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Old 02-10-2013, 06:00 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Pearl View Post
Suzanne Venker is Phyllis Schlafly's sidekick - and Schlafly is the most anti-woman woman there can be. She even once said a wife cannot be raped by her husband because sex within marriage is consensual the moment you take your vows.

ETA: the actual quote is: "By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape."


I think a little marital rape now and then is a small price to pay for getting off the Titanic, ladies.

Think about it. And then envy how good your great grandmother had it.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:12 PM   #47
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So what happened to the great empires and powers of the past? Were they conquered by invaders from beyond their borders or did they decay into moral decadence, bankruptcy, ethnic polarization and economic stagnation and fall at the hand of civil war and revolution from within?
I don't know of any particular civilisation that fell due to 'moral decay'. I mean Edward Gibbon saw the Roman Empire becoming Christian as one of the reasons why it fell. Plus the Romans had a lot of moral decadence for a long time before they were anywhere near collapse.

I mean what do you think when I imagine most of us here that the US is improving morally in at least in regards to how you treat homosexuals, other races and women?

You make many assumptions from a skewed religious bias about the state of the nation's morals. From my perspective the pursuit of capitalism in all its forms is more morally troubling than anything else you have mentioned so far. You hark to a bygone era which wasn't particularly espouse freedom for a lot of people other than the WASPs among us.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:14 PM   #48
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Also, some people are choosing not to get married these days because the lousy economy has killed off their future plans.
Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:16 PM   #49
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I mean what do you think when I imagine most of us here that the US is improving morally in at least in regards to how you treat homosexuals, other races and women?
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:18 PM   #50
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Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
The poor economy is not the fault of people on welfare. Bush II had a lot to do with the downturn and good old Reagan got the deficit ball rolling.

You complaining about the marriage rate going down was more in line with your belief of the fall of the American family. Never once in this thread did you point to the economy.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:35 PM   #51
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The Roman empire 'fell' (at least in the west) because of a centuries-long process of musical chairs occasioned by successive mass migrations out of central Asia and into Europe. In the end all those people had to go somewhere, and they did.

The British empire did not so much fall as go bankrupt. I suppose it could have reneged on its debts to the US and held onto India like grim bloody death... actually, no it couldn't have.

The Mughal empire was picked off piece by piece by the British East India Company.

The Byzantine Empire never really recovered from the rise of Islam, but it was the invention of cannon that sealed its fate at the end.

Moral virtue has only a little to do with any of these developments.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:32 PM   #52
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Our system is what is wrong in America.
A system governed solely by the almighty dollar.

It doesn't matter who the President is. This is why we're sinking.

Because you can't properly govern in a democracy that isn't a true representative democracy. We literally can't do what needs to be done. The special interests and lobbies get their way. Economic disparity grows and America sleeps...when we aren't being materialistic, superficial, incurious morons.

It's a very involved subject.
I just don't have the energy to waste on it right now.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:39 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Pearl View Post
Never once in this thread did you point to the economy.
Quote:
Avg. retail price/gallon gas in U.S. (regular all formulations)
Beg. of 1st Term
$1.85
Beg. of 2nd Term
$3.32
% change
79.5%

Consumer Price Index (all urban consumers)
Beg. of 1st Term
211.1
Beg. of 2nd Term
229.6
% change
8.8%

Unemployment rate, civilian labor force, seasonally adj. (current = Dec '12)
Beg. of 1st Term
7.8%
Beg. of 2nd Term
7.8%
% change
0.0%

Unemployment rate, alt. measure of underutilization (U-6), seas. adj. (current = Dec '12)
Beg. of 1st Term
14.2%
Beg. of 2nd Term
14.4%
% change
1.4%

Unemployment rate, blacks, seasonally adj. (current = Dec '12)
Beg. of 1st Term
12.7%
Beg. of 2nd Term
14.0%
% change
10.2%

Civilian labor force participation rate, seasonally adj. (current = Dec '12)
Beg. of 1st Term
65.7%
Beg. of 2nd Term
63.6%
% change
-3.2%

Number of federal employees, seasonally adj. (current = Dec '12 prelim.)
Beg. of 1st Term
2,790,000
Beg. of 2nd Term
2,794,000
% change
0.1%

Real median household income, in 2011 adj. dollars (2008 vs 2011)
Beg. of 1st Term
$52,546
Beg. of 2nd Term
$50,054
% change
-4.7%

Number of food stamp (SNAP) recipients (current = Oct '12)
Beg. of 1st Term
32,204,859
Beg. of 2nd Term
47,525,329
% change
47.6%

Number of unemployment benefit recipients (current = 1/5/13)
Beg. of 1st Term
7,770,779
Beg. of 2nd Term
5,659,482
% change
-27.2%

Poverty rate, individuals (2008 vs 2011)
Beg. of 1st Term
13.2%
Beg. of 2nd Term
15.0%
% change
13.6%

Disabled workers in current-payment status, SSDI (Jan '09 vs. Dec '12)
Beg. of 1st Term
7,442,377
Beg. of 2nd Term
8,827,795
% change
18.6%

U.S. rank in Economic Freedom World Rankings
Beg. of 1st Term
6
Beg. of 2nd Term
10

U.S. money supply, M2, in billions, not seasonally adj. (current = Dec '12)
Beg. of 1st Term
$8,249.3
Beg. of 2nd Term
$10,475.6
% change
27.0%

Price of gold, London (per troy oz.)
Beg. of 1st Term
$835.00
Beg. of 2nd Term
$1,688.00
$853.00
% change
102.2%

National debt, in billions
Beg. of 1st Term
$10,627
Beg. of 2nd Term
$16,433
% change
54.6%

Federal expenditures, in billions, current $ (4 yrs ended FY '08 vs 4 yrs ended FY '12)
Beg. of 1st Term
$11,945
Beg. of 2nd Term
$14,515
% change
21.5%

(S&P) federal gov credit rating
Beg. of 1st Term
AAA
Beg. of 2nd Term
AA+

Dow Jones
Beg. of 1st Term
8,281
Beg. of 2nd Term
13,650
% change
64.8%

GDP real growth rate
2012 2.2%
2011 1.7%
2010 2.8%
2009 -2.6%
2008 1.1%
2007 2%
2006 3.2%
2005 3.2%
2004 4.4%
2003 3.1%
2002 2.5%
2001 0.3%
Except for the last half of my first post you mean. Who here thinks the majority of these numbers will show improvement 4 years from now?

Who expects they'll be even worse? But I hope I'm wrong.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:49 PM   #54
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Except for the last half of my first post you mean. Who here thinks the majority of these numbers will show improvement 4 years from now?

Who expects they'll be even worse? But I hope I'm wrong.
No, INDY. I meant you never once blamed the decreasing marriage rate in America on the poor economy. Copy and pasting those numbers was totally pointless, and it took what I said out of context.

You are now heading toward your usual tricks of playing victim and refusing to participate in a debate. I thought this would be a good chance to discuss the future of America, but I was wrong.
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:53 PM   #55
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It's been awhile since I've written a long FYM post, so... here we go.

The United States lies in an interesting economic position at the moment. A little bit of background on my own prejudices and whatnot: I tend to draw a distinction between cyclical and structural economic conditions. That's not a very controversial thing to do in itself. Cyclical downturns happen when an economy, for whatever reason, is producing less than it could be producing. Structural downturns happen because of much more fundamental economic shifts. Check. The controversial prejudice of mine: I tend to believe in government intervention in cyclical crises, and I tend to believe that the government can't do much to affect structural crises, aside from long-term investment in education and whatnot (although I'm not positive how strong an impact that has either). Example: In 2008, I was against the bailouts of Chrysler and GM, because I thought that the US auto industry was something that structural conditions would not allow to survive, and a bailout would be useless in the long-run. I was incorrect about that; I think now that the auto industry's plight was largely from a combination of bad business decisions (making too many SUVs), high oil prices before the crash (yes, Indy, they were higher under Bush than they've ever been under Obama), and the obvious cyclical issues of 2007-2008. But I still largely think that supporting structurally damaged industries is probably a poor idea.

So that is the framework through which I look at economic issues. The downturn that happened in 2008 I think (though I am not sure) had elements of both. The cyclical elements are obvious. The subprime mortgage needn't happen, but it did, and, starting in late 2008, the United States economy started producing less than it should have. The United States government responded by, in effect, creating money. There was some literal money creation starting in (IIRC) 2009, via Quantitative Easing, but most of the money creation was Congressional, through deficit spending via the creation of bonds (which are liquid enough to be de facto money). That response, to me, makes sense. Classical Economics says that the Economy is always in equilibrium, that the real and nominal sides of the economy do not interface... that the amount of money in the economy has nothing to do with its production in real terms. That is... to use one of my favorite phrases, empirically denied. Money was removed, which in the short term caused an economic downturn in real terms. Introducing new money to stop that made sense.

So, in my opinion, the 2009 stimulus was good. But the economy still suffers, growing less than it structurally should... or does it? If we assume that the US economy is still cyclically dragging behind, then there are a few (not mutually exclusive) considerations. What would help against a cyclical downturn? Loosening regulations, lower taxes, more stimulus money, even looser monetary policy... take your pick. Democrats and Republicans tend to each favor half of the list and dislike the other half. But if this is still a cyclical downturn, any combination of these should help. Is the deficit an issue? I'm not really sure. If the economy is in a cyclical downturn, then inflation really shouldn't be an issue of money creation, because newly printed money should be matched by new production in real term. A piece of evidence to me that suggests that there is still a significant cyclical component to the economic situation is that the economy is proving pretty much immune to inflation above 2%, despite the massive amount of money creation and de facto money creation that has happened in the past five years. So maybe some combinations of the above things will help, and Washington gridlock certainly isn't helping. There are potential drawbacks so some of the options, though.

But there's much of me that thinks that there's much more than a cyclical downturn happening right now. I am fond of a theory by some conservative economist (probably at UChicago, but I don't remember much about this economist) which states that the natural rate of unemployment actually fell during the 2000s before the financial crisis, but was masked by an economy producing more than it should because of the housing bubble. In other words, the economy took a structural downturn, but our numbers were fairly decent through the Bush years because of a cyclical bubble that burst. When that bubble burst, down went the cyclical expansion, and we're only catching up with our new structural norm, which is much worse than it used to be, and can't really be affected by the government or... anything, really.

The reasons, in my mind, why that could be the case are two-fold. I'll go with the reason that is weaker (in my mind) first: automation. This has been happening for 150 years and never caused a substantial structural issues, as low-paying jobs were replaced with machines and the workers moved onto higher-paying jobs (if you can't make the car, program the machine that makes it, or design a new machine entirely, or teach others to do so, et cetera). But I'm not entirely beyond the possibility that automation has reached some sort of a critical point where it is causing major structural issues. The solution? I haven't the fainest idea how to implement it, but ideally, I would like to see equity ownership spread out more broadly, so that the enhanced ability of modern society to produce can spread through more hands. This sounds a lot like a central tenet of fairly pure socialism (let the workers own the factors of production), but I don't advocate government implementation of it.

Another potential structural issue that seems somewhat more likely to exist to me is globalization. I hesitate to call this an issue, honestly, because I tend to be fairly staunchly pro-free trade. Globalization has actually wrought enormous equality along with growth around the world. The rich have gotten richer, the developing world has actually become closer to the developing world (in past years, that word tended to be much more of a euphemism for "third world" than anything), and the middle and lower-middle classes in the developed world have gotten poorer. So what we see in the US is more inequality, and more economic stagnation for significant swathes of people, but what has happened around the world is somewhat different. For more than half a millennium, European peoples more or less oppressed what is now (for the most part) the developing world, and in the past half century, that has been largely removed. Ironically, Western ideas and believes penetrate the developing world more strongly than they did in colonial days, to an extent, as the developing world plays the game of capitalism to catch up to the West. Perhaps that's a major structural issue in the United States. But there's no inherent reason why Americans deserve jobs and development and people in the developing world don't. I like globalization. Theoretically, in the very long run, things should equal out. The lump of labor fallacy (there are x number of jobs and the world would be better off if there was less competition for them) is generally absurd, and, once the developing world is more developed, international demand should be the source of growth that pulls the United States out of our current economic issues. But that's potentially quite a long distance away.

And on top of that, there are more minor structural issues, such as demographic issues in the United States, Europe, and Japan. INDY seems to have a propensity to attribute this to some sort of moral failure. I attribute it more to a lessened sense of reliance on children combined with a stronger need to be educated into ones thirties to be able to pay for a stable household. I'm not sure what to do about that. Immigration is probably a good idea, and it's the best that I can think of, but the issue of not being able to start a household until parents are in their thirties is... formidable. This appears to be one of the larger long-term deficit issues. Deficit spending to deal with cyclical crises doesn't bother me very much, but demographics could be an issue that is much deeper than the deficit, and just affects the deficit in a very negative way.

So yeah... the economy is problematic. But what of the massive moral regress or whatever that we're apparently experiencing?

Honestly, the sense of malaise that is so clearly spread across the country can be traced pretty strongly back to the economy, in my mind. Moral loosening (by INDY's definition) has been occurring for decades, connecting them to economic effects that just started to happen in the past decade seems... silly. As does blaming this on "greed" or "the system". People have always been greedy, and always will. The system has always been corrupt, and always will. Our issue is not just that people in Washington can't get along, or that they are devoid of logic, or something. It's that the economy is quite possibly in a major structural downturn (and if not a structural one, a very stubborn one nonetheless), and people across the country (not just their politicians) have rather major differences. The politicians have been very faithful to their people, on the whole, in terms of accurately representing beliefs. We just like to simultaneously lambast Washington for both not compromising and for "giving in to the other side too much". Religion... yawn. Peoples' morals don't come with it. Societies' morals have a fairly strong positive correlation between progressiveness and economic activity, regardless of religion. The same Christianity that lies beneath the strength of the American economy is the same religion which lay beneath the post-Roman European hellhole for nearly a millennium. The same Islam that lies beneath the modern Middle East is the same religion which lay beneath the Abbasid and Umayyad Caliphates which boomed with economic strength and (relative) progressiveness while Europe floundered with economic disaster and a political and social climate that make modern Iran look like Berkeley. Read Arabian Nights (I recommend the story of the Porter and the Three Ladies) and compare it to Beowulf. You'll notice a striking difference.

So yeah... there are my thoughts. I apologize for the gazillion typos that must be in this post. I don't want to proof-read it.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:11 PM   #56
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Honestly, the sense of malaise that is so clearly spread across the country can be traced pretty strongly back to the economy, in my mind. Moral loosening (by INDY's definition) has been occurring for decades, connecting them to economic effects that just started to happen in the past decade seems... silly. As does blaming this on "greed" or "the system". People have always been greedy, and always will. The system has always been corrupt, and always will. Our issue is not just that people in Washington can't get along, or that they are devoid of logic, or something. It's that the economy is probably in a major structural downturn, and people across the country (not just their politicians) have rather major differences. The politicians have been very faithful to their people, on the whole, in terms of accurately representing beliefs. We just like to simultaneously lambast Washington for both not compromising and for "giving in to the other side too much". Religion... yawn. Peoples morals don't come with it. Societies' morals have a fairly strong positive correlation between progressiveness and economic activity, regardless of religion. The same Christianity that lies beneath the strength of the American economy is the same religion which lay beneath the post-Roman European hellhole for nearly a millennium. The same Islam that lies beneath the modern Middle East is the same religion which lay beneath the Abbasid and Umayyad Caliphates which boomed with economic strength and (relative) progressiveness while Europe floundered with economic disaster and a political and social climate that make modern Iran look like Berkeley. Read Arabian Nights (I recommend the story of the Porter and the Three Ladies) and compare it to Beowulf. You'll notice a striking difference.
Thank you, digitize. This sums up America and the world perfectly. Economies go up and down, blaming that on so-called moral decline is indeed silly, and politicians will always be corrupt no matter what system or circumstance.

I'd like to add this: deal with it, everyone.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:13 PM   #57
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Religion... yawn. Peoples morals don't come with it. Societies' morals have a fairly strong positive correlation between progressiveness and economic activity, regardless of religion.
Thank you. This hand-wringing about people mocking religion all over the place is grossly misunderstood. Religion in and of itself is not the problem for (most) Americans. The percentage of people in this country who identify as Christian is still quite high, people can still go to church as often as they want, Christmas is still a holiday that many observe and celebrate, etc., etc.

No, the problem comes in when people start acting like they are better than other people because of the religion they follow, or claim that if someone doesn't live up to their idea of "proper Christian ideals" that they are "immoral" and "sinning" and all that nonsense. That is what people mock, the holier-than-thou attitude. Some people do make fun of religion just to make fun of it, yes, but they're not a big enough percentage to pose any sort of legitimate "threat" to the concept of religion in general, and besides that, given the truly serious and deadly abuse and threats to their lives that Christians face in other parts of the world, someone in the U.S. making fun of you for going to church on Sunday, while definitely annoying, is not even close to anything resembling actual persecution.

As for the economic issue, I really would just absolutely love it if, even for a little bit, people could get off the backs of those who use welfare and quit attacking them for all our woes for a change. Again, have some people abused the system? Yep. But as digitize noted, that will happen with ANY system in the world. You don't throw the baby out with the bathwater because some people take advantage of and abuse the system, nor should you go around assuming the worst of everyone who uses the system as a result because a few people like to fuck things up. Most people on welfare are hard-working and as self-reliant as can be-believe me, many find it deeply embarrassing and humiliating to find themselves in such a state of needing that kind of help just to take care of themselves and their own families. But they have fallen on hard times, in part because of reasons they could not control. And instead of treating them like dirt and making insulting accusations about them, why not, I dunno, HELP THEM instead?

I firmly believe that a country that does not take care of those who are struggling, a country that treats various parts of its society as second-class citizens not worthy of the same rights as everyone else, is a country that will undoubtedly wind up falling apart.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:15 PM   #58
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Thank you for a very informative, interesting read.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:23 PM   #59
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. But they have fallen on hard times, in part because of reasons they could not control. And instead of treating them like dirt and making insulting accusations about them, why not, I dunno, HELP THEM instead?

I firmly believe that a country that does not take care of those who are struggling, a country that treats various parts of its society as second-class citizens not worthy of the same rights as everyone else, is a country that will undoubtedly wind up falling apart.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:27 PM   #60
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As for the economic issue, I really would just absolutely love it if, even for a little bit, people could get off the backs of those who use welfare and quit attacking them for all our woes for a change. Again, have some people abused the system? Yep. But as digitize noted, that will happen with ANY system in the world. You don't throw the baby out with the bathwater because some people take advantage of and abuse the system, nor should you go around assuming the worst of everyone who uses the system as a result because a few people like to fuck things up. Most people on welfare are hard-working and as self-reliant as can be-believe me, many find it deeply embarrassing and humiliating to find themselves in such a state of needing that kind of help just to take care of themselves and their own families. But they have fallen on hard times, in part because of reasons they could not control. And instead of treating them like dirt and making insulting accusations about them, why not, I dunno, HELP THEM instead?
Yeah, I agree. I especially take issue with attacking people who use welfare when this country doesn't really have very good equality of opportunity.
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