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Everything posted by adrock3215

  1. No it doesn't. You're simply wrong. It says that the lowering of interest rates by government causes the boom. Again, you're simply wrong. Interest rates are kept low by increasing the supply of money. In order for your statement to make sense, you would have to reject the notion that an increase in the supply of money is inflationary, which means: you would have to account for inflation by some means other than the money supply. Would you care to give us your view on the cause of inflation, without mentioning the money supply?
  2. Cap, it is really much simpler than you are getting at. Economic actors face a decision between consumption now and consumption later, and as John said, this is essentially the microeconomic basis of all macroeconomic theory. The price mechanism by which these decisions are made is the relevant intertemporal rate of interest. So far I have said nothing that is, by any means, exclusively Austrian. If you disagree with any of the above, please state what and why. Austrian theory states that the manipulation of this price mechanism, i.e. the interest rate, by government causes what we call the modern business cycle. If you don't agree with this, then what does government manipulation of the interest rate do, in your view?
  3. D.) Work 35-40 hours a week and attend school more than full-time, graduate with 4 year degree in 2 years or less.
  4. This nutjob is at it again. Pope decries selfishness in economic crisis.
  5. Fair enough. Firstly, one needs to recognize and make efforts to seperate government and economy in the long-term, since that is the shore we are trying to reach. Without that framework at place, we'll just be floating up the creek, down the creek, and every which way along the creek. The first step toward that framework is the recognition that the government IS a ponzi scheme. It issues 10 billion in bonds, sells them to investors all over the world, and when they come due, issues another 10 billion to pay off the principal on the first 10 billion. To pay the interest, government borrows more money. Social Security is quite obviously a ponzi scheme whereby funds from current contributors are used to pay old contributors. Assuming that these facts about the nature of government are recognized, one can begin discussing the short-term. It is my belief that the government does have a role to play in cleaning up the current mess, since they created it. During the Panic of 1907, we had JP Morgan around to oversee the bankruptcies of numerous financial institutions in an orderly manner. Today, we have no such man, since regulations have, in essence, prevented such a figure from emerging. The government needs to oversee an orderly process of liquidation and begin deleveraging the economy in an effort to work toward a gold standard, abolish the Fed, and ultimately seperate government and economy entirely. Short-term capital capital infusions are what is needed to help avoid disaster and begin working toward a future fix. Like I said, there is no JP Morgan available to step up and perform the role from the private sector. I consider it to be reasonable for government to provide capital to banks so that they have freedom to reorganize their balance sheets. As government does this, legislators can decide on a set calander by which all banking regulations are phased out. It could be a 20 year plan for all I care, but several small changes would need to go into effect immediately. For instance, bank capital requirements should cease immediately. In addition, FDIC insurance needs to be phased out. It is currently $250,000. Drop it incrementally to $100,000, $50,000, $10,000, and then none. Secondly, last I read, the entire commercial banking system as a whole was about 50 billion short of holding 100% reserves. Banks have chosen to hold nearly 100% reserves in the current environment, and that should be encouraged. Therefore, the Fed should end its policy of sloshing easy money around the system, hoping it will get lent to consumers and businesses somewhere down the line. It should immediately raise its Fed Funds Rate target, let mortgage rates increase, and let the bottom fall out of the housing market. The market is telling us that homes are too expensive, let the market work. Thirdly, the Fed needs to stop being the market maker of last resort, and fulfill solely its role from the 1913 Federal Reserve Act as lender of last resort. The role of the Fed is not to create a market wherever it feels like it. Bernanke needs to be reigned in. Practically, what this means is that his dual mandate needs to be tossed out, and Congress should give the Fed the same hierarchical mandate that the ECB has. I understand that. But there is no particular reason why you have to spend your days worrying about what happens in Washington. As far as I know, Objectivist ethics would tell you that you should focus on your self. As of now, you still have freedom of speech, along with the majority of your other fundamental civil liberties. Until those begin to erode, I would concetrate on yourself and not think about politics, unless you really have to.
  6. Yes, the system currently set up leads to a sort of complacency where due dilligence is not performed fully. People assume that the SEC wouldn't possibly let any fraud occur. Similarly, the FDIC leads to extreme complacency on the part of commercial bank depositors. Self-regulation has worked for a while now in the financial industry. Organizations include NASD, FINRA, the American Arbitration Association, and the National Association of Realtors. There is a broader point to be made though. I'm not sure one can answer watson's question, without discussing an overhaul of the American economy. I understand why one would want to do this, because it seems as if there surely some way to accomplish increased stability in our current economy. The truth is that there is no way to fix these issues without totally overhauling the American capitalist system, namely, the Federal Reserve. In the absense of a gold standard, it's the US government who is running the real ponzi scheme. Madoff's 50 billion is pocket change compared to the balance sheet of the Fed. To ask me to not address the system, but to come up with a fix to the system, ties my hands behind my back and ignores the elephant in the room. It amounts to "With the system in place that creates all the current problems in the economy, how would you fix the current problems in the economy (without changing the system)."
  7. I should revise this statement to say income taxes, that way I exclude sales and property taxes.
  8. The Repbulican party is disgusting. It was a stupid comment, that added nothing to the argument, and should not have been said. The point of it was: How much is this really going to cost you? He's talking about the effect on him, so I'm interested to see what his stake is in all of this. In other words: How much money would this guy save by not opening the borders; or, phrased alternatively: How much would he lose by opening the borders? Since the whole conversation he and Jake have been stating that they're going to lose massive amounts of money, I wanted to know what we're talking about here. I wanted an estimation of the effects of opening the borders on their pocketbook. Are we talking $1, $10, $100, $1000, $10,000, $100,000 or what? Yes, of course. Just that it's mostly suckers who pay taxes. Howard Hughes hardly paid a tax in his entire life. Most smart people pay very little in taxes as well.
  9. Sounds like an ideal situation to me. Please tell me why you would pay taxes into our current system if you didn't have to? Let me get this straight. You've seen this happen before, to be generous, several times. But help me make the leap to "I saw this happen so many times" to "This happens every time." They can't work legally unless they fake their identity. In order to make a living, they have to resort to illegal measure. There's nothing wrong with that. I would do the same. If you say you wouldn't, you're lying. How much exactly are you paying in taxes? From the tone of this conversation, you better be making at least a million a year. I very rarely have to pay much taxes. A thousand, at most, two thousand a year. You need to consult a financial advisor and get that straightened up. That would be a blessing.
  10. We just saw this movie today and thoroughly enjoyed it. I recommend it to everyone here!
  11. You asked for a third person's perspective on whether or not a third person's perspective of Rand is trustworthy. I am recommending that you form a first person's perspective on the third person's perspective of Rand.
  12. Kendall, this is how Jake "proves" things. He takes several stated facts, and then says "Come on guys, look at these facts! It must be the case! How else...? Hmph...alright, then YOU explain them."
  13. I never called anyone a racist in this thread, so there is not a point in arguing about that. Your intrinsicism quote is inconsequential; it doesn't apply here. Here's a real world judgement: My position is that a government can, and should protect individual rights. What is an individual right? It is a moral principle that allows a man freedom of action in a social setting. The fundamental right is a man's right to his own life. Does a man's right to his own life allow him the freedom of moving wherever he pleases? Of course. I live in DC, but I can move to New Jersey or Alaska. Now, does a government have a role to play in immigration? Yes, it should make sure that all incoming immigrants are free of disease and criminal history. The whole scenario that millions upon millions of parasites will swarm in for the kill is primarily inconsequential (since it has no effect on whether or not a government should protect individual rights), and secondarily, wrong. There is no conclusive evidence which leads me to believe that out of (say) 100 million future immigrants, 75 million will be socialist parasites. In fact, it is most unlikely that an individual with socialist values in a third world country would be able to afford a plane ticket to fly here. Take, for instance, Zimbabwe. There may be a lot of socialist free riders there, but how many have 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Zimbabwean dollars to fly here? Not many. How many Brazilians can afford to come here? Well, definitely none of the lower classes, where the average wage is roughly $100 a month. And definitely nobody from the favelas, where people sleep on the streets and rummage through trashbins for dinner. Not even most of the middle class, since the exchange rate between the dollar and real has (as of late) worked much in our favor to the detriment of theirs. If you want to discuss consequences, why don't we discuss the fact that new immigrants would be paying into the social security system, saving you tax dollars in the future when the baby boomers retire? Why not discuss more tax dollars, lower car insurance rates, lower health insurance rates, increased consumption spending at United States restaurants and businesses, increased demand for housing, a strengthened manufacturing sector, etc? Before you answer, I'll tell you why not. Because none of it matters to the principle at hand, namely, that a government should protect individual rights. What your position amounts to is a denial of individual rights, so that you can benefit within the context of the current system. Such a position is not, in any way, advancing one toward a fully free society. It gives sanction to the system that you dislike. A rational individual should recognize that taxes are going to have to be raised soon and embrace the raise in taxes. To say "that's taking my money, no good" is the absurd position. Government has a 10 trillion dollar debt that needs to be paid off, in order for the dollar to survive and our economy to prosper. Point being that a supposed "sacrifice" (it's not really a sacrifice, only people who think short term like yourself see it this way) in the short-term is necessary in order to insure long-term prosperity.
  14. Actually, it doesn't. By the same logic, you should go find the nearest welfare recipient, beat their ass, tie them up, and call the police because they stole from you. There's a difference between "Joe stole my bike" and institutionalized ("the government steals taxes from my paycheck") theft. I could be the beneficiary of government theft without being liable for the theft. If you were to claim otherwise, you would have to justify how you are able to use the public road system or walk through a public park. Without recognizing this crucial difference, you are making the mistake of blaming the people who benefit from a particular system, for that particular system's existence. It is not an immigrants fault that theft has been legalized and institutionalized in the United States. It has nothing to do with him or her. In summation: Why is it the immigrants fault that we have a welfare system, and, if it is not his fault, why should he be punished for its existence?
  15. Fair enough. The point of my first post is, in essence, exactly what you wrote above, so we're on the same page. Either way, you've met me in person a hundred times. Surely you know that I wasn't endorsing the viewpoint of the Brandons, and that I simply was telling Greebo to watch the film for himself, respond critically, and make his judgement accordingly. I think that it would be silly to tell him to make up his mind on the whole controversy without learning of it from both sides.
  16. Jake, please write the entirety of your argument in premise-conclusion form. Ex: P1: _____ P2: _____ Conclusion: _____
  17. Ahh, so you're abdicating your responsibility to judge people based on their character. That's nice, but why don't you try reading Rand's work sometime. It's like she's talking about you:
  18. Ok, I let this one slip several times, but this at least the third time. What you call 'social metaphysics' is actually a pile of incoherent garbage that can be filed under the category of pure, unrestrained collectivism. I assume you are using the term in the context of its actual meaning, which is to say that whatever the majority of people agree on is what metaphysically exists. And to say that your opponents are engaged in relativism is ludicrous. Your entire position, beginning with your basis of 'social metaphysics', is grounded in relativity. So, to sum up, your repeated usage of the term has demonstrated that you have not seriously read Rand's work. If you had, you would notice that she deals neatly with the issue of social metaphysics in the aptly titled chapter "The Argument From Intimidation" in VOS, in addition to the work done by Nathienal Brandon in his essay from the November 1962 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter titled"Social Metaphysics". Perhaps not ironically, your argument really comes down to nothing except intimidation, eloquently demonstrating Rand's point.
  19. Could you please provide your strong argument, for all of us to see? Surely the many intelligent people here will recognize the argument's soundness if it is rational. If we put your argument in somewhat coherent form, then at some point we would find the following two premises: P: Many immigrants are immigrating to America in 2008. P: All immigrating immigrants are socialist pigs who want free stuff. The connection between the two is a total non-sequitur. Not only is it barbaric for its collectivist undertone, but it is outright irrational. Ok, so the purpose of government is to promote a "happy, free, rich, better place, with a superior lifestyle" in your view. Fair enough. But have you actually read Rand's work? Don't come back claiming that you have, because what I mean is: have you actually read it? Rand's position is that the purpose of government is to protect individual rights. Let's be generous and say that you agree with that principle (quite frankly, I haven't seen any evidence that you do). Now, assuming you do, please demonstrate to me how you begin with the principle that government exists to protect individual rights and end with a government that violates individual rights.
  20. Your scenario is even more outrageous than your proposition. A nation is not the same thing as a gated community. Your scenario assumes that no one will wants the immigrant in the community, and therefore he will not enter. Fair enough. But what if one home owner in the community wants to sell his home to an immigrant. After all, that's what we're talking about here. Indeed, your scenario included that the a priori precondition "If not a single one of the citizens wants Person X to visit" that doesn't actually exist in reality. The reality is that many homeowners in the United States wouldn't mind selling their homes to an immigrant, and many business owners would like to hire illegal immigrants but are being prohibited from doing so. Now, please elucidate how you prpose to prohibit the homeowner from selling his property to the immigrant, without violating somebody's rights.
  21. I don't think people will come to their senses unless there is an intellectual revolution, which I work hard every day to make a reality (in the small ways that I can). I wouldn't be so foolish as to think a self-imposed collapse would suddenly make capitalism seem legit. It's more that these services are there, so why not use as much of them as possible? As Friedman wrote somewhere (paraphrasing), if it's public, that means it's really just unowned. Of course I'm going to get a government guaranteed student loan. Of course my mortgage was probably made possible by Fannie and Freddie. Of course I'm going to use the roads and walk my dog in the local park. If I didn't use any government-funded projects, then I would have to just roll over and die. Everywhere I turn there is government involvement in my life. To live while not accepting government-funded help is really not possible. Not necessarily. It depends on the person. I sure didn't, anyway. This is simply not true. As evidence, I would introduce you to my wife, if I could. Her family moved here after they encountered a tremendous amount of difficulty in running their small business in Rio during the '90's. They came to escape political circumstances (increase in economic populism that is still going on in Latin America), as well as the plague of crime that rots Brazil's cities. Actually, we are. I would urge you to go to your local day-laborer site and talk to some of these guys. I have. I've employeed illegals many times, and have always been satisfied with the end result. Do you know how much money it is to come here from Mexico, or any other country? As a generality, only the top classes are able to come. I have a friend who crossed the border illegally, and it cost him 10 grand to get put in the back of a truck. That's not cheap (especially if you live in Mexico). It's not the same. Social security funds have already been unjustly stolen from people. We are talking about people who are coming here for the first time, and have not been a part of any social system. The social security example is akin to denying a right to something which I have already paid for, while the immigration example is a denial of something much more fundamental, my physical freedom. Just to clarify: I have never received or applied for direct transfer payments under any social programs. When I operated a business in Southeast DC, it was extremely hard for me to find enough employees keep up with customer demand. I hired anyone who walked through the door, because I always needed people desperately. I would have guys start, and then I would catch them stealing from me, and I would have to fire them the next day. Sometimes, a driver would start, take his first delivery, collect the cash from the customer, and never come back to pay the owed money to the store. Then the next week he would come in and ask for his paycheck (legally, you are supposed to give it to them, but I never did. One guy got upset that I wouldn't and smashed the windshield of my car). Anyway, this is mostly beside the point. The story is that I had this really good driver who worked full time (35-40 hours). He always showed up every day on time and was the most reliable guy I had working for me. He added a tremendous amount of value to my business. Unfortunately, the man was a sack of shit. He had gotten laid off from his other job, and he wanted to collect unemployment benefits, despite the fact that he still worked for me. So, on a few occassions, he would bring me papers, and I would write that he made less than he did. (Tips don't have to be reported, so this is easy to do in the pizza business.) Man would continue to get his unemployment benefits and continue showing up to work on time and giving me 90%, and my business would run smoothly. I signed his papers because I liked the guy, and he was a good employee; plus I knew that the chances were that if I didn't sign them he would just go work for one of my competitors, and they would sign it. So, to make it clear: I have not personally received any benefits. But one could say that I've used them to subsidize the pay of an employee of mine. So, that's how I've taken advantage of them. Now you guys can tell me how wrong I was and how stupid I am.
  22. While it is true that he did not do enough, there is also some evidence that the SEC knew about this since 2006. If we are to uphold the SEC to performing its legally assigned duties, then it did drop the ball on this one. It really shows how terribly inefficient and corrupt the entire government organization is. Relevant NY Times article here: Moreover, there is evidence of a personal link between Madoff and the SEC: This is more evidence for what happens when government gets involved in the economy. Corruption. When I first began trading in 2006, I heard rumors that the SEC was going to shutdown Madoff. It's been flying around for a while now that he's been under suspicion.
  23. I think today's move by the Fed is the confirmation that they are seeing a fast approaching liquidity trap. This is exactly what Bernanke's been trying to avoid. He is known for the speech a few years ago that blasts 90's Japan for letting deflation take hold, in which he advocated printing money to combat deflation. I guess today is the confirmation of the "helicopter drop" phase (to use Friedman's term).
  24. Saying that it will "work just fine" is different than a principled statement. The argument from someone who adopts this position sums up to: "Because rights violations are occuring in the United States, we should throw everything into the wind and violate more rights (until things improve)". This attitude is not really justifiable, since the two issues are seperate. I say come on in and don't pay taxes if you can get away with it while taking advantage of as many social services as possible. If it was up to me, I wouldn't be paying taxes either. As a legal citizen, I've taken advantage of as many social services as possible when I have had the opportunity. The problem is not that immigrants (or anybody else) are taking advantage of social services, the problem is that we have social services for people to take advantage of to begin with. The two issues are distinct, and should not be conflated.
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