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Thread: 2012 Offers Divided U.S. A Momentous Choice

  1. #1
    Havakasha is offline
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    2012 Offers Divided U.S. A Momentous Choice

    By E.J. Dionne
    WASHINGTON -- At a moment when the nation wonders whether politicians can agree on anything, here is something that unites the Republican presidential candidates -- and all of them with President Obama: Everyone agrees that the 2012 election will be a turning point involving one of the most momentous choices in American history.

    True, candidates (and columnists) regularly cast the impending election as the most important ever. Campaigning last week in Pella, Iowa, Republican Rick Santorum acknowledged as much. But he insisted that this time, the choice really was that fundamental. "The debate," he said, "is about who we are."

    Speaking not far away in Mount Pleasant, Newt Gingrich went even further, and was more specific. "This is the most important election since 1860," he said, "because there's such a dramatic difference between the best food-stamp president in history and the best paycheck candidate." Thus did Gingrich combine historic sweep with a cheap and inaccurate attack. Nonetheless, it says a great deal that Gingrich chose to reach all the way back to the election that helped spark the Civil War.

    Mitt Romney was on the same page in a speech in Bedford, N.H. "This is an election not to replace a president but to save a vision of America," he declared. "It's a choice between two destinies." Sounding just like Santorum, he urged voters to ask: "Who are we as Americans, and what kind of America do we want for our children?"

    Obama could not agree more. "This is not just another political debate," the president said in his theme-setting speech in Osawatomie, Kan., earlier this month. "This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class."

    On this one, Santorum, Gingrich, Romney and Obama all have it right. For the first time since Barry Goldwater made the effort in 1964, the Republican Party is taking a run at overturning the consensus that has governed American political life since the Progressive era.

    Obama is defending a tradition that sees government as an essential actor in the nation's economy, a guarantor of fair rules of competition, a countervailing force against excessive private power, a check on the inequalities that capitalism can produce, and an instrument that can open opportunity for those born without great advantages.

    Today's Republicans cast the federal government as an oppressive force, a drag on the economy and an enemy of private initiative. Texas Gov. Rick Perry continues to promise, as he did last week during a campaign stop in Davenport, Iowa, to be a president who would make "Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as he can make it." That far-reaching word "inconsequential" implies a lot more than trims in budgets or taxes.

    The GOP is engaged in a wholesale effort to redefine the government help that Americans take for granted as an effort to create a radically new, statist society. Consider Romney's claim in his Bedford speech: "President Obama believes that government should create equal outcomes. In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people who truly enjoy any real rewards are those who do the redistributing -- the government."

    Obama believes no such thing. If he did, why are so many continuing to make bundles on Wall Street? As my colleagues Greg Sargent and Paul Krugman have been insisting, Romney is saying things about the president that are flatly, grossly and shamefully untrue. But Romney's sleight of hand is revealing: Republicans are increasingly inclined to argue that any redistribution (and Social Security, Medicare, student loans, veterans benefits and food stamps are all redistributive) is but a step down the road to some radically egalitarian dystopia.

    Obama will thus be the conservative in 2012, in the truest sense of that word. He is the candidate defending the modestly redistributive and regulatory government the country has relied on since the New Deal, and that neither Ronald Reagan nor George W. Bush dismantled. The rhetoric of the 2012 Republicans suggests they want to go far beyond where Reagan or Bush ever went. And here's the irony: By raising the stakes of 2012 so high, Republicans will be playing into Obama's hands. The GOP might well win a referendum on the state of the economy. But if this is instead a larger-scale referendum on whether government should be "inconsequential," Republicans will find the consequences to be very disappointing.

  2. #2
    Havakasha is offline
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    well worth a read.

  3. #3
    Havakasha is offline
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    Defintitely worth a read to counter the poisonous garbage that comes from rigid ideologues such as SiriuslyWrong.

    Consider the source of SiruslyWrong's opinions. He follows the Austrian School of Economic and Peter Schiff. Just look at the record of his predictions. Embarassing.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 01-23-2012 at 02:06 PM.

  4. #4
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Consider the source lol. An idealogue.

    The only rigid idealogue is Hava-gafa-kasha.

    There is a momentous choice though - Big Government or Free Enterprise - choose one.

    "If there is one dream of the Obama presidency that died a swift, merciless death with no hope of resuscitation, it was the hope that President Obama would usher in a new era of bipartisan technocracy. As the president explained over and over, he believed he was not imposing an ideological agenda but simply responding to problems. “I’m not interested in another old debate about big government versus small government,” he would say. “I care about whether government is meeting its responsibilities to the people it represents.”

    The problems that Obama proposed to address—economic collapse, global warming, the costliest and cruelest health care system in the advanced world—could hardly be called mere excuses to impose liberal ideology. They were undeniably, empirically, crises. To be sure, conservatives and liberals had different means of attacking these problems; but there seemed to be every reason to believe that the ideological gulf could be bridged. George W. Bush had initiated bailouts of the finance and auto industries in 2008, and he had employed Keynesian fiscal stimulus in 2001, when the case for doing so was nowhere near as strong. Obama’s health care plan relied upon private insurance and resembled the plan that Republicans had formulated in 1993. His cap-and-trade program closely resembled a proposal by John McCain. The new president genuinely seemed to believe that he and the opposition could look upon the same set of facts, consult with the economic experts, and reason together toward agreeable solutions.

    We now know that each of Obama’s proposals was met by overwhelming and often hysterical opposition. In his new book, Arthur C. Brooks, the president of the American Enterprise Institute, both advocates for and offers anthropological evidence of the right’s embrace of totalistic rejection. The Battle is the most celebrated conservative book of the year, and probably the most feverishly promoted, Brooks having spun it off into at least half a dozen op-ed pieces, numerous lectures, some dozen interviews, and gobs of praise in the conservative press from the likes of Paul Ryan, David Brooks, and many others.

    The premise of The Battle is that America is fighting a “culture war,” but this culture war is not over social issues—it is over economic ones. A culture war, of course, is a zero-sum fight between two antithetical values in which compromise is impossible. That is how Brooks portrays the conflict between statism and free enterprise that has been unleashed by Obama’s radical attack on American values. “These competing visions,” warns Brooks, “are not reconcilable: We must choose.”

    It is a curious premise. After all, economics is very different from social issues precisely because it is rife with positive-sum outcomes (i.e., prosperity) and because it pertains to technical questions amenable to data and difference-splitting. What’s more, Democrats do not advocate communism and Republicans do not advocate anarchy. Both parties favor some mix of market and state. Even Paul Ryan, whose purist small-government vision has enthralled the conservative movement (and who forms a mutual admiration society with Brooks), advocates a federal government that consumes 19 percent of the economy. Democrats advocate a government that consumes, in the long run, around one-quarter of the economy. Is it really not possible to imagine a compromise between these two visions?

    It depends. If you conceive of Obama’s domestic agenda as Obama does, as an attempt to solve technical challenges such as rising carbon-dioxide emissions or a health care system that delivers mediocre outcomes at exorbitant cost, then the frenzied and unremitting Republican opposition is an expression of blind fanaticism and partisan calculation. But if you view the situation as a culture war, as Brooks does, then unremitting opposition is the only permissible response."

  5. #5
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Big Government or Free Enterprise - choose one! Do you want Government telling what to do and how to do it, or do you want "freedom" to choose your own path? When does it stop? When will the government "demand" that you do something, or get penalized? Oops,sorry, that already happened.

    Hey Lloyd, you make too much. You need to pay more.

    Fairness for all!!

  6. #6
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    This is where SiriuslyWrong gets his economic knowledge from. lol.

    01-10-2012 04:52 PM #1

    How will Peter Schiff and the Austrian school of economics predictions do this year?
    Last year they did pretty badly. Wonder if SiriuslyWrong and Ron Paul will still praise and
    defend him?

    Well, let’s go back in time and see how good his prediction was for 2011:

    US dollar demise: Schiff does not see much safety in the US dollar. Schiff says it is not just a dollar collapse, it is a bond collapse too; "avoid any kind of long term bonds, avoid treasuries, and avoid municipal bonds."
    The year is not over yet, there is still one more trading day so this can change, but in 2011 the US dollar is up 1.85%, basically flat. No collapse in the dollar like what Schiff predicted.

    The 3-year Treasury bond fund (SHY) is up 0.56% (basically flat), 10-year Treasury bond fund (IEF) is up 12%, and the 20-year Treasury bond fund (TLT) is up 28%. No collapse in treasuries like what Schiff predicted.

    I looked up three municipal bond ETFs (PZA, MUNI, MUB) and they are up 8%, 5%, and 10%. No collapse in municipal bonds like what Schiff predicted.

    I looked up one long term bond ETFs (BLV) and it is up 16%. No collapse in long term bonds like what Schiff predicted.

    Indeed, every bond fund I checked was up big this year (and everyone one I wasn’t invested in was up more than mine). Quite simply, what Schiff predicted would occur this year did not occur.

    Buy emerging markets and foreign currencies. Schiff is focusing on Asia where people work hard, are producing and have savings.
    The emerging market funds (VWO, EEM) were down 20% this year.

    For currencies:

    Japanese Yen: +4%
    Australian Dollar: –0.9%
    Swiss Franc: –1%
    Canadian Dollar: –2%
    Swedish Krona: –3.06%
    Euro: –3%
    Chinese Yuan: –1%
    Mexican Peso: –11%
    New Zealand Dollar: –10%
    Russian Ruble: –4%
    US Dollar: +1.85%

    How did the US dollar do against some other currencies directly?
    vs Singapore Dollar: +1.48%
    vs Hong Kong Dollar: –0.03%
    vs South African Rand: +25%

    Looks like the US dollar did very well this year and held its own against almost everyone, contrary to what Schiff said. Emerging markets also did poorly, contrary to what Schiff said.

    Buy precious metals and commodities. Stay with gold, stay with silver.
    Gold is up +9% this year, so he got this one right. However, silver is down –10% this year. Copper is down 42%, Aluminum is down 45% and platinum is down 25%. If you were lucky enough to buy a precious metal ETF, you could have made some money but not very much, maybe 3%.

    What about other commodities? The general commodities ETFs (GSG, MOO, DBA) are down 3%, 20% and 11%.

    The fact is that commodities did not do very well this year, contrary to Schiff’s advice.

    If you would have listened to Peter Schiff this year, you wouldn’t have done very well in the market. You would have underperformed it. Everything he recommended was either flat (currencies), down big (emerging markets) or straight up wrong (collapse in dollar, treasuries and bonds). He was right on gold but wrong on silver – and every other metal. That’s 1 out of 7.

    Now, you can argue (as Schiff does) that gold is a long term investment and long term, everything he is saying will turn out to be correct. Maybe. But for now, his prognostications are no more correct than anyone else’s.

    He did say, after all, that this was his outlook for 2011.

  7. #7
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Arthur Brooks on Free Enterprise.

  8. #8
    Havakasha is offline
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    Peter Schiff on economics. LMFAO.

    "The Dow will go to 1,400 or gold will rise to $12,000 in the next 2 years. "

    Just one of his crackpot predictions. Mr. SiriuslyWrong holds him in high esteem. Its all you need to know.

  9. #9
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiriuslyLong View Post
    A really good interview for all to watch. Hava - get a freakin accountant - kasha seems preoccupied with Peter Schiff, yet he never read the book I sent him. Thought it was "beneath" him I suppose. Truth be told, he didn't read it because it had views contrary to his; hence it was unreadable.

    Does the term close minded ideologue come to mind?

  10. #10
    Havakasha is offline
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    I am only preoccupied with Peter Schiff except as it demonstrates the level of ignorance you bring to a discussion of economics.

    I didnt read the WHOLE book by Peter Schiff because it was such juvenile economics and
    so badly written.
    I have no problem reading Milton Friedman who I disagree with. I took economics classes
    in College that covered Keynes as well as Friedman etc. Good try.

    You're difficutly in owning up to Just how wrong Mr. Schiff has been in his predictions tells me everything I need to know about your character. Sorry.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 01-23-2012 at 03:02 PM.

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