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#26 | Back to Top09-18-2008 01:21:24 PM

End of the Tour
Ballgoer
From: The Nowhere Islands
Registered: 09-11-2008
Posts: 143

Re: Politics

I just want to start by saying it's really a pleasant surprise to join a forum and find a reasonable political discussion going on.  It's not at all what I would expect.  Anyway, I really only have a few things to add:

OnlyInThisLight wrote:

Like I mentioned above, taking loads of cash from people like Paris Hilton sounds great, because, well, fuck lazy-ass, spoiled Paris Hilton, but taking a massive cut of money from the guy who studied and spent 50,000 on college and has spent a good fifty years of his life climbing ladders and gaining experience and know-how, just because he's more well off than you?

I definitely understand the sentiment behind this, but, unfortunately, it's very hard to implement in practice.  Consider two executivess A-ko and B-ko, heading similar companies and earning similar salaries.  A-ko came from a lower class family, studied her ass off in school, worked hard to pay through college, and climbed the ladder ever so slowly to get to where she is now.  B-ko had prep school and tutors to make sure she got into the same Ivy League school her parents (now major donors, of course) went to, where she made contacts and schmoozed her way into top level executive positions; when things haven't gone well under her leadership, she's always had golden parachutes to keep her afloat until her next job.

Now, obviously we would like to see B-ko taxed more heavily than A-ko, but how can the law actually do this?  A-ko can get some tax credit on account of her student loans, but other than that, their differences aren't something the tax code can really look at.  And if you're waiting for B-ko to stop getting those high-end executive jobs, well, you may have a long wait coming, especially if she has the right golfing buddies.

satyreyes wrote:

Whoa whoa whoa.  He wants to use my taxes, the taxes of a person who made no irresponsible home-ownership decisions, to bail out people who bought houses they knew they couldn't afford -- so they can keep their homes?  Daaaaaamn!  Talk about rewarding irresponsible lending and borrowing practices!  One would hate to set a precedent that you can be as shortsighted as you want and the government will bail you out, wouldn't one?  It almost makes me want to go take out a subprime mortgage.

The biggest reason I can't see bailing out homeowners as being as problematic as bailing out banks is because of the disparity in what happens to the people involved.  The people who decided to take out these mortgages lose their homes, but the people who set the policy to allow such mortgages, well... maybe their bonuses will be smaller this year?  Sure, the banks may be suffering, and this may translate into a lot of layoffs at the lower levels, but I think it's safe to say that every actual high-level decision maker employed by said banks is going to be just fine.

And, really, if anyone should have known better, it's them.  Buying a home is a huge process during which you're inundated with paperwork, and while on some level one should read it all and think things through carefully and so on, it's really not surprising that even people who are otherwise fairly responsible might just believe what they're hearing about everything being "standard boilerplate, nothing you need to worry about" and not really look into the ramifications of all the financial jargon in the documents they're signing.  But banking executives are trained in that jargon, and they have no excuse for not realizing what might happen under any given policy for approving mortgages.

So, yeah, I have a hard time opposing the bailing out of the people who are really hit hard by this when the other, supposedly more responsible party kind of comes pre-bailed-out.  It's just a shame that the latter can't be penalized to cover the costs of the former, but I realize that this is not how money works.

Stormcrow wrote:

So what does this boil down to? We've got some rough times ahead. And neither candidate has the balls to say so. Can you blame them? Look what happened to Carter when he had the nerve to point out there were problems.

I'm not sure how I feel about ever really agreeing with Akio, but presidential campaigns are when I most often remind myself that, you know, the world around them is dirty.


Sometimes life is about making difficult sandwiches.

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#27 | Back to Top09-18-2008 06:27:49 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
Website

Re: Politics

Hi End, and welcome to the forum and the discussion!  emot-smile

End of the Tour wrote:

OnlyInThisLight wrote:

Like I mentioned above, taking loads of cash from people like Paris Hilton sounds great, because, well, fuck lazy-ass, spoiled Paris Hilton, but taking a massive cut of money from the guy who studied and spent 50,000 on college and has spent a good fifty years of his life climbing ladders and gaining experience and know-how, just because he's more well off than you?

I definitely understand the sentiment behind this, but, unfortunately, it's very hard to implement in practice.

I could be wrong, but I think this was OITL's point.  We can't punitively tax Paris Hilton without punitively taxing Bill Gates -- who may not be the most ethical businessman on the planet, but is among the biggest charitable benefactors in terms of dollars -- or the skilled surgeons and inventors from OnionPrince's post.

End of the Tour wrote:

satyreyes wrote:

Whoa whoa whoa.  He wants to use my taxes, the taxes of a person who made no irresponsible home-ownership decisions, to bail out people who bought houses they knew they couldn't afford -- so they can keep their homes?...

The biggest reason I can't see bailing out homeowners as being as problematic as bailing out banks is because of the disparity in what happens to the people involved.  The people who decided to take out these mortgages lose their homes, but the people who set the policy to allow such mortgages, well... maybe their bonuses will be smaller this year?  Sure, the banks may be suffering, and this may translate into a lot of layoffs at the lower levels, but I think it's safe to say that every actual high-level decision maker employed by said banks is going to be just fine.

I see where you're coming from here, and I do have some sympathy for the ordinary people caught up in bad mortgages.  They were taken advantage of.  But it's not as though Fannie Mae came into their flats and forced them at gunpoint to take out a variable-rate mortgage.  The first question any prospective homeowner should ask is "can I afford to own a home," and if they don't ask that question, they are a party to their own exploitation.  (Not that they deserve to be exploited, hence the sympathy -- but they do bear partial responsibility.)  Rushing into a mortgage without so much as asking whether you can afford a home is irresponsible, and I don't think irresponsibility should be rewarded, especially not with help keeping the house you couldn't afford in the first place.  The practical effect is that if you were shortsighted enough to buy a house on insufficient income, the government will help you keep your house; if you were responsible and didn't buy one, you will receive no help, you will continue to live in a flat, and furthermore your tax dollars will be used to pay for the shortsighted people's houses.  That seems more unfair to me than allowing people to suffer some of the consequences of their shortsightedness.  I'm not against economic relief, but I don't think it should take the form of paying for people's houses.

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#28 | Back to Top09-18-2008 09:38:32 PM

OnionPrince
Covert Diarist
From: Nagoya
Registered: 10-28-2007
Posts: 876

Re: Politics

Stormcrow wrote:

Leaving aside the larger philosophical concern for a moment...we live in a country predicated on the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty. It seems to me that that means we can't pass judgment on people for having a lot of money without some kind of due process. So are we going to have trials where the charge is being rich, and you have to prove you earned it properly, productively? And without that process, would we condemn everyone without any concern about whether they were "right" or "wrong"? So you see there are problems there...

You mean I can't condemn the entire wealthy ruling class as guilty on a whim? I have to actually investigate to see if they're honest first? Man, what a chore. If the French were that cautious and sympathetic in 1789, hardly anyone would have gotten their head cut off! What fun would that be?

Flippant sarcasm aside, I'm not suggesting we put every single millionaire on trial. However, we absolutely need better regulations that promote good business and prevent dishonest practices. Obama says he'll do that, and however much anyone wants to nitpick other stuff he's said, he's got my vote.

satyreyes wrote:

You could be right. As far as I know, no one's done an ethical survey of all America's rich people. Nevertheless, I wonder what your sample size is.

No such survey is possible or needed. If ethical business people were in the majority, our situation would not have gotten this bad. It's easy to place blame on the lower/middle class, such as...

satyreyes wrote:

The first question any prospective homeowner should ask is "can I afford to own a home," and if they don't ask that question, they are a party to their own exploitation.

...Which may be true for some. But it's very likely that many of those people *could* afford to own a home when they signed on to the mortgage. Then energy prices kept going higher, and everything got more expensive, and people lost their jobs, and the economy basically went down the toilet because of the current administration. People who could afford their payments suddenly couldn't anymore. There should have been measures in place to prevent such a disaster.

Now, if I've been sounding like an extremist, it's because I'm mad as hell about what's going on in this country right now. The pendulum has swung so far in one direction that I feel like I have to push back twice as hard. I'm sure some of you are fed up with me over this, and perhaps I should just grow up and accept the way things are, but this is something I needed to express. It would sure be nice if I could just emotionally detach myself from all of this and calmly analyze the economic situation through the objective eyes of history. I cannot do so. What's happening in the world right now directly affects whether I will have a roof over my head in the near future, and there are millions of people who have it even worse than I do.

I dont have answers, but that's not going to stop me from looking. And that's all I have to say about that.

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#29 | Back to Top09-19-2008 02:09:14 AM

allegoriest
Delicious Duellist
From: Cloudcuckooland
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 2506
Website

Re: Politics

First, taxing them out of spite would basically make you guilty of the same thing you're accusing them of doing.

On a note Satyr mentioned, about people being generally irresponsible, and the government paying them for it-


You know what I have a problem with? Welfare.

My family's the ONLY one on my dad's side that isn't on welfare. My parents have always worked for a living, despite being disabled and not collecting disability cause, then can do fine without it. NONE of my aunts and uncles work, they keep popping out kids since they get paid more per child, and they get free food and housing.

And yet, they are always at our door, asking for handouts. The government feeds, clothes and shelters them, in single family houses no less, and what do they do with all the extra money? They buy fancy things. Seriously, they have every damn new electronic within a month of it coming out. They spend ALL their money on flatscreen TVs, games, drugs, makeup and once, plastic surgery. (I swear to god.) I mean, I know people have to have SOME nice things, but seriously, what the fuck.

While there are other people, who do have jobs, that are barely making it. They're having a hell of a time paying for home, utilities, travel, insurance, health issues, while having a job. And there are people, jobless, getting handouts, with enough extra money to buy all this nice crap. I mean, I think there's a problem there. I have a friend who's been in HORRIBLE pain for years and CANNOT afford to go to a doctor cause she's up to her forehead in bills, and she can't even afford school anymore, meaning she'll probably not get many more chances at a better job. But she isn't in need.

Instead, my cousin and her mom are getting this money to buy jewelry and plastic surgery for the job as a model that never took off. My cousin went to a private Catholic school here, courtesy of us, never showed up, and failed out. While of course, other people can't even afford the cheapest community college, who are working full time hoping to save enough to continue someday.

It's basically like we're paying child support to them in my mind.


On a slightly related note.

I live in South Texas. It's practically Mexico. (Fun fact: allegoriest in Spanish is 'lo mas allegorico')

Anyway.
SO MANY PEOPLE HERE are born in Mexico. So many people here are also illegally living here. Some of them are pretty damn happy to be here, but really, I've noticed most... aren't. A VERY large portion have jobs here, and send the money off to Mexico. I've heard several people mention they won't live in our *insert derogatory remark here* of a country and pay our fucking taxes. So many people I know hate that on our official documents and identification we have American symbolism, and that dammit, theirs should have Mexican stuff. And really, that's a big problem too.

(And no, I don't hate Mexicans in the least, most my best friends and my nurse are all from Mexico and I love them dearly. But dammit, more things here need to be for Americans. And probably, we need to make more of them citizens. It's like when you were little, and your mom would go, "Don't leave the door open, go in or out." Choose a damn side. but inversely, seriously, do most people even WANT alot of the jobs that they have? Do you REALLY want to pick fruit and clean the floor?)


But together, these are really a problem I think. In San Antonio anyway, a HUGE portion of the town is basically, torn to hell. Seriously, I'm really terrified of living here. So many people are getting handouts, or not paying taxes, and living in really, plain terrible neighborhoods, in houses filled with REALLY NICE SHIT. (Crime is a fucking bitch here.) But really, people probably need to invest more money in their homes and education instead of their PS3 and crack. (Hell, I'm an interior designer and I'M guilty of this.) We need to learn to make better decisions, and babying everyone over it isn't going to help. Cause really, in ten years, my house that's falling apart is going to be ALOT more important that my special edition MGS4 PS3.

And we need to better spend our taxes. Near my school, our tax money was recently spent on... a gazebo. A fancy fancy gazebo. A gazebo in a park that really, is am island between a crossroad in a neighborhood. This thing is practically in someone's front yard. The roads around this gazebo thing are really a pothole collection. Now really, did we NEED this? There wasn't ANYTHING better to spend the money on? NOTHING?


...Oh. And really, some of the rich people I know REALLY deserve it. My aunt on my mother's side and her husband both started a business together, and went through hell for years. Now its certainly MORE than paid off with an internationally recognized business, and they've fallen into that higher class that everyone wants taxed to hell. And really, they've worked a million times harder than anyone else I know. They're so nice to their employees, and they all love them to bits. They have programs at highschools for students that aren't as booksmart to have other mechanical and trade related skillsets, for NO charge, as a program at public schools. They get public artists to work for international clients based solely on skill and not fame, they donate to all sorts of charities, and they personally go out and help people, despite still being taxed to hell. They don't mind paying taxes, because they love America, and they live and work here. They don't even want their company to ever leave the country and make money for someone else. But really, being targeted for doing a good job isn't fun I've heard.


http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a94/leeness/Ruka--Juri-banner-1.png

Only a lemming must be concerned with the ends of the world.

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#30 | Back to Top09-19-2008 10:42:05 AM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
Website

Re: Politics

Wow, allegoriest, that's a fascinating story!  I've gotta say that I know almost nothing about welfare as it's actually implemented in America, as opposed to economics class stuff about welfare traps and such.  I am not libertarian enough to say that I think there should be no social "safety net," and I'm happy to see part of my taxes go towards supporting what are called the deserving poor.  But if your relatives are using their welfare checks to buy plastic surgery and making no gesture towards working, something obviously is seriously wrong.

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#31 | Back to Top09-24-2008 01:44:25 PM

BioKraze
Faceless Master
From: Yuma, Arizona (USA)
Registered: 11-26-2006
Posts: 8278

Re: Politics

This might be the wrong place to say this, but I could find no other place to put it...

Is it really so wrong to have a foreign policy that simply states "Anybody who looks at us wrong is going to get H-bombed back into the Stone Age"?

I'm dead serious, too.


Roses have thorns to stop those who would dare deny their right to live.
Chu...: For every lover of lesbians out there, there is an equal and opposite attraction to Dippin' Dots.

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#32 | Back to Top09-24-2008 01:48:51 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8617
Website

Re: Politics

I don't think this is the wrong place for it, but given the global opinion of us it would leave us with about 10% of the amount of liveable land we have today. school-sherlock


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

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#33 | Back to Top09-24-2008 03:21:29 PM

Stormcrow
Magical Flying Moron
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 04-24-2007
Posts: 5971
Website

Re: Politics

BioKraze wrote:

Is it really so wrong to have a foreign policy that simply states "Anybody who looks at us wrong is going to get H-bombed back into the Stone Age"?

Yes it is.


"The devil want me as is, but god he want more."
-Truck North
Honorary Hat Mafia Member

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#34 | Back to Top09-24-2008 04:51:39 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
Website

Re: Politics

BioKraze wrote:

Is it really so wrong to have a foreign policy that simply states "Anybody who looks at us wrong is going to get H-bombed back into the Stone Age"?

No one likes us.
I don't know why.
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try.
But all around, even our old friends put us down --
Let's drop the big one, see what happens.

We give them money, but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful, and they're hateful!
They don't respect us, so let's surprise 'em --
Let's drop the big one, pulverize 'em!

Asia's crowded, Europe's too old,
Africa is far too hot and Canada's too cold.
South America stole our name.
Let's drop the big one, there'll be no one left to blame us.

We'll save Australia.
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo!
We'll build an all-American amusement park there --
They got surfin' too!

And boom! goes London, boom! Paris,
More room for you and more room for me!
And every city, the whole world round,
Will just be another American town,
Oh what peaceful little people -- we'll set everybody free! --
You wear a Japanese kimono babe, it'll be Italian shoes for me!

They all hate us anyhow --
So let's drop the big one now!
Let's drop the big one now!

--Randy Newman, "Political Science"

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#35 | Back to Top09-24-2008 08:22:56 PM

Imaginary Bad Bug
Revolutionary
From: Connecticut, USA
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 2168
Website

Re: Politics

BioKraze wrote:

Is it really so wrong to have a foreign policy that simply states "Anybody who looks at us wrong is going to get H-bombed back into the Stone Age"?

You mean using the Bush/McCain view and extrapolating it out to its extreme logical end?  emot-tongue

No bribe could convince me to vote for a candidate with that mindset...


http://lh5.ggpht.com/_HERdW38xV_c/S5xZ2QVrIwI/AAAAAAAAApg/uNpckSbLgUw/s800/utenaban.jpg

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#36 | Back to Top09-29-2008 01:16:10 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
Website

Re: Politics

Breaking news!

The $700 billion bailout of financial companies just got voted down in the House, 207 for to 227 against.  The vote was notably not party-line; I'm reading one story that says Democrats voted for it narrowly, 140-95, while Republicans voted against it 65-133.  These are earlier figures, but they can't have changed much.  The Dow has fallen 700 points in the past few hours in response to the news.  (For those of you who don't follow the financial news: 700 points is a lot.  Basically it is saying that U.S. business just lost 6%-7% of its entire net value in the last few hours as a result of this vote.)

It's possible they'll try to put together another bailout plan, but it may be too late.  Viscerally I want to just let the banks and lenders succumb to their own idiocy, though I'm not enough of an economist to claim to know whether that's a good idea.  In the long term it probably is.  In the short term it almost certainly isn't.

Megan McArdle, a centrist economics blogger, analyzes the vote thus.  Many Republicans voted against the bill because the authoring committee failed to include a reduction of the capital gains tax.  Since the capital gains tax is beside the point, they can be accused of cynicism.  The Democrats hardly get off scot-free either, though; many of them may have voted against the bill because the Republicans were going to vote against it by a much wider margin, allowing the Democrats to blame the Republicans for what is now happening to the stock market.  I think Megan is overstating her case -- we should give the benefit of the doubt and assume that many legislators on both sides voted against the bill because they believe it's a bad bill against our long-term interests -- but it's hard to argue that the practical effect of the bill's failure won't be what she says.

Since Obama and McCain are senators, neither of them cast a vote on the bill, though I believe both are on the record supporting it.  The Senate was going to vote on the bill Wednesday.

Last edited by satyreyes (09-29-2008 01:17:45 PM)

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#37 | Back to Top09-29-2008 03:16:30 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8617
Website

Re: Politics

My boss told me about this at work today...blows the mind. Can't say I'm surprised it got voted down, but 700 points? Really? This is history in the making, and the really bad kind. Part of me is sure we'll muscle through and nothing much will change, but people thought that before The Great Depression, and this is starting to look ugly.

BTW, Citi is buying Wachovia. This is another in a long line of bank buyouts and failures in the last couple weeks, and surprising becaue Citi isn't exactly doing well itself. This is the best patchup Wall St can manage right now, consolidating wealth, but it's bad news for consumers down the line, as we'll have fewer and fewer choices. We complain about computer technology monopolies? Banking monopolies would be far, far worse.


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

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#38 | Back to Top09-29-2008 03:28:21 PM

Razara
Marionette Mistress
From: Wuzzy Happy Akio Town (What?)
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 4683

Re: Politics

So, just how bad is this? In terms of "kind of bad" and "ZOMG REALLY BAD RUN TO THE BANKS AND GET YOUR MONEY BEFORE THEY RUN OUT." Is it anywhere at all near the second one?

Edit: And as for the rest of of the world, Hong Kong went down 1000 points because their economy depends on ours so much.

Come on, economy! You can make it! I believe in you! emot-frown

Last edited by Razara (09-29-2008 04:13:56 PM)

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#39 | Back to Top09-29-2008 04:21:29 PM

Stormcrow
Magical Flying Moron
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 04-24-2007
Posts: 5971
Website

Re: Politics

Getting money out of the banks would be futile at this point, unless your account has more than...$125000? I think that's what FDIC insures to. Point being that currency in America only has value because the government says it does. We have no gold standard that money is tied to. And through FDIC, the government promises that that money is safe in the bank. If the bank fails, the FDIC will still pay you the money you had when it went, up to that $125000...maybe it's just $25000? Help me out here Satyr? Anyway, if the government's promise to insure the money is no good...neither is the money itself.

At this point, I would have a hard time believing anyone who said they really knew what was going to happen next. This has literally never happened before. I mean, yeah, we've had economic downturns, recessions, even the Great Depression, but the markets have never been tied together to this degree. We didn't have internet back then, you know? So we'll see how it goes.


"The devil want me as is, but god he want more."
-Truck North
Honorary Hat Mafia Member

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#40 | Back to Top09-29-2008 04:25:33 PM

Mylene
Fighting Evil By Moonlight
From: Next to Paradox
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 3704

Re: Politics

Stormcrow wrote:

If the bank fails, the FDIC will still pay you the money you had when it went, up to that $125000...maybe it's just $25000? Help me out here Satyr?

I'm not Satyr, but according to the FDIC website, it's $100,000.

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#41 | Back to Top09-29-2008 07:44:54 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
Website

Re: Politics

Yes, Razara, it's $100,000.  If you have more than that in the bank, you might want to go out and withdraw the surplus.  (Also, can I have a loan?)  But if you have less than that and your bank fails, the FDIC will reimburse you for the full amount of your lost deposit.  You'll have to wade through some bureaucracy, but you will get the money.  (Unless the entire government goes bankrupt, in which case we are really screwed.)

As for how bad it is?  It's too soon to tell, and honestly it will probably continue being too soon to tell until it's all over (which will be between six months and twenty years from now, or possibly never).  One thing we have to remember, regardless of whether a bailout is settled on, is that stock markets just do this crap occasionally.  There has never been a period in history marked by prolonged, unchecked economic growth.  There are always recessions.  Some are deeper than others.  But there has never yet in American history been a recession we've failed to emerge from.  Stay positive.

In fact -- well, the thing about stock market wisdom is that all of it can be summed up in four words: "buy low, sell high."  So if you ever considered getting into the stock market, soon would be a good time.  The market tends to overreact to things like this, so within a day or two when it hits bottom there'll be a lot of money to be made -- and anyone buying stock at that time is playing an indirect part in the economic recovery!  Pretty cool!  Just gotta bite your lip and have faith that the good times will be here again -- and when they come you could be rich!  emot-smile

Edit: Worth noting that while a 7% slide is a lot, it is not yet Great Depression territory.  On Black Monday, which is one important marker denoting the beginning of the Depression, the market lost 13% of its value.  The next day it lost another 12%.  Overall, from peak to trough, the market lost 89% of its value during the depression.  At bottom the entire Dow Jones Industrial Average (which today, after a 777-point slide, closed at 10,365) had a value of 41.22.  Even after you account for inflation that is pathetic.  So we're not there yet, and there's no reason to think this will be as bad as that.  Which is not to say it won't be bad.

Last edited by satyreyes (09-29-2008 08:06:31 PM)

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#42 | Back to Top09-29-2008 09:40:25 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8617
Website

Re: Politics

To play devil's advocate, it's worth pointing out that while the relative point loss is nowhere near Great Depression levels, we do have a major variable to account for, and that's that the American economy is now tied thorough to the global economy. Not to say trade didn't exist back then, but nowadays our money and out prospects are thoroughly, completely tied to the world economy, and all it takes is fear that the American economy may go into a major recession a la Great Depression to send the others into tailspin. Objectively, the European markets are the best off to deal with this. We've been major philanthropists in the Asian economy and it's going to show when we start hurting.

It's not yet time to take your cash out of the bank, but this is a time for financial responsibility. If you don't already own (not mortgage) property, this isn't the time to try. Loans are a bad idea, and obviously, so is investing. The hurricane hasn't hit yet, but that just means you have a chance to get the shutters up.


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

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#43 | Back to Top09-29-2008 10:14:50 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
Website

Re: Politics

Giovanna wrote:

It's not yet time to take your cash out of the bank, but this is a time for financial responsibility. If you don't already own (not mortgage) property, this isn't the time to try. Loans are a bad idea, and obviously, so is investing. The hurricane hasn't hit yet, but that just means you have a chance to get the shutters up.

I don't know that I agree.  It is a risky time to be in the markets, but almost definitionally risk is tied to reward.  Interest rates are going to be high for a while, so mortgages will be hard to pay -- but the base price of homes hasn't been lower in eons.  If you have the means, and given recent developments it is impossible to stress that qualification enough, now is a pretty good time to be buying a home.  And high interest rates also means many kinds of investments will pay higher yields than usual, as long as they avoid going bankrupt.  Higher risk, higher reward.  And in any case I wouldn't paint "investing is a bad idea" as a recipe for "financial responsibility."  Not all investing is junk mortgage bonds.

But I know bupkus about financial markets, and anyone who does any investing based on my advice alone deserves what they get.  emot-rolleyes

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#44 | Back to Top09-30-2008 04:55:19 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
Website

Re: Politics

Good news!  The markets closed up 500 points today, erasing most of yesterday's decline.  This emphatically does not mean "never mind, false alarm, the economy's fine now," but it does mean that Wall Street has not yet begun to panic.  Part of the reason is undoubtedly optimism that Congress, spooked by yesterday's Tower of Terror, may yet reach an agreement on a bailout.  But it's not as though Congress suddenly turned around and said "wait, we want to change our vote," so probably another part of the reason is that the market now thinks it overreacted in the first place.  It's good news, in a way.  In another way, it shows that the market is not as omniscient as conservatives like to think -- and if it's not omniscient it's going to be more unpredictable than they'd like.  Invest prudently.  emot-rolleyes

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#45 | Back to Top09-30-2008 05:48:22 PM

Hiraku
Easter Elf #40
From: Singapore
Registered: 02-21-2007
Posts: 6337
Website

Re: Politics

Wait, what do you mean that the conservatives think that the market is omniscient?
America technically has been in debt for a while, isn't it? What with the trillions of dollars and all. emot-confused

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#46 | Back to Top09-30-2008 08:56:33 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
Website

Re: Politics

What I mean is that conservatives (and what I mean here is conservative economists, not conservative politicians, though the two often go together) think that the market accurately prices commodities.  If oil is trading for $100 a barrel, that's at least how much revenue its purchaser will raise by buying it.  If Disney stock is trading at $30 and there are two billion shares of Disney stock outstanding, then the entire company is worth $30 x 2 billion = $60 billion.  (Those are approximately the real numbers, by the way, in case you're thinking of buying the Walt Disney Corporation.)  The market knows all, because traders who spot inefficiencies (places where the market is incorrect) can make money by exploiting those inefficiencies, which brings the market back to efficiency.

The problem is that when the Dow dives 777 points one day and soars 485 points the next day -- representing losses and gains of hundreds of billions of dollars -- when nothing fundamental changes for businesses in between, it's hard to argue that the market knows what it's doing, what the real value of the Dow should be.  It's like if you saw Superman diving 77 stories off a building and then immediately reversing course and flying up 48 stories -- you'd conclude that he's frantically looking for Lois and doesn't know where she is.  If he knew where she was he'd go straight there, not reverse course.  He must not have X-ray vision after all.  (The markets are not efficient.)

The alternative is that Lois is actually being moved within the building, and Superman makes his course correction because Lois isn't where she was a minute ago.  He does have X-ray vision, but it doesn't help him settle on a story because Lois is moving and he has to keep up.  This interpretation makes sense if you think that the true value of the companies that make up the Dow actually did change by hundreds of billions of dollars today (that is, Lois was moved up a few dozen stories).  But it's hard to see how that could have happened in a single day when there was little political news on the bailout and no new major failures or successes on Wall Street.

How is that for a strained metaphor?

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#47 | Back to Top09-30-2008 10:19:35 PM

Hiraku
Easter Elf #40
From: Singapore
Registered: 02-21-2007
Posts: 6337
Website

Re: Politics

No, satyr. Strained analogy is where I use, "The Zergling territory looks like they're losing minerals, yet they're sending out troops to mine for vaspene gas" <_<

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#48 | Back to Top10-06-2008 01:37:56 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8617
Website

Re: Politics

satyreyes wrote:

It's like if you saw Superman diving 77 stories off a building and then immediately reversing course and flying up 48 stories -- you'd conclude that he's frantically looking for Lois and doesn't know where she is.  If he knew where she was he'd go straight there, not reverse course.  He must not have X-ray vision after all.  (The markets are not efficient.)

And the Dow dives 700 points today, falling under 10k for the first time in four years. Sustained loss, over a couple weeks at least, will really tell us the state of affairs. Unfortunately though run by men, the stock market acts like a really fickle PMSing woman. It gets angered, startled, and weepy very easily. The problem is one crying bitch can ruin the vibe of the whole party--now the global markets are responding.


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

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#49 | Back to Top10-31-2008 10:55:34 AM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10327
Website

Re: Politics

Lost in the morass of presidential politics is a fascinating development in the North Carolina Senate race, where Republican Elizabeth Dole, wife of former presidential nominee Bob Dole, is fighting to retain her seat against Democratic challenger Kay Hagan.  It's been a close race, with Hagan perhaps slightly favored recently.  But the other day, Dole released an attack ad  Chu....  It alleges -- no, seriously -- that Hagan is a secret atheist making secret promises to atheists to do nasty atheist things.  Quite apart from how that's a hell of a charge against an elder at the First Presbyterian Church, this is the first high-profile, overt, official attack on the religious faith of a candidate for high office in my memory.  (Compare with allegations that Obama is a Muslim, which were never official.)  I guess godliness is still a qualification for office in this country.  emot-frown

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#50 | Back to Top10-31-2008 02:08:42 PM

End of the Tour
Ballgoer
From: The Nowhere Islands
Registered: 09-11-2008
Posts: 143

Re: Politics

satyreyes wrote:

It alleges -- no, seriously -- that Hagan is a secret atheist making secret promises to atheists to do nasty atheist things.

Wasn't something similar said about Thomas Jefferson in the election of 1800?  What progress we've made since then.

I do realize that I have it easier as an atheist than I would as a Muslim, especially as we don't exactly have religious practices to single us out, but I'm still sick of atheism being used as a slur in this country.


Sometimes life is about making difficult sandwiches.

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