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Old 12-02-2009, 04:32 PM   #1
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U.S.: A Third-World Future?

Going south: militaristic, corrupt America increasingly resembles a Third World state. - Free Online Library

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Do indefinite imprisonments, immunity for favored agents, and rule by executive diktat sound like best democratic practice? Crisis-rocked Third World countries eventually move on, setting up truth commissions and holding trials. But the United States remains very much in the grip of a 9/11 emergency mentality.

...

As in so many collapsed countries, an increasingly large portion of American wealth goes toward debt. Infrastructure sags. Only industries favored by the government thrive. The middle class shrinks as it is squeezed to fund programs that keep the wealthy comfortable and the poor from rioting. The only difference is that the U.S. has an ability to continue borrowing--for now.

...


The far Right wallows in paranoia with its dreams of overturning an election by discovering a Kenyan birth certificate. Most on the Left seem too mesmerized by the president to hold him accountable. The media ranges from insipid to hysterical. This country may never see the reasons for--and the parallels to--its disintegration.
Thoughts?
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Old 12-02-2009, 05:22 PM   #2
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I don't see our stardard of living improving anytime soon.
and by many measures it has been declining since the 1970s.


There is a bigger gap between the wealthy and the poor.

It seems many young people, under 30, will not have the same standard of living that their parents and grand parents enjoyed.
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:19 PM   #3
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But the risk is not that Americans will bring out the pitchforks and join the protestors. Rather, citizens seem as disaffected and resigned as their Third World brethren, only occasionally roused from reality TV by their favorite pundit peddling the outrage du jour.
mmmhmm.
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:41 PM   #4
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Newsweek has a cover story this week on the U.S's future. It is predicting that the economy might bring its downfall.

Ferguson: How Economic Weakness Endangers the U.S. | Newsweek National News | Newsweek.com
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Old 12-02-2009, 11:35 PM   #5
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I generally like to avoid overly pessimistic views, mindful of the litany of histrionic headlines written in the last major recession of the 1970s that didn't turn out to be true. On the other hand, when it seems like it is impossible for there to be anything more than a superficial discourse about any serious challenge the West faces, I can't help but wonder what we'd do about a serious challenge that requires more than the usual weak-willed response we get from politicians.
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:06 AM   #6
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I'm not surprised by the article, and I dont think the condition our country is in even close to paralleling the 70s-it's much worse.

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Old 12-03-2009, 01:12 PM   #7
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I can't help but wonder what we'd do about a serious challenge that requires more than the usual weak-willed response we get from politicians.
Can you be specific on what you'd consider a serious challenge?

Not to be glib, but crisis after crisis we have shown a consistent track record of allowing politicians to scare us into submission.

What do you think might change that pattern?
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Old 12-03-2009, 01:19 PM   #8
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Gold prices at $1218 an ounce doesn't bode well. The dollar is turning into the peso.
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:16 PM   #9
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Had he been elected the country would be on the mend about now and not sinking into the abyss.
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ntalwar View Post
The dollar is turning into the peso.
Si, Se Puede!
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:49 AM   #11
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Si, Se Puede!
That was Bernanke's slogan?
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Old 12-04-2009, 04:33 PM   #12
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Had he been elected the country would be on the mend about now and not sinking into the abyss.
I've always been skeptical of how much difference a particular person in the White House makes.

Bush made me reconsider that view, but even he didn't act alone.

So far, I don't think Obama has really done anything that radical. This might be heresy to say here, but I think most of the big decisions he made probably wouldn't have been that different if a Republican had been in office. The one exception would be the attempt at health care reform, which definitely would NOT have happened under a Republican administration. But health care reform hasn't actually "happened" yet, and it's debatable as to how much reform will actually come to pass when the final bill appears on Obama's desk.

The rest--his plan on Afghanistan, his bailout and stimulus spending and so on would have been done by a Republican.

A lot of the stuff he gets flack and praise for ("We're shutting down Guantanimo", "We're trying the terrorist in New York", "We're reaching out to the Muslims") is mostly cosmetic stuff.

Obama's tone is different, that's for sure--and that in itself could be important. But running a country requires too much pragmatism for his actual actions to be that different from, say, a President Romeny.
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:30 PM   #13
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All fair points Maycocksean, to be honest I couldn't really disagree. Although if there's another thing Bush made me reconsider it's the bit about running a country requiring pragmatism. It is possible to run it as an idealogue. Not well, but possible.
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:09 PM   #14
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All fair points Maycocksean, to be honest I couldn't really disagree. Although if there's another thing Bush made me reconsider it's the bit about running a country requiring pragmatism. It is possible to run it as an idealogue. Not well, but possible.
I'm actually not convinced that Bush was that much of a hardcore idealogue either though. He definitely never struck me as being as radical as say Palin or even Huckabee. And he never came across to me like the right wing radio types do. I always felt (without any real proof, I admit) that any of his Christian rhetoric, for example, was more of a sop to the base than any fiery personal commitment. I might say he adopted a neocon foreign policy, but I think that was more the influence of those around him (Cheney/Rumsfeld) in the wake of 9/11 than anything else.

I think he did put a more belligerent stance on America's posture towards the world, but that seemed to be more about his personal style than some sort of Limbaugh-influenced ideology.

Where I question my own philosophy on presidential power and influence is on how Bush got us into Iraq. I had to revise my view that it was impossible for the president to really mess up the country.
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:37 PM   #15
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No, but I'm thinking here about the reality that a government is made up of many people.

I'm actually not really singling out Bush per se, as a human individual, since he seemed ineffectual a lot of the time. But, he was surrounded by some pretty shady characters who had their own strongly held ideas which, it seems, they played to his mindset to advance. Cheney, for one. An incredibly powerful figure, scandalously so.

So, I think his administration was pretty ideological, and pretty extreme, and Bush was mostly along for the ride. He certainly wasn't the 'great dictator'.
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Old 12-05-2009, 12:34 AM   #16
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Had he been elected the country would be on the mend about now and not sinking into the abyss.
Name one reason this isn't absurd propaganda.
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Old 12-05-2009, 01:35 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by phillyfan26 View Post
Name one reason this isn't absurd propaganda.

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The Massachusetts health care reform law was enacted in 2006. It requires nearly every resident of Massachusetts to obtain health insurance coverage. Through the law, Massachusetts provides free health care for residents earning less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)[1], and partially subsidized health care for those earning up to 300% of the FPL, depending on an income-based sliding scale. The law is credited with covering an additional 439,000 Massachusetts residents as of April 1, 2008.[2]
The law established an independent public authority, the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, also known as the Health Connector, which offers the subsidized coverage and facilitates the selection and purchase of private insurance plans by individuals and small businesses.[3][4] Incentives for residents to obtain health insurance coverage include tax penalties for failing to obtain an insurance plan. In 2007, Massachusetts tax filers who failed to enroll in a health insurance plan that was deemed affordable for them lost the $219 personal exemption on their income tax. In 2008, penalties increase by monthly increments, and are based on half of the cost of a health insurance plan.[5][6]
The reform law was enacted as Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006 of the Massachusetts General Court, entitled An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care. In October 2006, January 2007, and November 2007, bills were enacted that amended and made technical corrections to the statute (Chapters 324 and 450 of the Acts of 2006, and chapter 205 of the Acts of 2007).[7]
thank u..
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Old 12-05-2009, 01:39 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by diamond View Post


Had he been elected the country would be on the mend about now and not sinking into the abyss.
Besides your cut and paste fail...

How would Mitt deal with this NATIONAL economy?

If you answer this I'll be amazed.
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Old 12-05-2009, 01:45 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by BVS View Post
Besides your cut and paste fail...

How would Mitt deal with this NATIONAL economy?

If you answer this I'll be amazed.


Quote:
Mr. President, here's how to lift our economy
By Mitt Romney

Today's White House jobs summit comes too late for millions of Americans who through no fault of their own have lost their jobs, their homes, their savings and, in many cases, the self-esteem and self-respect that come from work. Like other presidents before him, Barack Obama inherited a recession. But unlike them, he has made it worse, not better.

His failure to stem the unemployment tide should not have been a surprise. With no experience whatsoever in the world of employment and business formation, he had no compass to guide his path. Instead, he turned over much of his economic recovery agenda to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, themselves nearly as inexperienced in the private sector as he. Congress gave him and them everything they asked for, including a history-making three-quarters of a trillion dollar stimulus.

But it did little to stimulate the real economy — where jobs are created. Studies, initiatives and programs that liberal think tanks had long pined for were given life even as the private economy was on life support. The president's team assured us that their massive stimulus would hold unemployment below 8%. So with unemployment now at 10.2%, it is clear that their stimulus was a miscalculated failure.

In an attempt to disguise the truth, the administration has touted inflated figures of jobs "created." But every month, in good times and bad, jobs are created and jobs are lost. What matters is the net difference between the two numbers. Focusing solely on jobs created while ignoring the far greater numbers of jobs lost is Harry Houdini economics.

Growing government, as was done with the stimulus, inevitably depresses the private sector and job creation. Shrinking government and reducing government jobs is healthier for the economy, but this option was never seriously considered. That's no wonder: As White House guest logs for the first half of the year reveal, the most frequent visitor to the executive mansion was Andy Stern, the head of the Service Employees International Union, which represents government workers.

My 10-point plan

The president's economists insist that technically, the recession is over. But double-digit unemployment was neither prevented nor has it ended. To get people back to work as rapidly as possible and to restore America's economic vitality, the nation must change course. Here's the advice I would give:

• Repair the stimulus. Freeze the funds that haven't yet been spent and redirect them to immediate, private sector job-creation priorities.

• Create tax incentives that promote business expansion and hiring. For example, install a robust investment tax credit, permit businesses to expense capital purchases made in 2010, and reduce payroll taxes. These will reignite construction, technology and a wide array of capital goods industries, and lead to expanded employment.

• Prove to the global investors that finance America's debt that we are serious about reining in spending and becoming fiscally prudent by adopting limits on non-military discretionary spending and reforming our unsustainable, unfunded entitlements. These are key to strengthening the dollar, reducing the threat of rampant inflation and holding down interest rates.

• Close down any talk of carbon cap-and-trade. It will burden consumers and employers with billions in new costs. Instead, greatly expand our commitment to natural gas and nuclear, boosting jobs now and reducing the export of energy jobs and dollars later.

• Tell the unions that job-stifling "card check" legislation is off the table. Laying new burdens on small business will kill entrepreneurship and job creation.

• Don't allow a massive tax increase to go into effect in 2011 with the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. The specter of more tax-fueled government spending and the reduction of capital available for small business will hinder investment and business expansion.

• New spending should be strictly limited to items that are critically needed and that we would have acquired in the future, such as new military equipment to support our troops abroad and essential infrastructure at home.

• Install dynamic regulations for the financial sector — rules that are up to date, efficient and not excessively burdensome. But do not so tie up the financial sector with red tape that we lose a vital component of our economic system.

• Open the doors to trade. Give important friends like Colombia favored trade status rather than bow to protectionist demands. Now is the time for aggressive pursuit of opportunities for new markets for American goods, not insular retrenchment.

• Stop frightening the private sector by continuing to hold GM stock, by imposing tighter and tighter controls on compensation, and by pursuing a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers. Government encroachment on free enterprise is depressing investment and job creation.

The 10% unemployment crisis hangs like an albatross around President Obama's neck. Eventually, as with every recession and recovery, the economy will improve and jobs will be created, but those who were unnecessarily unemployed due to the president's faulty economic program will not forget. In order to most rapidly re-employ all Americans and to speed a strong recovery, the president must change course. If he does not, Republicans will bring a change of their own to Washington in the 2010 elections.

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, was a Republican presidential candidate last year.

Posted at 12:15 AM/ET, December 03, 2009 in Business issues - Forum, Economy - Forum, Forum commentary | Permalink
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Comments: (861)Showing: New: Most recommended!


red_kite (9 friends, send message) wrote:1d 22h ago
Mitt Romney clearly understands the problems in our economy and his recommendations (see - My 10-point plan) provide solid advice to the president and his administration. It’s too bad that this good advice will go unheeded!

Instead, we will be subjected to another ‘White House “__________” (fill-in-the-blank) Summit. Standard format for these one-day WH “_______” (fill-in-the-blank) summits is:

1) gather a prominent crowd in the White House,
2) spend the morning in the gaga mode,
3) breakup into working groups to discuss issue,
4) groups reports its views/feelings to the forum,
5) the President makes closing remarks, thanks participants, and then hails this otherwise worthless assembly as very valuable and illuminating.

‘White House “_______” (fill-in-the-blank) Summits are a big waste of time. Alternatively, Mitt Romney’s, “My 10-point plan,” would go a long way toward returning the country to prosperity, unfortunately, Mr. Romney’s plan is ‘worldviews' apart from the Left-liberal ideology.

Recommend 212 | Report Abuse

ChuckDarwin (0 friends, send message) wrote:1d 19h ago
Say, is this the same Romney who just last year promised all those Michigan voters that their auto industry jobs would come back? Yeah, I remember him.

Recommend 109 | Report Abuse

just_hmm (0 friends, send message) wrote:1d 19h ago
Obama got elected by telling everybody the wealthy people were going to pay for everything. These folks aren't dumb and know how to protect their money. The way to recovery is to cater to these people and make them want to invest more in the US. Another part of the plan should be to get more global off-shore accounts into the US. Push capitalism....not socialism.

Recommend 145 | Report Abuse

jacobomorales (0 friends, send message) wrote:1d 19h ago
The gop had 8 yrs to destroy the country in the name of greed and incompetence all for the rich and corporate entities. Now you have all the answers. You all had it all wrong before and you continue to peddle the same tired and wrong ideas.

Recommend 122 | Report Abuse

dont know (18 friends, send message) wrote:1d 19h ago
He knows how to fix the U.S. economy but yet Mass had gone broke when he was gov. They all know what to do except when they are running the show.

Recommend 111 | Report Abuse

someoneshouldsay (21 friends, send message) wrote:1d 19h ago
Allowing the New York banks to gamble away their assets by leveraging their bets 30:1 killed the economy. Mr. Romney, this was a republican idea.

Recommend 91 | Report Abuse

mrrubiks (0 friends, send message) wrote:1d 19h ago
Mitt Romney, the man I voted for in the presidential primary and my single hope for the next election. Mitt's biggest political obstacle which is Mike Huckabee has been removed from contention based on the events of the past week in Seattle which he allowed to happen. We need a person with family values, who is a brilliant thinker and speaker and who understands the economy. Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney!

Recommend 142 | Report Abuse

someoneshouldsay (21 friends, send message) wrote:1d 19h ago
This republican idea was written by Phil Gramm, passed by 100% Republican support with 0% Democrat support other than the signature of a Democrat Clinton. It was a bad idea then and now we know why. It is not surprising Enron assisted Gramm in writing the legislation.

Recommend 59 | Report Abuse

skintero (32 friends, send message) wrote:1d 19h ago
From the article, "Open the doors to trade. Give important friends like Colombia favored trade status rather than bow to protectionist demands. Now is the time for aggressive pursuit of opportunities for new markets for American goods, not insular retrenchment."
=============
He makes some good points in his plan, but this one isn't one of them. We've all seen the US economy shed jobs and record pace since we gave China favored nation trading status and NAFTA. The last thing we need is more of those type of one-sided trade agreements. Of course Mr. Romney looks at it from the ultra-wealthy side where the guys sitting at the top of these corporations get to put even more money in their pockets by outsourcing jobs to cheap overseas sweat shops.

Recommend 13 | Report Abuse
More comments on this story: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next
thank you..now go to sleep..
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Old 12-05-2009, 01:48 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BVS View Post
Besides your cut and paste fail...

How would Mitt deal with this NATIONAL economy?

If you answer this I'll be amazed.


Quote:
Mr. President, here's how to lift our economy
By Mitt Romney

Today's White House jobs summit comes too late for millions of Americans who through no fault of their own have lost their jobs, their homes, their savings and, in many cases, the self-esteem and self-respect that come from work. Like other presidents before him, Barack Obama inherited a recession. But unlike them, he has made it worse, not better.

His failure to stem the unemployment tide should not have been a surprise. With no experience whatsoever in the world of employment and business formation, he had no compass to guide his path. Instead, he turned over much of his economic recovery agenda to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, themselves nearly as inexperienced in the private sector as he. Congress gave him and them everything they asked for, including a history-making three-quarters of a trillion dollar stimulus.

But it did little to stimulate the real economy — where jobs are created. Studies, initiatives and programs that liberal think tanks had long pined for were given life even as the private economy was on life support. The president's team assured us that their massive stimulus would hold unemployment below 8%. So with unemployment now at 10.2%, it is clear that their stimulus was a miscalculated failure.

In an attempt to disguise the truth, the administration has touted inflated figures of jobs "created." But every month, in good times and bad, jobs are created and jobs are lost. What matters is the net difference between the two numbers. Focusing solely on jobs created while ignoring the far greater numbers of jobs lost is Harry Houdini economics.

Growing government, as was done with the stimulus, inevitably depresses the private sector and job creation. Shrinking government and reducing government jobs is healthier for the economy, but this option was never seriously considered. That's no wonder: As White House guest logs for the first half of the year reveal, the most frequent visitor to the executive mansion was Andy Stern, the head of the Service Employees International Union, which represents government workers.

My 10-point plan

The president's economists insist that technically, the recession is over. But double-digit unemployment was neither prevented nor has it ended. To get people back to work as rapidly as possible and to restore America's economic vitality, the nation must change course. Here's the advice I would give:

• Repair the stimulus. Freeze the funds that haven't yet been spent and redirect them to immediate, private sector job-creation priorities.

• Create tax incentives that promote business expansion and hiring. For example, install a robust investment tax credit, permit businesses to expense capital purchases made in 2010, and reduce payroll taxes. These will reignite construction, technology and a wide array of capital goods industries, and lead to expanded employment.

• Prove to the global investors that finance America's debt that we are serious about reining in spending and becoming fiscally prudent by adopting limits on non-military discretionary spending and reforming our unsustainable, unfunded entitlements. These are key to strengthening the dollar, reducing the threat of rampant inflation and holding down interest rates.

• Close down any talk of carbon cap-and-trade. It will burden consumers and employers with billions in new costs. Instead, greatly expand our commitment to natural gas and nuclear, boosting jobs now and reducing the export of energy jobs and dollars later.

• Tell the unions that job-stifling "card check" legislation is off the table. Laying new burdens on small business will kill entrepreneurship and job creation.

• Don't allow a massive tax increase to go into effect in 2011 with the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. The specter of more tax-fueled government spending and the reduction of capital available for small business will hinder investment and business expansion.

• New spending should be strictly limited to items that are critically needed and that we would have acquired in the future, such as new military equipment to support our troops abroad and essential infrastructure at home.

• Install dynamic regulations for the financial sector — rules that are up to date, efficient and not excessively burdensome. But do not so tie up the financial sector with red tape that we lose a vital component of our economic system.

• Open the doors to trade. Give important friends like Colombia favored trade status rather than bow to protectionist demands. Now is the time for aggressive pursuit of opportunities for new markets for American goods, not insular retrenchment.

• Stop frightening the private sector by continuing to hold GM stock, by imposing tighter and tighter controls on compensation, and by pursuing a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers. Government encroachment on free enterprise is depressing investment and job creation.

The 10% unemployment crisis hangs like an albatross around President Obama's neck. Eventually, as with every recession and recovery, the economy will improve and jobs will be created, but those who were unnecessarily unemployed due to the president's faulty economic program will not forget. In order to most rapidly re-employ all Americans and to speed a strong recovery, the president must change course. If he does not, Republicans will bring a change of their own to Washington in the 2010 elections.

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, was a Republican presidential candidate last year.


red_kite (9 friends, send message) wrote:1d 22h ago
Mitt Romney clearly understands the problems in our economy and his recommendations (see - My 10-point plan) provide solid advice to the president and his administration. It’s too bad that this good advice will go unheeded!

Instead, we will be subjected to another ‘White House “__________” (fill-in-the-blank) Summit. Standard format for these one-day WH “_______” (fill-in-the-blank) summits is:

1) gather a prominent crowd in the White House,
2) spend the morning in the gaga mode,
3) breakup into working groups to discuss issue,
4) groups reports its views/feelings to the forum,
5) the President makes closing remarks, thanks participants, and then hails this otherwise worthless assembly as very valuable and illuminating.

‘White House “_______” (fill-in-the-blank) Summits are a big waste of time. Alternatively, Mitt Romney’s, “My 10-point plan,” would go a long way toward returning the country to prosperity, unfortunately, Mr. Romney’s plan is ‘worldviews' apart from the Left-liberal ideology.

Recommend 212 | Report Abuse


just_hmm (0 friends, send message) wrote:1d 19h ago
Obama got elected by telling everybody the wealthy people were going to pay for everything. These folks aren't dumb and know how to protect their money. The way to recovery is to cater to these people and make them want to invest more in the US. Another part of the plan should be to get more global off-shore accounts into the US. Push capitalism....not socialism.


.

Recommend 111 | Report Abuse

someoneshouldsay (21 friends, send message) wrote:1d 19h ago
Allowing the New York banks to gamble away their assets by leveraging their bets 30:1 killed the economy. Mr. Romney, this was a republican idea.

Recommend 91 | Report Abuse

mrrubiks (0 friends, send message) wrote:1d 19h ago
Mitt Romney, the man I voted for in the presidential primary and my single hope for the next election. Mitt's biggest political obstacle which is Mike Huckabee has been removed from contention based on the events of the past week in Seattle which he allowed to happen. We need a person with family values, who is a brilliant thinker and speaker and who understands the economy. Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney!

Recommend 142 | Report Abuse

.

Recommend 59 | Report Abuse

skintero (32 friends, send message) wrote:1d 19h ago
From the article, "Open the doors to trade. Give important friends like Colombia favored trade status rather than bow to protectionist demands. Now is the time for aggressive pursuit of opportunities for new markets for American goods, not insular retrenchment."
=============
He makes some good points in his plan, but this one isn't one of them. We've all seen the US economy shed jobs and record pace since we gave China favored nation trading status and NAFTA. The last thing we need is more of those type of one-sided trade agreements. Of course Mr. Romney looks at it from the ultra-wealthy side where the guys sitting at the top of these corporations get to put even more money in their pockets by outsourcing jobs to cheap overseas sweat shops.

Recommend 13 | Report Abuse
More comments on this story: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next
thank you..now go to sleep..
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