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lenar's comments

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lenar   2010 Dec 13, 10:32am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Greetings! As this is my first post - thanks Patrick for this site and for all the work you keep doing with it. A long time lurker here.

Unless I missed it, there is no mention of inflation. Shouldn't it be there as one of the variables? Perhaps in a form of rent increasing over time (rather than staying flat)?

lenar   2010 Dec 22, 4:27pm   ↑ like (1)   ↑ dislike (1)     quote        

elliemae says

rpanic, you made a racist statement so don’t get your panties in a wad because you were called on it.

Hmm.. no, he/she really didn't. Which part of his/her post was racist? Mention of anchor babies, a very real problem in CA? Guess what - you are the racist here if you draw the correlation between anchor babies and a specific race. Or do you question the effect that children with lower education standards have on school system?
And yes, it's typical leftist BS - pulling race card whenever social issues are brought into light.

lenar   2010 Dec 22, 4:48pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

kentm says

The make-up of the student body should have no impact on the quality of education.

That's wishful thinking, I'm afraid. Quality of education is a function of many variables - chemistry of a classroom, peer pressure among students, attention span of a teacher, level of preparation of a teacher are some of them, and they all depend on the make-up of the student body.

lenar   2010 Dec 22, 4:54pm   ↑ like (1)   ↑ dislike (1)     quote        

kentm says

So prove its not a racist statement then, please school me on how the make-up of the student body and their supposed background affects the entire standards and structure of the education system?

That's not how it works. _You_ prove that it is a racist statement. Which race does the statement above belittle? Last I heard, anchor babies are not a race.

lenar   2010 Dec 22, 4:59pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

kentm says

Pooh, those are all incidentals to the support & structure of a well structured system.

Well structured system is a meaningless concept until you realize that it's composed of elements. The ones you call "incidentals" (hint)
I've been through some very good and not so good schools. Oftentimes, class body was _the_only_ thing that made a difference.

lenar   2010 Dec 22, 5:15pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

kentm says

Whatever. Play stupid word games… Okay, I don’t know WHAT you wrote could have prompted such an absurd statement on my part. Now please show me how the make-up of the student body and their supposed background affects the entire standards and structure of the education system.

So, you mean that anchor babies imply a race? It sounds like that was an example of racism - making an observation, building an argument on that observation, but not wanting to voice it because it works against your cause - and thus painting yourself into a corner.

I ask again. Why would mention of anchor babies make you call the other person a racist? Last I heard they are not a race.

As for make-up of a student body... Have you ever tried to teach in a class where most students don't give a damn? Have you ever been a student in such a class? How did that go?

lenar   2010 Dec 22, 5:18pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

kentm says

A well structured system is different from a well structured classroom.
You’re attempting to put the weight and then the blame on individual classes and teachers, which is exactly the battle teachers face in a system that is unable to support them. Its not the way it should be. You need to take a broader approach.

A properly structured system should support a properly structured classroom, not destroy it. Currently it destroys it. No amount of money taken from taxpayers and thrown into the system that doesn't work can fix this.

lenar   2010 Dec 22, 5:26pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        


lenar   2011 Jan 26, 12:14pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Lectrician says

She is totally over values owning a home. In fact, it is a criteria for the man she wants to date - “must own his own home”.

so, she wouldn't consider Mark Zuckerberg, eh? his loss...

lenar   2011 May 23, 7:32pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

It's much more than selling out Israel; Obama did something no other POTUS have ever done AFAIK. He basically turned around and nullified, at least verbally, an agreement reached by his predecessor.

2004 US guaranteed Israel, among other things, that the requirement to return to pre-67 boarders would remain off the table and that major settlements would remain under Israeli jurisdiction.

Due to Obama, US now looks like a nation that can't engage in a long-lasting treaty, any treaty that may last longer than a presidency term. Strangely, this aspect and it's long term political damage rarely come into the spotlight.

Netanyahu must be particularly pissed for a personal reason. He was in Obama's shoes once, facing a dilemma - to follow his believe or to honor an obligation of his predecessor. Rabin, the predecessor, signed up to withdraw the troops from Hebron, and committed to a deadline. As much as Netanyahu was against it, he understood that political consistency of a state is much more important than tactical wrongdoings or his personal believes. Something that Obama doesn't care to understand, first with Egypt, and now with Israel. Obama's actions state that US is not a reliable partner. Middle East tends to remember these things.

In iwog says

Israelis Must “Return To The Core Of The Territory That Is The State of Israel Prior To 1967.” ~ Israeli Prime Minister Edud Olmert 2008 (one of Israel’s enemies according to Shrek)

Which Olmert? The one who blew the war in Lebanon or the one who was indicted on fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate documents, and tax evasion? Oh, wait, they are the same person. That person is an Israel's enemy according to quite a few Israelis. Shrek is in a large company here.

I said it before (not here) and I'll say it again. Long term damage caused by Obama's international policy will make Carter look like Churchill.

lenar   2011 Aug 27, 4:43pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

HousingWatcher says

"anyone on unemployment (yes, that includes me in there as I was unemployed for two months earlier this year),"

Since your against govt. spending, I assume you will refund all the money you got in unemployment insurance back to the govt. now that you have a job, right?

I hear this meaningless, absurd argument waaay too often. Earlier on this board it was about some right-wing politician using public transportation.

"The government is good at one thing. It knows how to break your legs, and then hand you a crutch and say, 'See if it weren't for the government, you wouldn't be able to walk.'" -- Harry Browne
If someone breaks your leg, you don't put up with "or, you don't like it? give us back the crutch, you damn hypocrite!" nonsense.

I'm sure that shrekgrinch would be happy to refund all the received unemployment benefits if someone refunds all of his/her FUTA tax for all productive years, withheld directly or indirectly (through his/her employer). Is HousingWatcher willing to do that?

lenar   2011 Aug 28, 6:22am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

marcus says

Could you please give some examples to illustrate this ?

I suppose...

It's nice to be "supposed", albeit wrongly. That aside, I'm not sure that you understood my initial point, otherwise you wouldn't be jumping from it to asking about my thoughts on how to fix the entire system (and possibly preserve rain forest, while we are at it).

The initial point was this. A person may disagree (even very vocally) with the system and with the kind of a trade-off that it offers. However. That person shouldn't be expected to reject or return the benefits and only keep the "getting shafted" part. That's not how opt-out works.

As to your question about examples - come on. Please.
Social security? People who were and still are paying into the system suddenly find out that getting paid back is "an entitlement", with negative connotation
Public school system? No one can "opt out", yet everyone who can afford to send kids to a private school is doing exactly that.
Fannie and Freddie? oh, this is, no comment should be needed
The war on poverty? The war on drugs? The war on Iraq?
Government can't even execute a straightforward business proposition in a manner comparable to private enterprises, USPS and Amtrak be the examples.
Where you even serious asking?

lenar   2011 Aug 28, 4:49pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

marcus says

It's okay, I get that you are probably an alter ego of someone I have on ignore. I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.

An alter ego of who? Please be more specific, so that both I and that person could have a good laugh.

marcus says

Whcih obviously is over my head, because it almost sounds like you are saying that the government only solves problems that it first creates.

First of all, it was Harry Browne who said that (and I'm not his reincarnated alter ego either, in case you wonder) And you are mistaken - the moral of the saying is not that government only solves the problems that it first creates.

lenar   2011 Aug 29, 4:12am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Dan8267 says

It's the money manipulators in the financial sector and the executives everywhere. That's the only group that needs to be taxed.

They don't need to be taxed more than everyone else. A successful money manipulator directs resources the way that turns out most efficient. When this happens, economy wins much more than when a coal miner exceeds expectations.

There is much bigger problem than lack of taxation among money manipulators. It's anti-capitalism in spirit, socialism-induced lack of personal responsibility among them. Capitalism says, a loser should fail. US government says, a loser who is TooBigToFail should be bailed out because it's in nation's interest. Bankers say, bailout shows as profit on the books so we'll give ourselves more fat bonuses. I say - not a dollar of community funds should've been spent on bailouts until we work through the personal funds of those involved.

But that's not how it works.

lenar   2011 Aug 29, 4:51am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Vicente says

However theres' damn little evidence that the financiers seek to be efficient. If they were efficient, their costs would be contained as surely as any other service sector. The long-term effect of finance seems to be obfuscation, diffusion of responsibility, and hovering up an ever larger share of the real economy.

But of course. There is no personal responsibility. They get to keep the winnings and shift the losses through taxation, bailouts, and printing paper. This is much deeper than just a taxation issue.
Nothing wrong with the dogma though, it just wasn't designed for "I win or you lose" type of the world that we get to live in.

lenar   2011 Aug 29, 5:49am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Vicente says

In every boom and bust, the financiers gained.

Not quite. See the results of the panics of 1825, 1866 in England. Many banks were left in ruins and bankers tried for fraud. Many riches had to readjust their lifestyles, including financiers.

But then again, they didn't have the benefit of infinite resource reallocation that comes with the power of Federal Reserve.

lenar   2011 Aug 29, 3:10pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Vicente says

The way you described them above as being needed for efficient market function, is precisely one of the brainwashing planks they rest on.

It's getting boring. Please re-read what I wrote and then see if you still feel like disagreeing.

lenar   2011 Aug 29, 3:25pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

corntrollio says

Except that it doesn't. Before the Fed, we had more frequent and longer in duration recessions. Check out this article, which cuts short of the Panic of 1837:

According to your quote, there was a recession every 4.1 year or so. This suggests a fairly short cycle and makes me question the "longer in duration" part of your statement. It also makes me wonder about their used definition of a recession.
By today's standards, a recession that lasts only 2 years (presumably) is almost a miracle.

lenar   2011 Aug 29, 4:36pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

the free market has completely failed to provide affordable private insurance

Health insurance is anything but free market in US. Community ratings, government-mandated coverage, prohibition of coverage across state lines are direct examples of government intervention and jacking up the cost. Indirect examples (perhaps even more severe) have to do with the fact that health insurance formed strong ties with even more regulated and artificially inflated field - medical industry itself.
Nice site, by the way. I've been a reader for the last 2 years or so.

lenar   2011 Aug 30, 6:09am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

corntrollio says

Did you even read what I wrote?

Yes, I have. Be more specific about what in my response you don't like.

corntrollio says

Did you click through to the link on the NBER site?

I did just now. You haven't suggested that link earlier, yet you act like you have. Why?

But now that I looked. NBER site suggests nothing about severity of recessions that it lists. Normal business cycle consists of expansion and contraction - so what? It doesn't even report timeline of Great Depression as a recession, instead listing two contraction periods 29-33 and 37-38. Apparently 33-37 were blissful times, weren't they? Doesn't it look a bit suspicious to you?

lenar   2011 Aug 30, 11:18am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

corntrollio says

It was in the article. You could have clicked through and found the recessions NBER was referring to instead of trying to guess and make up numbers yourself. You never even bothered to LEARN about the methodology before you questioned it!

LEARN is capitalized because it's an acronym? Or because it's an effort at persuasion in your lifelong quest for knowledge (by others)? FYI, that link in the article isn't even underlined. If you wish to be clear, please be.

corntrollio says

No, it doesn't look suspicious at all. A recession has a technical definition. You can say, "oh, the economy sucks," but it might not be in a recession. In fact, there was a bit of a bear market rally during some of those years.

So, the data is not suspicious to you -- it's just irrelevant, right? Or are you saying that Fed is good because it made us meet some technical definition better, even though that technical definition has little correlation with actual quality of life?

See, we are on the topic of recessions. The word has a negative connotation and basically, for the purposes of this conversation, means that economy sucks. Apparently you are talking about some other kinds of recessions - ones where things are great. I'll take one! And to heck with Fed if needed! Sounds much better than living during Fed-induced 33-37 which, however, look great in that table.

Or how should we interpret that data now? And how is it helpful in figuring out value of Federal Reserve?

lenar   2011 Aug 30, 11:58am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

tatupu70 says

OK--what is your definition of recession then? What statistics do you look at?

Why would I want a definition of my own? Any accepted definition is fine, including the one used by NBER (although that one is vague and subjective)

What I am stating though is that in this light NBER data is meaningless as a pro-Fed (or anti-Fed) argument. It's just meaningless in this context. Orthogonal to the issue. corntrollio will need to continue his quest for knowledge and find a better argument.

lenar   2011 Aug 30, 12:41pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

kentm says

...oh, ah, he was a democrat... er, well, ah never mind... ...hah, boys will be boys huh?... I'm sure they were just kidding around... shots fired at a window doesn't REALLY mean anything any way...

Hehe.. Texan republicans wouldn't have missed if they meant it :)

lenar   2011 Aug 30, 5:13pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

bob2356 says

I would be all in favor of a free market health insurance. What country would be your example of a working private health care system that provides affordable private insurance with good health results that the US could copy?

This is a slight change of topic, I was merely pointing out out that health insurance isn't free market in US.
I don't mind though, as long as we concentrate on cost/quality rather than on relative term "affordable" (affordable by who?)
One example is Costa Rica. Private insurances operate on top of public healthcare and are times cheaper than in US - with very well equipped hospitals and excellent service. Medical professionals are paid less, but doctor's salary is not the most significant component of the cost in US. Even if premiums were adjusted for higher doctor's income, US middle class would be blessed to have equivalent healthcare options, in terms of bang per buck.

The root cause of the problem is that healthcare itself is expensive. Healthcare industry is both a victim of the system and a perpetrator. Over-regulated field, which artificially controls it's own size and sets premiums, which monopolized distribution of everything that it possibly could (including drugs that are OTC even in Europe), which becomes a victim of experiments by local politicians, and operates in a litigation society.

I haven't studied Obamacare in details and don't have a strong opinion. My gut feel says that it shouldn't work - math shouldn't add up. Issue is in healthcare itself, not in how/where we shift or repackage insurance premiums.

lenar   2011 Aug 31, 2:58am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

bob2356 says

The reason private insurance is relatively cheap in a public health care system is that the public system does all the heavy lifting financially. Private insurance just gives you access to a a specialist of your choice for procedures as opposed to whoever the public doc of the day is.

Incorrect. Non-citizens are ineligible for public health care in Costa Rica, yet private health care is times cheaper for them as well.

lenar   2011 Aug 31, 3:49am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

tatupu70 says

How is it meaningless? If you're using recessions as the measuring stick, then the data is completely revelant.

I started responding but then realized that I'm rephrasing what's already been said and adding no new info. Please reread; starting with "1:09 pm" or perhaps further. If it still doesn't make sense, answer this: the data is relevant to what? What was the initial question that we were trying to address? and I'll take it from there.

lenar   2011 Aug 31, 4:29pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

tatupu70 says

I don't see where you've ever addressed my point, so if it's not too much trouble, why don't you rehash it.

No trouble.
If that data is correct, it's irrelevant. If it's relevant, it's incorrect. Why? Because it reports one of the economically worst periods in modern US history (33-37) with positive connotation. It also states that we had recessions 03/2001-11/2001 and 12/2007-06/2009 but none in between, or around those dates. The data ends at 9/2010, so apparently we were out of recession by 11/2001 and by 6/2009. Could it be? Sure, NBER is free to call recession whatever they want. But at some point logic says: "Wait a minute! Their definition fails to reflect the actual quality of life, or the actual state of economy!" This bluntly disqualifies data built on NBER definition of recession as an argument regarding merit of Fed. After all, we should care about whether or not our lives are better - not how well they now fit into some arbitrary definition.

There are many definitions of recession. Some economists use a specific drop in GDP, some - specific unemployment numbers, some - specific rate of growth of unemployment numbers, some - combination of the above. This conversation got me curious about NBER definition of a recession. I expected to see terms like "expansion" and "contraction" -- terms that define direction and are parts of a normal business cycle. They don't help much with actual state of affairs and still would be meaningless, but at least they define direction, somewhat precisely. This would make sense out of NBER classification of 1933-1937.

However, reality turned out better than that.
Wikipedia says: "The NBER defines an economic recession as: 'a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.'"
Not a single number! The closest that they come to precision is using terms "few months" and "significant decline". Their definition allows for more wiggle room than a retired porn star.

Do you still feel like using that table as a pro-Fed argument? Really?

corntrollio says

I don't think you've given a coherent anti-Fed argument in any case. What is your case against it?

Here is a quick test on reading comprehension. No cheating, no scrolling up. Have I already indicated my (supposedly) anti-Fed position in this thread?

lenar   2011 Sep 1, 6:34pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

corntrollio says

What are you suggesting that's better? A big nothing so far.

Imho, it's better to say nothing than it is to say something that spreads misinformation. But that's just me.

lenar   2011 Sep 2, 3:11am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

tatupu70 says

If the NBER were spreading misinformation, then you might have a point.

argumentum ad ignorantiam.

lenar   2011 Sep 2, 5:25am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

tatupu70 says

Typically when one disagrees with data, they will explain why and then offer other data backing up their concerns.

So let's see. I explained why your logic is flawed (see the "irrelevant if correct, incorrect if relevant" post). Your objection to the explanation is that I didn't offer an alternative. Is this a correct summary?

Boy am I glad you aren't on Wolfskehl committee. You would've forced the committee to accept the very first (incorrect) proof of Fermat Last Theorem because the committee didn't have a proof of their own.

tatupu70 says

Please--show me some data quantifying that and then how it was better before the Fed and got worse after the Fed.

I respect your conduct in this conversation (while disagreeing with your logic). I wouldn't want to resort to the "reading comprehension" test from above.

lenar   2011 Sep 2, 6:08am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

tatupu70 says

I'm asking you to do the latter.

See above. Post of Wed, 31 Aug 2011 at 11:29 pm explains why that data can't be used as a pro-Fed or anti-Fed argument.
It's getting boring.

tatupu70 says

So, is that a no? You can't provide any evidence of your own?

Any evidence to what? Here is a quick test on reading comprehension. No cheating, no scrolling up. Have I already indicated my (supposedly) anti-Fed position in this thread?

lenar   2011 Sep 2, 6:29am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

tatupu70 says

There's your problem. It really doesn't.

You are mistaken thinking that it's my problem. See the results of reading comprehension test for more confirmation.

tatupu70 says

Which is your goal

My goal was to show that your argument in support of Fed is pure BS. I purposefully didn't disclose my own take on Fed because it has nothing to do with the quality of your argument.

See, I like red meat. But if someone says that read meat cures cancer, I'd raise my brow. Especially if they challenge my raised brow by demanding to provide a list of other meals that do cure cancer. And then insist that my raised brow proves that I don't like red meat.

I like riding motorcycles. But if someone says that riding motorcycles improves my life expectancy compare to walking, I'd raise my brow. Especially if they challenge my raised brow by demanding to provide list of vehicles that do improve life expectancy compare to walking. And then insist that my raised brow proves that I don't like riding motorcycles.

You get the drift. Or do you?

lenar   2011 Sep 2, 6:53am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

corntrollio says

NBER didn't give a positive connotation to 1933-1937. It gave a non-recessionary one. Just because we are not in recession doesn't mean times are the greatest (as evidenced by now).

Ok, so you do understand that. By NBER definition, recession doesn't mean "bad" and non-recession doesn't mean "good". So why are you using recession duration as a pro-Fed argument? Why is it even relevant?

corntrollio says

"The Fed has created less frequent recessions" where you are disputing the definition of recessions.

False. Please re-read, as we already know were the problem might be.
Contrary to what you say, I wrote "NBER is free to call recession whatever they want". See, I don't even call their definition incorrect - only vague and useless in context. Context which you are skipping (purposefully?)

Also, please re-read post by marcus a bit above (1:10 pm). It's important.

lenar   2011 Sep 2, 6:55am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

marcus says

As far as I can tell, Lenar is saying that Tat is making some incorrect inference about the fed based on the NBER definition of a recession.

Not Tat, otherwise correct. Talk to you folks later, got to go for now.

lenar   2011 Sep 2, 7:01am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Ok, ok, last one.
corntrollio says

No, now you're putting words in my mouth. Everyone agrees that recession means bad.

...and non-recession means bad? No, not everyone. You disagree:
corntrollio says

A recession has a technical definition. You can say, "oh, the economy sucks," but it might not be in a recession. In fact, there was a bit of a bear market rally during some of those years.

lenar   2012 Jul 12, 10:36am   ↑ like (1)   ↑ dislike (1)     quote        

CL says

A guy who receives Social Security while denouncing it is a hypocrite.

Do I need to explain how faulty this logic is, or are you a lost cause?
Because he PAID into the system, involuntarily. If he refuses SS, would state refund what it took, with interest? didn't think so.

What's next? Will you also claim that slaves - victims of your labor for your life proposition - were hypocrites because they didn't end their lives, too?

lenar   2012 Jul 13, 5:52am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

CL says

Paul says one thing, does another. I don't begrudge him receiving Social Security. I begrudge him his hypocrisy.

He would be a hypocrite if he had an option to opt out of SS yet chose not to. Is there such an option? Didn't think so. You train of thought - that he should leave his cake and puke it, too - is pure demagogy.

Feel free to begrudge though. Pathos occasionally works on impressionable minds.

lenar   2012 Jul 20, 5:29pm   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

> It's actually a bit surprising to me that in a theatre full of people there wasn't one armed citizen.
Not surprising at all. Century theater is a gun free zone. Law–abiding–citizen–gun–free–zone is a better term, in light of the shooting.

Condolences to the families.

lenar   2012 Jul 23, 5:21am   ↑ like (0)   ↑ dislike (0)     quote        

Century has a strict anti-gun business policy. It's a gun-free zone (I'll spare obvious puns here)

Disarming patrons and not providing security of their own – I wonder if it's sufficient cause for legal action in aftermath.

lenar   2012 Jul 23, 5:36am   ↑ like (1)   ↑ dislike (1)     quote        

Not a lawyer. I would've known the answer if I were.

They chose to implement gun-free policy - fine. But it should come with door checks and/or security; otherwise it's just selective disarmament of the law abiding.

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