View Full Version : The state of U.S. politics

02-18-2008, 07:18 PM
Not in anyway to stir up partisan rancor here, just curious what people think.

Looking at the problems facing the U.S., mostly economic seems to me, it's interesting to watch the four candidates still standing duke it out. I hear a lot of promises, mostly out of the democrats, about solving our healthcare issues, but no one in either party is willing to address the structural problems in the basic economy. One that is never mentioned is the unfunded entitlements going forward, which amount to 53 trillion dollars over the next few decades in SS and Medicare. Essentially, the baby boomers have been promised what can't be delivered without massive inflation. As I've said before, I'm no economist, so feel free to dispute that.

I sense a lot of fear just now. It shows up in some of the quarrels here. It's been a generation since we've been involved in a controversial war. People who hold ARMs are worried about losing their houses, and some are worried about that debacle bleeding over into their jobs--which it's very likely to do. Maybe that's why women are weeping and fainting at Obama rallies? Our officials aren't sounding the call to the lifeboats, but if you read between the lines you can tell they are worried, also.

I don't think it's a Democratic or a Republican issue, but it sure is a political one. I'm not advocating any solution, except perhaps a return to fiscal discipline. After eight years of a Republican president we now know for sure that's an issue which crosses party lines.

I dunno. I am concerned at the moment, along with many others.

What is your take on what we face, and which presidential candidate is best able to move us in the right direction? I'm quite sure the structural issues aren't going away with any president, and I'm pretty sure we are in for some hard times. Maybe not on a par with 1930, but some hard, hard times.

Signed Worried in Maine, USA.

02-18-2008, 07:32 PM
I don't think there's any doubt that fear politics have been played out in the US since the 1950's. Overplayed because a people fearful of an outside 'enemy' are less likely to become discontented with domestic problems. But looking at US politics now I think they fearmongers might have overplayed their hand. The large turnout of interested citizen to political rallies and the results seemingly coming in augur well for your democracy after a period of stagnation. UNLESS it is stifled by an archaic and potentially corrupt electoral system and party power machinations. The dems have it to loose I'd say, and if they make an undemocratic decision they still could.
The price of profligacy will have to be paid, here too though our resorce boom continues unabated. The price agreed for Aus iron ore has just gone up by 60% but so are interest rates and those overcommitted will be in strife. The housing market continues up but driven now by investors getting out of shares and into a burgeoning rental market. The welfare bill is about to skyrocket I think.
I think Hillary will give you what you know, more of the same controlled by most of the same. McCain ditto only more so. So is the nation capable of being brave eh?

jimmy lee
02-18-2008, 09:57 PM
I don't think the Nation as a whole will be brave! I think the november election will so that. Too many people still want the easy way out..... Oh, just charge please. When one has $100.oo and one needs $110.oo to pay the bills, how is one to cut back within one's budget and still pay what's owed? Something here don't add up!!!! I think that is why the dollar has devalued 16.2% here of late, on the world market.

02-18-2008, 10:23 PM
I don't think our problems are "mostly economic." I think it's mostly a crisis of character. We've become a nation of people who want everything, and now; a nation willing to sacrifice little or nothing. And we've been led down this path by banks, big companies, and other people who profit from our childishness. Why *save* money for a home, when banks will give you a loan you can't really afford? And why do without anything, when you can take your credit card down to Wal*Mart and get a good "deal" on shoddy goods made in China by slave laborers? Most of our economic problems can be traced to the structural changes needed to make this situation possible.

Think of the sacrifices we endured on the home front during WWII: rationing of food and gas; few consumer goods; an all-out effort to keep the factories making ships and planes and munitions while so many men were away at war. Or think back further, to the hardships the pioneers endured in settling lands beyond the 13 colonies. My god, people started out living in sod houses, and nails were so precious that people straightened them and reused them rather than throwing them away.

Global warming is a greater threat to this nation than Hitler was, and it's a greater threat than Al Qaeda will ever be ... but can you imagine any significant segment of this country making the same kind of sacrifices today? I can't. We've become a nation of lemmings, led by the Pied Piper of consumerism, and we won't wake up until we fall into the sea and half of us have drowned.

Duncan Gibbs
02-18-2008, 11:00 PM
Methinks the US Empire has had its heyday. I can't remember the attribution but there is a saying about the worst excesses of empire occuring during decline. Nero fiddled... That sort of thing.

IIRC both Gore Vidal and George Soros predicted that the US would be around the Argentinian economic level within 50 years, and that was about 5 years ago now. Ladies and Gentlemen, start your vegie patches!

George Roberts
02-18-2008, 11:05 PM
SS and Medicare benefits are subject to change. It is best to read that as "subject to reduction."

If anyone really believes that SS and Medicare benefits are going to do the country in, they should be working hard to get those benefits reduced or stopped.


I will am willing to give up my benefits if enough others do so. Enough others being defined as giving up their benefits will make a $10 trillion difference, 20% of the benefits of so.

02-19-2008, 06:28 AM
Unrestrained growth is the paradigm of the cancer cell.

Milo Christensen
02-19-2008, 07:20 AM
Unrestrained growth is the paradigm of the cancer cell.

There's a biological truism that equates equally well as an economic truism: When you stop growing, you start dying.

bob winter
02-19-2008, 07:27 AM
I think Bilgerunner has come close to hitting the nail on the head and the US does not have a monopoly on the "crises of character", we have our fair share of the problem in Canada as well. I don't presume to have any answers - I can't even properly define the problem - but I do think there are some factors that obviously come into play.

First, there is the rise of the "super-corporation". I fail to see how these things are beneficial to the domestic economy as a whole.

Second, is the power of institutional investors. These guys have the ability to take over fairly large corporations, such as Chrysler, and move them from being public to private corporations.

Third, is the obsession with the bottom line over all else. This pursuit of the almighty dollar has effectively gutted the US and Canadian manufacturing industries. It is a sad state of affairs when the service sector becomes the largest element of any economy.

Four, is the need of the public for instant gratification and a lack of an ability or willingness to subscribe to the concept of individual responsibity for whatever. Credit so loose these days that people run out an but things that the don't need and can't afford and then they get all excited when the whole thing backfires.

The final thing I will mention, and I don't know precisely how to put this, is what I see to be manipulation of the public by a combination of the media, business, and big government. Big government not only includes the elected politicians but the vested interests such as the civil service and the various lobby groups. The politicians are likely the least of our worries.

Just a few thoughts, to cover this off properly would be quite a job.

martin schulz
02-19-2008, 08:37 AM
We've become a nation of lemmings, led by the Pied Piper of consumerism, and we won't wake up until we fall into the sea and half of us have drowned.

Probably the best sentence I have ever read here.

While it is understandable that the "great unwashed masses" are too stupid to look behind the curtain I am mostly disappointed that those able to look further, our intellectual elite is either fighting among each other on neglectable PC questions, "bought" by capitalism or blinded by their 5-min fame hornyness.

Osborne Russell
02-19-2008, 02:23 PM
I don't think our problems are "mostly economic." I think it's mostly a crisis of character.


Which of our problems were not largely or entirely of our own making?

Who ever had a continent with an ocean on each side to build a nation?

A democracy is supposed to be a reflection of the character of its citizens. If it's not, it's not working right.

Osborne Russell
02-19-2008, 02:31 PM
There's a biological truism that equates equally well as an economic truism: When you stop growing, you start dying.

That's MEM, not biology.

Here's some biology:

1. If you don't stop growing, as an individual, you'll die sooner.

2. If you keep growing, as a species, you invite a correction that is severe in proportion to how long it's delayed.

3. You'll die anyway. This is the nub of MEM's protest.

02-19-2008, 03:07 PM
You might, or not, like to factor this in and it's effect on the economy for the next 20 years

"Budget office projects U.S. deficit to hit $477 billion

Budget numbers likely part of election battle

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The federal deficit will hit a record $477 billion this year and get worse if lawmakers cut taxes or increase spending, the Congressional Budget Office projected Monday in a report sure to become ammunition in the election-year fight over red ink."


Chris Coose
02-19-2008, 05:58 PM
Ish, I hate to do this but, what I know is, you voted for the dubbya and you voted for TABOR in Maine. It makes sense that you would be worried as I see you as part of the problem.
A president is important and given the options I'd think you might put your glass to half full.... take a risk and get behind the candidate who fresh, energetic, likely to build a new team, speaks well and may, just may pull this sorry bunch of bankrupt states out of the republican mire that has brought us to unknown lows.