How true is this article?

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Eulogy
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How true is this article?

Postby Eulogy » 2012-10-24 04:34pm

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/duffy138.html

This article purports to tell us about how the American government is going the way of Greece. How truthful is the article? Does it tell us the right lessons or is it libertarian bullshit?
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby Starglider » 2012-10-24 07:19pm

ZeroHedge did this better, with actual useful stats. Actually they run about ten articles a month on various aspects of 'boomers are consuming everything and screwing everyone else'.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby madd0ct0r » 2012-10-25 04:32am

they should really weight that graph for population in those age groups though...

I was actually surprised when i looked at the american demograph chart - you're a surprisingly young country.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby UnderAGreySky » 2012-10-28 06:20pm

Any reference about "becoming Greece" without reference to
1) not being in control of your own currency
2) mention of rampant tax evasion present in Greece
3) cultural dissimilarities in the two countries
4) The stupidity that is "expansionary austerity", the fiscal policies that the Greeks have followed since the dawn of the crisis

is an article not worth taking seriously. Yes, the US has issues with its debt and deficit, but they're orders of magnitude less serious than the Greek situation today.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby ryacko » 2012-10-28 11:24pm

It's probably more apt to compare US monetary policy to Soviet and Roman monetary policy.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby Skgoa » 2012-10-29 01:06pm

UnderAGreySky wrote:Any reference about "becoming Greece" without reference to
1) not being in control of your own currency
2) mention of rampant tax evasion present in Greece
3) cultural dissimilarities in the two countries
4) The stupidity that is "expansionary austerity", the fiscal policies that the Greeks have followed since the dawn of the crisis

is an article not worth taking seriously. Yes, the US has issues with its debt and deficit, but they're orders of magnitude less serious than the Greek situation today.

IMHO you missed the biggest factor: having an agricultural and an industrial base. Greece simply doesn't have an economy that could sustain a "westernized" way of life for a majority of her people. It might have been possible due to theNew Economy and more EU integration but the credit crisis wiped out a sizable part of the economy, right after the Greeks (both individual citizens and institutions) had taken on massive amounts of debt in order basicly buy themselves into being a "first world" country on credit. Yes, there are some world class companies in Greece, who don't have to fear even german competition. But they are few and far inbetween.
Anyone who compares countries like the US or even Italy, Spain etc. to the problems Greece faces without acknowledging that is just abusing recent headlines to score a cheap point.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby UnderAGreySky » 2012-10-30 08:06pm

I attribute that problem to them being in the Euro, which is what I meant in point one. When you're in control of your own currency, you're judged by the markets accordingly and you get loaned money on that basis. There's a lovely interest rate chart which shows how the rates all merged into one low, low value through the 90s and 2000s before splitting post-crisis.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby Surlethe » 2012-10-31 10:44pm

ryacko wrote:It's probably more apt to compare US monetary policy to Soviet and Roman monetary policy.

I have trouble seeing the comparisons. Mind elaborating?
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby ryacko » 2012-11-01 01:24am

Surlethe wrote:
ryacko wrote:It's probably more apt to compare US monetary policy to Soviet and Roman monetary policy.

I have trouble seeing the comparisons. Mind elaborating?

The Soviets and Romans had control over their currencies. While both the Soviets and the Romans had price controls, while we do not, they both had large government deficits and debased/printed money. Which ultimately caused economic stagnation and collapse.

Right now the federal reserve has printed unknown trillions of dollars, some to bail out banks (some foreign), some to buy US treasuries though.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby UnderAGreySky » 2012-11-02 03:06pm

You're right that the US has massively increased its monetary base post-recession. But can you prove that it has *debased* its currency? Keep in mind that the two things are absolutely different and though one can lead to the other, it will not do so in all circumstances. And from all evidence around - exchange rates, for one and inflation for another - the dollar has not even remotely debased (I think it has gotten significantly stronger).
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby Surlethe » 2012-11-02 04:26pm

He can't because the US hasn't debased its currency. Even if you include energy and food, CPI inflation has averaged about 1.5% since 2008. The GDP deflator has also averaged below 2%. Meanwhile nominal income growth since 2008 has averaged 4% and the Fed funds rate is 0%. Of course, this is because the Fed is running the tightest monetary policy since 1933.

It's not clear to me why "debasement" of the Soviet currency caused the collapse of the USSR, instead of technological stagnation and a secular decline in commodity prices. Perhaps Stas could shed some light. Nor is it clear to me why "debasement" caused collapse of the Roman Empire, instead of secular features like waves of barbarian invasions, but Thanas is an expert in the late Empire - maybe we could ask him.

(PS- "Debasement" eliminates government debt.)
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby K. A. Pital » 2012-11-02 07:41pm

I find debasement claims somehow hilarious. However. The USSR collapsed because of runaway debt accumulation in 1981-1991 and a severe political crisis (much more severe than the economic problems). The runaway debt accumulation was clearly an error and perhaps that's what he is talking about. The oil price decline was not really that relevant (or rather would not have been), had the USSR not massively expanded its oil industry to the detriment of everything else in the 1970s- 1980s. I really wish that oil wasn't found in the 1960s. Who knows... the world might have been more interesting today.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby Starglider » 2012-11-02 09:29pm

Stas Bush wrote:I really wish that oil wasn't found in the 1960s. Who knows... the world might have been more interesting today.


If by 'interesting' you mean 'all of Eastern Europe and the Baltics still suffering under the crushing oppression of the Russian communist empire' then I guess so. The EU is doing its best to reproduce the endless unproductive beurecracy, constant economic meddling, destruction of all small enterprise, fairy-land propaganda & economic statistics, champagne-sipping elite in the capital and riots in the peripheral regions... but without a totalitarian police state to back them up they're finding it hard to match the USSR.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby Darth Wong » 2012-11-03 01:27am

The libertarian obsession with "debasing currency" is bizarre. To listen to a libertarian is to believe that the world would be a wonderful place if only bread still cost 6 cents a loaf. As if it's really that simple.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby K. A. Pital » 2012-11-03 05:31am

Starglider wrote:If by 'interesting' you mean 'all of Eastern Europe and the Baltics still suffering under the crushing oppression of the Russian communist empire' then I guess so.

:lol: Wow, I really hurt your touchy-feely soul somehow Starglider. Have some rest, you're probably tired and not completely adequate if you're just making shit up. Your trolling is getting tiresome and boring.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby Tiriol » 2012-11-03 06:25am

Starglider wrote:
Stas Bush wrote:I really wish that oil wasn't found in the 1960s. Who knows... the world might have been more interesting today.


If by 'interesting' you mean 'all of Eastern Europe and the Baltics still suffering under the crushing oppression of the Russian communist empire' then I guess so. The EU is doing its best to reproduce the endless unproductive beurecracy, constant economic meddling, destruction of all small enterprise, fairy-land propaganda & economic statistics, champagne-sipping elite in the capital and riots in the peripheral regions... but without a totalitarian police state to back them up they're finding it hard to match the USSR.


Stas didn't say that the world would be better, just more interesting. Although I'm pretty sure that most Estonians, Lithuanians, Latvians etc. are quite happy with their independence and former East Germans, for example, like being more than just a vassal state of the USSR. Although I do find your vitriol against the EU boring, it's so easy to predict. Maybe something new, for a change?
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby UnderAGreySky » 2012-11-03 08:12am

It's probably from the lines of "May you live in interesting times" where, well, you'd rather not.

Wong: I get fed up with the anti-inflationistas too. Any little upward tick of inflation and they shout for tightening monetary policy; while simultaneously protesting against the monetary expansion required when the recession actually led to deflation in the beginning.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby K. A. Pital » 2012-11-03 10:33am

UnderAGreySky wrote:It's probably from the lines of "May you live in interesting times" where, well, you'd rather not.

Yeah, sort of. Although I've seen some interesting times myself. By "interesting" I meant that the Second World of the 1960s wouldn't rely on oil; this meant it would have to improve other industries or perish in the competition much sooner than 1991. Systems demonstrate their best features when survival is at stake; oil lulls into institutional complacency. Without institutional reforms, large organizations like corporations or governments quickly crumble.

I'm looking at crises and contradictions as an inevitable path of progress. The resolution of these contradictions moves to a new level, and the circle begins anew.

The more interesting aspect is the "youth versus old" employment collision. That's actually an oft-discussed topic and it seems that this applies to far more places than just America.
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Re: How true is this article?

Postby J » 2012-11-03 11:28am

UnderAGreySky wrote:Wong: I get fed up with the anti-inflationistas too. Any little upward tick of inflation and they shout for tightening monetary policy; while simultaneously protesting against the monetary expansion required when the recession actually led to deflation in the beginning.


That would be Federal Reserve Act: Section 2A
Section 2A. Monetary Policy Objectives

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee shall maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy's long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.


Most central banks have a similar clause in their mission objectives. The key part is the bolded section, which surprisingly (yes, that's sarcasm) has never been followed by the Fed and is completely ignored or mis-understood by anti-inflationists, economists, and pretty much everyone else.

The key here is growing money AND credit at the same pace as the productive* economy over the long run, which if done will do what it says it does. Anti-inflationists look at the amount being added to the monetary supply every year in isolation and scream that it's a bad thing if the number's positive. Almost every economist looks at the money being added while ignoring credit completely and compares it against economic growth, then make their judgements according to which school they subscribe to. This is of course wrong since money and credit are fungible; your credit card or second mortgage spends exactly the same as a stack of dollar bills, thus credit must also be counted as part of the monetary base and factored into inflation adjustments.

Which would of course make the actual inflation rate a lot higher than the official numbers, and that might make the people upset enough to do something about it.


*I'd argue that large parts of the finance, insurance, and healthcare sectors (in the US) don't count since they're merely leeching money from everyone else without adding to productivity in any way.
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