Rating: 2
While there is usually correlation, from the graphs you referenced they were within about 2% percent, certainly does not equal causation.

The current disount rate is about 0.5%, yet mortgage rates remain in the 5-6% range, a 4.5% to 5.5% difference. If the there was a direct linkage, we should be able to get a 2.5% mortgage right now. Since this is not the case, it would suggest other dynamics are at work.

RE: The Real Question..
By masher2 on 1/16/2009 12:26:14 AM , Rating: 2
If the there was a direct linkage, we should be able to get a 2.5% mortgage right now.
Eh? No. Long term rates are a multiple of short-term rates (a multiple plus a constant, actually). In ordinary circumstance, they'll always be higher.

That doesn't change the fact that short-term rates direct long-term ones. Why? Because those short-term rates control inflation...and expectations of inflation are the primary arbiter of long-term rates.

RE: The Real Question..
By energy1man on 1/16/2009 8:26:32 AM , Rating: 2
... and in the end it is the free market that sets the rates on the treasury notes, one that allows for an expectation of a real return after inflation.

RE: The Real Question..
By CigarSmokedByClinton on 1/15/2009 10:52:07 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I also agree that under-regulation was the problem. I believe that the free market system would never have allowed this financial situation to happen. It was government intervention in the free market that messed up the US of A.

RE: The Real Question..
By cmdrdredd on 1/15/2009 11:00:30 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I also agree that under-regulation was the problem. I believe that the free market system would never have allowed this financial situation to happen. It was government intervention in the free market that messed up the US of A.

You just contradicted yourself. Basically what you said was not regulating banks was the problem. Yet you go on to say a free market economy would have not had the same result. That's two very different things because in a free market, companies can pick and choose what products and services they want to provide and the value of such products will be determined by demand. So, if a home is $400k and won't sell because nobody qualifies for a loan, price will drop to levels people can afford. The way it worked was the banks were forced by a government filled with liberal democrats who had their hands in the banks who were buying up these troubled loans and giving the loans to minorities and low-income persons. Many congressmen got kickbacks from the banks as well. Corruption 101 here folks.

RE: The Real Question..
By ekv on 1/16/2009 4:54:47 AM , Rating: 2
Many congressmen got kickbacks from the banks as well. Corruption 101 here folks.

From what I've read, Barney Frank and Maxine Walters (among others) were running interference for Fannie and Freddie. Fannie and Freddie wield huge influence on Capitol Hill through their lobbying efforts. In fact, after Fannie got its bail-out money the first thing they did was lavish it on Capitol Hill. Nothing like throwing "campaign contributions" towards Congress to thwart criminal investigation. [Just ask Frank Raines].

My cousin works for a, shall we say, large real estate company. He knows the people who made that loan to Senator Dodd. Those people and that particular division of the business have since been dispersed and relocated.

Corruption indeed. Won't see that on the nightly news anytime soon, will you?

RE: The Real Question..
By MadMan007 on 1/16/2009 7:04:03 AM , Rating: 2
They were run like that because they were publicly traded entities with a fiduciary responsiblity to maximize shareholder return as well, don't forget that. It's the 'private profit, public risk' mantra that free marketers like to roll out as reason not to do any kind of 'bail out' (in quotes because afaik none of the bailouts are actually bailouts) except in their case they were already that way. But you're right that it was able to be pushed to such extremes because of the government-backed nature of Fannie and Freddie. I suppose one could say they did have a pretty darn good run for 70-odd years though (Fannie)

RE: The Real Question..
By BansheeX on 1/16/2009 9:40:25 AM , Rating: 2
Freddie and Fannie may have been backed by the government, but they were run like a typical greedy corporation. Too little government oversight and regulation was the problem, not too much.

That's what the self-important government nitwits who caused this mess are saying, they're posturing themselves as the solution to a problem they created. You're an idiot if you honestly believe this. Why would a bank knowingly lend money to someone who couldn't pay it back unless (a) they were forced to by the government under social engineering concepts (b) they were a GSE like Fannie and Freddie whose mortgages had implicit government backing and (c) they believed the government would bail them out no matter what? The fact is, they wouldn't, because they know it would bankrupt them. Many, many government interventions brought this to a head, it starts with non-market determined money, then the Federal Reserve centrally price fixing interest rates, then all kinds of government social engineering programs to take sound renters and put them into a home they couldn't afford, and a tax code that promoted real estate flipping.

Government flat out overrode the normal free market self-regulation that used to exist when banks FEARED loaning money to people who couldn't afford it. They didn't fear it anymore, they were in fact INCENTIVIZED to do it BY THE GOVERNMENT! The government claiming that they suddenly dropped their guard and greedy chaos ensued is pure bullcrap.

RE: The Real Question..
By MadMan007 on 1/15/2009 11:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
FYI The Federal Reserve is not part of the government, it's a private central bank modeled after tthe Bank of England.

RE: The Real Question..
By masher2 on 1/15/2009 11:40:58 PM , Rating: 2
Eh? The Fed is a public entity. It was created by government act, its leadership is appointed by the President and approved by Congress, it regulates private banks and controls the entire money supply of the United States. How many private entities can tell the Treasury Dept. to print them as much money as they need?

In fact, the Fed exerts so much government-mandated power that its current head, Bernanke, was recently rated the Fourth most powerful person in the world...beating most heads of state by a handy margin.

It has some psuedo-private components to it, but its no more a private entity than the Treasury Department is. One can call it quasi-public if you want, but its rather like calling a woman semi-pregnant.

RE: The Real Question..
By BansheeX on 1/16/2009 10:00:12 AM , Rating: 2
Absolutely, how people can continue to believe the Fed is a private entity is beyond me. It's clear in the Wikipedia article, and there are plenty of good videos documenting their symbiotic government-like nature.

The Fed basically backstops fractional reserve banking to prevent runs, but it also price fixes interest rates and issues Federal Reserve Notes, our fiat currency. All other currencies are banned and gold is taxed as a commodity. The treasury issues bonds which represent IOUs, money the government wants to spend but doesn't have and promises to pay back with interest. They print the IOUs, the Fed buys a lot of them on the open market with dollars they create out of thin air. It's currency debasement, a sort of hidden tax. You can't do it with gold because gold derived its value from a material scarcity rather than a manufactured scarcity of a worthless material.

Ever since leaving the gold standard in 71, all disciplinary limits to how much the government could mortgage future generations were removed. We now abuse a reserve currency status we gained under gold to export our inflation around the world, causing all kinds of distortions and bubbles. People are blindsided because they look at Keynesian numbers like the CPI which removes practically everything in which inflation is invested (like homes) and negates price increases with assumed quality increases. It's all nonsense to spend as much as they possibly can without the populace blaming them for its effects.

RE: The Real Question..
By FITCamaro on 1/15/2009 7:40:57 PM , Rating: 2
Regulation is fine in limited amounts. Otherwise it interferes with businesses ability to do business.

RE: The Real Question..
By cmdrdredd on 1/15/2009 10:46:08 PM , Rating: 1
Hopefully not much. If the last 8 years have shown us anything, it's that regulation is a very good idea.

The regulation that did happen was the direct cause! Force banks to lend money to lazy people who can't afford a house. Impose fines if banks refused. Force auto makers to build cars nobody wants and don't sell and impose fines if they refuse.

Yeah...tell me again how regulation is good? It isn't.

Free market is the best way to go. Let the banks decide who gets money and who doesn't. Your credit score and history is what should dictate your worthiness of getting a loan, not your ethnic background. Let the auto makers decide what cars to release and market based on market research, testing, and consumer habits.

Forcing companies to do something is not good, especially when the only fucking thing congress accomplished last year was giving themselves a raise.

RE: The Real Question..
By MadMan007 on 1/15/2009 11:41:33 PM , Rating: 2
The pure free marketers seem to forget history and are thus willing to doom everyone to repeat it. Learn about the early industrial era to see how pure free markets end up worse than regulated ones. In the modern world pure free markets are far too open to abuse. The real solution is somewhere in the middle but greed needs to be reigned in when it ends up being abused.

RE: The Real Question..
By ebakke on 1/16/2009 9:41:05 AM , Rating: 2
...but greed needs to be reigned in...
Yeah, good luck with that.

RE: The Real Question..
By masher2 on 1/16/2009 10:54:51 AM , Rating: 3
> "Learn about the early industrial era to see how pure free markets end up "

You mean the early industrial era when Americans gladly quit their 16-hour-day-in-the-sun brutal hard-labor agrarian lifestyles to flock by the millions to cities, to gain those 12-hour-a-day cushy factory jobs that, only by our standards, seem so dismal today? Jobs that ensured you didn't starve from a bad harvest? That didn't involve constant back-breaking labor?

You mean the era in which the US turned almost overnight from a backwards colony to the world leader in steel, oil, agricutulture, and a dozen other major industries? The era in which Europeans emigrated here in their largest numbers in history, thanks to the opportunities for the common man? Where countless number of those penniless immigrants wound up wealthy, thanks to opportunities they were denied at home.

Those free markets ended up quite well, by any rational measure.

RE: The Real Question..
By MrPoletski on 1/16/2009 9:40:42 AM , Rating: 2
"Force banks to lend money to lazy people who can't afford a house."

Didn't happen.

RE: The Real Question..
By BansheeX on 1/16/2009 10:43:55 AM , Rating: 2

Owned. The article is obviously slanted in favor of it, but banks weren't refusing to loan people money because of their race or religion, they were refusing to loan money to poor people who couldn't pay it back, and a lot of those people happened to be minority's in dumpy neighborhoods. Wanting to take perfectly good renters and put them under a mountain of debt was seen as "progress" to bored, self-absorbed social engineers in government. Home ownership was some kind of superior thing (it isn't) that they believed they could bring about through central planning and market manipulation. It completely and totally backfired.

The Federal Reserve also forces banks to loan at an interest rate it sets centrally. If the Fed sets it at 1%, all private competing banks will lower the rate at which they loan to people. So despite the illusion of free competition, banks don't fully set the price of risk individually.

Besides those two examples of force, there is a lot of promotion going on via government. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were GSEs with the purpose of making homes more affordable in America (opposite of what they accomplished), their mortgages were implicitly backed by the government. The government has no business performing market functions, they're supposed to protect rights and offer recourse, nothing more. The tax code also promoted real estate flipping over more legitimate types of investment.

RE: The Real Question..
By Alexvrb on 1/15/2009 7:17:09 PM , Rating: 2
Well he certainly isn't going to be regulating regulation... or is he? 0.o

RE: The Real Question..
By cmdrdredd on 1/15/09, Rating: 0
"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

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