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#40214 - 09/29/08 03:55 PM Only a heartbeat away...
d-elvis Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/26/00
Posts: 3650
Loc: Central PA
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#40216 - 09/29/08 04:21 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: d-elvis]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
haha she is awesome...

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#40217 - 09/29/08 04:59 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
mworking Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/26/04
Posts: 764
She's a McCain cheerleader. She's as stuck on the words McCain as Giuliani was on 9/11.

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#40218 - 09/29/08 05:01 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: d-elvis]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
So, how low has the bar been set for her for Thursday's debate?

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#40232 - 09/29/08 06:16 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: d-elvis]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Let's call a spade a f*cking shovel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLhVGDy-ZXc

(safe for office. not safe for sanity.)

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#40459 - 10/07/08 01:57 AM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: d-elvis]
chazman Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 944
"Well, I was reading my copy of The New York Times the other day, and I was really interested to read about Barack’s friends from Chicago," Palin said at a rally in Clearwater, Fla., on Oct. 6.

So now she can name a newspaper she reads... heairng her attack Obama is sickening. She has NO IDEA what she is even saying. She never heard of Bill Ayers before last week... such a sad joke of a ticket.

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#40470 - 10/07/08 03:20 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: chazman]
Julie Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/16/00
Posts: 2090
Loc: SoCal
Here's a great bit from Richard Cohen, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/06/AR2008100602634.html

"Can you imagine the reaction of the press corps if Clinton had given the audience a "hiya, sailor" wink? Can you imagine the feverish blogging across the political spectrum if Clinton had claimed credit for stopping a bridge that, in fact, had set her heart aflutter? What if she had shown that she didn't know squat about the Constitution, if she could not tell Katie Couric what newspapers or magazines she read or if she had claimed an intimacy with foreign affairs based on sighting Russia through binoculars?

Ah, but the scorn, approbation and ridicule that would have descended on Clinton -- I can just imagine the Journal editorial -- have been withheld from Palin. Much of the mainstream media, grading on a curve suitable for a parrot -- "greed and corruption, greed and corruption, greed and corruption" -- gave her a passing grade or better. I agree with Palin. It's the mainstream media that flunked. "

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#40474 - 10/07/08 03:56 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Julie]
alicex4 Offline
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Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
Geeze, I remember trying to heap plenty of scorn on Bubba for numerous policies, peccadilloes, and perjury. The press and supporters wanted none of it.

Palin has the same appeal as pols like Clinton and Reagan did for the unwashed masses.

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#40476 - 10/07/08 04:04 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
 Originally Posted By: alicex4
Palin has the same appeal as pols like Clinton and Reagan did for the unwashed masses.


Except Clinton actually knew something about policy.

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#40481 - 10/07/08 04:46 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
alicex4 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
I knew you would RR out of the knowledge category even though he had a degree in economics! \:\)

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#40489 - 10/07/08 06:25 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
Umm... I think that quote is refering to Hillary... Not Bill!

But... whatever...
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#40492 - 10/07/08 06:52 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Dillbag]
chazman Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 944
The "right" can't think straight, they are dug in deep and in full smear mode. The world banks are in pretty serious trouble and all Sean Hannity can talk about is Bill Ayers. The McCain campaign has released they have "turned the page" on the economy so they can focus on smearing Obama.

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#40495 - 10/07/08 07:34 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: chazman]
alicex4 Offline
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Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
Please, McLame tried to bring a bill up in 2005 that would have put the kibosh on Fannie and Freddie and it was never brought up for a vote in the Senate. Now Barney Frank is trying to accuse the GOP of being Racists. The Massachusetts Democrat, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said the GOP is appealing to its base by blaming the country's mortgage foreclosure problem on efforts to expand affordable housing through the Community Reinvestment Act.
"They get to take things out on poor people," Frank said at a mortgage foreclosure symposium in Boston. "Let's be honest: The fact that some of the poor people are black doesn't hurt them either, from their standpoint. This is an effort, I believe, to appeal to a kind of anger in people."

What a louse, and yet he is part of the crafty bailout team. Stiglitz has it right. This bailout won't work, now what is the plan???
I can't wait for all the govt employees, Local, State, and Federal to find out that their pensions are gone too.


Edited by alicex4 (10/07/08 07:35 PM)

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#40519 - 10/08/08 12:33 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
pda Offline
addict

Registered: 08/30/01
Posts: 621
Loc: Bergen County NJ
I'm having a hard time rectifying these two comments of yours:

"Please, McLame tried to bring a bill up in 2005 that would have put the kibosh on Fannie and Freddie and it was never brought up for a vote in the Senate."

"The majority party is responsible for assembling a majority vote . . . ."

In 2005, Dems did not control Senate. So I guess you are saying it is the Repubs fault after all?

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#40527 - 10/08/08 02:10 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: pda]
alicex4 Offline
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Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
Yes, the whole Congress is at fault. I would vote them all out. No exceptions. Too bad the debate last night wasn't like V. They could have blown the whole stage up and the candidates with it.

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#40529 - 10/08/08 02:43 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
 Originally Posted By: alicex4
Yes, the whole Congress is at fault. I would vote them all out. No exceptions.


Most people feel the same way...except when it comes to their own representative, who most people feel is doing a great job.

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#40530 - 10/08/08 03:11 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
alicex4 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
"Most people feel the same way...except when it comes to their own representative, who most people feel is doing a great job."

Yeah, it all depends on whose ox is being gored. Hopefully this market debacle, and the astute leadership that's presenting in DC, will make people think twice this November.

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#40531 - 10/08/08 03:12 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5978
Loc: 212 land
Yes, the whole Congress is at fault. I would vote them all out. No exceptions.

And a bunch of you-know-whats would merely replace them.
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#40532 - 10/08/08 04:41 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: oenophore]
alicex4 Offline
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Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
So you are not voting, since you seem ot be of the opinion that it makes no difference who is elected to any office?

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#40533 - 10/08/08 05:03 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
oenophore Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/24/01
Posts: 5978
Loc: 212 land
What I'm saying that if every member of Congress were to croak or resign, their replacements would be no better.
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#40535 - 10/08/08 05:16 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Mark Heyman Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1123
Loc: South Jersey (Pinelands)
 Originally Posted By: alicex4
I can't wait for all the govt employees, Local, State, and Federal to find out that their pensions are gone too.


Uhh, so you and I can pay for it again?????

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#40538 - 10/08/08 06:04 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
I still think our political problems do not rest with Congress, or at least not mostly with Congress. Congress is a representative body. So if too many of them act irresponsibly, I think it's because too many of those in the public act irresponsibly too.

Our elected officials can't reasonably be expected to make hard decisions unless their constituents are willing to back them on it, which requires that their constituents be willing to make hard decisions too. But where is the appetite for that? We say "support the troops," but aren't willing to pay a dime in more taxes to pay for the extra expenses and instead borrow the money from abroad. We say we want energy independence yet yell at our candidates to lower gas prices when econ 101 says the cheaper a product is, the more you'll use. Oh, and don't forget to lower our taxes, even though we're not paying our national bills as it is. And the examples could go on and on: Social Security, health care.... too many people seem to believe that it's our elected representatives' job to solve our problems.

But I don't think that's how government works. Government doesn't solve our problems for us; it's how we work together to solve our problems, whether it's building a bridge or trying to provide for the elderly who can't work anymore. Some people think the former item may be a legitimate government purpose and the latter not; that's why we vote to decide such issues. But whatever the outcome, it should be the result of balancing what we want with what we have to do to get it. Social Security is a good example: to deal with the problem of elderly poverty, most people decided to tax themselves to support those who could no longer be expected to work. If most people didn't believe in doing so, it would have not gotten through Congress. But it obviously wasn't free.

Now the mantra seems to be that we can have something for nothing, which I trace back to the Reagan years (just because one has a degree in economics doesn't mean one makes good policy decisions) when he cut taxes, increased spending, and people were pretty much fine with it because they didn't feel the immediate effects of the profligacy which they themselves endorsed. And we've been stuck in that position ever since, where politicians can't say they'll cut expensive but popular programs, but they can't say they'll raise taxes either. It seems that they can't ask us to do anything at all without endangering their seats. Yet the present course is simply unsustainable.

I think there has been a tacit failure both on the part of the government and the populace. The populace doesn't want to face the consequences of the failure to make tough decisions, and politicians fear asking us to do so. My hope is that with new leadership, we can be asked if we're willing to take action again on the issues most of us say we care about. Because if we're not, then we can't expect government to take those actions for us.

So I wouldn't blame Congress without blaming the general constituency. In our system of government, it's the people who are ultimately accountable, whether we like it or not--though some leadership would be helpful.

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#40539 - 10/08/08 06:08 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
And that... Is why we're too STUPID for democracy!
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#40541 - 10/08/08 06:54 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Dillbag]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
 Originally Posted By: Dillbag
And that... Is why we're too STUPID for democracy!


Well, are the people of Rwanda too STUPID for democracy? North Korea? Russia? China? Pakistan? Iraq? If that statement holds value as being the truth then socialism and dictatorship is the only right way to deal with large masses of people then.

Don’t swallow all the crap in the news that America is dead and over with, and that the people in this country have failed and are just a bunch of pork eaters waiting for their pension. The recent crisis still shows that when the sh%t is hitting the fan, the world still runs to the US as its safe haven for its money.

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#40542 - 10/08/08 07:07 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
Ummm... YES!

The WE I was referring to in that statement wasn't the WE of the US, but rather the WE of humanity...
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#40543 - 10/08/08 07:26 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Dillbag]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
 Originally Posted By: Dillbag
Ummm... YES!

The WE I was referring to in that statement wasn't the WE of the US, but rather the WE of humanity...


http://www.cpusa.org

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#40545 - 10/08/08 07:35 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Mark Heyman]
alicex4 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
You can't get blood form a stone and eventually people will figure it out. That's what I meant. I am 45 and will probably never see any SS taxes that I have paid allocated back to me, the money is gone. It is wrong to tax future generations for benefits we can't afford now. With the economic conditions tightening, it will be increasingly difficult for tax proposals to pass IMO. Tax corporations and they pass the expense onto the people that buy their product. Tax the citizenry overmuch, and you lose their purchase power to move the economy. Americans have been living on borrowed time for too long. Not living within their means, no personal savings, priorities all screwed, does everyone really NEED a cell phone and cable? How do you rack up on averagre $10,000 in credit debt and expect it not to be an issue someday? Maybe I am old fashioned, my parents were born in 1925 and 1931, and they realized that you can't rely on government for your needs, you can only reasonably rely on yourself. Society as a whole seems impatient and feckless and this is a good wake up call. I don't recall my grandparents "retiring" either. They pretty much worked, albeit part time in their Golden years, until they died.


Edited by alicex4 (10/08/08 07:37 PM)

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#40552 - 10/08/08 08:40 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
 Originally Posted By: alicex4
I am 45 and will probably never see any SS taxes that I have paid allocated back to me, the money is gone.


That SS money was never allocated to you. Money that is paid into the SS system today goes out to today's retirees. Money that is paid into the SS system by others when you retire will go to you. When the money coming in becomes less than the benefit levels we have now, benefits will be cut accordingly unless we do something to change the situation (higher taxes, raise the benefits age, or some combination of the two). But unless we end the system entirely, there won't be zero in the system. (Raising the retirement age a year or two for people in their 30s and 40s would go a long way to shoring up the system.)

 Originally Posted By: alicex4
Tax corporations and they pass the expense onto the people that buy their product. Tax the citizenry overmuch, and you lose their purchase power to move the economy.


True. But I think the 1990s show that the tax rates of that era were not high enough to produce these adverse effects. And we're well below those rates right now. I continue to think the Bush tax cuts were a huge mistake, and were made huger by the failure to cut spending--which would have been the responsible thing to do, except that too many people seem to think that tax cuts don't have to be accompanied by spending cuts.

 Originally Posted By: alicex4
Americans have been living on borrowed time for too long. Not living within their means, no personal savings, priorities all screwed, does everyone really NEED a cell phone and cable? How do you rack up on averagre $10,000 in credit debt and expect it not to be an issue someday?


I think there is little question that people will have to make do with less. Rediscovering the benefits of savings will be painful in the short term but may be a plus in the long run. The trends in personal debt were unsustainable, and so is the trend in national debt. The question is whether enough of us will be responsible enough to reverse both those trends. It will require us as individuals and as a nation to decide what is really important and what we can do without.

We have become a nation where we are defined by what we consume. Perhaps this is an opportunity to define ourselves in less materialistic terms.

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#40580 - 10/09/08 02:03 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
pda Offline
addict

Registered: 08/30/01
Posts: 621
Loc: Bergen County NJ
"Rediscovering the benefits of savings will be painful in the short term but may be a plus in the long run."

Do you think the fact that people who been saving already and have just seen their savings be depleted by 30% will encourage more savings? I don't understand this logic.

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#40583 - 10/09/08 02:36 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: pda]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
 Originally Posted By: pda
Do you think the fact that people who been saving already and have just seen their savings be depleted by 30% will encourage more savings? I don't understand this logic.


Our national savings rate has gone from 10 to 11% in the mid-1980s to near zero for the past several years. Average personal debt is high because credit has been easy to acquire. So overall, we have not been saving.

Those who had savings in bank accounts haven't lost anything. Neither have those who had savings in CDs or money market funds. The only way anyone could have seen their savings drop 30% is if the entire savings was in stock equities, which few people would have done, especially retirees or those nearing retirement. Those with longer time horizons will probably see their equities recover, leaving them in better shape than those who have not been saving.

More importantly, even with recent losses those that have been saving and can't get credit are in far better shape than those who haven't been saving and can't get credit. Those who were living off of credit will be forced to stop doing so. So the incentives to save are still there, and probably are as strong as ever.

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#40584 - 10/09/08 03:04 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
The US saving rate figure ‘might’ not be the end all be all barometer of economic well being as it might have once been.

One article that give food for thought from a different perspective.

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_03/b3916043_mz011.htm

So imagine home improvments spent to increase a homes value, but not put into savings, this would not be counted.

I hate to see large polices being made off of one indicator. Anyway one of the best ways to make people save is increase the interest rate. Simple economics 101.


Edited by Smike (10/09/08 03:07 PM)

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#40585 - 10/09/08 03:16 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
 Quote:
Those who had savings in bank accounts haven't lost anything.


Most Bank accounts have been running % rates close to or below inflations rates. So in effect saving large amount of money in these institutions is costing money.

I'm still suspect that the Savings rate calculation is not up to par with current ways people actually are saving money outside of the traditional methods.

The stock market is one area that has had an enormous influx of capital in the last 20 years.

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#40586 - 10/09/08 03:30 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
Saving money and investing money are DIFFERENT!

You are not "saving" if you put your money in a Mutual Fund...or stocks... That's INVESTING, which has RISK which is what everyone wants to avoid!

It's the same as in the outdoor recreation world... No one wants to take responsibility for their own actions... if you take a risk... you might get BURNED...
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#40588 - 10/09/08 03:33 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
 Originally Posted By: Smike
Most Bank accounts have been running % rates close to or below inflations rates. So in effect saving large amount of money in these institutions is costing money.


True; I just wanted to dispute the assertion that people who had been saving had lost 30% of their efforts. Also, putting it in the bank at some interest, even if it's close to or below inflation rates, is still better than putting money in the mattress where it earns zero interest or not having anything in reserve to deal with unanticipated major expenses when credit is tight.

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#40594 - 10/09/08 04:37 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Dillbag]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
 Originally Posted By: Dillbag
Saving money and investing money are DIFFERENT!

You are not "saving" if you put your money in a Mutual Fund...or stocks... That's INVESTING, which has RISK which is what everyone wants to avoid!

It's the same as in the outdoor recreation world... No one wants to take responsibility for their own actions... if you take a risk... you might get BURNED...


Dillhole, the vehicles are different as you pointed out above, but the intended end results are exactly the same. People have some money and wish to make more money with it. If that wasn't the case then stuffing money under your mattress might not be so bad. (aside from it being stolen)Given the current climate its obviously that having 100K + (or now 250K + ) is at ‘risk’ in some banking saving institutions. And if someone wants to save and retire at a decent age they better have more then 250k saved away. So where are they going to put it? The smart answer has always been to ‘diversify” and I just don’t see the US saving rate calculation as looking diversified enough to be the end all be all indicator. (Example 401K income not counted) I don’t mean anyone should not be saving, but the dire messages were about to get pushed off the cliff because no one saved is a little overcooked IMHO. One could argue that the current crisis is made due in part to having money in non liquid-able assets instead of cash on hand (Bank savings accounts)

Here is some more points on why the Saving rate may not be the great indicator it once was:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/36867-us-savings-rate-based-on-outdated-methods-of-calculation

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#40596 - 10/09/08 05:22 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
alicex4 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/05/00
Posts: 3400
The rise in capital in the stock market pretty much dovetails with the transition from Defined Benefit Pension plans to 401K's. Don't put your money in your mattress, at least get a safe deposit box. If you house gets burgled or burns down your homeowners will only cover $1000 in cash. I disagree with the idea that Americans aren't saving. I don't see the general populace socking their extra cash in gold or real estate, they are already spending more than they make. I hope everyone has 6-9 months liquid cash to pay for expenses when the inevitable job losses start happening.

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#40601 - 10/09/08 08:44 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Dillbag Offline
old hand

Registered: 05/02/06
Posts: 1130
Loc: "The Town"
NO... The intended result is NOT the same!

Saving is exactly that... saving it... Just because banks offer an interest rate to entice you to put your money with them... Doesn't change the fact that it's saving NOT investing!
_________________________
...anethum graveolens cucumis sativus!

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#40603 - 10/09/08 09:53 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Dillbag]
Smike Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
 Originally Posted By: Dillbag
NO... The intended result is NOT the same!

Saving is exactly that... saving it... Just because banks offer an interest rate to entice you to put your money with them... Doesn't change the fact that it's saving NOT investing!



You could say saving for your kids college education is putting cash into savings account earning 3% while the costs of higher education far out pace that each year. Is that saving? Granted that money will be there in 20 years as long as the FDIC covers it, but the cost for that security would be high.

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#40608 - 10/09/08 11:27 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
skillet Offline
journeyman

Registered: 12/09/04
Posts: 73
Loc: long island,ny
you guys talk like channel 13...
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thin the herd

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#40612 - 10/10/08 12:18 AM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Dillbag]
Mike Rawdon Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/29/99
Posts: 4276
Loc: Poughkeepsie
 Originally Posted By: Dillbag
Saving money and investing money are DIFFERENT!

You are not "saving" if you put your money in a Mutual Fund...or stocks... That's INVESTING, which has RISK which is what everyone wants to avoid!


You need to spend more time listening to mutual fund sales pitches. (Murphy's Law, where are you when we need you?) Money in the bank is indeed exposed to RISK. Specifically the risk that it will DECREASE IN REAL VALUE if the interest rate is less than inflation. Which it usually is. Equities OTOH have stayed ahead of inflation, if you pick a long enough timeframe (not including the last 2 weeks, presumably!)

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#40614 - 10/10/08 12:44 AM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
 Originally Posted By: Smike
You could say saving for your kids college education is putting cash into savings account earning 3% while the costs of higher education far out pace that each year. Is that saving? Granted that money will be there in 20 years as long as the FDIC covers it, but the cost for that security would be high.


Yes, it is saving. If the money isn't put away, how would one pay for the kid's college education?

Put away $3,000 a year for 15 years, and that's $45,000 even at zero interest. That's money one wouldn't have available otherwise, regardless of inflation and rising college costs. Just because the money saved can't keep up with rising college costs doesn't mean one isn't saving, or that it's not worth it to save.

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#40616 - 10/10/08 02:12 AM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
Smike Offline
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Registered: 05/01/01
Posts: 3143
Loc: in your backyard
 Originally Posted By: Daniel
 Originally Posted By: Smike
You could say saving for your kids college education is putting cash into savings account earning 3% while the costs of higher education far out pace that each year. Is that saving? Granted that money will be there in 20 years as long as the FDIC covers it, but the cost for that security would be high.


Yes, it is saving. If the money isn't put away, how would one pay for the kid's college education?

Put away $3,000 a year for 15 years, and that's $45,000 even at zero interest. That's money one wouldn't have available otherwise, regardless of inflation and rising college costs. Just because the money saved can't keep up with rising college costs doesn't mean one isn't saving, or that it's not worth it to save.


Most of the time its not worth it to save in traditional methods the government is using to measuring savings rates. Also on the flip side the government outright ignores incomes from 401K's and capital gains as income to calculate the national dept to income ratios. So in the end I find the numbers to be suspect on the financial health of Main St.

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#40617 - 10/10/08 02:35 AM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
Daniel Offline
veteran

Registered: 05/23/01
Posts: 1515
 Originally Posted By: Smike
Most of the time its not worth it to save in traditional methods the government is using to measuring savings rates.


Well, as the saving for college example shows, traditional methods are what most people will use unless they're wealthy enough to ride out the ups and downs of the equity market. They don't have much of a choice, do they? And it is "worth it" because if they don't save then there won't be any money to send Jimmy to college.

 Originally Posted By: Smike
Also on the flip side the government outright ignores incomes from 401K's and capital gains as income to calculate the national dept to income ratios. So in the end I find the numbers to be suspect on the financial health of Main St.


401(k)s have been around for some time now. If the national savings rate has continued to decline, and if the government has not changed its methodology, then that decline would be indicative of a reduction in personal savings unless a lot more money is going into 401(k)s than before. One would have to get the hard data and crunch the numbers to see if that's the case.

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#40620 - 10/10/08 01:56 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
Dillbag Offline
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The 401k argument doesn't hold any weight... Previously, retirement was mainly through pensions and savings!

The pension funds went away as 401k's replaced them... I bet if you did some searching you would find that 401k's are NOT replacing traditional savings.

You can't count a 401k as savings when comparing to past decades because they represent the pension equivalent. If you include them in savings, it would skew your numbers higher and would not be an accurate comparison.
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#40621 - 10/10/08 02:11 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Dillbag]
alicex4 Offline
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Now Congress is thinking of taxing your 401k. I guess when there's $80 billion to be had ... http://www.investmentnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081007/REG/810079894
Chief among them was eliminating $80 billion in tax savings for higher-income people enrolled in 401(k) retirement savings plans.

This was suggested by the chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor.

“With respect to the 401(k), it appears to be a plan that is not really well-devised for the changes in the market,” Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said.

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#40622 - 10/10/08 02:35 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Smike Offline
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#40623 - 10/10/08 02:37 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Daniel Offline
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Alice, look at the article: first, it says it was suggested by one member of the committee. That's hardly an endorsement by "Congress."

Second, what sense does it make to give an incentive to save to those who are already making lots of money and can save on their own? If the program isn't promoting the savings among the people who really need to save, should we keep it in its present form?

Anything that takes the form of a tax deduction automatically gives more benefits to those in the highest tax brackets. If the point of 401(k)s is to promote saving, why give the biggest incentive to those who need the incentive the least when they can easily afford to save already? That's not an efficient use of what is in effect a government subsidy.

What might work better is a tax credit that's phased out towards higher income levels. Perhaps that would provide more of an incentive for those who really need it in order to save while not giving so much to those who don't need the incentive to begin with.

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#40624 - 10/10/08 02:41 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
alicex4 Offline
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"Anything that takes the form of a tax deduction automatically gives more benefits to those in the highest tax brackets."

Yes, because they pay the most taxes.
According to the Office of Tax Analysis, the U.S. individual income tax is "highly progressive," with a small group of higher-income taxpayers paying most of the individual income taxes each year.


In 2002 the latest year of available data, the top 5 percent of taxpayers paid more than one-half (53.8 percent) of all individual income taxes, but reported roughly one-third (30.6 percent) of income.

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#40625 - 10/10/08 03:15 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Daniel Offline
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Alice, the fact that people who make the most money get the most from tax breaks doesn't address the question of whether they should get a greater subsidy for saving in their 401(k)s. If you're a lower income earner, you might get 15 cents off your taxes for every dollar you put into your 401(k). If you're very wealthy, you'll get 35 cents for every dollar. Is that a good social policy?

The fact that the wealthy pay the most income taxes (largely because they make a lot more money--even under a flat tax system, they'd pay far more income taxes than everyone else) doesn't answer the larger question of whether government subsidies should be put in terms of tax cuts. If one thinks we should have a flat tax (which even Steve Forbes doesn't believe in) or a head tax or some other system, that's a different question. If one thinks lower taxes are better, that's yet another different question. It doesn't address whether structuring programs around tax deductions is a good idea. (If we want to debate the merits of progressive income taxation, I'd be glad to do so in another thread.)

It's true that anything that's proposed as a tax deduction favors the wealthy more. The question is whether that's the way we want to structure certain incentives. If it provides greater incentives to people who need the incentive the least, I'd say that's a bad policy, no?

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#40626 - 10/10/08 03:28 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
Smike Offline
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Man I have to swallow hard here (well not really)and agree with Daniel. Even Warren Buffet says the ‘Tax rate’ (percentage of tax vs. earned income) is the lower for the upper earners and that in terms of percentage the lower earners pay the most in taxes. Of course when you get to the very bottom then it’s reversed. But the long and the short of it is, that people in the middle by percentage by the most in taxes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu5B-2LoC4s

He even put a 1 million dollar bet out for anyone in Forbes 400 richest to show they pay a higher tax rate then their secretary. No takers.


Edited by Smike (10/10/08 03:39 PM)

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#40627 - 10/10/08 03:44 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
alicex4 Offline
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Well, you guys can agree, I don't. I'm not a socialist.

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#40630 - 10/10/08 04:31 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Smike Offline
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 Originally Posted By: alicex4
Well, you guys can agree, I don't. I'm not a socialist.


I’m no socialist and I’m certainly not talking about an spreading out of the distribution of wealth. (I still believe the capitalist system is the best way, as in he or she who works hardest get more) but the reality of the situation is that the base playing field for capitalism is being titled more and more.

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#40631 - 10/10/08 05:34 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: alicex4]
Daniel Offline
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I'm not a socialist either. (It seems to be a term many people throw around without defining.) But I don't believe my questions regarding the 401(k) were answered.

Isn't it true that the present 401(k) program gives the greatest incentive to save to those who need the incentive the least? Why should those who need to save the most get an incentive of 15 cents on every dollar saved while those who need to save the least get 35 cents on the dollar (especially when they shouldn't need an incentive to save anyway because they can do so on their own)? And I'll ask again: do you think that's a good or efficient way for government to structure this program?

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#40632 - 10/10/08 05:51 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
mworking Offline
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Posts: 764
 Originally Posted By: Smike
I still believe the capitalist system is the best way, as in he or she who works hardest get more



Ahh, if only we could find a way to make this occur - I'd consider it!

Capitalism certainly doesn’t work this way. Bet few earning over a million a year work harder than your gardener - or in general anyone working for a boss in any small business. I'm damn sure those earning over a million a year are spending more time on the golf course and away from home skiing, or climbing, or you name it.


Edited by mworking (10/10/08 06:54 PM)

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#40633 - 10/10/08 06:36 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
Daniel Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Smike
Man I have to swallow hard here (well not really)and agree with Daniel. Even Warren Buffet says the ‘Tax rate’ (percentage of tax vs. earned income) is the lower for the upper earners and that in terms of percentage the lower earners pay the most in taxes.


Appreciate the agreement (it wasn't that hard, was it? ;\) ). But I'd go further: it would be a real problem if the effective tax rate on high income earners were the same as for everyone else. Warren Buffett shouldn't pay the same rate as his secretary; he should pay a somewhat higher rate (and he'd agree with that statement).

The example I use is two people, one making $20,000 and the other making $200,000. Assume a flat income tax rate of 15%. Who has to sacrifice more: the person making $20,000 who has to pay $3,000 in taxes, or the person making $200,000 who has to pay $30,000 in taxes? I'd say the former person has the greater burden, even though that person pays less in nominal terms.

There are few people who think that a "flat" rate should apply to everyone; nearly everyone, including Steve Forbes, believes that there should be some kind of initial exemption for those who aren't making much because it would be unfair to ask those who are barely scraping by to give anything. But then it's not a flat system; it's a 0% rate up to the exemption, and X% thereafter. That's a progressive system. So is Steve Forbes a socialist?

And if it's too much to ask of the poor to pay income tax until they reach a certain threshold, why is it considered fair to require the full rate as soon as that threshold is met? Why not ease people into to the full rate as income increases? And therein is a justification for progressivity.

We had a slightly more progressive income tax system in the 1990s. Surely we were not a socialist nation during that period. The rich still were more than able to get richer. I didn't see anyone running away from getting into the highest tax brackets. People had plenty of incentives to be more productive. So I don't buy the notion that advocating a slightly more progressive income tax system than we have today is somehow socialist.

As Smike pointed out, the special treatment given to certain kinds of income--generally the kind available only to the very wealthy (capital gains, dividends)--means that people of great means can pay lower effective income tax rates that those who work for them. Plus when you add in all the other taxes that are flat or regressive, such as capital gains taxes and taxes on dividends (which can be far lower than for earned income), sales taxes (usually regressive), property taxes, wage taxes, etc., the overall system isn't very progressive at all, even excluding what may be special cases such as Mr. Buffett.

Taxes aren't some burden imposed on us by an alien entity. They're the way we decide to pay for projects, programs, and services that we say we want. We can argue about the level of government spending, but whatever that level is, we have to collectively decide a fair way of contributing to that level. And at the moment, every dollar not paid by the very wealthy is a dollar that will have to be paid by the less wealthy, unless we want to run up our debt still further. A flat tax that cuts taxes on the wealthy would require huge tax increases on the middle class (not much stomach for that) or huge decreases in spending (not much stomach for that either, especially when the non-military discretionary part of the budget accounts for only 1/3 of total government expenditures).

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#40634 - 10/10/08 07:03 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
Dillbag Offline
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Loc: "The Town"
 Originally Posted By: Smike
I still believe the capitalist system is the best way, as in he or she who works hardest get more


Cute isn't he? ;\)
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#40635 - 10/10/08 07:12 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Dillbag]
Smike Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Dillbag
 Originally Posted By: Smike
I still believe the capitalist system is the best way, as in he or she who works hardest get more


Cute isn't he? ;\)


Ours is far from perfect, but you show me a better system out there in any country?

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#40636 - 10/10/08 07:23 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
Dillbag Offline
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Registered: 05/02/06
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Ummm... "Our" system isn't a true capitalist system either...

But really... Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden are doing pretty well...
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#40639 - 10/11/08 11:11 AM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Daniel]
oenophore Online   confused
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So, how low has the bar been set for her for Thursday's debate?

It brings to mind that stanza from Mrs. Robinson:

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon.
Going to the candidate's debate.
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose.
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#40752 - 10/15/08 10:35 PM Re: Only a heartbeat away... [Re: Smike]
oenophore Online   confused
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Registered: 09/24/01
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For those who wish to see a series of cartoons mocking Ms. Palin, here's a link.
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