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Old 10-07-2008, 06:10 PM   #155
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What we need is a good war to fix the economy....

WHAT??...we already have two.

Never mind..
"Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran…"

Three's a charm.

That's the way declining countries solve things along with blaming immigrants, other countries who happen to be long time allies, objectifying people who don't agree with them and engaging in an orgy of entertainment and sports and debt. Government leaders promote fear and slowly erode rights of individuals and either corrupt legislators or limit the power of the legislature, sometimes by taking over the courts.

Denis, I can understand your skepticism about one party controlling all the branches of government. Unfortunately, if one party is so wrong, they block everything, especially in the Senate. That party pretty much controls the courts and is likely to have a majority in the Supreme Court for years because all the old justices are moderate or liberal. One party did control the government for many years from the 1930's forward and that was the most prosperous time for this nation. That was when the middle class grew exponentially and the wealthiest people did not have to live like princes. Gridlock too often means nothing or little gets done and the bailout bill we got last week is a good example—it was the best we could get under the circumstances.

Gene
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Old 10-07-2008, 06:17 PM   #156
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up here in Canada...

Things are pretty bad for your cousin to the North also. Our gas is 30% more expensive, we just lost 20% on the TSX in the last 10 days and, with the price of oil, we are going to freeze our fannies off this winter as things get pretty cold up here. On the bright side, we love our Airstream and the thought of being mobile in a time of crisis is a good thing. Living "off the grid" in the AS is also tempting and maybe a possibility when our kids are older. Keep thinking creatively and buy only what you need.
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Old 10-07-2008, 06:17 PM   #157
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Here's a number that'll scare the crap outta ya. I heard yesterday (on talk radio, so go ahead and yell at me now before you read on) that the unfunded liabilities of the Federal Government between now and the year 2035 is, are you ready for this? 32 Trillion dollars. Included in that number are programs that the Feds have promised to fund one way or another, like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the service on the Narional Debt. This DOES NOT include money to fund the everyday operations of the governement (national parks, Congressional salaries, federal employees payroll, roads & bridges to nowehere etc, etc).

I wonder how we're going to pay for all of that? I don't have that much laying around anywhere.

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Old 10-07-2008, 06:20 PM   #158
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800+ billion dollars..

Write your Congress Critter and tell 'em you would be satisfied with a million each for everyone. Problem solved.
Hey I did that! Wrote both of my senators and my congressman. I'll see if I saved the response I got (FROM ONLY ONE OF THEM!). Of course the House.gov website crashed for a week during all of this mess, so it took some doing to get that letter thru to. You have no idea how angry that made me.

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Old 10-07-2008, 06:39 PM   #159
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This may be too long and too political, so if the Mods want to delete, I certainly understand. This is the only response I've gotten from any member of congress to the letters I've written over the last couple of weeks (from Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss). Just to give you a little insight into the thinking in Washington over this mess:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the turmoil in our financial markets and the actions taken by the United States Treasury as they pertain to several leading financial institutions. It is good to hear from you.
This is the most serious and critical domestic issue I have dealt with in my 14 years in Congress. We have been betrayed by many people and by abuse of the system. Now we have two significant choices to make - do nothing or take action.
I strongly believe that doing nothing will destroy the financial security of millions of Americans and possibly lead us into a depression. I just as strongly believe the bill as now negotiated will arrest the crisis and begin to turn our economy around.
The bill that I voted for is not a bailout. H.R. 1424, "The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act," is crafted to address the crisis; restore security for the American taxpayer; and return our nation to the strongest economic power in the world. And in the process this bill enables us to root out and punish those who cheated us all.
I know that my vote in favor of this package was not the politically popular thing to do, but this is not a popularity contest. This is about the future of our country and the future that my children and grandchildren will inherit. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind or my heart that my vote in support of this measure was the right thing for our economy, for Georgians, and for our country.
My first reaction was one of anger and frustration. How could this happen in the strongest economy in the world? How could the best financial system in the world fail? After calming down, I realized the seriousness of the situation and the consequences of Congress failing to act.
The Treasury Department submitted a proposal to Congress requesting authority to purchase troubled assets from financial institutions. This program was intended to address the root cause of the market stresses by removing these assets from the financial system.
I did not support the original proposal submitted by the Administration because it did not address the critical needs of the American taxpayer, community banks, retirees, and small businesses and it concentrated too much power in a small group to administer the plan.
As the conversations in Washingtonand across the nation continued over how to address the challenge before us and as the details of the problems in our financial sector were revealed daily, I became convinced that something had to be done and done soon.
Moreover, when the House rejected the plan, the economy suffered a $1.2 trillion dollar blow in the stock market, which only made more apparent the impact this credit crunch is having on Main Street. Specifically, in some cases, Georgiacommunity banks are unable to make auto loans.
Below are details of the legislation:

TAXPAYERS ARE PROTECTED. In its current form, the legislation before the Senate protects taxpayers in many ways. Accountability, safeguards, and oversight measures are numerous. There will be transparency, public reports, and triggers to end the program if, for some reason, it is not effective or end the program early if it is more successful. Moreover, I worked to negotiate a mechanism to stop all transfers of taxpayer funds if necessary. That said , I believe this legislation will be effective.

NOT A BLANK CHECK. I opposed the President's initial request to simply give a blank check to Secretary Paulson. I also opposed the second version submitted by the President and Congressional Democrats that would have given taxpayer money to liberal groups such as ACORN. Let me be clear - this current bill, the bill in the Senate, is not a blank check for anyone. First, it allows the release of $250 billion to purchase these toxic loans. Then, Congress can release another $100 billion but only with Presidential involvement and certification that it is necessary. And only if absolutely necessary and again with Presidential certification and Congressional approval, the remaining $350 billion could be released. However, I do not believe the entire $700 billion authorized will be necessary or used.
NO GOLDEN PARACHUTES. CEOs and other executive officers who drove their companies into the ground will not be able to walk away with millions leaving taxpayers holding the bill. Those companies that choose to participate in the program will be subject to strict compensation limits.
NO NEW GOVERNMENT SPENDING. The language is clear - all revenue generated through the repayment of any assets purchased and any sold must be used to pay down the national debt. No money will go to pork projects, new government spending, or liberal groups such as ACORN.
HELP FOR MAINSTREET . As this crisis continues, community banks are being affected more and more. Car loans and home loans, even to those with good credit, are drying up. People are losing their retirement savings. Small businesses are now having difficulty getting loans to make payroll or grow their business to create new jobs. If we allow this to continue, jobs will be lost, more retirement accounts will be impacted, and credit will get even tighter.
PUNISH CRIMINALS. The Federal Government is actively investigating cases of fraud and abuse. Where wrongdoing is found, the perpetrators, including, if implicated, members of Congress will be brought to justice. We have already seen subpoenas issued for records at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This bill demands cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and I expect we will see more subpoenas and criminal prosecution.
ADDRESS THE UNDERLYING CAUSE WHILE WE TREAT THE SYMPTOMS. We are seeing the symptoms now - lack of trust in the banking industry, daily tightening of the credit markets, losses in personal retirement accounts - and while this legislation addresses those issues, it also goes further to treat the cancer that got us here. This legislation authorizes the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to modify the 'mark to market' accounting procedures that magnified this crisis by forcing banks to mark down the value of assets they had no intention of selling in the near future. This mark down of value caused a corresponding loss of value to the institutions. The SEC has already begun the process to modify this procedure.
RETURN TRUST IN THE BANKS. By increasing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) protection on bank accounts from the current $100,000 to $250,000, taxpayers and bank customers can once again trust that their money is safe in the bank of their choice.
DEBT REPAYMENT. Toxic loans will be purchased at a discount and 100% of the monies repaid to the government will go to reduce the debt we incur in this process. While we shouldn't expect full repayment, it is possible that all of the money expended will be repaid.
PROTECT OUR NATIONAL SECURITY. If we do not act and this crisis spreads like a cancer to every segment of our economy, it will destroy not only taxpayer savings but it will erode our ability to fund our military, supply our troops with the resources they need, and protect our homeland.
NO TIME FOR POLITICAL FINGER POINTING. There is plenty of blame to go around but now is not the time to throw stones, now is the time to address this crisis and get our economy moving again.
FOR THE COUNTRY; NOT POLITICAL POPULARITY. This is not a popularity contest, this is a crisis. And since this crisis began, I have had numerous conversations with economists, community bankers, small business owners, and taxpayers. I have weighed the costs of inaction versus the costs of unpopular action. I support this bill because it is good for the country, it is the right thing to do today for taxpayers and tomorrow for my children and grandchildren, and it is necessary to get our economy moving again.
Strong capital markets are vital to a prosperous U.S. economy and given the renewed focus of our regulators and market participants, I remain confident in our financial markets and our overall economy.
However, history warns us against inaction by hard lessons learned. Delaying to act would be a repeat of the mistakes of the 1920s, when thousands of banks failed before significant confidence was restored to our financial markets.
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Old 10-07-2008, 06:48 PM   #160
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"Denis, I can understand your skepticism about one party controlling all the branches of government. Unfortunately, if one party is so wrong, they block everything, especially in the Senate. That party pretty much controls the courts and is likely to have a majority in the Supreme Court for years because all the old justices are moderate or liberal. One party did control the government for many years from the 1930's forward and that was the most prosperous time for this nation. That was when the middle class grew exponentially and the wealthiest people did not have to live like princes. Gridlock too often means nothing or little gets done and the bailout bill we got last week is a good example—it was the best we could get under the circumstances."

Gene.....The middle class became prosperous after WWII with a lot of credit going to the the GI Bill. The Korean conflict created a lot of industrial job growth and the pent-up demand for consumer goods created a new consumer base. Between 1932 and 1996, one political party dominated the Washington scene. If you want to have some fun, check the promises made in 1972 and stack them against promises made today. No difference from either party what so ever! And neither party fulfilled those promises. So, what makes you think that that will happen now?

With a poll rating 10 to 15 points less than the president, congressional gridlock is a good thing! I believe the congressman from your district showed some real guts by voting no twice last week on the bailout!

To keep this thread in perspective, perhaps Thor should ask for a bailout similar to the $25 billion going to Detroit. Then maybe the price of AirStreams will come down!
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Old 10-07-2008, 06:53 PM   #161
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This ride had to end and I am so against handing 800 billion over to these firms to prop tem up knowing full well that our houses were way overvalued to begin with and now we are socializing the losses. Anyway. Prepare for home prices to come back to reality, prepare for the US to have to pay our bills and prepare for more socialization of everything from our economic system,govt, businesses, and medical care.
We really got caught up in CONSUMPTION and the whole world depended on the wild spending habits of the US.
Focus on things that are really important like god, family, friends, fellowship. You can still enjoy and go camping if you plan it right.
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:34 PM   #162
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Things are pretty bad for your cousin to the North also. Our gas is 30% more expensive, we just lost 20% on the TSX in the last 10 days and, with the price of oil, we are going to freeze our fannies off this winter as things get pretty cold up here.
Hey Nancy...my wife's mother is from Saint John, NB. We visited there a couple of years ago and had a very nice time with her Canadian relatives.

I told her a few days ago that we may have to move to Canada if things don't get better...now you've ruined my hopes

We, I guess Northern Minnesota is "almost" Canada anyway...maybe you can annex us?? Tom R in Two Harbors, Minnesota
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Old 10-07-2008, 07:37 PM   #163
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Yes, Denis, the GI Bill helped a lot, but what party got it passed? I seem to remember it was opposed by the other party, but correct me if I am wrong. It helped that we were a creditor, not a debtor, nation after WW II (along with Argentina and S. Africa, the only ones in the world then).

I too am skeptical about promises made by politicians—hold your nose, hope for the best and pull the lever (though now we blacken a circle here). One party might do a better job than the other, maybe a lot better. Hope is what keeps me voting.

Correction—the Canadian dollar sank lately without telling me. It's now around 90¢. We can go to Canada again! Whoops, we have to finally get those damn passports. It used to be you needed a passport to get into other countries, not into your own. Maybe they should just tatoo a number on our wrists (whoops again, that's what they did in the Nazi concentration camps).

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Old 10-07-2008, 08:01 PM   #164
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A more important reason that the United States economy boomed in the post war period is probably because the rest of the developed world was in shambles. 50 million people were killed in that war. 25 million in the Soviet Union alone and most of the rest in Europe. All of Europe was basically destroyed, as was Japan. 80% of the entire worlds’ manufacturing capacity was in the United States in 1946. When you’re the only game in town…. It took a couple of decades for Europe to get back on its feet and Japan was intentionally held at bay by the Allies out of fear that they might rearm.

The G.I. Bill of Rights was a very important factor in America after the war. I wish I could remember the numbers, but IIRC, the number of college graduates something like quadrupled in the first decade after the war. Lots of educated folks plus a large market with few suppliers made for a perfect situation at the time. It certainly isn’t like that any more, eh?

BTW, what is TSX? Is that "Canadian" for "exchange rate"?

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Old 10-07-2008, 08:10 PM   #165
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This thread is making me depressed

Are we heading for a "Great Depression" so to speak???

Every since Sept 11th, things do not "feel" right.

Or is it me?
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:22 PM   #166
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Hey Greg, I have a brother-in-law in Winston named Greg. If it'll make you feel any better, Dirty Jobs is on Discovery right now. Mike Rowe is cleaning bird poop off a 130' tall main mast on an three masted ship. Funny stuff!

And I agree, since 911, it's been really weird.

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Old 10-08-2008, 06:23 AM   #167
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The posts the past few days make me compelled to repeat what I posted about 3 weeks ago. Make time to see the documentary I.O.U.S.A. It is a tremendous film about the nature and scope of our current debt and the unfunded future liabilities several of you have mentioned recently.
Former Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson became so concerned about this problem he created a foundation with a personal contribution of a billion dollars to try to create awareness. If you won't take the time to see the movie, please spend some time on the web site I.O.U.S.A.: The Movie
There is a wealth of information including a very easy to read and understand copy of the State of The Union finances which include a section of what you can do to become involved in a solution.
All this spending is of course prior to the nonsense of the past few months.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:55 AM   #168
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Jim, TSX is Toronto Stock Exchange.

I'm trying not to think of stock exchanges, but then I turn on CNBC or Bloomberg and at any time of day or night I can look at Nikkei, Shanghai, Hong Kong, CAC, FTSE, DAX, Dow futures, and a bunch of others usually going down, down, down. It's depressing, but not quite as depressing as Mike Rowe. Remember when the History channel had history and Discovery wasn't reality TV?

It's time for that difficult discussion of where we can cut expenses since dividends are starting to be cut, thus our income drops. What are the first things we think about—long trips, restaurants, fancy foods, new clothes (what do retirees need anyway?—sweat pants or jeans for dress up and a T shirt). If everyone does that, this consumption based economy isn't going to recover soon. If we don't buy all that stuff from China, how are they going to buy our bonds?

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