Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The difference between you and me...

The Democrats Secret Plan for World Domination Tour 2006 has been unveiled today by Nancy Pelosi. It's about time. I was getting tired of waiting to see which horses were going to be beaten into submission this year.

I'll highlight a few of my favorite points here, which I'm sure will foster much meaningful discussion.

"On my way over here, I was thinking of all of you and thinking about a letter I recently received from a software engineer. Her name is Myra, and she is in the information technology industry -- she has been for her entire career. Her job is testing software for wireless-systems providers. She wrote, 'I loved my job, and I was good at it.'

"In 2003, her entire department was laid off because their jobs were outsourced. It was a shock to them. To add insult to injury they were told that they had to train their successors, or else they'd lose their severance. You've heard that before - it's a story that we've heard over and over again. In fact I read a report recently that said 36 million jobs were susceptible to outsourcing. What are we doing about it?

"When Myra wrote me, she had already been out of work for a year. She had cashed in her 401(k) and had no health insurance. She wrote: 'If Congress ended tax subsidies to companies that outsourced jobs overseas, I would still have that job that I love.' Democrats promise to end these tax subsidies.


Hate to tell you, kids, but this is the free-market at work. If what you're doing, no matter how good you are at it, can be done as well for less somewhere else, kiss it goodbye. It's sort of the same reason that US automakers are getting killed in the marketplace, and have been for years. Cost of business here vs. cost of business elsewhere.

At the same time, why Myra didn't just suck it up, and find another job doing anything else, rather than sit around and wait for 'another job she loved' to show up, is the bane of my nanny-state hating existence.

"Here in the U.S., when we talk about 'universal service,' we're talking about making sure that everyone has a voice dial tone. We have really fallen down in the list. When the countries that are ahead of us talk about 'universal service,' they're talking about universal broadband deployment. In the last decade, the United States has slipped from leading the world to the 16th in the world. So our agenda guarantees that every American will have affordable access to broadband, and we intend to achieve it in five years.


Lemme know when you dig up the universal right to cheap , fast, intarweb pr0n in the Constitution. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Do I think that it's absurd that wireless/wired high speed service costs what it does here, and that the service is as spotty as it is? Yes.

Do I understand why the telecom companies are more than a little hesitant to sink an obscene amount of money into a new telecom transmission system to span the entire country, which would have to entirely replace the existing copper-wire infrastructure, and force just about everyone to get a new home-phone? Yep.

Do I understand that replacing that sort of infrastructure over the entire country is a task of the sort of magnitude that is the same reason that we'll likely never see nationwide high-speed rail like all those progressive European/Asian countries have? Yep.

Do I think Nancy and the Demos are clueless about this? Yep.

"In order for us to be competitive, it is necessary for us to have energy independence. The technology is there and we intend to achieve energy independence -- it's about our competitiveness, it's about our national security, and we intend to achieve energy independence within ten years. We can do it.


OK. Fine. Let's start by drilling for oil in ANWR, and off the coast of Florida/California. Let's build more nuclear power plants. Wind/Solar/Water power ain't going to cut it.

"Democrats have a proposal for health care for all Americans, and we intend to do so within five years.


Neat. Pay for it with the taxes that are already being collected. Better yet, give me a tax break if I choose to not be a part of your Socialist system. I mean, if I choose to not be a drain on the system, you can stop draining from my wallet.

"We absolutely must pass an increase in the minimum wage. It's been a long time since the last increase, but if you looked at the charts of the purchasing power of minimum wage earners it's going down. There has not been an increase in eight years and you see the income of corporate America's CEOs - it's immoral.

"I was told that an entry level person at Wal-Mart, who works his or her entire career at Wal-Mart, would make as much as the CEO makes in two weeks. A lifetime of work versus two weeks in the executive suite -- this is not America, this is not fairness, this is not the basis of a strong middle class that is essential for our democracy. We must change that in our country.


There's a reason that the CEO makes in two weeks what a minimum wage earner makes in a lifetime. Mostly, it's about effort and choices.

"An important principle that is essential to our competitiveness and ensuring that all Americans participate in the prosperity of our country is the right of all Americans to organize. Fifty-seven million American say they would join a union if they had the chance. But too often, they face harassment, intimidation, and coercion when they try to exercise that right.

"That is why Democrats are fighting to pass the Employee Free Choice Act; Congressman George Miller will be here shortly to talk about that. He's the author of this in the House, along with Ted Kennedy in the Senate. As of today, we have 212 cosponsors in the House. The bill will guarantee that when a majority of workers in a company want a union, they will get a union.


This scares me more than anything. So, say, if out of a 100 employee want a union, for some inexplicable reason, 51 vote for a union. Are all 100 required to join? Can I opt out? Might I be able to remain a *GASP* individual?

"Corruption is writing an energy bill that gives obscene subsidies to oils companies that are making huge profits and raising the prices at the pump and costs on home heating oil for America's families.


Something tells me that Nancy knows the difference between profit and profit-margin, but she knows that if she explains that, these 'record setting profits' will look pretty normal. Oh, and last I checked, business were in the business of making money for their shareholders.

"We must have 100 percent screening of our containers that come into our ports. Hong Kong receives 11 million containers a year, 100 percent of them screened. In America, only 6 percent of containers that come into our ports are screened. So this issue about our ports is not just about operating ports, it's about real security for all Americans.


Hong Kong has an exponentially smaller coastline, with many times fewer ports to patrol, than the US does. Do I think that we should scan everything that comes in? Yep. Do I think we should wait a bit until the technology comes in that will make it more cost-effective to do it? Yep.

Thoughts? Fire away...

34 comments:

dadvocate said...

A software engineer in the information technology industry, imagine that!

I'm a programmer in the marketing research industry. My company discussed outsourcing some of our work to India a few years ago. Due to tight deadlines and lots of ASAP work, it was deemed unfeasible. I got into this field by taking some programming classes long after I graduated college. My B.A. and M.S. are in completely different fields. Myra could retrain herself also.

Outsourcing is primarily due to the high cost of wages in the U.S. Raising minimum wage will make the problem worse. The poor are actually starting to do better, but this isn't necessarily good news as you'll find if you read the article. Weren't the Dems big supporters of NAFTA, CAFTA, etc.? What'd they expect to happen? Ross Perot warned of this.

Universal service for broadband would already be in place if private industries had the right incentives to put it in place, i.e. tax breaks for services in extremely rural areas, etc. Maysville, KY, pop. about 9,800, has dial-up, DSL, cable and free WiFi. It's the rural areas, where profits are slim, that services are limited. Where I live it's dial-up or $49.95 a month cable.

You're right about energy, ANWAR, etc.

Unions have their place and function but the high wages and expensive benefits they often demand are another reason outsourcing has become so common. Delta Airlines and AK Steel in Hamilton, OH are in negotions with unions right now. If Delta can't work out an appropriate deal it'll go bankrupt. AK Steel will sell itself to another company if it can't. I can't remember the name of the company, but about 15 years ago the union went on strike in Hamilton. The company packed up and moved to Tennessee, the only open-shop state in the country. At least they stayed in the country.

Port screening? We need more but 100% isn't reasonable. That's why we have spies. Maybe we need a few more.

Laddi said...

"Hate to tell you, kids, but this is the free-market at work. If what you're doing, no matter how good you are at it, can be done as well for less somewhere else, kiss it goodbye. It's sort of the same reason that US automakers are getting killed in the marketplace, and have been for years. Cost of business here vs. cost of business elsewhere."

Yeah, that's true, but the government shouldn't be giving tax breaks to the companies that outsource. That's where I will agree with her.

ANWR. Opening up ANWR will not make the dramatic change expected. The very marginal impact will take years for realization. The US must pursue alternatives to oil. And yes, I'm aware that finding new fuel for automobiles will not rid us of oil usage (plastics, heating, etc), but it will sharply affect our need to import as much as we do. Drill there. Fine. But I'm against extracting oil from ANWR. ANWR should be like personal savings, extract in an emergency only. We can find other options in the meantime.

GP said...

I'm not opposed to drilling in ANWR, but having lived in Alaska, I can tell you that the drilling would have more to do with job creation than netting us a substantial source of oil. "Uncle" Ted Stevens would make sure that all of the federal pork and subsidies imaginable would go into the program. It would give us a great source of employment, but a not so good source of a constant oil supply.

Dante said...

It should be noted that we are talking about foreign outsourcing here (and we're realy not even entirely talking about that but I'll get there in a moment). I just want to make that distinction because what I do for a living is providing outsourced servies to business clients. I'm pretty sure SAWB does the same. (I did interview with his company once and that's what it sounds like they do. I could be wrong though.) What our companies do (and what Ma Bell has been doing for decades) is rural outsourcing. That sort of outsourcing has all sorts of benefits to the people involved. For starters, not only can the emplyoer pay less money to the employee, but the employee doesn't mind because the cost of living in more rural/outer suburban areas is so much cheaper than living near a big city. We save an average of $4 per hour per employee over what we'd have to pay in Norcross (and this is for American workers). Now that's bad news to folks living in cities but I don't have much sympathy for them if they can just move 30 - 50 miles away and get the same job they had for less money but with a much lower cost of living.

Not that there's anything wrong with foreign workers, mind you. The biggest problem US companies are having with foreign outsourcing is dealing with foreign governments. You see the foreign governments where these foreign outsourcing hotspots of the world are located are not too keen on taking up for the US business who sent a ton of money to an Indian company in exchange for work they've never seen or perhaps is far less than what they asked for. This is giving these US companies no legal discourse in case of contract breaches. The companies that are successful with foreign outsourcing are not really outsourcing at all. They are merely moving a portion of their own operations overseas. This is significantly different than outsourcing since it involves a US company operating elsewhere instead of merely hiring a company elsewhere to do work for them.

The thing I worry about when discussing laws to prevent tax breaks for "outsourcing" is determining the difference between a US company with one foot out the door as opposed to a foreign company like say Honda with one foot (really half their bodies in Honda's case) in the door. I also worry about companies who rely on outsourcing due to lack of industrial capacity in this country. An example would be a computer manufacturer like HP who pretty much has to outsource the making of components overseas. Logistically, trying to enact some sort of punitive tax effect on companies that outsource to foreign companies (and apparently to companies who opertate part of their business overseas, though this isn't outsourcing) will be a nightmare and will do nothing but further muddle our already too complicated business tax code.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Reckon this is what I get for saying that SAWB and I agree on something...

"Hate to tell you, kids, but this is the free-market at work. If what you're doing, no matter how good you are at it, can be done as well for less somewhere else, kiss it goodbye."

Yes, but we don’t have to put money in their hands as they wave goodbye. This point isn’t Myra sucking it up, it is the government effectively paying her employer to move her job elsewhere.

"Lemme know when you dig up the universal right to cheap , fast, intarweb in the Constitution. Go ahead. I'll wait."

I’m sure you can find that information in the same place that allowed us to build a big, fat interstate system; fund the space program; invest in the Tennessee Valley Authority; the Transcontinental Railroad; develop the internet in the first place; create and develop radio, television, satellites; lay phone cables across the oceans; etc; etc; etc.

Not that I think we need cheap, fast intraweb nationwide, but I’m sure there’s a provision in the US Code somewhere. Otherwise we wouldn’t have the interstate, which is what killed hyper-light rail as an option in this country. Which brings us to your next point: Energy dependence.

"OK. Fine. Let's start by drilling for oil in ANWR, and off the coast of Florida/California. Let's build more nuclear power plants. Wind/Solar/Water power ain't going to cut it."

Only if Detroit is required, by law & regulation, to make a powerful SUV that can drive 100 miles on half a gallon of gasoline. Then we’ll talk about drilling for more oil.

RE: universal healthcare. "Neat. Pay for it with the taxes that are already being collected. Better yet, give me a tax break if I choose to not be a part of your Socialist system. I mean, if I choose to not be a drain on the system, you can stop draining from my wallet."

I’m totally with you on this one, SAWB, and we’re going to make the downpayment with all the money we save by not subsidizing businesses that want to create jobs overseas. We’ll make the next 10 years worth of payments when we cancel the government health care plans for all US Congressmen and Senators (mostly Republican), and get their fannies on Social Security like everyone else.

I’d be more than happy to give actual working Americans like you and I the tax break opt-out of Universal Health Care. (That’s actually one hell of an idea, by the way, I’ll get that right over to Super Secret Liberal Takeover Headquarters)

"There's a reason that the CEO makes in two weeks what a minimum wage earner makes in a lifetime. Mostly, it's about effort and choices."

And paying lobbyists very, very well with your ‘hard earned’ dollars doesn't hurt. (Sorry, man, I just can’t feel sorry for someone who gets paid 100 million dollars a year. I guess that makes me ‘insensitive.’)

-We’ll make the Unions thing a whole separate thread in and of themselves-

"Something tells me that Nancy knows the difference between profit and profit-margin, but she knows that if she explains that, these 'record setting profits' will look pretty normal."

They won’t look pretty normal when she tells ‘em how much their industries are already subsidized by the taxpayer. And it wasn’t Nancy that started running victory laps after the last quarter profits came in for the oil companies, it was the oil companies. When those guys (who make lots and lots and lots of money on average) say "boy, we really stuck it to the little guy this year!" you may have to deal with some backlash from the little guy who’s payin’ 3 clams a gallon of gasoline.

Port Security: "Do I think that we should scan everything that comes in? Yep. Do I think we should wait a bit until the technology comes in that will make it more cost-effective to do it?"

I’d wager that we’d develop that technology a whole order of magnitude quicker if we started working on that 100% goal now, now, now. You go to war with the Army you have, after all.

patsbrother said...

I know precious little about outsourcing. Pat bought me a lovely book called "The World is Flat" as a Christmas present this past December, but the incomprehensible realm of torts has taken precedence over elective reading.

The following applies to manufacturing outsourcing. If it has become impractible to mfr automobiles in America, so much so that companies will abandon expensive, established plants, and start building in Old Mexico: why are foreign mfrs moving here? Kia just announced it was building a Georgia plant, to open in the next few years, and as Dante pointed out, Honda's already got more than a foot in the door.

If America is unfavorable to American mfrs, wouldn't it be just as unfavorable to foreign mfrs as well? The only answer I came up with (that isn't premised on the somewhat irrational assumption that the super rich suck) is that Korean and Japanese mfrs want to work here to circumvent the cost oceanic shipping. However, this answer is wholly unsatisfactory. Why not save more and simply move straight to Mexico like the Americans?

Dante said...

Um pat, the "Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways" (emphasis mine) is technically part of our defense network and therefore fully authorized by the Constitution. Arpanet (the precursor to the Internet) was also created for national defense reasons.

"Only if Detroit is required, by law & regulation, to make a powerful SUV that can drive 100 miles on half a gallon of gasoline. Then we’ll talk about drilling for more oil."

Ok, so let's require Detroit to do something they cannot do with current technology before we do something that we can very easily do with current technology? Yeah, while we're at it, let's keep the Federal government from raising taxes until they can get by on a $100 per year budget.

S.A.W.B. said...

patsbrother - There are a couple of factors that are killing the 'big three' US automakers. Number one is the current corporate tax structure. Foreign based companies don't pay US tax like US based companies do. Foreign governments don't tax US earnings like US based companies do. It is infinitely more profitable for a company based in another country to do business here than vice versa, or, in some cases, for a US based company to do business in the US.

Shipping costs/tarriffs factor into it somewhat for the Asian/European manufacturers, but not as much as the current tax structure.

The other thing that is wiping out the 'big three' is the chokehold that the UAW has on the pension funds and general finances of the manufacturers. There are many well documented instances where because of the union contract, you can't just lay someone off. The manufacturer has to provide a place for the employee to go to every day, sit, and wait to be told to go home, all while on the clock and being paid.

Pension payments and health benefits for the union members are also wildly out of control. Kudos to the union management for getting the contracts in place. The manufacturing managers who agreed to these ridiculous contracts need to be drug out and shot.

mikey said...

“Hate to tell you, kids, but this is the free-market at work. If what you're doing, no matter how good you are at it, can be done as well for less somewhere else, kiss it goodbye.”

Ok, SAWB, you want a true free market economy? Then no more subsidies of any kind. That’s right, no more property tax breaks for manufacturers, no more incentives for research and development that leads to new technologies and dramatic new profits, no more income tax exemptions for job creation. While we’re at it, no more FDIC (it’s a New Deal program after all and therefore welfare), no more FED, and no more copyright and patent enforcement. Everybody talks about a “free-market” economy like it’s what we got. It ain’t. What we have is a federally regulated economy that picks and chooses what it cares about. If we’re going to protect a company’s right to make a profit off of new technologies it develops then we should protect the worker’s right to make a living producing that product…whatever it may be…or at the very least protect their right to protect it themselves which brings us to unions.

The UAW isn’t killing the American auto industry, the Japanese and European auto industries are. If the UAW had such a stranglehold on GM’s cash-on-hand then how can UPS, whose teamster organized employees get the kind of mandated wage increases, healthcare, and pension benefits that a guy making pistons for GM dreams about, afford to stay on the road. What can brown do for you? Get you a good job at a good salary that you’ll keep.

Oh, and SAWB, don’t ever make the argument again that a CEO makes the living he does because of the “effort” he puts in. If we paid wages in this country according to how hard a person worked, drywallers and roofers would be the richest people around.

(By the way, dadvocate, you’re right about Tennessee being the only “open-shop” state. But only because everybody else became a “right to work” state with “at-will” statutes like South Carolina. At least in Tennessee they have to give you a reason when they fire you. They don’t in SC. And there’s no such thing as a closed-shop state anywhere anymore. That became illegal during the Reagan administration. So, yes, SAWB…you live in Georgia, you can opt out.)

I will agree with SAWB that solar, wind, and water power just ain’t going to cut it. But you’re forgetting about bio-diesel and ethanol. You know what the busses at UGA run on? BIO-DIESEL (or at least they did during the Olympics).

As for you, Dante, if you want to make the argument that the Interstate System was developed for defense purposes (which I grant you is valid) I can make the same argument about a national WiFi grid. After all, they’re broadcast through public airspace and can be taken over by the military in the event of terrorist attack in order to organize first responders. Done, argument made, let’s build some towers.

Now, if you guys really want to get to the meat of it, it’s healthcare, and oh did my little heart flutter when SAWB said “Pay for it with the taxes that are already being collected.” Hey, that’s no problem…we already are. It’s listed as Medicaid on your W-2.

Every state has fund that reimburses hospitals for losses incurred when treating a patient without insurance. The money for that fund comes out of Medicaid. So, essentially, we’re already paying for it…we’re just doing it the most expensive way imaginable since people without insurance typically go to the Emergency Room instead of a family practice physician when the problem they have has degenerated to the point that they simply can’t take it anymore. Add to that the fact that hospitals routinely charge uninsured patients significantly more than they do everyone else and you have to figure we’re paying about twice as much as we need to. Cut out the middle man and create a National Healthcare system we’ll probably get a tax break even if I let you go to whatever doctor you want for whatever reason.

Actually, SAWB made the essential point himself when he said “last I checked, business were in the business of making money for their shareholders.”

He’s exactly right, and that’s exactly why we can’t blindly assume that what’s good for business is good for government because government has to look beyond profit margins and shareholder dividends. Government has to worry about what’s good for the people, not just today, but for decades. You know who taught me that? My conservative Republican Intro to Public Administration professor (and he was quoting Hamilton).

Patrick Armstrong said...

Ok, so let's require Detroit to do something they cannot do with current technology before we do something that we can very easily do with current technology?

And they've proven that they'll never develop that technology unless we make them. Both as a market and as a government. We already pay them enough tax dollars in subsidies - time for them to start giving us something for what we're payin' em.

Drilling more won't solve anything: consumption will remain the same and oil companies will set their prices just high enough to bilk.

That's like telling me the way to cigarette cessation is to grow my own tobacco. Yeah, I'll be closer to 'tobacco independence', but that doesn't address demand at all. I'd still buy cigarettes at the store when my homegrown supply won't keep me in two packs a day. It would also screw up my yard somethin' awful.

The way to independence is to reduce; don't smoke two packs a day/get better gas mileage.

patsbrother said...

I know I'm not good with the links, but here is one about the University's fuel use, as per Mikey's post:

http://www.randb.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/08/30/4313df9d7000c?in_archive=1

Here's a newsblip on biodiesel in general:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/06/07/biofuel.vision/index.html

Laddi said...

Helping patsbrother:

Article from Red And Black

Laddi said...

Link #2

VDOPM said...

When I have time, I'll post about how it could be worse doing what my girlfriend does currently, if you'd like to talk social engineering and drains on society: working at Cobb County DFACS.

Yeah.

It'll take me a short while to put just the amount of vitriol, bile and hatred into a post about that particular subject...stay tuned; it's coming shortly.

Patrick Armstrong said...

I think plenty of us are aware of DFCS horror stories. Additional bile and vitriol are unnecessary.

From what I know of DFCS, that may break this partikkular blog's "PG" rating, and I really don't want us to delve into "R" territory.

Thanks.

mikey said...

Thank you Kevin and Laddi for the stories. Still, I remember something about busses in Athens using alternative fuel during the Olympics. For the life of me, I can’t remember what but I remember people talking about it while was trying to get excited about watching a bronze medal soccer game. It doesn’t really matter, but it’s like having a tune stuck in your head and can’t remember the name of the song.

For further info on the subject of bio-diesel and ethanol, a number of SC counties have converted their vehicles (with the obvious exceptions of law enforcement patrol cars) to bio-diesel. The state government in SC is doing the same with its fleet of official vehicles but with ethanol instead.

Oh, and Kevin, to answer your question about foreign companies moving here. One of the reasons is investment (and by investment I mean land). Real estate has been a growth market in this country for generations and is a major draw for foreign investors especially when they get a fee in lieu of tax deal that exempts them from property taxes. The reasoning is this: when they sell the facility off as parts (which will eventually happen) they stand to make a significant profit on their real investment because of all the infrastructure improvements county and state governments have made to the land. That’s another major reason, if not the driving one, so many manufacturing interests are selling off their US based operations and moving overseas…everybody’s afraid the real estate bubble is fit to burst and they want to make their profits while they still can.

VDOPM said...

Nah - no excessive-over-PG-13-spewings necessary. Just your usual "here's what's really going on" update, I suppose. I've been hounded to post quite a few of these stories, so I think it'd at least provide endless entertainment.

I honestly had no idea how poor the system is, and how bad things had gotten. So to have this entitlement article pop up about broadband internet for the masses - subsidized by yet again more of my money - it was another in the long line of slaps in the face by the "do-gooders" in our government.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Well, not much of this thread is about entitlement.

Oh, you're using those buzzwords. Let me clarify something for ya:

Both universal health care and universal broadband for the masses just require us to just trade existing subsidies that benefit the few to new subsidies that benefit the middle class.

And that's was just one quip of the whole thread, anyways.

The disagreement over that particular quip is between the folks who think it is OK and right for the government to persue public works projects of such magnitue (Mikey & me) and those who don't think it is OK. We're actually not even discussing the pros and cons of universal broadband as much as we are discussing the principles of those ideas. (Let's not confuse the two - pros and cons vs principles.)

I am sorry that folks like you think improvements such as that are 'slaps in the face.'

And it has nothing to do with 'do gooders' in government. It has to do with the bottom line.

This country has subsidized millions of projects I disagree with, and used dollars I made with my own sweat to do it. Many of them are badly run, immoral (IMHO) and often cause some fat cat CEO to get richer for not doing any work.

But we still make those decisions. Why? Because sometimes the greater good and the greater cost wins out over my particular pet peeve.

I've said this before on another blog's comment section about a completely different controversial topic, but it rings true here:

I have a problem when the government spends my tax dollars bailing out Big Airlines because they can't keep themselves out of bankruptcy.

But I understand why we do pony up that cash to keep our airlines (and, more importantly, all the jobs, businesses, freight, next-day delivery, & secondary and tertiary industries associated with the airlines) up and running. The goal there isn't to give huge breaks to airline CEO's (though we know they're getting their cut of the action). The goal there is to keep American business moving with little negative disruption. The cost of letting the airline (and associated business) fail is far, far greater than the actual value of tax dollars spent to bail them out.

End quote.

Though y'all have given plenty of 'its my money' & 'its a slap in my face' reasons, I can give you the same argument about anything your side spends the public treasure on, too.

But you're not telling me that the idea is a bad one because it won't work or will be a waste of money or even that it would just be a kickback to technology companies (something than Ms. Pelosi has a decided stake in, if you'll allow me to make your arguments for you) and wouldn't benefit the masses at all.

You're arguing the principles, and I just think you're on the wrong side of that one.

Huevos McGringo said...

adding to a point made by "gp", most estimates say that ANWR has enough oil to meet the demands of the u.s. economy for around 2 months. that's it. political support for drilling there has little to do with energy dependence, and everything to do with lucrative government contracts (translation = corporate subsidies).

VDOPM said...

Oh, now I'm using "buzzwords". Let's call it what it is in practice instead of in theory, Pat:

It's called robbing from the rich and giving to whomever can lie the best about their situation.

Or, if you prefer:

Robbing at threat of imprisonment from those willing to work for what they have, and turning it over for free to those who generally refuse to do the same.

[Note I said "generally" since there are 1 out of 1000 cases where my statement fails and someone truly needs help and uses the forced charity of others to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and get on with life.]

I guess we don't know what poverty is in this country now. I know for a fact that most don't know what our "free money for liars and do-nothings" (how's that instead of "entitlement"?) programs are doing day-to-day.

I'll state this plainly: broadband internet is not a right. Broadband internet is a luxury. Being on the internet is a luxury. Just like color cable TV is a luxury, just like a computer is a luxury, just like having new cars (and to an extent having a car, period) is a luxury. Don't think so? Watch the Discovery Channel when they showcase the truly poor and get back to me.

I'll give you the words of another to assist with my line of thinking:

[begin.quote]
Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
[/quote]

That includes our endless handouts, our endless "our 'poor' need/don't have/should have this" lines, and all of the BS rhetoric people spew in order to make things in their lives more convenient, or to assuage ourselves of whatever guilt we have for something we didn't cause (why buy someone else's guilt?!), or to plunder what riches we have in order to give to those that cannot and refuse to plan for tomorrow, or the next day, or the next - whether they have your money or not.

VDOPM said...

...and another thing:

Why, in times of an "energy crisis", do you not hear people wringing their hands over the death of a caribou? Perhaps all of the desert sand mites take offense to all of that drilling in the Middle East. Perhaps we've almost extincted that noble animal. Oh no, what on earth are we to do?!

I'll leave you with another quote, from the same speech, by the same person:

[begin.quote]
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present

- and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

[/quote]

Yeah.

Dante said...

"As for you, Dante, if you want to make the argument that the Interstate System was developed for defense purposes (which I grant you is valid) I can make the same argument about a national WiFi grid."

You can make that argument all you'd like. Until the US military sees things the same way, there won't be a Constitutional reason for it.

"don’t ever make the argument again that a CEO makes the living he does because of the “effort” he puts in."

SAWB would be very misguided to think that pay had anything to do with effort. Pay has everything to do with the rarity of your job skills. CEOs make a ton of money because if you put that sheetrocker in the CEOs shoes, the company would soon crumble.

"Then no more subsidies of any kind. That’s right, no more property tax breaks for manufacturers, no more incentives for research and development that leads to new technologies and dramatic new profits, no more income tax exemptions for job creation. While we’re at it, no more FDIC (it’s a New Deal program after all and therefore welfare), no more FED, and no more copyright and patent enforcement."

Umm, except for copyight and patent enforcement which very much is covered in Article 1, Section 8 ("To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"), it's a deal.

Patrick Armstrong said...

It's called robbing from the rich and giving to whomever can lie the best about their situation.

You get a hearty Amen from this corner, brother in the cause. We just disagree with whose doin' the best lyin'.

I have a much bigger problem with the way the middle class and small business have to bail out the fat cats everytime those 'mad CEO' skills end up running a company into the ground.

(And, if that sheetrocker got paid a 17 million dollar golden parachute to get fired, I bet he'd screw up no matter what. But I guess that's the 'practice' - not to be confused with the 'theory' - of hard work and success.)

I mean, you can take issue with either side, and obviously you've picked yourn and I've picked mine. Handouts aren't something to be proud of. But you'll just have to pardon my concerns.

You see, I am much more worried about the way people with means - and access to high priced lobbyists - are taking my money. I see them as the big threat to my financial security. They tend to take ten of my dollars for every nickel that goes to the folks who can't buy food, much less Jack Abramoff. Then those same fat cats get all mad they don't get that last nickel. They sit around and say it is a 'pro-business' stance, when I know they're after small business dollars too.

But I reckon that, once Republicans get control of the Congress and the White House and the Supreme Court all that will change, right? All that childishness will be put to a swift end once Daddy gets home. My taxes will go waay down, Big Business won't need subsidies to survive and CEO's will actually get fired when they screw up.

I can't wait for this utopia, bro, where can I sign up?

mikey said...

“It's called robbing from the rich and giving to whomever can lie the best about their situation.”

So you’re arguing that the rich are lying about their situations?

“Robbing at threat of imprisonment from those willing to work for what they have, and turning it over for free to those who generally refuse to do the same.”

Oh no, vdopm, this is much better since you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about. First of all, about 80% of what we like to call “Welfare Entitlement Spending” goes to pay for FDIC which, as I said before, is a categorized New Deal/Welfare Program. Tell me, exactly how is this robbing from the rich?

But maybe you didn’t fully understand how our welfare system is set up. Maybe you didn’t comprehend all of what is involved. Maybe you think it’s all “babies having babies” and “paying people to stay home.” Maybe you ought to include yourself when you’re talking about the folks who don’t “know what our ‘free money for liars and do-nothings’ (how's that instead of "entitlement"?) programs are doing day-to-day”

It’s ok, I understand that a lot of times you guys in the anti-entitlement argument speak before you really know what’s going on. Take a breath…I’ll wait.

“I guess we don't know what poverty is in this country now.” I guess we don’t, pal, why don’t you enlighten us. Tell us, how many meals have you missed? How many times have you been laid off? How many streets have you slept on? How many times have you sat in the emergency room because you didn’t have health insurance (or do you just stay home and deal with the pain because you’re just that tough)?

Hey, I’m not arguing, we don’t know what capital T TRUE destitution is in this country, but most of us are kidding ourselves about true wealth too.

Chris Rock probably put it best when he said “Most people think Shaquille O'Neal is wealthy. Shaq ain’t wealthy. The guy who signs Shaq’s check is wealthy.”

You’re right. We’re making a mistake when we say tax the rich. We should be saying tax the guys hording generational wealth. After all, you’d agree right? You think folks should “work for what they have” right? Well I do too. That’s why I think the multi-millionare’s son should have to go out and work for a living just like everybody else. Let’s get the spoiled brats off their butts and give them each a public school education and see what they can make of themselves. I think that’s a bang-up idea and I’m glad you came up with it, vdopm.

It’s not about buying someone else’s guilt or plundering the riches we have (especially since I don’t have any), it’s about responsibility. Like it or not, the government has a responsibility to the poor and the middle class the same way they do to the uber-wealthy. You may not think so, but you’re just flat wrong.

You guys, and I’m trying not to lump all conservatives together in this one, who talk about doing away with all entitlement programs don’t understand their purpose. You want to know why we haven’t done away with them even though the GOP controls both houses of Congress as well as the White House? Because they’re good for business.

Imagine what would happen in the labor movement if we did away with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Union membership would skyrocket! Labor would start to organize with a fervor we haven’t seen for two generations because men and women with jobs would fight to make sure they’re taken care of when they don’t have them anymore.

Want to check my prediction? It’s easy enough. Take Workers’ Compensation as your test case (I know it’s not a true entitlement program, but it is quasi-entitlement and the best we can do under the circumstances). Look at states with strong Comp. programs versus states with weak ones or none at all. Now compare that to states with strong labor activity, high union enrollment rates and new union growth. Now take one guess at what that’s going to show you.

That’s right, with only one exception (New York) states with weak Comp systems or none at all have strong unions and states with strong Comp systems have weak unions or none at all. It’s a trend that crosses regional boundaries and goes beyond areas of traditional union strength (i.e. the industrial Northeast and Midwest).

This is an easy decision for you guys: which do you hate more Unions or Entitlements.

Oh, and one more thing about WiFi and Interstates, Dante:

“You can make that argument all you'd like. Until the US military sees things the same way, there won't be a Constitutional reason for it.”

You’re right about this, of course, but since Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution says “The President shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States when called into the actual service of the United States” then all we really need is a President to agree. That’s how Eisenhower did it after all.

patsbrother said...

While I agree with several of the arguments of the comments by the left on this string, I must register my dismay that you would argue the Constitutional justification for universal broadband rather than the practical questions related to whether we should do it. (I vote nay.) And Pat calls me reactionary.

Personally, I'm all for balancing the budget and paying off part of the debt before we begin any new, likely frivolous programs such as this.

While I know the easy road to election is paved with shiney new promises of what programs and projects you will create once you are in office (Thank you, Rep. Peolosi, but I can steal my WiFi just fine...), someone, SOMEONE has to stand up to the plate and say: our most important domestic priority is to get this house in order.

Which means you continue to encourage Georgia Natural Gas to subsidize the heating of the poorest American's homes in the winter, but you do not to run off half-kilter to hook up an entire nation to a technology that is likely to become obsolete in a few years. For the party of pro-Choice, it is strange to assume that everyone needs broadband (and needs to pay for it), when all of us don't even have television service (which stations will no longer have to broadcast across the airwaves for free, come 2007).

Egaltarian though the program may sound, I don't care if every American receives the same access to porn as his neighbor.

VDOPM said...

Pat, I wasn't disagreeing with you, per se - given that I've moved a little toward "your" end of the political spectrum given recent events in politics - but I'm rather picking a side, since we are, in fact, talking about me working my ass off to pay for "free" broadband for the masses (Speaking of buzzwords) since it IS an entitlement.

I still don't have free telephone service, internet service, water, power, gas, etc. - know why? Because nothing in this life is truly without price. Who'd be paying for it?

How much of the $14,000 I personally paid into taxes in FY2005 would've gone to paying for "free" broadband for the masses?

How much of the anticipated $14,000 this or next year are going to that? Because I'd certainly love to stop paying money for my own broadband, welfare, food, etc. since I'm already paying for others'.

No, I'm not picking on Democrats or liberals either. The Republicans and the neoconservative movement haven't proven themselves capable of any more restraint than their counterparts. We've all grown fat, lazy, stupid, ignorant and naive and have no one to blame but ourselves.

I'd like to sign up for that utopia, too bro. If you find it, let me know. Better yet, we should start it. ;)


Which brings me to mikey.

I'm saying that the government takes the money from the rich (since I'm obviously wealthy, right?) and gives to the "needy".

What's laughable is that it doesn't happen. What's even more laughable is your insistence on poisoning the well by saying "I obviously don't know what I'm talking about" when you've obviously never seen the system working in practice as opposed to theory - which is incorrect, as well.

I take it you've never heard a case manager speak of giving money to illegal immigrants (that's food stamps, Medicare, etc.) when they produce fake SSNs, have you?

You haven't heard the blatant lies people tell in order to get their money every month, have you?

I also suppose that you have no idea what the system is actually doing right now, much like I didn't - except that you're falling on the "well it's better than nothing end of the argument" whereas I used to fall in the "they should go away".

You know how much oversight there is? When someone defrauds the system, do you know what the penalty is? Did you know that case managers are more legally at risk for making a mistake than any client? When a client is told that they have to pay backthe money they fradulantly got from the state, do you know what legal obligation they have to actually pay that money back?

Yeah, I can see that you're just like my girlfriend was right out of college in mentality: everything in this world happens according to its theory and in practice all people are needy and willing to get out of the bonds of their poor choices. I guess you have never watched Cops or Jerry Springer, to wit, eh?

Yeah. She hates the system much, much more than I do - and that's saying quite a bit.

Better than nothing? I suppose it's better than people actually having to work for a living. What you're saying is that if we don't have these prorams, that the "poor" will make yet more poor mistakes, and oh God! We can't have THAT!

Keep propogating the myth that we have to be robbed by our government to subsidize poor lifestyle choices in order to stop them from making even worse choices - I see it's getting those living that lifestyle really, really far since those programs' inceptions.

So, um...

Who's paying for those business incentives to provide a service for "free" to rural or urban areas? Oh yeah...that must be right about the time I start paying 16,000/year in taxes. Gotcha.

You have it all figured out man, kudos!

patsbrother said...

Because it needs clarification: by the "strange for the party of pro-Choice" bit, I had intended to draw a clearer line between encouraging options for the individual (which is what individual people get to do when they opt to pay for broadband, satellite, dial-up or nothing at all), and the lack of choice one will have if the government ponies up broadband for all (you pay taxes, you pay for broadband, whether you care about porn or not).

I apologize for the lack of specificity in the original comment.

Dante said...

Q: "which do you hate more Unions or Entitlements."

A: Entitlements.*

"We should be saying tax the guys hording generational wealth."

True, but a lot of the people holding generational wealth are seated in Congress, especially the Senate. Something tells me they're not going to be too keen on taxing wealth instead of income. The closest I've seen is some of them supporting a death tax that has far too many holes for anyone with real money to be bothered by it.

"And, if that sheetrocker got paid a 17 million dollar golden parachute to get fired, I bet he'd screw up no matter what. But I guess that's the 'practice' - not to be confused with the 'theory' - of hard work and success.)"

Which is why that sheetrocker will never get the CEO position. The company that hires that CEO fully believes the CEO will try to save a company if possible so they can get more than $17 mil in the long run. Some CEOs do dileberately screw up to get a nice payout but they are in the minority.

"But I reckon that, once Republicans get control of the Congress and the White House and the Supreme Court all that will change, right?"

No, that's what happens when conservatives get control of all of this. Sadly, we do not have many real conservatives in office at the national level right now. The ones who are really conservative can be seen cowtowing to a not so conservative Republican President. If fact, I'd love to find some conservative Democrats to vote for a the national level to get these non-conservatives Republicans out of office. Of course, it looks like Conressional Republicans are looking to dump the blame for the big spending on Bush.

* As long as the government is not interfering with laws and regulations regarding unions and/or the employers. Personally, I like unions for skilled labor positions. I see no reason to join one in my field, but they can serve a purpose and a good one at that. What I don't like is government getting involved with union-employer disputes.

Patrick Armstrong said...

RE: Universal Broadband & Sprout's comment.

See, now you're talking pros and cons and not principles.

Since we're doing that, I'll register my distaste for universal broadband as well. (I thought I already had, let me clarify.) As far as that's concerned, I think universal broadband is only in Pelosi's proposal because Pelosi & several California Democrats represent hi-tech constitutents, who would make some serious bank off government contracts to build a universal broadband network.

I think DADvocate was completely accurate when he said "Universal service for broadband would already be in place if private industries had the right incentives to put it in place," and I think Pelosi is trying to do that to benefit client interests.

I don't like it when Democrats act like crook Republicans. That's why we lose elections.

I agree that we have more pressing priorities as both a party and a nation than universal broadband. That's why I don't hear anyone else talking about it. I think that easing middle class tax burden and increasing incentives for the middle class to start owning their own businesses would be much higher on the 'to-do' list than universal broadband.

VDOPM said...

Pat:

[quote]
"Which is worse?" asks colleague Byron King. "To have no ideas, like the Democrats? Or to have no backbone, like the Repubs?"

Byron refers to yet another spending bill...this one designed to offer "heating assistance" to people in cold places. Who could be against that, right?

"It is one thing to lose an election while going down fighting for ideas that you believe are correct. I think, however, that the GOP will take some serious licks in November because of the failure to put up a fight for some semblance of fundamental fiscal, let alone monetary, sanity. The Repubs will lose by default. And worse, the Democrats will find a way to blame the GOP for all of the resulting problems, when many of the problem spring from Repubs trying to act like Democrats.[/quote]

From:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/bonner/bonner212.html

Also, regarding the comments about the rich and the CEOs (this is actually meant as a friendly jab, not making a point):

[quote]
Most of all, they reward Ned's appalling bowling scores with grace and aplomb, even offering a face-saving joke as he brings down the whole team. This surprises Vincent: "I had expected these guys to be filled with virulent hatred for anyone who wasn't like them."

It turns out their only consistent prejudice is against "comparatively wealthy clients for whom they'd done construction, plumbing or carpentry work[.]" People just like Norah Vincent.
[/quote]

From:
http://www.alternet.org/story/33386/

patsbrother said...

Dude, vdopm: we know what quotation marks mean. You don't have to spell it out for us.

Reading your comments is like reading code. What up with that?

And just for my own personal edification, what does "vdopm" stand for?

Patrick Armstrong said...

Vulgar Display of Power Metal

patsbrother said...

You mean, like, White Snake? Arrr?

Either way, it's better then what I was coming up with. I was trying to figure out what O word could possibly, plausibly connect vd with pm.

VDOPM said...

It's supposed to be "like reading code". ;)

I'm used to UBB, so you see the [...] tags everywhere. Personal habit. Sorry!

VDPOM = Vulgar Display of Power Metal, as Pat pointed out. It's a play on Vulgar Display of Power - one of Pantera's best-known CD's, and Power Metal - one of their least known CD's, and coincidentally their last hair band-type CD.

Plus, I'm trying to learn how to sing some old hair metal songs, so...I figured it fit. ;)

[/post?] ;)