Everything Is Great and Amazing

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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Greg » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:11 pm

Big Magilla wrote:We went off the gold standard in 1971. Since then, we do not have actual stockpiles of gold or anything else in the federal reserve to back our currency's worth. In simplistic terms, our paper money and coins are worth what is printed on them because the government says they are and we have faith in the government. For now, that works, but woe betide us if we lose faith in the government to the point where the U.S. dollar becomes as worthless as Monopoly money in paying for goods and services.


Ultimately, what backs up the U.S. Dollar is the goods and services produced in the United States, so long as the Dollar is the means used to purchase those goods and services. What is the most effective way to ensure this? Require that the Dollar is the means. A direct way for this is with legal tender laws, where at least it would be possible to require stores, restaurants, etc., to accept Dollars for payment. An indirect way is with taxes. The U.S. Government will only accept U.S. Dollars as payment for taxes. This means that not only do people in general need to pay taxes, but, they specifically need U.S. Dollars to pay their taxes, which creates a demand for Dollars.

Also, an insistence to remain on the Gold Standard, as well as keep the deficit as small as possible and keep the Government out of the economy as much as possible, during the world-wide Great Depression, in Germany, had a lot to do with Hitler coming to power.

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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Big Magilla » Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:49 pm

That's not what he is saying.

He is saying the U.S. will always pay its debts because the U.S. can print its own money unlike Greece which can't because its money is controlled by the E.U.

Paying one's debts does not mean a person or a country can't become insolvent which is the word we should be using instead of bankruptcy, which is a legal term for being resolved of debt.

We went off the gold standard in 1971. Since then, we do not have actual stockpiles of gold or anything else in the federal reserve to back our currency's worth. In simplistic terms, our paper money and coins are worth what is printed on them because the government says they are and we have faith in the government. For now, that works, but woe betide us if we lose faith in the government to the point where the U.S. dollar becomes as worthless as Monopoly money in paying for goods and services.

https://www.reference.com/business-fina ... ea677c41d5
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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Greg » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:57 pm

Big Magilla wrote:I don't disagree with any of this information, but where does it say governments can't go bankrupt?


Here is Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, explaining why nations like the United States cannot be forced in bakruptcy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpW_KMHlAmo

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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Big Magilla » Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:00 am

I don't disagree with any of this information, but where does it say governments can't go bankrupt?
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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Greg » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:30 pm

Okay, Magilla, I have now read all of both articles. The first article entirely sidesteps governments being able to run deficits without borrowing money; and, I believe all the examples given, except for Iceland, are of nations that do not have their own sovereign currency. They are all either members of the Euro Zone or tie their currencies to the currency of some other nation. Iceland, I believe, actually ended up doing substantially better than most of the rest of Europe after the crash.

There are two problems I have with the second article. First, it acts as if the economy is always at full capacity, and producers are not able to hire people who are unemployed and are unable to turn to automation. For example, the U.S. Census did a study a few years ago that found only a quarter of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) graduates were employed in STEM-related areas, even though the Census expanded the definition of STEM to include things such as air-conditioning repair. This means there are a lot of STEM graduates working at places like McDonald's and Walmart. McDonald's could become giant vending machines. Walmart, which has some self-checkout lines, could move to all self-checkout lines. That would free up those workers to do actual STEM-related work, for example, on Green-New-Deal projects.

Secondly, increasing Federal Government deficits by printing money would not necessarily increase the money supply as money printing also comes from bank loans. Loans are essentially money printing while loan paybacks are essentially unprinting money. So, if as I believe, there needs to be a great increase in financial regulation, especially for business loans, the increased regulation would lead to fewer loans being issued while the existing loans are still being paid back. That is, unprinting of money from banks would exceed printing of money from banks and the money supply from banks would decrease, enabling an increase of the money supply from Federal Government deficit spending.

I think any bank chartered with the Federal Reserve should be prohibited from lending money to any hedge fund, private-equity firm, venture-capital firm, or company that buys its own stocks. That is because, these loans often just go to blow speculative bubbles, while real investment takes place with the Federal Government. For example, Pfizer, which is supposedly a pharmaceutical company, spends more money buying its own stocks than it does on drug research, while 3/4 of all revolutionary drugs are developed by the Federal Government. See these links.

https://www.nasdaq.com/article/pfizer-h ... n-cm893866

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way ... treatments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3r1IPsldbBg

The last link is a YouTube video, where the most relevant information comes in at the 6:00 mark.

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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Greg » Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:06 pm

Big Magilla wrote:
Greg wrote:It is impossible for the Federal Government to ever be forced into bankruptcy. This is one thing that Trump said that is actually correct, "The Government prints the money." This means that the Government does not need to borrow money to run deficits. It can simply print more money.

The only negative consequence of the Government printing and spending too much money is high rates of inflation, but, this would only cause high rates of inflation if the demand generated from from the money printing exceeded the ability of the economy to produce goods and services. The United States is still at undercapacity, and, as it appears that we are heading for a downturn, there will probably be a need for significant money printing from the Federal Government.


If only, but this is just another Trump lie. It's almost as bad as his tweet that the freezing weather in the Midwest proves there is no global warming.

Why Countries can and do go bankrupt:

https://bizfluent.com/about-7512012-hap ... uptcy.html

Why we don't just print more money:

https://www.thoughtco.com/why-not-just- ... ey-1146304


So far, I have only had time to skim through the two links; but, I did notice the bottom of the first link referenced Niall Ferguson. Ferguson has been called out for using sham inflation numbers which apparently he has not admitted to:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/modeledbeh ... 6fbc616510

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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:22 am

Greg wrote:It is impossible for the Federal Government to ever be forced into bankruptcy. This is one thing that Trump said that is actually correct, "The Government prints the money." This means that the Government does not need to borrow money to run deficits. It can simply print more money.

The only negative consequence of the Government printing and spending too much money is high rates of inflation, but, this would only cause high rates of inflation if the demand generated from from the money printing exceeded the ability of the economy to produce goods and services. The United States is still at undercapacity, and, as it appears that we are heading for a downturn, there will probably be a need for significant money printing from the Federal Government.


If only, but this is just another Trump lie. It's almost as bad as his tweet that the freezing weather in the Midwest proves there is no global warming.

Why Countries can and do go bankrupt:

https://bizfluent.com/about-7512012-hap ... uptcy.html

Why we don't just print more money:

https://www.thoughtco.com/why-not-just- ... ey-1146304
“‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.” - Voltaire

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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Greg » Wed Jan 30, 2019 7:49 pm

Sabin wrote:
Big Magilla wrote
Here, though, is the problem. Totally free healthcare right out the gate, especially if tuition free college and other giveaways are included in their plans would bankrupt the economy for sure. It can be done, but over time, not all at once.

That is my concern as well especially with the added Trump deficits.


It is impossible for the Federal Government to ever be forced into bankruptcy. This is one thing that Trump said that is actually correct, "The Government prints the money." This means that the Government does not need to borrow money to run deficits. It can simply print more money.

The only negative consequence of the Government printing and spending too much money is high rates of inflation, but, this would only cause high rates of inflation if the demand generated from from the money printing exceeded the ability of the economy to produce goods and services. The United States is still at undercapacity, and, as it appears that we are heading for a downturn, there will probably be a need for significant money printing from the Federal Government.

Also, bank loans are money printing with a commitment from borrowers to pay back the printed money; and, corporate debt in the United States, particularly by financial corporations, is much larger than the so-called "national debt." It is quite tragic that while it is very common to ask whether we can afford to allow the Federal Government to pay for various things, it is also extremely rare to ask whether we can afford to allow hedge funds to take out bank loans and enable hedge-fund managers to make a billion dollars a year blowing speculative bubbles.

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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:49 pm

Precious Doll wrote:Those plans for $5 a doctors visit sound great - would increase pressure on our own politicians to increase health funding if we are seen as falling behind the U.S.


LOL. Mine went up to $10 last year!
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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Precious Doll » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:33 pm

Sabin wrote:
Big Magilla wrote
Here, though, is the problem. Totally free healthcare right out the gate, especially if tuition free college and other giveaways are included in their plans would bankrupt the economy for sure. It can be done, but over time, not all at once.

That is my concern as well especially with the added Trump deficits.


The other concern is future Governments trying to dismantle anything brought in. Our experiences in Australia show the extensive wanton damage by politicians of all persuasions to undermine our health system. And they generally do it bit by by so people don't notice it as much.
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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Precious Doll » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:31 pm

Big Magilla wrote:Everyone agrees the cost of drugs has to come down but Big Pharma owns the politicians so while they all say something should be done, no one does anything. That and the insurance companies and Medicare second guessing doctor-patient decisions are the two biggest problems. Having free insurance would be great, but lower the cost of drugs and take away the ability of insurance companies and Medicare to deny treatment and people will gladly pay a reasonable amount for their coverage - say $5 per doctor's visit, no more than $25 quarterly for specialists or 2% of their income, whichever is less.


The powerful American drug companies hate Australia's PSB which sets the prices in Australia. During free trade talks with the US our cheap drugs were an issue of huge public concern for Australians. And there certainly is now denial of treatment here. Hell, even uninsured holiday makers from anywhere in the world get treated but receive a bill for the costs which is rarely recovered. As we have reciprocated arrangements with the UK, Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands, New Zealand and some Scandinavian countries - free treatment, no insurance necessary but the only drawback are New Zealanders, where abortion laws are rigoursly regulated just fly to Sydney to have whatever they want as though we do have very specific laws abortions are granted on request including late term pregnancies.

And if Australians are stilly enough to travel outside the country and not take out health insurance (and lots do) and find themselves in a difficulty health situation caused by either illness or accident the Australian Government will not assist. The one acceptation is if you are the victim of terrorists. Really, I think that is fair enough, otherwise everyone would stop taking out travel insurance and taxpayers would be footing these enormous bills.

Those plans for $5 a doctors visit sound great - would increase pressure on our own politicians to increase health funding if we are seen as falling behind the U.S.
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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Sabin » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:16 am

Big Magilla wrote
Here, though, is the problem. Totally free healthcare right out the gate, especially if tuition free college and other giveaways are included in their plans would bankrupt the economy for sure. It can be done, but over time, not all at once.

That is my concern as well especially with the added Trump deficits.
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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:35 am

The Australian health plan with its deductibles and doctor visit co-pays is what we have with our private insurance and Medicare. The people released from psychiatric hospitals onto the streets is what Reagan did in California and the rest of the country followed suit with prior to his running for president. It's why the homeless population in this country is as bad as it is. Still, there are things that can be done.

Everyone agrees the cost of drugs has to come down but Big Pharma owns the politicians so while they all say something should be done, no one does anything. That and the insurance companies and Medicare second guessing doctor-patient decisions are the two biggest problems. Having free insurance would be great, but lower the cost of drugs and take away the ability of insurance companies and Medicare to deny treatment and people will gladly pay a reasonable amount for their coverage - say $5 per doctor's visit, no more than $25 quarterly for specialists or 2% of their income, whichever is less.
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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Precious Doll » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:51 am

Big Magilla wrote:
Here, though, is the problem. Totally free healthcare right out the gate, especially if tuition free college and other giveaways are included in their plans would bankrupt the economy for sure. It can be done, but over time, not all at once.



I really doubt think it can be done, though keep in mind I am the ultimate pessimist. (Sorry for the long indulgent post)

Firstly, almost all of worlds nations are collectively hundreds of trillions of dollars in debt. Then there is business and personal debt on top of that.

Secondly, the worlds economy looks like it may be heading for another meltdown. The severity of that remains to be seen.

Thirdly, though Americans are told that other Western countries healthcare is free and/or affordable for their citizens I think you would find thats not as clear cut as that and that it in many Western nations are struggling with demand and costs.

Australia is a classic example and for some reason we are regarded as having one of the best systems in the world but it has been degraded over the years.

Back in the 1972 a basically socialist Government introduced free University tuition, universal free health care and lots of other goodies. Whilst the free University remained, in the early 1980s a fee was imposed on students known as HECS. This fee has risen dramatically over the years making high education harder for poorer students who are now also competing with foreign students who have become one of Australia's largest 'export' industries, bringing massive amounts into the country. The HECS fees are recovered once people start earning wages.

Universal free healthcare were reduced or maybe even done away with in the late 1970s than reintroduced in the early 1980s and certainly up until the late 1990s a trip to your local doctor. However, over the last 22 or so years the out of pocket expenses have dramatically increased. Most doctors 'bulk-bill' aged pensioners meaning they have no out of pocket expenses but everybody else is out of pocket about $60 per doctors visit. This has been done by Governments (both side of politics I should add, meaning our version of the Republicans & Democrats) by freezing the amount they pay doctors back. And like everyone else doctors have living expenses, etc. Doctors have effectively had a pay freeze from 2011 until last year!

In the 1990s visits to my shrink cost me zero. Now I'm out of pocket about $150 for every visit. It should be noted that there is a safety net and once you have spent two or three thousands dollars and cost drops to just a couple of dollars per visit.

Hospitals remain free, ditto surgery. However, most public hospitals are understaffed and are a disgrace. I have numerous horror stories dating back from when my father passed away in 2007 until recently in relation to my mother and her numerous health issues. Our local hospital is only equiped to deal with the population of 1996!

Most pathology tests are also free and are X rays. C-Scans and MIRs depend on why you are having them, so you could get it free or have to pay for it. Also, all common prescription medications are subsidised and are dirt cheap. Very next to no cost for old age pensioners and there is a safety net and if you go over that the costs of medicines are further reduces and in the cases of age pensioners become free.

Yearly eye-testing is free for everyone, however dental is not and is only covered for those with private health insurance.

If you need to go to a specialist they are very expensive for the first visit and less so with on-going visits.

And in an act of utter bastasdry our 'version' of the Democrat Party changed the tax rules in around 2012 and people could no longer claim out of pocket medical expenses against their tax return. This only used to apply if your expenses were over $5,000 and primarily effected people with on-going chronic diseases or major life threatening rare diseases for which drug treatment is very expensive and often not subsidised.

We do have the option of private health insurance. It has been made attractive primarily in two ways:

1) You can claim it in tax and reduce your taxable income if you are a high income earner;
2) You go to the front of the queue, pick your own doctor and so on.

I only ever had private health cover for tax purposes but when I ended up in a psychiatric hospital back in 2015, I received the best quality care as I naturally went to a private hospital. Pity the people who end up in a Government run psychiatric hospital. Apparently, they are horrendous. We used to have first rate public psychiatric hospitals until the various State & Territory Governments closed most of them down and thought people would be 'better off' in their home environment. Most of the homeless wondering the streets have either mental health or drug related issues. And though my income has decreased dramatically since I retired from the workforce I maintain my insurance because I don't want to go to a public hospital.

I could go on and on but it does give a picture of how bad things have become. And why have they become like this? Basically:

1) For the last 22 years both sides of politics chipping away, white anting the system and trying to dismantle it brick by brick. Neither side have the courage to do away with our system in one swoop - it would be electoral suicide, but make no mistake they both want to get rid of it by privatisation;

2) Australia has had massive numbers of immigration. Hundreds of thousands most years since 2002. Most people settle in Melbourne or Sydney. At the current rates Melbourne's population will be larger than Sydney in a decade or so as it can spread out in three directions, whereas Sydney can't really grow any further out, only up. Keep in mind Australia, though a large landmass is largely uninhabitable. The massive population growth is one of the key factors in the continual economic growth of the country. As a matter of fact over the last half dozen years its the only reason. However, our politicians lack any foresight. Millions of imported people but little to nothing spent on public transport, schools, hospitals, roads, water supply, electricity supply, etc. As it has happened over 16 years I must admit that you don't really notice it. Though earlier last year I said to my partner that I thought immigration would become an issue because Sydney has become a nightmare to get around. And then boom the media started up on it and there has been growing anger within the community. Most people want immigration to be drastically cut until such time as we can play catch up and credit to some of State Governments who have been building infrastructure but it takes time. Of course to cut immigration suddenly would have a dramatic downward effect on the economy. But whats disturbing is that none of the major parties have an immigration policy - its simply to keep letting people come into the country and just try and cope.

And good luck with 'stricter financial regulation'. We recently had a Royal Commission into the financial industry. The final report is due out later this week and is expected to be damming. What pisses my off is whilst the banks and insurance companies have been behaving appallingly for about 20 years now, none of the former directors well called for questioning nor were politicians responsible for ensuring the integrity of the industry so the commission isn't really getting to root of the problem. And the banks can't win. For years they have been recklessly lending money to people and late last year they tighten up their act in light of the on-going investigations and all the bad publicity. Politicians were out for blood and demanding they act. Now that they have tightened their lending practices the same politicians are slamming them for making it too hard for people to borrow money as real estate prices in Sydney & Melbourne are falling. You can't win. All the problems with the worlds financial sector date back decades and most of those people will not be held accountable, nor will the politicians who over the years have allowed it.

Sorry to be a wet blanket, but nothing much is going to change. Maybe small increment changes but thats about it.

As for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez I really can't recall when I first actually heard about her but in Michael Moore's recent documentary I was really impressed by what she had to say and what she stood for. But don't get you hopes up high because you are likely to be disappointed. Politics is brutal and so are the public. If she does something that is seen as a betrayal, like making a compromise, some supporters will turn. The wheels of change are slow. As I pretty much only read Australian media I'm surprised at the amount of press she receives here. The Australian version of The Guardian had three stories running on her at once!
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Re: Everything Is Great and Amazing

Postby Big Magilla » Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:05 am

We've been down this road before. Hillary had a plan when Bill was president but the Republicans thwarted it. The Dems had some great ideas in 2009, but in the interest of compromise they gave in to the other side on so many points that the finalized plan was too watered down and the two-faced lying republicans wouldn't even vote for it.

Now the Democrats are wiser. They know not to trust the Republicans so whatever they want if they are in complete control again in 2021, they will likely get.

Here, though, is the problem. Totally free healthcare right out the gate, especially if tuition free college and other giveaways are included in their plans would bankrupt the economy for sure. It can be done, but over time, not all at once.

Medicare, as it exists now, is far from perfect. It pays, at best, 80% of your out-of-pocket costs. Unless you're rich, you have to have supplemental coverage from private insurance. And you have to be prepared to fight for everything because they will look for any excuse to deny coverage even for things they paid for before. For example, for several years I have had hearing issues caused by infections in both ears I didn't even know I had. I see a hearing specialist every three months. Once a year he insists on a hearing test to determine if I need hearing aids. So far, I don't. My 2016 and 2017 hearing tests were paid for without question. My 2018 claim was denied pending answers from the doctor as to who referred me to him and why and what the test was for plus a whole bunch of other basic questions all of which they have the answers to on file. All this at the same time that they paid for my visit without question. Because the doctor did not respond in 30 days they closed out the claim and said I am responsible for it. I'm waiting now for the bill from the doctor's office. When I get it, I'm going to have to go to war with both his billing office, which is in another state, and my insurance dimwits.

Of course my problem is a minor one. You can read horror stories in the news just about every day from people who have been denied treatment from both Medicare and private insurers.

And why do we have to wait until after the next election for reform? Why can't the Dems in the House pass legislation now that the public will support to the point where the Senate will be forced to support it as well and the current president sign it?
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