The cliff

The fiscal cliff, what will happen? Who will lose? Dems, GOP or USA?

They will put America first and reach a compromise.
1
3%
They will put America first and reach a compromise.
1
3%
They will make a deal at the very last second.
4
11%
They will make a deal at the very last second.
4
11%
The R's will be the winners: No tax increase.
0
No votes
The R's will be the winners: No tax increase.
0
No votes
The dems will be the winners: More tax for the rich
1
3%
The dems will be the winners: More tax for the rich
1
3%
They reach a deal that postpones matters, somehow.
6
17%
They reach a deal that postpones matters, somehow.
6
17%
They won't agree, but austerity is what the US needs.
0
No votes
They won't agree, but austerity is what the US needs.
0
No votes
They won't agree: Welcome to a new depression.
4
11%
They won't agree: Welcome to a new depression.
4
11%
Other (please specify).
2
6%
Other (please specify).
2
6%
 
Total votes: 36
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Glaucon
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Re: The cliff

Postby Glaucon » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:56 pm

So unfair. Americans accuse me of being British, and Brits accuse me of being from the States. While I am really a proud citizen of Smurfistan. :pft:
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Glaucon
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Re: The cliff

Postby Glaucon » Sat Jan 12, 2013 12:56 pm

Meanwhile, in Washington D.C....

While the gun control lobby has decided after a few months that the best way to divert blame for semi-automatics being emptied into children by fucked up boys is to blame something else... coming up with... hah... guess what? Yes, that's right: VIDEO games. And oh... violent movies, like the OH SO recent movie Natural Born killers...

... the democrats in Washington have decided to make total fools of themselves again. They 'scored' over the fiscal cliff, but also gave up their leverage. And now they seek a way to get out from under the most important means of pressuring them, the hitting of the new debt ceiling, a way not to have the republicans use it as leverage, who are out for blood (or spending cuts on entitlements, really). They have to get an agreement with the house republican majority. Who will demand a lot, having gotten nothing much at all two weeks ago. And they don't wanna give em anything.

So... they look for loopholes. There is the 1 trizalillion coin they might be minting. Problem is that this is such a ridiculous commic book plan that it might seriously hurt the credibility of the fed, the dollar and the US economy in general.

And they found something else. A little sentence in the 14th amendement. Which they take out of context, claiming that it would somehow legitimize the White House taking 'financial control', bypassing Congress. A kind of budgetary coup. Of course, that bit of text does no such thing, but that doesn't matter. It may not be by the book (BtB), constitutionally, but it IS By the Notecard (BtN). If you really do your best to interpret it very loosely, in an extremely partisan way. Almost. But not quite. At all.

Of course, that bit of willfull total misreading is unlikely to fly. The Supreme Court is very likely to say nay to such a reading. And it would give the republican party in the House an excuse to initiate some Obama impeachment circus. And yet, it seems that the democratic majority in the Senate has chosen to embrace this ludicrous plan.

:shakehead2:
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Glaucon
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Re: The cliff

Postby Glaucon » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:47 pm

Kaitlin wrote:O ye, of little faith :...:


You mean I should have faith in them dropping this ridiculous plan, or that I should have faith in this unconstitutional budget coup actually working?
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Theoden
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Re: The cliff

Postby Theoden » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:46 pm

It's wierd. For months I was pissed at the House Republicans for not being able to compromise and agree to higher taxes for the rich.

Well now they've agreed to them (albeit not nearly enough that I would have preferred).

But what's done is done. Both left and right have worked out a compromise somehow on taxes.

And now... I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with the House Republicans on spending cuts and being pissed at the Democrats for refusing to let up.

As I've said before, I want both taxes on the rich and also spending cuts.

It's a damn terrorist tactic the Republicans are using with the debt limit thing. "Do what I want or else I'll blow up the economy/kill the hostage".

Yet, does one really believe the Democrats would actually agree to cut Social Security and Medicare in a drastic way for the baby boomers, without such a terrorist action?

Even Fahreed Zakaria believes that Medicare should be cut due to demographic failures. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 36,00.html

Just as taxing the rich should harm the economy the least, cutting entitlements to the elderly also doesn't hurt the economy as other things.

With the wars winding down, we can save a lot of money by cutting Defense spending, something the Democrats would certainly opt for. But there is no point to Defense cuts if Medicare and Social Security doesn't get cut also. Sort of like how there is no point to cutting green house gas emissions if China doesn't agree to them as well.

Medicare and Social Security must be cut. It doesn't matter if it's now cheaper than ever for the United States to get a loan. Why should we continue to get loans? So the baby boomers can die off before they actually have to pay for anything, in terms of tax rises or benefit cuts?

Maybe it does require a terrorist action. Maybe one must absolutely play chicken.

And the Democrats better blink. Because I don't want the Republicans to back down.

EDIT: And yes I do realize the hypocrisy of previously criticizing Republicans playing chicken with the fiscal cliff, but now encouraging them to play chicken with the debt ceiling. Let me think on that for a bit. :facepalm:
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Re: The cliff

Postby Leah » Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:39 pm

A big problem, Kaitlin, is with the job market as it is, cutting defense means a much higher unemployment rate, as those people don't necessarily have jobs waiting for them in the civilian world.
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Re: The cliff

Postby Carter » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:24 pm

Kaitlin wrote: The rest of the world can't be looking too kindly at a country that can be brought to a grinding halt by a few politicians.


The American political system is a complete anathema to most people outside of the States.

You vote for a Presidential Candidate who is nominated by the respective members of that party.. and yet he appears to have no authority or influence over the more junior elected representatives of the same party.

You then vote the respective Presidential Candidates to office.. and he appears to have very limited powers to directly set the political agenda or initiate any policy without the approval of a various legislative houses.. and to make sure he has no chance of even influencing the legislative bodies, you vote in regional and state representatives of other political parties who are blatantly going to undermine the policies of the elected President.

What a fucked up system... does anybody ever do anything in the national interest, rather than political interests ?
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Re: The cliff

Postby Glaucon » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:46 pm

Rarely, I think.

And yep... I admit, I feel that the basic design of the US political system has some pretty basic design-flaws. In the UK, it is simple. People vote for one or the other party (or maybe a third). And that results in seats in the house of commons. And The party that is in the majority there is in control and gets control of the executive office, it's leader becoming the leader of the country. And as long as he can keep his own party in line, he can pretty much do whatever he wants until the next elections (well, there is the House of Lords, the 'Senate' of the UK, and such, but that institution isn't all that powerful or relevant). In other European countries, you usually have multiple party systems, which complicates matters somewhat (at the moment there is a coalition in Britain as well, but that is rare).

The US system has all these institutions that can block each other (Presidency, House, Senate, and to a lesser degree Supreme Court and the individual States). The idea behind it was that this would force politicians to steer a moderate, non-radical course. Rule by consensus. But since the electoral system in the USA leads to a two party system, and since two party systems tend to lead to a strong political divide, it can derail effective rule quite easily, with everyone blocking everyone else. The US system is really not all that compatible with strong partizanship (but then again, the people that thought it up hoped the USA would never become quite as partizan as parties in the UK were. How wrong they were). And actually overhauling the system/constitution in the USA would be a very tall order.

In a sense, the US political system is an epic fail. Unless you think that ineffective government/rule is actually a good thing, like some do.
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Re: The cliff

Postby Leah » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:49 pm

Carter wrote:
Kaitlin wrote: The rest of the world can't be looking too kindly at a country that can be brought to a grinding halt by a few politicians.


The American political system is a complete anathema to most people outside of the States.

You vote for a Presidential Candidate who is nominated by the respective members of that party.. and yet he appears to have no authority or influence over the more junior elected representatives of the same party.

You then vote the respective Presidential Candidates to office.. and he appears to have very limited powers to directly set the political agenda or initiate any policy without the approval of a various legislative houses.. and to make sure he has no chance of even influencing the legislative bodies, you vote in regional and state representatives of other political parties who are blatantly going to undermine the policies of the elected President.

What a fucked up system... does anybody ever do anything in the national interest, rather than political interests ?


The system is designed to provide a series of checks and balances to keep any one part of the government from taking total control. But it's only as good as the people within it.
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Re: The cliff

Postby Theoden » Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:34 am

@ Kait

While 7$ is better than 10$ passes the quantitative test, it fails the qualitative test. Though the debt might be reduced, in the end it leaves future generations with a debt they did not benefit from whatsoever. The generation that caused the debt must pay the bulk of it that was caused during their reign.

And to me, Social Security and Medicare and Defense are all meat and potatoes. I would love that we could take care of our elderly and continue to enforce Pax Americana, as was done before us with Pax Britannica. But we're doing it all on a credit card, and I'm not accepting that the current generation in power will only pay a small amount of the debt.

@ Carter

If the UK was 51% to 49% hypothetically, wouldn't that be a hung parliament? So gridlock can happen in a parliamentary model as well.

Some would prefer gridlock and nothing done in government, preferable over a 51% lording over the 49%.

The entire founding principle of the U.S. was to fight against tyranny. They didn't want to replace a King with a dictator. It's the reason why the phrase "Do you swear to protect the constitution, against all enemies, foreign and domestic" came from. Note the domestic part. They were so zealous against tyranny they were willing to put the 2nd amendment in the constitution just so citizens would have the weapons needed to fight against tyranny. There's nothing about 'self defense' or 'hunting' in there, only 'security of the Free State'.

Gridlock was preferred by the founders of the country, rather than tyranny of a few, or barely a majority.

Of course, they didn't envision congress would ever threaten to hold the nation's credit hostage in order to get their way. But they couldn't have foreseen every crisis situation.

In any case, the United States would not implode out of existence over an economic crises. Countries decline, not implode, with economic crises. And the President has enough war time crises military powers to make sure the country wouldn't implode.

The only problem I see with our government structure is the electoral system. Each district is given to a party member who is "First past the post". Even if the district is 51% and 49%, the 51% gets all the votes of that district. Same with states and electoral votes for the President. It's the reason why we have a two party system, an unfortunate dearth of political party variance and the reason why a small minority controls the country: Swing voters.

It's really pointless to vote in the United States unless you live in a swing district or swing state. The entire country's future is decided by a minority of swing voters. How ironic.

I still don't get how government is more partisan in the United States than in the UK. Isn't the definition of partisanship meaning to only vote along party lines cohesively, as a bloc? And if the party leader makes a deal, then all the minions fall in line? Boehner couldn't even control his House and there is a gap between Senate Republicans and House Republicans. I'd say the American congress is less partisan and more individualistic in character.

Course, individualism could also be interpreted as self interested pandering to one's own constituents rather than the good of the country overall.
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Re: The cliff

Postby Carter » Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:57 am

Theoden wrote:@ Kait

@ Carter

If the UK was 51% to 49% hypothetically, wouldn't that be a hung parliament? So gridlock can happen in a parliamentary model as well.



Well the principal of Parliament is you need a certain amount of members of parliament to be able to claim a majority representation and therefore claim political leadership... it would be impossible for the Prime Minister to be able to lead without that majority support made up from his own political party.

he can, as we have now, a hung Parliament, where has had to do deals with another political party to get the numbers in Parliament to claim a majority to be able enact his policies.. so that is were the checks and balances comes from.

However, if the elected government was unable to gain the majority representation in Parliament.. there would be a vote of no confidence and elections re-held until a majority could be formed..either from one party, or a coalition of parties.

But, there would never be a situation of having a political leader unable to pass the legislation because the opposition could out vote his policies...

Like I said.. the american political system of colleges, two party sytems, Presidential versus Senatorial/Congress, federal vs state...weird ;)

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