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Howard Tayler
Name: Howard Tayler
Back May 2011
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Howard Tayler - $250,000 per Job? Only a little bit too expensive.
Ramblings of a Happy Cartoonist
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$250,000 per Job? Only a little bit too expensive.
raithnor From: raithnor Date: November 3rd, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
The problem with just "letting the recession happen" is fallout of letting the economy go down the toilet. Sure, we could have chosen not to spend any money, but we would have had twice the unemployment we had now. More people out of work meants more mortgage defaults and less people buying anything which feedsback on itself.

It didn't help that Bush and the Fed kept interest rates as low as they did, it was artifical and it was going to blow back into their face, which it did.

It also didn't help that the bubble didn't create anything of lasting value. Sure we have a bunch of houses, but no one is going to sell them at a loss, you'll eventually have blighted properties that will need to be demolished. At least when the tech bubble burst we had the Internet.
kazriko From: kazriko Date: November 3rd, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
If they had let all of the recessions from 1910 forward happen, then the current recession would be nothing but a blip. It's grown so large because we kept stomping down all the recessions symptoms and sweeping the problem under the rug so that the whole thing gets dirtier, crustier, and even worse the next time around. Bush as well as Clinton, Nixon, Carter, etc have all been kicking the can down the road and making it that much worse.

It's like the wildfires. If they would just control them near homes and let them burn, then it would renew the whole system and eliminate the dead wood. Instead they put them out and that just keeps accumulating and making an even bigger fire next time until we just don't have the resources to put it out and it eats EVERYTHING.

Recessions are the periodic small forest fires that renew the forest and eliminate the dying and dead companies to make room for new ones.
raithnor From: raithnor Date: November 4th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)
The problem is that we've created a system where enough wealth and influence cn preserving companies that should have collapsed.

That's when when I hear most politician talk about "fair competition" and "small business" I treat it as the sick joke that it is. It's not about "fair competiton" it's about preserving monopolies, near-monopolies, and cartels which provide the bulk of election campaign funds.

The problem is concentration of wealth, the failure of a signle company or even 2 or 3 companies should not nearly cause the entire system to crash.

I can't buy the notion of "The free market can fix everything", not when we had 8 years where there was no interest in oversight. Not when the end result created a situation where the government had to intervene or risk another depression.

At this point I'd like to take a rusty saw to these companies and sell the pieces. If they can make it work, great. If they don't, it doesn't threaten the whole economy.
kazriko From: kazriko Date: November 4th, 2009 09:37 am (UTC) (Link)
The sick joke is that we haven't had "fair competition" or "no interest in oversight" in a long time. When people say that the free market has failed, and somehow mistake the regulation ridden cesspool of political corruption and crony-ism that is a stock market as a free market. It's nothing of the sort. The problem right now is that we have too large of a government overseeing things and that leads to power being concentrated into the hands of an easily corruptible few. It's the large government that enables the monopolies by putting the power of force behind the largest of large corporations who can write whatever legislation suits them and not the small corporations and small businesses.

Real business and free markets do not happen on wall street. Wall street, the NYSE, and NASDAQ are the game the political and financial elites play to concentrate money and power in their own hands. The bailouts of these huge companies like Goldman Sachs by former alumni of theirs in the government is a perfect example.

This is both sides, Republican and Democrat.

An example of how bipartisan the corruption is, is the fannie mae coverups the democrats were doing in 2003-4. The republicans were going after these government sponsored entities for corruption and making bad loans, but the democrats like maxine waters covered for them, saying there was nothing wrong. You obviously know examples of republican corruption, given that you're ranting about how you don't care for the free market.

I find it amusing that you say "Cartels which provide the bulk of election campaign funds" yet you want to concentrate more power with the bureaucrats and politicians regulating these cartels and getting these election campaign funds. That won't give you a more fair market, it will just give you more regulations geared towards keeping those cartels in power.
raithnor From: raithnor Date: November 4th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I want private money-for-influence out of government, period. Elections should not be about who can get the most advertising money.

2003-2004 Democrats were largely irrelevant, the GOP had the house, senate, and the presidency The GOP has better party discipline if they wanted to do something they could have done it. Look at the health care debate now, the argument isn't Democrat or Republican, it's between the Democratic Conservatives and Liberals plus the odd wildcards of Lieberman and Snowe.

Here's the problem: What do you replace Government with? What's to keep people getting run roughshod over by those who can amass the most money. We have a population of 350+ million people, how do you make government small when you have to create a legal system that enforces a standard of civilization? That's why I can't trust the argument of "Small Government Fixes Everything", the best you can hope for is "Government that tries to be functional and serves the interest of the public". Getting rid of organizations like the FDA, the CDC, the EPA would make things worse, not better.

We're going around in circles, If cronyism, makes government regulation toothless and moot, then we basically have an unregulated system that allow large businesses to make government regulation pointless.

The problem is the "Bailouts" are tantamount to Extortion. "Give our company billions of dollars, or we'll crash your economy through our destruction." So you have a situation of "Head they win, Tails you lose", they have no incentive to not keep flipping that coin.

It's like towns that build their economy around one large business. That business can make the town dance to their tune, or they simply pack up and leave for another town. The workers become jobless and the surrounding economy in ruins.
kazriko From: kazriko Date: November 4th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's the problem, the republicans are just like the democrats. Quit making this about one party or the other, it's BOTH of them. Of course they're not going to make progress breaking the corruption when a large chunk of their party is just as corrupt as a large chunk of the other party.

The main key is to find a way to make it so all trade is done with mutual fully informed consent of both parties, and that both parties benefit. Regulations are completely ineffective at doing this for the most part as they are more just shuffling the deck chairs in a way that helps their friends and hurts their friend's enemies. The small number of people in government that "tries to be functional and serve the interest of the public" are incapable of overcoming this and often. Often, the corrupt people in government spin it so that their corrupt crony-supporting decisions seem like things that are in the public interest and oh so warm and cuddly and those that "try to be functional" blindly follow them.

The other problem is that most government regulations are the enablers of big business. Gigantic business isn't a natural state, large entities like that get so top heavy and inefficient that they cannot stand on their own against a more efficient, more nimble competitor. That is... Unless the more nimble competitors are bogged down with regulations designed by the gigantic businesses. Government regulations tend to hurt smaller businesses more than bigger ones partly because of the compliance costs not being linear to the size of business. This law requires one full time person to stay in compliance with, but may only scale up to 3-4 people for a huge business. For a small company, that one person is 1/20th of their workforce. for a huge company, that is 5/100000th of their workforce. They disproportionately hurt smaller companies and help the larger ones compete.

For an example, look at Cars. Cars aren't rocket science, making one is well within the realm of what a modest sized business could do. The problem of course is that making a car that meets with hundreds of thousands of pages of regulations is not something a small business could do. We should have a couple dozen car companies, but instead we have 3 failing giants collapsing under their own weight of inefficiency, and 1 small car company (Tesla) that those giants are doing their best to squash through regulation.

I would argue that companies like the FDA might hurt the public safety more than it helps. The same for many of the financial regulatory agencies. By putting the government stamp of approval on things, it gives people a false sense of security that this is a good investment and takes the impulse to research and make sure it's good off of them. Thus, when the government regulators don't do their job, the people who would have otherwise looked into it themselves are getting hurt. We used to be a nation where everyone researched their own choices before making them. Now we rely on big brother government to do the research for us. It's not a good state of affairs.
raithnor From: raithnor Date: November 4th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
I blame the Republicans more for the current state of affairs since they have had control for longer periods of time. I realize the Democrats have their problems but I'm willing to give them a fair chance at reforming the system because they want to try.

As for car regulations, things like seat belts, air bag, and designing cars not to explode on impact is generally a good idea. When a company can make a decision to create an unsafe product because it cost less to pay court settlements than to fix the product, there's a serious problem.

The health care insurance industry is largely the same way, between choosing to increase profits and helping people they choose to increase profits.

We seem to agree on the notion of "companies should not be allowed to get big" and that's good. However you run into the counter-arguments of "Well that kind of thinking is Marxist/Socialist/What have you.", by business people who feel the only rules in business are "there are no rules".

"The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves -- in their separate, and individual capacities." -Abraham Lincoln

There's too much information out there, people don't have the time to make sure every factory isn't dumping toxins in rivers, which toothpaste contain mercury or lead, which car doesn't explode on a 20 MPH impact, which drug will cause a heart attacks while trying to lower cholesterol. You can't expect people to do that and still be able to hold down a job. What you should expect is to have people interested enough in their government to make sure it's working for the public interest not someone who's paying them off.
kazriko From: kazriko Date: November 4th, 2009 09:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
You really can't expect that after having the Democrats having the most power for most of the last 100 years, followed by 6 years of the republicans having most of the power, that the entire thing is the fault of the Republicans. They're both at fault, and both equally corrupt. The way the current administration is cozying up to some of the hugest of large corporations, Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Google, Microsoft, IBM... doesn't bode well for them actually doing anything at all about corruption.

The whole argument is silly anyway. This tendency towards large, overarching government is mostly bipartisan. It's only a subset of both parties that even pay lip service to small government principles. Teddy Roosevelt was a big government republican, woodrow wilson was a big government democrat, Hoover was a big government republican, Franklin roosevelt was a big government democrat, and so on and so forth. All of them were big government progressives in one way or another. It's just the direction they wanted the big government to grow in that differed. The big government crowd has pretty much owned the two party system for over a hundred years.

The health insurance industry profits are actually pretty tiny compared to many of the industries that are currently popular with the administration... There's more to this, but I'm not in the mood to debate health care right now.

There's also more to the independent consumer agencies like Consumer Reports policing these things rather than governments, but that's also a debate for another time.

The other thing is about regulations concerning cars... Making a car that doesn't explode on impact is one thing, but they tend to start micromanaging how much tolerance this piece can have, and how many inches this piece must be mounted below this line, and how much distance this piece can be from that piece... They're regulating tiny details instead of trying for the overarching goal of safety. Because of this kind of thinking, we're stuck with mostly the same shape and general layout of cars for the most part, because doing anything unusual is inordinately expensive to convince the regulators to allow. The same thing for the FAA. Canard wing aircraft have been proven time and time again to be safer and easier to fly, yet the FAA makes any commercial canard wing craft jump through so many hoops that they become unprofitable because their regulations are designed around traditional forward wing designs. This is what killed the Beechcraft Starship.

If they instead would focus on testing things for their performance rather than adherence to micromanaging regulations, then we would probably see a drastic change from the traditional shapes of many objects we use. The current car regulations even go so far as to regulate the serial data protocol used on the wires going between parts of the car! That sort of thing utterly stifles innovation.

There is a limited subset of things that the government can and should do that people can't do for themselves, but those things could be done with a government of less than 5% of GDP, and no income tax. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_20th_century_chart.html

On your last line, "What you should expect is to have people interested enough in their government to make sure it's working for the public interest not someone who's paying them off." I agree. People need to be deeply involved in making sure their government isn't corrupt, and I think this change is happening... Slowly, but it is happening.
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