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US Scientific R&D Could Face Fiscal Cliff Doom 609

The tough economic times have had a huge effect on scientific research and development funding. The looming "fiscal cliff" may be the last straw for many programs. "The American science programs that landed the first man on the moon, found cures for deadly diseases and bred crops that feed the world now face the possibility of becoming relics in the story of human progress. American scientific research and development stands to lose thousands of jobs and face a starvation diet of reduced funding if politicians fail to compromise and halt the United States' march towards the fiscal cliff's sequestration of federal funds."
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US Scientific R&D Could Face Fiscal Cliff Doom

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  • Wow, 3% = doom? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:15AM (#42092325) Homepage

    From TFA: "1,082,370 U.S. citizens employed in the life sciences, such as biology and genetics, as well as physical and social sciences. Of these, approximately 31,000"

    Wow, those are some massive cuts. An entire whopping 3% of the people may lose their jobs!

    People just don't get it. The US government does not need to cut its budget by 3%. It needs to cut its budget by 50% or more. Many programs and federal departments need eliminated entirely. It's not even about the $16 Trillion debt. If the government ran honest accounts, it's about the $200 Trillion debt [].

    Don't worry, citizens of America. That's only some $650,000 per person that the government has borrowed on behalf of each and every one of you. No problem, right?

  • Re:Wow, 3% = doom? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:27AM (#42092367)

    People just don't get it. The US government does not need to cut its budget by 3%. It needs to cut its budget by 50% or more.

    It really isn't that simple, though. The process has to be gradual or everything will implode. Cut the budget by 50% and the economy will take such hit that US collected taxes will drop more than 50% (presumably necessitating further cuts, and so on). Not to mention how many people might starve without foodstamps while you are doing this.

    Anyway, a good start would be to force our politicians to keep all wars IN the budget. Iraq and Afganistan are staying outside of the budget in "emergency appropriations" or whatever they are called.

  • by TheDarkMaster ( 1292526 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:33AM (#42092379)
    The problem is not the cut itself, but where the cut is being made. Remember news reports that the U.S. government spends more on air conditioning for troops in Afghanistan than the entire budget of NASA?

    Does not that then suggests that the government should cut back on military spending? But no, they prefer to cut NASA's budget. After the priority is to blow people and clog the banksters with money.
  • Re:Wow, 3% = doom? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:42AM (#42092405)

    Sorry, the US electorate just finished voting in President Santa Claus who's mandate was "give us more free stuff" you won't see that budget cut of 50%,

    Pure bullshit. Obama was chosen by the US electorate because he has promised to increase taxes to, you know, bring in more revenue. He is quite willing to cut spending, though to a lesser degree than Republicans. The budget can be balanced by either cutting spending, increasing income or, most likely by a combination of the two (one can argue where the balance lies)

    Let's be realistic though. You guys are fucked, plain and simple and you're heading for a screaming doom much like Europe is unless you figure out that trying to spend your way out of debt is a bad idea.

    Where are you based, anyway? How is your country managing? Got any good suggestions?

  • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:42AM (#42092407)

    And who created the Federal Reserve monstrosity? That's right, Congress. It was in structure an ordinary act of Congress (though in its details and effect an extraordinarily bad one). Don't tell me they now "have very little choice". What Congress has done, Congress can modify or undo.

  • Isn't it ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:44AM (#42092413)
    The financial parasites that don't actually do anything or produce anything useful have recovered their massive bonuses already, but we are cutting back on people who actually produce thins that improve the quality of life.
  • Re:Wow, 3% = doom? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fnj ( 64210 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:46AM (#42092423)

    Um, there is a little detail you may have missed. The President doesn't have the AUTHORITY to change the tax structure. Congress does; yet - gee - the same electorate returned who returned Obama also returned a Republican majority in the all important House of Representatives.

  • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:47AM (#42092427)

    into armed conflict by private banks, who, through their monetary policy are exerting undue political influence on the White House. It matters not which party sits in power, they have very little choice but to do what they are doing.

    Armed conflicts? You mean... like those toxic home loans offered to people that couldn't ever repay them?

    I'd rather say this is the victory of the "basic human right to credit" over the research. If this is the American dream, I'd say "Wake up, people. It's a nightmare".

  • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:51AM (#42092439)

    Does not that then suggests that the government should cut back on military spending? But no, they prefer to cut NASA's budget. After the priority is to blow people and clog the banksters with money.

    Don't forget the TSA monstrosity that has done absolutely nothing to stop a single terrorist in 11 years (and counting). That's an easy place to start cutting.

    Also, much of the Iraq/Afganistan war spending was funded through "supplementary spending" bills, thus these expenses were never in the budget to begin with! Clever, n'est pas?

  • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @06:59AM (#42092461)

    But does every single budget item and all tax policies and rates need to be on the table and without any sacred cows? HELL YES. And then the specific choices should be wise ones.

    Without firm specifics at hand, I still feel very confident that there is 3% of utterly useless fat that could be trimmed from science funding. That's all we're talking about here.

    Well, if you are so confident on year after year budgets, please compute what percentage the US research budget will be after 10 years of 3%/pa "fat reduction".

    Then see how long 'til China overtakes US, given that 2011 saw China's R&D budget increasing 9.2% [] on a year-to-year basis.

  • by hlavac ( 914630 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:01AM (#42092469)
    That only works if you are winning hands down. Once the war comes to homeland, it stops being such fun and profitable experience you all think it is.
  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:07AM (#42092491)
    Please, for a moment put aside everything you hear your peers say and ask yourself with an open mind: "what if military spending isn't the problem?" Read the link. The vast majority of the $200 trillion is unfunded entitlements (net difference between estimated outlays vs receipts).

    This matches with what the Congressional Budget Office reports [] have been saying for 12 years now. Social Security and especially Medicare/Medicaid are driving us to bankruptcy. That's not saying we have to get rid of them, but they need to be seriously overhauled to keep their costs within realistic levels (e.g. raise retirement/benefit ages to keep pace with life expectancy).

    Military spending is a red herring. Yes it can be cut. But even if we completely eliminated it we'd still be on a path to bankruptcy due to the above entitlements. The only route to fiscal solvency is entitlement reform. The longer people refuse to listen to what the CBO has been telling us for over a decade because it's inconvenient to their political ideology, the worse it will get.
  • by Smivs ( 1197859 ) <> on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:09AM (#42092507) Homepage Journal
    We are not witnessing the decline of Western Civilisation, what we are seeing is the decline of a once-great Nation that has badly lost its way.
    The financial problems of the US (and consequently the rest of the World) were caused by greed and stupidity - banks lending too much money to people who had no realistic prospect of paying off the loans, which in turn became 'toxic' debts.
    The US has also got itself into the ridiculous situation of pissing-off half the World and as a result is now commited to spending un-sustainable ammounts of money on the Military.
    As for science and science spending (which this thread is supposed to be about), well what do you expect. In a Nation where it seems half the population don't believe in Global Warming and the other half don't believe in Evolution, and science/technology is based on patenting curved corners then profiting from the resultant litigation, what chance does 'real' science stand?
  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:26AM (#42092569)
    I've posted this so many times on /. I feel like I'm pounding my head against a brick wall. I know it goes against people's political inclinations here, but it's the truth so here it is again.

    Wouldn't it be great if there were a non-partisan government body which went over all the government accounting books and figured out what's causing the budget to blow up out of control? Guess what? There is. It's called the Congressional Budget Office. Every year or two they put out a long-term budget outlook [] where they outline where we're headed, and what's causing the problems, and how changes we can make to the budget can change that course. Please read it, or at least read the summary if you can't read the whole thing.

    For the last 12 years, they've pointed out over and over that the primary cause of our budget woes is Medicare/Medicaid and to a lesser extent Social Security. The historical average for federal tax revenue is about 18% of GDP. Did you know that on our current course, Medicare/Medicaid will grow to consume 18% of GDP some time around 2050-2070? That's right, 100% of tax receipts will go to pay for Medicare/Medicaid and nothing else. We're not being driven to bankruptcy by banks or the military industrial complex. We're being driven to bankruptcy by voters wanting stuff in their old age without having to pay for (most of) it.
  • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:28AM (#42092587)

    Maybe it would help if you looked at the budget. Of about $3.5 trillion for 2012, approximately 2/3 is for social programs and entitlements. The other 1/3 is discretionary. The military is in the discretionary side. So "maintaining the empire" isn't the problem, it never was (and given how the rest of the world effects the U.S., having a strong military is likely worth the expense). Oh, and only about $700 billion is military, and much of that is spent in the U.S., so cutting it means less industry, less employed people, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:34AM (#42092617)

    Whoever makes the budget gets paid last.

    It's just that simple.

    If there's no money left, then Congress should get no pay until the situation is fixed.

  • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:42AM (#42092659) Homepage Journal
    You are pounding your head against the wall because you are a loon as much as the rest of them. Your facts are incomplete and they point the finger at a problem which ISN'T the problem. Do you understand what the core meaning of "Social Security" is?

    Social - Of or relating to society or its organization
    Security - The state of being free from danger or threat

    Social Security is there to ensure better living for society as a whole. That is its purpose. On paper, it looks like a money pit, but only if you are willfully ignorant. Speculate what would happen if we just stopped taking care of those who depend on such a system. It would be bad for EVERYONE
  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:57AM (#42092727) Journal

    ...the primary cause of our budget woes is Medicare/Medicaid and to a lesser extent Social Security.

    Yes, it would seem that way when you use Hollywood accounting methods. The CBO is not non-partisan. It is bi-partisan. It conforms to how both parties want to to steal our pensions. What they want to call entitlements is much more correctly labeled earned benefits. And that money was outright stolen from underneath our noses. Put the tax rates back to what we had in the 50s, bring our work force AND our troops back home, and watch the shortfalls evaporate. We are being robbed in broad daylight, and when mass media screams, "Hey! Look over there!", we fall for it every time.

  • by Seeteufel ( 1736784 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:58AM (#42092733) Homepage
    Look at the data, what ratio of military spending per citizen different nations afford. Compare the US military budget with China. Universal healthcare is common in all Occidental nations, for more than 100 years. It didn't get them bankrupt so far. (*)

    On the other hand the soviet union overspent on the military side which lead to its bankruptcy and collapse.The fact is that military spending it Keynesianism, it injects money into the economy and keep people employed and busy. Military does also not interfere with the normal market as citizens tend to buy no tanks [].

    It is also well known that entering WWII spent the US out of the Great depression, war keynesianism that is.

    (*) in fact is demonstrates the lack of cohesion and ethnic union in US society that makes difficult to build the solidarity to support universal healthcare protection.

  • by rally2xs ( 1093023 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @08:04AM (#42092765)

    The Fair Tax is described in detail at, and I support that. The tax rate, effectively, is 30% as most people calculate taxes, although the Fair Tax info describes it as 23%, which is the amount of tax on the total price+tax amount.

    The Fair Tax is designed to replace the amount of revenue raised by the current income tax, although the happy situation is that the income tax revenues have fallen lately, so the Fair Tax would actually generate more revenue than the income taxes do now.

    The Fair Tax gets its strength from growing the economy. We would be so knee-deep in industrial activity that, eventually, we would be able to fund everything without cutting anything. That sort of projection isn't at the website, but just something that seems logical from the highly unusual situation in having an industrialized country with no income tax. We'd be the only place on the planet like that, and, with that being such a good deal for industry, we'd be a gigantic industrial magnet. I believe the projections for the success of the Fair Tax are greatly understated, and that the Fair Tax is _the_ answer for our economic problems.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @08:07AM (#42092779)

    Yeah. Fuck those old, poor, and sick people. This great "society" should be working for the purpose of making rich people richer.

    Pfft! Taking care of your poor and your sick. What a stupid notion that goes against every Christian principle that this nation was founded on.

  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @08:15AM (#42092819) Journal

    I've posted this so many times on /. I feel like I'm pounding my head against a brick wall.

    You are.

    . I know it goes against people's political inclinations here,

    Some, certainly.

    but it's the truth so here it is again.

    Ah and there's the brick wall...

    Did you know that on our current course, Medicare/Medicaid will grow to consume 18% of GDP some time around 2050-2070?

    (xkcd alert:) Is your hobby extrapolating?

    We're being driven to bankruptcy by voters wanting stuff in their old age without having to pay for (most of) it.

    No, Medicare is expensive because of the insane medical system in the US, with its insane regulatory structure. Somehow most European countries manages to have a social security safety net, and a public health system without spending more than their entire tax revenues on it.

    The solution isn't to slash social security, it's to stop companies creaming off most of money for themselves.

  • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @08:17AM (#42092827) Journal

    Jesus! That Wall Street jizz tastes mighty good, doesn't it? Those 'entitlements' were fully funded before the banks robbed them blind to finance their stock market fraud. Restore the Pre-Reagan tax rates and make the Federal Reserve stop subsidizing the derivatives markets. Eliminate the social security tax cap. Tell big business to use domestic labor, or lose their corporate charters and tax give-a-ways. Ending the wars is a gimme. Abolish prohibition. These are just some of the ways to put an end to this nonsense.

  • by Ozoner ( 1406169 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @08:22AM (#42092841)

    Absolute crap.

    The problem is threefold.
      - These Social programs are under-funded because the taxes and contributions which were originally put aside have been stolen by Congress.
      - Medicare/Medicaid is being used as a cash-cow by big business. It needs to be community operated on a non-profit basis as it is in other countries.
      - Insufficient taxes are raised to pay for these essential services and the rich are allowed to opt out.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @08:35AM (#42092915)

    For the last 12 years, they've pointed out over and over that the primary cause of our budget woes is Medicare/Medicaid and to a lesser extent Social Security.

    Forgetting about a couple of unfunded wars are we? Or a military that outspends the combined budget of the next 15 largest militaries combined for no obvious reason? Medicare and Defense are the big budget problems. Social Security not so much.

    Social Security is not funded like Medicare or Defense. It was only last year that expenses exceeded non-interest income and it won't be until 2021 at present funding that total expenses exceed total revenues. Social Security is fully funded and what funding problems it has are fairly easy to fix. Of the biggest government expenditures Social Security is quite literally the least of our problems. Extend the age to receive benefits and a few other simple tweaks to funding and it will be fine.

  • Amen, but.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @08:45AM (#42092957)

    We should let congress drive over the fiscal cliff so that republicans take the blame for their intransigence on perpetuating the untenable Bush tax cuts.

  • Re:Wow, 3% = doom? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gallondr00nk ( 868673 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @08:52AM (#42093005)

    The US government does not need to cut its budget by 3%. It needs to cut its budget by 50% or more. Many programs and federal departments need eliminated entirely. It's not even about the $16 Trillion debt. If the government ran honest accounts, it's about the $200 Trillion debt.

    Or what? The sky will fall in and the US will go bankrupt? Civilisation will cease?

    You've been fed the biggest, most damaging lie of the last four years, which is government debt works the same as personal household debt. It doesn't.

    Deficits aren't the issue here. They go up, they go down, they have always been with us and always will be. That is the nature of the beast. Keynes taught us that deficits are structural, and more or less look after themselves. The key is to keep growth as high as possible. That means investment and government spending during bad runs. Eventually, the ratio of deficit to GDP stabalises. This happened here in the UK post 1945, where government spending hit something like 70% of GDP. The sky didn't fall in then, and it sure as hell won't now.

    The US is recovering a shedload faster than the Eurozone and the UK because so far it hasn't bought into the austerity argument. Austerity will do nothing except destroy the fragile recovery. The austerity idea that the private sector will bridge public sector spending cuts is an outright lie.

    The budget cut argument is nothing more than a mechanism to transfer wealth to the rich. It is their argument and their ideas that you are parroting, for their benefit. To the rest of us it causes nothing but harm.

  • by Entrope ( 68843 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @08:55AM (#42093021) Homepage

    "Hollywood accounting methods"? Are you talking about the Social Security and Medicare "trust fund" gimmick? If so, that supports Solandri's point: Because people were willing to pretend that FICA are not ordinary taxes, and that payroll taxes went into some special pool of money, it was easier to use FICA surpluses to subsidize deficits in the rest of the budget. If you're talking about something else, perhaps you should be more specific.

    If you think that Social Security or Medicare are "earned benefits", that boat sailed 50 years ago; the Supreme Court disagreed with you in 1960 (Flemming v. Nestor). Recently, President (George W.) Bush wanted to give each worker a real retirement account where the worker would have ownership, but your side threw an epic fit over the proposal (for transparently bad reasons).

    If you think 1950's-style tax rates would be an effective solution, you've been reading too much Paul Krugman without engaging your brain. If you think bringing one or two hundred thousand deployed servicemen and servicewomen back home -- given the general economic climate, with the likely effect of dumping either them or others into unemployment -- would solve the budget deficit, you again haven't given the matter enough thought.

  • Re:Amen, but.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Q-Hack! ( 37846 ) * on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:02AM (#42093049)

    We should let congress drive over the fiscal cliff so that democrats take the blame for thier inability to see that the Bush tax cuts don't even come close to paying for the deficit, current or projected.

    How about instead of killing the economy with the uncertanty of this on again - off again tax cut, why don't we simplify the tax code completey and permanently.

  • 20% of budget (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:03AM (#42093053)

    Military spending is a red herring. Yes it can be cut. But even if we completely eliminated it we'd still be on a path to bankruptcy due to the above entitlements.

    No it is most definitely NOT a red herring and your argument could apply equally to Medicare or Social Security which. Each of those three programs account for around 20% of the federal budget. You could apply your exact same argument to Medicare since it accounts for close to the same amount of cash as the Defense budget. If we accept your argument, even if we eliminated Medicare completely (ignoring the obvious devastation that would cause) it wouldn't balance the budget at current taxation levels. Some combination of cuts to Defense and Medicare are inevitable unless we significantly increase taxation. (I'm less worried about SS since it can easily be fixed and still is self funding)

  • Re:Wow, 3% = doom? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:07AM (#42093071)
    Actually the budget needs to be cut by 0%. Austerity has failed horribly in Europe, and those pushing it here are insane or corrupt. What we need is an increase in revenue. Some of that will come from tax increases and closing loopholes, but most of it will come from generating jobs and investment. Cutting funding to research programs that lead to new economic activity down the line is poorly advised.
  • Suicide Pacts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ExecutorElassus ( 1202245 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:08AM (#42093085)
    The problem with the sequestration deal is that it was essentially a suicide pact: if Congress can't agree to a more-balanced budget, then savage austerity measures take effect, crippling government functioning across the board.

    That's great as a motivator, except that one party is motivated by an ideology that actually wants that kind of austerity. In short: it's not a very good suicide pact if one side already has a death wish.

    Also, don't worry about it being a mutual self-immolation: the Republicans will demand that only social spending (and not military) gets cut, and the Democrats will cave at the last minute in the name of compromise.
  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:15AM (#42093127)

    That's not saying we have to get rid of them, but they need to be seriously overhauled to keep their costs within realistic levels

    Something needs to be done, surely, but I'm not sure it requires lower benefits. I live in Denmark, which has better social programs than the United States, but less debt. Why? Two things mainly: 1) The programs are run much more efficiently, with competent administration by technocrats, and some use of private-sector contracting where appropriate; and 2) taxes are set at a level sufficient to pay for the programs.

  • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:28AM (#42093203)

    Somehow most European countries manages to have a social security safety net, and a public health system without spending more than their entire tax revenues on it.

    The fact you are missing is that we too currently have these nets in place without spending more than our tax revenue. That does not change the fact that the population pyramid is flipping upside down here, and there,

    The average EU country would need to have 434 percent its current annual gross domestic product earning interest at the EU government’s borrowing rates, in order to fund current policies indefinitely. They don't. They are net negative on these savings just like us.

  • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @09:31AM (#42093223)

    Speculate what would happen if we just stopped taking care of those who depend on such a system. It would be bad for EVERYONE

    We don't have to speculate. We have history!

    During most of which in the US, there was no Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, Federal Reserve, or Fannie/Freddie. No food stamps. Or income tax and IRS either, for that matter.

    And guess what?

    During that time we came from a backwater colony to a major world power in every sense of the word, and became the beacon of freedom and opportunity that practically everyone in the world wanted to immigrate to There were no masses of homeless poor. Communities, and their churches and charities, with contributions from wealthy local people and businesses, as they didn't have to send a large percentage of their wealth to the government, took care of their neighbors and people in the community that fell onto hard times.

    Then, the Progressive movement took hold in the US and gave us Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, the Federal Reserve, Fannie/Freddie, Food stamps, and income taxes and the IRS.

    Now, we're here. On the brink of economic and social collapse.

    But I'm sure many will say those things are unrelated. They'll try to nitpick semantics, engage in ad hominem attacks, etc etc, trying to discredit and attack me personally in an attempt to discredit and distract from what I've posted.

    I suggest doing your own historical research as I did. And no, simply looking shit up on Wikipedia or reading blogs is not researching


  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:00AM (#42093357) Journal

    BTW, the first mistake is assuming you are in the center.
    We - and by this I mean everyone, including myself - need to depart from this simplistic, Ptolemaic political universe where we assume we each are at the middle, and everything swirls around us. The first point in figuring out where you're going is understanding where you are to start with.

    Don't be Pauline Kael.

    Try to understand that there is a broad spectrum of political opinion - even our idiom tends to betray us here as it's rarely as simple as a spectrum, although we tend to distill political issues down to (at best) a collection of 1-dimensional lines. You are somewhere on that spectrum and probably NOT in the center.

    (Further, politically indecisive also is not ipso facto 'centrist'.)

    This is incredibly difficult, because we naturally tend to circulate with friends of common opinion. It's very easy to say "I'm moderate" when in fact making such a statement is meaningless in any broader objective sense as it rarely means more than the implied "...among my friends."

    Of course, all of this takes thought, personal candor, intellectual integrity, and hard thinking. Usually, one will find that at least a few of our gut-derived political positions turn out to be logically inconsistent and it requires courage to take those ideas apart and reassemble them. You might even change your mind.

  • Re:Wow, 3% = doom? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JWW ( 79176 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:28AM (#42093541)

    Ironically the only reason your company is a certified "woman owned" business by the government(s) is so that you can do business with the government(s).

    In the private sector no one gives a shit who owns your company, they just care about what and how you provide your goods/services.

  • by Electricity Likes Me ( 1098643 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:44AM (#42093661)

    Why were you in Afgahnistan during the Cold War?

    It was to check the Soviets, but the stupidest thing America did afterwards was pull all it's funding and foreign aid from the country, and ensure that a few decades of impoverished rule by the Taliban would eventually lead to the rise of the new terrorist cells which carried out the attacks on the twin towers.

    Pretending the US can pursue isolationist policies after being highly interventionist, and expect to be left alone, is ridiculous. Doubly so when your entire economy depends on the price of oil, and which in turn depends on global supply regardless of your interest in other countries or not. Suddenly withdrawing security and support is not a consequence free action. You take a bunch of people you're making promises to, or who are depending on you, and throw them to the wolves. That breeds resentment - the next generation, their children, grow up hearing their parents lament about how you can't trust Americans, grow up seeing American drones and helicopters bombing middle eastern countries (and with no education system, are very pliable as to ideas on why that's happening), and sure enough, two decades later when they're in their 20's, you get a brand new terrorist cell filled with young people utterly convinced America needs to be taught a lesson of some sort.

  • by Bucc5062 ( 856482 ) <> on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:04AM (#42093839)

    every year that people like you blather on and on about "security" and "think of the old people", paving the road all the way to hell with your good intentions.

    And yet, each and everyone of us will be one of those "old people" looking for some security as we age.

    That is the fact that I think the progressives don't understand. They really do not realize that more taxes isn't a solution at all,

    And cutting taxes has worked out real well...

    I figure you for someone who's pretty well off, have a good retirement fund, maybe some kids (or the glimmer down the road) to help as you age. Life is pretty good so what is everyone else's problem? You most likely don't pay any attention to the janitor that cleans the office building you go to, limited education, limited income and certainly limited options when (or if) he/she retires. Maybe one day you might go over to the Janitor and tell them to go crawl in a hole and die, because YOU don't want to provide any safety net for him or her. YOU secretly would love to have most of the impoverished, unfit, and uneducated just some how magically disappear as you have no desire to help provide some modicum of assistance they themselves cannot provide.

    In the US, when tax rates were above 70%, we had some pretty good domestic growth. Please do not try to tell me that raising taxes is the death knell of innovation and business. As one small business owner told me recently, if taxes went up he would consider hiring to (1) expand his business because (2) instead of the Government getting his money from his profits, he would rather pay a worker. A tax cut would do nothing...nothing to inspire him to expand. He would just buy more goods, mostly made outside this country.

    The fact that fundamentalists like you don't get is that when you have a population of 300 million, you cannot just make them go away and if you cut to much to fast; well look at Greece to see how well that is going. If you could get the idiots out of Washington then a formula of raising taxes, raising revenue through job creation, reducing spending waste, and then cutting spending wisely may turn the financial direction of this country. First we need to change the Moral and Ethical direction and your comments sadly reflect the wrong direction.

    tldr; When the population is starving and desperate, when they have nothing to lose they will look to those who put them there and it wont be pretty. When the population is comfortable, reasonably secure and hopeful for a future, they don't give a damn what the Gentry does. I prefer the latter.

  • by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:10AM (#42093891) Journal

    Have you been paying attention to what is happening in Europe over the last two years?

    No, I've been keeping my eyes firmly shut, my ears closed and have been navigating the tube entirely by feel. Sarcasm aside: yes of course I have seeing I am a UK citizen.

    Countries in Europe are one by one reaching the point where the cost of government services (including and mostly involving, that "social security safety net") are exceeding tax revenues to the point where no one wants to loan them money.

    Last I checked the UK still had an AAA credit rating, along with Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Finland, The Netherlands and Denmark. All of those countries have an extensive social safety net.


    So that fact that it's failed some places due to widespread corruption means that it's impossible to make it work elsewhere?

  • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:13AM (#42093925)

    You do realize that the derivatives that you are speaking up consisted of mortgage-backed securities, which were created to monetize otherwise high risk loans, right? In turn these mortgages were pushed by certain loan programs to give mortgages to people who would not otherwise receive them.

    Yes, actual foreclosures caused by the mortgages were a small amount of money compared to the derivatives, but those bad mortgages not only provided the basis for some of the worst of the derivatives, but foreclosures are an extremely demoralizing event, not only for the family itself, but for the whole market. When you see foreclosures, you see people losing their homes. That affects everyone, and that is why you want to keep them low, because when everyone feels poorer, everyone IS poorer. That's how the economy works these days.

    Needless to say, blaming greed is always the right answer for issues like this, but having worked for one of the companies that did provide those securities, I saw that there was also another greed working as well, a greed for more popularity and votes by making people think that you were giving them something that they otherwise would not qualify for. I saw it in pretty, glossy, nearly tabloid sized literature that had company officers and various politicians shown handing keys to people. It was a nice warm fuzzy feeling, until you realized just how they were actually profiting from loans that they otherwise wouldn't be able to collect on.

    If those people in those pamphlets were renting today, having never "owned" a house I can say they would have been objectively better off now than those who got to "own" a house they couldn't pay for, and then lost it. That's why you don't decree that you have to pay loans to people who can't afford them. You're not dealing with corporate greed, you're starting to fight against the smart people who use math and research to determine who is a reasonable risk for a loan. And when you stop listening to those people, corporations start turning to the sorts of people who promise they can turn straw into gold and create things like mortgage-backed securities based on garbage.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:23AM (#42094013) Homepage Journal

    Given that the poor people weren't the ones offering the loans how does the offering of them make it "the poor ones who did it all"?

    The truth is, the poor were scammed by the rich. The banks had a win-win situation before the housing bubble burst. Talk poor Joe Sixpack who doesn't have an MBA into believing he can afford the house, and when gas prices quadruple as they did betwen 2000 and 2008 and he misses a single mortgage payment, the bank makes it nearly impossible for him to ever recover and finally forecloses, then sells the house at a tidy profit after collecting mortgage payments for a few years. And if the unthinkable happens and home prices sink, the bank has insurance to cover it. There's no possible way for the bank to lose money on a home loan under those conditions.

    It was legalized theft, with the rich legally robbing the poor.

  • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @11:51AM (#42094259) Homepage Journal
    We recently passed a bill called the ACA that actually encourages business to SHRINK, reducing their full-time staff. Instead of recognizing that problem, the left attacks the business owners who (in an admittedly public, jerky manner) announce plans to do so.

    Bill Clinton raised taxes. Low and behold, middle class got stronger.

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Ronald Reagan cut income taxes, EVERY class got stronger.

  • by Bucc5062 ( 856482 ) <> on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:27PM (#42094613)

    " Ronald Reagan cut income taxes, EVERY class got stronger."

    Hows that work. Did a little digging, granted these are gross numbers, but in 1979, just before RR someone in the 20th percentile made @ $19,274. Halfway through RR term he then made $17,927 and by the end of RR term he was back to 19,830. Net increase of wages in 8 years, $2,000. Amazing.

    Reagan's tax cuts ballooned the deficit while at the same time he was waging a spending war with the USSR. GHB may have killed his political career by raising taxes, but he was smart enough to see that cut and spend was killing this country...quickly.

    Clinton raised taxes. He also overhauled welfare and worked very hard as a world leader to keep us out of large military conflict, by using diplomacy and when needed, targeted action to contain threats to the US. He had increased revenue enough that even had there been a slight recession in 2000, the government could have smartly spent its way out by putting the surplus back into the country through stimulus and R&D.

    GWB, well he cut taxes, income for our 20 percentile drops back to pre-Clintion levels (less tax revenue as well), he engages in not one but two very costly wars and not only turns a budget surplus into a major deficit, he once again balloons the national debt. Net loss to the 20th, down $2000.

    Please do not state that Ronald Reagan did good by this country, because he cut taxes. Instead state that he did good by this country when he realized his mistake and began to raise taxes again. If even one Tea Party member or politician raises the specter of Reagan they need to take a long look at his whole presidency. In today's world, he would be denounced as a RINO and run out in a primary. Other then the bump that was GHB, Nixon was the last sane republican President in this country (and I can't believe I'm saying that but for what he can be compared to today).

  • by Ironhandx ( 1762146 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @01:16PM (#42095191)

    We're not ignorant. Most Canadians I know are better informed on the US political situation than most of those living in the U.S.

    It needs to be reformed, but your right-wing nut-jobs just want to cut benefits and call it done. The programs need reform that may actually increase spending in the short-term but get people OFF of social security altogether in the long term.

    Also "Cheaper and more efficient" in the U.S. has become synonymous with "Privatize it" with some large segments of the population. Theres an entire cultural problem down there right now. We're not belittling the situation, we're stating outright that its totally fucked on a very grand scale.

    You have no political will to actually do things correctly. It may come across as belittling but as our largest trading partner many Canadians KNOW that the health and well-being of the U.S. as a country is directly tied to our own health and well being. We are pointing at ourselves as an example of "doing it right" in an attempt to generate more attention and hopefully some additional popular support in the U.S. for properly reforming your health care and social security systems.

    #1 you need to raise taxes. #2 you need to reform the programs. Health care needs to become a single-payer federal system. Part of the reason for Canadas current efficiency of health care is because there is a giant health board that all of the individual provinces work with. The provincial boards have direct control over thier own affairs but cooperate on larger issues such as emergency heart care etc.

    Since things are different down there the only effective way to implement it would be as a seperate federal department for each state that then runs within a larger federal board that functions purely to liase between the various states departments and perform audits now and then to keep everyone honest. This also reduces the potential for corruption because there isn't one giant federal board. If someone wants to issue bribes to get something they'd have to bribe too many people to make it worthwhile. It may seem like a logistical nightmare, and the states may even need to be broken up into groups to make it work better, but it is doable,

    Social security.... education programs need to be implemented. Workfare programs, therapy benefits... anything that can help to get these people back to being productive needs to be done. Spending an extra 30-40k on education while they're on social security for 3 years is much better than spending an additional 300+k(not to mention the tax revenue loss since they're not paying any taxes at all). over the course of another 15-20 years or more.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford