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freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Aug 22, 1:05am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Maybe health services fall into the same category as food. Food is an absolute necessity. We largely let the free market regulate prices and supply. We also have food stamp programs to ensure no one goes hungry. We have the FDA to make sure the food is safe. Could heath services follow a similar model?

I know the analogy isn't perfect, but i figure it's food for thought (no pun intended).

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Aug 22, 1:31am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        


It's hard to argue against your actual experience. I didn't realize you lived in Germany for 2 years. I've never actually lived in a country with "socialized" medicine so I don't know if it's better or not. Obviously "free" healthcare is very attractive, but aren't the taxes in Germany a lot higher to pay for it?

I'm open to any ideas to make things better. Obviously the current system here in the USA sucks and seems like a huge racket involving both "big government" and "big business."

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Aug 22, 2:16am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

"Big government and big business are currently the exact same thing in America. The corporations are running the government, and they're not running it for our benefit, only for their profits."

I woke up to that fact when the government bailed out the banks. "Too big to fail" is socialism. Or maybe "corporate welfare" is a better term.

Here's the thing. I still consider myself fairly conservative in the sense that I think markets work and government interference often does more harm than good, no matter how well the intentions. Not true in all cases of course, but in many cases.

But bailing out banks that should have failed because of irresponsible behavior is NOT free-market capitalism. That's crony capitalism...privitizing the profits and socializing the losses. That's what we have in contemporary America, it seems to me. I think America is a kleptocracy, with an unholy alliance between Big Business and Big Government.

Bribery has to stop, I agree. But how can it be stopped? Couldn't people still bribe government officials "under the table"? I'm not saying we shouldn't even try to stop it...but it seems like it would be difficult to completely eliminate.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Aug 22, 3:07am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

I don't obsess over overpriced real estate. ;-)

Where I live, a small decent house in a decent neighborhood can be had for $100k.

The rents, on the other hand, have been driven up by an influx of natural gas fracking employees. Here the "price to rent" ratio is at the other extreme relative to the bubble in CA. I currently pay $750/month in rent for a 1br apartment, but I could get a decent house for less money per month.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Aug 22, 3:27am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

But the free market fails very badly in many cases. Take roads. Would you want toll roads everywhere?

Agree with your point. Roads are an example of a "natural monopoly." It's most cost-effective to just have one road network rather than multiple competing road networks. Same can be said for water/sewer systems, electrical transmission lines, etc. Maybe health services are a natural monopoly?

Critical health care is kind of like that. Everyone really needs it, and our "free market" cartel has completely failed to provide it at a reasonable cost, because there is no real ability to shop or walk away.

That's a compelling point, I think. That was one of the flaws in my "is health service like food?" question.

It's an emergency, you just need to get to the nearest hospital. The hospital, in a sense, has a "captive market". They can charge $50 for a piece of toast just like a sports stadium can charge $10 for a hot dog.

I was recently in the hospital for a sudden bout of uncontrollable shivering and chills. It was probably just a virus, they said. But because the symptoms were so strange, they did test after test. And those tests were really expensive. I have a high-deductible insurance plan with an HSA, and the bills cleaned out my HSA completely and then some. Ouch. No chance to "shop around" obviously.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Aug 22, 4:18am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Reality says

Medicine used to be cheap too, that is, before the government regulations limited supplies with licensing requirement and FDA approvals

It may have been cheap, but was it safe? I don't mind new drugs needing FDA approval considering the potential dangers inherent in drug treatment.

Reality says

The free market place can take care of the sick and the elderly far better than Plantation Health-care can: just like free market has made computers and cell phones far more accessible to the poor in the past 30+ years than any scheme of government buying computers for families with children could have done.

This seems like a compelling argument. A big difference is the human "emotional" factor, though. We don't feel guilty if a poor person lacks a cell phone or computer (they're ultimately luxuries), but we do feel guilty if a poor person can't afford to cure his illness, especially in a life-or-death situation.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Aug 22, 11:49pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Over the long term, it isn't possible for house prices to rise any faster in REAL (i.e. inflation-adjusted) terms than peoples' REAL incomes. Am I right? Even if you have a highly desirable area (say a waterfront), prices there can't rise any faster than the average ability to pay. Even billionaires don't have unlimited resources. Indeed, it was arguably the desirable areas (coastal CA and FL) which saw the biggest bubble.

The whole notion that a house can produce wealth is bunk. A house is a consumer good that slowly depreciates and needs constant maintainence (not to mention insurance and property taxes). Factories, refineries, farms, and working businesses produce wealth...not houses.

Unfortunately over the last two decades we've sent much of the wealth-producing sector overseas. It seems our economy is now based on little more than speculation and gambling, er...I mean..."finance."

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Aug 31, 1:25am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

There are still areas of the USA with reasonable housing costs. Yes, many of those same areas have terrible economies (i.e. Detroit). The key is to find areas with good economies AND reasonable housing costs. I'm thinking places like Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Chicago, etc.

I was lucky enough to land a good job in a place with VERY reasonable housing costs: Corning, NY (upstate). Yes, winters are cloudy and cold. No, it isn't the most "hip" place in the country. But I'd rather not spend my life as a debt-slave in some expensive "trendy" coastal city. For the price of a run-down shack in the SF Bay Area, you can get a mansion (with a view) here.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Aug 31, 4:29am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

I'd say we want prices to go below the cost of renting the same thing. See my calculator:

Too much easy money and tax deductions for debt just drives up the price of houses.

Agree. There's no free lunch. Subsidies just drive up costs.

The first law of economics: There's No Free Lunch
The first law of politics: To Get Votes, You Must Promise a Free Lunch

That combination is the root of most of our problems.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Sep 6, 3:53am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        


I think those are fair points to make, but...

I don't think Truman invoked Christianity when deciding to use the atomic bomb.

As far as I know, Bush didn't invoke Christianity when deciding to invade Iraq and get rid of Saddam, either.

Technically, the USA is not a Christian nation, at least according to the original intent of the constitution.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Sep 8, 11:09pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Humans are obsolete.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Sep 15, 4:40am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

The Republicans are becoming crazy. And I say that as a Republican.

Having a black president brought out the right wing nutjobs: the Birthers, Palin, Bachmann, Rick Perry, etc. Mitt Romney is the only sane one. (and maybe Ron Paul, but I don't think his radical libertarian ideas are very realistic).

Here's the's not like Obama is some far-left "socialist" on economic issues. On gay marriage and abortion he could be considered far-left, but I think that's about it.

As far as the health debate, why shouldn't people have to buy insurance if they are going to get "free" heath care in the ER? Not that I'm a big fan of a government mandate to buy a private product. But once we as a society say that ERs MUST treat people regardless of ability to pay, than how can we not mandate that everyone buy insurance to pay for those possible ER visits?

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Sep 15, 5:13am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

I've considered it, yes. The Republicans don't seem to have any real ideas for making things better. They just hate Obama. Sort of like how in 2004 the Democrats didn't have any real ideas, they just hated Bush.

At some point "us against them" is just a blood sport. It's great for getting ratings for the news media, but doesn't actually fix anything.

THE pivotal event which made me question the conservative "free market" rehtoric was the bank bailouts. Sorry, but "too big to fail" isn't free market's corporate welfare...i.e. socialism. At least welfare for individuals has some moral justification (we don't want to see people starving and living in boxes), but welfare for Big Business...give me a break.

I could also talk about how Republicans spend spend spend just like Democrats do. Yes, Democrats "tax and spend". But "tax and spend" is more fiscally responsible than "borrow and spend." The national debt exploded under Bush. Bush enacted a huge new Medicare drug entitlement to buy the votes of seniors. Seems that Democrats aren't the only ones to "buy votes". Bush also started two unwinnable wars. I supported those wars in the beginning, not realizing that the world's "lone superpower" forgot how to actually win wars. For all the money we spend on "defence", we don't seem to get much for it.

At any rate, this country is in steep decline. I've actually considered moving to Canada. At least they still have oil, even if it's in tar sand. And they don't have a parasitic financial sector that privatizes the profits and socializes the losses.

Then again, Canada is so cold. Maybe Australia. Hmmm...

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Sep 15, 7:53am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Maybe I am mistaken about the ER situation.

At any rate, I can't understand the radical dislike for Obama, at least on economic issues. He hasn't done anything very radical in that big tax increases (or cuts), no new "draconian" regulations for the financial sector (which I think we desparately need, particularly the Glass-Stegall concept of separating risky investment banking from regular commercial banking), and no big environmental regulations. If I'm not mistaken, Obama supports natural gas drilling/fracking...not exactly far-left environmentalism.

The "tea party" seems mainly upset over tax and spending (i.e. economic) issues and not social issues. At least that's what their signs usually say. And yet Obama hasn't been all that "liberal" on economic issues, as far as I can tell. Warren Buffet still pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.

Some of anger may be racially motivated, but then again there wasn't much anger when Colin Powell and Condaleeza Rice were given high positions in the Bush administration.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Sep 16, 12:57am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

investor90 says

We are not the REAL owners of our country. The Real owners, The Billionaires, OWN our politicians , OWN the big media companies. They want MORE for themselves and less for everyone else. Democrats? Republicans? Who cares ?? Both parties are OWNED by these people. Do you ever wonder why tens of millions of dollars was funneled into the Obama for President campaign buy the same banks that HATE the supporters of progressive policies, UNLESS they get an exemption from prosecution and they get to walk for their financial crimes.
NOT ONE banker - insider - white collar criminal has been indicted. Even James Carville is complaining that most everything that Democrats support is being dismantled by a few big banks. YESTERDAY Carville asked the President WHY no white collar banking criminals have been prosecuted since his election. NOT ONE...yet Mr President he continues to shoot golf with Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, one of the biggest slimeballs and banksters in the WORLD.

Agree. Like I said, THE turning point for me was the bank bailouts. So much for free-market capitalism. "Too Big to Fail" is SOCIALISM for business! Privatizing the profits and socializing the losses is SOCIALISM for the rich.

That's why I can't stand Republican rhetoric against "socialism" post 2008. The bank bailouts were a huge moral hazard...if private businesses can get welfare, than why shouldn't ordinary people demand welfare too?

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Sep 16, 1:28am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

mike2 says

Like Social Security as we know it has been run well and fair? GIve me a break. So a worker pays into it for 40 plus years with no interest and collects $1000-$1300 per month and that is a good thing? You could take that same amount of money ( it is yours ) and have it put in your name drawing a nominal amount of interest and over the same time period have $400k in your account when you are 60 years old and have twicw the amount per month for the rest of your life. The point isn't Social Security which is just a savings account for people. The point is how are they handling your money and are they ripping you off with it nd the answer is they have done a horrible job abd they are ripping you off

Amen to that. Imagine if I'd have invested all of those social security tax payments into a personal retirement account. Social Security is a Welfare program, plain and simple. Why do you think the Democrat base hates the idea of privatizing part of SS, i.e. personal accounts?

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Sep 22, 11:05pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Why is DC so expensive? The power to tax. And yes, the fact that our politicians are bought on the open market to the highest bidder.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Sep 26, 7:01am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

I think all the "left" vs. "right" stuff is just a smoke screen for special interests buying politicians of both parties.

Jesse "The Body" Ventura said that politics is a lot like Pro-Wrestling (WWF, etc). It's all an act where the two parties pretend to fight each other and then laugh all the way to the bank after the "fight." We the sheeple think it's real and vote for them to protect us from the evil "other" party...when the whole time they're skrewing everyone over (except the special interests).

I think Jesse was right.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Sep 27, 11:11pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

And I have to admit that the Democrats do look like they're taking an awful lot of money from unions.

Agree...both parties just do the bidding of those with the money.

Money rules the world, not governments. Always has, and probably always will. It's all about the money...who has it, and who doesn't.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Oct 3, 11:42pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Bank Bailouts = socialism.
"Too Big To Fail" = socialism.
Privatizing the profits and socializing the losses = socialism.

For some reason in this country we only like socialism if it benefits large businesses rather than struggling individuals.

Like Buffet said...there is class warfare and the super rich are winning.

I have no hatred for the super rich, as long as they aren't buying our government. But clearly some of them ARE buying our government, as evidenced by the bailouts of large politically-connected banks...while everyone else got skrewed.

Let's end corporate socialism and restore capitalism. Who's with me?

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Oct 19, 12:49am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Katy Perry says


As creepy as what happened Last Friday Night?

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Nov 2, 12:39am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

russell says

If someone like Oprah can overcome just about every disadvantage society throws at her and ends up a billionaire through her own productive endeavors then I don't think she should face punitive tax rates just b/c she's in the 1%

If you can call being a celebrity "productive". Oprah is about as "productive" as Jerry Springer, Rush Limbaugh, and Paris Hilton. Celebrities don't produce anything, they just extract wealth from their duped followers and groupies who buy their crap/books/endorsed products. Oprah specifically is almost like a cult leader and/or televangelist.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Nov 2, 12:58am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Miike says

Your ideas actually strike at the core of what this country stands for. Every American's dream is to provide a better life for your kids than what you have had. Your suggestions crush this idea.

Fair enough. But what about the risk of ending up with a society with a parasitic aristocracy that just collects the fruits of everyone else's labor? Also, with enough money a person can buy politicians...and thus buy laws that further entrench a their power to effectively enslave their fellow citizens.

Remember, this is America. There is no such thing as "right and wrong" here...just money and power. We despise any kind of ultimate moral authority. In America, might makes right. It took a WAR to end slavery, for crying out loud.

So if we the 99.9% don't want to be slaves to the 0.1%, we'd better tax the 0.1%. Remember it was Warren Buffet that came out and said there was in fact a "class war" and that his side was winning big time.

I used to believe in American Exceptionalism, capitalism, etc...until the Big Banks were bailed out. Then I realized the U.S. is just another third-world kleptocracy with a government for sale to the highest bidder. Crony caplitalism is the name of the game in America.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Nov 2, 11:30pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

A 2% tax on all assets is simple and fair, and pretty easy to verify for large assets (real estate, stock, bonds). Why not do it?

A very interesting idea. Like most ideas , it would probably have unintended consequences.

Possible scenario: the top 0.1% would likely sell their assets (to avoid the tax) and use the cash to buy politicians. Remember, the U.S. has the best government money can buy. Wealth would then be measured by what % of congress an individual (or corporation) owns. The Forbes 500 might have to change how they define the worlds' wealthiest individuals.

Would politicians (in the back pocket of certain individuals) be considered assets and taxed as such? How would those "assets" be valued? The bribery market is fairly non-transparent.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Nov 3, 2:54am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Patrick, you make a compelling case for the 2% asset tax.

Who knows, maybe even some rich would go for it if ALL income taxes (like capital gains, income, and dividend taxes) were eliminated like you are proposing.

According to the following Wikipedia article, the Swiss (of all people) have a "wealth tax" which I think is the same basic idea as an "asset tax".

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Nov 3, 3:12am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

According to the article, there are some compelling arguments against the asset tax:

1) difficult to value non-liquid assets (like privately-held businesses and works of art, antiques, etc)

2) high management/administrative costs (although given how complicated our income tax is already, maybe this is a moot point)

3) capital flight (for obvious reasons)

4)government incentive to cause inflation (bigger numbers mean more tax revenue without any real increase in wealth).

5) retirees/elderly have most of their income from assets and must liquidate them faster just to pay the tax.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Nov 3, 4:41am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

MarsAttacks! says

We already have a 2% assets tax. It's implemented via currency debasement.

Ack! Acck!

True! Good point.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Nov 22, 12:39am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

Eh, they'll just print more money to prop up the markets if there's another crisis.

That may very well have unintended consequences (inflation), but that's what they'll do.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Nov 23, 3:32am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (2)     quote        

I'd prefer a religion who's central claims are actually true, rather than just wishful thinking or speculation about "mere possibility." To me, it's harmful to believe something that simply isn't true.

Is there any way to verify the claims of the various religions? Or are they all just what philosophers call "technically meaningless" i.e. "not even wrong"?

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Nov 30, 3:57am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        


I respect your views and you make a lot of valid points, however...

If everything you assert is true, than aren't your very assertions also just matter and energy? And aren't ChristianGuy's assertions also just matter and energy? So how can anyone say your argument is better than ChristianGuy's (or visa versa)? Both are just matter and energy, so how can one form of matter and energy be "better" than another?

I agree that a lot of religion is BS, but it seems that "radical" determinism/materialism is ultimately self-defeating. Truth and falsehood, right and wrong, good and bad all become meaningless if there is nothing more than mass and energy behaving in absolutely pre-determined fashion, right?

Example: the debate over humans eating meat. In a radically deterministic/matericalistic universe, debate over the "rightness" or "wrongness" of the practice is meaningless: atoms and energy (in the form of a human) are predetermined to occaisonally interact with the atoms and energy (in the form of an animal) that results in the death of the animal. We call this interaction "killing and eating." This interation "just is."

The same line of reasoning holds for every other moral issue. Pollution of the environment? It just is. Genocide? It just is. Even survival itself...why is life (human or not) better than non-life? In a strictly materialistic, deterministic universe, everything is pre-determined and nothing really matters. We're left with radical fatalism. Why even get out of bed in the morning?

Radical materialism also seems to undermine the very pursuit of scientific inquiry. After all, if I there is no distinction between my inquiring mind and the matter, energy, and laws of physics that I am analyzing; how can I really come to any meaningful conclusions? The very concept of knowledge, like so many other familiar categories, is detroyed by radical materialism/determinism.

Is radical materialism even falsifiable? How could it be proven...or dis-proven? If I'm a radical materialist, I will always say (no matter what happens) that said events were predetermined. How convenient!

Radical materialism isn't isn't even wrong! Just like so many other grandiose ideologies (religious or secular).

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Nov 30, 6:07am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

bdrasin says

Good point. Here is some footage which might help:

Hilarious. But didn't the South Park guys also create an episode called "All About the Mormons?" that mocked Mormonism? "Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb..."

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Nov 30, 6:18am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

The Dems started to abandon the white working class (for better or for worse) when the "New Left" began to take power in the late 1960s. This isn't a suprise. Democrats were once the party of blue-collar workers, now they are the party of the 60's counterculture. There's a radical difference, culturally, between a Pittsburgh Democrat and a San Franciso Democrat. And don't forget the now-extinct racist Southern Dixiecrats. It's hard to believe that just a few decades ago, the racist south was mostly Democratic.

Politics is all just a cynical game, folks.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Nov 30, 11:29pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Dan8267 says

It was proven on Monday, August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima, Japan. Atomic theory, or radical materialism as you prefer, could have been disproved by proving a number of alternative, incompatible theories


I wasn't arguing about the nature of physical matter (whether or not matter is made up of atoms). I was arguing against the belief that physical matter (and energy) is ALL THERE IS. I was NOT arguing against atomic theory. I think that was pretty clear from my post.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Dec 1, 12:18am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (1)     quote        

One of my favorite Carlin quotes:
there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!
But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more.

Carlin's a funny guy. And yes, most organized religion is corrupt to the core. Some "Christian" megachurches shamelessly use corporate language like "customers" and "product" when describing their "operations." The Catholic church at one time actually sold forgiveness of sins for money. Ironic, since Jesus himself drove out the money changers from the Temple in his day.

Jesus also believed he was God (or, at the very least, the God of the Jews) and had the right to judge people and send some away for eternal punishment. That's why he was crucified...the charge was blasphemy, a capital offence in Judaism at the time.

Regardless of whether or not we believe Jesus' staggering claims, we are left with an unsettling question:
Why would a loving God mete out eternal punishment?

It sounds absurd at first glance. But under further examination, we realize that a loving God must punish evil. If God rewards both good and evil, than how can we call God loving? Even the secular world realizes the need to punish wrongdoing. God is love AND justice. Or at least that's the Christian position.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Dec 1, 12:22am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

It's a zombie bank that's TBTF, according to our politicians. I won't short it, but I won't buy it either.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Dec 1, 2:40am   ↑ like (1)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

bdrasin says

Basically, they think Mormons are great people with good values and strong, loving families who happen to believe some really crazy things.

Maybe that's just the human condition. In order to have any hope or any values beyond "do whatever you can get away with", one has to believe some crazy things.

Otherwise, I suppose, life is just a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and the fury, signifying nothing.

Wasn't it Kurt Vonnegut, a humanist, who once said cigarettes were a "classy way to commit suicide"? I guess he didn't really believe that crazy idea that humans are basically good.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Dec 5, 11:55pm   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

APOCALYPSEFUCK is Tony Manero says

God hates the pope more than he hates satan

Not really a new idea. During the Reformation in the 1500s, many Protestant thinkers considered the Pope to be the Antichrist. Some protestant churches still "officially" consider the Pope to be the Antichrist.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Dec 6, 12:03am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Dan8267 says

So, then hell is better than a Bank of America credit card? Less interest?


freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Dec 6, 12:12am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

Interesting about the secret ballot. Yes, it should pretty much eliminate vote-buying, but it brings new problems of verification.

Maybe skipping the whole "representative" democracy thing and going straight to direct democracy is the best answer. If there are no representatives, there's no one to bribe. Or there's everyone to bribe, but that's much more expensive.

Could be a good idea. Then again, direct democracy is essentially two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner tonight...

Ultimately, it everything boils down to those who get skrewed, and those who do the skrewing. Whether we call it monarchy, democracy, theocracy,'s basically all the same...powerful people skrewing everyone else for their own benefit.

freak80   ignore (4)   2011 Dec 6, 12:24am   ↑ like (0)   ↓ dislike (0)     quote        

There really don't seem to be many good investments now, I agree.

Stocks: overvalued on a long-term, cyclically-adjusted basis see If interest rates rise, money will flow out of stocks and into more conservative investments

Bonds: everyone's in bonds, bond yields at historic lows

Cash: governments around the world are printing money.

Gold/Silver: all the inflation paranoia is already "priced-in". Gold and silver are starting to look like bubbles.

Other commodities (oil, agriculture, industrial metals): wild price swings. China RE construction bubble is collapsing.

I suppose cash is the worst asset class right now, except for all the others. Cash gives you the ability to be opportunistic, and losing 2-3% annually from inflation isn't as bad as losing much more in riskier investments. Wait for a panic in some asset class, and then buy when there's "blood in the streets."

That's my plan anyway.