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The U.S. is Falling Apart

Discussion in 'Politics and Current Affairs' started by hakr100, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. hakr100

    hakr100 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/opinion/09krugman.html?_r=1&th&emc=th August 8, 2010 America Goes Dark By PAUL KRUGMAN The lights are going out all over America - literally. Colorado Springs has made headlines with its desperate attempt to save money by turning off a third of its streetlights, but similar things are either happening or being contemplated across the nation, from Philadelphia to Fresno.

    Meanwhile, a country that once amazed the world with its visionary investments in transportation, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, is now in the process of unpaving itself: in a number of states, local governments are breaking up roads they can no longer afford to maintain, and returning them to gravel. And a nation that once prized education - that was among the first to provide basic schooling to all its children - is now cutting back. Teachers are being laid off; programs are being canceled; in Hawaii, the school year itself is being drastically shortened. And all signs point to even more cuts ahead. We're told that we have no choice, that basic government functions - essential services that have been provided for generations - are no longer affordable.

    And it's true that state and local governments, hit hard by the recession, are cash-strapped. But they wouldn't be quite as cash-strapped if their politicians were willing to consider at least some tax increases. And the federal government, which can sell inflation-protected long-term bonds at an interest rate of only 1.04 percent, isn't cash-strapped at all.

    It could and should be offering aid to local governments, to protect the future of our infrastructure and our children. But Washington is providing only a trickle of help, and even that grudgingly. We must place priority on reducing the deficit, say Republicans and "centrist" Democrats. And then, virtually in the next breath, they declare that we must preserve tax cuts for the very affluent, at a budget cost of $700 billion over the next decade.

    In effect, a large part of our political class is showing its priorities: given the choice between asking the richest 2 percent or so of Americans to go back to paying the tax rates they paid during the Clinton-era boom, or allowing the nation's foundations to crumble - literally in the case of roads, figuratively in the case of education - they're choosing the latter. It's a disastrous choice in both the short run and the long run. In the short run, those state and local cutbacks are a major drag on the economy, perpetuating devastatingly high unemployment.

    It's crucial to keep state and local government in mind when you hear people ranting about runaway government spending under President Obama. Yes, the federal government is spending more, although not as much as you might think. But state and local governments are cutting back. And if you add them together, it turns out that the only big spending increases have been in safety-net programs like unemployment insurance, which have soared in cost thanks to the severity of the slump. That is, for all the talk of a failed stimulus, if you look at government spending as a whole you see hardly any stimulus at all. And with federal spending now trailing off, while big state and local cutbacks continue, we're going into reverse. But isn't keeping taxes for the affluent low also a form of stimulus? Not so you'd notice. When we save a schoolteacher's job, that unambiguously aids employment; when we give millionaires more money instead, there's a good chance that most of that money will just sit idle.

    And what about the economy's future? Everything we know about economic growth says that a well-educated population and high-quality infrastructure are crucial. Emerging nations are making huge efforts to upgrade their roads, their ports and their schools. Yet in America we're going backward. How did we get to this point? It's the logical consequence of three decades of antigovernment rhetoric, rhetoric that has convinced many voters that a dollar collected in taxes is always a dollar wasted, that the public sector can't do anything right.

    The antigovernment campaign has always been phrased in terms of opposition to waste and fraud - to checks sent to welfare queens driving Cadillacs, to vast armies of bureaucrats uselessly pushing paper around. But those were myths, of course; there was never remotely as much waste and fraud as the right claimed. And now that the campaign has reached fruition, we're seeing what was actually in the firing line: services that everyone except the very rich need, services that government must provide or nobody will, like lighted streets, drivable roads and decent schooling for the public as a whole. So the end result of the long campaign against government is that we've taken a disastrously wrong turn. America is now on the unlit, unpaved road to nowhere.

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  2. chrisinsocalif

    chrisinsocalif Well-Known Member

    It is in a decline at the moment but optimistic it will pick up again in a few years. It's not like America isn't making any money and has no chance of rebounding. People got careless and now we are paying for it. Apparently people forgot about the Depression and deregulated policies that prevented such disasters only to have it happen again. Hopefully to learn our lesson for this century or longer if possible.
  3. mpw

    mpw Android Expert


    Attached Files:

  4. copestag

    copestag Android Expert

    youre probably gonna want to provide links or indexes for graphs like that............ since for example according to the graph (without index) the population will grow in the US by less than 1 million people over the next 40 years and has increased by less than 1 million over the previous 60 years......... the graph is in Millions.......

    its probably meant to be Billions..... but since its a UN graph Im not surprised... they either dont know the difference between a billion and a million.......... or they just dont know a billion has 10 digits as opposed to 7''

    if the graph appears how they intended it to.......... then I have to agree with you..... it really is quite alarming....... that they think total global population is going to increase by less than 3 million over the next 40 years
  5. mpw

    mpw Android Expert

  6. Isthmus

    Isthmus Android Expert

    In all fairness, the way most americans have chosen to live during the past 60 odd years has largely been wasteful and unsustainable. A country where everyone has a few cars, lives in a large suburban house, and spends more than it makes eventually faces the reality of it's choices. I don't know that the US is falling apart. IMHO what is happening is more economic reality is forcing us to reevaluate our choices and make decisions that should have been made long ago. I strongly believe that in my lifetime and that of my children, you will see a re-urbanization of America and an expansion of infrastructure services in more compact and limited areas, while at the same time seeing a drop in rural and suburban populations as the costs of living that life style continue to increase.

    So long as the most crucial worldwide resources remain limited and demand for them continues to grow, at some point basic economics will force us to adopt new ways of doing things.
    Member243850 and ElasticNinja like this.
  7. Ynomrah

    Ynomrah Well-Known Member

    yea this is a basic summary of what could possibly happen. There is definitely room for more error in this country, but with the self realization that the U.S. now has over its own behavior only allows for the people that are going to be most effective for the due changes to rise up.
  8. alex51

    alex51 Well-Known Member

    Whats wrong with America can be summed up by saying 8 yr's of Bush and 1 1/2 Obama and 9 1/2 of the rest of those out of touch jackwagons in Washington DC who patronize the big $ self serving lobbyist who could care less about whats good for America.
    In the real world America is already bankrupt and has been for several yr's,why because because we the the citizen did not stand up against those who allowed our took our jobs overseas.The New World Order comes to mind,a hand full of rich & powerful who dictate the direction of the all our lives throughout most of the world.It's not even about greed anymore,it's beyond that and beyond what used to be good about our country and the other civilized parts of the world.All that and I used to be an optimist until reality set in.
  9. OutofDate1980

    OutofDate1980 Android Expert

    "Inequality: A Significant Hazard to Growth Sustainability
    The key result from the joint analysis is that income distribution survives as one of the most robust and important factors associated with growth duration. As Figure 3 demonstrates, a 10-percentile decrease in inequality—the sort of improvement that a number of countries have experienced during their spells—increases the expected length of a growth spell by 50 percent. Remarkably, inequality retains a similar statistical and economic significance in the joint analysis despite the inclusion of many more possible determinants. This suggests that inequality seems to matter in itself and is not just proxying for other factors. Inequality also preserves its significance more systematically across different samples and definitions of growth spells than the other variables. Inequality is thus a more robust predictor of growth duration than many variables widely understood to be central to growth."

    "The measure of inequality is the Gini coefficient, which varies from 0 (all households have the same income) to 100 (all income received by one household)."

    Per this IMF paper inequality is not the only factor which effects the durability of growth, but is a significant factor. It appears it is more important over time, say 20-30 years. Income equality need not be perfect, but a GINI coefficient of 46 and above appears to be the tipping point (Figure 2). In 2007 GINI index for the US=45.0
    (SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2011)
  10. mike114

    mike114 Well-Known Member

    The U.S. is falling apart due to Keynesians like Krugman. He is the problem, not the solution. It's great to see the austrian economic models start to finally gain some traction thanks to people like Tom Woods and Peter Schiff. I'll take the teachings of Ludwig von Mises, Murray N. Rothbard or Friedrich von Hayek over Paul Krugman everyday.

    For anyone interested, this is a great site that explains austrian economics:

    What is Austrian Economics - - Mises Institute
  11. keale18

    keale18 Member

    Which is

    The Ludwig von Mises Institute is an American libertarian think tank specializing in Austrian school economics and libertarian social philosophy. It was established in 1982 with the approval of Margit von Mises, the widow of the Austrian school economist Ludwig von Mises. It publishes several journals on political economy, economics, and philosophy, and has also published several books. The Institute offers fellowships to students of economics. It also gives awards to those who have made (in their opinion) exceptional contributions in the field of economics.
    The Institute is against statism, socialism, communism, left-liberalism, and pretty much anything else that deviates from libertarianism, which is hardly surprising, since their founders were libertarians. It publishes articles from a libertarian viewpoint, and supports the Austrian School. The Institute leans toward anarcho-capitalism and tends to view more soft-line libertarian think tanks like the Cato Institute with some disdain as compromising Beltway insiders.
    It has been accused of racism due to the head of the Institute writing some rather interesting things about black people (see the external links) In addition, it has a rather interesting interpretation of the American Civil War, viewing President Abraham Lincoln as the statist villain who sought to drastically expand the power of central government at the expense of state's rights rather than keep the Union intact, or (later) free the slaves. On that last, they feel that compensation for slave owners (as some had proposed back then) would have been better, preserving states' rights and averting war, though Murray Rothbard has quipped that it was more the slaves who deserved compensation than their owners, at least. Some also point to various banking conspiracy theories as causes of the conflict. Ironically Lincoln himself feared the rising power of banks and industrial capitalism (as Thomas Jefferson did) while conspiracy theories of his own assassination often name international bankers as susp

    Ludwig von Mises Institute - RationalWiki
    OutofDate1980 likes this.
  12. Frisco

    Frisco =Luceat Lux Vestra=

    All of the "isms" being talked about as solutions to issues here in the U.S. have something in common that makes me uneasy: an abandonment of the principles that the country was founded upon.

    And that is of course what's been happening here in both major political parties, as well.

    The isms, libertarianism, socialism etc would be seen by the Founding Fathers as rather strange ravings, I'm nearly certain. They wanted the people here to keep watch on things and then to move against any form of "solution" to social/economic issues that sought to make us all think alike, behave alike, worship alike and talk alike. It was about diversity and freedom, at its ideal core.

    When hording occurs on a mass scale (think billionaires, not millionaires, but billionaires, that's thousands of millions in the hands of one person), the masses at large gradually end up with very little of the resources of the country. That is what has happened in the United States on a scale that would have frightened the Founding Fathers deeply. They would likely have recommended revolution along the lines of the stipulations that have been used to break up monopolies; a very difficult proposition when the lawmakers are those doing the hording of resources.
    OutofDate1980 likes this.
  13. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Extreme Android User

    From Wikipedia - George III
    Although George's accession was at first welcomed by politicians of all parties,[27] the first years of George's reign were marked by political instability, largely generated as a result of disagreements over the Seven Years' War.[28] George was perceived as favouring Tory ministers, which led to his denunciation by the Whigs as an autocrat.[2] On George's accession, the Crown lands produced relatively little income; most revenue was generated through taxes and excise duties. George surrendered the Crown Estate to Parliamentary control in return for a Civil List annuity for the support of his household and the expenses of Civil Government.[29][30] are disputed by historians who say such claims "rest on nothing but falsehoods put out by disgruntled opposition".[31] Debts amounting to over
  14. OutofDate1980

    OutofDate1980 Android Expert

    Don't believe Keynesian has had a major influence in U.S. economic policy for the last thirty years or so, believe something called the Reagan Revolution occurred.
  15. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    If we elect a strong conservative president and if that president is able to get smart and sensible things through the Washington gauntlet and passed into law, things will improve. We have suffered problems in the past and we always persevere and improve.

    Many of the things our current president and congress wants to do and has done, are not constitutional. This should be of great concern to everyone. This needs to stop and hopefully, in a year or so, we will elect someone that does his job.

    Unfortunately, our leaders have forgotten that we are a country governed by the will of the people as well as the Constitution. Unfortunately, many people do not seem to remember that the politicians we elect can be replaced.

    The political animal knows he or she can BS and finesse us to vote for them and somehow, they forget their promises and it often becomes more of the sale old same old. When "We the people" decide to hold elected officials to their word and we promptly vote the bad ones out of office or recall them in some cases, they quickly learn because they want to keep their job.

    And lest we forget, when we end up with a liberal Supreme Court, many of our freedoms are in trouble. They cannot be fired, after all, so the damage is very real.
  16. OutofDate1980

    OutofDate1980 Android Expert

  17. Bob Maxey

    Bob Maxey Android Expert

    OK, so do you favor laws that say one car per family, homes limited to 2,000/sq.ft, no credit cards or charge accounts, and so forth?

    If not, then I am free to own several cars, a 22,500 square foot house and ten CC accounts. If that is something you believe to be wrong, then you must have a law to prevent it and any such law is un-American. See where I am going?
  18. Frisco

    Frisco =Luceat Lux Vestra=

    New laws are not the only way to change the system of waste/sloth/hording by corporate executives, etc.

    There is the matter of enforcing what is already in place.
  19. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande?

    Needs moar duct tape

    /had to, sorry
  20. Name ONE strong conservative president. They have never existed, never will exist.
  21. Sue7M3

    Sue7M3 Well-Known Member

    Theodore Roosevelt and Eisenhower were Republicans and pretty good presidents. I'm not a Republican myself but I don't think they all suck.
  22. Frisco

    Frisco =Luceat Lux Vestra=

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  23. OutofDate1980

    OutofDate1980 Android Expert

    The video instructions were a bit too fast for me, are there step-by-step instructions ?;)
    alostpacket likes this.
  24. chrlswltrs

    chrlswltrs Extreme Android User

    There are a couple of major problems that would solve a lot of issues:

    1. Rewarding criminals instead of punishing them. In america we are rewarding illegal immigrants with free housing, food, medical, and education. That is costing us billions to reward these criminals for breaking the law.

    2. Over regulation. The government (federal, state, and local) continue coming up with regulations that are preventing economic growth. The government needs to back off and let the economy correct itself.

    3. Another regulation issue that hurts the country and pisses me off personally - online poker. The US is knowing violating several international trade laws by not allowing citizens to play poker online. Because of this we are paying millions in fines every year to a few different countries and have been doing so for a few years now. So the government is basically choosing to pay millions in fines to other countries to limit our freedoms instead of regulating and taxing a site that could be based here in America.
  25. Thank you, but I disagree.

    Theodore Roosevelt was an example of the republican party? Then I need to change parties. His very first act as president was a 20,000 word speech asking congress to limit and destroy the rights of large corporations.

    In 1902, he interceded into a union strike, forcing the company to pay the union works more money for less hours worked.

    In 1906, he passed the meat inspection act and the pure food and drug act, which create the current FDA.

    He also started the first environmental movement, setting of the way for national parks and the dreaded EPA.

    He elected oliver holmes to the supreme court. Which is one of the more librial judges, and I qoute "we should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death." When would a republican say that?

    He also elected William Moody, that was, for all purposes, against strong state rights.

    As for Eisenhower, he more or less created modern social security and medicare. And google Military Industrial Complex.

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