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  (Source: Callie Shell / Aurora for TIME)
President Obama hints at upcoming tech legislation at the inauguration

As President Bush exited Washington D.C. yesterday, President Barack Obama, the forty-fourth President of the United States of America, was sworn into office.  While the occasion was certainly significant for many reasons, Barack Obama had already set into motion much of his new agenda for the country weeks before, with much of it focused on the field of technology.

President Obama and Democratic allies in Congress have called for copyright reform, to help the laws deal with issues like internet radio sensibly.  They also called for legislation of net neutrality and legislation against some types of internet connection capping.  And controversially, they have called for the transition from analog to digital television to be delayed until later this year (from February 17) to allow people enough time to get their converter boxes, which the government funds for have current run out.

In his inaugural address yesterday, President Obama hit on several key parts of his tech initiative.  He stated, "For everywhere we look, there is work to be done; the state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.”

This passage of his speech alludes to his push for medical records to be digitized within five years.  President Obama says this will lead to a much more efficient system and great cost savings, which will translate to cheaper medical care.  The passage also includes an integral part of his tech policy, which is to increase the amount of cheap broadband connections to rural America, and make sure that telecoms do not abuse these connections by download caps or throttling.  He is also calling for a revamp of America's dilapidated power grid, much of which is 50 years old or even older in some areas.

He also stated, "
Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good."

This passage of his speech fuels speculation that the U.S. may move toward a more European style of antitrust law, where businesses are more aggressively policed for anticompetitive violations.  Many have speculated that this may affect companies like Intel or Microsoft who dominate certain markets and exercise certain pricing or bundling techniques to try to expand their empires.

President Obama also called for increased U.S. reliance and research on wind and solar power and he left the door open for nuclear, saying the country also needed other "natural energy sources".  He also called for an increase in technology in schools, to help the next generation stay competitive in the world economy.

Among the other salient passages of his speech was the following, "
And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government."

This could be interpreted as an allusion to President Obama's calls for increased accountability of domestic surveillance programs, and greater transparency in the government in general.

While the speech gave many allusions to his tech policy, it should get really interesting in the weeks to come.  With a Democratic Congress, the new President has a virtual open road to legislate his tech agenda.  However, the most important part of these policies -- their fine details -- will only arise in weeks to come as they are translated into legislative initiatives.





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And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Fanon on 1/21/2009 9:47:19 AM , Rating: 5
"And controversially, they have called for the transition from analog to digital television to be delayed until later this year (from February 17) to allow people enough time to get their converter boxes, which the government funds for have current run out."

They decided to make the change to digital what... six to ten years ago? People knew this was coming, especially with all the damn ads that played on the major networks over the past year. It's their own fault if they couldn't get off their butt and get their converter box.




RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By FITCamaro on 1/21/2009 10:10:00 AM , Rating: 2
We've got a lot more problems coming than just worrying about converter boxes.

What amazes me is that it doesn't seem to scare the crap out of many people when a politician speaks about "new orders" and such as Obama does.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Fanon on 1/21/2009 10:17:01 AM , Rating: 2
Oh I agree. I admittedly didn't get through the entire article. 99% of his policies scare the crap out of me.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By bjacobson on 1/21/2009 10:49:31 AM , Rating: 2
One of the big one that concerns me:
"We will build the roads and bridges"

The American road system is bar none one of the best in the world already. We need to look at which infrastructure investments will increase our GDP the most. Not by simply creating jobs (if this is done on debt then no new opportunities for wealth are created), but by increasing efficiency.

Also, TV is not food/shelter; there is no need to delay the transition.


By codeThug on 1/21/2009 11:01:33 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
We need to look at which infrastructure investments will increase our GDP the most.

Too bad we blew it all on Kennedy's mob buddies ala the Big-Dig.

Originally contracted @ $4 billion. Now it's up to what $12 or $15 billion. I lost track.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By abscoder on 1/21/2009 11:31:06 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
The American road system is bar none one of the best in the world already

Even if that were true, much of the road system needs improvement: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22793811/

I've never been on a US road that was as smooth or as well maintained as the Bundesautobahn has been the few times I've had the opportunity to drive it.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By UNHchabo on 1/21/2009 12:00:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've never been on a US road that was as smooth or as well maintained as the Bundesautobahn has been the few times I've had the opportunity to drive it.


I've never been on an Interstate highway that's as short as the Bundesautobahn either.

Late last year I drove across the width of the continental US, mostly on I-80. If we took care of that one road as well as Germany does on the autobahn, it would cost more than Germany's entire road-upkeep budget.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Triple Omega on 1/21/2009 12:56:45 PM , Rating: 2
So? What's your point? The fact that it would cost hundreds of billions more then you can afford to upkeep your roads to that level doesn't undo the fact that it's not at that level. So abscoder is still correct in saying that your roads are not maintained as well the Bundesautobahn. Your argument doesn't contradict that statement.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Ammohunt on 1/21/2009 2:37:28 PM , Rating: 2
You must be European becasue its obvious you have no clue about how big America is and how diverse its environments are. His point was right on Germany is the size of a large American state. I have dirven the entire length of Geramny in 8-10 hours(traffic was the biggest slow down) 8-10 hours of travel from where i live get me two states over if that.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By abscoder on 1/21/2009 2:58:50 PM , Rating: 2
You must have poor analytical skills because you have no clue about the distinction of length and quality. The total length of a road system does not make it the best. Nor does a more limited budget per mile tilt the equation.

If you believe "best" is equivalent to "amount", then fine. But some consider quality "best". Others consider safety "best".

As someone who has driven through all the 48 states in one continuous trip to see how fast we could do it, I appreciate our interstate system. My suggestion was simply there is always room from improvement... in all metrics.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By ebakke on 1/21/2009 3:20:00 PM , Rating: 2
I can show you an inch section of I-90 that's better quality than the Bundesautobahn. But that doesn't mean all of it is better. Or that all US Interstates are better. Same is true in reverse. You're selecting one small piece of the transportation system and using it as representation of the entire thing. The Bundesautobahn may be better quality than some roads in America, but all of Germany's roads must be considered just as all of Americas must be. Quality and length (or size) need to be considered.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By William Gaatjes on 1/21/2009 4:19:41 PM , Rating: 2
I once saw a documentary about how roads are made. It seems Germany is a bit smarter and makes their roads in a way these roads last longer and can stand more abuse. And while the american roads are used more often, they are build using less material and much cheaper. That may be of sheer length and wide but it still explains a whole lot. The germans have a more future based look. Longer lasting roads need less maintenance and that means less traffic jams because of maintenance in general.


By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2009 5:09:00 PM , Rating: 2
We do that on purpose ! So states can have a MASSIVE road and highway fund and STILL use the roads as a reason to raise taxes to fund god-knows-what.

It's not like we can't build good roads. We stupidly choose to because government waste is good business these days.


By ebakke on 1/21/2009 5:18:47 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know how valid of an argument this is, but a higher up front cost and a longer service life will likely put a damper on expansion later, especially if it requires redesigning the roadway. Many interchanges in the Twin Cities area are horribly outdated, and each time they need to be serviced is yet another opportunity to advocate their replacement. If things were built to last longer, in the same scenario the counterarguments would likely include "we just spent $xxxxxxxx on that" or "we have 15 years left on the expected service life". Just a thought.


By JohnnyCNote on 1/22/2009 3:11:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The American road system is bar none one of the best in the world already.


Tell that to the survivors and the families of the victims of the I-35 collapse in Minneapolis. Or just take a drive around the interstate highways nearly anywhere in Florida. I've driven on better highways in Greece and Mexico.

Or we could throw more billions at B2's, Ospreys and ABM systems that have yet to work . . .


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By maven81 on 1/21/2009 11:31:09 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
I admittedly didn't get through the entire article. 99% of his policies scare the crap out of me.


So basically you don't have a clue what his policies are, but you're already scared.
People like you scare me. He could announce that we're building fusion reactors and getting He3 from the moon to power them and you'd still be sitting there with your eyes closed going "but... he scares me!".
Let's wait and see what happens shall we?


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By omnicronx on 1/21/2009 11:58:12 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Let's wait and see what happens shall we?
But its just so much more fun to pick on someone when they have not even done anything yet. Communist, Terrorist, <insert baseless insult here>.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By PhoenixKnight on 1/21/2009 3:58:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
<insert baseless insult here>


He's a Witch!


By foolsgambit11 on 1/21/2009 7:31:58 PM , Rating: 3
Burn him! Burn the witches!

He turned me into a Gingrich. Erm.. I mean, newt. I got better.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By callmeroy on 1/21/2009 12:24:20 PM , Rating: 2
True he hasn't DONE anything yet, but he has talked about his intentions, his plans, his "vision" if you will. While what one says and what one does are two entirely different things, there is no foolishness if someone "worries" or is "concerned" about something someone says that's a personal issue on how serious you take them. If someone calls you up in the middle of the night says "I'm going to kill you" and then just hangs up -- maybe you'll go right back to sleep or maybe laugh, another person though might get paranoid and be upset.

Finally, in the short just over 30 years on this planet life has taught me one thing about politicans....when they say "good stuff" that I want to have happen, they usually are just lying.....but when they say stuff that I think would be a "bad thing" -- they usually DO happen.

I for one..think its a joke how many folks thinks this guy is the second coming.....save this thread DT....let's revisit how wonderful we are in a year or two with socialist policies ruling over us.


By William Gaatjes on 1/21/2009 4:37:24 PM , Rating: 2
Some people still have ideals. Once in a while a politican breaks trough and not even lost his ideals. Being politician is no fun. It's one big club of favours. And if you try to come in between you better start doing favours too. I am sure he will try with the best interest but he has made a lot of friends on for example the the aipac. If you get your friends there you will be assured of a lot of money for your campaigns for example. Now to be fair, If i am correct, Clinton was there. Both Bushes where there too. The isreal lobby is quite powerfull and get things done. I would not be surprised if Obama had to return some favours, i would not be surprised at all to find out all presidents or senators had to do favours in return.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html

ANd the aipac site :

http://www.aipac.org/


By Suntan on 1/21/2009 12:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So basically you don't have a clue what his policies are,


Yes, because the only possible way for us to learn about his political agenda is to read about it in a blog on some blog-site that likes to play dressup and think of itself as a "news" outlet.

Honestly, its not like the information provided in Dailytech articles is anywhere close to all encompassing. Most times a person only needs to skim the first couple paragraphs (or just look at the title and the person that posted it) to get a flavor of the opinion being given.

-Suntan


By Fanon on 1/21/2009 3:53:39 PM , Rating: 2
I had no idea this one blog post is the sole source of information on President Obama's policies.


By reader1 on 1/21/2009 12:34:42 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
99% of his policies scare the crap out of me.


You should be scared. He doesn't like you and will delight in your suffering.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By stilltrying on 1/21/09, Rating: -1
RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Master Kenobi on 1/21/2009 10:54:21 AM , Rating: 2
Well, when you consider what a 5 minute conversation with the average voter yields, are you really surprised?


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Master Kenobi on 1/21/2009 12:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
I had a good laugh at that, good entry by The Onion as always. /hatsoff


By codeThug on 1/21/2009 2:20:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yah, I remember being in tears when the Kornfeld stuff came out.

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/26042


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By adrift02 on 1/21/2009 11:10:47 AM , Rating: 4
Don't simplify everything into extremes. While some of your statements have truth within, arguments such as this are propaganda and do nothing to facilitate meaningful discussion.

As to everyone's "fear" of a "new order", there is nothing that has been said which should be construed as threatening to the average person. Scared of regulating industry? Do some research, it has been shown time and time again that no "government regulation" just makes way for another kind of industry regulation (that of the dominate player or oligopoly), which is always much worse for the consumer (you). I would think 8 years of Bush would make that very clear. As of now Obama is all talk, we will see in the future if he follows through (a politician is a politician). But again, I see nothing about his spoken policy that will do more harm to the middle/lower class than the elite.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By stilltrying on 1/21/09, Rating: -1
RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By bandstand124 on 1/21/2009 2:29:24 PM , Rating: 2
Get a job, you mentalist.


By stilltrying on 1/21/2009 5:57:30 PM , Rating: 1
thanks for the compliment. i already have a job. and its hard to refute the truth which exposes collectivists for what they are ehh.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Donkeyshins on 1/21/2009 12:08:35 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Straight from Karl Marx - COMMMON GOOD - This man has never sacrificed for the common good he is a snake the same as Bush.


Yeah, because spending a total of six years working for a PIRG and then as a community organizer when you have a B.A. from Columbia is totally selfish.

I'll let you get back to restocking your bunker against the inevitable arrival of the UN in their black helicopters. Feel free to hole up for the next 4-8 years. Buh bye.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By nycromes on 1/21/2009 12:20:59 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the terms selfishness/selflessness do not gain their meanings from the actions one takes, but the reasons for taking those actions. I can give all of my possesions away (ie: a selfless act), but if I do it for selfish reasons, I am still being selfish.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Donkeyshins on 1/21/2009 12:31:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually, the terms selfishness/selflessness do not gain their meanings from the actions one takes, but the reasons for taking those actions. I can give all of my possesions away (ie: a selfless act), but if I do it for selfish reasons, I am still being selfish.

Point taken.

However, none of us knows the motives behind President Obama's actions, so it's pure speculation to comment upon them. However, if we're strictly comparing records of service - or lack thereof - Obama beats W handily.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/09, Rating: -1
RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By maven81 on 1/21/2009 2:28:57 PM , Rating: 5
Surely running away from serving in Vietnam to hide in the National Guard (and doing god knows what) is the high mark of public service. You're going to have to do better then that.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2009 5:05:48 PM , Rating: 1
I love this. When a lib like Clinton blatantly dodges the draft, he's a hero. Because Vietnam was an unjust war and, hell, who want's to fight anyway.

When Bush joins the National Guard, he's a villain who didn't want to serve his country in Vietnam. Even better, we need to further tarnish THAT image by making up fake documents. Remember Dan Rather ?

The double standard applied to Republicans is sickening.


By maven81 on 1/21/2009 6:15:16 PM , Rating: 2
We aren't talking about Clinton, we're talking about Obama. And we were talking about public service. Given a chance to serve his country in a war Bush ran away, so saying he was in the national guard is disingenuous. Not to mention that if military service was your top priority you would have voted for Kerry over Bush as Kerry was an actual vet... so what was that about double standards?


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By foolsgambit11 on 1/21/2009 8:15:13 PM , Rating: 2
We're not applying a double standard. It's a single standard: Do you stand up for what you believe in? Clinton, they say, felt the Vietnam War was unjust, and left the country to avoid the draft, potentially risking being unwelcome in the U.S. for the rest of his life. Bush found a safe place to hide, where he wouldn't fight in Vietnam, even though he, supposedly, thought the war was just and right.

Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't have done what either of them did in that circumstance, I don't think. Neither of them were on what I'd call the right side during Vietnam. I'm not sure there was a right side of things.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Reclaimer77 on 1/22/2009 2:18:05 AM , Rating: 2
Joining the 'Guard, for whatever reason, is still serving your country.

Obama was just serving himself. Public service my ass.


By foolsgambit11 on 1/22/2009 5:29:11 PM , Rating: 2
No. Joining the Guard is a commitment to serve your country. Serving in the Guard is serving your country. How many days did Bush spend on duty? What sacrifices did he make in the service of his country? How did he support the 'just' war in Vietnam?


By FITCamaro on 1/21/2009 10:39:13 PM , Rating: 1
It may not make you selfish but it also sure as hell doesn't make you qualified to be president of the United States.

Yet here we are.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By foolsgambit11 on 1/21/2009 8:03:05 PM , Rating: 1
You're seriously going to argue that the point of government is anything other than the common good? Wow. Karl Marx felt that communism was the best way to provide for the common good, but communism doesn't have a monopoly on aspiring toward the common good. The U.S. Constitution gives its purpose as to "provide for the common defence" and to "promote the general welfare". What is national defense but protection of the common good? Are you against the troops? Traitor! Terrorist! And by the way, in your final paragraph, are you arguing that there's a better way? All I can hear you say is that, in the process of making America rich, some people got richer. What's the solution to trying to use market forces to provide the greatest good to the greatest number? Hmm? Did you just whisper communism under your breath?

Seriously. I am addressing the rest of this post at others, not you. You have to look deeper than the rhetoric. What are the policies he wants to implement, and how do they provide for the common good? Do they do it by continuing to secure the rights of 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness', as laid out as the purpose of government in the Declaration of Independence? Or do the policies risk life (poor disaster preparedness - for example, Katrina), restrict liberty (USAPATRIOT Act, warrantless wiretapping), or interfere with the pursuit of happiness (blocking gay marriage)?

Plenty of Bush policies promoted life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as well. But the point is that no president's list of policies will all be perfect. Some of Obama's tough decisions will be hard for you (or me) to swallow. But, to quote Bush, I hope you can agree that he was willing to make the tough decisions.


By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 11:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But the point is that no president's list of policies will all be perfect. Some of Obama's tough decisions will be hard for you (or me) to swallow. But, to quote Bush, I hope you can agree that he was willing to make the tough decisions.


Well said. But, I do know that we did not have any more terrorist attacks after the 5-year plus planned 9/11 event. I also do know that President Obama plans to close down Gitmo within a year, and nobody has a plan yet for what will happen of the terrorists we house there. Finally, I do know that unlike what we witnessed over the past eight years, I will not be one of those who attempts to degrade, villify, or otherwise wish failure on this new administration out of spite and a lost election that I thought should have been won.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By stilltrying on 1/22/2009 12:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
Common defence, where in africa, japan, iraq, saudi arabia, isreal, france, etc... This only makes us weaker by spending our economy (inflation to provide for more and more troops) out the door. Are you a reader of history and empires, get a clue Rome/Italy tried the same thing it did not work out too well did it. So did England. General welfare, you mean bailouts to bankers and then hire the same people that got us into this mess "Geithener, Rubin, Paulson, Greenspan, Volcker, etc..." to run your treasury/FED RESERVE when it was proven that he did not pay taxes. You are on the kool aid and you cannot be changed to view true freedom, you think natural rights are given by the government whereas the constitution states that they are GOD given and cant be denied by anyone. I do not like the NEO CONS either as they represent the same goals as most democrats its all in how they run to get to their final goal.

YES there is a better way govt get out of the way and let people take care of themselves instead of trying to manage and dictate to everyone and everything. I dont need or want social security yet the ponzi scheme pyramid must go on so that the govt can pull their labor (tab/money) for managing the transaction and loot it when necessary. If I get sick and die in the streets because i have not saved for myself then so be it. It is my wish. Only force/coercion is necessary to make the social security system work.

Seriously I am addressing this to you foolsgambit will it take the UN on your doorsteps telling you what to do and how to live to realise that that is the exact aims of the past presidents. Dont quote Bush to me as I dont care one iota for his policies either. By the way are you paid to produce the kool aid you make.

"What's the solution to trying to use market forces to provide the greatest good to the greatest number? Hmm? Did you just whisper communism under your breath?". You are a joke as I never said that the govt should provide anything for anyone, you are a trickster who cannot handle the truth.

You have no high moral ground and you ought to start reading some Socrates "I know nothing". If you want some high moral ground pointed at you go to the following sight nad listen to these podcasts.

www.freedomainradio.com


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By foolsgambit11 on 1/22/2009 5:38:06 PM , Rating: 2
So you prefer Anarchy as a political philosophy? Fantastic. Good for you. But don't spew a list of "facts" at me, claim that I don't know what's really going on, and then try to quote Socrates. You obviously think you know exactly what's going on, so don't make like Socrates would be on your side.

quote:
"What's the solution to trying to use market forces to provide the greatest good to the greatest number? Hmm? Did you just whisper communism under your breath?". You are a joke as I never said that the govt should provide anything for anyone, you are a trickster who cannot handle the truth.
If you'll read what I said, you'll notice I never said that you said the government should provide anything for anyone. What I said was that the current political and economic philosophy is that capitalism's market forces are the tool the government harnesses to create the greatest good for the greatest number. That is the status quo. You don't like that system, and I asked what solution you would use to replace the current philosophy. The only other economic philosophy with any standing is communism or socialism (feudalism having fallen out of vogue). Anarchy is really nothing more than hyper-capitalism. Although, I could see that there is a reasonable argument that you are concerned not about capitalism, but rather government power, and thus Anarchism would be an acceptable alternative. Unfortunately, Anarchism tends to lead to even greater threats to individual liberty, since the strong overtake the weak in absence of police and laws.

In the end, I see you want to tear down and discredit the current system, but you have nothing to actually put in its place. In that way, maybe you are something like Socrates. Not a big follower of his method, perhaps, but you end up in the same place - denial of accepted maxims without anything to substitute in their place. Plus, you really do know nothing.


By adrift02 on 1/24/2009 2:22:43 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, Stilltrying you need to read foolsgambit's posts very slowly and actually think about how he is constructing an argument.

As I said in reply to your first post, using a bunch of fallacious arguments: "This man has never sacrificed for the common good he is a snake the same as Bush", "It is collectivism people and it is more accurately the biggest mass killing machine of the 20th century", etc. are nothing more than ranting. If there are points you feel strongly about and want to make, you won't get anyone to take you seriously speaking in extremes. "Bush is a snake, he has raped the American people for 8 years!", "The NSA is watching you all the time!"; now, did I actually say anything? Are those blanket statements something that can be analyzed and refuted? No, because I did not bother to present reasoning which directly applied to my statement.

Now, in contrast, I don't need to show the correct way to argue because foolsgambit has done it perfectly. Notice in reply, he pulled each point from the argument and gave a meaningful, reasoned rebuttal. For example, foolsgambit presented a question asking what alternative to capitalism was stilltrying suggesting. Stilltrying, rather than take his point and give a meaningful reply, gives another blanket statement, "YES there is a better way govt get out of the way and let people take care of themselves instead of trying to manage and dictate to everyone and everything". Pretty sure two seconds of thought would conjure up the image of a government-less (and hence, lawless) America of individuals raping and pillaging each other for a day before being claimed by China because of the huge unpaid debt.

In all seriousness, this long-winded post is not just meant to pick apart stilltrying's posts (foolsgambit already took care of that better than I could have), my point is that regardless of a persons views, it's in their best interest to learn how to make points and argue correctly. Not only does it create meaningful discussion, but it helps the person making those arguments really think through what they are saying. And, of course, people will actually listen as well (...mostly).


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By crimson117 on 1/21/2009 10:13:48 AM , Rating: 2
Had they all asked for boxes over the past year, the program would be out of funds anyway, just sooner.


By Fanon on 1/21/2009 10:15:39 AM , Rating: 3
But the people that don't have them now might have them instead of someone else ;)


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By phxfreddy on 1/21/09, Rating: -1
RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Brandon Hill on 1/21/2009 10:34:38 AM , Rating: 5
The guy has been in office for one day -- ONE DAY. Cut the guy some slack. If he screws up, burn him at the stake.

But can't we just sit back and build up a case for/against him before the flames start shooting already?

I mean I hate the people that can only point out the bad in an Obama presidency as much as the people that think that he is the second coming of Christ.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By JasonMick on 1/21/2009 10:43:00 AM , Rating: 4
The really funny thing to me is that for all their complaining the Obama haters, they, like sadly many of the Obama supporters, have no real idea exactly what he stands for or what policies he will implement, but rather base their vitriolic opinions on some utterly illogical emotionally-driven unconditional distate or support.

Like Brandon says, I'd say give the guy a break. There's enormous pressure on him. He didn't get us in this mess, and neither did the last president entirely, though he made have made his share of mistakes. But the fact of the matter is that we are here in the mess.

Further our country faces a complex challenge of dealing with the tremendous cultural, educational, and economic changes that advanced technology and a new world economy are bringing.

Let's wait and see how the new president reacts to this environment in terms of legislation and executive actions, before voicing too much love or hate for him.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Master Kenobi on 1/21/2009 10:52:49 AM , Rating: 3
All other issues aside, delaying the switch is also delaying the introduction of 4GLTE networks in the USA. I disapprove of this for the sake of 100k people who live in the stone age still. I also dislike the idea that there is somehow no money for the coupons these people "need". They sold the spectrum for a buttload of money, didn't they? Where did that money go?


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Brandon Hill on 1/21/2009 11:05:25 AM , Rating: 2
I take issues with your statement that only 100,000 people will be affected.

quote:
If the digital switchover occurs on schedule, nearly more than 16 percent of the nation’s 114.5 million television households would suffer either partial or complete loss of television signals, Nielsen said.


quote:
A December report from The Nielsen Co., which provides television audience details to television networks and cable channels, said more than 83 percent of households were completely ready for the switch nationwide, while 6.8 percent were completely unready.


http://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/stories/2009/0...

There are 250,000 in Tampa alone that aren't ready.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Master Kenobi on 1/21/2009 11:23:45 AM , Rating: 3
6.8% completely unready. In the IT world a 93.2% success rate is amazing. In the business world anyone with a 93.2% success rate is also amazing. If your looking for higher percentages simply switch and deal with it.

Here's how this will play out. (Scenario)
Switch happens on Monday. By the end of Monday, or sometime Tuesday there will be an issue. They call go down to the local repair shop or TV store to either
A) buy a new one because the old ones busted. Or
B) Bring the TV down town, the repair guy will tell em they need this here box connected to make it work, and that will be $60 bucks. Person buys said box after asking why, and repair man explaining that everyone switched to digital because its better. Sheepish TV owner buys box and accepts "better TV".

Where is the problem? I don't really see a problem with switching on time, and dealing with the fallout like every other industry on the planet does.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Brandon Hill on 1/21/2009 11:28:58 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with your point that the delay is ridiculous. I think it should go on as planned.

I was just taking issue with the statement that only 100,000 people would be affected.


By Master Kenobi on 1/21/2009 12:57:16 PM , Rating: 2
100,000 was the last number I saw tossed around for it. In either case, I think we can agree its a low enough number to simply deal with any fallout.


By ancient46 on 1/21/2009 12:12:18 PM , Rating: 2
Actually converter boxes are hard to get, both for retailers and consumers. My store sells almost all of the stock on the day we receive them. If you don't happen to be there when the shipment comes you don't get one. The government and industry badly underestimated the demand and have not been able to keep up. Many people have had their coupons expire before they could find them in stores. My question is the program really out of money, or have they just printed enough coupons for the money to theoretically be expended? I am betting the government has no idea how many coupons for how much money have expired without being used.


By icrf on 1/21/2009 11:23:00 AM , Rating: 3
My concern is solely financial. Once a social program that gives out money or services is created, people grow expectant of it and dependent on it, and it's very, very hard to get rid of. When you have free medical care and food stamps and a welfare check, incentive to get educated, trained, and employed to provide for yourself is diminished. "Helping those in need during the recession" is a great rally cry for starting things that we'll be paying for long after I'm dead, and that concerns me.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By FITCamaro on 1/21/09, Rating: 0
By Master Kenobi on 1/21/2009 11:24:56 AM , Rating: 3
Look no further than Welfare for that small fact.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By reader1 on 1/21/2009 11:25:31 AM , Rating: 2
There's nothing wrong with a national health care system. We have public and private schools. We can have public and private health care too.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Watter on 1/21/2009 11:36:18 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There's nothing wrong with a national health care system. We have public and private schools. We can have public and private health care too.

Seriously? There is hardly a more valid argument AGAINST public health care than the example of public schools. The masses are forced to live with mediocre to poor health care/schools while only the elite or rich can access the quality versions of the same? Good point!!


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By maven81 on 1/21/2009 11:43:48 AM , Rating: 2
Did you just imply that our health care system is actually good? And that by giving more people access to it it will become worse? I don't know maybe it's better outside NYC but it's absolutely horrible out here.


By FITCamaro on 1/21/2009 10:42:40 PM , Rating: 2
My health care is just fine. I am far from rich.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By reader1 on 1/21/2009 11:50:48 AM , Rating: 3
Mediocre heath care is better than nothing.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 12:12:35 PM , Rating: 3
Where in the US Constitution does it protect everyone's right to "free" health care (or housing, or clothing, or car insurance, or a college education for that matter)? I find it hard to justify taking over an entire privately run (but government regulated) industry because just 16% of the US population doesn't have insurance for it (and I wonder how many of those 16% of Americans without health care insurance choose to not pay for it because an HDTV and nice car are more important to them - I know of two of them).

Finally, if Federal government takeover of our entire health care system with a replacement of federal government employees (who can't be fired and/or sued for incompetence) is anything like the competence my WWII vet grandfather deals with at local VA hospitals, I'd highly recommend you stop smoking, start eating well, and anything else to better your health - like yesterday .

That's not to say our current health care system is perfect by any stretch, but to destroy what we currently have used by 84% of this nation and replace it by some mass government run and managed entity just so 16% of the population can get their share of the pie, so to speak, (46 million sounds like a lot though doesn't it?) is absolute insanity.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By reader1 on 1/21/2009 12:49:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...but to destroy what we currently have used by 84% of this nation and replace it by some mass government run and managed entity...


I said we should have both public and private health care, not get rid of private health care altogether. There's no problem with that.

Also, the US can't remain competitive against countries that do have public health care. Just look at how the American auto companies are struggling.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Master Kenobi on 1/21/2009 1:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Also, the US can't remain competitive against countries that do have public health care.

Sure it can, this actually gives us an advantage over our competition.

quote:
Just look at how the American auto companies are struggling.

That has to do with unions (bad idea) and stupidity within management. (Also bad idea)


By skaaman on 1/21/2009 5:17:04 PM , Rating: 2
The sad part is, regardless of how good/bad it is, it will be done. It is a necessity that is less altruistic than you think. Our little global downturn today will be nothing more than a gnat on a rats butt when the real coming implosion is on us in about 10-15 years. Once social security surpluses are no longer available to fund our deficit holes and ever escalating medical costs begin to exponentially strain the medicare/medicaid programs 2 Trillion will look like a drop in the bucket.

Revamping the system to allow for more inclusion and control of costs will actually ease the future strain on medicare/medicaid (at least theoretically.) I realize the control is what everyone dis-likes but its a pay me now or pay me later scenario that is not going away...


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By FITCamaro on 1/21/2009 10:49:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I said we should have both public and private health care, not get rid of private health care altogether. There's no problem with that.


Uh. Yeah there is. It forces those who pay for their own health care to also pay for everyone else's who don't. Obama wants to give free health care to anyone making under $80,000 a year. That's the vast majority of this country, myself included. I don't want nationalized health care though. So I'll be paying not only for my health care, but also everyone else's.

Not to mention the gigantic cost that will be associated with it. But hey, those printing presses are going full steam ahead. So just keep on spending right? Eventually we'll just make those damn rich people pay for it all too right?


By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 11:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention all those people in front of you at the doctors office with a sniffle, stubbed toe, and other miscellaneous ailments of daily life that otherwise they'd have taken care of at home while you sit and wait bleeding.

Our public emergency rooms are already ridden with lonely people who visit the "free" care of emergency rooms because they don't have to pay for it and need someone to talk to...all because yes, they can. (Sorry, I just couldn't help myself lol).

Imagine if everyone had the same access and didn't have to pay for it up front.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By foolsgambit11 on 1/21/2009 8:32:35 PM , Rating: 2
It's not free. We finance it though taxes. And I think you'll find that it's clearly there in the Amendment IX.

Look at the WHO's list of best health care systems in the world. France tops the list - not nationalized, but nationally insured. Italy, #2, national health care. For God's sake, Oman makes the top 10. Colombia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Morocco, Chile, and Costa Rica are among those who outranked the United States at #37. All of these countries provide health care for less cost than the U.S. So while we don't have to socialize health care, we definitely should do something to improve access and cost.

There are certain areas where government control improves cost by eliminating major expenses - like 95% of the back office at medical practices, who spend all their time fighting with insurers for payment. Like the salaries of all those insurance companies' employees, who would then be on the GS scale, where they aren't redundant. (Yes, then we run into the concern of losing jobs - but jobs thanks to inefficiencies aren't the jobs we want. However, maybe right now isn't the time to lose those jobs - a possible reason to postpone implementation.)


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 11:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not free. We finance it though taxes.


Hence my parenthesis with my free comment.

quote:
And I think you'll find that it's clearly there in the Amendment IX.


Hmmm. It's interesting you pick what is perhaps the most ambiguous and arguably least understood portion of the Bill Of Rights. Let's take a look:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Nope, no mention of universal health care there that I can see.

quote:
Look at the WHO's list of best health care systems in the world. France tops the list - not nationalized, but nationally insured.


Yeah, let's compare France with the US and their never ending high unemployment, especially among youths, infrastructural problems, and high taxes that stifle business investment and personal investment. Let's be more like "them." Makes sense to me. Not.

quote:
Colombia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Morocco, Chile, and Costa Rica are among those who outranked the United States at #37. All of these countries provide health care for less cost than the U.S.


Sure, I want to be just like Costa Rica and Chile and Morocco because of their "free" health care. Not.

quote:
There are certain areas where government control improves cost by eliminating major expenses - like 95% of the back office at medical practices...obs thanks to inefficiencies aren't the jobs we want.


If you think that a government health care system in the United States of America wouldn't be full of redundant jobs and inefficiencies, do you mind me asking what planet you are from?


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By foolsgambit11 on 1/22/2009 6:12:34 PM , Rating: 2
On the Constitution, I was being tongue-in-cheek. That wasn't meant to prove that health care was in the Constitution. What it was meant to do was show that the question of whether a 'right to health care' is in the Constitution or not isn't important. Because a right doesn't have to be listed in the Constitution to be a right of the people. And I'm sick of people saying, "where in the Constitution does it say you've got a right to (fill in the blank)", as if that means anything. I will grant that certain unenumerated rights, like privacy, have a stronger argument for them than health care. Infringing the right to privacy requires government action. Infringing the right to health care (if it is one held by the people) requires government inaction. That is a crucial difference. All of the enumerated rights are rights that can only be violated by the government action. None the less, I still feel there is a strong argument that, to "promote the general Welfare", it is a responsibility of government to mandate universal health care coverage. So even if it isn't a right of the people, it is a power of Congress to do it, and they should feel it their responsibility. As it is written, "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to ... provide for the ... general Welfare of the United States".

As for your response to my arguments against the efficienty and efficacy of the current health care system in the US. Wow. There must be a name for that fallacy. Here's one of your logical constructions:

x is a member of set A
y is a member of set A
x is bad
therefore, y is the cause of x.
where A = France, x = employment numbers, y = health care system.
You see the logical leaps you've totally failed to fill in there? Please elucidate how a lower cost system of universal health care coverage is the cause France's economic woes. You haven't explained what taxes the French pay for health care, you haven't shown that business restrictions and work restriction have anything to do with health care coverage (because they don't). Your understanding of the woes of the French economy seems wafer thin.

Here's another example:
x exists in A
x exists in B
A is bad
therefore, x is bad.
x = quality, lower-cost (than US) health care.
A = Costa Rica, Chile, Morocco, whoever
B = Italy, UK, etc.
That's the logic of your argument. You don't want to live in Costa Rica, and it's obviously the health care system's fault. As if you'd love to live in Morocco, if it weren't for that pesky high-quality, low-cost health care.

Look, it's always possible for government to seriously botch things up. But the health care systems around the world have demonstrated that universal coverage or nationalization are effective means of providing health care, and they are frequently cheaper, while providing better service, than the U.S. system.

By the way, you are aware that universal coverage, for instance, is not the same thing as a government health care system? We don't have to go the route of Canada or Britain to still ensure access for all Americans.


By Nfarce on 1/22/2009 8:28:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What it was meant to do was show that the question of whether a 'right to health care' is in the Constitution or not isn't important. Because a right doesn't have to be listed in the Constitution to be a right of the people.


Correct. That's because the Constitution doesn't actually grant rights at all. It just protects them. The slippery slope begins when people start deciding for themselves what is and what isn't a "right" at the federal level, like health care.

quote:
None the less, I still feel there is a strong argument that, to "promote the general Welfare", it is a responsibility of government to mandate universal health care coverage.


I know. And that's why this is such a dangerous slippery slope. What ELSE will we be shoving under the "general welfare" down the road after universal health care?

quote:
You see the logical leaps you've totally failed to fill in there? Please elucidate how a lower cost system of universal health care coverage is the cause France's economic woes. You haven't explained what taxes the French pay for health care


Don't have to. Didn't ever intend to. We aren't France. I don't like being compared to them. Period .

quote:
You don't want to live in Costa Rica, and it's obviously the health care system's fault.


Ditto.

quote:
By the way, you are aware that universal coverage, for instance, is not the same thing as a government health care system? We don't have to go the route of Canada or Britain to still ensure access for all Americans.


If I will be paying for someone else's health care out of my pocket via federal income taxes directly as a deduction like social security or some other wonderful government managed entity that has worked for us so well, I don't care if you put lipstick on it and call it a pig - I don't want it. (And yes, I know the argument about the non-insured and their unpaid ER bills).

Government meddling in my health care, no matter how benign, is not something I want for this nation. Mere government oversight has done enough, methinks.


By clovell on 1/21/2009 2:13:01 PM , Rating: 2
Right, we call that medicare / medicaid. Move along now.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By omnicronx on 1/21/2009 12:29:17 PM , Rating: 2
My entire family works in the health care industry in Canada, and I assure you that the healthcare is not mediocre. Yes perhaps their are higher wait times, but the healthcare itself is anything but mediocre.

And nobody ever said that public health care in the states can fully replace private health care. One would assume that private hospitals would still exist, and those willing to pay more money to ensure lower or no wait times have the ability to do so.

Of course this would probably mean an increase in taxes, which many people will always be against, but perhaps tax breaks could be awarded to those that opt to use private health care instead. (just a thought)

For those that think that this is 'rewarding the slackers' I really hope you develop a strange disease that is not covered by your insurance policy (This happens far more often then one would think, most insurance companies have an entire department responsible for trying to get out of paying claims), we will see if at that point you think the same. Your current system is flawed, you could never leech from the system a day in your life, and you could still get screwed.

P.S at the very least, if a national health care system is not implemented, US citizens under the age of 18 should get free health care.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Master Kenobi on 1/21/2009 1:14:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
US citizens under the age of 18 should get free health care.

US Citizens is a pandoras box in and of itself. How do you decide who is and isn't a citizen and how do you verify it? Believe me, if we had this figured out, it would solve a great many problems in the states.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By omnicronx on 1/21/2009 4:21:17 PM , Rating: 2
Im confused at what you are saying here. Are you saying there is no way for a hospital to verify this? Or are you saying the US government does not have a list of who or who is not a citizen. If its the latter, then you could do something similar to Canada; valid citizens can apply for a health card, only those with a health card will be admitted. In fact thats the first thing they ask for when you go to any hospital in Canada, unless you are critically injured, its either have your card number, or hit the road.

Its not just some free for all that anyone is eligible for free health care. As for immigrants, only those that have a valid visa may apply for one of these cards. These cards have are photo id (they have been for the last 10 years), and have to be reissued every 5 years.

This would pretty much cover most illegal immigrants coming to the US attempting to leech free health care.


By Master Kenobi on 1/22/2009 9:42:03 AM , Rating: 1
It would be a political shitstorm the likes of which even god has never seen. There would be endless debate over who would qualify, how it would be dealt with. If you want cards, who issues the cards? The fed? The states? Etc... In the US, we can't even get a damn national drivers license, its individual to each state, as is your records. They have been trying to have a national drivers license for going on 10-15 years now and we still have seen no movement on that becoming a reality. National healthcare will end up with the same problems and it doesn't even exist yet. I find Obama's promise of government healthcare to be a joke because Clinton tried this before in his term and ran into the same problem. Who pays for it, how to pay for it, and who handles the controls and management at every level. Who determines who gets what treatment? Who determines if your worth treatment X over treatment Y which costs 10x as much? All questions that need to be answered and it will never happen.

US != Canada. Not even close.


By clovell on 1/21/2009 2:16:14 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, there is something wrong with it. There's a big reason why more global Pharma / Healthcare companies are located in the US than in any other country. It's because the economic climate is right for it.

More to your point, though - I've no problem with the concept, but don't you think it'd be easier for the Federal gov't. to simply regulate healthcare insurance and give tax credits for healthcare than it would be to have a public healthcare system???


By FITCamaro on 1/21/2009 10:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah because our public schools are so great right? They're a f*cking joke. Not all but most. Now granted, that's largely because kids don't have the desire to learn and parents don't care enough to pay attention to their kids and make them do their homework and study.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By omnicronx on 1/21/2009 12:12:15 PM , Rating: 2
How is it that other nations have been able to implement a national health care system while still maintaining a surplus?

I say implement a national system, have government mandated prices on drugs, and increase the time a patent for a drug lasts. This would deal with the unmanageable prices of health care, and it would also shut up the drug companies that complain about generic drug manufacturers.

I fully agree that your current system cannot support a national health care system, but I assure you it is possible, but large changes will need to be made to various health care related industries in the US.

A mixed system of public and private health care would probably be ideal (I just can't see the US ever going totally public). This way people who want higher quality of care can pay for it.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 12:58:33 PM , Rating: 2
I'd be more inclined to listen to such comments from our neigbhors to the North, except for all the Canadians I talk to around the Rochester MN area that are temporarily living there so they can be close to their loved ones that are getting treatment at the Mayo Clinic.

They all comment about how great their government medical this and that would be if only they had all the advanced treatment facilites available to them.

When Canadians get *really* sick, where do you suppose they go? Where are they going to go once America's government run health care has beaten down all aggressive desire to truly come up with new/better cures?

Be careful what you wish for.

-Suntan


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By maven81 on 1/21/2009 2:23:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They all comment about how great their government medical this and that would be if only they had all the advanced treatment facilites available to them.


Advanced facilities don't mean crap if you can't get access to them. Example... my mother who had cancer (and passed away from it a few months ago) tried to get treatment at Sloan Kattering which is supposedly the best such facility in the area. They did not accept her insurance, and charged her 500 dollars for a single "consultation". (they also processed the payment as a donation, and still claim a dead person owes them 500 dollars, but that's another story).
We were forced to seek help in local hospitals where the attitude was something along the lines of "you expect us to work for these wages?" (as if they would work better had they been paid 3 times as much, but I digress).
She was essentially condemned to go through this hell, collecting 30,000 dollars worth of bills that I'm still not sure the insurance will fully take care of.

So yes Suntan... given a choice between ok care I don't have to pay for, and slightly better care that I have to pay through the nose for I know which one I'll pick. To get treated like this and still have to pay for it is an insult.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 2:38:55 PM , Rating: 2
I could understand that attitude given your story, but it still doesn’t change the fact that as bad as some of the experiences are at hospitals, they can and most likely will, get much worse under a government run system.

Further, access to top notch facilities will just get that much harder when they have little incentive to be top notch.

-Suntan


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By maven81 on 1/21/2009 3:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I could understand that attitude given your story, but it still doesn’t change the fact that as bad as some of the experiences are at hospitals, they can and most likely will, get much worse under a government run system.


I think part of our disagreement here comes from the fact that I don't think the government actually wants to take over day to day operations of healthcare providers. I don't think the're stupid enough to wish for so much responsibility. Rather based on what's been said so far I get the impression they want everyone to receive healthcare coverage. This would have a far bigger impact on insurance companies then hospitals. The hospitals would still be getting their money, just from a different source.
Now if Obama declares the hospitals are now part of the government I'll agree with you. But I don't think that's what we're talking about here.


By clovell on 1/21/2009 4:01:24 PM , Rating: 2
A valid point, but after seeing how well the national flood insurance plan has worked, I'd almost rather see increased regulation of health insurers along with tax credits to purchase insurance than a national system.

One immediate advantage is that we wouldn't lose jobs in the private sector to new jobs in the public sector.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 4:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
Take a step back from just thinking about the people you actively come into contact with while being treated at the hospitals. I’m not talking about the government actively running the actions of the nurses and orderlies or even the doctors and specialists.

Think bigger picture. If I run the hospital (for a profit) why would I be inclined to buy that more advanced scanner that costs a butt-load but allows my patients to get a rectal scan without having to take a “butt-load” (if you will)? If the government regulates how much I can charge for this or that procedure, why bother offering better service than the guy down the street?

That advanced, GE developed, ultrasound system allowed us to know up front if there were any potential problems with our son months before his birth. Why would GE even bother to keep developing those things if the government mandates how much money can be made off of those products (which will happen indirectly if they mandate how much a hospital can charge for them.)

Why would Johnson and Johnson bother spending millions and millions of dollars to develop those medicine-infused stents that help people recover from bypass surgery if they are only going to be allowed to charge a certain amount for them by the government? At some point upper management realizes that they can make better ROI by just updating the picture on the front of the “No More Tears” bottle of baby shampoo.

As it is, countries like Canada are able to offer their citizens drugs at low costs because they know that the manufacturers are still going to spend the large sums of money developing new treatments because they know they can recoup their money from the American patients. Once the treatments are found and approved, the actual cost of the chemicals in them are just pennies, so it is still incrementally viable to sell them to Canada even if they get relatively little from the Canadian patients. Once America decides they are not going to let them make enough money (imposed government prices on drugs) to justify the risk of trying to develop new drugs, those new drugs will stop being developed.

As long as you only come down with an affliction for which they already have a safe, minimal side effect cure for, you’re fine. Personally, I’d like to see new advances continue. Generic drug prices are fine, but I certainly don’t want to be left with only the existing generic drugs as options.

-Suntan


By clovell on 1/21/2009 4:28:01 PM , Rating: 2
Very well explained, Suntan. The American helathcare market basically subsidizes Healthcare R&D for the rest of the world.

I'd certainly rate you up if I could.


By omnicronx on 1/21/2009 5:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As it is, countries like Canada are able to offer their citizens drugs at low costs because they know that the manufacturers are still going to spend the large sums of money developing new treatments because they know they can recoup their money from the American patients. Once the treatments are found and approved, the actual cost of the chemicals in them are just pennies, so it is still incrementally viable to sell them to Canada even if they get relatively little from the Canadian patients.
You have no idea how your system works do you(Canada's or the US's)? Our drugs are bought for exactly the same price as yours. Our drug prices are not regulated, how much you can markup the price of a drug over what you paid for it is regulated. If you really think that your local hospital pays $5 for one tablet of acetaminophen(a.k.a tylonol), you are kidding yourself. We pay those same ridiculous prices for our insulin as you do, same goes for puffers for asthmatics.

In short- we don't get drugs cheaper than you do.

I also find it funny that you fail to realize the problem here, if the length of your patent filing system for drugs was extended, drug companies would not have to have such high prices in the first place. Generic drug companies are allowed to produce the drug without paying any royalties te second the patent expires. The problem lies in the fact the patent length counts from the second the patent is filed. So experimentation, trials and testing all count towards the allocated time the patent allows. Many times this means that from the beginning of development to the time it hits the shelves can reach 10+ years, which results in the manufacturer only have a limited amount of years to sell the product exclusively, and to make up the costs of R&D.

Best part of it all is that your great government passed a law that makes it easier for Americans to get generic drugs, and for a fraction of the price. This will actually raise prices of drugs, as generics base their price on what the brand name manufacturer sells it for (usually around 50% of the price, sometimes less). If the brand names raises their pricing (because they need to sell it for a higher price to recoup on the R&D), so will the generic.

And so continues that circle of life that is the terribly managed health care system of the US.


By maven81 on 1/21/2009 6:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If the government regulates how much I can charge for this or that procedure, why bother offering better service than the guy down the street?


Because you want people to come to you, and not the guy across the street right? Given a choice between two doctors or clinics that charge the same, a patient will go to the one that has a better reputation, is more knowledgeable, has better equipment, etc. And if the guy across the street wants to compete with you he will have to invest in better equipment or improve service, otherwise no one will go there.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By omnicronx on 1/21/2009 4:42:35 PM , Rating: 2
I have already explained that our system is not perfect by any means. But.. everyone, rich or poor has access to the health care basics, and in a timely matter, its not like you have to wait longer in Canada for a broken arm than in the US.

This being said, pretty much anyone leaving Canada to get treatment at the mayo clinic does not fit into that poor category. And that's where the private health care for those that wish to pay for it come in. A system similar to this is already employed in the province of Alberta in Canada and seems to work quite well.
quote:
When Canadians get *really* sick, where do you suppose they go?
Mainly, they stay in Canada. A large percentage of people who go to the US could wait in Canada to have the same procedure, but choose not too. There is not too much you guys do in the US, that we don't do here, you just have to wait longer. In fact because of shared resources, we are leaps and bounds ahead in some areas. If one hospital can't provide you with a certain kind of care, another one will. No dealing with insurance companies, no paying extra money, you are covered plain and simple.

There are only a handful of procedures that wait times have become so long in Canada, that people can just no longer wait, these are the only people I consider being 'forced' to go to the US because they are really sick. And for the record, this rarely, if ever happens in Alberta where they have a mixed public and privatized system.
quote:
Where are they going to go once America's government run health care has beaten down all aggressive desire to truly come up with new/better cures?
As I've explained, rarely are Canadians forced to go to the US in which their lives are at stake. Not wanting to wait is not a necessity, so I guess the answer we be, they would wait.. If this is what it takes to ensure that any citizen, rich or poor has access to healthcare, then I am all for it.

quote:
They all comment about how great their government medical this and that would be if only they had all the advanced treatment facilities available to them.
Then perhaps you happen to be talking to some uninformed individuals, we have some of the most advanced facilities in the world from cancer to various disease treatments. Aside from a few cardiovascular treatments and risky transplants, there is not too much you guys do that we don't, and once again, the main difference is everyone has access, not just those who can afford it.


By Suntan on 1/21/2009 7:23:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not wanting to wait is not a necessity


If you feel that way, that's great. Continue waiting in line.

quote:
There are only a handful of procedures that wait times have become so long in Canada, that people can just no longer wait


Yes, that sounds great... Sorry if your salesmanship of the Great Northern Solution sounds a little hollow.

quote:
Aside from a few cardiovascular treatments and risky transplants, there is not too much you guys do that we don't


You mean not too much that we haven't shared with you right? I mean come on, where did most of those techniques, drugs and medical equipment come from? Canada? Don't think so.

Anyway, I have yet to hear how your wonderful approach is any different than private insurance for the haves and Medicaid for the have nots?

-Suntan


By eickst on 1/21/2009 1:10:24 PM , Rating: 2
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

How many of those countries with free healthcare have that clause in their documents?


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2009 1:25:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How is it that other nations have been able to implement a national health care system while still maintaining a surplus?


Because they tax the living HELL out of their population and businesses.


By omnicronx on 1/21/2009 5:11:24 PM , Rating: 2
I used to think that too, but it happens to be untrue. 50% of Canadians actually pay less income tax than Americans do. If you are referring to a GST and PST , then yes we do pay more taxes on the products we buy, but its not the significant amount you are making it out to be. In most states you are still paying around 6% sales tax, we on average pay around 13%, and some provinces don't have PST at all which actually results in us getting taxed the exact same amount as you.


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2009 1:15:18 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
If he screws up, burn him at the stake.


Government doesn't work that way. His " screwed up " policies would still be on the books for decades to come. Especially something like global healthcare. Once put into action, will be almost impossible to remove.

quote:
But can't we just sit back and build up a case for/against him before the flames start shooting already?


We are. Did you even listen to what he SAID during the debates, or just how he made you FEEL ? Even lastnight, did you listen ?? "I'm going to rebuild this country" If hearing a politician, especially a Democrat, saying that doesn't freeze your blood then you aren't a good American.

Telling Americans, no matter who, to not question a politician isn't right. This whole patty cake "give him a chance" argument from you guys doesn't serve any purpose but to piss on all the values that made us great. None of you had a problem with Bush being flamed and torched for thing that were often out of his control.

quote:
I mean I hate the people that can only point out the bad in an Obama presidency


Can you list me some good ? Even if good does come out of his presidency, at what cost ?

Nothing is so broken with this country that we need a benevolent dictator to stand up and say " you need change and I'm the man to bring it to you."


RE: And the Rewarding of Slackers Begins
By maven81 on 1/21/2009 2:33:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"I'm going to rebuild this country" If hearing a politician, especially a Democrat, saying that doesn't freeze your blood then you aren't a good American.


You have some gall to talk about what a good American is, when clearly you'd rather Obama screw up, so that you can gloat and install some good 'ole boy to the highest office. You don't care about this country, you only care that people you like are in charge.


By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2009 4:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You have some gall to talk about what a good American is, when clearly you'd rather Obama screw up


No I clearly would rather he not be in office. But since he is, I'm going to do my civic duty and question every single decision he makes.

quote:
You don't care about this country, you only care that people you like are in charge.


You don't know me so you can't say that. Secondly, I don't "like" any politician. When it comes to politics, sadly, you have to choose the lesser of two evils. And I'm not comfortable with your use of in charge. I'm one of those few people who believe WE should be in charge, not a political system.


By Donkeyshins on 1/21/2009 12:27:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Reward the losers and scofflaws.

Punish the producers.

Gee...isn't that what is happening with all the bailouts right now? Hard-working folks are being laid off while CEOs and upper management who screwed the pooch are being rewarded for their mismanagement?

quote:
Take away the guns so a new gestapo can not be resisted or avoided.

As a gun-toting progressive, I'm not worried. It's not like I own Class 3 firearms. If you are that paranoid, feel free to read up here (http://thesurvivalistblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/oba... on caching your guns.

quote:
These lefty politicians think alike whether their name is Obama or Hitler. Hitler was a leftist. After all

NAZI == National Socialist

Thanks for yet again providing the reason for the existence of Godwin's Law. You lose.

quote:
Get a clue people. This merchandized inauguration is just the beginning.

Awwww...you're just pissed off because they had Itzhak Perlman, Yo Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero and Anthony McGill. And if you adjust for inflation, Bush's 2004 inaugural celebration actually had a higher price tag.


By JohnnyCNote on 1/22/2009 3:20:40 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Hitler was a leftist. After all


Would you care to explain the large numbers of German communists and other leftist groups who were among the first to be rounded up by the Gestapo?

Maybe you should take some time to educate yourself on these matters before tossing labels around without regard to their true meanings . . .


Well
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 10:25:40 AM , Rating: 3
Well, he’s had an entire day already. Why isn’t everything fixed by now?

Based on all the hype that was being poured on from day one, I kinda figured he would only need about 4 or 5 hours to clean everything up. …I’d have to say I’m a little disillusioned about our Politians’ and our new reporters’ ability to give the people realistic information…

-Suntan




RE: Well
By Hulk on 1/21/2009 11:42:15 AM , Rating: 2
The collapse of the housing market was caused by government intervention requiring/pushing for EVERYONE to own a home. Even if they couldn't afford it. And many couldn't. Defaulted on their loans and crashed the market and the banks.

You mess with the market and it breaks. What would have been a small correction turned into a huge one. They keep messing with it they'll screw it up even further.

As for the top 1% controlling 20% of the wealth. How about the rest of the story or was it too convenient to not mention the fact that this 1% pays NEARLY 40% OF THE FEDERAL TAX BURDEN!!!

Yes, NEARLY 40%!!! I'd say they are paying (overpaying) more than their fair share.

I will never be in that top 1% or anywhere near it but I still have the decency and fairness to know when someone is getting screwed. If we screw them more things will only get worse as they create the jobs, innovation, new businsess ventures, money for investments, etc...

It absolutely amazes me how ignorant people are to the actual economics and what the numbers really are. Don't listen to the polititians, they all spin. Go and analyze the numbers for yourself. It will only take 15 minutes and then you'll be able to make informed comments instead of being the mouthpiece for one party or another.

Vote them all OUT!!!


RE: Well
By maven81 on 1/21/2009 11:57:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The collapse of the housing market was caused by government intervention requiring/pushing for EVERYONE to own a home.


You're kidding me... They put a gun to people's heads and forced them to buy homes? Must have missed that part.


RE: Well
By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 12:24:55 PM , Rating: 3
Of course they didn't. That's not the point. The point is that people were granted access to loans who shouldn't have even been considered for a mortgage. There is a reason why Fanny & Freddie collapsed, irrespective of what Barney Frank told us when he said that everything was fine and no increased government regulation was needed back in 2003 when the issue was brought up by congress (then still controlled by Republicans):

''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

I'm not blaming any one specific person, I'm just laying out some of the many truths out there on why we are where we are today. And as someone else mentioned here earlier, the roots of our economic calamity transcend many administrations.


RE: Well
By Master Kenobi on 1/21/2009 1:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yep. Rules like "Equal Lending" practices that were enforced required a certain percentage of loans to be given to low income or minority groups, resulting in screwing up the market. Nobody in their right mind would provide a loan to someone who couldn't pay it back, but the government mandated it.

Nobody could or would ever screw things up worse than the government.


RE: Well
By werepossum on 1/21/2009 2:26:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
by Master Kenobi on January 21, 2009 at 1:10 PM
Yep. Rules like "Equal Lending" practices that were enforced required a certain percentage of loans to be given to low income or minority groups, resulting in screwing up the market. Nobody in their right mind would provide a loan to someone who couldn't pay it back, but the government mandated it.

Nobody could or would ever screw things up worse than the government.

Nobody in his right mind would make a loan to someone he knows can't pay it back in a pure market situation, but the mandates both from Congress and from the GCEs themselves created a situation in which all such loans would be bought post haste by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac - thus no loan was risky if it qualified for the GCEs. Since the lender incurred no risk, increasing the price as much as possible, by any means necessary, maximized profits without increasing exposure. This single action set up the failure of the real estate market and financial sectors, and the widespread stocks and, even worse, derivatives of these stocks ensured that it would bring down the stock market as well. This failure was greatly exacerbated by the total failure of oversight and regulation by Congress and the White House. And the loss of our manufacturing and the attendant soul-crushing national debt make it the perfect storm.

Completely agree with your last statement, except that now government is bailing out private industry as well, thus allowing it to continuously fail at levels comparable to government.

Ten years from now you won't recognize this country, something that unfortunately is due to much more than Obama. He is a symptom, not a cause.


RE: Well
By Master Kenobi on 1/21/2009 2:51:03 PM , Rating: 2
That has already had the brakes put on. Its a requirement that the originiator of the loan (SEE: Bank) hold the loan for 1 year before it can be sold to Freddie/Fannie. Hence the high requirements from banks to secure a new loan right now.


RE: Well
By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 2:27:43 PM , Rating: 2
And you can take it to the bank - so to speak - that CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and NPR will not bring that fact up, either. We need to embrace the New Media now more than ever, because over the course of these next four or eight years, you can count on not getting the truth, or at the very least both sides of the story, from said media.

Besides, government can afford to screw up and be careless because it has a never ending and absolute guaranteed source of funds.


RE: Well
By HinderedHindsight on 1/21/2009 3:22:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yep. Rules like "Equal Lending" practices that were enforced required a certain percentage of loans to be given to low income or minority groups


I'm calling BS- first of all, when a bank claims it's an equal housing lender- it just means they can't descriminate based on sex, race or disability.

Secondly, the Community Reinvestment Act (which is probably what you're referring to since some economists claim this is what "forced" banks into subprime lending in low income communities) has been confirmed by several sources *NOT* to have been the cause of the meltdown:

http://www.businessweek.com/investing/insights/blo...

quote:
The Community Reinvestment Act, passed in 1977, requires banks to lend in the low-income neighborhoods where they take deposits. Just the idea that a lending crisis created from 2004 to 2007 was caused by a 1977 law is silly. But it’s even more ridiculous when you consider that most subprime loans were made by firms that aren’t subject to the CRA.


quote:
loans made under the CRA program were made in a more responsible way than other subprime loans


The point of the CRA was to help develop lower income neighborhoods in a responsible manner- it did not force banks to offer large loans to people who could not handle them.


RE: Well
By maven81 on 1/21/2009 2:41:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Of course they didn't. That's not the point.


It is the point. You've completely managed to take the people who got the loans that they had to know they could not pay, out of the equation. If the government says interest rates are now zero, and I buy a 500,000 dollar house knowing I won't be able to pay that much even in 30 years, I'm just as guilty of stupidity. We get the government we deserve.


RE: Well
By HotFoot on 1/21/2009 1:50:54 PM , Rating: 2
I may be completely mistaken, but weren't the mortages that banks were 'forced' into giving out that they wouldn't otherwise backed by the same government that was interfering with them? I mean, I don't agree with the government messing with Banks' lending practices this way in the past, but if I'm right then wouldn't people defaulting on those loans just cost the taxpayers, not crash the banking system?

I think, and I'm not an economist, that just maybe a lot of this crash has to do with people remortgaging their homes to take out large sums of money in the expectation that the value of their home will continue to increase at breakneck speed. They took that money to either live above their means or tried to be smart and invest it in a bull economy. This was entirely irresponsible behaviour as millions of people were living above their means and essentially gambling in a game they could not afford to lose. Well, guess what, they lost. Now we're all paying for it.


RE: Well
By HinderedHindsight on 1/21/2009 2:28:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It absolutely amazes me how ignorant people are to the actual economics and what the numbers really are.


I quote this first because it's mildly ironic that you made this statement, yet made several statements about the alleged unfair treatment of the top 1% without considering all the facts.

quote:
As for the top 1% controlling 20% of the wealth. How about the rest of the story or was it too convenient to not mention the fact that this 1% pays NEARLY 40% OF THE FEDERAL TAX BURDEN!!!


This is mostly because the OWN more. When you choose to own stock or sell expensive/secondary homes, these are all events in which the additional income becomes taxable. And these events happen much more often if you're at the top of the income food chain. If they wanted to reduce their tax burden, they could simply own less. We are all subject to the same set of tax laws.

The real dirty secret is that anything other than the current tax system would yeild too few returns to support the government. And believe it or not, the most expensive program the federal government runs is Defense- this is where a sizeable chunk of our tax dollars go. Programs like wellfare and public education pale in comparison.

quote:
If we screw them more things will only get worse as they create the jobs, innovation, new businsess ventures, money for investments,


First of all, personal fortune is not always staked out for business ventures- in many cases, corporations support one another, or banks lend to individuals. Bigger businesses are built on business, a single personal fortune is usually not staked out to build a large scale business. Further, the rich invest into other business simply because they have the ability to do so in the first place. Taxing everyone else a greater amount and reducing the top 1%'s tax burden is not likely to increase job creation by a measureable amount or change their investment strategies. The market will do that.

Further, the top 1% do not "create" jobs. In fact, if you attribute job creation to them- then why are they not stepping up to create more in this time of need when people are getting laid off? In this case, they're actually killing jobs by laying people off. This idea doesn't exist in reality. Job creation has very little to do with individual federal income tax burden, but rather, market conditions. If market demand drops- are rich people going to create more jobs in spite of the drop in market demand? Of course they won't, it's a bad investment decision.

Jobs are created when a need arises- effectlively, a demand- not when some rich person waives their magical money clip. Rich people do not create need, a market creates need, and subsequently, that need creates jobs.

Rich people might help to finance the fulfillment of a market need through investment, but they rarely do it completely independently, and they definitely won't invest if the need is small, and they get a return on that investment; addittionally, they share the risk collectively to minimize the losses- but then no one invests in businesses that don't have a good chance of succeeding.

And the fact of the matter is, the economic crisis was not created because rich people got "screwed" in terms of taxes. Taxes had little to do with it. This occurred because the real estate market wasn't responsible enough to manage itself; banks offered loans to people who should not have had them in an effort to boost short term revenue. Indeed the market got the boost short term, but at the expense of long term growth.

Higher taxes do not curb the spending or investment decisions of the upper 1%- their financial overhead is so great that they continue to invest and spend their money. In the current economic climate, it is to their benefit to invest more while cost of everything is low. However, increasing the tax burden on the rest of us would only limit wider scale investment because a larger amount of people would feel the immediate pinch of the lost capital in their lives.


RE: Well
By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 3:55:43 PM , Rating: 2
You made some good points, but I'd like to address a few:

quote:
This is mostly because the OWN more. If they wanted to reduce their tax burden, they could simply own less. We are all subject to the same set of tax laws.


Well that’s logical. I doubt many of the successful in this nation, those evil rich, worked their butts off to get where they are expecting to own less down the road. But, for your argument’s sake (and logic), if they really wanted to reduce their tax burden, they’d just quit working altogether, give up everything they own, and become homeless.

quote:
The real dirty secret is that anything other than the current tax system would yeild too few returns to support the government.


As opposed to actually reducing spending by the government (what a concept), I guess you are correct. Not even a decade ago the bottom 50% of taxpayers used to contribute 6% of all federal income taxes. Now, it’s at 2.9%. We are already at a point where a minority of taxpayers pay 80% of all federal income tax revenue. At what point will that be 100%?

quote:
And believe it or not, the most expensive program the federal government runs is Defense- this is where a sizeable chunk of our tax dollars go. Programs like wellfare and public education pale in comparison.


Well I would sure hope so as the most powerful single nation in the Western world. Europe and especially the UN sure as heck are't going to come rushing to our aid any time soon, not that they are even capable of it these days.

quote:
Taxing everyone else a greater amount and reducing the top 1%'s tax burden is not likely to increase job creation by a measureable amount or change their investment strategies. The market will do that. Further, the top 1% do not "create" jobs.


I’m reasonably certain that a good portion of that top 1% are business owners. If you don’t think putting even higher taxes on them (Obama did say he would “cut” taxes on the bottom 95 % - an interesting comment since half of that 95% hardly pay income tax at all), then you must not know anyone who owns a business, regardless of their income level.

quote:
Jobs are created when a need arises- effectlively, a demand- not when some rich person waives their magical money clip. Rich people do not create need, a market creates need, and subsequently, that need creates jobs. Rich people might help to finance the fulfillment of a market need through investment, but they rarely do it completely independently


Again, that’s a very logical point. I don’t know of any entity, private or government, that actually “creates” a need. Oh, I take that back. It looks like President Obama may prove me wrong on the latter at taxpayer expense – to the tune of nearly $1 Trillion so. And one definitely has to wonder, when we get back on track, will all those government jobs melt back into our capitalist society or will we have that many more government employees sitting around doing nothing at tax payer expense like DOT workers?


RE: Well
By HinderedHindsight on 1/21/2009 11:55:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
those evil rich,


I never referred to them as evil- don't try to make me look like the bad guy by injecting your own interpretation- I only said they own more- which is a fact. This says nothing about their moral standing or whether they're evil.

quote:
if they really wanted to reduce their tax burden, they’d just quit working altogether, give up everything they own, and become homeless.


I never advocated they do this, I'm simply arguing against this idea that somehow the rich are disproportionately taxed compared to their ability to pay. If they want to reduce their tax burden, then it is an option to them. It's up to them to what extreme they wish to take it. I just don't want to hear complaints about being taxed when they simply have more to be taxed.

quote:
I’m reasonably certain that a good portion of that top 1% are business owners. If you don’t think putting even higher taxes on them ... then you must not know anyone who owns a business, regardless of their income level.


I know plenty of people who work in corporations. I work directly with CEO's and executive level staff. However, these people DO NOT *OWN* the business- the businesses that employ the larger numbers of people are owned by groups of shareholders. The CEO's may make hiring decisions and run the company, but they, on their own, do not create jobs. Can you name a multi-billion dollar company which is owned exclusively by one person? The number of companies owned under a sole proprietorship as opposed to a partnership or owned by shareholders are very small, and they are made up primarily of small businesses who do not employ very many people to begin with. And typically these small business are owned by people who may perhaps be in good financial shape, but they are usually not in the category of the upper 1%. Rich people, with few exceptions, don't put their money into establishing ownership of single business. They become shareholders and distribute the risk with not only other rich people, but the rest of us in the economy who have the funds to invest in stocks and have 401K's.

Further, even private owners may not technically own the business they created and run, they usually take out loans to establish a business and ensure they can pay anyone they employ.

To say that rich people "create" jobs shows an extreme misunderstanding of why jobs exist and how our economic system works.

quote:
I don’t know of any entity, private or government, that actually “creates” a need. Oh, I take that back. It looks like President Obama may prove me wrong on the latter at taxpayer expense – to the tune of nearly $1 Trillion so.


This is getting outside the scope of the original topic (rich people getting taxed and how that affects job creation) but I'll address it anyway.

First of all, close to $1 trillion dollars was originally asked for by Bush just to hand over to banks- fortunately, this was with some strings attached. Why aren't you complaining about this? I think it was one of the few good moves he could make; but I find it mildly interesting that you don't seem to be bothered by it.

Secondly, the solution to the economic issues right now isn't just to keep supporting business, but also to assist everyone who has lost a job. The rich don't prop up the rest of the economy on their own. They don't buy millions of cars or thousands of homes every year on their own- it is the rest of us who keep purchasing that helps to support the wealth that they have, and ultimately to keep businesses running.

People tend to forget that the *demand* part of the market is made up mostly of people outside the upper 1%. We keep providing money to the supply side, but we're going to leave the demand side to fend for themselves? The supply side is meaningless without the demand.

Lastly, there is a need in this economy for jobs. The need has already been established. And in this economic downturn, businesses are only exacerbating that need by laying people off. The government is the only entity right now that has the potential to supply jobs as business is unwilling or incapable.

And lets not pretend we care about debt now that a democrat is President. I don't remember anyone who criticizes Obama now for spending (much of which will be necessitated by the recession) mention debt when we were allowing congress and the President to invest blank checks into war several years ago. The only time debt seems to be a serious consideration is when the funds might be invested in the middle class in the United States.


RE: Well
By Nfarce on 1/22/2009 12:33:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
This says nothing about their moral standing or whether they're evil.


Fair enough, you are one of the more level headed folks then.

quote:
I just don't want to hear complaints about being taxed when they simply have more to be taxed.


When you have a million dollar home, it is considered "wealth" but it is not taxed as income, is it? When you have a million dollar investment portfolio, that million dollars itself is not taxed as income, is it? This is one of the many definitions of "wealth" now, is it not?

Wealth in and of itself is not taxed. INCOME is taxed, be it income from a sale of a stock, a home, or a stock dividend payment. As explained may times, the top tiers pay a MUCH higher proportion of INCOME taxes than lower tiers. What part of that do you not understand?

quote:
To say that rich people "create" jobs shows an extreme misunderstanding of why jobs exist and how our economic system works.


If you go back and re-read what I wrote, you'll see that I never argued against that. Here, let me just re-post a snippet:

Again, that’s a very logical point. I don’t know of any entity, private or government, that actually “creates” a need.

quote:
First of all, close to $1 trillion dollars was originally asked for by Bush just to hand over to banks- fortunately, this was with some strings attached. Why aren't you complaining about this? I find it mildly interesting that you don't seem to be bothered by it.


Actually I am po'd about that, the auto manufacturer bailout, and any other future bailouts that may happen now that Bush opened the flood gates. I'm also po'd about this cold weather and my heating bill, but that's another for another blog too. I don't think I'm the one that started this tangent on wealth and taxes either.

quote:
The rich don't prop up the rest of the economy on their own. They don't buy millions of cars or thousands of homes every year on their own- it is the rest of us who keep purchasing that helps to support the wealth that they have, and ultimately to keep businesses running.


If you can point me to a sentence of mine where I said that the "rest of us" don't contribute to this economy and only the top tier do, I'd sure like to take it back. But, as stated above, like with stock ownership and other investments, there is much more to propping up a company than buying it's products and services as you know.

quote:
People tend to forget that the *demand* part of the market is made up mostly of people outside the upper 1%...


Again, you are preaching to the choir here!

quote:
And in this economic downturn, businesses are only exacerbating that need by laying people off. The government is the only entity right now that has the potential to supply jobs as business is unwilling or incapable.


And that concerns me. Short term, great. But will these jobs that the federal government will provide as a New Deal II filter back into the private sector or will we have a million new government jobs that never go away at taxpayer expense? What was Reagan's famous quote? Oh yeah: "There is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program."

quote:
The only time debt seems to be a serious consideration is when the funds might be invested in the middle class in the United States.


Some might argue it the other way: the only time debt is not seriously considered is when funds are spent on government programs at home that never go away, unlike wars.

If you have more, I'll see you tomorrow.


RE: Well
By Nfarce on 1/22/2009 12:53:59 AM , Rating: 2
And please keep in mind that my entire underlying premise here is to thwart the increased resentment - no - HATRED that many Americans are garnering towards those that have more than them, as if "it" (wealth) was taken from *them* and therefore needs to be given back. I don't think so.


RE: Well
By HinderedHindsight on 1/24/2009 2:48:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
When you have a million dollar home, it is considered "wealth" but it is not taxed as income, is it?


It depends- is the home being passed onto a family after death; if there is one law that the wealthy really have an issue with, it is the "death" tax.

quote:
When you have a million dollar investment portfolio, that million dollars itself is not taxed as income, is it?


Money already earned is not taxed- as your statement seems to imply; due to the fact that it should have already been taxed. The money invested is also not taxed. I understand completely that the dividends from money invested are taxed as income.

What you seem to miss is the fact that the wealthy use their excess wealth to buy more wealth generating vehicles than the average person- most people do not have stock portfolios and in many cases don't have retirement funds. The "rest of us" do not have as many wealth generating vehicles as the wealthy have- that was my central point.

quote:
MUCH higher proportion of INCOME taxes than lower tiers.


That was the point of one of my previous comments. The lower tax tiers could not be justifiably taxed enough to make up for a theoretical lower tax rate at the upper tiers - this is how big the disparity between the upper 1% and the "rest" is.

quote:
Again, that’s a very logical point. I don’t know of any entity, private or government, that actually “creates” a need.


I would say there is a very large entity that consists of a collective of private interests that creates need- it's called the public. The public creates the need of product and services, and business fills those needs.

quote:
Again, you are preaching to the choir here!


In that case, I apologize- it seems like since Obama was elected, I run into more and more conservative leaning people who excused all the spending of the previous administration, and criticize the incoming administration for spending it has not even done yet. While I am a supporter of the current administration, I did feel it was necessary for the previous administration to commit to some of the spending that occurred late in its term. We can disagree on whether the spending was/is necessary- but I wrongly interpreted you as one of those who condemned Obama's spending while excusing Bush's.

quote:
But will these jobs that the federal government will provide as a New Deal II filter back into the private sector or will we have a million new government jobs that never go away at taxpayer expense?


These jobs may perhaps be at taxpayer expense, but at least these workers are contributing to society rather than feeding off of unemployment compensation. Which evil would you choose?

And let's face it, as the population of society grows, the government infrastructure to help manage that society will have to grow as well. As long as society grows, government will have to grow in some ways with it. I'm not saying that government can or should manage everything, but it will need to further expand to support the needs of the public. You very well can't have the same number of police from 20 years ago trying to protect the current population. In some ways, government has to grow- we're just expediting the hiring process to help mitigate the current economic situation.

And honestly, I don't think much of Regan's quote in this context, new government initiatives will always need to be created to mitigate new problems that society faces.

quote:
Some might argue it the other way: the only time debt is not seriously considered is when funds are spent on government programs at home that never go away, unlike wars.


Ah, but the value of a bomb dropping in another country is finite. The value of investing in public jobs keeps one more person employed- this benefits the public in many more ways than one.

Some would also point out that while the outright warfare may end- the underlying conflict winds up becoming a continued expense in both hidden and overt ways until one side is completely dominated, both sides develop a strong distaste for the conflict, or the conflict becomes too expensive to maintain. Our continued involvement in the Middle East (and many other parts of the world) seems to substantiate that idea.


RE: Well
By SlipDizzy on 1/21/2009 11:52:13 AM , Rating: 2
I know that is sarcasm, but sadly there are many people that truly believe that he'll fix the entire country in the month of January. I hope he is able to to something to "save" the country, but it would probably take well over 2 terms to do so.

I'd consider his presidency a success if he is able to get America moving back in the right direction. Its up to the next few presidents to finish the job, imho.


RE: Well
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 12:24:39 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Its up to the next few presidents to finish the job, imho.


Correction, it is up to the *citizens* to do it.

The government should be no more than a referee in most cases, making sure everyone plays by the rules. When is the last time you have seen a long term successful team with a game plan that centered on the ref giving them points?

It’s messed up that a large majority of the country is sitting back waiting for the government to fix things for them. Whether it is jobs, mortgages, TV converter boxes, etc.

-Suntan


RE: Well
By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2009 2:10:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It’s messed up that a large majority of the country is sitting back waiting for the government to fix things for them. Whether it is jobs, mortgages, TV converter boxes, etc.


What do you expect. Did you see how much of the minority vote he got ?

Excuses and entitlement and more of the gradual enslavement of the minority subculture will be the norm for the next 4-8. Isn't it funny ? The more they buy of the Democratic koolaid that Government will make things better for them, the worst off they are...


Disagree with this speculation
By bighairycamel on 1/21/2009 9:53:49 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
He also stated, "Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill... and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous."
This passage of his speech fuels speculation that the U.S. may move toward a more European style of antitrust law, where businesses are more aggressively policed for anticompetitive violations.

That sounds a little alarmist to make a speculation like that. I think what he was referring to the fact that 1% of the population controls 20% of wealth, which hasn't happened since the early 1920's before the great d-word.

My thoughts were that he meant a nation can't prosper that gives huge incentive packages to failing executives who destroy companies and screw stockholders.




RE: Disagree with this speculation
By JasonMick on 1/21/2009 10:16:23 AM , Rating: 3
I agree that he likely ALSO meant that.

However Obama has close ties to the Chicago School of Antitrust Law, the Harvard School via Professor Elhauge who is an advisor, or behavioral economics via Cass Sunstein, all of which support greater antitrust regulation (Europe largely uses the Chicago School).

Further Obama has publically stated, "I will direct my administration to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement."

He stated, "Antitrust is the American way to make capitalism work for consumers. Unlike some forms of government regulation, it ensures that firms can reap the rewards of doing a better job. Most fundamentally, it insists that customers—not government bureaucrats, and not monopoly CEOs—are the judges of what best serves their needs.” After noting that America has been a longtime leader in antitrust."

And continues, "Regrettably, the current administration has what may be the weakest record of antitrust enforcement of any administration in the last half century."

Link: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/2007/09/27...

Intel and likely Microsoft are both potential targets for new antitrust judgements, as both practice certain questionable bundling/pricing practices.


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By reader1 on 1/21/2009 10:52:46 AM , Rating: 2
Good to hear. The US coddles Microsoft way too much. I hope he means it or I'll have to take down Microsoft myself.


By bighairycamel on 1/21/2009 11:15:31 AM , Rating: 2
I guess I missed those statements, and didn't bother to check his antitrust background.

I hope he seriously thinks about the reprocussions of fining a company like Miscrosoft. I would defend some of their bundling practices, but how much more money can they possibly crap out in fines before they have to lay off thousands of jobs?


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 10:20:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
and screw stockholders.


Well then the stockholders should do something about it if they are constantly getting screwed over by a particular company… …hmmm, I wonder what a stockholder could do if they were not happy with the decisions that upper management/the board of directors are making at the company where they own stock… …hmmm, yes I agree, I can’t think of a single thing they could do, they are completely helpless and the government should step in and solve the problem for them…

Jeez, stop expecting the government to come in and solve *all* your problems.

-Suntan


By bighairycamel on 1/21/2009 11:20:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Jeez, stop expecting the government to come in and solve *all* your problems.

Wow, jump to conclusions much? How does me stating my interpretation of his statement somehow morph into me beggin the government to step in and do something about it?


By Reclaimer77 on 1/21/2009 1:21:17 PM , Rating: 2
Suntan you make good points but the problem with arguing with Libs is you have to attack their premise and not their argument.

His premise that stockholders get screwed is false. Buying stocks has always been an investment RISK. You knowingly take risks every time you invest in stocks, on the hope that you will see a return equal or greater than that risk.


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By Znamya3 on 1/21/2009 10:36:25 AM , Rating: 2
"I think what he was referring to the fact that 1% of the population controls 20% of wealth"

The actual statistic is 1% of the richest Americans control between 90% and 99% (99% in most studies I have read) of the total wealth... However, the richest 1% brings in between 20% and 21% of the total income on a yearly basis.


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 12:16:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
However, the richest 1% brings in between 20% and 21% of the total income on a yearly basis.


And pays 40% of all federal income taxes (in 2006)...


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By Master Kenobi on 1/21/2009 1:05:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but a figure like that doesn't sell papers. Nobody wants to hear that the rich 1% pay 40% of the nations taxes, they want to hear how the rich can handle paying more and its the poor people getting screwed :P.


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 2:31:56 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, like that bottom 50% of income earners who pay a whopping 3% of said income taxes.

When I hear someone say that the wealthy steal from the poor, my blood pressure goes up exponentially like my taxes with increased income.


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By Wierdo on 1/21/2009 5:11:37 PM , Rating: 2
So you're saying the top 1% pay 40% of taxes off of 90-99% of the nations' wealth, while the 99% pay the other 60% off of 1-10% of it?


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 11:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
Uhm, actually his numbers about wealth control are WAY off. But I figured I'd just let him have a little fun with himself - for a little while.

The truth is, in the United States in 2003, the top 10% income earners owned about 70% of the wealth, and the top 1% about 37%, which is about spot on with their share of income taxes paid total to the IRS from 2006.

Of course, in 2009, I'm reasonably sure wealth own numbers will have dropped quite a bit.


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By Znamya3 on 1/21/2009 2:39:43 PM , Rating: 2
"And pays 40% of all federal income taxes (in 2006)..."

Paying 40% of the yearly taxes with the 99% of the total wealth they have a stangle-hold on... the trickle down effect is NOT trickling down, it is trickling sideways.

Here is an excert from Feudalism ... Alias American Capitalism

Hidden Permanent Prosperity For The Rich
If you were unaware of the severity of wealth distribution inequities, then you are probably in for an even bigger surprise to learn that the rate, at which the economic elite are getting richer, is simply astounding.

"Statistics published in Forbes magazine's annual survey of America's billionaires expose this little known but shocking reality.
In 1982 there were 13 billionaires; in 1983....15; in 1984....12; in 1985....13; in 1986....26; in 1987....49. Note carefully that prior to 1986 the number of American billionaires had averaged around 13. Then the Reagan administration drastically altered the wealth distribution patterns by introducing new tax legislation favoring the top 1%. In 1986 the number of billionaires DOUBLED, and by 1987 the number of billionaires had virtually QUADRUPLED to 49!! By 1988, there were 68 individuals or families that each had net wealth in excess of $1,000,000,000. By 1989, the number had risen precipitously to 82. And by 1990, the Forbes survey reported the staggering total of 99!! With favorable tax laws in place, the super rich can enjoy bonanza years even during recessions!! The tax laws that allowed this to happen are still in place, and will remain in place till enough people get sufficiently concerned to insist that they be changed."


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By Suntan on 1/21/2009 2:51:55 PM , Rating: 2
So how much is enough for you?

How much of a “rich” person’s money should be taken from them each year and redistributed to others that are not “rich”?

Would it be enough for you if they had 40% of their money taken away?

Would 50% or 60% be enough?

Should they have 80% to 95% of their money taken so that they start to approach the wealth of the people that are not “rich”? Would that be more “fair”?

How much would be enough for you? I'd be interested to know the number that would make you happy.

-Suntan


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 3:50:25 PM , Rating: 2
Good luck with getting your answer, Suntan. I've been asking that for years and have yet to get one. You can throw numbers at people all day long and they just won't compute with those who think that the evil rich having more than someone else is unfair - no matter how hard said evil rich people worked to get there.

My uncle didn't start working his @ss off 40+ years ago as a plumber to become a millionaire many times over at the sale of his company 10 years ago and have a large part of it taken away from him all in the name of "fairness."


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By clovell on 1/21/2009 3:55:24 PM , Rating: 2
There is no strangle-hold on wealth. There are countless numbers of government grants and programs for those who decide to take up the cross of entrepenuership and start their own business.

There is no requisite but planning and hard work.

As for your idea that wealth is only trickling sideways - take a look at the top 10 wealthiest families at the end of the 19th century - you will find none of them in that number at the end of the 20th century.

I'll call your class warfare bullcrap, and raise you a stunning reality.


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 4:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
That, and the fact that the overwhelming majority of the wealthy in this nation today were not born into it. They made it themselves through hard work, perseverance, determination, and an inner striving to better themselves.

People who work 9-5 day in and day out and do the bare minimum to keep their jobs and never learn anything new or take initiative to better themselves (like taking advantage of a company's continuing education program), people who rush out the door on Friday to go hit the bars, and people who spend weekends sitting around the house/apartment watching TV and playing video games are never going to get wealthy.

However, in the minds of some, those who go above and beyond expectations, those who increase their marketability skills, those who spend their off hours bettering themselves, and certainly those who take risks and dip into a new venture and reap the rewards of any of the above accordingly, it is inherently unfair for the rest who did not venture into those opportunities and are therefore somehow "left behind." And make no mistake about it, we all have equal opportunities in this nation.


RE: Disagree with this speculation
By Nfarce on 1/21/2009 11:54:56 PM , Rating: 2
You sir, FAIL:

In the United States in 2003, the top 10% of income earners owned about 70% of the total wealth. The top 1% owned about 37%. Now if you look at my numbers again, you'll see that those figures are about spot on with each percentage share of income taxes paid total to the IRS (in 2006).

The truth is out there, my friend. I'd suggest you learn a little about it instead of reading agenda-driven propaganda.


Frightening
By clovell on 1/21/2009 2:10:38 PM , Rating: 1
> "... not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good."

So, basically, he'd rather compel us to give our money away, rather than let us decide to give it away ourselves. Friends, that's not the kind of change I believe in.

It was also the impetus for the American Revolution, which gave birth to this nation.

On a less fundamental note, Obama needs to realize that digitizing all medical records is going to place an extraordinary load on the natio's current internet infrastructure. I hope he makes certain the infrastructure is upgraded before it's overwhelmed.




RE: Frightening
By HinderedHindsight on 1/24/2009 3:25:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
he'd rather compel us to give our money away,


Our money is already given away without our consent in more ways than you're acknowledging. Why does it only become a problem when we choose to use that money to benefit the American people rather than American Allies (Israel) or American business?

quote:
It was also the impetus for the American Revolution, which gave birth to this nation.


I think you're doing too much disassociation here- at the time the British was viewed as overtaxing the poorer American colonies for its own good, rather than the common good of all British subjects (which the people in the American Colonies were to begin with). Though our revolution began because of taxes, at the core of the issue was the fact that the "common good" standard was not being met in the colonies. They had no representation in parliament and yet were being asked (as frontiersman) to pay the taxes as if they earned the same wage as Englishmen in England. They broke away and created their own common good for their own good.

quote:
On a less fundamental note, Obama needs to realize that digitizing all medical records is going to place an extraordinary load on the natio's current internet infrastructure. I hope he makes certain the infrastructure is upgraded before it's overwhelmed.


Based on this logic, the financial industry should revert back to paper, as the availability of on line account status, monthly statements, and financial transactions have only worked to place a load on the internet infrastructure.

Come on, get real- we use the internet for games, billions of financial transactions a day, distributed analysis of molecular dynamics (Folding@home), and porn. The internet infrastructure expanded to accommodate these uses- it will expand to accommodate future use as well.


Atlas Shrugged
By Screwballl on 1/22/2009 12:02:36 AM , Rating: 2
Here we go...

quote:
He also stated, "Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good."


Sounds like a quote of one of the government officials in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged which I recently finished reading cover to cover.

I do agree on the legislation to prevent caps or speed throttling but much of what the rest Obama has said is reminiscent of a Socialist state "for the greater good by forcing the successful to bow down to the lazy".




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