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September 15, 2005

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kim

I suspect the mot juste would have been re-review. I'm betting FEMA has reviewed disaster plans for all major cities, and that those reviews are in Homeland Security files.
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boris

Ouch ! BONUS and Hillary in the same paragraph.

What were you thinking?

Syl

Some (well, Greta. But I'm sure others will chime in) are questioning what the hell we've been doing since 9/11 if the NO debacle was the result.

I look at it a little differently. Our preparing ourselves against current and future threats and disasters is---I've used this phrase before---a process, not an event.

And in any process, you are tested, and the results of the testing refine your actions.

Katrina was one of those tests. So, now we refine. And this time the locals will be even more involved.

Okay, on to the Hilary bit. (or Hillary, whoever). I hope you noticed Bush's plan includes private enterprise? tax breaks? the public and private sector working together?

Bush's approach to the recovery of the region is the opposite of what Hillary's would be. Hillary would raise taxes then send cash and work through government agencies.

Bush will give tax breaks to companies to go in and hire local people to do the work. Bush's is a free market approach that will be more efficient and end up costing taxpayers less and strengthen the economy at the same time.

Hillary's would just clean out your pockets. :)

TM

Oh, I would loathe Hillary's approach, but I am not exactly her base. As long as those who are can forgot Iraq, she is home free.

susan

After Gov. Blanco's indecisive, emotional and sobbing response to hurricane Katrina I highly doubt the general public will have much confidence in electing a female to such a demanding position as President. I Given Blanco's powerful position as Governor of a State (which basically operates like the President but on a smaller scale)her inept reaction to handling a crisis has reaffirmed the idea that no matter how much feminist rhetoric regarding women's strong leadership capabilities, the truth is that actions speak louder than words.

An image of an hysterical female Governor who so quickly faltered under this type of disaster does not bode well for a certain female Senator, particularily one who has never been tested by the demands leaders are required to meet.

I'm a women and I'm all for having a female President but she still has to prove to me she can lead and words are not enough to convince my vote. Hillary can talk 'the tough leadership talk' all she wants but her position as a Senator has given me no opportunity to see how she would react in a realtime situation. Hillary associating with Katrina will remind me of Blanco's indecisive and emotional weakness as a leader.

And since we are facing the threat of Islamo-fascist barbarism, I won't be voting a female simply on the basis of carefully crafted words and manipulated images. If Hillary really wants to be President she should run for Governor and prove to me she can actually lead.

The Kid

Regarding the use of the words “plan” and “planning,” I think there are some antics with semantics afoot in the WaPo and Houston Chronicle accounts. The New Orleans Emergency Response Plan (now offline – it was online yesterday) clearly calls on NORTA to “Position supervisors and dispatch evacuation buses. If warranted by scope of evacuation, implement additional service.” (See ANNEX I: HURRICANES, PART 2: EVACUATION, V. TASKS ). So the written plan, on file at the state and FEMA, had an evacuation requirement for those needing transportation, and state and federal folks apparently read it and had the screwy notion that the city would implement it. For example, shortly before Katrina hit, Blanco sent President Bush a request asking for shelter and provisions, but didn't specifically ask for help with evacuations. One aide to the governor told ABC News that Blanco thought city officials were taking care of the evacuation.

Those on the scene in the Big Easy, however, could clearly see that that no plan or procedure or process or banana was being implemented, followed, or hinted at on the Friday, Saturday, or Sunday before the storm. So while a plan had been articulated, promulgated, and accepted at higher levels, city officials were apparently oblivious to its features.

What Bush is requiring is that future reviews require a further level of detail in the plan. There will have to be procedures for identifying and mustering drivers, provisions for backup drivers, etc. The plans will likely have to include “sample” requests for federal assistance. Perhaps FEMA or its successor will have to grade designated personnel within 90 days after a local or gubernatorial election to make sure they frigging understand the emergency stuff they are responsible for. There may be changes in law to enable military support to evacuations and to limit local and state officials’ liability for calls for premature evacuation.

I wonder if we’ll have to extend to government the baseball rule of no crying?

This was a hurricane, for which there was warning. What are we going to do for the next earthquake?

Aaron

Iraq will be done by 2008. It will still have the occasional bombing, but no more than say Colombia.

Hillary will be able to use her vote on Iraq to attract moderates and still get the base behind her.

Wyo

Yeah, that's right. Way to keep perspective. If I hear something rattling my windows at night I am going to get up to go check to make sure the doors to my house are indeed locked even though I know I checked them before turning in. I don't expect a complete dressing down from my wife on returning to the bedroom for the futility of my actions or accusations of incompetence at doing it earlier. Chances are she will be relieved by my initiative and response.

Aaron

I like the ideas in The Kid's post.

Say, a 50 page booklet for each governor and staff, then a multiple choice test and finally a few basic check-list forms:

Do you need?

a. money?
b. troops?
c. to be replaced?

LOL. But seriously, a simple procedure book like ISo requires including sample forms etc. is a good idea. AND THEN FRIGGIN' TEST THE OFFICIALS AND PUBLISH THE RESULTS.

Yeah, I know, Bush might fail too.

The Kid

Let me clarify my last sentence, “This was a hurricane, for which there was warning. What are we going to do for the next earthquake?” What we’ll do is watch the first-responders and proactive citizens heroically rescue those in immediate danger as state and federal resources move in to support the stricken, restore order, and stabilize the situation.

But Susan brings up an interesting point: will we look more carefully at the qualifications and evidence of leadership of those running for political office? The fact that the US Senate has for over forty years been a poor springboard for the presidency may become even more relevant. We tend to elect governors, folks who’ve proven their mettle, have made tough decisions. I think that for any executive position folks may be a little more insistent on a track record of leadership under stress or an awareness of what the executive role may entail.
Nagin may be a reasonable guy, but he had no one who looked after continuity of government – he and his crew headed to the Hyatt with ancient satellite phones that couldn’t keep a charge. With all the homeland defense money available, how could that happen? Easy, folks were more interested in other goodies that such dollars could buy that they forgot the basics. The NO command center and police communications were not sustainable. It appears that they focused on a long-term capability without assuring that they had a short-term, survivable system.

Were I running for office, I’d whack my opponent on these and other issues. Hilary is weak in this regard, as is any senator who has not been in an executive position.


Les Nessman

Nagin feared the liability of Premature Evacuation. heh.

Steven J.

BUSH FORGOT 9-11

The Kid

Aaron has hit the nail square on the head! What’s missing from the plans are the ISO 9000 procedures that specify the details plan stakeholders are charged with implementing! This is really important. It takes important, relevant, and proven commercial practices to government at all levels. It would require the government folks at whatever level to think through all of the detail and give the tests that FEMA already allegedly conducts more meat.

F’rinstance, a problem with the school buses is that most school bus drivers are females -- moms -- who likely would regard their home duties more important, and I agree. Thus provisions for backup drivers -- getting them some training and licenses, perhaps with a new class such as “for evacuation purposes only” -- could be developed and tested, along with the proficiency of a randomly selected group of backup drivers.

The same applies to a lesser extent to the regional transportation authority buses.

And who has the keys? ISO 9000!!!

Thanks, Aaron!

millco88

I would agree that Blanco's performance has hurt Hillary with a group she needs to attract -- men. There's already a gender gap so the math probably means Hillary needs to really run up the margin with women. Which is harder to get -- the next 5% of a group you already have 55% of or 5% of a group you have 45% or less of??

Etienne

Can someone explain to me where the $200 billion is coming from?

kim

It's a windfall. Be grateful.
===============================

Etienne

A windfall? Sorry, kim, I don't believe in fairies.

Hopefully, there is at least one non-condescending fiscal realist on this board who can explain how this is not as devastating as it sounds. Translation: not kim.

Cecil Turner

"Nagin feared the liability of Premature Evacuation."

There's the rub. The plan calls for a Precautionary Evacuation Notice at 72 hours (or less), and a General Evacuation Notice at 48 hours. Mayor Nagin called the "mandatory evacuation" at ~20 hours. Considering the Weather Channel's Jim Cantore gave the "hunker down" time as 8 pm (10 hours before landfall), Nagin's late call squandered ~80% of the useful time available, and his best opportunity to evacuate citizens who didn't have their own transportation.

That failure (to begin the evacuation in a timely fashion) made the bus plan unworkable, and led to almost all the later issues. Brendan Loy's post-mortem was spot on:

Thus, if an evacuation was not appropriate then, then it follows that an evacuation must never be appropriate at 48 hours. And that can’t be, because really, 48 hours is already too late; studies have long shown that it would take 72 hours to completely empty the city of New Orleans.

kim

Woke up without your sense of humour? This will be a windfall of federally collected taxes. No private or publically owned entity can underwrite reconstruction. It would be dereliction of duty by the boards of directors.
==============================================

Etienne

You're saying this Congress will raise taxes?

That's almost harder to believe than the fairies thing.

kim

Taxes or debt, ultimately taxes. Yes, it's inevitable.

62 billion dollars already approved.
==========================================

kim

Has a splash of fiscal reality shrunk your personaperspective?
===========================

Etienne

I'm sure you're absolutely wrong, kim, but I'll stock up on the popcorn just in case. You're telling me we're going to turn this herd of thundering taxcutters around just because poor people in New Orleans lost their homes? Sounds like just the thing to tear the Republican party to shreds.

kim

This was a devastating natural hit to the gulf coast and to the nation's pocketbook. We either pick up the pieces and pay for rebuilding, or we don't. Nothing but public money will finance it and there isn't enough of it locally, hence, national, taxpayer, underwriting.

And all your crabbing about it won't change it.
==============================================

kim

C'mon, you got an opportunity to build an urban paradise with others' money. Why aren't you enthralled?
===========================================

boris

Why aren't you enthralled?

Obviously because the wrong group (W) will get credit.

I'm not so sure it's all going to be payout. Understanding of economics is often counter intuitive. The reconstruction will convert a lot of stored capital into productivity to recover the wealth destroyed. Once the wealth is restored some of the productivity will redirect and strengthen the overall economy. The wellness of the economy is more important to government revenues than tax rates and that's what Reagan and JFK understood better than the current crop of Social Democrats.

Crew v1.0

Hillary "was wrong" with her vote on Iraq?

I was under the impression that she voted to authorize force to confront Saddam, and subsequently voted FOR the $87billion. Thus, she was right on her votes on Iraq. Unless you are channelling, for rhetorical purposes, los pensamientos de los ninos Koz, in which case (from their perspective) she was wrong, wrong wrong, and illegal, illegal, illegal, and immoral, immoral, immoral, and Bush lied and she was fooled/complicit/sleeping/selling out/triangulating/fill in the blank. (If I am wrong on her two votes here, someone will straighten me out mach schnell.)

Props to Hillary, at least on the votes. It would have been fun to see her on the same stage with Kerry, Edwards, Dean and that really short guy with the not-so-timely Department of Peace proposal, I forget his name.

Harry Arthur

Taxes will not go up. The $200 billion will be financed. Boris has got it. I submit there will be a net positive return on the investment in the long run.

Et, the difference here is not between conservatives spending money on poor folks - I believe Bush calls this compassionate conservatism - but between a relief effort all of us knew had to happen and your stereotyped view of conservativism. We love a challenge and this is a major challenge. This will not tear the republican party apart if the money is spent well and it actually helps people. We're a bit more generous than you give us credit for.

We should now get to see how conservatives do a "war on poverty". Did you notice how Bush changed the subject a bit to include going after poverty, not just "fixing things"? As a nation we've had a graphic glimpse at the "underclass" poor and it wasn't a pretty sight. It may very well be that this disaster has a silver lining in that respect. And this is not about votes - Bush isn't running for a third term as far as I know.

This will be a test of whether conservative principles such as the involvement of the private sector, enterprise zones (Jack Kemp's idea as I recall), home ownership vs public housing, and the like actually work. It's an opportunity for us to put up or shut up.

We've been critical of the liberal principles that we thought we saw in LBJ's war on poverty - $6 trillion dollars spent and the poverty rate is for all practical purposes unchanged. Now let's see what the government in partnership with the private sector can do.

Etienne

I'm neither enthralled nor un-enthralled. At this point, I'm merely bemused. Bush giving this speech in front of the Magic Kingdom last night only added to the surreality of it all.

If I heard him right last night, it sounded like he's channeling LBJ via FDR. Words don't mean diddly, so that's neither here not there. But I am curious about the conservative response. So far, the silence has been deafening...are they all gobsmacked with the realization their entire agenda just got yanked out from under them?

If Bush really does preside over the huge tax increase needed to reconstruct the Gulf in a fiscally responsible manner, I can't see how this doesn't turn the tax free, starved beast Norquidian vision completely onto its ass. On the other hand, if he's just fronting on the whole thing (which the no bid contracts and suspended Davis Bacon Act would certainly indicate), then his already frail public relations veneer is going to shatter into a trillion tiny knives.

Only thing I'm entralled about is the political theater. There's bizarre rumors that the overseer of this reconstruction has been named - and his name is Turdblossom. If that's true, then it means the bushies are still confusing political massage with competent policy...Not to mention the contortions that might result come indictment time.

I hope the Gulf Coast folks get something good out of all this (so far) rhetorical PR - and if this admin demonstrates the competence to actually perform the miracles they've now promised, I may even become a convert. In the meantime, it's popcorn all around.

susan

I was delighted to hear Bush reinforce numerous times the ideals of entrepreneurship and home ownership combined with incentive economics rather than handout economics to transform the Gulf states from a welfare state into an private ownership state.

I'd rather spend $200 billion all at once transforming the economy than to continue spending 100's of millions per year over the next 60 years subsidizing a slave plantation welfare state which has produce nothing but misery, poverty and ignorance.

It is a bold answer to decades of slave plantation decay.

And, on a personal level the people from LA and NO experienced the failures of their governmental slave owners, I dare say the people will want to let that happen again.

The Unbeliever

Crew, I think TM meant that to Hillary's base, i.e. the rabidly anti-war/anti-Bush crowd, her vote on Iraq was wrong. If Hillary wanted to keep the die-hard libs on her side, that vote could seriously hurt her; but if Hillary can steer the political conversation in 2008 away from the war and onto another major issue, she may get those die-hards to forget about her Iraq vote just long enough to vote for Hillary.

Etienne

What are those inventive economics? Seriously, is that anything other than a phrase? Is there tangible proof somewhere that a city can be built from the ground up, to the supposed benefit of the working class and poor, using conservative economic techniques? It's strange how conservatives seem to have become more and more think tank elitists who cook up utopias on paper, and promote them, without a shred of real world pragmatic evidence of their efficacy.

Example: After four years of Bushonomics, the CBO states that outlays have increased (aside from the Iraq Debacle) and revenues decreased, to the tune of a net $179.5 billion increase in expenditures over revenue. In addition we have this asinine war of choice going on, which has already cost us $249.7 billion in approved spending. Our 2005 deficit before Katrina was projected at about $300 billion. We dump $200 billion on top of that, add in a little recession...and where the hell are we?

I wouldn't have a problem with this Republican utopianism about how "entrepreneurship" can overcome rebuilding a city on top of a Godzilla sized deficit in a tax free Never Never Land...if only they could point to some kind of substantive proof of its effectiveness.

Or if we had a leadership that had demonstrated competence in carrying out their own stated policy goals in even one arena. The last time we all bought into conservative utopianism we ended up "spreading democracy" in Iraq. All that idealism didn't seem to stop us from handing $9 billion off the back of trucks in paper bags, didn't stop the graft, corruption, waste, mismanagement, etc....Of course now we're home in the USA, not in a country where none of our people even speak the language. So maybe it will be different. Considering Mississippi ranks FIRST in the country for political corruption and Louisiana ranks third, I'm thinking we're in for one hell of a hell of a hell of a ride.

Syl

Snow was on tv this morning. We can do this without raising taxes. The deficit WILL go up for a couple of years. He said the absolute worst thing to do now is to raise taxes.

Etienne, I think it's disingenuous for you to say "Our 2005 deficit before Katrina was projected at about $300 billion" but omit that in 2004 the projected deficit was over $400 billion.

Just a minor detail, eh? The deficit was reduced and your taxes weren't raised a penney to do so.

Anyway, Etienne, enjoy your pessimism. It's about all you've got.

The Kid

Bravo!


Syl

Etienne

"The last time we all bought into conservative utopianism we ended up "spreading democracy" in Iraq."

Even scare quotes!

Since when did you become a Buchanan fan?

Etienne

I'm not pessimistic, Syl. I live in the real world. I'm working class. My taxes don't go up either way. My disposable income on the other hand...well, that's been shot entirely to hell the past four years. I'm nothing but an American citizen observing a political circus.

Like I said, you guys have your chance to show doubters like me. Rebuild the Gulf AND create a democracy domino in Iraq AND grow the US economy AND help the poor escape their vicious cycle. All these utopias will be moving past the think tank stage...um, aaaaaaaaaaany day now.

Buchanan? I remember hating him growing up, but it's funny how the old Mick has grown on me recently.

Steven J.

HARRY - I submit there will be a net positive return on the investment in the long run.

Probably not. Bush put Rove in charge of reconstruction. Can you say "all politics, no policy"?


Etienne

Well, Steven, that would explain the Magic Kingdom setting and the shirtsleeves...

Good quote from David Broder's column the other day:
The warning signs of impending economic calamity are every bit as evident as the forecasts of ruin for New Orleans when a major hurricane hit.

Pardon me for wishing we had something other than unproven crackpot theories holding up our levees.

Frank IBC

I live in the real world. I'm working class.

WTF is that supposed to mean?

Etienne

Two seperate ideas in the same paragraph, Frank. They're called "sentences".

boris

Or "incoherent"

susan

Actually Etienne I said 'incentive' which basically means that people generally are motivated by fulfilling their own personal desires over the desires of the 'greater good.' Individuals are far better at determining their own wants and needs rather than having someone else determine these desires, wants and needs for them.

The problem I have with the concept of fulfilling 'greater good' governmental handout economics (ie Socialism) is that people who are in the positions of power like hillary clinton believe themselves to be the supreme determiner of what each individual will need implying that the individual has no control over their lives or their destiny or their own desires, wants and needs.

When personal desire is strip away all for the purposes of fulfilling the greater good people lose their own personal 'incentive' to care about themselves.

When the 'greater good' overtakes people's lives it overtakes people's dignity enslaving them to a life unfulfilled.

People generally have an innate incentive to lead a more fulfilled, prosperous, and productive life, they just need the 'opportunity' to act upon their individual incentives.

That said, Iraqi's are showing enormous individual incentive for building their country otherwise, they would have given up their quest for self-determination by not showing up at the voting polls on January 31.

Etienne

OK, I'll lay it out for you, sweethearts.

I'm not pessimistic, Syl; I live in the real world.

I'm working class; my taxes don't go up either way.

Does that help you boys? Geez, you're so addicted to insult, you don't even try to discuss the points at hand.

susan

Etienne
Perhaps your disposable income is shot to hell because you live in an expensive city ruled by 'greater good' economic handout policies supported by high taxation and heavy governmental regulation causing everyone to increase prices so that the 'greater good' can be satisified. Of course the greater good can never be satisified since individuals have different needs, wants and desires.

For example, all for the health of the 'greater good' nannyist Bloomberg wants to have all the resturants in NYC change out their fry machines to healthier fry machines. The cost of such request will be passed on to you the consumer, and not the 'greater good.' Individuals are not going to change their eating habits because the Mayor enforces a law upon resturants to change their friers, they will only change their eating habits if they have the incentive to lead a healthier life. This is only one example out of thousands as to the reasons why your disposable income is shot to hell in NYC.

The Federal government does not control NYC economic policies, NYC government controls NYC economic polices. If you have a beef with your disposible income being shot to hell look no further than Nannyist economic polices which are robbing you of your disposible income.

Etienne


You really can't explain everything with your "bad librul" bugaboos, Syn. Think outside the box. In fact, real income for working and middle class people has stagnated since Bush was elected and last year declined. These are facts. Your librul stereotypes are so old, they're yellow. We're not talking about big government handouts anymore. We're looking for the two things Repubs just can't provide - Efficiency and Competence.

I'm still waiting for an example of the "innovative economics" that are going to solve this puzzle we've got here.

Frank IBC

Again, Etienne, WTF do you mean by "working class"?

And why does that give you an excessive superfluity of (unearned) self-esteem?

Harry Arthur

Seriously, is that anything other than a phrase? Is there tangible proof somewhere that a city can be built from the ground up, to the supposed benefit of the working class and poor, using conservative economic techniques? It's strange how conservatives seem to have become more and more think tank elitists who cook up utopias on paper, and promote them, without a shred of real world pragmatic evidence of their efficacy.

Seems to me a new approach, no matter how untried, is preferable to replaying the last 40 years and roughly $6 trillion spent to end poverty as we know it while the poverty rate has remained essentially unchanged. I would argue that more of the same would be the more questionable course of action. As I said, it's now time for conservatives to put up or shut up.

I would also agree with susan's assessment that disposable income is largely a function of local policies, given that the federal tax rate for every level of income has decreased over the last four years.

Etienne

I'm all for new approaches, Harry, but I've yet to hear one single realistic, practical one geared towards helping the actual working person. Lots of ways for the investor class to make killings, though. Zilch for the average person.

If my federal taxes have dropped, I haven't noticed. It probably amounts to maybe 5 cents a week for me. My state and local taxes have also been very stable. Meanwhile prices for everything from milk to GASOLINE(!!!!!!!!) have gone up. I don't eat in restaurants or take vacations or buy clothes that haven't been "lightly used", so none of Syn's examples effect me at all. Just as none of Bush's economic policies have helped working or middle class Americans across the country. (My family in CT and OH feel like they are falling backward even faster than I am.)This whole "taxcuts for all" thing is an irrelevant triviality to the average American.

As I've said, real wages for working Americans have decreased across the board. Respond to that, someone, please.

TexasToast

Our president has promised to break the piggybank open - so to speak. We are talking about spending more than the entire war in Iraq and afganistan.

.... and by not raising taxes, we are making our children pay for it. I wonder when Standard and Poors will reclassify T-Bills as "junk".

Frank IBC

Etienne -

Would you please drop this "working Americans" bulls**t?

It's really getting tiresome.

Frank IBC

Etienne -

Would you please drop this "working Americans" bulls**t?

It's really getting tiresome.

Frank IBC

TexasToast -

There's plenty that can be cut:
-Agricultural subsidies
-Federal support for public broadcasting
-Congressional travel and staff allowances
-That highway bill

Etienne

Hey, Frank, who died and made you king? I'll say whatever I f**king like.

Frank IBC

I've yet to hear one single realistic, practical one geared towards helping the actual working person.

Looking for a helping hand? Look at the end of your arm.

Frank IBC

Etienne -

So how do you define "working Americans"? I find it incredibly offensive that you suggest only the "lower classes" actually "work".

Syl

Etienne

Stuff it with the 'poor me' already.

I only have one pair of shoes and no disposable income. Only enough to purchase a 3D model for my artwork at 1.99 once-in-a-while.

I'm happy. I like conservatives and they're teaching me new stuff every day. My mind is open to it.

But this 'poor me and it's all conservatives fault' crap is just boring.

TexasToast

">http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9314188/#050916"> Brian Williams . The motorcade route through the district was partially lit no more than 30 minutes before POTUS drove through. And yet last night, no more than an hour after the President departed, the lights went out. The entire area was plunged into total darkness again, to audible groans. It's enough to make some of the folks here who witnessed it... jump to certain conclusions.

Kinna like those firemen behind him the last time. Gotta remember that Rove is in charge.

Syl

TT

"and by not raising taxes, we are making our children pay for it."

After the initial capital investment, federal receipts will increase.

Besides, our children can just pass it off to their children.

Syl

Ad hominem alert! Ad hominem alert!

Brian Williams is a bush hating jerk.

Etienne

Syl, your "bad librul" bias is really poisoning your reactions. I'm not saying "poor me". I'm proud to be part of a blue collar family. I don't have materialistic cravings and seem to be incredibly fortunate not to have raised materialistic kids. I got no complaints, sister, not for myself -which you seem to think is the only factor that could possibly motivate anyone.

I'm predisposed to despise institutionalized inequities. Beyond that, it really bugs me that I have to discourage my kids from traveling abroad, aside from visiting our own family, because I am terrified of how they will be treated in a world that increasingly despises the country I love. My biggest nightmare right now is that one of my sons will follow through on his plans to join the Peace Corps. I can't stand what this "government" has done to my country. My politics started when I watched these creeps politicize 9/11, and it has grown from there.

Tex, I saw that Brian Williams comment. How predictable - and an all too likely omen for exactly how Turdblossom intends to orchestrate this "reconstruction".

Frank IBC

I don't have materialistic cravings

Oh yes you do. You just think that "material" should come from government largesse rather than personal effort.

a I am terrified of how they will be treated in a world that increasingly despises the country I love.

France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Iran and al-Qa'idah is NOT "The World". Americans are safe outside of Fallujah.

Please get over yourself.

the country I love.

More BS.

Frank IBC

Also, if you were truly "non-materialistic", you would not have the extreme, intense resentment toward those whom you perceive as having more than you do.

Etienne

I thought boris was the only freeper on this site. Frank, I don't need assholes like you telling me how the rest of the world sees us. Even in Ireland, they hold us in disdain now, a sea change from only five years ago. When was the last time you put your pasty ass where your fat mouth is and travelled outside your little cocoon?

You've never responded once to one point anyone has made on this board. If you only want to insult libruls, why don't you just stay on Free Republic and join in on the circle?

boris

I thought boris was the only freeper

Since I'm not a freeper (not that there's anything wrong with that) we can all take measure of your thought process.

(Baffled again?) Not that I'm suprised BTW.

Frank IBC

You've never responded once to one point anyone has made on this board. If you only want to insult libruls, why don't you just stay on Free Republic and join in on the circle?

"Never"? To "anyone"? Please, please get over yourself.

I'm not insulting you, I'm just pointing out that your supposed arguments are lacking in "a point" and are nothing but a series of histrionic soundbites.

travelled outside your little cocoon?

Ah, yes... the tired old "Americans don't travel" meme. And I'll bet you think I'm monolingual, too. Anyway, how many live, breathing Irishmen did you actually talk to, on which you base your claim of "Ireland hates us too now"?

Etienne

Well, only my uncle, my other uncle, my uncle's wife, my other uncle's wife, my cousin, my other cousin, my other cousin, my other cousin, my uncle's neighbor, my uncle's other neighbor....um, do I need to continue?

They don't hate Americans yet, though they increasingly regard us as retarded, greedy, violent and dangerous...They reserve most of their disdain and disrespect for our dear leader.

Syl

Etienne

"They reserve most of their disdain and disrespect for our dear leader."

But I'm sure you set them straight!

Frank IBC

LOL, Syl!

they increasingly regard us as retarded, greedy, violent and dangerous...

Sounds like you're not setting a very good example for us, Et.

Paul Arthur

You know what's funny...I was just recently abroad on my honeymoon actually. A little place in the Caribbean where most of the travelers there were from Europe (which to many constitutes the rest of the world). Anyway, being the social butterflies my wife and I are we engaged many of these other visiters in conversation.

Guess what, not a one of them had something bad to say about the U.S.A.

So maybe the rest of the world doesn't hate us...

Paul Arthur

You know what though...I just fell for it...it really doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks about the U.S. (warning: strawman argument) if we're right then we're right and history will prove it.

Frank IBC

Paul -

Yes, even if you assume that Et's rant is true, it is little more than a classic "appeal to popularity".

susan

Etienne,

Anti-Americanism existed long before the Bush adminstration. I recall those years past living in various countries around the world accomodating an underlying attitude based on a warped pop-cultural influence that simply because I was American I therefore deserved their indignation. I was just a regular person of modest means given an opportunity to live in other countries yet I was assumed backward and uncultured, arrogant and stupid. During that time so that I would be liked I found myself doing everything I could not to be that image almost losing some of my core American identity I am now gaining back. (What can I say Hollywood over the past thirty years has done a fine job of representing real America. For a time, I even believed in much of it myself:)


Back to disposable income issue, instead of restaurants I'll use the price of milk as an example. I agree the price of milk has risen, but not because Bush is in the WH, but due to increasing business costs, regulations and taxations imposed when getting that milk to the store to buy. The cost of having that milk (or gas or whatever one chooses to buy)is the reason why one has less disposable income to spend choosing, as an example, say having cable tv. The less people spend on cable TV the less revenue the cable industry makes, then people lose jobs and stop paying taxes and the city can't collect tax revenue needed to pay for public transit, schools and health care etc.etc.etc.

Now we all know that milk is far more important than cable TV so it is important that supermarkets and small bodagas in neighborhoods all around the city are not bombarded with additional city taxation,fines and regulations which bogg down their capacity to deliver milk at a reasonable price. Even so, the less regulation, taxtion and fines on cable tv will allow more people to enjoying having cable tv.

This not a new idea just a different approach towards looking at a common problem. I'm being very simplistic with my example but I'm trying to show that lives become more prosperous when prosperity is individually spread around without too much influence over the process. Redistribution isn't useful since individuals have different needs to be met and these needs cannot be fulfilled by any pre-established criteria. Economies are not static, they flow acoording to need.

Harry Arthur

I've lived all over the world courtesy of the US Army and here's what I found. When I lived in Germany for four years in the early 80s the "evil empire" (USSR) still threatened Europe in general and West Germany in particular. It was amazingly consistent, the closer to the East German or Czech border you traveled the more they loved Americans, especially those willing to die for them if the soviet Army invaded.

The further from the border and the more urban, the less they loved Americans, in some cases didn't even like us at all. Could have been the helicopter noise we made practicing for war or the tanks driving through their towns, who knows. Or it could have been just an "urban thing."

Lived in South Korea a few times over the years also in the 70s and the 90s. Similar reality. They love you near the border but don't have a lot of time for you in the big cities further from the border. Of course the border there is in rural areas as they were in Germany so maybe people just tend to be less personable in large cities. Who knows?

Have traveled a lot since I've been with the airline industry and interestingly the reaction is mixed. However, I've never been anywhere that I've sensed much hostility and have generally been treated well. Just like here in the US, some people disagree with the war and some approve but I haven't seen the response personalized any where near what it is here at home.

Just my experience but I honestly haven't experienced the "everyone hates America" response. If they do hate us, it's not enough to neglect calling on us when they get in trouble.

kim

Look what progressives have become: Neo-isolationists.
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Steven J.

HARRY - Seems to me a new approach, no matter how untried, is preferable to replaying the last 40 years and roughly $6 trillion spent to end poverty as we know it while the poverty rate has remained essentially unchanged.

DO YOU EVER BOTHER TO CHECK THINGS OUT?????

POVERTY RATES
1959 22%
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/publications.html
1969 13.7
1979 12.4
1989 13.1
http://www.census.gov/hhes/poverty/census/cphl162.html
1999 12.4
http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/publications.html

kim

In 40 years, that's essentially unchanged.
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Etienne

Steve, I don't think those statistics make your point, unfortunately. I agree that welfare policies did nothing to abate poverty, but neither are the glorious conservative policies we've been enjoying more recently. Whatever is needed, no one seems to have discovered it yet. It's telling that not one conservative has proposed anything concrete to address the situation in New Orleans. There are only the vaguest of vagaries such as "innovative" , "entrepreneurial", etc...mumbo jumbo. The conservative movement seems to have had its head stuck in a think tank so long they really don't understand that their self serving theories need at least a glimmer of real world evidence to make them credible.

Now Bush has already said No New Taxes. It will all come from cuts in spending, which Delay says are impossible (he claims repubs have cut spending to the bone, all sane evidence to the contrary). Now Bush's tax cuts return about $330 billion to the richest 1% over the next five years. I know we're all supposed to sit here like obedient little children and wait for them to trickle a little of that largesse down into the real world...but I dunno, after reading Syn's explanation that "greater good" simply isn't a meaningful human motivation, I tend to think we're wasting our time on that. Hell, even cutting that Chauncey windfall in half would pay for the cleanup.

After 11 years of Republican "small government" leadership, and with five years of total one party Republican domination of federal government:
"There has never been a time where there is more total spending and more wasteful spending in Washington than we have today," said Pat Toomey, a former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania and the head of the conservative Club for Growth.

Who here thinks we aren't about to see an orgy of waste and looting - of the really important kind - down in New Orleans? Who thinks this government, which has demonstrated nothing so consistently as managerial incompetence - is going to keep a watchdog's eye on our tax money? And what kind of parents load their kids up with this kind of debt, teaching them not to worry, they can punish their own kids just as unjustly?

kim

Crab, crab, crab. And I don't trust you to build a paradise down there, either.
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kim

So are you agreeing with Pat Toomey, or not?
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Etienne

I'm agreeing with Pat Toomey. How could you not?

The reason the Republican party is so popular is that their entire philosophy can be summed up in one word that every toddler understands: MINE!

kim

Zounds.

I'm practicing up my one-word posts, TT.

Someone else has pointed out how hypocritical and obsessed you are about material possessions.
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boris

And the toddler equivalent of the Democrat party is GIMME !

kim

Well, Pat Toomey's use of 'total' is uncontroversial. 'Wasteful', is always a matter of opinion. Do you agree with 'wasteful' and if so, who do you think should define it? You, or elected representatives?
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kim

It's mine, not yours.
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kim

By the way, keep reading and agreeing with Pat Toomey. There are progressive ideas there about how to solve problems, cost effectively.

Sure you see corporate zombies everywhere, but cost-effectiveness is valuable when you are answerable to stakeholders; when you are using their money.

Your ideology and cost/benefit ratios don't meld. Remember 'always err on the side of children's health'?
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kim

" Always err". Je t'accuse of hyperbolic platitudinosity. Do you tell your children to "always err"? Then why tell us?
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Steven J.

ETIENNE - Steve, I don't think those statistics make your point, unfortunately. I agree that welfare policies did nothing to abate poverty

You are mistaken. The 39% decline between 1959 and 1969 is due to LBJ's Great Society programs.

kim

Are you sure? Only half the time period was covered by that program. The economy was expanding. Was the baseline static?

The main point, that liberal policies re poverty have generally failed, remains.
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Harry Arthur

Steven, in answer to your rhetorical question: yes.

However, I don't find your argument compelling when I "check out" this graph. As you indicated with your numbers, the graph does indicate a decrease in the poverty rate from approximately 22% in 1959 to what looks to me like approximately 13% in 1969. Though from about 1966 to 2004, the graph is "essentially unchaged" as I argued.

I would suggest that it is a stretch to give LBJ the credit for the decline from 1959 to 1969. Notice that the rate of decline from 1959 to about 1964 (prior to the "great society") is approximately the same negative slope in the rate as from 1964 through 1969 (arguably during at least the early stages of "the great society").

Therefore, I'd give JFK the credit for the pre-1964 numbers. I would argue that JFK's agressive tax cutting coming out of the 1960 recession is probably the reason for a reduction in poverty. JFK cut the marginal tax rate on the wealthy significantly (more than Bush), creating an increase in investment, economic recovery and with it job growth. Job growth, in my opinion, was the engine that drove the poverty rate down, not the "great society" programs of LBJ halfway through the decade of the 1960s.

In any case, the poverty rate has leveled off from roughly 1966 on, rising modestly during economic slow-downs and decreasing modestly upon economic recovery. It bottomed twice at approximately 11%, just prior to the 1974 Nixon recession, and a second time at approximately 12% in 2000 at the end of Clinton's term, just prior to the recession that began in mid 2000.

The most significant increase of about 3% occured during the recession in late 1979 continuing through the recession of 1981 through late 1982 followed by a steady decrease during Reagan's first term, ticking up again in about 1989 just prior to the 1990 recession, peaking at approximately 15% in about 1993 during Clinton's first term (about the same rate as in 1966) followed by a steady decrease with the creation of jobs during the remainder of Clinton's two terms. Notice that when Clinton's "welfare to work" program began, the poverty rate continued to decrease, in contravention to conventional non-conservative wisdom at the time.

Notice also that in the first four years of the Bush term the poverty rate continued to increase even during the recovery. However, when you address the job losses incident to 9/11 and the roughly two year "jobless recovery", the increase in the rate makes sense. If my assessment is corect, that poverty is related to a lack of job availability, then one would expect that the 2005 numbers should indicate an associated reduction in the poverty rate.

If there are predictors of the poverty rate, they appear to me to be the timing of economic slow-downs (recessions) and the creation of jobs during recoveries. It would make sense that economic slow-downs increase the poverty rate as the lower paid, less skilled jobs disappear and that economic growth lifts many of the same people out of poverty. In any case, the increases and decreases in the rate have historically (last 40 years) occured within a very thin 3% band.

Thus, my comment that ...the last 40 years and roughly $6 trillion spent to end poverty as we know it while the poverty rate has remained essentially unchanged is not at all unreasonable and Et is correct to agree.

Et is also correct that we have not yet seen the details of a plan and there is little if any hard data supporting the conservative contention that there are better ways to fight poverty. Fair enough.

At this point I would suggest that Bush has provided a "strategic vision" of where he would like to see us go vis-a-vis the poor living on the gulf coast. The devil will be in the details. Bush will now have to work with both parties in congress to develop "tactical" solutions that are politically "doable" and reasonable. We'll see how things work out. Another "great society" program is almost certainly not the answer, however.

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