Author Topic: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going  (Read 4994 times)

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Offline peternap

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I get bombarded with Mainstream cheerleaders every day. The Obamaites are trying to paint the economy as healed and our future rosy....but our world is a lot different and looking at what's really happening in other places makes me wonder.

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    Thirteen years after abandoning rural Greece for a career in graphic design, Spiridoula Lakka finds herself in the last place she expected to end up -- watering a patch of lettuce and herbs in her sleepy village.

    As Greece sank into its worst economic crisis since World War Two, Lakka had already given up her dream of becoming a web designer. Even waitressing seemed impossible. She faced a simple choice: be stranded without money in Athens, or return to the geriatric village where she grew up plotting to escape.

    At age 32, Lakka, an office clerk who also juggled odd jobs, joined a growing number of Greeks returning to the countryside in the hope of living off the land. It's a reversal of the journey their parents and grandparents made in the 1960s and '70s.

    Data is scarce on how many people have made the trek, but as people angered by austerity head to the polls on June 17, anecdotal evidence and interviews with officials suggest the trend is gaining momentum. In a survey of nearly 1,300 Greeks by Kapa Research in March, over 68 percent said they had considered moving to the countryside, with most citing cheaper and higher quality life. Most expected to move permanently.

    "A year ago, I couldn't imagine myself holding a garden hose, or doing any farming,» said Lakka, as she watered the herbs she grows in the village of Konitsa, which nestles among snow-capped peaks near the Albanian border.

    "I've always wanted to leave the village. I never imagined I would actually spend my whole life here."

    Her experience has been far from idyllic. The arrival of young, city-dwelling Greeks is being watched with a mix of pity and hope by those who never left.

    "Those who have returned are desperate. They aren't coming back because they wanted to,» said Stefanou Vaggelis, a 50-year-old distillery owner as he threw back tsipouro -- a strong spirit favored by locals - with friends in the village center dotted with tavernas.

    This summer, judging from the queries he has received from city-dwellers on vacation, Vaggelis predicts as many as 60 people will move to Konitsa, where over half of the population of about 3,000 is aged 60 or over.

    Read the rest at http://ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite6_1_08/06/2012_445966

These here is God's finest scupturings! And there ain't no laws for the brave ones! And there ain't no asylums for the crazy ones! And there ain't no churches, except for this right here!

Offline archimedes

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2012, 05:16:51 AM »
Anyone who tries to tell you that the US and Greece have anything in common is either ignorant or selling a political agenda.

It's like saying a pogo stick and an aircraft carrier are the same because they are both modes of transportation.  It's simply ridiculous,  and not worthy of a serious conversation.

That's not to say the the US doesn't have serious issues that need to be dealt with,  but the comparision between the US and Greece is just silly.
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Offline flyingvan

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2012, 09:18:05 AM »
  If you don't maintain either a pogo stick or an aircraft carrier, they will fail prematurely.  If you try to run an economy based more on government dependency than  productivity, it will fail prematurely---same dynamics, whether it's Greece or United States
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Offline archimedes

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2012, 11:20:16 AM »
It's a deliberately misleading anology designed to confuse and distract.  It sheds no light on the subject.
 
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Offline flyingvan

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2012, 04:08:36 PM »
I disagree.  I see the dynamics of people relying too heavily on their government that stays in power by making promises it can't keep both here and in Greece.  I think ignoring the lessons learned in Greece's financial collapse is unwise.  Maybe you can identify what protects us from the same fate, what we have that they don't----I can sure identify a lot of similarities.  Can you identify differences?  Now, there ARE false comparisons---like showing identical graphs matching murder rates with ice cream sales, for example and assuming buying ice cream leads to murder
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Offline MushCreek

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2012, 01:18:07 AM »
Americans will be in denial about the state of the union until its far too late. I'm sure the citizens of other great civilizations that fell (they all do eventually) were in denial as well.
Jay

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Offline archimedes

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 02:16:26 PM »
Can you identify differences? 

1.  We have our own currency
2.  We have a massive,  diverse,  first world,  21st century economy.   Greece grows olives.
3.  We have nowhere near the welfare state that Greece does,  and never will.
4.  We have an excellent tax collection system.  Even though Americans hate taxes,  we obey the law and pay  them.   In Greece,   the national pass time is tax evasion.
5.  U.S. worker productivity is the best in the world.     Greece well,  not so much.   ;D   

I could list dozens more,  but the differences are so massive it seems pointless.

The belief,  by some,  that the the U.S. is going to become Greece scratches a certain ideological itch.  If it makes you feel better,  fine with me.  But the facts don't support the belief.
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Offline flyingvan

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2012, 04:27:55 PM »
   I can take each of your examples, and turn them into warnings---I don't see any of these things as different from things here except in level of severity.  There is a tipping point, a point of no return---like a pyramid with workers at the bottom, managers in the middle, a few leaders at the top.  An economy that discourages entry level work and becomes too heavy in management and politicians eventually inverts the pyramid and it topples.  Our public sector is growing at a much faster pace than our private sector.  I agree, we're a way off from the Greek level of collapse, but steering away from what caused it is wise in my opinion.  (I feel just fine, by the way, and don't need any self delusions to alter my mood---just need a building project)

1) Our currency is traded all over, though it's no longer considered the world currency.  The Euro serves as a great precautionary tale against joining our currency with the rest of the Americas, as some talk about.  Now we can say "Look at Greece/Spain/Italy and the Euro"
2) Great point---I've always felt our celebrated diverse roots bring a diverse economy that can adapt quickly---when unencumbered by undue influence from special interests, and a large segment of the population that sees corporations as evil and capitalism as a bad thing, not understanding that wealth is created---not taken
3) Our welfare state has rapidly expanded.  The latest figures from a few months ago have 47 million Americans on foodstamps---four times the entire population of Greece!
4) Something's wrong with a tax system where the head of the IRS has to hire someone to do his taxes.  It's way too complicated, puts way too much burden on the ones that know how to produce, and even pays people to underproduce.  How prgressive is progressive enough?
5) If we continue to vilify corporate leaders, unionize high school level jobs to turn them into careers, and do all we can to regulate businesses to the point they move overseas, we will continue to degrade our productivity.  Visit Detroit.

   So, maybe I'm both ignorant and trying to push a political agenda.  I see identical market forces, just different scale, and hopefully different reactions to the challenges.  Have you compared Estonia's economy to Greece's?  They are booming---thanks to three years of austerity measures. 
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Offline OlJarhead

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2012, 04:41:56 AM »
We have FIAT currency.  All FIAT currencies fail at some point.

Just thought I would toss that out there....

Offline flyingvan

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2012, 04:53:11 AM »
True, but you could also say the same thing about government, society, nation, etc---they all fail eventually
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Offline Squirl

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2012, 05:25:23 AM »
3) Our welfare state has rapidly expanded.  The latest figures from a few months ago have 47 million Americans on foodstamps---four times the entire population of Greece!
 4) Something's wrong with a tax system where the head of the IRS has to hire someone to do his taxes.  It's way too complicated, puts way too much burden on the ones that know how to produce, and even pays people to underproduce.  How prgressive is progressive enough?
5) If we continue to vilify corporate leaders, unionize high school level jobs to turn them into careers, and do all we can to regulate businesses to the point they move overseas, we will continue to degrade our productivity.  Visit Detroit.


I edited out my original response on this.  Some of my numbers were wrong.   I was not carful and missed a zero in my math.  Yes the program increased in size by around 60 billion dollars over the past four years.  Over the same time real GDP grew by 200 billion dollars and it is still less than .44% of our overall GDP.  It doesn't compare to Greece.

The head of the IRS is a highly paid attorney that makes hundreds of thousands of dollars.  If he wasn't in the government he would be defending tax evaders for millions of dollars a year.  The position is mostly taken out of power and prestige.  I know and have worked with a few of the people on the nomination list.  The average staff accountant return preparer makes $45,000 a year.  It is a question of economics and efficiency not ability.  He (was to be a she, but she couldn't pass senate confirmations) probably pays someone to wash his car and clean his house too, not that he can't do it himself.

 ???  Union membership has been on a steady decline since the 1940s.  It is now less than 12% of U.S. workers and falling.  That is that complete opposite of Greece.  At 12% of our workforce and falling, again it is an ideological comparison, not an economic one.  The only place union membership has had an increase is in government employees.  A common chart used for this rise is:


So since 2000 union membership has grown for government employees by 1.5 million people.  Sounds like a lot until you realize that the entire U.S. workforce is over 150 million people and that is still less than 1% of our entire workforce.  I don't know the size of the U.S. workforce 10 years ago, but if it was less than 140 million people, then even it would have still dropped as an overall percentage of the American workforce.  Now if we can just break those police and fire unions, our country will turn around. [That last comment was tongue in cheek.]
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 06:34:29 AM by Squirl »

Offline archimedes

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2012, 10:17:02 AM »

  I don't see any of these things as different from things here except in level of severity.   

Didn't you just say the same thing I said in my OP in this thread but just rearranged the words?   That's my whole point,  the level of severity is so incongruous,  and the differences so large,   that the comparison is lame.  And whomever is trying to convince you of the contrary (on radio or TV)  is either ignorant and selling an agenda for commercial or political gain.

I was going to post a more lengthy reply but Squirl beat me to it.

Here are the actual statistics for the number of gov't workers;
http://www.opm.gov/feddata/HistoricalTables/TotalGovernmentSince1962.asp

You can see that there are fewer gov't employees now than during both of Reagans terms in office.   And that is an absolute number.  Factor in the growth of population since the 1980's and as a percentage of total employment the number is even smaller.   And that doesn't even factor in the huge reduction in state and local gov't workers of late.
The gov't workforce is smaller now than at almost any time in the last fifty years.

Estonia?  Really?  If you're gonna play the Estonia card I guess I gotta raise the white flag.   rofl

Why put on the idealogical blinders and focus like a laser beam on Estonia?  Maybe because you don't want to look at what those same policies have done to say Ireland,............  or the UK,................   or Portugal,....................or Spain,..............  or Italy,.......................or France, ......................or even Greece for that matter.


"Our public sector is growing at a much faster pace than our private sector. "
This is simply not true.


"If we continue to vilify corporate leaders"
Holding people accountable for bad behaviour is not villifying them.



"Visit Detroit"
I hardly think that the current turn around of American car companies with the cooperation of the unions bolsters your argument in any way.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but you can't just make up statistics out of thin air to support your opinion.


Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough,  and I will move the world.

Offline OlJarhead

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2012, 02:03:24 PM »
True, but you could also say the same thing about government, society, nation, etc---they all fail eventually

Yes however governments lasts much much loner then FIAT currencies.  I beleive the average for FIAT money is about 40 years....... and when they fail it's the little guy that pays.

Offline flyingvan

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2012, 02:48:16 PM »
Which is why my investments revolve around real estate and gold.  Real estate does go up and down, but it's the only investment you can live in
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Offline UK4X4

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Re: Whenever I read these things I wonder if this is where we're going
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2012, 03:09:05 PM »
How's about this as a worldly view

Half the countries in the Euro have fought each other since we worked out out how to cross rivers and oceans

each country has its own agenda - needs and requirements- WW2 was not that long ago !

The euro is doomed to failure

EU each country pays tax's in then has to fight to get back that money- err why pay it in in the first place- the UK for example has a way better future than the sited estonia- and its ex russian mates- who only joined to get money out- not give.

The UK government is living in cuckoo land allowing our new neighbors to arrive in droves with basicly no controls- as the rules are part of the EU along side the regulations on banana curvature

the UK having the softest stupidist social services on the planet means all the crap walks across europe to arrive in the UK to claim benifits.

Either the UK has to close its borders- kick out all the freeloaders or sink back into medeivel times- the working brit can't afford to support the hoards of imigrants.

There is a mosque on my old high street- polish and romanian beggers on street corners and sleeping in shop fronts

hell last week a family of 10 in london was given a 2 million GBP house to live in....paid by Mr average joe blogs out of his pay packet

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2155726/Somali-family-benefits-handed-keys--2million-luxury-council-home-Londons-affluent-streets.html

How does this affect the US - well at least your border controls are in place accept for a few 2 legged coyotes

Work ethic - not bad

leaving outside your means is an American issue being closely followed by other countries- the monthly payment for just about everything used to be rare in the UK - but this has and is changing with more and more people in debt roughly 20kusd per family plus the mortgage

A bit like the governments...each one holding a huge deficit of IOU's and no existant funds to cover it.

The world has not improved since the last dip- I can see another one on the horizon - relatively soon

Detroit- was mentioned in an earlier post- a city that seems to have rotted from the inside out- I guess they moved back to the suburbs....comuterville or left completely.

There is still work arround in the US- not as much as before as companies are being carefull in re-hiring trying to keep the companies fluid and positive earning.

Probably waffling on now so that enough- me I don't intend to return to the UK unless I can be Prime minister and change whats happening....a bit like DDay only with a one way ticket !@



 

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