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  • On 18 Aug 2014 in A third of people have nothing saved for retirement, futuresmc said:

    zzyzzx says

    Having said that, I'm sure that at least some of those 60% that have little or no savings are state and local government employees with lavish defined benefit pension plans who really don't absolutely need to save anything for retirement. So the problem is bad, is not quite as bad as the article suggests.

    Lavish? Those pension plans work in lieu of the Social Security checks workers might have otherwise gotten. When you work for a municipal or state institution and become eligible for a defined pension, you only get a fraction of what you would have gotten from Social Security, usually less than $300 a month. The only thing lavish about retiring from a public service occupation is that your post-retirement income is supposed to be more stable and harder to fleece than those Wall Street manipulated private sector retirement accounts that don't have the backstop of a government behind them. This idea that public sector workers are on easy street once they reach retirement is think tank propaganda meant to convince everyone else that raiding the pension funds of cops, teachers, and sanitation workers is a morally acceptable means of balancing budget deficits intentionally caused by cutting taxes to the point where we can't fund the government services we need to get from day to day without running up debt.

  • On 25 Jul 2014 in Will Dollar Collapse While Wall Street Buys BILLIONS in Real Estate? Read more a, futuresmc said:

    The dollar isn't going to collapse. Too much of the world depends on American military support to allow the nation to suffer hyperinflation to the point where the dollar collapses, at least for the moment. We pretty much pick up the slack so that Europe, Japan, a good portion of South America, etc, can keep a show army and navy to look sufficiently able to defend themselves, but if threatened, the US would take the lead and do 90% of the fighting. This is not to say we won't have another 2008 like panic, we most certainly will, but nothing that will completely undo the dollar any worse than the other big currencies.

  • On 23 Jul 2014 in NYC apartment building to have seperate door for the poor, futuresmc said:

    wave9x says

    Carolyn C says

    What about the kids that have to go to and from school through the alley. What kind of danger will the kids be exposed. Just so a couple of self absorbed pigs can feel elevated. Discusting!

    Oh god, playing the "poor innocent children" card. If a woman is poor, gets knocked up, and has a baby, that is her problem. It doesn't give her the right to a penthouse suite in Trump Tower.

    Sorry if the idea that poor kids exist in NYC offends you, but reality is sometimes offensive. However, there was no surprise for the developer. Remember, he KNEW he had a deal to build affordable housing units. He signed that deal. The people who voluntarily buy the higher end units knew there would be lower income people in the building. Now he wants to change the plans and add a poor door. Where does he get off promising one egalitarian design and then delivering another, yet still getting all the goodies he's getting for including the affordable housing? Your stereotypical assumptions about the nature of 'low income' people aside, this is a case of a rich developer trying to pull a fast one on taxpayers, an overage person would never get away with. If the initial promises were made with a common entrance, then they need to remain that way and the wealthy should have to suck it up.

  • On 23 Jul 2014 in Increased worker productivity will make up for demographic changes, futuresmc said:

    indigenous says

    This problem is more justly and efficiently handled if the government stays out of it. People do what is best for them without any help from the overlords.

    Technology and about 40 million immigrants and dwindling resources will play a part in the future.

    But it will be worse if politics interferes.

    Small government = oligarchy. This has been the lesson of the past 40 years, irregardless of good intentions. A well proportioned government provides adequate checks and balances and enforces the rule of law, which is why oligarchs hate it. What you're proposing is handing complete control of government over to a tiny minority whose best interests lay in siphoning as much wealth as they can for themselves and making life unbearable for the rest.

  • On 23 Jul 2014 in GAO Sting Finds It Easy to Fake It, Get Obamacare Premiums, futuresmc said:

    Of course we could nip this fraud in the bud if congress was willing to fund appropriate oversight, but that would go against the neoliberal tenet of 'small government'. You create a program, then refuse to adequately staff the agency that oversees its efficiency. That's the real fraud, but thankfully there's just enough talent in the GAO to catch things this time.

  • On 23 Jul 2014 in We need to disarm cops, futuresmc said:

    Dan8267 says

    That's what I said. Disarm the cops.

    While some disarmament is warranted (tanks to podunk town sheriffs, really?), more important are stronger protection for civilians. We also need accountability for cops when they use these weapons. Cops are not soldiers; they're law enforcement. They're meant to be part of society, not outside it.

  • On 22 Jul 2014 in NYC apartment building to have seperate door for the poor, futuresmc said:

    Peter P says

    Nothing is more demeaning than making choices for someone else.

    Exactly. The developer should not be making a choice for lower income tenants as to which door they can use to access the apartments they've paid for. The developer made the deal with the city. The wealthier tenants knew there would be lower income people living in the building. The only person making a choice for another is the developer. If he didn't want class co-mingling in his building, he shouldn't have signed a contract with the city that required adding affordable housing. He did so because he wanted all the benefits and tax goodies adding those units brings.

  • On 21 Jul 2014 in Good news we're getting too broke to be fat., futuresmc said:

    You do realize that most of the cheap food is also high calorie crap? The poor buy cheap food because that's all they can afford. They are fat but malnourished.

  • On 18 Jul 2014 in You probably don't want to hear this either..., futuresmc said:

    New Renter says

    And why can't homeless people be relocated to the abandoned cities of the midwest? Plenty of shelter there.

    Homeless people have the same rights as everyone else, to live in whichever city they please. These cities need to fix the situations that create so many homeless, not squeeze the tube and make it some deindustrialized midwestern city's problem. But then, there's no shake-down profit for the private sector to be gleaned in fixing the problem, so it never gets done. Gotta love America.

  • On 14 Jul 2014 in Robots will steal your job but that's OK, futuresmc said:

    Bellingham Bill says

    The shit that that French dude wrote about in Les Miserables really happened in 19th century France. The Irish also starved, as did much of Europe here and there, all because there was too many people and not enough work, or available free land to engage in mere subsistence farming.

    It gets worse as robots will be taking agricultural jobs as well. While certain elements of the 19th century crisis will rear their ugly heads, what is happening will become far worse as everything a human can do a computer will be able to do better. Some artistic jobs will remain open as I don't believe human consumers will want to partake in the artistic product of computers, but that will leave a tiny subset of the population employed. For all of recorded history humans have had to work to live in one form or another. I seriously don't know how we'll cope when the option isn't there anymore. As much as we gripe about it, work structures our lives. Without it, who knows what will happen?

  • On 13 Jul 2014 in Shouldn't Banks Have to Borrow at Higher Interest Rates Than The Credit Worthy, futuresmc said:

    Oligarchies only respond to the dictates of the rich and powerful. There are no laws or common sense rules or regulations, such as giving better rates to the credit worthy when loaning government money, that supersede the will of the bankers.

  • On 9 Jul 2014 in Paris to Tax Empty Offices at 20-40% of Rental Value; Price Crash On the Way, futuresmc said:

    By taxing EMPTY offices you force landlords to lower rental prices so that new businesses can come in and do their thing. Speculators who want to hold out for bigger rents will have to pay taxes while they wait. This will get the economy hoping, by bringing REAL producers to Paris to set up shop and making the hoarders of real estate pay for the unemployed who can't get work because new business formation is stymied by high rents. Well done Frogs. Well done!

  • On 23 Jun 2014 in Help build a tiny house village for the homeless, futuresmc said:

    Yeah, but you need to be connected to a water source for your plumbing, electrical wiring, septic system installed, heating and air conditioning (depending on where the house is geographically), etc. The house itself is the least of the expense.

    Although I do admit that is a nice shed.

  • On 23 Jun 2014 in Gen X And Gen Y: The Boomers Stole your Wealth, futuresmc said:

    The Professor says

    Age war. The oligarchs love it when we fight amongst our selves while letting them get away with robbery, burglary, and murder.

    Precisely. This is what they want. They want the Xers and Millennials to demand reduction in Social Security and Medicare and other senior-targeted programs. Then, when those get passed, the Oligarchs can get new tax cuts for themselves. They want Boomers to see a zero sum game when it comes to education, healthcare subsidies and other spending that mostly benefits the younger generations, so that the money freed up from making society work for the majority of people can once again result in greater tax cuts for oligarchs. We've seen this before in the culture wars where the only winners were the oligarchs as they shifted to stingier formulas for calculating Social Security cost of living adjustments and making student loan debt non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. We can't fall for this BS again. There is no age war. There is only a class war and the oligarchs are winning.

  • On 9 Jun 2014 in Is 'free will' nothing mores than brain noise?, futuresmc said:

    Heraclitusstudent says

    That's BS.

    If your brain decides you should do this or that, then you do it.

    Why it decides it could be after some reasoning. Meaning it is not based on noise, though of course a lot of time we decide things randomly as we should in absence of other valid criteria.

    Yes, but IF this were true, the 'meaning' might be the brains way of covering for the random fluctuation. After all, we humans always look for patterns and narratives in our lives. If we respond to some random neurological jolt, we create a story around it so we don't loose the logical cohesion we need to experience reality as a sane and predictable thing. That's why the severely mentally ill often believe that they're behaving rationally despite their brains being bombarded but inappropriate chemical signals.

    Irregardless of why we have free will, maintaining it socially and legally is the most important thing. If we concede it's just some brain fluctuation, we hand over reality itself to people who think the free market can do better. It's bad enough they already deny the existence of involuntary unemployment. Too much of our law and our custom is based on the idea of free will to deny it's existence as well.

  • On 7 Jun 2014 in Firm suspected of Medicare fraud for penis pumps, futuresmc said:

    And yet, even with the fraud, Medicare is STILL more cost effective and efficient that most private health insurance plans. Imagine what we could do if we had Medicare-For-All and took some of the savings from what we currently spend on healthcare to enact well funded, near-draconian strict fraud busting programs. America would save a bundle?

  • On 30 May 2014 in Your kids will never let you retire, futuresmc said:

    zzyzzx says

    Trickle down does work! It's just that currently it trickles down to Mexico, China, India, Brazil, Thailand, etc. With the appropriate import duties, it would trickle down to someplace in the US. I blame Clinton for that, since he did sign NAFTA.

    On this we can agree. We need a government that seeks to create living wage jobs in the US so people can take care of themselves and their families without the need to avail themselves of public assistance. Americans are willing to work hard, but only if that hard work keeps them safe, healthy, and regularly fed. This is why we need regulation that incentivizes hiring Americans.

  • On 29 May 2014 in Robots Replacing Warehouse Workers And Fast Food Employees, futuresmc said:

    Heraclitusstudent says

    Strategist says

    Changing technology has been with us ever since they invented the wheel. Workers in dying technologies will always be susceptible to being laid off, retraining and retirement. New generations come in and learn new skill and get jobs that never existed before.

    Until now, most new technology were about doing faster and better things that were already done before. Planting food, extracting ore, producing metals, assembling stuff. The "new" jobs were evolutions of the old ones even if sometime radically changed.

    At some point we will see technologies that simply don't require *any* humans. It's not even a question of speed. It will be an integrated self-maintaining machine from ore to recycling.

    And the new technologies can think. Previous generations had dumb technology. Now we have Watson and it's ilk. This throws jobs that require human brain power and discretion onto the scrap heap. As AI evolves there won't be anything a human can do better than a computer. We are well on our way to this future and we have to figure out what we will do once no human or only a tiny minority of human artists are qualified to work. Humans have spent thousands of years primarily defining ourselves by our labor and our abilities to acquire resources and now we're on the loosing end of that proposition. I have no idea how this is going to end.

  • On 29 May 2014 in Airbnb and Uber are not cool, futuresmc said:

    donjumpsuit says

    Also, how about things that are not breaking the law or regulations. Such as when laws or regulations are made to increase inequality, or remove barriers for the rich or powerful to get more rich and powerful.

    Like increases sales tax, increasing tolls, decreasing funding for science and education, decreasing funding for infrastructure. Also using public funds to build stadiums for sports teams who already rake in inexorbinate sums of money.

    Ah, but that's why there's such a fuss. Multinationals and banks have been shifting the tax burden to the average person for years. If services like AirBnB or Uber come in and cause deficits, some of those special carve outs might have to be rethought.

  • On 27 May 2014 in Disability Beneficiaries Hit New Record: 10,996,447, futuresmc said:

    zzyzzx says

    It should get lazy people off of "disability" and doing jobs that Mexicans currently do, and that should be very good for the US. Why do you hate American workers?

    Americans would be happy to do those jobs for a living wage and adequate worker safety laws. Unfortunately, American employers don't want to be forced by a limited labor market to offer either, so they hire illegal foreign workers and lobby for visas to bring in guest workers legally. If our government would adopt an American worker friendly attitude, we could significantly cut our anti-poverty programs by strictly limiting the foreign competition within our own borders and giving our workers bargaining power to attain the wages that would feed their families without government assistance. Unfortunately, all you want to do is cut spending on anti-poverty programs while at the same time allow totally unfettered labor arbitrage. That is a recipe for destitution of the majority of Americans, no matter how hard they work, and that is morally indefensible.

  • On 27 May 2014 in How Bad Will The 60-Year Cycle Bottom Be?, futuresmc said:

    Bubbabear says

    “Thus the Fed may have to let interest rates rise to prevent the pension catastrophe from becoming even worse,” he writes. Indeed, rising interest rates are part and parcel of the inflationary aspect of the 60-year cycle We should eventually expect to see a gradual rising trend in coming years as the new inflationary cycle becomes established.

    Pensions and savings vehicles tend to benefit the little people. Low interest rates benefit the too-big-to-fail banks and financial institutions higher up the food chain. Interest rates will remain low no matter how much suffering is created for savers and those reliant on the pensions they worked for all their lives. What's good for the super-rich is what will be, no matter the cost to anyone else. That's how oligarchies roll.

  • On 25 May 2014 in Disability Beneficiaries Hit New Record: 10,996,447, futuresmc said:

    curious2 says

    People who travel to Mexico are amazed to find that the total retail price for whatever they need is less than their insurance co-payment. You blame the people who complain about having to pay the overinflated price, but you should be blaming the lobbyists who use our government as their tool to maximize revenues. The purported beneficiaries are not the real beneficiaries, they are props to jerk your sympathy, in fact they are hostages whose desperation ensures they continue to vote for their captors. The real beneficiaries are lobbyists and politicians and their patronage networks, including the political nepotism that uses your money to buy your votes and robs you blind and gets you blaming the wrong villain.

    Oh, I agree that rent seeking is a MAJOR problem, but when people like you argue for America to adopt a global standard to our funding of anti-poverty programs, it never works out well. All starve the beast ever accomplishes is a lower standard of living for the people who use those programs, even when they work long hours and do the right thing. We can agree on fighting rent seeking towards the goal of bringing down prices for the working poor so that their labor alone can sustain them and their kids, but if you also vote to cut government spending on the poor, you won't be chastening the rent seekers as you hoped. Look at food stamp cuts and the reduction in section 8 vouchers. All those things did was leave workers working at multiple low wage jobs and living in cars, unable to feed their kids 3 squares. Big agra lost nothing and rents continued to climb undisturbed. Attacking rent seeking requires politically bloody, direct confrontation. Anything else and the rentiers game the system. So join with me to fight big pharma and big agra and oversubsidized real estate developers, but leave the poor out of it.

  • On 25 May 2014 in Disability Beneficiaries Hit New Record: 10,996,447, futuresmc said:

    thomaswong.1986 says

    futuresmc says

    Globalization is a race to the bottom by its very nature. Near slave labor, prison labor, and sweatshops are global reality. If America sunk to global standards in terms of defining poverty, that would require casting millions of Americans into direct competition with these abominations.

    This look slave labor to you? You should understand they are willfully competing against us, while you pathetically thinking its slave labor. Your being naive...

    The workers in these photos are engaged in work that requires a higher skill set than what we've been discussing. This is not the garment worker or fast food server. An intelligent, well educated, very lucky few do the jobs you have pictured here and are paid a living wage or more for it. My quoted comment was geared towards the workers at the lower-skilled end of the spectrum and whether or not their labor can pay enough to feed, clothe, house, and keep them in the kind of health they need to continue working. In America, the answer would be no, despite full time, physically demanding employment.

  • On 23 May 2014 in Disability Beneficiaries Hit New Record: 10,996,447, futuresmc said:

    zzyzzx says

    futuresmc says

    Then you are a sociopath.

    Then maybe you should set up a private charity to support deadbeats, instead of forcing all taxpayers to support people too lazy to work at rather luxurious levels.

    Government seems to have no problem fudging inflation and unemployment numbers, so why not just define the whole poverty problem away?

    Throw out your tired old lazy-American-worker myth; most people on public assistance DO work; they just don't earn enough in the private sector to support themselves and their families. A wage that permits basic subsistence is not 'luxurious', not in a nation so rich. True deadbeats are trust fund babies who never work a day in their lives but get pissy when a single mom working two or three jobs wants to be able to ensure her kids have asthma inhalers AND dinner each night and so collects food stamps and government subsidized healthcare.

    If poverty was redefined to a global standard, charities would never be able to keep up with the need, especially when you consider that the people that are most apt to donate to charity are the same people who would see their wages plummet in your ideal system, leaving them in need of charity themselves.

    Globalization is a race to the bottom by its very nature. Near slave labor, prison labor, and sweatshops are global reality. If America sunk to global standards in terms of defining poverty, that would require casting millions of Americans into direct competition with these abominations. There is no way an American worker can do that and make enough to survive. There needs to be a floor nobody can fall beneath and private charity can't guarantee that. Only government, as flawed as it often is, can. It's like that old joke about democracy being the absolute worst system for human society to form itself around... except for every other system humans have tried since the dawn of time. Governments suck, but without them, there is nothing but human-on-human predation without limit.

  • On 23 May 2014 in Robots Replacing Warehouse Workers And Fast Food Employees, futuresmc said:

    Strategist says

    Rin says

    If something is not done soon, from a political action p.o.v., we will have a complete dystopia come 2040.

    My sentries will have to open fire on intruders or at least taser them.

    If the milleniums can penetrate national defenses, they can easily penetrate yours. Your sentries could turn against you.

    Hope you have a plan B.

    I agree. Hacktivists, not activists, are the real hope for the 21st century. For me, this is where the Millennial's promise shines through.

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