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Dear Congress, Do Something



August 10, 2011 – Comments (34)

I won't use too many big words or a lot of math here Congress people, I know you have a hard time with that and get offended when you are not the smartest folks in the room, which of course means you act offended a lot. 


Yesterday, Ben Bernanke basically said he's going to let loose the monetary hounds at some point soon, again, but not just a couple of them, ALL of them, if you do not do something that creates jobs very quickly.  If he does that, it means that by default he is going to pay off America's debts almost exclusively through inflation.  If he does that, not only will that make my energy and food even more expensive relative to my income (and I do ok relatively speaking), but it will make my friend Adam right to have bought a lot of physical gold, and I do not really want to have him be right because he is prone to gloat.Bernanke does not really have any choice to using monetary policy to do the best he can if Congress is going to keep doing nothing with fiscal policy on stimulating economic growth you know.  It is in fact the Congress' job to help bridge the gap between economic cycles, it always has been, and always will be. 


Let me make this easy, that is, spend when things are rough (and therefore by common sense, save when things are good- Bush screwed that one up as he must have forgot we have rainy days).  I know, I know, business creates jobs, government doesn't.  Blah, blah, blah.  That's such rubbish it makes me want to swear, but rubbish is a fun word so I'll use that.If you can not fit it into your ideological dogma, please take a break from that part of your schtick.  It IS your job Congress to help fill the gap when things are tough.  Do it.  Yeah, yeah, I know, you want to keep arguing and let your radio mouth pieces say that Keynes is dead.  You know what, you will be dead someday too, so deal with it.  Heck, Keynes mentioned death happens to people ("In the long run, we're all dead"). 


While I agree that having a more balanced budget is a great long term goal, right now, Americans standards of living is falling very noticeably.  Maintaining standard of living is the Government's number two job (after protecting us), so please, get to it.  If you do not get to it quickly and loudly, I am very afraid, and very certain, we will see more incidents of violence which even now are occurring with too much regularity.  Come on, we can not take another State Fair incident here in Wisconsin.  Do something to stimulate growth.  I have a few ideas at the bottom.  You can even say you came up with it, I don't care.


I know, some of you are thinking and saying, but we are having problems because of spending and entitlements.  Again blah, blah, blah.  Look at the numbers if you are willing and able (willing and able, that is the definition of something is it not).  The United States drove into a valley from about 2002 to 2008 without using a nice road down the slope.  We just bounced and banged in our nice American made SUV to the bottom bouncing off or rocks all the way down.


Having just gotten back from South Dakota and Wyoming, I can tell you, valleys are cool because you can look up at some neat mountains, but it gets cold and damp down there.  We need to get over the mountain at some point to get back onto a nice flat plateau to live.  Getting out of valleys is hard though.  You have to climb a mountain.  A nice road is the best way to get out, but we at least need some nice gloves, rope, hooks or whatever mountain climbers use. 


So, right now we are in a valley.  We need tools to get back up the mountain.  Or, we could build a road.  Maybe we do some of both.  Hey Congress, send our most skilled people up to survey, then build roads and heck maybe a power plant, water filtration plants and sewers too.


In any case, just to review history, we are here not because of keeping promises to the elderly, sick and the disaffected by economic malaise.  We are here because of two unpaid for wars (maybe we needed them, maybe we didn't, I'm not here to argue that), large tax cuts for the rich and special interests (that are NOT stimulating hiring) and a massive financial collapse caused by deregulation.  You can look up the numbers, I presume you have a copy of the Congressional Record, it's all in there. If you decide to accept that, then maybe you can act more responsibly and less dogmatically.  That is the only reason I bring it up.


One of my high school friends who happens to be a corporate President said we should have had a "run of the mill recession."   There is no question what we have instead is a DEPRESSION.  In case you doubt we have a depression, since you are on vacation Congress, take some time to talk to people.  They are depressed.  And, to hammer home the point, keep track of a few things.  First, count how many people you talk to are on food stamps.  You will find that number is one in three.  Also, keep track of how many people are unemployed or very under-employed, that number will be one in five give or take.


Alright, here are my, I mean, your ideas for stimulating growth in America.  Put together an infrastructure, energy and water bill that rebuilds the interstates, US Highways (which are beautiful, have you driven 16 in Wyoming), bridges, adds a handful of regional high speed trains where population density dictates, rebuilds the power grid including adding some solar power plants (you have heard that solar is as cheap as natural gas in the southwest now right), revamps sewer systems, adds water filtration plants that focus on recharging water systems and a few solar powered desalinization plants, and adds some communication towers (it's pretty sketchy out there in the west).  If you did that almost every skilled person in America would have work and millions more would get trained and have work.  What is even better, is that as skilled people got back to work, they would spend.  Not just on consumer stuff which would cause more employment, but they would probably hire a few administrative people.  The knock on would be tremendous.  Now, I know, we have to pay for this.  I love your idea of paying for it by getting rid of tax breaks for special interests, hedge fund managers and subsidies to big business.  Talk about killing two birds with one stone.  In fact, I think if you did a "Rebuild America" bill you could even make the tax brackets permanent.  I'm not sure about that, and I promised no big numbers here, but I am pretty sure. 


Now, I usually reserve this next admonition for a hitter when the team I coach is down by three runs with the bases loaded and two outs late in the game, but please, Congress, when you get back from your refreshing vacation, DO SOMETHING!

34 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 10, 2011 at 10:49 AM, PeteysTired (< 20) wrote:

After you rebuild America what do you want the people to do next?  Once they lay down there shovels and admire all the stuff we built and rebuilt then what?

The housing and economy boom were built mainly on credit.  People wanted cars, houses, swimming pools, 2nd homes, TVs, radios, gym memberships.... mainly built on credit  Many people were employed. 

Then, it all imploded.  If we didn't have that credit boom many people would have been out of work during that time.  2008/2009 just got us to this reality.

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#2) On August 10, 2011 at 10:57 AM, PeteysTired (< 20) wrote:

Additionally, to add more gloom :(  My father just retired.  During the boom he bought 2 cars, 3 computers, new golf clubs, remodeled his house and went on several nice trips.  He won't be buying these things anymore as he just doesn't need these things anymore. 

He is not the only one that is cutting back as his age group is getting larger and larger.

So now you have more older people that need less things other than more healthcare :) 

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#3) On August 10, 2011 at 11:18 AM, miteycasey (29.01) wrote:


The same thing was said at the end of the Depression in 1930's. What are all the Army guys going to do when they get home?

That worked out okay.


@#2 Um the population is expanding, mainly through immigration, but people will always be buying when they need/want things.

Those will take up plenty of the buying power.


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#4) On August 10, 2011 at 11:24 AM, VExplorer (29.07) wrote:

Nobody help. convulsive transformation in both society and culture will happened. Who lived in USSR from 1985 to 2002 have had experience in that. ;)

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#5) On August 10, 2011 at 11:31 AM, kirkydu (90.51) wrote:

@Petey et al

We need a rebuilt infrastructure regardless.  One that is energy and water efficient.  We ought to build/rebuild it over the next ten to fifteen years during a period we clearly need jobs.

In the 2020s the echo boom will hit the economy in full force as the last baby boomers retire and we will have another sustained economic upturn, think about forty to fifty years.  It'll be  just like the baby boomer history.  Take a look at the 1950s to 1990s.  It will happen again.

It is all cyclical and follows demographics.  The gov'ment needs to help smooth the path.  Hopefully, when the echo boomers hit the economy en masse and things look bright, some dumb politician from Texas doesn't get elected, not pay for his wars, deregulates the financial sector and decide to cut taxes instead of paying down the debts.

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#6) On August 10, 2011 at 11:42 AM, davejh23 (< 20) wrote:

"After you rebuild America what do you want the people to do next?  Once they lay down there shovels and admire all the stuff we built and rebuilt then what?"

My father-in-law works for a small engineering firm that saw a lot of extra work that was paid for with stimulus funds.  They managed to hire several people at a time when they were looking to let go a large number.  Those fund have dried up and there have been very few projects to bid on over the last year.  They've been letting people go month after month and could go out of business just one year after their strongest year ever.  Most of their work is done for rural counties/municipalities, and they're all cutting back.

Peteys - My father is retired as well and spends next to nothing, even though he has no debt and his pension income is double my annual income.  A lot of boomers have little savings and are going to be scrambling to pay off debt and save as fast as possible over the next couple decades.  70 million boomers paying off debt, saving, and cutting back in retirement will certainly take a big bite out of aggregate demand.  It is most certainly not the gov't's job to fill that gap.

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#7) On August 10, 2011 at 11:52 AM, davejh23 (< 20) wrote:

"Hopefully, when the echo boomers hit the economy en masse and things look bright, some dumb politician from Texas doesn't get elected, not pay for his wars, deregulates the financial sector and decide to cut taxes instead of paying down the debts."

I'm not saying that Bush doesn't deserve some blame, but do you know how much the Clinton administration helped us save for a rainy day?...Nothing!  Yeah, we had a balanced budget, but our national debt still increased each and every year.  Bush walked into a recession just like Obama did.  Bush said and did some stupid things, but much of the deregulation came from the Clinton administration and democrats in CONgress.  Again, I fully support you bashing Bush, but one set of politicians is no better than another.  Bush isn't the only one that helped set us on the path to $1 trillion+ annual deficits for a decade plus.

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#8) On August 10, 2011 at 11:52 AM, kirkydu (90.51) wrote:

"It is most certainly not the gov't's job to fill that gap."

That's either a typo or more silly talk.

The gov'ment ought to unleash growth via infrastructure rebuilding.  It is work that needs to be done anyway.  A decade or so from now there will be organic growth again as the echo boom replaces the baby boom.  There is no need to suffer for a decade waiting for it.  The baby boomers are going to have to work til 70 anyway, might as well help them out with some real jobs.  I'm tired of seeing the Walmart greeters getting younger.  I want to see 85 year old grandmas working their to socialize, not 62 year olds working their to make ends meet.

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#9) On August 10, 2011 at 11:57 AM, rfaramir (28.68) wrote:

"It is in fact the Congress' job to help bridge the gap between economic cycles"

No it is not. The powers and duties of Congress are laid out in the Constitution. Bridging gaps is not among them. The only thing Congress needs to "do" is repeal its past unconstitutional acts until we are back to a constitutional form of government.

Government does nothing efficiently. Let the private sector do everything imaginable. Let it also create the as-yet-unimagined. Get out of its way!

Government is force; raw, naked aggression. The only moral way to accomplish things is through voluntary means. The less government does by compulsion, the more will voluntarily be done by the free market. Stop crowding out private solutions with compelled action.

For "stimulating growth in America" we have to try Liberty. Unfortunately, you have the opposite mindset: "The beatings will continue until morale improves."

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#10) On August 10, 2011 at 11:58 AM, kirkydu (90.51) wrote:


What alternate reality history do you study.  The Federal budget was balanced when Clinton left office.  All Bush had to do was not screw that up.  He failed.  Clinton, blue dresses and all, was a hugely successful President.  Bush II will go down as the failure he was.  I'm waiting to see on Obama.  If he can push the Congress to tax reform and to rebuild infrastructure as the core stimulus program of the next decade he will be a success.  

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#11) On August 10, 2011 at 11:58 AM, kirkydu (90.51) wrote:


blah blah blah

wake up

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#12) On August 10, 2011 at 12:20 PM, davejh23 (< 20) wrote:

"What alternate reality history do you study."

Try looking at the numbers.  "Balanced budget" doesn't mean he saved for hard times.  The national debt increased every single year that he was in office.  Look it up. 

This may be the only thing that Bush did right, but one of Bush's first items of business was seeking to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's involvement in the mortgage industry.  I'm sure it wasn't his idea, but someone in the administration showed a lot of foresight and Bush rightly pushed the issue.  What happened?  Democrats in Congress attacked him.  They didn't even debate the issue...they sought to ridicule him with vicious attacks, making wild claims about him hating minorities and the poor.  Dodd and Frank led the charge, as they let prior efforts to deregulate the financial industry. 

Clinton was president during one of the greatest advances in worker productivity in history.  On the back of that, he supported deregulation that started the derivatives explosion, and blew a stock bubble, then happened to get out of office when the bubble was getting set to pop.  He was in the right place at the right time, and got out of the spotlight before his failures could be blamed on him.

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#13) On August 10, 2011 at 12:23 PM, PeteysTired (< 20) wrote:


The same thing was said at the end of the Depression in 1930's. What are all the Army guys going to do when they get home?

That worked out okay

Those 40's & 50's era people needed homes, cars, washing machines.... along with the rest of the world's people.  Fortunately, the US did a lot of destruction of other countries economies during the war and factories and infrustructure was destroyed.  The US was able to fill the void of needs with its workers.

Today is much different.  I am sure the next big thing will come, but it isn't here yet.

Gosh I feel like Alstry...I don't mean to, but people are scared and they are not going to spend.  You can backfill that spending with imaginary dollars, but we are going to have another crushing fall again.  All this fake money does is exuberates the severity of the next fall.

I don't know what the answer is, but printing fake money is temporary solution to a larger problem.

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#14) On August 10, 2011 at 12:32 PM, davejh23 (< 20) wrote:

"It is most certainly not the gov't's job to fill that gap."

That's either a typo or more silly talk.

"It is in fact the Congress' job to help bridge the gap between economic cycles, it always has been, and always will be."

Always has been?  You do know that America has more than 80 years of history, right?  I'd bet that you weren't even in highschool when Clinton was president.  It's not possible for the gov't to plug a 10% hole in the economy for decades.  The stimulus you're talking about would involve increasing federal spending to probably 25%+ of GDP.  If you're proposing balancing the increased spending with tax increases, you take a big hit to aggregate demand just to add back to it.  We're already on a path to 200% debt/GDP within a decade...why not go for 300%, right?  

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#15) On August 10, 2011 at 1:34 PM, rfaramir (28.68) wrote:

"the whole theory that the government can stimulate through control and robbery is wrong and counterproductive. It only ends up rewarding government and its friends while the rest of us suffer. If we ever get out of this depression, it will be because government is forced to stop this nonsense, and the economy is really stimulated by taking a meat axe to the planning-spending-inflating apparatus."

--Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. in article "Day of Reckoning"

You'd probably get a kick out of how much he hates Republicans, too (in his other writings, not this article).

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#16) On August 10, 2011 at 1:45 PM, outoffocus (23.91) wrote:

Lets start with the false premise that its Congress that creates jobs...

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#17) On August 10, 2011 at 2:23 PM, kirkydu (90.51) wrote:


I am 41, I manage eight figures of wealth.  Keynes is right about darn near everything.


Government does create jobs and it is ignorant or ideological or sinister to say it does not.  


Rebuildng the nation's infrastructure sooner than later is not creating fake money.  I in fact complained about too much monetary action in my letter and another letter recently.  Since the infrastructure needs to be rebuilt anyway, why not do it NOW while unemployment is high, rather than later when we have a labor shortage (which will happen sometime next decade)???  I'm not sure how that doesn't make sense to everybody.  It would be a huge push of gov'ment money to the private sector that actually provides jobs and stimulates demand and some money velocity.

The next big thing is the echo boom hitting the economy in the 2020s,

Read George Friedman's book "The Next Decade" he covers it briefly.  The "Fourth Turning" is also good.

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#18) On August 10, 2011 at 2:25 PM, kirkydu (90.51) wrote:


I believe I said that Clinton balanced the budget (which Reagan unbalanced) and that Bush II should have saved- which he didn't.  Bush II didn't hold up his end of the donkey because he was a donkey.

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#19) On August 10, 2011 at 2:53 PM, PeteysTired (< 20) wrote:


We agree to disagree. Central planning would work great if we all thought and acted alike. 

It takes 2 branches of gov't to spend money and they both like to spend money in good times and bad

Keynes was right in that we should save our surpluses for the future, but he was so naive about politicians and the Fed.  Neither will do what is right for the people. 

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#20) On August 10, 2011 at 3:00 PM, eldemonio (98.00) wrote:

Our nation is in desperate need to update existing infrastructure and build new infrastructure.  If not now, when should we do it? 

If the federal, state, and municipal governments don't allocate money for these projects, who is supposed to fund this needed work?


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#21) On August 10, 2011 at 4:31 PM, VExplorer (29.07) wrote:


Who needed "to update existing infrastructure and build new infrastructure"? I don't need. Why you wantspend my money on it? Spend your.

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#22) On August 10, 2011 at 4:47 PM, kirkydu (90.51) wrote:


that's a political problem of people, not an economic theory problem.  Keynes was right. The problem that Bush created was that typical Keynsian approaches are harder to implement because he stupidly ran up debts in good times.  That doesn't mean however we ought to not do something like rebuilding the infrastructure to be modern.  In fifty years when the echo boom retires, we'll do it again.

If people would hold pols accountable we would be fine.  They don't because too many live in ignorant bliss until bliss is gone then they live in angry meaniness.  


洁阴液 [jié yīn yè]


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#23) On August 10, 2011 at 5:07 PM, rofgile (99.48) wrote:

jie yin liquid is what I get when I translate that, though I am guessing the meaning already.


I loved this blog.  Its very true.  I wish I could yell at my congressmen in person for a while.  In my state, I'm represented by the party of "NO" people.


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#24) On August 10, 2011 at 5:35 PM, leohaas (30.08) wrote:

Aren't they on vacation right now? Doesn't that mean they are hitting up the donors in their home state for money for reelection?

And doesn't that mean they don't have time to do something about the economy? Even if they had the time, they wouldn't agree on what to do. It looks like the party of No likes it that way, so, sorry, nothing WILL happpen!

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#25) On August 10, 2011 at 6:56 PM, dwot (29.15) wrote:

@#6 - Your father's pension is double your annual income?  I wonder how many working people it takes to pay his pension.

It was 2008 before my income only passed my grandfather's pension income he had when he DIED in 98.  He had no formal education past high school and I have 2 degrees.  And I had to move 2000 km to get that.

I maintain there is something totally screwed with the system that age gets so much at the expense of youth.


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#26) On August 10, 2011 at 8:26 PM, PainterPoker (26.11) wrote:

Great post.

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#27) On August 10, 2011 at 8:58 PM, ExtremesTracker (27.59) wrote:

How about a title of "Dear Congress start Undoing now"

no need to list all the ridiculous legislation that has paraded its way through the past two decades. 


if they work hard the next two years to start undoing most the legislation of the past ; we will be making real progress

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#28) On August 10, 2011 at 9:20 PM, reflector (< 20) wrote:


 it's not so much that congress should DO something, it's that they should STOP doing things, just get out of the way and let business do what it does best.

 stop taxing and spending, let people just live their lives without interference.

stop printing money through the fed and destroying the dollar.

 stop bailing out TBTF companies, if a company takes huge risks and destroys itself, let them die, don't bail them out. it will make room for other, better run companies take its place. just like forest fires, they clear out the brush and a few years later there is new life in the forest and it is more alive then ever.



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#29) On August 10, 2011 at 9:20 PM, awallejr (27.65) wrote:

 I'm waiting to see on Obama.

There really is nothing to see anymore.  He had his chance in 2009 to work on real job creation.  Instead he proposed a flop of a stimulus package which basically was used to help states fill in budget gaps.  And instead of working on job creation he went first to health care reform and wasted time on overkill with financial reform.  Now he waits for his 3rd year in term to start "studying" the situation?

I am not saying we don't need health care reform and financial regulation, but we went overboard there I suspect.

I admit I voted for him, but I won't in 2012.  If the Republicans can actually nominate a credible challenger I might consider that candidate or I will simply waste my vote on a useless write-in.

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#30) On August 10, 2011 at 9:36 PM, wolves83 (23.88) wrote:

Saw a CNN poll that said the majority of American want to increase taxes on the wealthy and cut spending. What are people going to do when the wealthy in this country take their wealth and move because they are taxed too high? People want something for nothing and are jealous of the people who have. It seems the majority of people think they are entitled to a easy (hardly working) life while living off the successes of the wealthy. Does this idea seem insane to anybody else? Just because somebody is good at managing a business or has managed to grow wealth does not mean they are required to support the rest of the american population. It is the rest of the american populations job to support themselves but the vast majority are simply too lazy to do anything about their situation.

If all democrats and their supporters want to raise taxes on the wealthy, let them go ahead and start by not claiming possible deductions on their tax return or by filling in a number in the box that allows contributions to the national debt on form 1040. If that's the way they want to attempt to fix this, than LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

Social responsibility vs socialism

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#31) On August 11, 2011 at 2:51 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

The problem that Bush created was that typical Keynsian approaches are harder to implement because he stupidly ran up debts in good times. 

So much wrong with this statement.

First, the debt ceiling has been raised 70 years in a row (80 times in a row over that span).  Which president was not an idiot that stupidly ran up debts in good times?  

News flash, every politician is a f*cking moron.  If they weren't morons they would be doing something productive, creating wonderful products for their fellow humans, rather than bossing us around.

Second, Bush's problem is starting a war (on a lie) and then lying (duh) about the cost of the war.  Americans thought they were prosperous, but they were actually getting poorer (again, duh), but Americans didn't catch on to the fact that it was a funny money created prosperity.  Keynesians didn't know that Americans were in an illusion during Bush's reign either, so why would I listen to them now?

David in Qatar

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#32) On August 11, 2011 at 3:59 AM, AllenWInks (< 20) wrote:

I'm the, and people like me.  I sign my proxies , and let the incestuous boards of directors raise CEO pay without significant regard to performance, while screwing middle management and workers below, and stockholders,  by pushing only very short term profits.  Why are bonuses set so that CEOs at bankrupt businesses get multiple-million dollar performance bonuses?  Because I kept giving my proxy to the morally bankrupt cronies on the board of directors (I'll give you a raise, and you vote a raise to me in your capacity as a member of the board at the company I am CEO of, or near enough.  
And Congress? Do Something? Hah! They may give lip service to being responsive to the will of "the people", but when they say that, they only mean "the people" who are rich enough to help them get reelected.  The Congress (at least an overwhelming voting block of them) will continue to play confrontational extremist  politics, instead of working together, because you can't run attack ads against your colleague, and all politics today is aimed at getting re-elected by creating issues to be used in attack ads, paid for by the wealthy who want lower taxes, and to be left alone and unregulated while they rape and pillage their way through America...enron, aig, gm, Chrysler, Fannie Mae, etc etc.  Woking together with someone of the other party to deal effectively with a problem like budget, social security, the rising cost of healthcare, vanishing jobs, crap education, etc. doesn't create issues!
So no more! I've done my share of contributing to the reasons why every one os us has a half million dollar share of the national debt, but I'm turning over a new leaf.  The set of scoundrels we have in place have bankrupted our country, and we can't even send Americans to space without buying a ride from the RUSSIANS, fer crying out loud!  From now on, I' m voting against any politician who uses attack ads, who votes against compromise and the politics of the I expect to not vote foe any incumbent Democrat or Republican.  And I'm voting against all board members of companies that propose a pay package including bonuses and stock options (deferred or not) that have the potential to pay  a CEO more than $2,000,000 per year.  there are plenty of people out there that can bankrupt a company for a lot less per year than the current fat cat bozos.  If $2 million isn't enough, quit.  There is no reason we can't outsource the CEO function to India!

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#33) On August 12, 2011 at 11:39 AM, TMFBlacknGold (90.75) wrote:

Congress always acts quickly on important issues...

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#34) On August 13, 2011 at 1:27 AM, kirkydu (90.51) wrote:


I am more concerned about the trillions on financial bailouts, bonuses for off shoring jobs and the future inflation being created by the Fed.  Maybe if we dealt better with financial regulation, corporate governance and monetary policy the young wouldn't be getting screwed to the point of rioting.  

@ all the ideologues running their gums about the gov'ment needs to let busines do what business does.  

If you mean small business, I'm with you.  If you mean big business with managers who make bonuses for sending jobs off shore, execs and board members who skim off the top and business that gouge for natural resources and food while ruining the environment, please wake up.

@ awall

yeah, the Dems ought to have got behind an infrastructure/energy/job plan for about $2T day one.  They would have made the money back on the "trickle down" already.  The financial reform is light from what I can tell.  The health care reform is a little heavy, but I think that was because they knew it would get wittled and negotiated down.

@ wolves

If the "wealthy' leave, fine, let them.  Bernanke can print new money for us, instead of them then.  If some leave, we can rebuild with a lot of small business and new management.  It's not like they can take the hard assets with them and if they try we'll tell them no and by the way you can't sell here anymore.  Citizenship revoked.  

@David in Qatar

The Keynsians have a pretty good track record.  But you are right, moron pols screw it up with consistency.  Right now, more morons are on the right.  

@ Winks


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