Bankrupt Arguments

I have heard three times in as many days, expressions of grave dissapointment and dismay at the proposed financial recovery plans coming out of the democrats. This has driven me to a real anger, to the point that I feel it's unhealthy to politely pretend there is no such thing as politics, just for the sake of maintaining a nice friendly exterior. Our friendships, I hope, can withstand some frank conversations.

Here are the three arguments.
  • "Oh my God, he thinks he can borrow and spend our way out of this." This congressman expressed absolute horror at the concept of the (second half) of the bailout, after voting for the first half of it.
  • "I've been burned by this, err, by the current administration once, <> so now I can't be fooled a second time <>"
  • And finally, this last a very loose paraphrase, but as accurate as I can make it, an argument that we shouldn't select infrastructure projects as a way to apply stimulus because "that's thesame thing we did in Iraq with Halliburton and look at all the corruption and opportunities for fraud we have uncovered there!"

In reverse order, my rebuttals are...
3) Isn't it a little late for the pot to point at itself and say "you're black as sin!" and, does Cheney's pet company and the money wasted thereupon necessarily imply or even suggest that some other companies would be equally guilty? Fundamentally, the solution is to carve out the rot. It is logically corrupt to visit the sins of the father upon the son. Furthermore, the gentleman entirely misses the point that money spent on Halliburton ends up in their corporate accounts or Iraqui infrastructure, often employing foreigners. From our perspective, it is money destroyed, entropy. A school or road built HERE has lasting benefit. A bomb exploded in the desert is eventually filled in again with sand, a complete and utter waste of the sweat that built that. It's the fundamental difference between destructino and construction. I understand Halliburton is not directly involved in the exploding part of the Iraqui enterprise, but inasmuch as they reconstruct infrastructure we priorly disassembled with explosives, it is part of the overall equation, which, let's not forget, has been > $100B/yr

2) The senator's Freudian gaffe at the beginning almost makes my case for me. Again, we have a very clear case of simply turning the argument around because of political partisanship. It couldn't be any clearer. Sir, I've been burned once before too; I used to be a republican.

1) Let's ignore for a moment the recurring theme of immediately changing one's mind about policies the very day the presidency changes political parties, although that alone should destroy this guy's credibility. Lowering taxes is the form of borrowing cited here, and tax relief is a very big part of the bailout plan. (ok I guess we have to ignore that the diatribe was always tax and spend," right? It's Republicans who borrow and spend, right.) It changes the budget balance. The essential question each year is how much defecit to accrue, and where to spend the money. In lowering taxes (and that's proposed, for pete's sake!) you elect to broaden the defecit in hopes of alleviating the individual financial pressures that constrain spending. There is the further distinction of where in the income histogram (down at the subsistence level, up in the wealthy level) to apply the benefits or extract the tolls, and that is a fundamental republican/democrat schism lately. As one of the wealthy ones, and in particular a principal at a corporation strapped for credit and at risk, I feel qualified to offer that I think I have more than enough money, and less than enough security. Those of you secure in your wealth had better not offer that the rich are being taxed too much, and had better remember that families making under $200k will receive tax cuts. If you are making more than that, and you want to complain, I have no ears for you.

I am very interested, and will not delete, your arguments. If you want to reply privately, I will honor that privacy. But I will not spare you the full force of whatever arguments I have. I am very very sick of this shit, and not interested in another fatcat trying to win arguments with tricky emotional arguments. I understand English very very well, unfortunately for some of you senators. My main hope is to educate enough children to a clear and concise method of parsing what is said rather than listening to the jeering and snorting, to run you bastards out of office forever.



  • Democrats are more fiscally conservative than republicans. I was carefully raised to think otherwise, and probably it wasn't always so, but here is an astounding summary: From 1946 to today, Democratic presidents pushed the deficit up by 3.2 percent per year. Meanwhile, Republican presidents increased the budget deficit by 9.7 percent. In other words, since 1946, Republican presidents have outspent Democratic presidents by almost 3 to 1. The reference needs validation, and I will try to find some. Subjectively, I think NAFTA is the largest conservative activity of our time and as we recall, that's Clinton's. Meanwhile, the Fed housing give-away/bubble is a consequence of Republican policy years. How does pundit thinking assess the connection between low interest rates and high home prices: surely they are coupled. Was that good policy?
  • In partial support of the above, Gina provided this link which identifies numerous economic indicators such as GDP, disposable income & deficit, including assessments assuming various lag times (assuming a president doesn't instantly affect the economy). It's well supported in terms of identifying references (which look good to me) and critiques. In summary, I believe the "tax and spend" mantra is propaganda, and insupportable.
  • Besides just spending, and possibly way more important, is what you spend it on. Military (and space, I gotta admit) investments (beyond those needed to stay sovreign) reduce money to entropy, while school, infrastructure, technology investments leave something tangible in their wake. Both stimulate the economy. In the long run, the military method is worse.
  • We should lower military pay until we're short of soldiers, then start a draft. Our mercenary army removes the compulsion to be damn sure we really really want to have a war. (Obviously we need very strong legal setup to avoid a silver spoon draft: preventing people at the top (like me) from finding a nice safe field hospital for their special progeny. My suggestion is that the decisionmakers in our society must have their progeny at risk. I do not say we should drift to a mostly conscript army: our military is the most professional, humane, effective because of professional soldiers, but there should be an element of conscripts, just to force us to remember we all must share their risks in a very real way.
  • Income is unequally distributed (no surprise, and I am not suggesting inequity). The wikipedia article has a pretty good graph used to showing a growing spread, but the importance is not the time trend so much as the vertical distribution: roughly half the income is distributed amongst the top quarter of the households. While your reaction to the data is your own, the information is not good or bad, it is just unvarnished fact. Do we want it that way? What, if anything, should we do about this? Again, the trend is growing. Economic and taxation policies affect the curve: income EARNED is not the same as income KEPT after taxes & you should properly imagine that factor flattening the curve. I suggest, (and this is not a new argument) that where the government takes action, it should inject stimulus near the bottom. Living with less margins, those people will have to spend. Bubble up instead of trickle down.

Unusual workouts

I want to come up with a bunch of unique & fun training events for this coming year. Here are some ideas I haven't done yet.
  1. Funny walks: lunges & such.
  2. NCAR repeats.
  3. Water running? Vertical kicking, certainly.
Well, that's a lame start. gonna be a challenge...

Here are ones I did...
  1. Backwards! Running, bike trainer, hills & stairs.
  2. Ergometer with the aft end elevated a few inches (to work hamstrings).
  3. Snowboarding (counts 'cause of extreme unusual pain: that's the criteria after all.)
  4. towing loaded snowboard.
  5. Running up Scott Carpenter hill (sometimes backwards) at a dead sprint. (30 reps).

New Year's Resolutions

This is a little more private than facebook, so I want to put the resolutions here. I'm going to be terse...
  • Never lose my temper. This is especially true at work.
  • Expand workout scope significantly, and time in small ways. This means ~7hr to 10hr/week, and (this is the fun part) at least one hour should be unique or different, make some new muscle group hurt. I'm not going to do Tri, but will keep the big 3 in high abundance. Also strength and some cross training though. 178 lb average, touching 175. (Today, was 185, but have averaged 181 over December, so that's my "real" starting point.)
  • Organize the HELL out of my HDD. I think this is a form of gardening: good for the soul and produces a nice liveable environment.
  • Write, write, write. On paper and on the computer. A novel, and a daily log. (like, a half a page a day on actual papyrus!)
  • Solve relationship problems.
  • Speak less, so as to be less boring.
Facebook? E-mail? Blog? Too many modalities. Bear with me. This (the blog) is obviously more ego centric: my input goes on the top, you only get to comment. It's a place for me to write publicly. Who knows if I will, or how much? Recent new year's resolutions now stipulate that I must, but most of that will private. (I said I'd write a book, not let anyone read it!)

Meanwhile, I like the egalitarian, synapse like stew of facebook: it is very immediate. That is it's benefit and downfall all at once. Somebody wrote me (within the facebook context) something like "what's up lately?" which on facebook should be an oxymoron on par with sending an e-mail reading, "sorry I missed you, e-mail me back," this harking to the voice mail of equivalent content I get all the time. Clearly social patterns outlive their usefulness: we execute them automatically.

So here is a "blog" and doubtless the letter format, which I have consciously slipped into, is not the best or most natural use of a blog format. I am going to be experimental about all this, and see if something "optimal" arises. Certainly the rules of the site form the skeletal architecture that controls how these beasts move and heave, eg again Facebook seems to encourage bursty sound bite stuff, the scrim and froth floating at the top, the last 10 minutes of life. Silly stuff, SO relevant now, and equally irrelevant next week. Thus, I am conscious of the pace or permanence of these different tools as something that at least 'feels' different from one tool to another. The blog feels like a longer timeframe, that it should contain something of more intrinsic worth than, "what's going on this weekend?" We shall see.

Most of this I've thought before, and am writing now just because I'm fresh from the resolution and Must write SOMEthing, however stupid. Perhaps one more simple modification to the promise: I won't bother the whole planet with my next vapid outburst: the writing helps me, helps me think, is fun, etc etc. But it is mostly stupid and would spare you the time spent getting this far and me some embarrassment if I keep it mostly to myself!

Well. That post rerquires one of these, I believe: :) ...they're used to erase whatever significance the reader may have mistakenly placed in the foregoing, right? Hahahaha!