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439 days ago

Meh. I don't care who is elected president, there really isn't much they can do about it. The production of conventional crude oil has hit a plateau since 2005, and it isn't going to go up, only down. Without the cheap energy needed for continuous growth, our economy (as well as the rest of the world's economy) is going to bottom out. What we are seeing is the cycle predicted by Dr. Colin Campbell back in 2005, that our economy is going to be impacted by the end of the availability of cheap energy. As we enter a recession, oil prices will drop (as they are doing now) as demand goes down. Then, when we enter a "recovery," demand increases, and oil prices will go up until we hit the ceiling where demand outpaces the energy resources. Since the availability of cheap oil is going to be continually reduced each coming year, each recession will be deeper, and each "recovery" will be smaller. Unless we can figure out a way to repeal the law of thermodynamics, our economy is going to gradually and irrevocably shrink, and the only way we are going to keep up our Ponzi-economy is to borrow more money, digging us deeper into debt. Sorry sports fans, but that's the reality we are living with today.

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439 days ago

The deficits and national debt have increased exponentially over the past 10 years because of costly wars fought with expensive contractors, large expansions of federal authority, escalating health care costs weighing down on Medicare/Medicaid, and bailouts to well connected financial houses, along with several unfunded liabilities that push costs forward not included in the cost of the deficit. GDP growth has been slow for the past couple of years because of excessive deleveraging of private sector debt, along with large corporations and banks hoarding cash, rather than reinvesting it back into the economy. Many are not confident that the worst has passed.

When talking about the deficit, usually it is mainly a problem when long-term interest rates are high, and not much so when they are low. The Federal Reserve dictates short-term interest rates, but long-term rates are still pretty much set by the market in a sometimes ruthless manner. When long-term interest rates are high (like they were in the late 1970's and the 1980's), it competes against and "crowds out" private borrowing and investment, thus slowing down the economy. As opposed, when long term interest rates are low like they are today, the federal deficit shouldn't take away from private sector borrowings. On the contrary, the deficit would act as a needed boost to aggregate demand. This is how fiscal policy works under normal circumstances, which we're not in at the moment. When the economy is slack, every dollar of reduction in federal spending takes away double or triple that amount in GNP.

Interest rates today are at the lowest they have ever been. It is being kept down by way of debt monetization through aggressive Treasury buy-back programs of securities and other investments owned by the FED. Because the dollar is the world's reserve currency, we have a deep liquidity base that can be tapped to support these programs. Any inflationary effects are exported to other countries. So what can we infer from that about the deficit? Theoretically, it should not be as problematic as in recent history, but with unfunded liabilities up to 10 times the cost of the total base deficit, it is creating a whole new set of problems for our fiscal outlook. The problem is basically one of malinvestment and corruption. This is something that neither party would care to discuss.

The problem today is primarily related to excessive debt leverage in the banking/financial system, which in many respects is a far more difficult problem to contain. Just go to Europe to see what that can do. A ten-year note in Greece is going for 30 pct. In Portugal, it is at 13 pct. The Euro is being kept alive literally by way of debt swaps and other types of financial triage. The crisis there is at the acute phase. In the case of the United States, capital is flowing back into the country, as the banking crisis in Europe intensifies and as the economy in exporting powers like China slows down. That's having the added effect of strengthening the dollar and lowering oil prices, at least in the short term.

Overall, we're still in the midst of a profound financial breakdown crisis, not the typical everyday postwar recession that we know. There's always an element of unpredictability here. A large bank failure in Spain or the United Kingdom, or Greece departing from the EMU can have downwind effects here.

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Votes on this review: 4 Helpful / 0 Funny / 2 Agree / 0 Disagree

696 days ago

So Franz Liebkind is offended by a book about a teenage girl talking about boys, venting about her annoying neighbors, and hiding from the Nazis in an office attic. According to these people, the Holocaust is not real and Anne Frank is a member of the Better World Books club.


Update: There is an Official Anne Frank Channel on youtube. The clips would bring a tear to your eye.

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Votes on this review: 2 Helpful / 1 Funny / 2 Agree / 0 Disagree

703 days ago

This is one of if not my very favorite book of all time. The characters really pull you in and get you on their side. Orwell does a great job in constructing a society in which the government is nearly omnipresent and omnipotent, but not entirely. This allows for the main characters to skirt around the fringes of society in quest of a "normal" life. And why I don't want to spoil it for those of you who haven't read, the twist at the end is shocking, and really brings home the truth of how powerful such a society might be.

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712 days ago

Little known fact: Tiger Woods co-authored this book and wrote a less than stellar sequel.

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734 days ago

Now,now...Ralph's beef is mainly with the NEW Testament,and the admittedly faulty translations from the Hebrew Old Testament. A short book by Ralph would more likely be "Things I like about Gays" or "Why I support a Palestinian State".

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Votes on this review: 5 Helpful / 5 Funny / 4 Agree / 0 Disagree

734 days ago

That's gonna be short even if the print is extra large.

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734 days ago

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734 days ago

By spending $2 trillion a year on public union and corporate bailouts (enjoy your gigantic bonus, executives who got us in this mess in the first place)...

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Votes on this review: 2 Helpful / 0 Funny / 5 Agree / 1 Disagree

734 days ago

They're a political tag-team: "two for the price of one", as Hillary famously intoned.

Although I do happen to think that the country would have been better off not accepting that bargain basement price. Many of our immediate problems stem from that time period--especially in regards to what the Rubin clique did to the financial system (and continue to do under Obama).

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Votes on this review: 6 Helpful / 0 Funny / 1 Agree / 0 Disagree

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