Thursday, December 09, 2004

That wonderful Bush economy

The word "terminal" was right Posted by Hello

Anybody got some bootstraps I could borrow?


The Manning Report said...

How is it Bush's fault that you can't conserve money?

Nick said...

Yes, and Kerry would try to tax you on that 3 cents.

Murph said...

I racked my brain to say something more surly and smug than the above two comments, but I've got nothing. I'll buy you a beer when I'm in LA, Ian.

Michael said...

Well, if I were trying to match the intellectual content of the first two commenters, I'd say something like "Bush drools, Kerry rools!" But I'm not going to go there.

How to blame Bush for Ian's depressingly low bank balance? Well, we could start with the fact that Bush has been very, very, very good to the banking industry. They can now charge fees and interest rates that would have gotten those responsible burned at the stake a few hundred years ago when usury was considered sinful and not a good marketing strategery.

Or we could talk about how the Bushoviki have absolutely gutted the educational system, to the point where the proper adjective for graduate students (especially in the humanities) really is "starving." The stipends we get offered outside of the hard sciences are considerably less than minimum wage on an hourly basis--and minimum wage puts one below the federal poverty line.

Then there's the bad example that the Bushoviki and their enablers in what used to describe itself, oh so proudly, as the "party of fiscal discipline" have been setting. Hey, what's a few hundred billion dollars among friends, right? Tax-and-spend liberals: bad. Borrow-and-squander conservatives: right on! And while we're at it: Fuck the poor!

Ian McGibboney said...

I posted this to prove once and for all that the people who are working hard in this country are often the ones who are paid the least. I'm so tired of Bush apologists telling with with the dismissive nod of an expert that "the economy's fine" or "there's no recession." Well, something's sure as hell different.

Your comment is great Michael, though I will rasie a flag: my mom works high up in a bank. They aren't exactly cackling either. I'm left wondering who is.

Kyle said...


Ian, Journalism is a tough business to make bux no matter who is Preznit. There have always been bank fees for as long as I can remember. You should try a credit union.

Michael said...

It's not so much the people who work in the banks that are raking in the dough, Ian: it's the shareholders, that great and powerful class of what the French call rentiers (people who can live off the income from their investments) before whom all must kowtow these days. As long as their stock prices and dividends keep heading for the sky, they're happy--and they don't much care what the people whose stocks they own have to do (to their customers or the people who work for that company) to achieve that highly desirable end. The entire Bush economic strategery, to the extent that the Shrubbery has such a thing, can be adequately and accurately summed up as privileging wealth and penalizing work.

Kyle said...

Yes, Michael. Damn them rich people. How dare they invest their money and actually turn a profit. How dare they work hard and become successful.

Personal question: Did a poor person ever give you a job?

Michael said...

As usual Carl, you not only completely missed the point, you deliberately twisted it into the form of one of your favorite straw men. There is nothing wrong with being wealthy, per se. It's when you start believing that you're better than everybody else merely because you have a greater net worth than they do, and that therefore everything in the world should be run in such a way as to benefit you, and the incredibly tiny fraction of the population like you, that my blood pressure starts rising and I start thinking maybe Shakespeare was too specific in II Henry VI when he limited the killings just to lawyers.

Personal reply (though it's really none of your fucking business): No. But neither has a rich person.

Phillip said...

As soon as a liberal says something about the upper class a conservative will decry "class warfare". It's not class warfare to keep the interests of working class MAJORITY in mind.

And if averaged out, our current national debt is akin to every person in the country being $25,000 in the hole.

So I guess being + 3 cents is pretty good by Bush standards.

Michael said...

Or at least "only" being $24,999.97 in the hole.

Ian McGibboney said...

Let's explicate that old righty chestnut, as worded by the newly gun-free Carl P: "How dare they invest their money and actually turn a profit. How dare they work hard and become successful."

The second sentence there has nothing to do with the first. Investing is gambling, plain and simple. I'm not even against gambling; but I think that if you choose to make that choice, then you should also have to pay the costs that it incurs. Easy money, easy taxation. It would be the opposite of our system now, and it would make a lot more sense.

As for the question about poor people giving me a job, well, of course they haven't. But like Michael said, neither are rich people. If anything, they are so rich that they are afraid to part with it if they think that the only return is a mere skilled worker. And even in the best of times (such as not now), rich people aren't exactly going around offering jobs to people. Why should they? Under our current tax plan, no one has any reason to do so. And don't say that tax breaks encourage people to invest--they don't. You righties know that, which is why you use the exact opposite argument to deny tax breaks to poor people (i.e., that it makes them lazy).

Incidentally, I should note that I got paid today. So now I have four cents in the bank.

thehim said...

Dude, you're still in the black by 3 whole pennies. If you were truly representing Bush economics, you'd be in debt by about 300 trillion pennies...

Nick said...

1. If you make money LA Lottery...then yes.. you should have to pay taxes.

2. I'll tell you liberals something. I've never used my father's money or influecence to get into college (I got an academic and after walking on, an athletic scholarhip on my own), or to get out of a ticket or an arrest, and I've never used my parents' money or influence to get a job either. I have gone out and have gotten everything on my own. Therefore, I'm just like most of you, except I believe that I should be able to invest in my own health and life insurance account, and I should be able to keep more of my hard earned money. Also, if I'm smart enough, though, to divert my savings away from the Gov'ts plan and into my own, should I be extra pentalized for that? Fuck NO!!

Ian McGibboney said...

1) Isn't it funny how conservatives who oppose the lottery and casino gambling just LOVE the stock market? I like their attack on the lottery in particular, alomost as if racial connotations had something to do with it...

2) Nick, I believe you, but don't act like you never had an advantage in your life. And please don't give me your line about having lived in a trailer for a year of your life. I respect your humble roots, I really do; but some people suffer far more in life. I myself earned the very same scholarship you had, after years of working for virtually nothing at my high school. I had paid every (well, both) tickets I've ever had and work as hard as you do for what will probably be much less in life. I don't know where you got the idea that, by saying that people who work hard should have an easier tax burden than those who gamble in stocks, I am somehow cutting YOU down.

As for your brilliant idea that guaranteed government savings should be risked in this stock market at the chance of a total and irreversible loss, well, it is horribly irresponsible. It's not a smart thing to do, it's foolish. Untold numbers of people (mostly elderlies who did not know any better) have already lost their entire live savings in the stock market, never to be seen again. This system is for the greedy, plain and simple.

Michael said...

So what the hell's stopping you, Nick? Last time I looked, banks were still allowing people to open savings accounts. And the nice thing about those accounts is that you can use that money for anything you want--and you don't have to give any of the unspent balances at the end of the year back to the government, the way you do with the Bushoviki's boondoggle MSAs. There are about a bajillion different insurance programs you can buy into if you have the $$$, so I guess I'm not seeing your beef there, either. Forgive me for thinking that those of our fellow citizens who aren't fortunate enough to be rolling in dough should be able to get affordable (or free) coverage so they can take their kids to the doctor, too, and not have to skimp on food for a month to pay for it.

That's the annoying thing about conservatives. They act as if anything that makes life a little easier for people less fortunate than they are is some kind of a personal affront to them, and diminishes their opportunities to live as they please. If you've got the dough to do what you want, explain, please, how my supporting medical coverage for everybody--rich or poor--interferes with your ability to choose the plan you want.

Nick said...

1. Icon, I know I've had great advantages in my life. My dad has made a great living. However, you seem to try and argue that the only reason people are wealthy is through the stock market or inheritance. Neither has been the case in my family.

2. I'm not against gambling. Hey, I love being able to sit at a nickle slot machine and bum free drinks off the casino. However, the stock market much different than gambling, or at least should different if you do your research. Personally, I got an old high school friend handling my finances. She's a little cutie too, an extra plus for client/advisor meetings.

3. Mike, I have nothing wrong with health care for everyone, as long as they're trying to work if they're able. I know in some South American country everyone is given food, water, shelter and health care, even if they choose not to work. You can sit home all day if you choose. Now, why should I pay for that? Also, why am I paying for Social Security? Why can't I "gamble" and put that money in my own IRA, especially when I'm self-employed? I'm having to pay double right now b/c I don't have an employer to pay half for me.

4. Also, Icon, not to get too personal, but where does all your money go? You have 2 journalism jobs, right? You have tuition, car insurance, gas, and.....? You do still live with your family, right? Rent was always the most expensive for me, then gas and insurance. I was lucky that TOPS and track covered tuition and books. I also applied for just about every scholarship possible through ULL or some other organization. Try looking into that. You'd be surprised how much scholarship is actually out there.

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael said...

You can't "gamble" with your Social Security contributions, Nick, because the whole idea behind Social Security was that nobody should be without some kind of pension in their old age--even if their employers are too cheap to provide one, or if they've invested unwisely and lost their savings, there's still something coming in to keep them from having to eat dog food. And you know what, the program's been working since it was introduced. I see no reason to tinker with it just so a few Wall Street fatcats can get even richer--and doubly so since they'll get richer no matter whether the investments they make for people "gambling" their SS contributions do well or do poorly.

If you want to do more than that, go right ahead. You can dollar-cost average in most mutual funds these days, so just tuck away $50 or $100 or $250 or whatever you can afford in the fund(s) of your choice. I've been kicking in extra on top of my mandatory 403(b) pension contributions (I work for the state, so I don't pay Social Security taxes) for several years now, and I'm quite happy with my returns. But you'd better believe a part of my pension contributions are going toward a guaranteed-return option. I remember the 1970s and 1980s, and I know that stocks can go down just as easily (and just as quickly) as they can go up.

Nick said...


Again, I'm self employed, therefore, I have no employer to even pay half of my Social Security. Therefore, why should I have to pay double (meaning the whole damn thing) of what most people pay? Why can't I chose to take my Social Security money and put it where I see best fit?

Also, I'd definitely be willing to pay more taxes if it went to the right things. For example, I think anyone who has fought in a war for our country should NEVER have to pay taxes again. If I have to contribute to help that fund, I'm willing. We recently had a soldier question Rummy about the lack of vehicular armor in Iraq. If lack of labor is the reason for lack of supply, hell, I'm willing to quit my job and help in the manufacturing of armor if our Defense Department is in that much of a bind, so is my dad. Those guys are defending us, and that is the least I could do. I'm willing to pay or work more for certain things, however, only if I know my time and money is going to be spent wisely. If someone who is able to work chooses not to work, F- them. This is a country built on CAPITALISM, not socialism. If you want socialism, cross over to Canada, and don't tell me you don't have the funds b/c it ain't that expensive.

Michael said...

If you can guarantee that you're not going to wind up being a drain on the public's dime because your investments went south, then fine. I'd be willing to allow you to opt out of Social Security. Since you can't make that guarantee, I'd just as soon you kick in a little something toward your eventual retirement. It's only fair. If you want to do more than that, well, you're free to do so.

I'm intrigued by your boldfaced assertion that the United States is founded on capitalism. I fail to find any references to that term in any of our foundational documents. In fact, it seems to me that the preamble of the Constitution sounds a hell of a lot more "socialist" than you're likely to be happy with--that whole bit about "promoting the General Welfare," you know.

The problem with the armor isn't that the companies making it need more production capacity. In fact, as they've been quite openly telling the press in the wake of Mr. Dumsfeld's little brouhaha, they're not running anywhere near capacity. The problem is that Uncle Sam, in the guise of Dummy, Big Dick, and Commander Codpiece, don't want to have to pay for the proper equipment of the ridiculously underestimated force they decided was all they wanted to waste on Iraq.

If you want something to be outraged about, Nick, I'd recommend starting right there. In my book, the actions of the Bushoviki all throughout the Iraq war are quite obviously impeachable offenses. They certainly indicate that nobody currently running the show is a fit commander, because no commander worthy of the name sends his troops into battle with less than what they need to get the job done--and shorts them on the manpower necessary in the first place. People were demoted and court-martialed for that, once upon a time. I'd love to bring that tradition back

Also, I'm afraid your war-veterans tax exemption wouldn't do much good. We haven't had an actual war in two generations: everything since World War II was a "police action" or a "peacekeeping mission" or something else. Only Congress is empowered to declare war, and Congress have not done so since 8 December, 1941. That's far too late to help any of our men and women currently in the forces, most of whom are struggling to make ends meet, in large part due to the ass-backward policies of Commander Codpiece and Ronald "I'm too stoopid to go anyplace else" Dumsfeld.

Nick said...


1. I'm not going to put all of my retirement in stocks. Believe it or not, I have a little more since than that. And look, fine, I'll put some of my money in the SS fund. But, why should I have to pay double into the system just b/c I don't have an employer?

2. Gotta love the Bushoviki name. Wow. Do you also believe that "KKKarl" rigged and stole the '04 election. Hey, maybe Rove also rigged the Dem. Primary b/c he wanted Kerry to run against Bush. And don't forget, this has been a long, thought out plan by BFEE, since G.W. Sr. devised the plan to assasinate JFK. Oh, and I keep trying to tell you liberals this, but still most of you just don't get it. Your buddy Clinton and much of his staff all made the argument that Saddam had WMD's. Therefore, did they lie too? Maybe KKKarl really planted Clinton as president for 8 yrs.

Ian McGibboney said...

Nick: "You seem to try and argue that the only reason people are wealthy is through the stock market or inheritance. Neither has been the case in my family."

I am not saying that. What I AM saying is that the conservative equation that "poor equals lazy" is not always true, because many people that are super-rich have never worked for their money. And these are the people who are lobbying for and getting massive tax breaks. Why? Who the hell knows...

Nick: "The stock market [is] much different than gambling, or at least should different if you do your research..."

The difference being that, in blackjack, you can mathematically ascertain hands if you know how. With stocks, you NEVER know.

Nick: "I have nothing wrong with health care for everyone, as long as they're trying to work if they're able."

What about the elderly and young children? Or people with disabilities?

Nick: "Also, Icon, not to get too personal, but where does all your money go? You have 2 journalism jobs, right? You have tuition, car insurance, gas, and.....?"

Um, food? Toiletries? The occasional piece of clothing? Those things are expensive enough, believe me. What you're forgetting is that my two jobs in journalism total $430 a month. I am actually living quite well considering that prisoners have a better deal than I do. If you want to suggest I get a higher-paying job, may I suggest a different president with different economic policies so that there actually ARE some fucking jobs out there? Even at the height of the Clinton boom, Louisiana was in recession. So you can imagine that the job market now is a total joke.

Nick: "I also applied for just about every scholarship possible through ULL or some other organization. Try looking into that. You'd be surprised how much scholarship is actually out there."

Thanks for the tip, Mr. Condescension. I happen to have almost complete financial aid from the athletic department, despite the best efforts of a certain corpulent former manager who tried to lobby the school to cut my scholarship because he disagreed with my politics. And aid for graduate students is not exactly as available as it is for incoming freshman. And by the way, I have never had TOPS. That program started my senior year in high school, when it was too late for me to fulfill its curriculum requirements. The money I do have now is a miracle and keeps me afloat, frankly.

Nick: "I'd definitely be willing to pay more taxes if it went to the right things. For example, I think anyone who has fought in a war for our country should NEVER have to pay taxes again."

There's no way we could do this. If we did, they'd be the first to deserve it, I agree. But how far would that go? Pretty soon you'd have every lobbyists from every two-bit corporate group trying to rationalize their work as being dangerous in order to reach the same tax break. Or even worse, they'd MAKE the work dangerous. How about Halliburton asking for that because of their contractors in Iraq? As if they pay any taxes already...Tax exemption for life is too slippery of a slope for us to allow.

Nick: "I'm willing to pay or work more for certain things, however, only if I know my time and money is going to be spent wisely."

If I have to put up with my money going to churches and Halliburton, then the least you can do is put up with using 1 percent of it to help downtrodden people. At least that is part of the purpose of our country.

Nick: "This is a country built on CAPITALISM, not socialism."

Capitalism is an economic system, not a governmental system, and a checked system at that. The idea behind capitalism is to regulate resources and trade, not to apply the "survival-of-the-fittest" and profit principles to government aid and programs. I agree that capitalism has gone too far, because we're forgetting its premise for existence.

Nick: "If you want socialism, cross over to Canada, and don't tell me you don't have the funds b/c it ain't that expensive."

And don't tell me who has a right to live and who has a right to leave this country. It's not your call.

Ian McGibboney said...

So, Nick, you have the "since" not to stick all of your SS into investments? I thought that the system was great? Are you admitting that some risk is involved?

Nick said...


1. I didn't mean to offend you by suggesting looking into scholarships. Most people don't realize how much money is out there. I didn't until my advisor told me. I was just trying to suggest a couple things that can help, it helped me. I applied for a crap load of stuff. What's the worst that can happen? They can only choose to give the money to someone else. I just didn't tell any coaches who much money I had received the last 2 or 3 semesters b/c it was more than the NCAA allows.

2. Is Eeke the former manager you're talking about?

3. Sure, there is risk w/ the stock market and other IRA accounts. There's also risk getting into a vehicle and driving, especially in this town. However, I guess my biggest question is, rather than pay double of what people who have employers pay, why can't I still put in half of the SS I'm paying and put the other half in some sort of IRA as I see fit?

4. I'm not trying to make anyone leave. All I'm saying is that if you want complete socialism, there's already a place close by where that's established. Therefore, why should the U.S. change? We have to stay capitalist to keep the North American continent Fair and Balanced.

Murph said...

I like bananas.

Ian McGibboney said...


1)So you openly admit you broke NCAA rules as a college athlete? And here I trhought the Republicans were the party of law and order...

2) Yes. And it worked until I called him on it; the athletic complex had to apologize to me and compensate me with the difference the following semester.

3) The problem even with the choice (to put in half as investments) is that the whole system is being misrepresented. No one currently advocating the measure seems to be particularly interested in highlighting the risks involved. Instead, they're using sunny vernacular such as "choice" and "retirement accounts." That fact alone makes me question the motives behind the practice.

4) The mentality behind the "love it or leave it" crowd is that the United States is in fact a conservative, capitalist, fundamentalist state that takes the Constitution literally and inflexibly. And they believe that the Founding Fathers designed it that way and that it has never changed. All falsehoods. The fact is that America has plenty of room for differing ideas and even for competing interpretations of society. A Fair and Balanced place, if you will. And we're staying!

Ian McGibboney said...

Me too, Murph...